If you wish to use antique meters as part of your hobby projects, one task will be to replace the existing faceplate annotations, but what's the best way to do this?
I've currently got a couple of hobby projects on the go that feature the use of antique analog meters. For example, there's my Inamorata Prognostication Engine and its companion, the Ultra-Macho Prognostication Engine. And, more recently, there's my Vetinari Clock project.
One thing I've been putting off thinking about is the fact that I need to change the annotations on the meters' faceplates. All of my meters have their existing graticules and reticules from yesteryear, each reflecting that meter's original function in life, which was to represent the value of some real-world quantity such as voltage, current, or resistance.
Take the case of my Vetinari Clock, for example. I want the big meter to display hours from 1 to 12, while the two medium-sized meters will display minutes and seconds from 0 to 60. Meanwhile, the smaller meter will just flip back and forth from side to side like a mini-metronome in time with the computer-generated "tick-tock" sound, but the face of this meter will still require some sort of textual and/or graphical annotations to increase the visual appeal of the device.
When I attended the Hamfest in Huntsville last year (see Support Your Local Hamfest), I was much younger and more foolish than I am now. I was bedazzled with the antique meters at only $2 each (previously I'd been cherry-picking items costing much more than this from eBay). I ended up like a kid in a candy store, scampering up and down the aisles, grabbing meters like there was no tomorrow, and alternating between exclaiming "Ooh, Shiny!" and gloating "That's mine... and that's mine... and that's mine..."
Sad to relate, when I returned to the Pleasure Dome, I discovered that a substantial proportion of my ill-gotten-gains were designed to measure AC voltage or current, which essentially means their only function as far as I am concerned is to act as paperweights or to look pretty on my bookshelves.
Sad to relate, I cannot use this AC meter in any of my projects, but I can use it to experiment with faceplate creation techniques
(Click here to see a larger image.)
But every cloud has a silver lining, as they say. On the bright side, I can happily experiment with creating new faceplates using one or more of my AC meters without worrying about messing things up. So, suiting actions to words, I took one of my AC meters and removed the cover as shown below.
Removing the existing faceplate takes only a matter of a few seconds. This faceplate is formed from a thin metal sheet that is painted white on the front. As far as I can tell, the original annotations were screen-printed on and they don't appear to have any discernable thickness (i.e., you can’t feel any bumps where the ink is).
Using the trusty digital caliper that I recently acquired from iFixIt (a bargain at only $19.95), I quickly ascertained that the faceplate is 0.02" (0.53mm) thick. Not that this is particularly important or relevant, you understand, but I enjoy knowing trivial details like this and I found it to be interesting.
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