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Custom Keypad Layout

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  • mikemclaren6502
    Greetings, guys. Just came across a brilliant idea from a 2013 post where Lee suggested using a mylar overlay for a custom keypad. I love this idea but I
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 23, 2014
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    Greetings, guys.

    Just came across a brilliant idea from a 2013 post where Lee suggested using a mylar overlay for a custom keypad.  I love this idea but I wonder; (1) does anyone know where you can find white opaque mylar sheet?, and (2) can anyone suggest an ideal/optimum key layout?

    Cheerful regards, Mike
  • Mark Graybill
    I ve used acrylic and polypropylene sheet with copper tape myself. It s commonly available. Tap Plastics, Amazon, etc. I m going to look at the Magic White
    Message 2 of 12 , Mar 24, 2014
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      I've used acrylic and polypropylene sheet with copper tape myself. It's commonly available. Tap Plastics, Amazon, etc. I'm going to look at the 'Magic White Board' sheets for overlays next time, I'm thinking it'll lay on the top surface of the homebrew keypad.

      On Mar 23, 2014 7:56 AM, <mikemclaren6502@...> wrote:
       
      [Attachment(s) from mikemclaren6502@... included below]

      Greetings, guys.


      Just came across a brilliant idea from a 2013 post where Lee suggested using a mylar overlay for a custom keypad.  I love this idea but I wonder; (1) does anyone know where you can find white opaque mylar sheet?, and (2) can anyone suggest an ideal/optimum key layout?

      Cheerful regards, Mike
    • Lee Hart
      ... There are companies that sell custom mylar overlays if you want a professional job done. Kind of like the short-run PC board houses, you send them the
      Message 3 of 12 , Mar 24, 2014
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        mikemclaren6502@... wrote:
        > [Attachment(s) <#TopText> from mikemclaren6502@... included below]
        >
        > Greetings, guys.
        >
        > Just came across a brilliant idea from a 2013 post where Lee suggested
        > using a mylar overlay for a custom keypad. I love this idea but I
        > wonder; (1) does anyone know where you can find white opaque mylar
        > sheet?, and (2) can anyone suggest an ideal/optimum key layout?

        There are companies that sell custom mylar overlays if you want a
        professional job done. Kind of like the short-run PC board houses, you
        send them the artwork and they make the labels. Expensive for one, but
        good if you want a dozen or a hundred.

        You can also make them yourself, with a bit more trouble. You can buy
        mylar sheets at art supply stores. I've used sheets of drafting mylar,
        intended to make traditional pen-and-ink drawings. Print your artwork on
        an inkjet printer, or (better) get a color photograph of it. Sandwich
        your artwork between two layers of mylar to get an overlay that is tough
        and good looking.

        There are also label-printers that make adhesive-backed tape labels.
        These can be stuck onto mylar to label the keys. But I've found the
        lettering wear off, unless you cover it with clear tape.

        --
        In life’s great adventures, keep in mind thy cause.
        Be neither moved by critics, nor multitude’s applause.
        -- Nasreddin
        --
        Lee Hart's EV projects are at http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm
      • mikemclaren6502
        Mark, Lee. Thanks for the replies... ... That gives me an idea... Is there such a thing as thin adhesive backed clear mylar sheet? That way I could print a
        Message 4 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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          Mark, Lee.  Thanks for the replies...

          >Lee said;
          >There also label-printers that make adhesive-backed tape labels. 
          >These can be stuck onto mylar to label the keys. But I've found the 
          >lettering wear off, unless you cover it with clear tape.

          That gives me an idea...  Is there such a thing as thin adhesive backed clear mylar sheet?  That way I could print a color keypad legend on regular paper and apply the mylar to the front and back of the sheet to stiffen it up slightly.  

          If I can find the pieces to make this work it would allow me to make a nice custom keypad for a future ELF project as well as my KIM-1 clone project.

          Cheerful regards, Mike

          ps: work on the first Pocket ELF prototype is going slowly.  I'm in the process of wiring up a prototype board using 30 gauge Kynar wire.  It has the push-button switches and 3mm bi-color LEDs installed and sockets for the 40-pin CDP1802ACE and 40-pin PIC microcontroller.
        • Raymond Siminas
          I don t know about adhesive mylar, but there is clear contact shelf paper (I have a couple of rolls ordered from Home Depot) that could be cut to standard
          Message 5 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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            I don't know about adhesive mylar, but there is clear contact shelf paper (I have a couple of rolls ordered from Home Depot) that could be cut to standard paper size, then placed in an inkjet printer (I wouldn't try it in a laser printer though) and print on that.
             
             


            From: "mikemclaren6502@..." <mikemclaren6502@...>
            To: cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:34 AM
            Subject: [cosmacelf] Re: Custom Keypad Layout

             
            Mark, Lee.  Thanks for the replies...

            >Lee said;
            >There also label-printers that make adhesive-backed tape labels. 
            >These can be stuck onto mylar to label the keys. But I've found the 
            >lettering wear off, unless you cover it with clear tape.

            That gives me an idea...  Is there such a thing as thin adhesive backed clear mylar sheet?  That way I could print a color keypad legend on regular paper and apply the mylar to the front and back of the sheet to stiffen it up slightly.  

            If I can find the pieces to make this work it would allow me to make a nice custom keypad for a future ELF project as well as my KIM-1 clone project.

            Cheerful regards, Mike

            ps: work on the first Pocket ELF prototype is going slowly.  I'm in the process of wiring up a prototype board using 30 gauge Kynar wire.  It has the push-button switches and 3mm bi-color LEDs installed and sockets for the 40-pin CDP1802ACE and 40-pin PIC microcontroller.


          • mikemclaren6502
            ... That s what I m doing now for plastic laminated paper silkscreens. I m using two inch wide clear plastic shipping tape but it leaves a rather unsightly
            Message 6 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
            >Lee said:
            > Even good ol' Scotch magic tape would work.

            That's what I'm doing now for plastic laminated paper silkscreens.  I'm using two inch wide clear plastic shipping tape but it leaves a rather unsightly seam when I'm laminating something wider than the two inch width of the tape.


          • mikemclaren6502
            ... Those are my concerns as well, Lee. That s why I m looking for another solution. I was hoping to take advantage of one of our group members who may have
            Message 7 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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              >Lee wrote:
              >That works great for short-term labels. But do you have any old 
              >cardboard boxes that used it, especially ones that were exposed to 
              >sunlight? You'll see that the adhesive yellows and lets go over time, 
              >leaving behind an ugly mess. It really isn't intended for long-term usage.

              Those are my concerns as well, Lee.  That's why I'm looking for another solution.  I was hoping to take advantage of one of our group members who may have experience trying different materials for this purpose.  
            • Lee Hart
              ... Certainly. I googled mylar labels and got dozens of companies that make them. You can get adhesive backed mylar and polyester label material in just
              Message 8 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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                mikemclaren6502@... wrote:
                > Is there such a thing as thin adhesive backed clear mylar sheet?

                Certainly. I googled "mylar labels" and got dozens of companies that
                make them. You can get adhesive backed mylar and polyester label
                material in just about any size, shape, and color imaginable. They are
                intended to print on with laser and inkjet printers.

                For durability, you'd probably want to sandwich your label text between
                two sheets. The bottom one can be any background color you like. Print
                your text on it. The top one should then be clear, with either a matte
                or glossy finish. Even good ol' Scotch magic tape would work.

                --
                Life is basically simple. Yo do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
                You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
                Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.
                -- Leonardo Da Vinci
                --
                Lee Hart's EV projects are at http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm
              • Lee Hart
                ... Same here. I wouldn t want to risk murdering my printer by feeding it a material that could gum up the works. Besides, there are lots of labels already
                Message 9 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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                  Raymond Siminas wrote:
                  > I don't know about adhesive mylar, but there is clear contact shelf
                  > paper (I have a couple of rolls ordered from Home Depot) that could be
                  > cut to standard paper size, then placed in an inkjet printer (I wouldn't
                  > try it in a laser printer though) and print on that.

                  Same here. I wouldn't want to risk murdering my printer by feeding it a
                  material that could gum up the works.

                  Besides, there are lots of labels already sold that are intended to be
                  run through inkjet and laser printers.

                  Thin flimsy material is fine for a simple label. But if it's going over
                  a keyboard, it has to flex and move as you press the keys through it.
                  This is where mylar is better than other cheaper materials. It's very
                  tough and flexible.

                  For a keypad, I also think you will want a significantly thicker
                  material, so it won't "dimple" around the switch actuator.
                  --
                  Life is basically simple. Yo do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
                  You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
                  Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.
                  -- Leonardo Da Vinci
                  --
                  Lee Hart's EV projects are at http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm
                • Lee Hart
                  ... That works great for short-term labels. But do you have any old cardboard boxes that used it, especially ones that were exposed to sunlight? You ll see
                  Message 10 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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                    mikemclaren6502@... wrote:
                    > I'm using two inch wide clear plastic shipping tape...

                    That works great for short-term labels. But do you have any old
                    cardboard boxes that used it, especially ones that were exposed to
                    sunlight? You'll see that the adhesive yellows and lets go over time,
                    leaving behind an ugly mess. It really isn't intended for long-term usage.

                    --
                    Life is basically simple. Yo do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
                    You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
                    Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.
                    -- Leonardo Da Vinci
                    --
                    Lee Hart's EV projects are at http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm
                  • Raymond Siminas
                    And I would certainly use another piece on top of the printed one just to keep the legends from wearing off, which would be a real problem.  I ve made keypads
                    Message 11 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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                      And I would certainly use another piece on top of the printed one just to keep the legends from wearing off, which would be a real problem.  I've made keypads with a printed circuit board turned upside down with the patterns of the keys switches and traces etched into it.  Next layer is a transparency sheet with holes over the switch contacts.  On top of that is an adhesive backed sheet with aluminum foil discs big enough to cover the openings in the mylar sheet underneath for the switch contacts on the adhesive side and the legends printed on the non adhesive side.  On top of that is a bare adhesive sheet placed over the legends.  Not exactly the most elegant looking, but it worked for me.  I used to do this when I couldn't find a pre-made keypad for what I needed at the time or was too expensive at the time.
                       
                       


                      From: Lee Hart <leeahart@...>
                      To: cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:12 AM
                      Subject: Re: [cosmacelf] Re: Custom Keypad Layout - from a lurker

                       
                      Raymond Siminas wrote:
                      > I don't know about adhesive mylar, but there is clear contact shelf
                      > paper (I have a couple of rolls ordered from Home Depot) that could be
                      > cut to standard paper size, then placed in an inkjet printer (I wouldn't
                      > try it in a laser printer though) and print on that.

                      Same here. I wouldn't want to risk murdering my printer by feeding it a
                      material that could gum up the works.

                      Besides, there are lots of labels already sold that are intended to be
                      run through inkjet and laser printers.

                      Thin flimsy material is fine for a simple label. But if it's going over
                      a keyboard, it has to flex and move as you press the keys through it.
                      This is where mylar is better than other cheaper materials. It's very
                      tough and flexible.

                      For a keypad, I also think you will want a significantly thicker
                      material, so it won't "dimple" around the switch actuator.
                      --
                      Life is basically simple. Yo do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
                      You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
                      Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.
                      -- Leonardo Da Vinci
                      --
                      Lee Hart's EV projects are at http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm


                    • Lee Hart
                      ... Well, Scotch brand magic tape seems to be just about immortal. I have pieces of it stuck on things well over 20 years old. It never seems to yellow or
                      Message 12 of 12 , Mar 25, 2014
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                        mikemclaren6502@... wrote:
                        >> cardboard box packing tape... isn't intended for long-term usage.

                        > Those are my concerns as well, Lee. That's why I'm looking for another
                        > solution. I was hoping to take advantage of one of our group members who
                        > may have experience trying different materials for this purpose.

                        Well, Scotch brand "magic" tape seems to be just about immortal. I have
                        pieces of it stuck on things well over 20 years old. It never seems to
                        yellow or fall off. In fact, the adhesive seems to get even stronger
                        with age. It is next to impossible to get old "magic" tape off from things!

                        --
                        Life is basically simple. Yo do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
                        You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
                        Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.
                        -- Leonardo Da Vinci
                        --
                        Lee Hart's EV projects are at http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm
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