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Creating New Faceplates for Antique Analog Meters

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cookiejar
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Re: Iron-on resist
cookiejar   9/5/2014 12:02:21 PM
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While I was kidding about using paint in an old flatbed plotter, (I still have all the equipment I described functioning), I wasn't kidding about the Iron-on Resist.  The company is called Techniks with the usual commercial extension.   The catch is that you need a laser printer.

Shameless inkjet gripe:   I got my sons a cursed Kodak ESP 7, the usual inkijet cartridge cash cow - cartridges drying up after about a month and the printer insisting you had to change them all, until a cartridge finally blew up gumming up the works.

Now for a shameless plug:  After much previous research I got the boys a Brother MFC-8910DW B&W laser.  The selling point is that a genuine $100 Brother cartridge does 8,000 pages - not the usual $100 for 2,000 page variety from most manufacturers.  (400% advantage)  Most of your run of the mill PC and office supply chains, who are into the ink and toner business,  don't handle this heavy duty office machine which COPIES and prints both sides, has WiFi, does 42ppm, scans legal size,  and has the lowest cost/page.  But you can get it from Amazon ($320) or serious office and laser suppliers.  Amazon also sells 8,000 page new TN750 clone toner cartridges from China for around $20 that work as well for us.  Brother also recommends cheap copy paper.  It's a welcome addition to my son's university house full of engineering students and everyone gladly chips in for the cheap supplies.  Inkjet supplies are a serious burden on students.  Our previous equivalent Brother model has worked flawlessly for 3 years without a single jam.

P.S. I've been informed that the iron-on resist has probelms with late model Brother printers.  You can't win them all.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: If you still have ...
Max The Magnificent   9/4/2014 4:27:40 PM
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@mhrackin: ...that would have been the perfect tool for "burning" your meter faces!

Plus I would have gotten to play with high-powered lasers -- a win-win situation!

mhrackin
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CEO
Re: If you still have ...
mhrackin   9/4/2014 4:24:01 PM
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Back in the early days of (passive) surface-mount chip parts and thick-film hybrids (ca. 1969-70) I proposed a project to develop a non-contact soldering method for attaching e.g. chip ceramic caps (040 by 080) to thick-film substrates.  It would use a 5W or so CO2 infrared laser with servo-control of position, focus point, etc.  Management (rightly so in retrospect) thought I was crazy, so project never got funded.  However, that would have also been the perfect tool for "burning" your meter faces!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: If you still have ...
Max The Magnificent   9/4/2014 12:15:31 PM
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@antedeluvian: Do you want me to ship them?

I appreciate the offer, but I think I'll pass -- it sounds like a lot of work -- I think there are easier solutions :-)

antedeluvian
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Re: If you still have ...
antedeluvian   9/4/2014 11:57:40 AM
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Max

If you still have an old flatbed plotter, a bunch of refillable pens for it, an old PC

I still have a Roland plotter, pens and ink (as was discussed in The Joy of Rotring) and an old PC. Autocad- I am not sure. Do you want me to ship them?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Iron-on resist
Max The Magnificent   9/4/2014 11:31:19 AM
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@cookiejar: After you do up your artwork on your PC, you can laser print it out on the the iron-on resist material intended for prototyping PCBs.  Then simply locate the transparent print  properly on the repainted rear of your dial and iron it on.

It sounds simple when you say it quickly :-)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: If you still have ...
Max The Magnificent   9/4/2014 10:50:24 AM
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@cookiejar: Nothing like using old technology for working on still older technology  -  a great make work project. ;-}

This sounds like a winner -- letr me know as soon as you have it up and running and I'll send you my meter faces for you to upgrade LOL

cookiejar
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Iron-on resist
cookiejar   9/4/2014 12:30:04 AM
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After you do up your artwork on your PC, you can laser print it out on the the iron-on resist material intended for prototyping PCBs.  Then simply locate the transparent print  properly on the repainted rear of your dial and iron it on.

What you are essentially doing is transfering the laser's toner from the plastic sheet on to your dial's painted surface using the heat of your iron.

cookiejar
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If you still have ...
cookiejar   9/4/2014 12:25:23 AM
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If you still have an old flatbed plotter, a bunch of refillable pens for it, an old PC with an old version of Autocad and a serial interface for your plotter, a graphics tablet interfaced to your Autocad PC, you could enter your old meter face into Autocad using the tablet calibrated mode on an enlarged copy of your meter face.

You could then play around with some paint and thinner to get the right consistency for the pen to apply the paint to your dial.  It's also helpful to slow down your plotting speed if your Autocad driver allows that.

You could then apply shim material to the tracks of your plotter so the pen would be at the right height for the dial plus double sided tape.

You would then do a dry run on a piece of card of the right thickness and take measurements to accurately locate your dial.

You could then paint the back of the dial white and plot the meter face on it. 

Nothing like using old technology for working on still older technology  -  a great make work project. ;-}

TonyTib
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Re: Things of Beauty
TonyTib   9/3/2014 2:04:16 PM
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I've actually seen a fair number of those around here, both of city streets and the freeway.  However, I'd say they're pricey for what you get.

Of course, I also see plenty of Teslas (especially), Leafs, and Volts around here; maybe if you spend a lot of time stuck in traffic, a full electric car makes more sense, since you're not using much energy while idling.  (Then again, a lot of people do 100->200 mile round trip commutes, which is stretching it for an electric).

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