For home/DIY projects, it doesn’t matter how good the internals are. If the externals don’t have a quality finish, then you will always be that little bit disappointed. Here is how to be NOT disappointed.
A common problem with many home/DIY/enthusiast electronics projects is the quality of their final appearance. It doesn’t matter how good the internals are; if the externals don’t portray a quality “product”, then you will always be that little bit disappointed and left wondering if it could be better presented.
Most home/DIY electronics projects have some sort of human interface: buttons, switched, LEDS, indicators, buzzers/speakers, and of course displays. Displays are low cost and it’s usually a good idea to add a display so you can see what is happening and to check status.
But adding a display often means cutting a messy hole on your project box (or panel) and it never looks great, especially if you have to use visible screws to hold the display in place.
Bezels to the rescue
A display bezel will finish off your project nicely, and will give it a more “professional” touch!
An example project – the motor controller
We wanted to make a motor controller for a home project, and decided to use an Arduino Pro Micro as the controller CPU. The main aesthetic problem was that we needed to display a range of data and status information. A 0.96” 126×64 OLED would be adequate, but because we wanted to view the screen from a distance, we wanted something bigger. We decided to use a 128×64 pixel LCD display (with an ST7920 controller). It had the same resolution as the 096” OLED but was bigger (about 3” diagonally as opposed to 0.96”).
Options for mounting the display
We could have simply cut a hole and used screws though the front panel. But that would mean we would have visible screw heads and an untidy rectangular hole for the display.
We could have mounted the display on stand-offs (on the PCB) but that was awkward and it still needed the untidy hole.
We decided to use a bezel. This particular bezel held the LCD display in place with four screws (at the rear of the bezel) and the bezel itself was glued (we used a gel superglue) into the (rather untidy) rectangular hole in the front. This bezel has two nice features:
1) The screws were not visible from the front of the project box
2) The front of the bezel overlaps the untidy hole – this hiding it!
The final appearance
You will see that the bezel gives a much better “look and feel” over a simple (untidy) hole in the box with unsightly screws.
A bezel adds to the cost of a project. However, it seems to be worth it given the final appearance. We are pleased with the final project, and especially that way it nicely presents our motor data.