Accepting some orders for WP 34s overlays



#49

I am going to accept a small number of orders for the self-adhesive vinyl overlays for the WP 34s keyboard layout. I'll probably close this off after a week to limit the number that are out there and to get feedback.

I have updated the overlay for the latest 1.18 layout and have incorporated many of the suggestions seen here.

For the time being the overlay is $6 for one or $5 each for multiple, including shipping anywhere in the world. I may have to adjust this later depending on what consumables end up costing me, but I think this is a reasonable price for now.

You can order them from a special page on my commerce site.

Eric


#50

Mine are ordered.

This probably means the layout is final :-)


- Pauli


#51

Quote:
Mine are ordered.

This probably means the layout is final :-)

- Pauli


I just ordered two... But in case you find a reason to change the layout again for whatever reason, I'd be more than pleased to buy a new set.
I have a question: will this overlay be removable? I mean, if I try to peel it off, will it leave the calc clean and ready for another one, or will it leave "a mess"?

Cristian

#52

Also ordered!

Geoff

great job!!!

#53

Very nice work Eric !

Ordered two for my Hp-30B.

In a near future, would you consider selling a complete "Hp-30B" overhaul kit including a gray/transparent overlay and a crystal ?

Best

Etienne

#54

The product isn't out yet, and our US American friends are already going to make money with it ... :-?

As you may see on the photograph, some label positions are pretty tight and some are a bit asymmetric. I'm working on it as mentioned earlier. This work would be easier if you'd tell me the key positions assumed in your graphic, please.

Walter


#55

Quote:
The product isn't out yet, and our US American friends are already going to make money with it ... :-?

I doubt there is much profit making going on here. A little maybe but a service is being offered. Getting die cut overlays isn't easy. Cutting by hand takes time and some equipment to do properly and neatly. I value my free time at a lot more than $6 or even $12 an hour.


- Pauli

#56

Quote:
The product isn't out yet

Which one? Eric's is.


#57

Quote:
Quote:
The product isn't out yet
Which one? Eric's is.

You do know the difference between a product and an accessory for a product, don't you? What will you do with an overlay without a flashed 20b or 30b? Beside sticking it onto your desk? ;-)

Walter


#58

Quote:
...Beside sticking it onto your desk? ;-)

I bet it would look good stuck to the leather(ish) case for my 50g or perhaps on the back of my iPhone (might have to shrink it a little for that).

That reminds me, when are you going to port this to iOS? (just kidding really. I have several iOS calculators that all pale in comparison to pushing real keys for me.)
%^}

#59

By the same token, the product is the 20b / 30b unit.

Aren't you guys just making an accessory for the product, i.e., a new rom image?

:-)

Seems that is just as much an "accessory" as an overlay.


#60

Quote:
By the same token, the product is the 20b / 30b unit.

May be. But we aren't selling it.
Quote:
Aren't you guys just making an accessory for the product, i.e., a new rom image? :-) Seems that is just as much an "accessory" as an overlay.

Well, the wp 34s will work without the overlay, but the overlay will not work without the wp 34s. Different layers.Seems an almost neglectable difference though. But anyway, you *are* the masters of marketing, and further posts will continue revealing this.

FWIW

Walter

#61

Quote:
As you may see on the photograph, some label positions are pretty tight and some are a bit asymmetric.

If you are referring to the buttons themselves, that is because I applied the stickers at 1:00am and was too tired to do them accurately. Whether they are crooked is entirely up to the person doing the work. :)

Quote:
I'm working on it as mentioned earlier. This work would be easier if you'd tell me the key positions assumed in your graphic, please.

That won't do me any good, since you are making changes to the exported PNG rather than the original SVG. Any changes you have made, I have to redo myself from scratch to my original. I have offered the SVG but you seemed to have no interest.

Eric


#62

How do you edit SVGs?


#63

Quote:
How do you edit SVGs?

Most people use Illustrator. I am too cheap to buy that so I use Inkscape.

Eric


#64

Then please send me your SVG file and I'll see what I can do :-/


#65

Quote:
Then please send me your SVG file and I'll see what I can do :-/

Here it is.


#66

Oooh rats! Royal British thumbs!!

And somebody's talking about Sihouette Studio, while there were Illustrator and Inkscape mentioned before. I don't know, but sometimes I think people tend breaking flies on wheels in this matter - if I make the graphics with tool xyz and copy the picture into MS Word, scale it down to the right size (looks like 67.6 to 67.8, so 67.7 mm) and print it using a quality printer then I'd think I'm done. Maybe too simple ...? d:-?

Walter

Edited: 3 June 2011, 2:09 p.m.


#67

Silhouette Studio is the software that controls the paper cutter.

Eric

#68

Quote:
Quote:
As you may see on the photograph, some label positions are pretty tight and some are a bit asymmetric.

If you are referring to the buttons themselves, ...

Sorry, this condition is not true ;-)

Walter

#69

Quote:
The product isn't out yet, and our US American friends are already going to make money with it ... :-?

I think everyone is making money off it except us. Let me break it down.

Let's assume that you buy an overlay from me. You send me $6. PayPal takes 53 cents of that, bringing me down to $5.47 received. To mail it to you, I need an envelope (10 cents) and a stamp (98 cents). We are now down to $4.39 for the overlay.

Next we have the cost of the vinyl. I am not very efficient in my use of vinyl right now, but I hope to eventually get the cost down to the 25-50 cent range per overlay. Then there is ink, for which I don't yet know the cost. The overlay itself has near 100% coverage of ink, though, so that is quite a lot of ink.

Then there are the consumables related to cutting -- the blade and the cutting mat. Again, I don't yet know what these will cost me.

Next would be the amortization of costs incurred to get me to this point. I bought the cutter and the printer specifically for this, so those both need to be amortized out. Additionally, there are the R&D costs (for example, I spent over $100 on various media for printing to find the best materials for overlays).

At this point it is entirely possible I am losing money on each one of these, though I honestly don't know yet. And this, of course, assumes that my labor is free, which is normally not valid, but since you and Pauli are assuming free labor as well it's only fair for me to do the same.

So I guess if by "US American friends" you mean our friends at companies like Hewlett Packard, PayPal, and the US Postal Service, then yes, they are making money with it. But at the same time one could argue that the battery manufacturers are making money as a direct results of your work, because you need batteries to power your 20b or 30b, so this is getting kind of ridiculous.

Eric


#70

Eric

I'm *not* arguing about your expenses. The only problem at the moment is that we might still change some key positions. :-(

Whenever your overlay will be finalized, please send me at least two of them, whatever the cost will be.

BTW, I've invested more than a few bucks in equipment to do the development you have seen in the last few months. I did that for my and your fun. So be it for all people involved in the project, agreed?

Matters may change when a big company starts showing commercial interest in our work but that seems to be quite remote...


#71

Quote:
BTW, I've invested more than a few bucks in equipment to do the development you have seen in the last few months. I did that for my and your fun.

I too invested more than I'd care to think over the past 2-3 years. Mostly building a basic library of numerical mathematics text books -- good bedtime reading.

And it has been a lot of fun.


- Pauli

#72

Quote:
Whenever your overlay will be finalized, please send me at least two of them, whatever the cost will be.

They will never be finalized.

At first I was waiting for the layout to be final before I started selling overlays. But then after asking when it would be finalized, Walter said it was a moving target, so I assume that means that it will constantly change. This meant that I don't feel bad about selling them now, because no matter how long I wait they will eventually be obsolete.

Plus, as Jake pointed out, he spent something like 4 hours cutting out and applying stickers to his calculator, and I think almost anybody would rather pay $6 to get something precut to avoid the vast majority of that work, even if they pay $6 again later to get an updated layout.

The whole reason why I am only temporarily accepting orders is because I treat these initial customers as beta testers. I will make additional tweaks to my overlay based on their feedback, so I don't want to sell too many of them right now. After I close down the orders in a few days, I probably won't accept any more orders for a month or more, to give people time to try them out and give suggestions.

Eric


#73

Quote:
Plus, as Jake pointed out, he spent something like 4 hours cutting out and applying stickers to his calculator,


...and needless to say how much trouble it has been to remove it in order to replace it with a newer one.... After scraping whatever comes off by hand, then I use rubbing alcohol to get the sticky "gum" off, and finally use an Exacto knife to lift and remove the key labels, and finally another application of alcohol to clean the keys.
It has been quite an adventure :-)

#74

Quote:
BTW, I've invested more than a few bucks in equipment to do the development you have seen in the last few months. I did that for my and your fun.

Since 12/2008, I've invested my fair share in that project as well. Looking at it, the real bucks are neglectable compared to the time on my side. Zen or the art of layouting ... :-) Never made it without the fun.

Walter


#75

I started before then. It took me a while to realise I'm not very good at coming up with consistent layouts :-(


- Pauli


#76

You're better in SW by far :-) Forgot mentioning we have a common design history since OpenRPN.

Walter

#77

Thanks Eric. I've ordered one and look forward to receiving it.


#78

I too have ordered a couple though I will be surprised to see them any time soon since our "beloved" (and largely irrelevant) Canada Post seems to be going on strike ... again. Sigh!

I am very prepared to be pleasantly surprised, though.

Thanks for doing all this work guys!!


#79

I've halfheartedly been following all the activity on this project. I think it's wonderful that it's progressed as far as it has and that it's an amazing piece of work. But the critical factor in any custom calculator is the keyboard, we've all said so many, many times before on the forum.

Stick-on key labels that require a great effort to apply and will almost certainly not last all that long are not the way to go no matter how good they look. The only answer are custom keys and a matching faceplate as HP can offer.

A month ago Pauli wrote, quoting Cyrille:

Quote:
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.

IMHO, this should be persued even if the number turned out to be several thousand. I think that there would easily be a big enough following to sell these at $50+ creating a nice profit for the seller (perhaps Eric) and the authors.

Frankly I'm not interested in stickers for the keys and faceplate, but I'd definitely buy a customized calculator and I'd pay in advance of the order so that the seller would have minimal out of pocket risk. Would 2000 people (or however many it would take be reach the break even point) be willing to do that same? I'll bet so.

Why not investigate the true minimum quantity from HP and set up a survey to see what can be optimistically expected in the way of numbers of orders. If the results look good set up a Paypal account to take pre-orders -- and if need be allow cancellation of pre-orders. Never having done this before, I'm guessing that the financial risk would only be the Paypal fees.


-Katie


#80

Katie,

According to what Tim wrote to Pauli, a custom faceplate for the 30b is out of reach. The reason - as far as I understood - is Black S :-( is written in a special way in the plastic material and this process can't be changed easily. So we'll need an overlay anyway.

For the individual keys, I agree with you on individual labels being - politely - suboptimal. Many weeks ago, I suggested an overlay in one single piece with flaps for the keys. I applied a paper prototype on my 20b and it works fine. Maybe this is a feasible solution before going in the custom key business - which would be nowaday's optimum of course.

Walter

Edited: 6 June 2011, 2:09 a.m.


#81

The silver face plate is pretty much verboten.

The keys and their labels are possible given a large enough quantity which I'm not willing to commit to privately and I doubt anyone else is.


So, buy a 30b or five (& I know you've got several already :) and reflash them. get an overlay and use that.

My fairly rough overlay is standing up surprisingly well after much use. I did run it through my xyron before applying but still it is very good and the visible wear isn't on the key tops, rather on the overlay. I'll add that I probably have the most used 34s on the planet.


- Pauli


#82

A picture may be helpful :-)

#83

I didn't realize that the faceplate was so impossible to change, that's too bad. So given the need for a faceplate overlay one might as well have key "overlays" as well.


#84

It isn't impossible, it will just require impractical quantities. This is very much a niche product for a select small few.

I very much doubt we'd sell 1,000 WP34s which would be the kind of minimum for just the reprinted keys. 10,000 is more realistic for a reworked faceplate or an alternative LCD display both of which would be very useful -- just having proper scientific annunicators would be a boon.


- Pauli


#85

We need to draw HP on our side s they produce the hardware and take the risks while the community provides the software. There needs to be some kind of profit sharing if it will ever pay off.


#86

I don't care much about profit here, I just want a calculator I want to use....


- Pauli


#87

Quote:
I don't care much about profit here, I just want a calculator I want to use....

And indeed, the 34s has essentially been the only calc I've used in the past two months or so. I only wish a machine with the equivalent of the 17BII+/42S dot-matrix 2-line LCD had been available to be repurposed. I miss those top-row soft keys....

Jake


#88

What do we need (or better: dream of)?

- More flash and RAM and more battery power. The processor isn't bad for a calculator but for a programmable device, the limitations are obvious.

- A better display for menus and longer alpha messages.

- One additional row of keys.

- Provisions for easier key labeling.


#89

I'm a bit different here. While I'd like more flash and RAM, a better display and more keys, the platform is really very capable as it stands.


The single biggest omission I see, which hasn't been mentioned here, is I/O. We're thinking about this for the successor device but nothing firm yet. Ideally, a small SD card or the like but more realistically a serial port.


Flash is very tight now but how many more functions do we need? I'd say none. There are always possibilities to add a few more and if we had some more flash clear I'd probably put a few in however we've got everything we need and a bit more already. We've a few more ideas to reduce the flash footprint for next time around which might allow us to pad the device a bit more or free up extra code/data flash segments. I see the latter as more useful than another bunch of esoteric functions.


RAM is also very tight, increasing it would correspond to an immediate increase in the number of registers and program steps, although there are limits to the increases for both. We'd also be able to have types associated with values so that alpha manipulations and complex support were made easier.


The display has been a major limiting factor, the dot matrix portion isn't very wide and we've struggled to fit things into it. Hence the dual fonts. Scrolling was HP's solution, I hate scrolling displays so we took another route. More or even different annunicators would also be a boon.


- Pauli

#90

Jake,

Quote:
I only wish a machine with the equivalent of the 17BII+/42S dot-matrix 2-line LCD had been available to be repurposed. I miss those top-row soft keys....

I fullheartedly concur. But we've discussed the role of a state-of-the-art display here ad nauseam years ago already, and you know as well as me what did come out :-/

Walter

#91

Quote:
the 34s has essentially been the only calc I've used in the past two months or so.


That's about as high a praise as we could wish for.


- Pauli

#92

"Optimism is just lack of experience." (unknown origin)

#93

Quote:
We need to draw HP on our side s they produce the hardware and take the risks while the community provides the software. There needs to be some kind of profit sharing if it will ever pay off.

IMHO this will not likely happen, because money is made with software (alone or the combination of software and hardware together).
#94

I think that the "Black S" legend in the faceplate could be maintained, assigned to a "Black Sciences" menu and/or application that undoubtedly deserves its place in any scientific calculator worth its salt. Magic numbers, "Finagle's" constant, "adjustment" factors (many), quotes of important laws (from Murphy to Moore), and similar gems will find their place here, after those many years of unanswered prayers.

Practicing engineers will surely agree.

:-)


#95

It might be possible to print directly on the faceplate early in the production process.


#96

Laser?


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