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Author Topic: Control Panel Coating  (Read 4109 times)

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Drakkorcia

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Control Panel Coating
« on: May 26, 2021, 05:32:54 am »
It seems these days every cabinet kit, A1Up and the like all come with acrylic/plexiglass covers to protect the control panel. I would like something better. What did original commercial control panels use? I seem to remember Donkey Kong and the like having a coating of some sort but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a piece of plexi on top. How was it done?

Gilrock

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2021, 10:52:47 am »
I don't know all the technical names but several vendors can print vinyl and then put a laminate over it.  One person I've gotten control panel artwork from around here puts a 3 mil laminate over the vinyl.  I questioned him about the thickness because when I've bought ones from ThisOldGame and ArcadeShop they are much thicker...I believe 10 mil.  He claimed his 3 mil was better and I didn't want to argue but the 10 mil seems more like what was on the originals to me.

Ken Layton

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2021, 11:20:35 am »
Commercial games in general used a standard control panel overlay with a sheet of Lexan to protect it.

Mike A

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2021, 11:26:30 am »
Ken. I don't think that is true unless you are talking the '90s and later.

Games originally were mostly a steel CP with a rugged CPO stuck to it.

When convert-a-cabs and JAMMA became more popular I saw more cabs with lexan sheets on the top.

It was easier to repurpose a cab and hide the swiss cheese holes of the cp with a lexan sheet and new artwork underneath or just blank artwork.




« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 11:30:08 am by Mike A »

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Control Panel Coating
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2021, 11:35:01 am »
Actually, since Donkey Kong was specifically mentioned, it was just a piece of reverse printed acrylic.

Most early games just had a screen printed control panel overlay that was laminated. Like Mike said, it wasnít till later that you really started to see a piece of plexi being standard, mainly because of converted games.


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Control Panel Coating
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2021, 02:01:17 pm »
Yots, why edit the subject to remove the "Re:"?

I'm doing that from now on.

yotsuya

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2021, 02:47:40 pm »
Yots, why edit the subject to remove the "Re:"?

I'm doing that from now on.
Did I do that? Must be a Tapatalk thing, because I didnít do it on purpose.


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Control Panel Coating
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2021, 08:25:47 am »
Yots, why edit the subject to remove the "Re:"?

I'm doing that from now on.
Did I do that? Must be a Tapatalk thing, because I didnít do it on purpose.


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Drakkorcia

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2021, 11:35:15 pm »
Thank you for the responses. The issue I have with the acrylic sheet is my fingers scrape the edges around the trackball and it also has sharp corners and your palms also feel the acrylic edges because the extra height, small as it may be, makes a difference. I'm looking for something that will protect the art and look nice and shiny, but is as flat as possible. Who does this kind of laminate? And isn't Lexan thick like plexi sheet?

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2021, 01:44:05 pm »
Lexan is a trade name for a specific polycarbonate.
It has pretty incredible breaking strength but scratches a lot easier than Plexiglass (another trade name) which is an acrylic.

Crazy how many things go by names that came from GE, DuPont or BASF.

Between those two, I would choose Plexi myself, but I don't use either one.

A good control panel overlay is made of material that is really tough (certainly durable enough for home use) and doesn't show much in regard to wear- except for cigarette burns!
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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2021, 03:31:14 pm »
Thank you for the responses. The issue I have with the acrylic sheet is my fingers scrape the edges around the trackball and it also has sharp corners and your palms also feel the acrylic edges because the extra height, small as it may be, makes a difference. I'm looking for something that will protect the art and look nice and shiny, but is as flat as possible. Who does this kind of laminate? And isn't Lexan thick like plexi sheet?
Couple ways to fix that. Most common would be torching it, which is what I prefer to do, and the easier (I suppose) method where you just get out a dremel and a polishing wheel and buff it down smooth. Honest opinion, that's too much ---That which is odiferous and causeth plants to grow--- for a part of a cab that will take a beating anyways, just get some decent vinyl and skip the plexi.It'll end up getting scuffed and fogged over time anyways, a decent panel, you can simply clean with some mild detergent and have it looking great for a long time.

Drakkorcia

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2021, 08:21:47 am »
Thank you for the responses. The issue I have with the acrylic sheet is my fingers scrape the edges around the trackball and it also has sharp corners and your palms also feel the acrylic edges because the extra height, small as it may be, makes a difference. I'm looking for something that will protect the art and look nice and shiny, but is as flat as possible. Who does this kind of laminate? And isn't Lexan thick like plexi sheet?
Couple ways to fix that. Most common would be torching it, which is what I prefer to do, and the easier (I suppose) method where you just get out a dremel and a polishing wheel and buff it down smooth. Honest opinion, that's too much ---That which is odiferous and causeth plants to grow--- for a part of a cab that will take a beating anyways, just get some decent vinyl and skip the plexi.It'll end up getting scuffed and fogged over time anyways, a decent panel, you can simply clean with some mild detergent and have it looking great for a long time.

Seems to me the acrylic/plexi sheet given with kits is just a cheap and easy way to lay something on top of the art to keep it protected but I want a permanent and professional solution. I think what I'm going to do is go to a laminating shop, not a copy shop, but a shop that specializes in coating surfaces and rely on their expertise of materials and methods to ditch the acrylic sheet altogether for a flat surface and palms that rest on the t-molding and not the edge of rough plastic. If they want a lot of money I may look into applying laminate/vinyl myself.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2021, 08:23:27 am by Drakkorcia »

bobbyb13

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2021, 12:12:34 pm »
Thank you for the responses. The issue I have with the acrylic sheet is my fingers scrape the edges around the trackball and it also has sharp corners and your palms also feel the acrylic edges because the extra height, small as it may be, makes a difference. I'm looking for something that will protect the art and look nice and shiny, but is as flat as possible. Who does this kind of laminate? And isn't Lexan thick like plexi sheet?
Couple ways to fix that. Most common would be torching it, which is what I prefer to do, and the easier (I suppose) method where you just get out a dremel and a polishing wheel and buff it down smooth. Honest opinion, that's too much ---That which is odiferous and causeth plants to grow--- for a part of a cab that will take a beating anyways, just get some decent vinyl and skip the plexi.It'll end up getting scuffed and fogged over time anyways, a decent panel, you can simply clean with some mild detergent and have it looking great for a long time.

Seems to me the acrylic/plexi sheet given with kits is just a cheap and easy way to lay something on top of the art to keep it protected but I want a permanent and professional solution. I think what I'm going to do is go to a laminating shop, not a copy shop, but a shop that specializes in coating surfaces and rely on their expertise of materials and methods to ditch the acrylic sheet altogether for a flat surface and palms that rest on the t-molding and not the edge of rough plastic. If they want a lot of money I may look into applying laminate/vinyl myself.

What you talking about is my preference at this point.

Use wood for your control panel deck.
Run the router across the front edge with a round over bit to remove all semblance of an edge.
Find a printer who knows their stuff and get a good quality laminate that is long enough to wrap over your rounded corner.
If necessary, leave (or cut) a 1/16" slot so you can install T moulding to overlap your laminate edge to discourage peeling.
What's that watermelon doing there?

Drakkorcia

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2021, 12:32:27 pm »
Thank you for the responses. The issue I have with the acrylic sheet is my fingers scrape the edges around the trackball and it also has sharp corners and your palms also feel the acrylic edges because the extra height, small as it may be, makes a difference. I'm looking for something that will protect the art and look nice and shiny, but is as flat as possible. Who does this kind of laminate? And isn't Lexan thick like plexi sheet?
Couple ways to fix that. Most common would be torching it, which is what I prefer to do, and the easier (I suppose) method where you just get out a dremel and a polishing wheel and buff it down smooth. Honest opinion, that's too much ---That which is odiferous and causeth plants to grow--- for a part of a cab that will take a beating anyways, just get some decent vinyl and skip the plexi.It'll end up getting scuffed and fogged over time anyways, a decent panel, you can simply clean with some mild detergent and have it looking great for a long time.

Seems to me the acrylic/plexi sheet given with kits is just a cheap and easy way to lay something on top of the art to keep it protected but I want a permanent and professional solution. I think what I'm going to do is go to a laminating shop, not a copy shop, but a shop that specializes in coating surfaces and rely on their expertise of materials and methods to ditch the acrylic sheet altogether for a flat surface and palms that rest on the t-molding and not the edge of rough plastic. If they want a lot of money I may look into applying laminate/vinyl myself.

What you talking about is my preference at this point.

Use wood for your control panel deck.
Run the router across the front edge with a round over bit to remove all semblance of an edge.
Find a printer who knows their stuff and get a good quality laminate that is long enough to wrap over your rounded corner.
If necessary, leave (or cut) a 1/16" slot so you can install T moulding to overlap your laminate edge to discourage peeling.


The art was preinstalled so rounding the edges is probably not an option although because it is a full size cabinet with real t-molding that comes up to the surface it isn't really a problem. What is the problem is the acrylic sheet which raises the height even more and whose edges and cutouts you can feel while playing. But one thing I can do after getting a laminating quote is experiment with rounding off the acrylic sheet since it will be going in the trash anyway. Maybe some patient dremel work would do the trick. I'd be interested to see the torching method as well if anyone has links to a video somewhere.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2021, 12:35:17 pm by Drakkorcia »

Ken Layton

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2021, 01:33:04 pm »
Self-stick clear mylar sheets would protect artwork.

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2021, 05:24:25 pm »
Thank you for the responses. The issue I have with the acrylic sheet is my fingers scrape the edges around the trackball and it also has sharp corners and your palms also feel the acrylic edges because the extra height, small as it may be, makes a difference. I'm looking for something that will protect the art and look nice and shiny, but is as flat as possible. Who does this kind of laminate? And isn't Lexan thick like plexi sheet?
Couple ways to fix that. Most common would be torching it, which is what I prefer to do, and the easier (I suppose) method where you just get out a dremel and a polishing wheel and buff it down smooth. Honest opinion, that's too much ---That which is odiferous and causeth plants to grow--- for a part of a cab that will take a beating anyways, just get some decent vinyl and skip the plexi.It'll end up getting scuffed and fogged over time anyways, a decent panel, you can simply clean with some mild detergent and have it looking great for a long time.

Seems to me the acrylic/plexi sheet given with kits is just a cheap and easy way to lay something on top of the art to keep it protected but I want a permanent and professional solution. I think what I'm going to do is go to a laminating shop, not a copy shop, but a shop that specializes in coating surfaces and rely on their expertise of materials and methods to ditch the acrylic sheet altogether for a flat surface and palms that rest on the t-molding and not the edge of rough plastic. If they want a lot of money I may look into applying laminate/vinyl myself.

What you talking about is my preference at this point.

Use wood for your control panel deck.
Run the router across the front edge with a round over bit to remove all semblance of an edge.
Find a printer who knows their stuff and get a good quality laminate that is long enough to wrap over your rounded corner.
If necessary, leave (or cut) a 1/16" slot so you can install T moulding to overlap your laminate edge to discourage peeling.


The art was preinstalled so rounding the edges is probably not an option although because it is a full size cabinet with real t-molding that comes up to the surface it isn't really a problem. What is the problem is the acrylic sheet which raises the height even more and whose edges and cutouts you can feel while playing. But one thing I can do after getting a laminating quote is experiment with rounding off the acrylic sheet since it will be going in the trash anyway. Maybe some patient dremel work would do the trick. I'd be interested to see the torching method as well if anyone has links to a video somewhere.

Thought you were starting fresh- sorry!
Take Ken's advice. Just make sure you prep the surface properly so whatever you put down sticks.
What's that watermelon doing there?

Drakkorcia

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2021, 07:53:19 pm »
Self-stick clear mylar sheets would protect artwork.

Thanks Ken. I assume it would be installed like self adhesive artwork where you lay it down, squeegee wrinkles and trim the edges. And would you take an exacto and cut out the holes from underneath like I did when I cut out the artwork? Any installation advice would be helpful and appreciated as well as any recommendations or links to purchase.

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Re: Control Panel Coating
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2021, 12:02:34 pm »
Lots of great advice in here and I thank all of you for it. I recently made the decision to remove the kick panel art and before I ripped it off I did all kinds of tests; rubbing the vinyl, even scraping fingernails across it and it did no damage. Even though the art is not glossy or have a noticeable clear layer, the shops claims the artwork is laminated. I thought of reskinning the control panel someday anyway so I am going to take off the plexi and see what happens. If it rubs off like an A1UP I buy new art and start over.