When you have invested lots of time developing and prototyping your electronic DIY project and when it's finally time to mount it into a box, you realize that you need a front panel to make it look more professional.
In this instructable I will show you how to do it and to almost no cost.
Step 1: This Is What You Need.
- Steel ruler
- Leather Punch
- Sharp Paper Knife
- Glossy Thick paper for laser printers
- Clear Lacquer spray
- sheet of double sided mounting film, Mounting film
- Transparent pvc for display window if needed. Min0.24mm thick
- Drawing software for your computer
- Printer, Color Laser or similar
Let's start making panels.
Step 2: Draw the Panel
When your are finish with your project and the PCB is screwed into place and all the test is done then is time to start drawing your front panel.
Start by carefully do all measurements for the buttons etc.
Draw the panel in any drawing software that you like. I use SmartDraw, you find it here. smartdraw
Begin with the outline frame of your panel.
Place simple cross for the cutouts, print on standard plain paper and again measure to see that you have the right dimension.
Step 3: Add Text and Color
If you got all the measurements right, go on and add text, button labels and color to your panel.
When happy with the result ,print on 200g/m2 glossy plain paper.
Cut out the waste but save a border around the panel.
Remove the protecting sheet from one side of the plastic film and paste the panel carefully onto it, make sure there is no air bubbles in between.
Step 4: Making the Holes
Use the paper knife and the steel ruler to resize the panel, follow the Outline border carefully.
Continue with the display window,(if any).
Use a leather punch to cut the round holes for the buttons, select a size slightly bigger then the button itself.
Place the panel onto the box to make sure it fits as expected.
Step 5: Protect Your Panel
Protect the panel with at least 2 layer of transparent spray lacquer.
When waiting for the panel to dry cut out the display window if needed.
Make sure to do the window slightly bigger than the cut out in the panel.
Step 6: Paste Your Panel to the Box.
Place the display window on to the display in the right place.
Remove the protective sheet from the panel and carefully place it in the right position on to the box.
Add pressure to make it stick to the surface.
That's it, you are done.
Step 7: Done
If succeed you will have a nice looking panel added to your project.
I use this technique to many of my electronic projects to make them look more professional.
I hope you will find this instructable useful for you.
All the best.