Control panel material?

#1

Does anyone make a two layer control panel material? I’m thinking about a translucent white acrylic with a very thin layer of matte black bonded to it. Then you could use the laser to etch away the black and do cuts through both layers to make stuff like this:

Any reason why this wouldn’t work if the material existed? Also why is there no matte finish acrylic out there? Or is there something else similar that would work?

–Donnie

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#2

Yes. This material can be found on the Internet. But I wouldn’t bother. Take some black acrylic and mask it. Engrave your markings and labels. Shoot with primer and then white paint. When paint is dry, remove masking. The engraving will be white and everything else will be black.

Like this, only if you take your time it’ll look a bit better than what I ended up with here. This was a rush-job…

Note the same technique was used for the clear. Only I did a quick coat of black paint before I peeled off the masking.

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#3

Johnson plastics has you covered.

Black anodized aluminum blanks from the ringlord too. (Google the ringlord)

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#4

Interesting. That’s a great idea. I like it. Doesn’t solve the wanting matte finish on the black instead of glossy, though.

Wonder if there’s a clever way to have a black face with white letters and have the white part translucent and able to be back-lit? Wonder if you could use clear acrylic, remove the native masking, apply black vinyl and then mask that. Then engrave through the mask and vinyl, then paint, then remove mask. Hmm.

–Donnie

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#5

Likely cast acrylic sheets are glossy for the same reason glass is glossy when it’s made. If you have a sand blaster, or some chemical will likely give you a matte finish. There are lots of spray paints for creating a “frosted” look on glass, so maybe one of those is also compatible with acrylic?

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#6

Inventables has matte black acrylic - matte one side glossy the other. It is stupid expensive, but I think it is worth it.

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#7

If you look closely at the picture I posted earlier, you may be able to see that the black acrylic has a satin finish. Easily accomplished with some fine-grit sandpaper. In my case, I had no choice since I “pushed” the painting a little harder than I should have (meaning, too wet) and some paint crept under the mask in a few spots, so I had to sand down the face to get rid of that overspill. The depth of the etch is on the order of a few millimeters. There’s no way you’d be able to sand that deep with a sanding block by hand. So you can do whatever you want to the face of the panel without fear of doing any harm to the inset lettering or other markings.

You can definitely stack materials. On these trophies, I used red acrylic and wood. The 3D effect looks better in real life than in the picture. I was pretty happy with how it came out. Of course the gear spins freely. I had to make 6 of these, 1st, 2nd, 3rd place Men’s and Women’s.

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#8

Awesome, great info. Thanks everyone! Very nice trophies, too. I’m a mountain biker and I’ve seen a few homemade trophies using cogs and chainrings, but these are better than anything I’ve seen. Nice work.

–Donnie

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#9

If you’re in the west near a Tap plastics, it can be had for pennies on the dollar. I pay $1 for a 7x10" piece of matte black. If I had to pick one favorite material, this would be it. I adore the stuff.

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#10

Brotron did a nice write-up on a similar project here.

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#11

Oh man, didn’t see that. Thanks for that pointer. That’s awesome.

–Donnie

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#12

Cool trophie!! Using real gears too & making them spinnable is so much more impressive for a cycling award than just an one from a shop w/ a plastic molded cyclist on it (got one once years ago when I tried racing–but more for the fact I was only one of two women in the category! So I guess just doing it deserved something :wink: ).

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#13

Thanks! I go for “multimedia” fabrications a lot. I have a CNC machine tool, a few different 3D printers, and of course my GF (my wife knit the little santa hat). The stuff I like the best is the stuff that combines all my tools to achieve the objective.

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#14

it’s not safe to use standard (pvc-based) sign/wrap vinyl in the laser. There are polyester adhesive films available that work like vinyl but which are laser safe.

RE matte acrylics: I had gotten some semi-matte gunmetal stuff from inventables on clearance a while back, and it looks great. But when I used a heat gun to slump it around a form, it became really glossy. So that’s something to be aware of.

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#15

Good info on the heat bending. That’s not surprising, but worth knowing for sure.

–Donnie

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#16

The material you’re looking for is two color engraving plastic. It’s been around since the MadMen days (think desk name plates, institutional door signs, name tags). Almost any sign or trophy shop will have several colors in stock that you can look at in person and if you ask nicely they’ll likely sell you some. Most usually it’s ABS. Since it’s meant to be engraved (very CNC friendly) I’m not sure how laserable the trophy stuff is.

However, Inventables stocks several 2 color laserable acrylics, this one is black reveal to white like your photo https://www.inventables.com/technologies/black-on-bright-white-laserable-acrylic-sheet.

Here’s an example of the engraving plastic on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Engraving-Double-Pieces-Interior-Badges/dp/B07HQSKMN4/ref=asc_df_B07HQSKMN4/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312141890370&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7402802683073727088&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031117&hvtargid=pla-568476857742&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=60960043806&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=312141890370&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7402802683073727088&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031117&hvtargid=pla-568476857742

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#17

Inventables carries this product from Innovative Plastics Inc.

It’s matte clear material with a thin layer of black that you engrave, leaving translucent clear finish that you can then backlight or just paint white if you want. End result is a panel that has a seamless smooth surface and won’t collect dirt and crud in the engraving.

http://www.inoplas.com/products/lasershop/laserables_reverse.asp

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#18

Again, many thanks. Inventables needs a little better shopping mechanism that shows off they have laserable two-part acrylic. I had actually shopped there for the matte stuff and never noticed the two-part stuff. Thanks!

–Donnie

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