Posted: 3/1/2010 1:15:20 PM

From: Escondido, CA

Joined: 2/6/2008

One of the things that separates "professional-looking" gear from the sort of stuff that the average hobbiest builds is silkscreened text.

Last time I had someone do this for me, it cost me about $40 to do some simple back panel text in white.

But I recently found this company EZScreenPrint and ordered a kit from them.

You definitely need the "hi-res" version to do text and nomenclature for panels.

The process really was as simple as they claim. Basically, here are the steps:
1. Create your artwork using whatever tools you want to on your computer.
2. Print it out 1:1 on transparency.
3. Sandwich your transparency on top of their pre-emulsioned screen material and the felt covered baseplate.
4. Expose to the sun for 1 minute.
5. Soak it in the kitchen sink for 15 minutes.
6. Wash off the exposed screen with the faucet.
6. Dry it off with paper towels and expose it to the sun for 10 more to harden the stencil.

And you have a stencil you can tape over your panel to paint through.

Haven't painted yet, but its all ready to go now.
Posted: 3/8/2010 11:15:52 AM

From: Escondido, CA

Joined: 2/6/2008

Here's an update ...

It is looking like any text smaller than 0.25" will just not work. Probably about the same limit for lines.

I haven't found a local source for the pre-sensitized sheets, so it is looking like this is not a very cost-effective solution.

EZscreenprint sells a set of 3 8 1/2" x 11" "refills" for $29. Add shipping to that and it is starting to look cheaper to have someone just professionally silkscreen your panels!

Posted: 3/8/2010 5:54:58 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

I have a rep visiting me next week to show panels made on "signmakers Vynl" - This is (I believe) a Lothographic process onto a strong adhesive vynl, and is extremely cheap compared to silkskreen.. Apparently, there is no problem with resolution, colours, or wear (these vynl labels are often used to put logos on vehicles / busses - and can have any detail - including colour photographs)

I will let you know more details when I have actually seen them..
Posted: 3/10/2010 11:28:15 AM

From: Escondido, CA

Joined: 2/6/2008

Thanks, Fred. I look forward to what you find out.

I went ahead and ordered more of the PhotoEZ sheets because I was just getting nowhere from any other inquiries ... sadly about the same situation as in 2003 when I had a product I wanted silkscreened.

Powder Coat houses seem to be able to do silkscreening, but outside of them, no one here seems to understand what I am looking for. Weird actually ...

I did get something from a company that makes nameplates ( ) They make overlays for membrane switch panels and vinyl labels of all sorts, but I have a feeling they would be very expensive. And this current project is sort of a "one off".

For the 2003 preamp project, I found someone who does laser etching. He was able to find a wood-grain-looking laminate with a back backing. The laser cutter imports a Corel Draw file and cuts the text directly into the laminate ... just enough to expose the black backing. But that also was fairly expensive ... looks great though!

Posted: 4/23/2010 11:53:27 AM

From: Escondido, CA

Joined: 2/6/2008

I did manage to get a fairly acceptable silkscreen stencil afterall. The problem was exposure time!

The first place I bought the material from said "expose to the sun for about a minute". The next material I bought directly from the manufacturer, and their instruction was "expose for 20 seconds"! Big difference in quality there! All the fine details came out great.

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