How to paint letters onto ABS buttons? (and does anyone fancy painting them (paid))

(Calum Nicoll) #1

Hey folks

Been working on making replica enigma machines (german ww2 code machine), and have been making some button caps to fit on to some switches, to function as a keyboard.

What I stumbled across was masking the top of buttons with masking tape, then holding them in a jig (basically just square holes in a sheet of mdf that the buttons can sit in) and laser etching a groove in the shape of the letter, which was then filled with milliput (white epoxy paste), the tape then removed, and then had a couple of coats of a protective varnish on top.

However, smearing the milliput in is a bit of a faff and wondering if anyone had any better ideas for a process?

Or if anyone fancies making them I would be keen to hear - I need maybe 8 alphabet sets of buttons (so 26*8 - about 200), will pay as well as providing materials as needed. Potentially more work in future if you really like painting buttons.

Pic below so you can get the idea of what they look like when installed - they are the lower alphabet - the bare buttons are these ones -


(Chris Osborne) #2

Just some ideas:
Pour liquid resin in, instead of milliput.
Laser cut acrylic discs with letters cut out (black) and laser cut letters to fit (white).
Vinyl cut letters
3D printed in two colours. (Separate or together)

(Tom Lynch) #3

You could laser etch the buttons and fill them with paint, that is what most keyboard manufacturers do to make the buttons last longer.

Cheaper keyboard manufacturers will simply screen print a layer on the top that doesn’t last very long.

(Howard Batchen) #4

Milliput works really well. I would recommend making a jig so you can engrave them without cutting them out , milliput them all at once and cut them out afterwards.

(Howard Batchen) #5

I’ll do them for you if you like