41c keyboard overlay templates


Sorry if this is an old chestnut but .... Has anybody produced a template in say Word (or any other package come to think !))

I have the circuits module and would like to make up the overlays.

I did do a search but couldn't find anything

Best Regards



Hi Sean,

After seeing those TV ads for some sort of craft cutter, I'm wondering if Keyboard Overlays could be designed and cut out in vinyl using one of them. Did a quick search and found the Silhouette by QuicKutz which has a computer interface and looks like a printer with cutting blades.

Has anyone tried out one of these type devices? Could they do overlays?




do you have a laser printer or ink jet, not that it matters, The product you are looking for is an adhesive back clear printable sheet for your printer.

Take a plane sheet of paper and work out your labels using the correct font. Create your overlay using font sizes and spacing that will match the keyboard correctly.

Then, once you are happy with the outcome, print off a the overlay on the adhesive clear sheet. Slice the sheet in horizontal rows, of the correct thickness and place over your blank overlay.

It should look like this:


I think Sean doesn't have a blank overlay. I believe he's starting from scratch.

I've also been thinking about the computer controlled craft-cutter idea. Combined with an adhesive backed material, one could create overlays pretty easily I imagine.



The best ways to make overlays is to laser cut them. There are usually plenty of places you can find around that will take a pdf or dxf and run whatever material you like through a laser CNC mill at a very cheap price. They usually charge a setup fee (which you can often get them to waive with a little sweet talking) and then time on the machine. For a bit of plastic or paper, it is really quick.

If you can't get a lasercutter, the next best is a little die press that has formed edges to cut it. You just can't do small radii.



Tim, any tips on some companies that do laser cutting via CNC, either online or in the NYC area?




Not really. I've just called around and gotten a few quotes when I needed it. Often universities will have equipment used by the students and they will do stuff for cheap.



There are usually plenty of places you can find around that will take a pdf or dxf and run whatever material you like through a laser CNC mill at a very cheap price.

Well let's qualify that a little. I used the same process for a machine shop to make my Stainless Steel HP 41c Overlays. I paid a machinist to make a precision DXF file for this project.

The Stainless Steel material was expensive, and the 41c overlay is a complicated piece with three dozen cuts per item. This equates to some considerable cut time.

If you want some stainless steel ones to write on, let me know (I use them this way- it's nice) , but I encourage you not to spend time and money on a large production run like I did.


Wow! I was talking 'material' as being paper, mylar, or something similar that could be run through a regualar printer. Never considered someone would want something more durable. :-)




Thanks for the ideas. I like the idea of cutting a few using a Laser
CNC or the craft cutter . I'll have to look around on the internet to see if anybody offers this service in the UK.

Allen I think SS is maybe a bit too rigid/heavy for carrying around in the 41's case but thanks for the kind offer.

I still have to figure out how to trace/draw/digitise the outline though.

Best Regards




As a historical note, back in 1980, I hand-traced an overlay and used that to have a rubber stamp made. One mod to that shape prior to the making the stamp was having it symmetrical on the ENTER-key row for "reversability". Then it became a straightforward (albeit work-intensive) process to stamp the shape onto index cards and cut them out with an Exacto knife against a 6-inch metal ruler. They were sold through the PPC Journal at 5 for a buck and I ended up making 2000 before the demand dropped off. Based on the time it took to make them, it was slave wages, but a few pen pals were made along the way. Check PPC Journal V7N4P4 under "Club Projects".



I still have to figure out how to trace/draw/digitise the outline though.

You ought to ba able to scan your calculator with a flat bed scanner, or take a digital camera picture, to get started. (If you'd like me to do either, or both, of those and send you a jpg or pdf or post it/them here, just ask.) If somebody could do this with an existing template, that would be even better.



Thanks for the offer. I think however that we are up and running. A fellow 41 enthusiast at work thinks that he has the Math overlays at home



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