@technos: But if you want perhaps the most refined method, then you have to go with screen printing. Paint is more durable than stickers esp. for panel lettering.
I agree, but I don;t know if I want to go to all this effort myself because I've got so many other projects on the go - on the other hand, there is a certain satisfaction in doing everything from scratch.
And then there is a professional screen-print "shop" just round the corner -- when I have the files for what I want, I might saunter over to visit them to see what they say.
@technos: Alternatively, you could look for "custom decal printing" that pretty much do the same thing, but will send you a vinyl sticker you can adhere to what you want. A seller on ebay is offering this service for around $10 with shipping. Also check out 'www.doityourselflettering.com for something similar.
There is more than one way of doing this. If it is something that you are throwing together, then a fine point sharpie on the other side of the faceplate might be enough. A step up would be to laser print the sticker you need and adhere it to the faceplate. Office supply stores sell clear adhesive sheets that you can print on. You could paint the other side of the face plate (e.g. white) as others have mentioned and then adhere your clear sticker to the faceplate.
Alternatively, you could look for "custom decal printing" that pretty much do the same thing, but will send you a vinyl sticker you can adhere to what you want. A seller on ebay is offering this service for around $10 with shipping. Also check out 'www.doityourselflettering.com for something similar.
But if you want perhaps the most refined method, then you have to go with screen printing. Paint is more durable than stickers esp. for panel lettering. You can use your laser printer to make silk screens. But the faceplate you have might be too small to work with (as when you screen it needs to be flat against what it is screening). So if it was me, I might build a small silk screen frame 6"x 8" as example, start with a similarly guage metal panel as the old face plate and a little bit bigger than the frame, paint the panel flat white, laser print the mask (and transfer it to the screen). Then screen the new panel. After that using a jeweler's saw cut your new faceplate from the panel and file away the burrs. Then drill the holes (from the back so you do not mar the front! ) using a drill press. I imagine this is the top shelf "deluxe" method I have seen very rarely done. As it would be the most involved. But you also get the most professional manufacturer-like results possible. I welcome others to suggest better.
Also, there are number of youtube videos that show how to screen print (that show the intermediate steps I left out). Search "screen print at home".
I'm planning on writing an article about using MCUs to control analog meters for use in hobby projects (there are lots of potential "gotchas" when it comes to working with surplus meters). Would anyone be interested in reading such an article?
This past weekend, I constructed a handy-dandy little unit-- you connect a meter to it and use the unit to work out the value of serial resistance required to drive the meter without blowing sensitive meters up. It worked -- Happy Dance!
PnP Blue produces high quality prototype PCB resist layouts making your design ready to etch. PnP Blue is a Mylar (Polyester) backed material in which several layers of release agents and resist coatings are applied. An image is printed or photocopied onto this film, using a laser printer or photocopier (dry toner based), and subsequently ironed or pressed onto a cleaned copper clad board. The image area applied to the film is subsequently transferred to the copper board, along with the high quality resist (blue). The film is removed and resulting board is ready to etch in ferric chloride.
Last time I checked, the laser etcher was nearly $20,000. - out of the question for most.
Iron on resist sells for $1.65 to $1.05 a sheet depending upon the quantity. Mind you, you then have to deal with ferric chloride and copper chloride which can be rather nasty.
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.