Making Labels for Eurorack Panels

Topping off every N8 Eurorack Breadboard module is a pre-drilled panel with holes to match the layout of an N8 Eurorack Control Deck.

Using our label templates, and an inkjet printer, you can unleash your inner Jony Ive and dress your next DIY Eurorack module to impress.

The following tutorial explains how we created a label for a DIY ALFA AS3340 VCO built with the N8 Eurorack prototype system.

An Alfa AS3340 VCO Eurorack module built using solderable breadboard

N8 Label Template Files

N8 Eurorack label templates are SVG files created with Inkscape, but any SVG editor can be used to create your design.

The label template files contain four layers to help lay out your design. If you are using Inkscape, there are guides to help align elements to the holes in the panel.

The Background layer contains the block colour for your panel. This is intentionally larger than the panel to aid in cutting out the label. The red guides and panel outline layer mark the edges of the panel.

The Panel Outline layer shows the edges of the panel and the pre-drilled holes. This is useful for positioning elements relative to the holes, but make sure to hide it before printing.

Next up is the Text layer, this is where we add text labels and design elements like scales around our dials.

Finally, the Crop Marks layer will guide us in cutting out our label and aligning it on our panel.

Download the appropriate label template for your module and fire up your SVG editor of choice. 

Printing the label

Before printing your label, hide the Panel Outline layer and delete the centre marks for unused holes. We will not be mounting components between our four outputs in our example design, so we’ve removed the two centre makers between PLS, SAW and, TRI, SIN.

Labels can now be printed on sticky-backed paper or vinyl for direct application to the panel. However, we prefer to print on a glossy 180 gsm photo paper and use double-sided tape.

The thicker paper provides a more resilient covering for unused holes when combined with sticky-backed plastic. With good quality double-sided tape photo paper is less prone to ripping around the mounting holes, which can be an issue with thinner, adhesive-backed papers.

Let's talk about rack rash

Roughly cut out the label and apply double-sided tape to the rear.

Whether you’re printing on paper or vinyl, rack rash is gonna happen unless we toughen up our label. With the printed side upwards, add a layer of sticky-backed plastic securing the label to your cutting surface. The red outline shows where our sticky-backed plastic ends in our example.

A good quality sticky-backed vinyl designed for kitchen use is ideal. The thinner book covering type tends not to be tough enough. 

Peel back a couple of centimetres of the sticky-backed plastic’s backing and stick it to the cutting surface just above the label.

Carefully smooth the sticky-backed plastic over the label using a soft cloth while gradually removing the rest of the backing to ensure there are no air bubbles.

Cutting the label out

  1. With the label secured to the cutting surface by the sticky-backed plastic, use a scalpel or craft knife and metal ruler to cut along crop marks at each corner to the point where they would intersect. This is approx. 2mm from the end of each crop mark. It is helpful to align your ruler to two crop marks ( top and bottom, left and right ) to achieve a straight cut.
  2. Cut along the edges of your background colour to join the cuts along the crop marks.
  3.  Lift the label out of the frame and remove the frame and sticky-backed plastic from the cutting surface.

Apply the panel to the label

  1. Use masking tape to secure the label to the cutting surface, face down. Using a scalpel or craft knife and a metal ruler, carefully score the backing of the double-sided tape across the top and bottom of the wider section of the label.
  2. Position the panel on the label so that the corners align with the label’s four inner corners. Secure the panel along its top edge with masking tape.
  3. Using the masking tape as a hinge, lift the panel out of the way and remove the backing from the double-sided tape.
  4. Using the masking tape as a hinge, carefully press the panel onto the label, ensuring the panel’s corners still align with the label’s inner corners.
  5. With the panel and label still face down, use a scalpel or craft knife to trim the excess label by cutting along the panel’s edges. 

Cutout and keep

After trimming the excess label from the panel, turn it over and, using a soft cloth, rub it all over to ensure the label has fully adhered to the panel. Pay particular attention to the top and bottom edges near the mounting holes, as these will be very thin once the holes are cut out. 

Gently depress the label into any holes you intend to cut out to help the label adhere to the rim of the hole.

Using a sharp scalpel or small craft knife, carefully cut out each hole where a component will be mounted.

Cutting the holes from the front using a slight sawing motion as you run the blade around the hole works well.

Attach the panel to your N8 Synth Eurorack module

That’s it. All that is left to do is attach your finished panel to the N8 Control Deck for Eurorack and complete your DIY Eurorack module. 

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