Designing a Front Panel for a DIY Project

DIY Front Panel

 

When building a one-off DIY project, appearances tend to be the least of our priorities. We just want to get the device working, and crammed into some project case. For those that like to build nicer looking prototypes [JumperOne] came up with a slick method of building a custom front panel for your DIY project.

The first step is to get the dimensions correct. You CAD tool will generate these from your design. [JumperOne] took these measurements into Inkscape, an open source vector graphics tool. Once it’s in Inkscape, the panel can be designed around the controls. This gets printed out and aligned on a plastic enclosure, which allows the holes to be marked and drilled.

With the electronics in place, the front panel gets printed again on a general purpose adhesive sheet. Next up is a piece of cold laminating film, which protects the label. Finally, holes are cut for the controls. Note that the display and LEDs are left covered, which allows the film to diffuse the light. The final result looks good, and can provide all the needed instructions directly on the panel.

[Thanks to Ryan for the tip]

Comments

  1. icanhazadd says:

    +1 for the ORLY light :)

  2. dave says:

    when describing the difference between on and off in a temperature control loop, the term used is not hysteresis, it’s deadband. Still, the panel looks great.

  3. amp1 says:

    Repeat post? Think I’ve seen this here before..or something like it…

  4. DainBramage1991 says:

    And here I thought I was clever for using a laser printer and some clear packing tape…

  5. tekkieneet says:

    I used toner transfer from transparency onto Plexiglas. The same trick also works well as silk screen for component designators/values like in “Serial Monitor Without a PC” just above this article.

  6. James says:

    Looks professional! But then it says v0.1 really big on top, which somehow tells me it’s going to be replaced some time soon, which is sad after putting in all that effort!

  7. Nikola K. says:

    So am I to understand that the LED and 7segment areas are not cutout?

  8. br says:

    You get the best looking panels by engraving them with a laser cutter and then using a paint-pen to fill the engravings. The paint that spills on the front itself can easily be wiped away so it only stays in the engraving.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,545 other followers