34s Keyboard Overlays



#29

I just bought an electronic die cutter so I can cut professional quality overlays for calculators.

As my first test of it, I printed the 34s overlay on plain copier paper, ran it through the cutter to cut out the keys, and set it on the calculator:

My next step is to experiment with different materials, and also with sticking new legends directly on the keys. Maybe some of you might be interested in having an overlay made for your calculator? I hope to have something more interesting to demonstrate within a week or two.

Eric


#30

Excellent! I was looking at getting a Cricut machine for this purpose, but work got very busy for me recently.

An adhesive vinyl may work well. Also, key labels may need to be smaller to avoid peeling...another thing to tinker with.


#31

Quote:
I was looking at getting a Cricut machine for this purpose, but work got very busy for me recently.

I considered Cricut, but for various reasons I decided it wouldn't be a good fit for me so I bought a competitor's product.

Eric


#32

Quote:
I considered Cricut, but for various reasons I decided it wouldn't be a good fit for me so I bought a competitor's product.




What alternative competitors are there to choose from?


Thanks
Roger

#33

There's the Craftwell eCraft, the USCutter MH, the Black Cat cutters, the BossKut Gazelle, and the Silhouette SD, all of which are well under $1000.

It's this last one, the Silhouette, that I bought. It's actually one of the cheapest, but it got good reviews and seems to work pretty well. It won't cut thick stock, like cardboard, but ones that will do that cost more like $700.

#34

Eric,

Your paper one looks great, so I can't wait to see what you come up with in a couple of weeks.

Jeff

#35

Very nice. I want a couple :-)

- Pauli

#36

Nice thing, this cutter:-)

Apart from that, the overlay is way too full for my taste. Letters everywhere, in five different colors. Heavily cluttered keyboard layouts like these were the reason for HP to look for a different way of user interface.

One can hardly see the most important numeric and arithmetic keys.

Another thing: To turn the unit off, one has to press the blue key _near_ (but not next to) the top right corner, and then the ON key on the bottom left corner.
Is there any other HP calc where the key combination for turning off the unit is that crazy? If it were the green key (at the right edge) it would at least ease turn-off: Right edge - left edge.

I think it would be better if the shift key for turning off the unit would be next to the ON key, like on the unmodified 20b/30b, and all Pioneer series calcs.

Even better would be an unshifted ON/OFF key. The Clear Entry (CE) key is very similar to the CLx key, or a longhold backspace key . The code behind the key would have to check whether data entry was active, and act accordingly.

I'd prefer a less cluttered keyboard layout with fewer key legends.

IMHO The original 30b looks much better with the reduced original keyboard overlay.

Don't get me wrong: You did a great job to create the wp34s.

But the overloaded keyboard overlay reminds me of the early Casios and Sharps of the Eighties...


#37

It looks a lot better and less cluttered when you move the labels onto the keys, as the emulator uses, and that's how my overlays will work, assuming I can get the durability issue resolved:

For my overlays, I am considering moving the Sigma+, 1/x, y^x, and SQRT key labels to be directly on the keys rather than above, since there's no need to have a duplication of the letters. Or is there a good reason to show A, B, C, and D directly on the face of the keys?

(I haven't played around enough with the 34s to know for sure.)

The only annoyance is this overlay won't look as good on the 30b as it does on the 20b, because of the metalized plastic of the calculator, which is unfortunate since the 30b's keyboard is so much better than the 20b's keyboard.


#38

From Cyrille, in the HP-20b Development Kit Readme file:

"If you represent a company that has a need for large volumes, please contact cyrille@hp.com as HP might be able (depending on the cases) to make a special manufacturing run with your program pre-loaded and/or modification to the calculator color and artwork."

I wonder what a large volume might be. 200? 500? 1000? In the olden days HP would sell blank key calculators and overlays and burn eprom memory modules, the PPC ROM being an example. How many of them were produced?


#39

I was told at least 1,000 would be the minimum for custom printed keys (but not faceplate) and didn't pursue things any further.


- Pauli

#40

Hello,

I ordered 5,000 pieces initially and either 200 or 300 were ordered with a "final" order. The PPC ROM order was HP's largest. I heard that the USPS ordered a ROM that was near 5,000 pieces, but I haven't had any confirmation so the PPC ROM was #1 or a very close #2.

X < > Y,

Richard

#41

Eric, all,

Testing it on different printers, I found an alternative may result in better prints (on paper at least):

I mentioned this earlier already, but it may have slipped your attention.

With respect to the keys A ... D, Eric, you're right from a logical point of view. The primary purpose of these keys, however, is serving as hotkeys for whatever functions or programs you want to bring up to the surface. Please note Sigma+, 1/x, y^x, and SQRT are all accessible as shifted functions as well on the bottom half of the layout - so there will be no loss of accessability if you redefine some of the hotkeys. Compare the HP-65 or 67.

Quote:
The only annoyance is this overlay won't look as good on the 30b as it does on the 20b, because of the metalized plastic of the calculator, which is unfortunate since the 30b's keyboard is so much better than the 20b's keyboard.

I'd suggest you cover the display window (for obvious reasons) and the key area (for safety, don't want to have paint on the electronic parts) with some tape and "paint it black" (it = parts of the metallized surface still accessible).

Walter

Edited: 8 May 2011, 2:49 a.m.


#42

Quote:
Testing it on different printers, I found an alternative may result in better prints (on paper at least):

I was just giving an example.

I actually won't use any of the designs that have already been shown here. While they look good on screen, none look good when printed, in part because the resolution is too low. I will be drawing my own design.

Eric


#43

Quote:
I will be drawing my own design.

Looking forward to seeing it

Walter

#44

Raymond,

Some additions to what Eric told you:

Given a platform with a reasonable dot matrix display (like the new 17bii+ or better) the layout would be completely different. But we don't have that.

Quote:
Another thing: To turn the unit off, one has to press the blue key _near_ (but not next to) the top right corner, and then the ON key on the bottom left corner.
Is there any other HP calc where the key combination for turning off the unit is that crazy? If it were the green key (at the right edge) it would at least ease turn-off: Right edge - left edge.

I think it would be better if the shift key for turning off the unit would be next to the ON key, like on the unmodified 20b/30b, and all Pioneer series calcs.

Even better would be an unshifted ON/OFF key.


The latter would cost one complete primary function, a waste of keyboard space IMHO :( With an LCD calculator, there's little need for manually turning it off at all - just wait for auto-shut-down :)
Quote:
The Clear Entry (CE) key is very similar to the CLx key, or a longhold backspace key . The code behind the key would have to check whether data entry was active, and act accordingly.

In already for long. If you don't mind, please check the manual.
Quote:
I'd prefer a less cluttered keyboard layout with fewer key legends.

Come on, create one! But remember you get the credit for a complete layout only :) Looking forward to your upcoming results,

Walter

#45

I printed an overlay on a small inexpensive dye sublimation photo printer (i.e. the type for 4x6 inch prints). Since it's a photo printer the result looks very nice, and the paper is relatively durable. This particular model puts a final transparent coat over the print for UV stability, which I think also provides some wear protection.

So, long way of saying you might give photo paper a try. (I'm guessing dye sub will be more durable than ink jet, but not sure.)

Your die cut results look really, really nice (particularly compared to my work with a hobby knife!)

Regards,
Bob


#46

Yes, those do do a nice job.

I am using an inkjet printer that uses pigment-based ink, rather than the more typical dye-based, which makes it water resistant even on plain paper.

I ordered a couple different kinds of inkjet-safe adhesive vinyl, and I also bought a special spray that is supposed to make it more durable, so when those arrive (possibly as early as Tuesday) I will be able to experiment to see how well it all works. I am also concerned with oil resistance (from fingers) and physical wear.

The ink from this printer is surprisingly durable even on plain copier paper. I have tried to damage it with water, isopropanol, and even brake cleaner, and nothing so much as even smears it.


#47

I laminated the overlay I did (half laminate, half adhesive). This seems to be very durable even on the key tops.


- Pauli


#48

If you are using the overlay only solution of mine, the one presented here in the opening post, it looks much better if you get rid of the original key markings. An Edding pen isn't very wear resistant though, grinding may be much better.


#49

Heh, heh, here Pauli's Dremel comes into play again :) We had this topic some weeks ago already ...


#50

:-)

It ought to be possible to remove the labels chemically using a cotton bud and some kind of solvent or paint stripper. This would give a nicer finish I think.

I'll try this route when I convert my other 30b.

The 20b converts much better with a rotary tool, the keys can be individually removed from the case with ease.


- Pauli


#51

Don't use paint remover on the keys! I tried it on one key only to notice that the paint is much more resistant to the solvent than the plastic used for the keys. :-(

I've resorted to black enamel paint for the job on my newly acquired 30b. Due to my experiments with paint remover, the top left key looks a bit battered now.


#52

A commercial paint stripper or neat caustic soda?

The latter doesn't usually damage plastics and it takes paint off really well.


- Pauli


#53

It's a commercial paint stripper. Not recommended. I didn't try any other substances.

#54

Quote:
Maybe some of you might be interested in having an overlay made for your calculator?

I would be very interested in an overlay for the 50g that is similar in function to the ones for the 41 series. More specifically, I'm thinking of something that has the existing key functions printed on it, but also comes with small stick-on labels that you can write on. I'd use this with user-assignable keys to create custom keyboard layouts for different functions (one for programming, one for statistics work, one for calculus, etc.). The stick-on labels let you play around with different layouts. Once you have something that you really like, maybe you'd buy a few custom printed ones from Eric.

Dave

#55

Yummm!

I wonder if your cutter could do a nice burl walnut veneer...

(No, I wouldn't be interested in buying one but think it would look classy!)

Ren

dona nobis pacem

#56

Eric, if you have a permanent solution, please put me on the list of takers. Probably one or more of the key legends may change in a later revision. That's the problem with software still under development.


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