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Recommend - Guitar Amp Control Panel

Discussion in 'A BEGINNER'S FORUM (Learn How To Machine Here!)' started by kylebellamy, Aug 7, 2017.

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  1. kylebellamy

    kylebellamy United States KB Design Studios Registered Member

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    Hello all!

    I've been up and down Google searching for the right approach to my project. I've looked at engraving places, vinyl printing, acid etching, 3D printing and a bunch of other solutions.

    For the most part they cost a ton which isn't the best option since my hobby is purely for fun.

    I build guitar amps out of all sorts of things like ammo cans and random stuff I find in antique stores and while they come out sounding good, they tend to look bad because I have to hand paint the controls onto the unit and I am not particularly good a that.

    So it occurred to me that I could design the plate that goes under the knobs much like something you would seen on a Marshal head in a nice brass or other metal depending on the amp body.

    Problem is, I have no idea how to get to that finished look. So I'm wondering if anyone has some suggestions about applying a design such as control markings and labels to a metal plate.

    I've attached a simple layout as a conversation point to see if I can get some help. The green are my drill holes which I have learned how to do at home.

    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jim18655

    jim18655 United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Try looking at some amateur radio sites. They use a lot of methods for home-made panel markings.
     
    Charles Spencer and kylebellamy like this.
  3. kylebellamy

    kylebellamy United States KB Design Studios Registered Member

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    Oh! Good call! I hadn't thought of that. Will check them out.
     
  4. kylebellamy

    kylebellamy United States KB Design Studios Registered Member

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    As a follow up for others needing this type of service, I found via a ham radio site, a link to FrontPanelExpress (too early for me to add a link) that even provides cad like software to work with. I'll report back on how they do.
     
  5. LucknowKen

    LucknowKen Active Member Active Member

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    Hello and welcome! Ask the printers if they do metal business cards.
    Stainless steel business cards (2).jpg
     
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  6. RandyWilson

    RandyWilson United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/


    Impressed I was when the site offered up a Linux version on it's design software. Wrong Linux, but hey, they're trying. I may just make up a panel for my speed controller that goes to eleven.
     
  7. francist

    francist Canada Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Oh very interesting.

    -frank
     
  8. mksj

    mksj Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have used front panel Express with very nice results, although there price has gone up. They provide you with free panel CAD software that gives you real time pricing. Decals and some of the other home transfer methods often do not hold well over time. This is a panel that they made, all the lettering is engraved and filled with the color of your choice. May be worth the investment if you have multiple panels of the same design.
    uTracer in Case Aux Heater on.JPG
     

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  9. tq60

    tq60 United States Active Member Active Member

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    We picked up a device called cricut or something to that effect for 5 bucks at a thrift store but they are maybe 300 new.

    They are a vinyl cutter that cuts stickers and other items so perfect for this.

    Or use the rub on transfers but those require a few coats of clear to protect it.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk
     
  10. yendor

    yendor Active User Active Member

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    Hobby Shops Sell Decal Paper that can be printed on with a Color Laser Printers Both Clear & White Background.

    The Clear will not print WHITE obviously but anything else.

    You simply do your design in a WORD Document all sized up ready to go.
    Tthen take it on a USB Drive to an Office Store that has a Laser Printer and have them run it on the Decal Sheet.
     
  11. British Steel

    British Steel United Kingdom Active User Active Member

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    My local cobbler/key cutter also does engraving for trophies etc. at reasonable prices, up to about 5 x 7 inches, I'm planning to go visit when I can take my VFD control head out of service for a day.
    One technique I found worked was to photo-etch a piece of FR-4 GRP circuit board, then electroless nickel plate the copper leaving the lettering showing the GRP, a couple of lamps behind the panel and it looked quite good! You can buy etch-resist film pretty cheaply now, all you then need is a mask (I print several times on the same inkjet transparency to get the required density of black) and a UV lamp to expose, couple of trays of fairly cheap chemicals to develop and etch, nickel plate etc.

    Dave H. (the other one)
     
  12. Doodle

    Doodle United States Steel Registered Member

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    We use a New Hermes engraver at work. It can engrave about anything that fits in the engraving area, like the size of your overlays. A CNC mill can do awesome engraving with the proper cutters. There are plastics, metal materials (brass, copper, aluminum) that can have colors and many styles of fonts that can be engraved. The newer engravers are computer driven. You could find out who is doing it or add it to your list of skills. New Hermes is no longer in business but another company does the same stuff, should be able to Google it. If you have difficulty send me a private message and I will do what I can for you. Anodized aluminum looks great but the anodized layer is very tough on tooling, but wow is it impressive. Laser engraving can also be done, the frequency of the laser determines the material it can cut. I have a friend who laser cuts Plexiglas type material in colors, clear, mirrored with lettering too.
     

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