Faceplate Lamination

List, Christopher Chris.List at sc.siemens.com
Wed Jul 15 15:36:17 CEST 1998

Just thought I'd let you guys know, last night I tried Gene's method of
faceplate making -

1. Print on regular paper
2. Get it laminated at a photoshop
3. Glue it to the panel

I was very pleased with the results. It may not be the prettiest
solution in the world, and time will tell as to it's durability, but
it's **so cheap and easy** that it's almost irresistible. The laminate
is also surprisingly strong as far as scratch resistance goes. Come to
think of it, now that I've had some of my home-built panels for a couple
of years, I've come to realize that all of my fretting about durability
was a little exaggerated - I mean, when something's mounted in a rack,
what would happen to cause the edges to peel away from the plate? Your
stuff is really pretty well protected - unless you're making a tabletop
unit... The only thing you really need to worry about is scratch
resistance. Even if the glue fails, you've got all the components
holding it in place.

Anyway, a couple of things that helped make this easy were;

1. I used one of the blank rack panels that Mouser sells (they come in
gray and metallic black) - these are the cheapest aluminum rack panels
I've seen anywhere - possibly because they are powder-coated rather than
anodized. This turns out to be a good thing, as I the adhesive seems to
stick better to these than to the anodized panels I've worked with.

2. I used "3M Spray 77" adhesive, available at art supply stores. This
stuff gives you about 15-30 seconds of "tack time" where you can slide
around the laminate, then dries to a really strong bond. The strength of
the laminate to panel bond is stronger than the bond between the two
layers of laminate! The glue is a little bit of a drag to work with
because you should spray both the panel and the back of the laminate for
a good bond. Once you do that, picking up the laminate and flipping it
onto the panel will surely get some of this tacky stuff on your fingers
- and then onto the front of the panel. Luckily, you can wash it after
it dries with a little soap on a course sponge without affecting the
panel or the glue... 

Considering the cost, it's worth trying for anyone. Thanks to Gene Stopp
for recommending it.

- CList 

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