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Modding How can I make these buttons?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by pilau, 12 Dec 2007.

  1. pilau

    pilau New Member

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    Hi, I have a question for you.

    I would like to have a certain style of buttons for my projects, and I hope you gurus can help me understand how to produce them. Take a look at this button:

    [​IMG]

    This is the exact style of the buttons I want. I want them to be round, black, with an icon in the middle, and a back-light which emmits only through the icon itself.

    Any ideas how can I make this?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. dragon2309

    dragon2309 techie

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    the only EASY way i can think of would be to make the entire button out of clear acrylic, then create an ultra precise stencil sorta thing, put that on the button and spray pain the remaining surface area black, take the stencil off and your left with just the icon of see through acrylic and the rest is opaque black, lighting it is just a case of popping a coloured LED behind it.

    drago2309
     
  3. Javerh

    Javerh Topiary Golem

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    Make a round button from opaque acrylic, drill and file the grooves and then fill them with resin.
     
  4. pilau

    pilau New Member

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    Thanks guys. Dragon's way is much simpler for me.
    Now rise 2 more questions: Where can I get clear acrilic buttons, and how can I make the stencils?

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Stuey

    Stuey You will be defenestrated!

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    You can make a stencil using frisket film or masking tape, or print something off the internet and tape it to the plastic.

    Unless you use a few coats of paint, light will seap through the portion that you wish to be opaque.

    I think Javerh's mehtod is a bit easier in the long run. If want to mask those little portions of an icon, you're going to have ot trim the mask/stencil by hand. Following Javerh's method, you could use opaque acrylic, etch away the portions you want to be lit up, and then add another piece of fluorescent or transparent acrylic behind it.

    The easier way to get the sizes you need is to purchase acrylic rods and then cut slivers from them. If you try to cut circles of of sheet acrylic, your circles will be extremely messy.
     
  6. pilau

    pilau New Member

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    Thanks! I think I'll go for the masking tape method.

    By the way, I don't have the tools and knowledge of making my own plastic buttons, maybe you know where can I buy clear round buttons?
     
  7. DarthDVD_AU

    DarthDVD_AU Whats a dremel compaired to a lazer

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    you mean something like this (sorry about how small the pic is)


    i wrestled with many different ways of doing a "under lit power symbol" power buttion..

    everything from painting it on..
    printing from a lazer printer to a overhead (clear) sheet.
    hand engraving.
     
    Last edited: 1 Jun 2008
  8. derbaum

    derbaum New Member

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    so you maybe share your wisdom with the rest of us miserable creatures lurkin for well thought and well made projects/experiments ?
     
  9. DarthDVD_AU

    DarthDVD_AU Whats a dremel compaired to a lazer

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    What i did was have a company lazer engrave my design onto a duel layered piece of plastic... (one side of it was clear the underside was black very thin)...
    After i had finished doing the design up over a few months... ill get you guys a pic of the buttion i have finished.
     
  10. lost_modder

    lost_modder New Member

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    would be neat to do with a brushed metal backing! I'm curious to see how the ones mentioned about work.
     
  11. RickDawson

    RickDawson Member

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    I'm interested in this too, for my Mini-ITX Hi-Fi.
     
  12. pilau

    pilau New Member

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    Woah! So many replies! It's good to hear of all these ways to make that button!

    Still, I'd like to know if there's any website where I can order clear acrylic buttons to make the stencils on. Maybe you know?
     
  13. Macros_the_Black

    Macros_the_Black Yup.. I'm a f-ing reptile

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    This is probably what I would have done, if only making one or two buttons.

    I've had an idea on how to do stuff like this for many years, but I've never gotten around to trying it out. Anyway, the idea is to use the stuff you use to etch your own circuit boards. From what little I've read you need the following:

    - Photo resist liquid
    - Developer liquid
    - Etching liquid
    - Acetone
    - Thin copper sheet / copper foil
    - Printer and transparent plastic sheets
    - Piece of window glass
    - UV lamp
    - Tap water :p

    This is how you would do it (if I'm mistaken, plz let me know):

    1. Apply the photo resist liquid onto the copper according to the instructions for the photo resist.
    2. Print your design onto the plastic sheets (either positive or negative depending on what kind of photo resist you have).
    3. Put your printed plastic sheet (you might need two or more taped on top of each other to make it completely opaque) on top of the copper sheet, and then place the window glass on top to keep everything flat and in place.
    4. Expose everything under the UV lamp for the required number of time units.
    5. Mix enough developer to be able to cover the copper sheet, and then develop the exposed copper sheet for the required number of time units. This will remove either the exposed or unexposed areas of the photo resist (positive/negative). Rinse thoroughly.
    6. Mix enough etching liquid to be able to cover the copper sheet, and then let the copper sheet etch until the areas to be removed have dissolved completely (but not longer than that!). Rinse thoroughly.
    7. Remove the photo resist with acetone.
    8. Paint the copper stencil, and then glue it to your acrylic button.
    Done! :cooldude:

    While this method might not be the best one if only making one button, it would be suitable for something like a cool keyboard mod with back light *hint hint* (this is what I originally intended to use this method for). Unless I find some laser engraver company with decent prices I might use this method for a project I'm planning atm.

    Good luck with your buttons!
     
  14. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

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    Laziest way I can think of (may require the button to be slightly recessed):

    1) Make button of clear acrylic
    2) use fine tipped tool to "engrave" the button
    3) side-light the button

    The whole button would be lit but the engraving should stand out quite well.
    Does not require modifications to the switch to accommodate backlighting

    Alternate lazy method:

    1) Make button of clear acrylic
    2) Paint button (several coats)
    3) use fine tipped tool to "engrave" the button - thus removing the paint

    Depending on the tool you use and the paint this may work but be prepared to make a few "practice" buttons.

    Other than that use one of the methods above (Javerh's suggestion gets my vote)
     
  15. DarthDVD_AU

    DarthDVD_AU Whats a dremel compaired to a lazer

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    I was going to do my buttons like "Macros_the_Black" was going to do it... but it was way to much work.

    you could ask me to sell you some of my 500+ odd buttions that i do have.... well... just the covers... ive got 250+ of the power one and ive got 250+ of the hdd-activity + reset button covers (to go over vandal resistant buttons with a lighted dot)
    say... does anyone have a trade account with rs-components.com?
     
  16. gnidnu

    gnidnu Beware of the Tofu!

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    Easy, precise and quick: Instead of engraving or masking, you may consider printing a foil on a laser printer. Leave those parts blank that shall be lit and place it behind round acrylic. Eventually, you may put translucent acrylic behind the other side of the foil to spread light more even.
     
  17. DarthDVD_AU

    DarthDVD_AU Whats a dremel compaired to a lazer

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    ghshgfsdn457fg
     
    Last edited: 1 Jun 2008
  18. pilau

    pilau New Member

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    All these method are neat and everything, but to apply them I have to get clear round buttons. Do you know where can I get them?
     
  19. gnidnu

    gnidnu Beware of the Tofu!

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    We'd like to tell, but do we know where you live? The answer merely depends on where your place of residence. Telling you a shop in the US would be useless if you were located in the UK ;) .
     
  20. DarthDVD_AU

    DarthDVD_AU Whats a dremel compaired to a lazer

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    [​IMG]
    This is what I've been using for my buttons
    I don't know where to get them from in Europe.


    plus the laser engraved covers for them.
    (local company did the engraving)
    if a backwater like Darwin has a place that engraves with a laser I'm sure you have tons of places there
    i was given a quote of about $10* per item (based on only getting 2 buttons engraved and not getting the plastic for it which was $75* extra as they didn't have the plastic at the time)

    light controller by http://topshelflabs.com/
    [​IMG]

    *Australian dollar (or the same value in beer)
     
    Last edited: 1 Jun 2008

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