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  1. #1
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    Backlighting Panels - the EASY way!

    This will apply to any panel if you are making it yourself.

    The panel sections will need to be made from Acrylic perspex (opaque).

    Stick with me - it gets better!

    Buy some letraset blank sheets from Ebay (come in various sizes). It is very thin and can be directly printed on using a mono laser.

    Design your panel layout in a graphics package such as Corel, making the backround grey ( or whatever colour you wish) and the legends and knob markings in white and bring these to the front of the background layer. (remember, anything in white will not get printed out by the laser).

    To get rotary switch increments, go to a web site called "scaleomatic) and you can produce an .eps file and add it to your design.

    Once you are happy, do a test print on paper and try it on your perspex. If its ok, bung a letraset sheet in and print it out. Alighn it on your perspex, then carefully peel the backing off. This letraset is VERY thin and hardly detectable. Make sure all the air is out as your rub it down.

    Now, you will notice that if you hold your panel up to a light source from behind, the legends and lettering all glow nicely and the lettering is sharp. Great for night flights, and it looks impressive.

    Now the hard bit -drilling the holes out for switches etc. Make sure that the perspex is tightly clamped down on say a piece of pine wood. Use a cordless hand drill (this tip passed to me by Uncle Ian) and GENTLY let the drill weight do the job. DON'T FORCE IT!! Just before it goes right through, stop the drill, reverse it and gently allow the drill running backwards to finish the hole off.

    Any larger holes (for annunciators etc) use a hole saw, ensuring that the perspex is held tight, otherwise it will split, shatter or crack! Remember when drilling perspex - "less pressure the better".

    Using Ian's idea of an old ATX power supply, you can easily put some 6v bulbholders behind to light it all up.

    Voila! Enjoy

    Hope this helps someone.

    Regards
    Richard

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  3. #2
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Jackpilot's Avatar
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    Re: Backlighting Panels - the EASY way!

    Just a note. use a drill press instead . much more stable and pressure very finely adjustable.
    A small one is less than $100 and the only way to drill straight.
    Jack
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  4. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job BHawthorne's Avatar
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    Re: Backlighting Panels - the EASY way!

    Quote Originally Posted by richard hutchinson View Post
    Buy some letraset blank sheets from Ebay (come in various sizes). It is very thin and can be directly printed on using a mono laser.
    Could you link to an example of this, I see a bunch of Letraset stuff. Is it called Letracopy Laser Film?

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  6. #4
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    Re: Backlighting Panels - the EASY way!

    I am struggling to find the site on ebay where I bought the stuff. Have mailed the supplier to see if she is still stocking it and will let you know.

    There is some stuff I found which is white, so you could overprint in grey leaving the lettering white, and mount on clear perspex.

    I wouldn't advise using a pillar drill as the speed is not controllable enough. Have tried it and it sort of works, but cordless is better and for drilling small holes for switches it is not so important to ge the hole level as the perpex I am using is only 3mm.

    Will post the other site when I hear back from her. Here is the white stuff ,,

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/A4-inkjet-prin...3A1%7C294%3A50

  7. #5
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    Letraset Safmat

    Here you go folks, availble in A4 or A5

    http://www.letraset.com/design/shopd...FYYU4wodiF4b_Q

    Good luck and I hope this helps you get a great result with your building!

    Regards
    Richard

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  9. #6
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    Re: Backlighting Panels - the EASY way!

    Just a quick addendum

    I would advise putting the letraset film through twice to get the density you need of the grey backround. Will help with light blocking.

    Regards
    Rich

  10. #7
    25+ Posting Member JSpahn's Avatar
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    Re: Backlighting Panels - the EASY way!

    Great tutorial, bookmarked

  11. #8
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    Re: Backlighting Panels - the EASY way!

    Hi Richard, can I whack your tutorial on my site (will give you full credit)?

    That way I will never forget it! lol!
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

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