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Old 11-15-2016, 09:55 PM   #1
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Dashboard switches label

Hello,
I am looking at redesigning my lower helm dashboard layout. Instead of using a pre made rocker switch panel I want to create my own with switches, led light etc that I can layout the way I want.
I would like to label my switches so my question: what are you using to nicely, cleanly label your switches?
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Old 11-15-2016, 10:56 PM   #2
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Label maker
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:33 PM   #3
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Depends on your budget. If you really want it to look flash, you could get it etched or digitally printed onto a custom made panel.

Here's on company that does it.
Control Panel Plates - MPC

Actually - I remember reading a post a few years ago that a TF member had a laser cutting setup and he made panels as a sideline. I can't remember who, though - or if he did labeling.
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Old 11-16-2016, 06:12 AM   #4
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We removed all the old screw type labels and replaced them with Blue Sea. The new ones covered the screw holes.

https://www.bluesea.com/products/category/8/Labels?
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Old 11-16-2016, 09:19 AM   #5
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I replaced the pressed aluminum dashboard panel in my 1972 Volvo 164E with a varnished walnut panel. This allowed me to cover ragged holes cut by a PO. I made the labels using 'Letraset' transfer letters then laid on one more coat of varnish over the letters. Worked well, looked good. (Bought that car in about 1979, sold it in about 1985, and the pictures are buried in slide boxes.)

I made a sign for an interior room divider in about 1986: cheap plywood, laminated burl veneer, oak trim, Letraset letters. (I was the tame architect for a construction company before it was discovered that liability insurance for the business model was unaffordable.)

Letraset - Letraset Transfers
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:07 PM   #6
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In Fort Lauderdale, Wards will make anything you want. Plates, labels, whatever.

Also, many trophy shops can do it.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:10 PM   #7
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One of the main problems with making instrument/switch panels is that the coloured sandwich material used for engraving signs is too thin to take the weight and stress of gauges and switches. Plywood tends to be too thick - especially for the necks of the switches, and aluminium takes a lot of hard work.

A sign-making company here introduced me to a material they call "styrene". They cut and form it into the big signs on the side of buildings etc. it comes in sheets about 1/8" thich and in various colours. It is surprisingly strong and lends itself to being cut, drilled and even painted. The sign-maker cuts it to shape with a CNC router. This means you can specify the dimensions of your panel and the exact position and diameter of each hole, even rectangular ones, - it cuts them perfectly.

It would have been possible to have the labels engraved into the styrene, but it doesn't come in the colour sandwich material.
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Old 11-16-2016, 04:03 PM   #8
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Sign shops, trophy shops, and even framing stores can be good resources. I tend to like the black and white etched labels like the military has used for decades. They are the 3-layer material and you have full control of font and size.

Here is a screen grab of the panel I did on our last boat. I had these done cheaply at a framing store near the house. Not the best pic... Sorry
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Old 11-16-2016, 04:18 PM   #9
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I had good luck going to a large trophy shop to make labels and special panels. In some cases they used a thin aluminum sheet that can be any color desired. Draw a detail drawing of what you need, that will make it easier in making sure you get what you want.
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Old 11-16-2016, 06:57 PM   #10
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Thank you very much to everybody (sorry too long to name you all! ). I would have never thought to trophy shop though, this is a very good idea!
I saw that Dyno is making a Rhino model for industrial purpose (model 4200), able to print on vinyl tape or even on heat srink tube for cable identification. Does anybody have any experience with this? I am questionning myself about the vinyl one, is this durable and does it stand well in high temperature difference? Here in winter my ship will typically experience -30 and in summer when I am far and everything is closed under the sun it will be +40 and higher. As I already got some glued thing that just fall with melt glue I am not sure a sticker will last.
Any advice is very welcome!
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Old 11-16-2016, 08:54 PM   #11
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Thanks Larry M, been looking for a source for missing labels. Do the Blue Seas come with adhesive backs ?
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Old 11-16-2016, 09:36 PM   #12
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Thanks Larry M, been looking for a source for missing labels. Do the Blue Seas come with adhesive backs ?
Yes they do.

Take a look at Bernard Engraving Identi Plates Identi-Plate, Bernard Engraving
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Old 11-17-2016, 06:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou_tribal View Post
Hello,
I am looking at redesigning my lower helm dashboard layout. Instead of using a pre made rocker switch panel I want to create my own with switches, led light etc that I can layout the way I want.
I would like to label my switches so my question: what are you using to nicely, cleanly label your switches?

Google Contura switch actuators. The switches themselves are made by both Blue Seas and Carling, probably others, you can order actuators pre-labeled with boatloads of choices.

-Chris
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Old 11-17-2016, 06:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
We removed all the old screw type labels and replaced them with Blue Sea. The new ones covered the screw holes.

https://www.bluesea.com/products/category/8/Labels?

Our AC/DC panel labels are both inletted (?) and backlit, and those Blue Seas labels worked for when we added a couple circuits. I had to slightly trim the Blue Seas rounded corners to fit the square inlet areas. The typeface is slightly different, but that wasn't a huge deal. The backlighting shows through the lettering nicely.

-Chris
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:32 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Lou_tribal View Post
I saw that Dyno is making a Rhino model for industrial purpose (model 4200), able to print on vinyl tape or even on heat srink tube for cable identification. Does anybody have any experience with this?
Yes, I use my Dymo 4200 a lot. You can buy different types of tape. The vinyl is pretty good. It's held up on my upper helm, which has a full vinyl enclosure and can get pretty hot in summer when nobody's on board to open it up. I will say it's not as nice as a traditional etched label, and the material is thin and takes some patience to get it on straight.

As for panels, I've been using a place called Front Panel Express. They offer free software that lets you design the panel, see how it will look and what it will cost, and then buy it with a few clicks.

Here's a small one I did to install a new rotary swich and exhaust alarm where there was a blank plate near my electrical console:


You can do things like radius the corners and edges, too. I always "personalize" them a little; on this one I added the stars of the Northern Cross, part of the constellation Cygnus (the name of the boat.)
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:45 AM   #16
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Yes, I use my Dymo 4200 a lot. You can buy different types of tape. The vinyl is pretty good. It's held up on my upper helm, which has a full vinyl enclosure and can get pretty hot in summer when nobody's on board to open it up. I will say it's not as nice as a traditional etched label, and the material is thin and takes some patience to get it on straight.

As for panels, I've been using a place called Front Panel Express. They offer free software that lets you design the panel, see how it will look and what it will cost, and then buy it with a few clicks.

Here's a small one I did to install a new rotary swich and exhaust alarm where there was a blank plate near my electrical console:

You can do things like radius the corners and edges, too. I always "personalize" them a little; on this one I added the stars of the Northern Cross, part of the constellation Cygnus (the name of the boat.)
Thank you very much for your testimony much appreciated. I will get a 4200 as I will use it also to add identification to some wires.
I will take a look at front panel express as it looks very interesting too.
Thank you very much!
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Old 11-17-2016, 04:30 PM   #17
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Tecnografic Inc - Marine dash panels & accessories
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:07 PM   #18
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Good Source For Phenolic Labels?

I had this panel made to my specs by an online company...can't seem to remember the name, but it cost about $75. If I find the old post, I'll post a link here.

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Old 11-18-2016, 06:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusCan View Post
Depends on your budget. If you really want it to look flash, you could get it etched or digitally printed onto a custom made panel.

Here's on company that does it.
Control Panel Plates - MPC

Actually - I remember reading a post a few years ago that a TF member had a laser cutting setup and he made panels as a sideline. I can't remember who, though - or if he did labeling.

Your probably thinking of Mike, username is SomeSailor
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