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  1. #1
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Am i missing something; Backlighting panels I'm struggling

    I'm investigating the backlighting of panels. I've been everywhere on the internet but i don't want to print bits of paper off several times at high quality because besides it costing a bomb in ink i don't think it looks very good.

    I've also researched CNC engraving but this is simply way to expensive to have all the panels in my sim engraved to my spec it can't happen unfortunately.

    Similar story with not just buying from the FS supplier.

    Besides; i make my own panels anyway. I just want to be able to backlight the panels on my overhead and MIP now i'm moving onto the building of that. I think plexi will be needed so i've been doing some tests. I've stuck some peel letters onto plexi sprayed the panel several times then in theory after removing the sticky letters that will be the only area not sprayed. But didn't work. After several coats for a thick layer to block out light bleed the letters were well and truly embedded into the thick, dry paint so i couldn't get the precision of getting the small letters back off again.

    I've investigated this to the max and i just can't come up with a good method that doesn't cost 30 quid a panel. It's bugging me so much, i just keep thinking but to no avail.

    Just wondered if you could share some ideas please. What do YOU use for backlighting of your panels, so please share your ideas. 2,000 minds is better than one - right!

    So please anything at all share it with me, it could develop into something i could use.

    And after all backlighting is what makes the sim on a nightflight so i just couldn't resist not having it!


    Flood me with some ideas, no matter how wacky. I need a way! ...
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  2. #2
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Geremy..

    I have visited this extensively, and successfully backlit a bunch of panels. This was before I switched the the 737.

    Have a look in the Gallery under Corporate aircraft, and look at my pictures.. I printed each panel in Black and white on my ink jet (Photo shiney paper) and spray adhesive it to 1/4" Plexi.

    Then drilled the holes through the plexi, through my paper and inserted my switches. It is cheap and works like a charm..

    Not as good as buying laser engraved panels but for me the price was perfect.

    Trev
    ________________________
    Trevor Hale

  3. #3
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Yep, i've been through every photo in the gallery of every category (told you i'd looked everywhere ) And yeah i think if the worst comes to the worst then that's what i'll have to do.

    The only problems there is printing which i can do, but black and white is great if you're doing military panels because they're black but the 737 panels are normally grey and i doubt this will work because obviously grey is a lighter shade. So i would have to use black panels with white lettering spaces to backlight as you've mentioned. I don't know how that would look as the total overhead being a black one instead of grey.

    There must be a way round this dilemma.


    Thanks for your quick response trev, appreciated.
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  4. Thanks Trevor Hale thanked for this post
  5. #4
    300+ Forum Addict Rodney's Avatar
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    Geremy,
    From what I see on a real panel is the plexi is white, first coat painted black then the finish coat of grey. The led holes are partially drilled into the plexiglass in stategic locations and I would guess to better judge that would to use some type of template and test before the final coat. Then the finished coat panel gets its lettering and holes done by cnc. That is how I would do it anyway, and will be doing one later (after I build a cnc, so many things to do). Perhaps a less expensive solution would be to use a label printer (Brother PTouch) use white on clear lables, mask them, and paint final coat.
    Rodney -
    Real 727-200 pit
    Last Flown as N392PA
    FS9

  6. #5
    500+ This must be a daytime job autocadplease's Avatar
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    Has anyone tried using a "black light"? The light that makes white "glow". Maybe you could make panels using a printer and anything you want illuminated white.
    It sure works at the bowling alley!

  7. #6
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Hi rodney, I too have considered making my own CNC machine although i wouldn't know how to get such fine precision for 5mm high letters. and for curvy letters such as 'S' and 'R' on a 2 axis CNC that would be difficult - wouldn't it?

    And the labelling idea is a good one... Would this allow for it to be backlit though? This would just apply the white letters which i can do at the moment. But i'm interested in the labeller route .. hm. Thanks!

    Keep the ideas coming. See if anyone can better us LOL
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  8. #7
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    UV! That's an excellent idea. If we went over the white lettering with a UV pen then when the 'black light' is on (Night flight) everything would glow!

    Ou, i'll look into that!

    Brill! I knew we'd get some good ideas with everything taking a moment to think.
    As well as that no plexi needed, no complex milling just pen precision and just 15 bucks on a UV light.

    Cheers
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  9. #8
    300+ Forum Addict



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    Just shooting from the hip...

    Use white paper and place luminous paint where you expect text to print. Then print your panel with white letter on colored background. The color then masks the luminous paint to form the glow-in-the-dark lettering.

    Here's a source of paint: http://glowinc.com/

    I have no idea if this will work, but it seems promising.

  10. #9
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the problem with glow in the dark paint is that it needs time to 'recharge' I think i've discussed this before but as our sims never get lots of light in the day time it can't take in any light to emitt in low light conditions. Therefore the paint wouldn't work as far as i know.

    I did actually consider that one, but sadly had to dismiss that idea.
    Still working on the UV idea though. I like that one.


    Thanks everyone, keep ideas coming...
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  11. #10
    300+ Forum Addict Rodney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 737 Gez View Post
    Hi rodney, I too have considered making my own CNC machine although i wouldn't know how to get such fine precision for 5mm high letters. and for curvy letters such as 'S' and 'R' on a 2 axis CNC that would be difficult - wouldn't it?
    X,Y, & Z axis. Course I have no idea how they will turn out as I'm not there yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by 737 Gez View Post
    And the labelling idea is a good one... Would this allow for it to be backlit though? This would just apply the white letters which i can do at the moment. But i'm interested in the labeller route .. hm. Thanks!

    Keep the ideas coming. See if anyone can better us LOL
    What I'm trying to say is have the area where the label would go be a piece of blue painters tape and remove that after the final coat, put you label on and see. I don't know how well it would work, but may be do-able. Maybe black on clear for the label if you use white plexiglass. You could test this on some scrap quickly I would think.

    If you use blacklight wouldn't the FAA be searching your pit for the bong?
    Rodney -
    Real 727-200 pit
    Last Flown as N392PA
    FS9

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