Max, don't give up on those AC meters. Most AC meters will read DC, though may be nonlinear. near zero. For your custom-scale purposes, that might be OK.
While you have the scale plate off, check the internal wiring of the meter. Many AC meters are actually rectifier-driver DC meters.
High-voltage meters usually have external or internal "multiplier" resistors in series with a low-voltage low-current movement. Many high-current meters have low-resistance current shunts in parallel with low-voltage, low-current movements.
Strange how these threads get onto all sorts of extraneous topics (including food, as MHRackin pointed out on another blog). Not that I am complaining, apart from the fact that I have better (but not as entertaining) things to do with my time.
But seriously.... Max 30 years ago in Rhodesia I got a job in an Electronics Lab. The guy I took over from was just finishing a transmission measuring set project and he had some large square meters for them. He got a firm to produce for him some plastic sticky labels for the new faces. If he could do that 30 years ago in the backwater of Rhodesia, I'm sure someone could do that near you. Yes, you could just buy laser labels, but paper tends to discolor fairly quickly and shows the dirt more. but then you could get a can of photo-protect spray and try that to protect them a bit better.
As MHRackin points out, you can turn the faceplates over - then you don't have to worry about the old markings coming thru if you get them screen-printed. But is this worth it for a couple of meters - I'd imagine the costs of preparing the screens would be a bit?
AC meters - As MHRackin also points out, (he's a clever guy I must say) you need to look at the inside of a meter before abandoning it. Moving iron meters are generally produced to a range (eg 5 amps) and there is not much you can do about it, but if you find a moving coil movement (and I am not being rude, that's what they are called) inside, then take it apart further and look for shunts or muliplier resistors. Once you get at the bare meter - the coil connections - you can mess around and find out the FSD and the meter resistance and set about getting it to do what you want.
@Steve: How come your User rank has dropped to Rookie?
Frig -- it's because I have two accounts -- an old one and a new one -- and I havenlt found a way to combine them -- but thanks for pointing this out -- I've just switched over to my "Max the Magnificent" persona (you may kneel)
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...