Phi-panel face plates

Face plates are coming out! These are white 3mm acrylic face plates made from laser cutting. I didn’t choose color since I thought I could just paint the white to any color I wanted. Well, I don’t really have a spray painting can :((

If you want to make them, just leave a message here. I’ll be posting the design file in a while.

This is the design file in Corel Draw 11 (super old version). It should export into the .svg file for laser cutting at with the 180mm*180mm service (cheapest) if you also have Corel Draw. Otherwise, download the .svg file. I am not sure what software to use to modify .svg if you want some changes though.

To make it, set up an account at and choose acrylic (3mm thickness suggested).

Contains 2 16×2 face plate, 1 20×4 face plate, and one arduino uno support.

Corel Draw file:

Exported .svg file:

Suggested push buttons: EG1861-ND, caps: EG1882-ND, EG1881-ND, EG1880-ND. All these are part numbers. These are the cheapest ones I could find.
Suggested spacers: M3 thread 8mm spacing and M3 screw: 25509K-ND, H742-ND.

14 Responses to Phi-panel face plates

  1. Those are very cool – and yes, please post the design!

  2. John says:

    If you get them in clear acrylic (is that an option?!), you can paint the BACK of the panel (after cleaning with rubbing alcohol), and it’ll look great, even with a sub-par paint job.
    Since the paint goes totally flat/smooth onto the surface of the plastic, you don’t have to worry about small runs or orange peel on the face that you don’t see.

    You can also do lettering/labeling the same way with those stick on letter sets (backward ones of course!). Stick them on the backside, then paint over them.

    • liudr says:

      Thanks John! I can certainly order clear acrylic. So regarding paint, what type of paint do you recommend? I’ve never painted before. I’m thinking about using black acrylic and use a mask and spray white paint over the mask for lettering. Any suggestion is appreciated!

      • John says:

        Mask idea would be OK if it was BIG lettering (like 4″ tall!). Problem you’ll find is bleed under. I suspect all your letters will look fuzzy around the edges at the point size you’re looking at. Sticky labels would be great, but you can’t print on the sticky side.

        I used to go to a drafting supply store, where you could buy sheets of rub-on letters in a zillion fonts and sizes. Some were reversed, intended for use on the inside of a window (etc) so you could read it from the other side.

        As for paint – just don’t use lacquer as it might eat the plastic. Some paints also use harsh solvents like acetone, so stay away from those (read the label). Dust it on in very light layers to get it to flow out well and stick. Leave it to ‘flash’ a few minutes between coats. Have the plastic warm, and your paint also warm (80-100F is good! Don’t do it in a cold garage for example). You can’t have too clean a surface.

        If you’re at all unsure of your paint though (or your technique!), by ALL MEANS practice on a scrap sample.

      • liudr says:

        Great! Thanks. I have saved a few scrap pieces just for that.

  3. Duane says:

    I would be interested in the “2004” faceplate!

  4. Mike says:

    The button caps on the digikey site show the buttons that they are intended to be used with and they are all square buttons. My LCD keypad (and all that I have seen) have round buttons. Do these caps work with round buttons (or were yours square)? Did you have to epoxy them on?


    • liudr says:


      Thanks for the comment. Yes, the buttons have square actuators. No, the button caps are NOT square, they are round as pictured on They are round with square holes in the bottom to perfectly match the square actuators. I have bags of them in my home. I’ve been using these parts for a while. If I didn’t know they would match I would not have listed the part numbers. I’ve got wrong ones before, FYI.

      • Mike says:

        Yeah I already bought and received the caps. Unfortunately, I can’t force the round pegs into the square holes! 😉

        I bought 50 of them… Oh well.

        Mine is an arduino project. I’m trying to use the ubiquitous 16×2 lcd keypad shields. I have a bunch of them but the buttons are too short to make it through the mounting. I have some 6mm buttons, but I’m not a good enough technician to get the buttons out without destroying the board (I tried). Guess I’ll just have to ditch the ready made shield and put the parts together in a manner that will work for me. Thanks.

  5. liudr says:


    I see. I thought you had my phi-panel. Do you have solder sucker and solder braid? You can remove the buttons and replace them with the ones that have square actuators. The process takes patience. Sometimes it is counterintuitive. When you have only a tiny bit of solder holding on to the part, you ADD more solder before you suck again.

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