PDA

View Full Version : Dial markings



darryl
01-04-2010, 03:37 AM
I cheated a little the other day. I drew up a strip of dial markings in Paint, then added the numbers from 0, 5, 10, etc to 45 in the appropriate spots. The zero mark, and every fifth after is in a thicker line. The end result after printing it off is a paper strip about 3 inches long or so which I carefully cut on the zero and fifty marks, then taped it into a loop. I got the spacing of the lines to match, so there isn't an error at the join, BUT-

Paint doesn't seem to space the wide lines the same as the narrow lines. The narrow lines are equally spaced with the right hand edge of the wider line.

The loop will be a bit of a press fit over a knob, which I carefully sized after the loop was made. Turned out to need exactly a 1.100 diameter to fit onto. Fine- that let me use some 1 1/4 rod to make the knob from, and leave a raised rim to grip with so I'm not grabbing on the paper.

Anyway, the paper strip slips on nicely and I have a dial which will give me 1 thou movement per mark with a 1/4-20 leadscrew. I just have to remember to align to the right hand edge of the bolder markings. :rolleyes:

Before anybody goes ape on me for cheesing out on dial making, let me say I mostly did this to see how well it would come out, and to see if I could resize a drawing to set the exact length of the strip I wanted. Turns out best if I don't resize it at all, so I sized the knob itself to suit the paper loop.

I spaced the lines according to so many pixels per space, so if there's an error that way, it will be the fault of the program. Paint is not a particularly good program to use for this (duh) but it worked out ok anyway. At first I put the numbers from left to right, then I realized I needed them the other way, so now I have two files- one with left to right numbers, the other with right to left numbers. I made a panorama from the file so when I printed it off, I would get about a dozen or so. I turned the paper around and printed another dozen, so now I have lots of cheesy dial marker strips to use with cheesy leadscrews for light duty positioning tools. My printer didn't do a spectacular job of printing it off, but it is what it is. I plan to shrink some clear heat shrink over the knobs ( I have three that need marked right now) to protect them.

I might just re-do the file, using all the same width of lines, then maybe put a dot every fifth line to identify it. That should get rid of that little glitch. It was pretty easy to draw this using my x-y cursor controller. http://www.glacern.net/free_photo_upload/slim%2050%20reverse%20numbers.jpgYou can see the slight shift of the bold marker lines.

John Stevenson
01-04-2010, 03:43 AM
Use a CAD program and then you can get even lines and most importantly accurate scaling so it fits what it has to.

Evan did a good post on this some while ago. I also did some but the machines that were done are no longer here.

Evan
01-04-2010, 03:58 AM
The problem isn't Paint. It had no choice. You made the bold line 2 pixels wide instead of one so it had to place the extra pixels on one side. The answer is to use higher resolution and make the lines an odd number of pixels wide so that every line has a centre row of pixels.

Black_Moons
01-04-2010, 04:24 AM
Printers are generaly rather high DPI devices too so a bigger pic would likey work well. try asking around, you might allready have a printer with some fako 1400x700dpi mode or something crazy (Like good to at least 300~600dpi though)

Clear tape can be used to protect the paper

Allowing it to 'slip' by finger pressure is an added feature, not a fault, its nice to be able to adjust the 'zero' when you find the edge of a workpeice, so your not adding odd offsets to all your cut locations

darryl
01-04-2010, 04:51 AM
Ok, go three pixels wide and the line stays centered- makes sense of course. I just re-did it for the heck of it, using dots instead, and all the marks stay perfectly spaced. Looks way better. I also added a light blue color to make it stand out- that looks good too. I'm going to try the three pixel wide line for the bold, but I think it will be too wide.

I'd do it in a cad program, but I'm not up to speed on that yet. Scaling could be an issue, though it's working out to be the right size at present for the knob size I want to use. I do want to get into cad and cnc and all that eventually, and I have a friend who will help me and also design some stuff, so that will be coming in the future. Apparently I have a really nice program on a disc somewhere, but it's been lost. I'll find it.

My printer is not in the best of shape, but nothing is stopping me from having this printed out on either gloss or matte photo paper at a print shop. That's cheap enough, and will be more durable than the paper anyway.

I like the idea of shrinking some clear wrap onto it and being able to adjust it on the knob- hadn't thought of that. Maybe if I include a groove on the knob, the shrink will tend to stay in place on the knob as well- hmm. Must experiment with that. Good ideas, thanks guys.

Black_Moons
01-04-2010, 05:29 AM
And hey don't forget, it can allways be replaced just as easily as it was first made, so don't sweat it not lasting forever.

oldtiffie
01-04-2010, 05:48 AM
Darryl.

If you draw it in CAD and your CAD has a driver for your printer, the pixel count/resolution of your printer is irrelevant to you as the CAD solves that matter transparently as it "drives" the printer to move in increments of the units the CAD is set to (normally inches or mm).

Lines or entities drawn in CAD can be of any width (in units) based/referenced from the centre of the entity/line.

Similarly, the lines can be "off-set" either singly or in multiples at any spacing from any other entity in any direction.

Some - but not all - CAD systems allow you to check the accuracy of your printer (acting as plotter) by allowing you to set a circle or rectangle and compare it (with a good set of drafting scales or a good office ruler) to that which is printed and to enable you to correct the CAD system until it plots correctly.

This is not a problem in most cases.

Alternatively, you can "re-scale" the drawing in CAD - but that is rarely necessary either.

Even the most basic CAD system could handle this easily.

Evan
01-04-2010, 06:42 AM
If you draw it in CAD and your CAD has a driver for your printer, the pixel count/resolution of your printer is irrelevant to you as the CAD solves that matter transparently as it "drives" the printer to move in increments of the units the CAD is set to (normally inches or mm).


The reason that a CAD program will produce a better result is only because it will use the maximum resolution the printer is capable of producing. It doesn't "drive the printer" any differently than any other program and has no control over that aspect at all since it is handled separately by the printer driver in Windows.

The drawing that Darryl posted is only 72 dpi resolution which is the standard for any image as presented on a monitor regardless of whatever resolution it had when generated. In this case though that appears to be the actual resolution that Darryl has been using since it hasn't been antialiased as would happen if it were resized.

To obtain the best result the image should be created at the maximum monochrome resolution that the printer can produce according to it's specifications. Just about any image manipulation program will do that just fine without the added learning curve required to use a CAD program.

For a very standard free 2D cad program that is basic and easy to use try TurboCad Learning Edition. It doesn't run on Vista or 7.

http://www.turbocadables.com/files/TurboCAD-LE-install-files.zip

SpyGuy
01-04-2010, 07:08 AM
My printer is not in the best of shape, but nothing is stopping me from having this printed out on either gloss or matte photo paper at a print shop. That's cheap enough, and will be more durable than the paper anyway.

Realize that photo paper is a thicker so the ends may not match up the same as with your test piece. Also, there can be variations in the printing between what your printer puts out and that of another. So it could get pricy (and time consuming) if you're going to a shop and paying for lots of test strips to tweak your scale.

Are you using a laser printer? I would not recommend an inkjet for this application. Inkjet ink tends to run and bleed when exposed to any liquids, and overall it's not as durable. With a laser, the "ink" (polymerized carbon powder) is thermally fused into the surface of the substrate media. And lasers generally have a higher resolution and produce sharper, more accurate lines than inkjet printers.

If you don't have access to a laser printer (yours or a friend's), perhaps you should consider buying one as a nice one can be had for less than $80 USD (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/B0010Z1W06/globalacces0b-20) and laser printers are cheaper to operate than inkjet printers (i.e., lower cost per page when you consider the cost and output of laser cartridges vs inkjet cartridges).

For the media, I would recommend using a white polyester film. It is thin, prints clear & sharp, and is water-proof (it should stand up to most cutting fluids and lubricants). Fortunately, polyester film media is commonly sold as laser printer mailing labels. For your application, a 2"x4" sized mailing label would work fine, although other sizes are available up to 5.5" x 8.5".

Avery White WeatherProof Labels for Laser Printers, 2 x 4-Inches, Pack of 100 (#15513) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/B002NEGTAG/globalacces0b-20)

Of course, these are self-adhesive: great for sticking to your dials, unless you want to do this...


I like the idea of shrinking some clear wrap onto it and being able to adjust it on the knob- hadn't thought of that. Maybe if I include a groove on the knob, the shrink will tend to stay in place on the knob as well- hmm. Must experiment with that. Good ideas, thanks guys.

...in which case you may need to stick two labels back-to-back (although you will need to test this: some label adhesives do not adhere well when applied to themselves), or otherwise apply the label to some kind of sleeve.

Good luck!

winchman
01-04-2010, 07:31 AM
Making the lines longer instead of wider will easily solve the original problem.

3M #924 adhesive transfer tape works really well for this sort of thing.

Evan
01-04-2010, 08:15 AM
SpyGuy,

Have a look at this thread on dial markings:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=25872

SpyGuy
01-04-2010, 08:42 AM
SpyGuy,

Have a look at this thread on dial markings:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=25872

Excellent Evan! I know some companies make inkjet inks that are supposed to be water resistant or waterproof. What kind were yours? I'm actually quite surprised they held up to solvents like WD-40. Also, I see you tested it for petroleum based products. Did you also test for water & coolants? How have they held up over the years?

I do like your color coding (and your stair-stepped scale lines!). I can no longer read resistor codes off the top of my head, but I do still remember the helpful --and very politically-incorrect :p -- mnemonic for decoding resistors. Since color laser printers are fairly common these days so I would still go that route versus inkjet.

This link you posted to the National First font is dead, but I found the font here (still free):

http://www.dafont.com/national-first.font

Do you recall which font you used for the outlined numbers on the color-coded dials?

Evan
01-04-2010, 10:15 AM
Inkjet inks are generally all ethanol based for reasons of low toxicity. They are very specific to ethanol and most other solvents don't affect them. More important though is the coating on the transparency material which reacts with the ink to bind it and waterproof it.

The labels hold up well and are easy to replace as needed. I don't recall the fonts I used.

Lew Hartswick
01-04-2010, 12:48 PM
This link you posted to the National First font is dead, but I found the font here (still free):

http://www.dafont.com/national-first.font

OK. I downloaded the file (zip) now how do I put it where it will be
used by a print program?
Thanks.
...lew...

Evan
01-04-2010, 01:01 PM
Right click on the file in Windows Explorer and select "extract all". Follow the destructions. It will put the unzipped copy in the same directory as the download. Then navigate to c:\windows\fonts and drag/drop it in there. Restart the computer and that is all you need to do.