Adding Text to ABS Project Boxes

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Thazatoon, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Thazatoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Could anyone recommend a good way of getting text onto an ABS project box. I checked out the price of silk screening and it was extortionate compared to the electronics inside the box.

    I've scoured half the internet trying to find some kind of transfer, metallic stickers or engraving method but come up zero every time. I really need the final box to look professional as it's on display all of the time, and I can't use laser jet stickers because they will peel too quickly.

    Letraset isn't an option because the time taken to add each letter would be prohibitive.

    I was wondering if there's any kind of material that you can laser jet and then heat apply, perhaps fix with a sealant of some kind?
  2. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    I don't know if it would work with ABS, but inkjet iron-on transfers work well with metal.
  3. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008
  4. cultclassic

    New Member

    Mar 10, 2009
    What's the volume are we talking about? I mean how many boxes?
  5. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Label makers are a god send. If you have one that will interface to a computer you can even use custom graphics.
  6. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    For ease, low cost, and funtionality, I suggest laser printing on clear label stock, like Avery's. Thermal label printers are nice, but are limited in graphics ability, like making dial markings. They have a nice advantage of being able to print white on clear, though.

    In the US, there is a supplier named HPS in Houston, TX. It sells a product called Papilio ( Papilio has a variety of labeling and art supplies that work with inkjet printers, including water-transfer decals, rub-on decals, and polyester films. I don't know if Papilio is international.

  7. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    I've had good luck with priming/painting the box white, then printing all the artwork on a trransparency in reverse, which is then glued onto the box. Final coat of Matte clear paint, and a one off looks like it was made in China!
  8. Thazatoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Thanks all. Been looking at the polyester labels and they are quite expensive at 4 Euros per sheet, but the clear ones look like they may work. I just wonder how adhesive they are. I'll get a sheet and find out.

    I need to do about 100 boxes over a period of a month. In reality, I could get away with just dial markings, but it would be nice to put a logo on too.

    I came across the decals a few times as mentioned, but is there any spray that will stop them from lifting?

    The only thing I can think of that may work is if I were to spray paint over a template directly onto the boxes, but I don't know of any paint that will stick properly to a gloss ABS box. Any suggestions?
  9. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    Papillo does sell a spray. I don't know how it would work on ABS. Hobbyists who make plastic models also use a decal fix for water-transferred decals. It is basically ether (diethyl ether) with maybe a little nitrocellulose or similar in it. Their substrate is usually polystyrene. Gloss ABS may be a problem.