al_p

acid etching front panel graphics
« on: July 23, 2004, 07:20:20 AM »
hey everyone

i've been trying to come up with a good way to do graphics on a bare aluminum front panel for my G1176 silverface project. a la mnats? box. i was gonna try Keith's toner on backing paper method, but the problem of the adhesive showing around the transfer seemed unavoidable. also, i wanted to keep the aluminum bare as opposed to clear coating it to seal the graphics.

then i got an idea to use the negative [i think...or is it positive?] resist emulsion for doing PCBs to cover the entire front [and back maybe] expose the artwork onto it, develop and etch the same way we do with PCBs. in doing a little googling,  i came up with some stuff:

example:
http://www.ID-IDeas.com/silketch/intel-a.gif

some chemical formulas for etching different metals and depths
http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/other/microeng/processing/etching/metal.etch.html

the etch-o-matic
http://www.etch-o-matic.com/EOM.html

i?m really liking the examples of the EOM, but it is a little pricey. even with the midrange kit you still need to get or figure out something for the stencils. i?m going to try some experiments based on their process to see if we can figure out a more cost effective way of getting the same result.

well that?s it for now. gonna do some more research and start some experiments. i?ll post updates here. someone please stop me if you?ve been down this road before without any success.

-AL
AL P.


Svart

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2004, 07:32:47 AM »
please keep us up to date, right now I am trying different styles of lettering on my front panels trying to find the one i like the best too..
Welcome to the GroupDIY leper colony! when something falls off, we just replace it with a tube!
occupation: General Electron Mayhem

Alesis X2 information repository:
http://www.theopiumdenproductions.

SSLtech

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2004, 07:39:24 AM »
I like the look aof that Etch-O-Matic a lot, though I'd need to know more about the cost of consumables. -The effect looks nice though!

If you're careful, you can use a small modelling paintbrush and Naptha to clean away the adhesive from around the 'transfers' using my method. I've done it a couple of times, though it is slow work, the adhesive still comes off very cleanly. (Naptha is also 'Zippo'-type lighter fluid BTW).

Can you let us know if the Etch-o-matic continually needs expensive consumables for repetitive etching, or can you re-use the same sheet if you have to make more than one print of the same graphic? -Also how much are the chemicals to replenish?

Thanks for the link! :thumb:

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

al_p

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2004, 07:43:29 AM »
oh yea i don't have the EOM. i just read my first post and it sounds like i have the thing. i was just talking about the examples on the page...

oh yea i wasn't trying to knock your technique Keith, as i haven't even tried it yet. i will though!
AL P.

SSLtech

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2004, 07:51:27 AM »
no offence taken! :thumb:

Actually the beauty of my method is that it's so darned cheap. You can get all the bits to do a hundred panels for under $20, so by all means experient on bits of scrap metal. on my LA-2a, the first try was not prefectly lined-up, and all it took to wipe the panel off and start again was a few paper hand towels and a couple of squirts of Zippo fluid!

I started on scrap metals and got the technique figured out that way, It's a good way to start!'

Oh and yes... you do have to clear-coat the metal using my method, so I totally get what you're going for... Here's how I made some panels though...

I went to a local Laser Engraving company. They coated the panel with etch-resist, then they burned-in my design. Then I took the panel to an anodising company. They Anodised the metal, but only the 'burned-in' graphics came out black. -You could call around and see if there's someone in your area who can do that for you...

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

mnats

Re: acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2004, 09:14:50 AM »
Quote
i've been trying to come up with a good way to do graphics on a bare aluminum front panel for my G1176 silverface project. a la mnats? box. i was gonna try Keith's toner on backing paper method, but the problem of the adhesive showing around the transfer seemed unavoidable.

er...that was Keith's method I used :oops: . Cheers Keith. Here in Australia 3M sells something called Multi Purpose Spray Adhesive, made in Canada, smells just like the Super 77 I remember.

The can says "clear" but it really isn't very clear and it goes on in little globs. A light coat and a good burnishing all over will give a consistent finish.

My mother once worked for a company that would take a printed design and put it onto a zinc sheet etched deeply - at least a good 1mm deep. I think they did printing or something - it was part of the printing process from what I recall. Don't know if they had the capability to work in anything other than zinc but it might be worth investigating.

fum

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2004, 12:07:27 PM »
I've built a couple little stomp box thingies using Keith method, and what did work pretty well was to have the wax paper junk cover the whole thing.  You can then rub on your specific letters, but then rub down the rest of the face, so at least the whole front has been consistently pumelled.

I didn't do this on the 1176 panels, but the next panels I'll give that a shot with.

ju

Gus

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2004, 01:20:46 PM »
People have etched Al boxes for effects using Ferric Chloride.  I don't know how safe it is.

owel

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2004, 03:47:25 PM »
Quote from: "Gus"
People have etched Al boxes for effects using Ferric Chloride.  I don't know how safe it is.


In school, somebody dropped a small piece of aluminum strip in a pan of Ferric Chloride...

Well, it bubbled, and steamed and bubbled some more as FeCL tries to eat at the aluminum....  

The teacher was very mad. :)

dmlandrum

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2004, 03:55:05 PM »
I think I'm just going to do my front panels with a calligraphy pen and some time. Every option I've seen so far for decent front panels has been either very expensive or requires materials and steps beyond my comprehension.

Well, okay, I'm just kidding. I was thinking of just using Lasertran with the color laser printer I have access to here at work.

I've heard talk about Dymo labels. Are those the old ones that used to punch impressions of various characters into a stiff plastic tape?
Darren Landrum

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.


Steve Jones

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2004, 07:10:20 PM »
Here's a really cool DIY front panel technique...

I bought some sheets of Lazertran a little while ago, I am going to use the reverse-transparancy bake on method on a couple of SSL clones, as it only costs around $15 for the film, you can make the image in color as complex as you like, you do it all at home, and once baked on, it won't rub off because the printing is between the panel and the plastic film. Some folks then use fine stainless steel wool and polish to break the shiny glaze and give a matt finish.

To bake it, you use your oven, and the thin film becomes a hard glaze, bonded to the panel, with the printing underneath it. You can spray the panels first with any color enamel if you like, as long as it is a high temperature paint.

To do a 19" panel, you need two sheets, and you float them together with half the artwork on either sheet. First you to take your artwork to a copy place and have them color photocopy your image onto the film. You need to reverse the image in your computer before you take it, and it must be a color photocopy, not an inkjet or such. Some brands of copier cannot be used due to temperature, these are listed with the film.

I have seen some excellent panels made from it, and you can use whatever colors you please. The only issue I have found is that you need a light colored panel, as printers do not print white ink, so you cannot print white-on-black. Probably good to buy an oven thermometer too.


http://www.lazertran.com/lazinstuctions.html

Scroll down to the part that says:  TO BAKE ON CERAMICS, METAL AND GLASS TO GIVE A HARD, WATERPROOF FINISH

Check out this front panel - amazing....

http://monopole.ph.qmw.ac.uk/~thomas/synthdiy/TBbox1.htm
Synthesizer technician
Sydney Australia.

http://synthrepairs.com

rafafredd

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2004, 09:06:20 PM »
those sinth guys does HARDCORE DIY!!!

adamasd

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2004, 03:15:56 AM »
There is some stuff you can get, that can be painted onto any surface, it is pretty much the same as the emulsion used for black and white photographs, paint it on and let it dry  and then treat it like a peice of photo paper. Back in high school I did this on a peice of copper for a photography project, it worked quite weill, but it does need to be clear coated afterword. A good source for cheap panels is just cut out a peice of aluminum the size you want for your panel and then take it and a printout of the layout to a trophy shop or an engraving palce that does things like name plates for desks and all that. See what they can do, its alot cheaper that way, you can have them engrave it,  then just use some enamal model type paint or such and use a peice of cardboard to drag it into the engravings. clean up the excess and let it dry. nice easy and cheap panels.

adam
so there

Twin-x

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2004, 07:32:54 AM »
I use lasertran too here is the frontpanel i made for my diy SYNTH. It's good stuff but you need patientce ;)


Steve Jones

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2004, 07:34:38 AM »
That's some beautiful work!
Synthesizer technician
Sydney Australia.

http://synthrepairs.com

owel

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2004, 11:35:47 AM »
Quote from: "Twin-x"
I use lasertran too here is the frontpanel i made for my diy SYNTH. It's good stuff but you need patientce ;)


This is beautiful.  I've read the info on the Lazertran site and this seems to be the easiest route for frontpanel markings.

Question: Can you use a color laser printer with the Lazertran sheets? What do you use on yours?

SonsOfThunder

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2004, 02:42:17 PM »
Wow, Twin-X!!!

BeeyooTeefull!!
"The sow would rather have her ear than a purse." - PRR

Steve Jones

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2004, 05:36:43 PM »
A color laser copier is the way to go, but you must read the list of copiers that is supplied with the film, as some aparrently run too hot, otherwise I guess you could find yourself being lynched by the copy place. You need to flip the image over too as the image is copied onto the reverse side of the film as you look at the panel.
Synthesizer technician
Sydney Australia.

http://synthrepairs.com

Twin-x

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2004, 05:58:29 PM »
You have lasertran for inkjet printers.

I preffer the normal paper. I have used a 100.000$ laser printer with settings set to sheet paper (it lowers the temprature of the fuser)

Beware of temprature or else the paper get's stuck on the rolls (now you definatly do not want that to happen) i sh*t my pants when printing but i got lucky.

It's all about trial and error.

Now the next part.  You must get all bubbles out of paper when applying sheet onto the panel (yes you drape it in water and you get a nice sheet. Ever build a plane of a hobby kit? It's the same stuff but better) Get bubbles out with a wet sponge and keep the sheet wet!

When you think ooooh looks good (rub gently with sponge or sheet will break even if though it's tough) let the panel dry for 2 or 6 hours (i waited 6 to let it completly dry)

Now put it in your oven (not a microwave :D) and increase temprature slowly within 2 / 2,5 hours until 200 degrees celcius. Slow is profit. fast is getting your bubbles to go "POP" on colorfull sheets like mine example they leave holes in your sheet.(eventough it was my first panel and i am proud ;))

I got my holes predrilled before putting on the sheet ( it's better to drill afterwords) the decal just melts if you are lucky.

When done you can use coating to make it scratch proof but i am happy with it as is. You can't use hard fingernails it will scratch. But better results can be gotten. It's all part of a learning process. To me it's the cheapest thing yet and you can get really nice layouts.

Lemme know your experiences.

Thanks for liking my panel (took me 12 hours to design it with photoshop)

p.s. forgot to tell when burned on panel you get light brown edges. Use a (i don't know the english name for it) sponge with the sanding part for cleaning your oven dish or something and sand gently so it flows over into your panel.

soundguy

acid etching front panel graphics
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2004, 08:06:25 PM »
It looks like the EOM will work with anything that blocks light, IE, an inkjet printer...  You guys get that impression?

that would be wildly cool.  And seemingly affordable.

dave

chips are good with dip...


 

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