AW: anyone use plexiglass faceplates?

KA4HJH ka4hjh at
Mon Nov 22 05:48:11 CET 1999

>Y-ellow Y'all.
>	I have done this kind of panel on a regular basis. Though I tend to use
>acrylic sheet if only that it is more abundant than Plexiglass. Plexi is
>also more brittle and harder to work with in that sense.

I believe Plexiglas was the first acrylic (methyl methacrylate), but 
there are others and there are differences. I don't have that much 
experience--I rely on the plastics fabricator nearby for that sort of 
info. Fortunately they're very helpful and not worried about someone 
stealing all of their trade secrets. Rare these days.

>I don't create the dial markings by engraving. There is no where here that
>is precise enough to be able to do it. But I do use rear printed sheets
>which wind up looking quite good.

This is what I was thinking. Do you have any pictures? (probably 
really tough to photograph). Have you tried spraying it with some 
kind of matte finish that doesn't obscure the writing?

>The drawback with this kind of stuff is that it reflects light too much.
>Which is not very professional. You will often find yourself in situations
>where the light reflects off it at just the wrong angle for you to be able
>to read dial positions and the like.

I don't plan on going on the road but it's definitely a consideration 
the lighting in my multi-purpose room. And it's tough to photograph.

>However the best panel I ever saw using this idea was from an old RAAF box
>out of an P3 Orion. Some kind of early submarine tracking box I got
>surplus. It's panel was made of white translucent acrylic. However it was
>painted/printed mat grey. The dial markings were engraved indentations on
>the surface. It had pilot lamps embeded in the corners which made the whole
>thing glow. Only of course, the dial markings were the only visible parts
>so the whole thing lit up like a Christmas tree.

Got a picture of THAT?

>The really cool thing about this though, was that the knobs themselves were
>done like this as well. A large circular patch under each knob allowed
>light to transfer up into the plastic of the knobs. Of which the pointers
>were also visible white plastic through grey. The whole thing looks totally
>amazing when it's lit up. I am yet to find a way to emulate this kind of
>look but it's just the best damn panel I've ever seen.

This is getting into the fantasy realm. I don't even want to be 
tempted. Stop torturing me!

>Although it could go one better if it was black instead of grey. :)
>I guess this was done out of practicality more than cool looks though. You
>could see everything clearly even if flying out over the southern oceans at
>midnight in pitch blackness. But I was thinking. This would be absolutely
>amazing on stage with the lights out.

All you need now are those moving bargraphs and blue LED's...

All I have is a shard from the nose of a B-24 with the ID plate from 
elsewhere on the craft stuck right in the middle of it. Somebody's 
war souvenir I guess. Doesn't light up, but it is made of 3/4" 

Terry Bowman, KA4HJH
"The Mac Doctor"

ICQ: 45652354

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