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Old 28th May 2003, 15:08   #1
bard
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Guide: Making a "vandal resistant switch"

2008 Update: The pictures have been salvaged from the cyber scrapyard!

Vandal resistant switches from bulgin, especially those with lit rings around them, seem popular these days. I think these are great too, but I prefer making them myself. Not only are they much cheaper and satisfying, but one can also make them in custom sizes. So here's a guide to making your own Vandal Resistant Switch*.


This is how the bezel looked before I
filled the old button and LED holes
with putty and vinyl dyed the
whole thing. The big hole in the middle
is where the switch is going. I made that
with a spade drill bit.




Start off by measuring the desired diameter
of the switch you are going to make.



Then find a suitable piece of acrylic for making your button. This piece should be square. I recommend using thick acrylic; at least 5mm. Drill a ō2mm hole close to the middle of the piece of acrylic, all the way through. Then take a thicker drill bit and drill half way through the same hole. This must be done to ensure that the screw which is going through the piece will stay in place. If your screw is long enough, you can make only the 2mm hole.

This step can be skipped, but will lead to less filing work later on:
Use a hand saw/jigsaw to saw a rough circle or octagon out of the square acrylic.



Attach the acrylic to your rotary tool with the standard bit for
attaching accessories, such as cut-off discs and sanding discs.



To give the rough acrylic piece a perfect round shape, hold a file agains its side while it is spinning. Do not press the file against it, just hold it genty applying a light force to the spinning wheel. Start out at low RPM and increase as you get more confident.



This is how a piece looks after rounding it




As you may see from the picture above, the button is still clear, except for around the edge. To solve this, rub it on both sides with sand paper. Don't use too fine sand paper, as you will just make the piece clear again after a while, but make sure the surface is nice and smooth.




Now using epoxy or equivalent, glue a center piece over the hole in the middle. This can be made out of almost everything. You can even use glossy cardboard painted with vinyl dye/spray paint. If you are to use a coin, check with your country's law regulations about defacing coins. I am not encouraging law violations, and I do not take responsibility for your actions.



This is how the switch looks on a test run, lit up by
a 3000 MCD blue LED.



For attaching the switch, you can either make your own attachment bracket, or you can use the existing if you are not making a new front bezel. Use a regular power/reset momentary switch behind the new "vandal resistant" switch. This will also work as a spring for your switch. Attach this to the acrylic piece with epoxy.

Shown in the following pictures are how one of my mounting brackets is made:




The mounting bracket is made from a CD jewel case, but
any plastic/acrylic will work




This is how the switch is mounted on the back of the bezel.


This is how it looks on the front. Notice that huge gap
between the button edge and the hole edge?



To get rid of the gap between the hole and the switch,
I cut out a cardboard ring.




The cardboard ring was made from glossy cardboard and
painted with vinyl dye. One of the advantages of using cardboard is that it is flexible, in case your
bezel is slightly curved.



Now all you have to do is mount an LED behind the bezel, shining on the edge of the switch. If you want to get really advanced, you can make the button change color for HDD activity. You can e.g. have the button blue and have a red LED for HDD activity. This makes the button purple during HDD activty. Or do like I did, make the power LED go out during HDD activity, to make the switch go between red and blue. This is easily done by putting a diode between + on the power LED and ground (-) on the HDD LED. (Thanks to ZapWizard who taught me this).




Here are some pictures of the result. Do not hesitate using new colors of LEDs, making a square or even triangular switch instead of a round and just use your imagination.







* Switch may not be resistant to vandals.

Last edited by bard; 2nd Feb 2008 at 17:04. Reason: Fixing the broken picture links
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Old 28th May 2003, 15:22   #2
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Thanks, Bard.

I will be using this guide for the buttons on my Media PC
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Old 28th May 2003, 20:11   #3
malcs
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or.... you could buy one think i saw this on your PC mod is good tips though!! i think i might use this for my reset button
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Old 30th May 2003, 13:46   #4
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I love that switch, it looks really nice!

Last edited by thedevilspride; 30th May 2003 at 13:51.
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Old 30th May 2003, 17:02   #5
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I love it!Definately gonna make one and use it somewhere
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Old 30th May 2003, 18:06   #6
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Nice guide...

you could always use the Frosted effect paint if you have any, that would finish em off nicely.
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Old 31st May 2003, 13:38   #7
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nice mod can u make me 2 of them
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Old 31st May 2003, 22:10   #8
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I kind of made the guide so people could make them themselves...
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Old 1st Jun 2003, 23:08   #9
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Hey, this is great!

Only problem being I bought my vandal resistant buttons a month ago
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Old 1st Jun 2003, 23:10   #10
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Explain to me what a "vandal resistant switch" is. I've seen them, and i know what they look like, in fact been tempted to order a few, but whats so "vandal resistant" about them??
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Old 23rd Jun 2003, 22:40   #11
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i would like to know this too...

great buttons i might add
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Old 23rd Jun 2003, 23:29   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Green Soda
Explain to me what a "vandal resistant switch" is. I've seen them, and i know what they look like, in fact been tempted to order a few, but whats so "vandal resistant" about them??
Well the retail vandal resistant switches are just that, resistant to vandals. For instance, if you have a button on a cash till you don't want people to be able to unscrew it from the outside and fiddle around with the electronics, hence you use vandal resistant switches.

These ones aren't vandal resistant but are lit in the same style as the Bulgin vandal resistant ones
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Old 23rd Jun 2003, 23:37   #13
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Yep, they're meant to look like the Bulgins.
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Old 24th Jun 2003, 05:57   #14
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ah hah

now i get it...

where can i buy some not so pricy, but good looking switches??? n e 1 know?
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Old 24th Jun 2003, 10:22   #15
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Make one
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Old 24th Jun 2003, 15:58   #16
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im just looking for a good looking steel one
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Old 11th Nov 2003, 13:43   #17
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really nice guide - actually it gave me and idea on how to make rheobus plexi buttons - i just make lot`s of round ones and glue them together... (we don`t have plexi cylinders here )

but i have a question - i know some basic electronics but this circuit is having me hit a wall...
the power led has a constant voltage so since the diode between the positive power led and the negative hdd is active the hdd voltage differencial is 0 right? now 2 things worry me :
1. isn`t there an issue of current going back into the hdd mobo
connector? (i`m thinking the answer to this is no because of
again 0 V diff... - looking for confirmation)
2. when the hdd lead is given an active signal (negative
potential) isn`t there a short circuit between it and the power
led? isn`t that bad? i guess it`s supposed to neutralize the V
diff. between the power led leads but it also cancels out any
negative potential arriving @ hdd led?

bahhhhhhh i`m so confused i should get more sleep...
help anyone?
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Old 12th Nov 2003, 15:35   #18
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The reason this works is that the Negative side of the IDE is what trips the circuit. (Active Low)

The + side of the power LED will have a resistor so that will prevent any dangerous shorts.
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Old 14th Nov 2003, 03:41   #19
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sorry zap, can you maybe explain it in more depth - i know that the hdd signal is an active low one (was written in my question), perhaps i`m understanding this wrong as +/- junctions still confuse me as to exactly what is going on there... (are there electrons all over? do they flow ONLY from the + to - and so the current direction is - to +? etc...) anyways - so i took out my breadboard plugged one powersource of 5V and ran 2 leds of it and when i connected a diode between them as in the pic BOTH the leds went out, did the same only with 2 powersources - 1 connected to each led and each one was 5V - now put a diode between them as in the drawing and nothing happened...
did this again only with on powersource being 5V and the other 12V (thought maybe it`s the difference in potential that does it...)
and connected the diode like in the pic - once 12V(-) to 5V(+) and once 12V(+) to 5V(-) and still nothing happened so i maybe doing this wrong/understanding wrong.

help?
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Old 14th Nov 2003, 05:47   #20
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Let's assume your LED runs at 2volts (To keep things easy)

Your power LED runs all the time (Always on)
The diode that is shorting the PWR led's power source has only a 0.7volt drop.

So when the harddrive signal goes low, the current will flow through the diode and not the LED, turning the power LED off.
The HD led turns on at the same time, and is not shorted out, because it has it's own resistor on the + side.
Each LED needs it's own resistor.
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