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computer program is used to generate a plain-paper drilling template to mark
punch the locations of holes for controls, and then (using the same artwork) to create a printed self-adhesive label for the
panel. I used Corel Draw,
but you can use any graphics or drawing program that will print
drawings in actual sizes. For example, I can draw a 1"
the program and have it print exactly 1" square.
will also need a graphics printer. In version one of this
used an ink jet printer, but ink jet inks are fugitive, that is, they
will smear if exposed to moisture. In the second version.
detailed here I
used a laser printer.
you don't have an
appropriate computer, program, or printer, it may be possible for you
to use one at Kinko's or your local public library.
label material, e.g. Avery 5165
Self adhesive clear
plastic, e.g. Avery 9x12 LaminatingSheets
1. Create the drilling template and
drill the panel.
the drawing program, draw a rectangle to the exact dimensions of the
panel you are using. Print the rectangle on plainpaper to
that it is the right size. You could set your paper size to the
dimensions of the panel, but the materials are 8-1/2 x 11 and without
the rectangular outline it will be difficult to line things up.
program, mark the locations of holes with the letter
Use the program's rulers and guidelines to locate the holes
precisely. Save the drawing for future reference.
Print the drawing
on plain paper. With a
pencil, indicate next to each "x" the size of the hole to be drilled.
Use a pen, or pin, etc, to mark the corners of the panel drawing.
the paper face down on the table, and apply a thin coating of rubber
cement to the paper. Lay the panel on top of the panel, lining up
the four corners with the pin marks that you made. Turn the panel
with attached paper over and use a center punch or nail to punch the
center of each "x" or hole location. This is necessary to both
the mark the drilling location and to start the hole and keep the
drill bit from wandering.
with a drill for the smallest hole required (or 1/8" if no smaller holes
are needed). Drill ALL of the holes to that size, even the larger ones.
drill for the next largest size that is needed, and drill out all of the holes for
that you marked as being that size or larger. Repeat this process until all of
the holes are done. De-burr the holes on the reverse side of
panel with a "rosette" countersink bit, or a round file, or a sharp
knife (if you're working in aluminum).
Remove the paper drilling template (that's why we used rubber cement and not glue).
2. Create the label.
back into the drawing program and letter each control and add any
desired artwork, using the "x's" to reference the locations of the
controls. Be sure to allow for the size of any knobs or switch
fittings-- you don't want them to cover the lettering. Your
drawing program might allow you draw circles around the "x's" to aid in
If you added
circles around the hole locations, delete them. You can also delete
the "x's" from the drawing if you want to, or if they are larger
the holes that they mark.
the label on self-adhesive label material. Save the drawing with a new name, for future reference.
3. Apply the label to the panel.
the panel face up on the table and place the label on top of
Move the label as needed so that the panel outline (the rectangle you
drew in step 1) matches the panel underneath. Use a pen or
to mark "dots" at the four corners, pressing firmlyinto the label
material but being careful not to tear it.
label over and mark the back side of the four corner dots by pressing
with a pen again. This is to be sure you will be able to see
the corner marks once you remove the backing from the label.
backing from the label and lay it on the table, adhesive side
up. Carefully position the panel on the label and press down
firmly. It is easiest to start at one of the larger sides and "lever" the panel down onto the lable.
At this point, if the label is much larger than the
you can do a rough trim with scissors. In the illustration,
copper strips on the back of the panel are foil tape used for ground
connections in the CW Command Post.
panel over and rub the label all over to remove any air bubbles
and insure firm adhesion at the edges of the holes and the edges of the
the clear plastic overlay
(laminating plastic) and press it firmly to the label. Again,
can rough trim with scissors if necessary.
Trim the label and clear the holes.
the panel over (with label and plastic cover attached) so that it is
facedown on the table. Using the edges of the panel as a guide, use a
sharp hobby knife to trim the label and plastic flush with the edge of
holes in the label and plastic by carefully trimming out the center with
a sharp hobby knife. A knife with a curved or rounded blade
well for this. I use a vertical sawing motion (like a sewing machine) to
work my way around the hole. Take your time, and be sure that the
cuts are clean because ragged bits of paper or plastic will catch when
you mount the controls later and mess up the whole job! If you
have any countersunk holes (e.g. the four screw holes at the corners
for mounting the panel to the box) you will find that a straight blade
works better, as it follows the taper of the hole better.
the panel looks like when you are done-- note the shapes of the blades
used for straight holes and countersunk holes, as described above.
Here's the completed unit with the panel in place. Sorry
the glare from the lamp-- I'll replace the picture when I get a chance.
Update May 2007
I have re-formatted these web pages and taken the opportunity to make
minor corrections and clarifications. The new labels were relatively
easy to do since they were based on the original drawing files.