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Author Topic: Button labels for translucent buttons  (Read 4440 times)

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pod

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Button labels for translucent buttons
« on: September 13, 2007, 12:48:40 am »
Hi all, this weekend I embarked on a project to upgrade my cp to Happ style translucent buttons and add a few permanent controls on my back panel. Not very prototypical, but very bling. I wanted the controls to be labelled and backlit, but easily changable when I decided to do so. The inserts I have seen looked limited in selection, so I thought I'd try to make some myself. They turned out pretty nice and didn't cost too much... Here's what I did...

1) Get some ink jet transparency film from Office Max or the like... make sure it is the kind made for inkjets that is rough on one side. This is the side you print on. I tried white paper, sticker paper, and a couple of other types and found the transparency film seemed to hold the ink better than the others and provide the cleanest edges.
2) Get some thin sheet styrene from a local hobby shop. I used 0.012" thickness, as thin as I could find. One small sheet for around $0.99 is plenty. This is used to make diffusers so the light doesn't blast through the button cap and into your eyeball as you are about to challenging stage yourself to a new high score in galaga 88. Another option I tried was the frosted glass type spray paint sold at Home Depot etc... this makes for a nice sparkly effect to the light shining through the button if your into that sort of thing.
3) Also while at the hobby store, pick up some super thin cyanoacrylate and optionally some accelerator (see pic below). Make sure to get the super thin kind. You will only use a tiny bit for this project so get the smallest bottle you can... it will come in handy around the house. Superglue probably would also work if you can find some that is very thin. The thinner it is the better it wicks between the pieces being glued.
4)  Make a template in photoshop, etc. for your label size... The labels will go inside the button cap. In my case I got some Happ translucent buttons from Lizard Lick so 15mm round inserts that contain the label(s), pics, etc were perfect. You can download my hastily done file here if you have similar buttons...  (for photoshop CS2, very rough and unfriendly to work with, but it got the job done :))

http://home.comcast.net/~joedoubek/Button_Labels.psd

5) Print out 2 copies of the file onto transparency. I had to overlap 2 copies to really block the light in the black areas, I wanted them to be completely opaque. You may find in your case it works, or at least still looks nice with only one. 
 


6) Cut out each label as a square. Leave the bottom of one slightly shorter than the other to make them easy to pry apart. I had some luck doing a couple labels at a time. Line them up with your fingers on one side and pry them apart slightly, placing a drop of cyanoacrylate between them, then let them come back together so the cyano wicks between them, being carefully not to get any on your fingers or on the outside of the displayed areas of the label (cyano will glue your fingers together  :'(). You can squirt a little insta-set accelerator on the assembly to instantly setup the glue, or just give it a couple minutes to dry. You will have a few seconds to make any last second alignments after applying the glue. It didn't cause any harm to get a little of the accelerator on the inkjetted ink part btw, it drys right off (don't smear it though if you do, just let it dry).




7) After the glue sets for a minute or two, cut the circular label out with a pair of scissors. I found they didn't have to be super accurate roundness wise so using an x-acto and being very careful wasn't really necessary, when they are inserted in the button the cap provides a nice look even if they are sloppily cut out because it sortof masks the edge. It's best to make them a little smaller than the inside diameter of the button so they just fall out when you turn it upside down. This makes them easier to test fit, adjust to appear horizontal in the cabinet, and change later on a whim.
8) Now use one of your new labels as a circular template to draw a bunch of circles on the white styrene material. Drawn one for every button you want to have a diffuser. I ended up putting these in all my non-labelled translucent buttons as well to diffuse the bright lights shining up through the button. Again, cut these out with scissors, accuracy isn't too important, and keep them smaller than the button so they can be removed easily. I found it helpful to have a button taken apart nearby to test fit them.
9) Now just pop each button apart, insert the label, then the diffuser (or only the diffuser if the button doesn't have a label) and the spring. In the case of the labelled buttons, flip the button cap  upright and tap the button cap while twisting the spring to align the label orientation to the outer button house if it matters in your case (here making the labels smaller than the button cap so they are loose fitting pays off). Once you are happy, pop the button cap back in the housing and you are done :)

This method is a little work but the really do look quite nice and the ability to customize or change them anytime pays for the hour or so it takes to make them. Here some examples from my cab:







« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 01:07:58 am by pod »

Neilyboy

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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2007, 07:42:43 am »
Wow, very nice write up and sharp looking CP. I feel I may have to do this since whatshisname? isnt around and selling these anymore. I like how it turned out man! Thanks for the info. I was wondering what my ol' ink-jet would be handy for. This may be it.

Neil

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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 04:52:38 pm »
Slick. If I were to ever make another cab, I'd probably go the translucent button route.

pod

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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2007, 12:35:34 am »
Thanks guys, my original cabinet had the regular Happ buttons but I got an urge a couple weeks ago to convert it to backlit buttons after seeing the great things people have done with the LEDWiz... I'm glad I did, it really does add to the appeal (for me anyway). My old cab was just looking a little drab. Here's a before and after (the pictures really don't do the LEDWiz lit buttons justice btw)...

Before...


After...




sikarkades

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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2007, 05:31:31 pm »
Looks great! Did the buttons come with microswitches?

pod

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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2007, 01:19:56 am »
Looks great! Did the buttons come with microswitches?

Yep, they come with Cherry microswitches. I got them from here...
http://www.lizardlickamusements.com/pages/pushbuttons.shtml

shilmover

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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2007, 09:57:55 pm »
Yep, they come with Cherry microswitches. I got them from here...
http://www.lizardlickamusements.com/pages/pushbuttons.shtml

Pod, where did you get the LEDs?  how did you hook them up?
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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2007, 06:27:35 am »
Awesome writeup and thanks for the psd

shilmover

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Re: Button labels for translucent buttons
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2007, 06:45:03 am »
Yep, they come with Cherry microswitches. I got them from here...
http://www.lizardlickamusements.com/pages/pushbuttons.shtml

Pod, where did you get the LEDs?  how did you hook them up?

Pod, can you post how you got this going?  I love the translucent buttons but have no idea how to wire them up.
My projects...

Finished:  Stargate (only 'cause I got it that way)
In progress:  Tron, 48-in-1 for School Auction, DKJr (currently a 60-in-1), Millipede, MAME System