How to Make
By Gordon McComb
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Don't you just hate it when
you spend days — maybe even
weeks — on a great new
electronics project, only to have it
turn out looking like a six year old
cobbled it together in half an hour?
What's on the outside of your
projects is almost as important as
what's inside. Control panels and
enclosures are the first thing
anyone sees of your build, so make
sure it looks tip-top and
Sound difficult or expensive? It’s neither!
In fact, it’s easy to make good looking control
panels and enclosures for your projects. All you
need is a computer, graphics program, and a laser
or inkjet printer. It’s inexpensive, too. Cost of
materials is just a dollar or two per panel.
In this two-part article, I’ll show you simple
techniques for designing, printing, and finishing
functional and aesthetic control panels of various
shapes, sizes, and layouts. Not everyone can
utilize professional computer designing tools, so
I’ll demonstrate all the ideas using the open
source — and free! — Inkscape vector graphics
program. It’s available for Windows, Macintosh
OSX, and Linux. Of course, don’t forget about
great services from companies like Front Panel,
who can do this for you if you don’t have the
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