Need An Enclosure? Try Scrap Wood With Toner Transfer Labels

This utilitarian-looking device takes an unusual approach to a problem that many projects face: enclosures. [Jan Mrázek] created a device he calls the Morse Thing for a special night’s event and used what appears to be a humble two-by-four plank for the enclosure. The device is a simple puzzle using Morse code and was intended to be mounted to a railing, so [Jan] milled out the necessary spaces and holes for the LCD and buttons then applied labels directly to the wood via toner transfer – a method commonly used for making PCBs but also useful to create clean, sharp labels.

There’s one more hack waiting inside the device. The unit uses a portable power bank embedded into the enclosure as a power supply. However, the power bank kept automatically shutting itself off. The power draw of the device was only about 20 mA; it seems this was under the power bank’s “I am in use” threshold. [Jan] originally intended to disable the auto-off feature, but with a deadline looming he instead went with a quick and dirty hack: simply adding a resistor to increase power consumption to 100 mA, which was enough to make the power bank stay turned on. With more than enough charge to keep the device running continuously for the entire event, all was well.


Custom enclosures are the kind of problem that tend to resurface for repeated solving. Some of those solutions are more unusual than others, like an enclosure made from – of all things – Papier Mâché.

14 thoughts on “Need An Enclosure? Try Scrap Wood With Toner Transfer Labels

  1. I have a color laser that I use for toner transfer so I have been wondering about using it for decals. It should work on anything that can handle the melting temperature of toner – wood, metal etc.

    Are there types of plastics that higher melting points – for example could I use Toner transfer at about 180 Deg C with perspex / acrylic ?

    It would also be interesting to see if the toner can be transferred with acetone vapors.

    Great project!

    I like that the LCD Display has QAPASS printed into the PCB overlay lol yeah sure sure :)

    1. In the 90s we used to make Shirts by just printing stuff on an Apple LaserWriter II and then rubbing it on with lighter-fuel. Might not work with modern toners, worked fine then. You could even wash the shirts a couple of times…

      1. yep, I remember that it even worked on some of the pop magazines so you could have a shirt with your favorite band. I loved to just put a few newspaper articles and recall even using newspaper letters to transfer it to some alu box.

    2. “for example could I use Toner transfer at about 180 Deg C with perspex / acrylic ? ”

      I doubt it.

      The nominal melting point for acrylic is around 160 Deg C so you might find the paper sticking to the surface.

  2. Might be tricky to combine the ubiquitous Lithium-ion battery powered electronics with scrap wood enclosures.
    Although.. it is the season of nice wood fires and gathering around them. :)

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