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#247999 - 29/01/2005 03:46 Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc.
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
Iíve been working to create metal buttons to match our new fascias. The goal is aluminum with a finish of polished, brushed, or anodized. I need a reality check, though, because Iíve been staring at the many options for too long. Please let me know if you have any interest, preference, opinions, feedback, or ideas.


First, the four buttons, since they are definite. There will be a colored lighting option available, and Iíll have prototype pictures up this weekend. The colors may be user changeable using the same metal buttons.

Here are the processes. Each has good and bad things, but check out the last option; finished plastic, aluminum or chrome coated, painting at last resort. Iím starting to like that more and more.

Investment Casting -
Good: Recreation of original, very good detail, not too expensive.
Bad: Not ready till April or May, maybe not even possible.

Plaster Casting -
Good: Original or new design, ready before April, good detail.
Bad: Expensive.

Machining -
Good: Original or new design, ready before April, not too expensive?, possibility for a new knob.
Bad: Rough detail?, may be very heavy?

Finished Plastic (metal coated / painted) -
Good: Recreation of original, perfect detail, very affordable, MANY options.
Bad: Not ready till April, not real aluminum, may wear off?, may bind with fascia.


The knobs are less definite. We could have the originals, a lit modification of the originals (prototypes soon), a recreation of 303ís NewKnob, or an entirely new design. The originals would be cast or painted plastic while the new design would be machined. I have to do more work to find the most cost effective solution.

Thanks again for any input. Check back in the next few days for photos of prototypes.
_________________________
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FireFox31
110gig MKIIa (30+80), Eutronix lights, 32 meg stacked RAM, Filener orange gel lens, Greenlights Lit Buttons green set

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#248000 - 29/01/2005 05:03 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
peakmop
journeyman

Registered: 02/07/2004
Posts: 95
Loc: 384400 km from the Moon
My opinion on this project:
I would prefer to have buttons made either using Investment casting or Plaster casting. If Investment casting is not possible, then Plaster casting would be the way to go, even if it might be somewhat expensive. I wouldn't want to put some low quality buttons (or painted plastic for that matter) on the empeg. Especially if aluminum faceplate becomes available, and it looks like webroach is doing pretty good job on those, it would not be a good combination.
With regards to the buttons' design, they could have some embossed/beveled profile outlining some soft of embedded arrow or round circle (a point). Or, going even further, the buttons could have small transparent plastic inserts for the lighting kit.
Regarding the knob, it's possible to go with machining process if it gives good results in recreating 303's NewKnob, though I'm not familiar with the process he used.
One thing need to keep in mind that these buttons/knobs eventually have to be compatible with lighting kit and aluminum fascia.

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#248001 - 29/01/2005 06:47 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
mtempsch
pooh-bah

Registered: 02/06/2000
Posts: 1990
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
Quote:
Iíve been working to create metal buttons to match our new fascias. The goal is aluminum with a finish of polished, brushed, or anodized. I need a reality check, though, because Iíve been staring at the many options for too long. Please let me know if you have any interest, preference, opinions, feedback, or ideas.


Definately interested - not at any price tho

Quote:

First, the four buttons, since they are definite. There will be a colored lighting option available, and Iíll have prototype pictures up this weekend. The colors may be user changeable using the same metal buttons.

Here are the processes. Each has good and bad things, but check out the last option; painting plastic. Iím starting to like that more and more.

Investment Casting -
Good: Very good detail, not too expensive.
Bad: Not ready till April or May, maybe not even possible.

Plaster Casting -
Good: Ready before April, good detail.
Bad: Expensive.

Machining -
Good: Ready before April, not too expensive?, possibility for a new knob.
Bad: Rough detail?, may be very heavy?

Painting Plastic Parts -
Good: Perfect detail, very affordable, MANY options.
Bad: Not ready till April, not real aluminum, may wear off?, may bind with fascia.



As to the casting processes I have no idea. Machining with a good high speed (rpm) mill should be able to give a finish far smoother than the stock plastic parts... doubt they'd be too heavy - unless made of lead or depleted uranium.

Painting... nah... real metal is sooo preferable... Unless it's the only economically realistic option and the durability is good enough.

Quote:

The knobs are less definite. We could have the originals, a lit modification of the originals (prototypes soon), a recreation of 303ís NewKnob, or an entirely new design. The originals would be cast or painted plastic while the new design would be machined. I have to do more work to find the most cost effective solution.



I really like my 303 "Gatlin style" knob in black (don't know how many, if any other at all, were made - specifically asked for asked for this mod to the original (as seen on his web pages)) with semicurcular fairly deep cutouts along the perimeter between each of the holes for light (I'll see if I can dig up the drawing I sent to Tim when I asking if it could be done, as well as a pic...), it gives better grip than the smooth design and IMO a bit more interesting - find the smooth design a skosh boring. But AFAIUI these knobs would be bigger in diameter than 303s. so it might not look good at all, but open for completely different designs
Quote:

Thanks again for any input. Check back in the next few days for photos of prototypes.
_________________________
/Michael

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#248002 - 30/01/2005 22:42 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: mtempsch]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
One more vote of interest for real metal if it can be done at a reasonable cost. I would have assumed machining would be the way to go, but I'm not familiar with the other processes mentioned.

Edit: And I'm not particularly interested in lit metal buttons (how would you do that anyway?). Just solid metal in a contrasting color (black, dark grey?) to whatever options we end up with from webroach's facia product.

-Mike


Edited by mcomb (30/01/2005 22:45)
_________________________
EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#248003 - 31/01/2005 15:28 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
Mach
old hand

Registered: 15/07/2002
Posts: 826
Loc: Texas, USA
What about stamped caps? You could do very thin metal stamped or cut to the shape of the buttons. That way you could also get light through and around the metal if desired.



Attachments
247446-metalbutton.jpg (348 downloads)


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#248004 - 31/01/2005 17:30 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: Mach]
mtempsch
pooh-bah

Registered: 02/06/2000
Posts: 1990
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
Quote:
What about stamped caps? You could do very thin metal stamped or cut to the shape of the buttons. That way you could also get light through and around the metal if desired.




Hmmm, that looks quite interesting - also for my current round butttons on my y303 fascia!
_________________________
/Michael

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#248005 - 06/02/2005 16:02 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2405
Loc: Roma, Italy
I am quite interested too! I've been looking for metal buttons for a year, now. Unfortunately, I am really not an expert in casting.
I'd definitely buy a chrome set (or close-to chrome, of course)
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#248006 - 27/02/2005 21:11 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
I thought of a big problem with 100% metal buttons:
If you have a lighting kit installed, the metal button could easily short out the two LED leads on either side of the button shaft. Doesn't seem good.

The only alternative is using the plastic Farnell caps and creating aluminum button caps to fit on them. This should reduce the cost A LOT and decrease production time.

BUT, it's two pieces glued together, which I've never liked. Will they fall apart? What bonds metal to plastic, because that can't be easy.

Well, let me know what you think. I am finalizing CADs for this design and will have some price estimated fairly soon. I could even have them produced pretty quickly if they are as simple as I plan.

(I realized this about 3 weeks ago, when I last worked on the metal button project. I'll create the mock-ups of the lit options for metal buttons, in the next few days.)
_________________________
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FireFox31
110gig MKIIa (30+80), Eutronix lights, 32 meg stacked RAM, Filener orange gel lens, Greenlights Lit Buttons green set

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#248007 - 27/02/2005 21:52 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
SonicSnoop
addict

Registered: 29/06/2002
Posts: 531
Loc: Triangle, VA
I dont know a whole lot bout what it takes for molding stuff but couldnt you make the metal button cap have some sort of T shaped shaft on the back of it and mold the rest of the button over top of that shaft to hold the metal cap on so you dont have to worry bout glue?
_________________________
-D Modifying and Tweaking is a journey, not a destination................................ MKIIa : 60gig - 040103286 - Blue - v2 + PCATS tuner MKIIa : 20gig - 040103260 - Blue - v3a8 + Mark Lord Special Edition Cherry Dock

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#248008 - 28/02/2005 03:25 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Quote:
If you have a lighting kit installed, the metal button could easily short out the two LED leads on either side of the button shaft.

I'm going to vote for "don't care" in this instance. Others may be less inclined to do so, however.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#248009 - 28/02/2005 04:33 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
mtempsch
pooh-bah

Registered: 02/06/2000
Posts: 1990
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
Quote:
I thought of a big problem with 100% metal buttons:
If you have a lighting kit installed, the metal button could easily short out the two LED leads on either side of the button shaft. Doesn't seem good.



Haven't done any calculations and got to go, but it might not be too bad thanks to the current limiting resitors in the [annoyingly hard to solder] resistor pack...
_________________________
/Michael

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#248010 - 03/03/2005 13:57 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
Qtqc
stranger

Registered: 12/02/2004
Posts: 87
I would be interested in a set. Not interested in the lights to much. Im in for best quality and price doesn't really matter.

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#248011 - 06/03/2005 05:23 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
Here are those metal button light option mockups I promised. I used plastic buttons because I don't have metal yet:

The design goals are:
Add colored lighting to metal buttons.
Minimum disruption to the beautiful metal surface.
Allow colors to be changed.
Keep it simple to keep costs down.

The red on the left are 3mm end glow fiber rods. The green on the right are 1.5mm end glow fiber rods. They are long enough to be close to the LEDs, but not touching, even when the button is pressed. I had no idea how to polish the ends, so they could be even brigher if done right.

The rods are simply pushed into holes of (almost) the same size. They are not glued so they can be popped out and replaced with other colors.

Does this modification satisfy your metal + lighting needs? I could buy a drill press and make this modification as requested. Or, with enough interest, have the machine shop punch a certain amount. I plan to include a full rainbow kit of lighting rods; one set of each color, so you'll have them when you need them.

Then the size question: 3mm or 1.5mm or either? Allowing for either would work with enough interest. Otherwise, it's best to choose one size for all lighting rods.

I hope this give you the best of both worlds. Let me know what you think.



Attachments
250651-pinholes.jpg (649 downloads)

_________________________
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FireFox31
110gig MKIIa (30+80), Eutronix lights, 32 meg stacked RAM, Filener orange gel lens, Greenlights Lit Buttons green set

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#248012 - 06/03/2005 05:43 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
RobotCaleb
pooh-bah

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 1866
Loc: Austin
i say 1.5mm

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#248013 - 06/03/2005 18:07 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: RobotCaleb]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Ditto on the 1.5mm.

Kick ass FF.
_________________________
Brad B.

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#248014 - 06/03/2005 23:44 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13506
Loc: Canada
I think the larger fibre looks better, though your prototypes have it drilled off-centre, which may be affecting viewers' judgements.

Cheers

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#248015 - 07/03/2005 09:12 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: mlord]
pgrzelak
carpal tunnel

Registered: 15/08/2000
Posts: 4859
Loc: New Jersey, USA
What might like quite nice (but I am certain would be extremely difficult to do and make look good without some very precise drilling) would be to have three small rods in a row slightly spaced so that it would give a directional line effect on the "long" buttons and the larger rod in the top round button.
_________________________
Paul Grzelak
200GB with 48MB RAM, Illuminated Buttons and Digital Outputs

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#248016 - 07/03/2005 17:10 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: pgrzelak]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
I was going to suggest the same thing, but with only two holes instead of three. Great idea!

Make it so. My ideal installation would have the rod look very close to the button around it with lighting off and then show color/glow with lighting on. This might need a plain rod and a color gel inserted in the button. Not a problem, I was going to do this myself sometime after getting the lighting installed anyway.

Bruno
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#248017 - 08/03/2005 02:55 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: hybrid8]
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I can have the shop do these custom jobs, since you see my poor drilling ability. Honestly, the 3mm's hit off center because of the rounded button faces. My metal buttons are planning to have flat faces to match the flat metal faces and to help show off their polished, brushed, chromed, etc finishes. Rods would sit flush with this flat face.

Having more than one rod per button would be great BUT the button shaft has only a 5mm diameter. This is because of the "metal caps on Farnell buttons" design, which is the most reasonable option currently. Also, placing rods further from the LED will make them dimmer... unless they are angled slightly?

Bruno, having the rod blend in with the surrounding button in the daylight is definitely a high priority. Maybe I shouldn't have taken the pics using a flash because they make it look terrible. Darker colored rods should help, and, of course, the 1.5mm blends in well.

If only those 1.5mm's weren't so fragile. I snapped three trying to put them in place. I might have to include 8 of each color with lit metal buttons to make them last. We'll see. Stay tuned, I will have metal button prototypes... eventually if not sooner (week or two?).
_________________________
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FireFox31
110gig MKIIa (30+80), Eutronix lights, 32 meg stacked RAM, Filener orange gel lens, Greenlights Lit Buttons green set

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#248018 - 22/03/2005 19:05 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
In other, less interesting news, my order of Farnell button caps came in from Sweden yesterday. I told 'em I drove a pre-Ford Volvo, so they took me seriously.

Now to have some metal caps machined and fastened in place, and we'll have metal buttons too. (phew it was hard not posting for months in order to save my 1,000th post for the lit button release).
_________________________
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FireFox31
110gig MKIIa (30+80), Eutronix lights, 32 meg stacked RAM, Filener orange gel lens, Greenlights Lit Buttons green set

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#248019 - 23/03/2005 10:21 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2405
Loc: Roma, Italy
Firefox,

I'd give my vote to the 1.5mm ones. I don't know if others feel the same, but I personally do not like much trasparent buttons because, at least in picture, they look a bit to... visible, to me. They almost make the display "disappear", while I really like the way it looks at night, surrounded by... nothing (I'll still buy transparent buttons of all colors because I am an empeg collector, of course, but that's another story... ).

The 1.5mm sample looks just beautiful to me. They are elegant, tell you where the keys are, do not "disturb". Of course, just my personal opinion.

I really can't wait to buy metal buttons. And now I am finally seriously considering to have my empeg modified to add button lighting.
Thank you very much!
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#248020 - 23/03/2005 14:56 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
frog51
pooh-bah

Registered: 09/08/2000
Posts: 2089
Loc: Edinburgh, Scotland
As I have some of my own dremel'ed with 1mm and 2mm holes, I thought I'd post - the 2mm look best, however I don't have any diffusing material in the holes so I lose some visibility angle.

From experimentation with various materials, having a good diffuser makes a major difference on the knob, otherwise it is too obvious that you just have 3 (or 4 LEDs)
_________________________
Rory
MkIIa, blue lit buttons, memory upgrade, 1Tb in Subaru Forester STi
MkII, 240Gb in Mark Lord dock
MkII, 80Gb SSD in dock

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#248021 - 23/03/2005 14:59 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: pgrzelak]
frog51
pooh-bah

Registered: 09/08/2000
Posts: 2089
Loc: Edinburgh, Scotland
Through testing I have found it is easy to drill three 1mm holes in a row accurately, but even easier to drill two - as you can make bigger mistakes without it becoming obvious

I'll have to get some pics up sometime
_________________________
Rory
MkIIa, blue lit buttons, memory upgrade, 1Tb in Subaru Forester STi
MkII, 240Gb in Mark Lord dock
MkII, 80Gb SSD in dock

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#248022 - 23/04/2005 02:24 Re: Metal Buttons - options, ideas, prototypes, designs, etc. [Re: FireFox31]
peakmop
journeyman

Registered: 02/07/2004
Posts: 95
Loc: 384400 km from the Moon
My take on this...
I'm with other guys on 1.5 mm holes, but I thought of something more advanced (should I say challenging?). How about tiny holes < 1mm
around the perimeter of a button. Since metal buttons will eventually be flat it might be easier to make the drillings using carbide drill bits - the same type used for PCBs. This way there are no rods to worry about even though the buttons will not exactly be water proof.
I guess this is my way of saying that I'd like to be one of the "inquisitors" for a test batch that Firefox might get.

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