WP 34S overlay feedback



#47

I think I may make another batch of overlays for the WP 34S. However, I haven't received a lot of feedback from the first batch, so I am hoping to hear a little more first.

The biggest concern I have heard is that it is extremely hard to apply without causing keys to stick. I have already decided that I will make the holes for the buttons a little bigger, and possibly tweak their alignment a bit, in an attempt to resolve this.

Are there any other concerns? How has durability been? One thing I can do is spray a protective glossy spray on the overlay. This will add glare but it may make it a little more durable. Might this be worth doing?

Anything else anyone wants to add?

Eric


#48

Hi Eric,

I have not had the pleasure of seeing the overlays yet, but your concern about glare with a gloss overcoat seems valid. How about using a clear matt instead? Would something like this work: Testors Dullcoat

Cheers

#49

As for durability, I've only had it for a few weeks, but it's still like new - no sign of peeling whatsoever, anywhere.
I agree with making the holes just a little taller - for me, the whole ENTER row became sticky, though easily fixed by passing a very sharp knife tip in the gap above the keys.
The biggest problem I had with mine, as I told you, is that any hard object (including a fingernail) that "scrapes" the overlay, even if just lightly, leaves a permanent, "shiny" mark. I'm not so sure I would like a glossy finish; wouldn't it be possible to find a matte protective varnish?

I would also like, as I said before, if the corners were rounded, especially because with the 30b the colour contrast isn't that nice.

Cristian

#50

Hi Eric,

In general I found them much easier to apply than I thought they would be given the commentary I had read. Perhaps the the documented experiences (upside down, middle outwards, etc.) helped in that regard. A little bit of VERY SHARP razor blade work fixed the "squishy" keys (and that only happened on my 30b -- the first one I applied -- not my 20b, though I doubt the chassis that is different). If you make the holes bigger, don't make them much bigger.

I find that a few of my keys are lifting a bit. Probably I did not clean my sweaty/oily finger prints well enough before I applied the overlays. I just push them back down and hope for the best...

I agree with the comment that you could easily add a few extra key labels for those that want a different division and/or radix point. Given that the calculator title sticker is either alongside or above (below?) the main template, and has extra room at its end, this would seem a reasonable use of that space. Only a bit more ink and cutting tool life.

In general, mine are working out very well. It is certainly better than the paper overlay I was using! :-)

I did have one issue separating the a couple of key labels from the backing. I thought I had delaminated the label when all it was was the fact that carving tool had penetrated the layer below the glossy backing and that was the layer than had delaminated and stuck to the stick layer. It just gave me pause for a moment -- no biggie.

All in all, I don't think I would change too much. Grand job and thanks for doing this!

Best regards...


#51

Quote:
I agree with the comment that you could easily add a few extra key labels for those that want a different division and/or radix point.

Very nice idea :-) Please add my vote to this.

Walter

#52

Eric,

Quote:
The biggest concern I have heard is that it is extremely hard to apply without causing keys to stick. I have already decided that I will make the holes for the buttons a little bigger, and possibly tweak their alignment a bit, in an attempt to resolve this.

I'd vote for increasing the keyholes by 0,5 mm maximum. OTOH, the key stickers / covers may grow 1 mm in either dimension, since much of the "old key surface" is still visible so far.

Since you printed and stamped the first batch, some changes were made in the layout. Please refer to the e-mail you got from me some 10 days ago.

Walter

P.S.: Please print f, g, h white.

Edited: 12 July 2011, 5:54 p.m.

#53

Eric, your overlays are very usable. Thanks for your efforts. I would suggest to add another layer of protective film or varnish. The surface is a bit unpleasant on the finger tips and I fear I will wear down the ink some time.

#54

Eric,

The overlays worked well - I second your 2 comments (while all it takes is a little more care when putting the overlay)

While the "holes" might be increased in size, the key covers might as well be made bigger - don't the other users thinks so?

The varnish - good idea as well.

#55

I've no problem with the overlays. I like the finish and there is no sign of wear on my most used 34S. I do have a few sticky keys which I'll fix when they get annoying enough.

I've a sad 34S first -- my main test unit's screen broke during reassembly after installing a crystal :-(


It is possible to get satin or matt clear varnishes. They aren't anything like as protective as gloss but they are still better than nothing.


- Pauli

#56

Increasing the hole size a tad is the only "must have" I've noticed. Since you're experimenting though, I'd be interested in a "beta 2" run with a matte coating to see how that works. (Sounds like the layout changed, so I'll need to change the overlay anyway...)

Also, is it possible to set the cut depth just a bit deeper? I had a couple of keys that were difficult to separate from main sticker. If that's not possible, it's not a big deal - very minor issue.

Bob


#57

The layout hasn't changed.

There are no plans to change it.

- Pauli


#58

Hey Pauli.

Then what did Walter mean above with:

"Since you printed and stamped the first batch, some changes were made in the layout."


I got my overlay from Eric about a month ago and if the layout had not changed since then, then what is the worry with mentioning a layout change now?


#59

What I meant were changes in font sizes, adjustments in positioning and some fine tuning for sake of better readability. I summed up all that as "layout change" since it obviously changed the layout and I don't know a better word in your language. If you know, please tell me. TIA

Walter


#60

The overlay works spectacularly well on my HHC2008 HP-20b. No need to change any dimensions at all. No sticky keys. I'm guarding my second overlay with care in anticipation of using it on a '30b should I get one (my '20 is a delight and will only disappoint me if I ever try a '30 I suspect).

The one minor item I've noticed is that if a key label is snagged at the edge, the underlying white substrate can show. A moment with a black Sharpie permanent pen fixes that and I suspect we need the white substrate for the white lettering (higher contrast than white ink on a black substrate). A clear top coat may add to the ruggedness - but also may detract from the wearability as pointed out.

So I'm pleased with it as it is. Kudos and many thanks to you, Eric!

#61

Try "cosmetics".

Or "cosmetic changes".

- Pauli


#62

Thanks for the hint :-) Reveals some different subtext in different languages: "cosmetic" is a pejorative attribute for changes in German - explains why I didn't use this term describing tedious work :-)

Walter


#63

Cosmetic doesn't usually have those connotations associated with it. "Shallow" and maybe "trivial" would however.

You could also use "superficial" or "minor".


- Pauli


#64

It certainly points out how difficult it is to communicate in languages other than our "native" ones.

Makes sense to me now.

When I read Walter's original statement, I immediately went to the sourceforge location, downloaded the recently updated .bmp file and hunted for changes! :-)

#65

Quote:
There are no plans to change it.

That's great. I've been using mine with no overlay and I am quite used to it now. I would not suggest any change at this stage, however I would ask you whether a shortcut for [g] [OFF], like [ON][v] or [ON][0], might be possible.

Regards,

Gerson.


#66

Gerson, just let it sit on your desk and wait until it turns off automatically. ;-)

ON+0 is certainly possible but is it really necessary? We've a flash space problem again. (I'm implementing the serial I/O stuff at the moment.)

#67

Olá Gerson,

Why do you call this a shortcut? ;-)

Walter


#68

Hallo Walter,

Considering the long eight centimeter finger travel from distant [g] shift key to the [ON/CE] key, the [ON][0] sequence would be literally a shortcut :-) Yes, I usually do as Marcus has suggested, I just count on automatic shut-off. In just about every HP calculator I have the shift key required to turn them off is close to the [ON] key. The [g] key being far away from the [ON] key and buried amid other keys is somewhat inconvenient to me. Of course, if there is only one user complaining about this, then other more important issues should be addressed.

Regards,

Gerson.


#69

Bem, Gerson,

I'd like to offer swapping OFF and SHOW. So you won't have to find g "buried amid other keys" but can reach h at the edge easily. I don't see a chance to move the prefixes closer to EXIT, OTOH.

Walter


#70

I am willing to bet that the majority of the current adopters (ie: those that have one -- or more -- of Eric's overlays) would be somewhat unwilling to swap anything on the keyboard at this stage unless it has a significant advantage.

Turning off the calculator doesn't seem to me to be that significant to justify a change. You get used to the unconventional "g OFF" pretty quickly. (Unconventional only in the sense that it is not "h OFF" instead. There was a thread awhile ago about variations on this very topic and if I knew how to link to threads, I'd link to that thread right <here>... Boy I wish I knew how to link to threads.)

There are several key sequences I do very automatically now; like "h X.FCN|3|ENTER". I seem to do that one in my sleep! :-)


#71

Looks like I'd forgotten that thread. Thanks for pointing it out!

http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv020.cgi?read=185405

#72

Neil,

Quote:
Boy I wish I knew how to link to threads.

Catch the message you want to link to. - Open it. - Copy its address to the clipboard. - Go to the forum message you want to write. - Press "Link" bottom left. - Paste. - Find a nice text. - Done 8-)

HTH, Walter

#73

Walter.

Yes, using the prefix key at the edge would be more ergonomic. However, the current overlay has become a standard now that many of them have been produced. Also, 'SHOW' would have to be compressed to fit below EXIT together with ON and the yellow arrow. That's why I have suggested a shortcut. But if the latter takes up valuable flash space, then it's better to leave things unchanged.

Regards,

Gerson.


#74

I've written (bit not debugged) the serial stuff for the hardware and flash is almost completely full. :-(

#75

I am thinking of this:

And AFAIK there was only a pilot run of overlays made. And everybody here knew the WP 34S is a moving target. So a very limited number of overlays out there will not prevent me from improving the WP 34S layout if possible with our limited ressources.

Just my 20 m€ as usual.

Walter


#76

That's exactly what I wanted in the first place, but was afraid to ask :-)

#77

Quote:
So a very limited number of overlays out there will not prevent me from improving the WP 34S layout if possible with our limited ressources.

I agree with you Walter -- it is a moving target and will continue to evolve/improve. I just think that if the "techo-trinity" could limit the changes to something significant, that would find more support.

For example, when you guys locate an undocumented MB of flash and a big wad of RAM that Atmel forgot to mention allowing matrix operations to be added... :-)

For now, if you do put the change in the bottom left corner, many are going to have to get an overlay for the overlay and a new button label. :-D (Oh no! Back to the paper overlay taped over the calculator!)

BTW: Thanks for the hint on the linking.

Cheers...

#78

Eric,

I am very happy with the overlays, except that the key holes are quite tight, and require very precise assembly. But that is already known...

For durability I have seen up to now no wear. But my fingers are quite dry, so I may not count as a reference.

Thank you for the work and effort to make this possible,

Hubert

#79

Eric;
Mine went on centered and square but might not the next time, so the larger holes may be a good idea.
That spray-on coat may flake in the act of bending the overlay to put it on, and then it would look - well- flaky. Test before mass production.
Hopefully any change that the trinity needs to make will only necessitate a new key or two and not the whole overlay. That's the kind of thing you can hand out at the conference and not have to mail.
Thanks for making them. They are literally the icing on the cake.

#80

Hi all. I'm new on the forum but have been reading for about a month. I came looking for info on the re-released HP-15C and stuck around after learning about the WP-34s project. After getting a cable from Gene a couple of weeks ago I've now got a flashed 30b. I flashed it again with the 1196 build last weekend. I missed getting one of Eric's first overlays so I can't comment on the initial run. I would like to comment on some of the topics discussed here and earlier about the overlay.

I like the idea of an h-shifted OFF button. Walter's diagram in message #29 is exactly what I had in mind. The ON label looks good on a lower row of text like the 'a b/c' label. I realize that swapping the g and h functions of the EXIT key would require all the original overlays to be replaced, so that should be a consideration.

I prefer the colored shift keys to Walter's preference for white text. The shift keys are some of the most important keys on the keyboard and should have an easy way to visually differentiate them from the other keys. I would even suggest making the entire key cover gold, blue, or green and put the f, g, and h in black font. That would be consistent with the 34C and 67 (except for the green vs. black h-shift key, of course) and the f and g keys of the Voyagers. I would also prefer a 'g' that's like the Arial 'g' instead of the Calibri. The Arial 'g' is more consistent with historical HPs. I realize that the rest of the overlay uses Calibri and changing fonts for one key may not look right though.

On the black ink issue, I have a few suggestions that may or may not work. Eric, have you considered or tested black or transparent vinyl as a base layer? I don't know if the colors will print properly on black vinyl, but that might give the black areas a more durable finish without requiring any overcoat or spray.

With the transparent vinyl, I was picturing placing a black field above each key to print the f and g-shifted functions. The alpha characters and the functions above the A, B, C, and D keys would have to be reworked. My thought with using transparent vinyl is to let the natural black or silver of the 20b or 30b show through. The key hole sizing wouldn't be as critical and could be larger to avoid the sticky key problem. If the overlay's key holes let a bit of a "ring" of the underlying keyboard show through, it wouldn't look bad on the 30b. Putting a black field of ink above each key would cover up "Black S" also. It would cut down on the ink requirement for each printed overlay too.

Finally, on the topic of keys, I'd prefer an EEX exponent key, I like the obelus division key, and I'd like an Enter key without the up arrow on it. In general, I'd like the keyboard to approximate some of the classic styling cues of HP calculators - colored shift keys, EEX, Enter, and an obelus division key. I don't care for the CHS as +/- makes more sense to me.

Thanks to all who have made this project possible. It's been fun to tinker with so far. I haven't been able to put it into more use without an overlay yet, so I'm looking forward to another print run.


#81

Quote:
I like the idea of an h-shifted OFF button. Walter's diagram in message #29 is exactly what I had in mind. The ON label looks good on a lower row of text like the 'a b/c' label. I realize that swapping the g and h functions of the EXIT key would require all the original overlays to be replaced, so that should be a consideration.

We are not planning on changing the layout for this "trivial" change. If, however, a more significant change becomes necessary then this one will be incorporated as well.


- Pauli


#82

Fair enough. I agree with not making key changes this late in the project. If you do decide to do it, the design layout that Walter provided works well.


#83

I'm struggling with flash space at the moment but if we find some more by compressing the code in certain areas, I may introduce a "hold down ON for a second to turn it off" method in addition to g+ON.


#84

That's a very good option! And it brings to the table the possibility of doing things when keys are pressed and hold down... Maybe a case for NULL? :-))

I don't mean to insist. I swear I wasn't thinking about NULL when I started this post, I really like the idea of "timeouted" OFF by itself. But other ideas came as I was writing...


#85

The NULL problem has been discussed here. It's not as easy as it might sound as I have to react on key down and key up, not only on key down. Since we don't have user definable keys except A to D it's much less important to show the key function and let the user decide if he wants it or not.

We had to remove functionality due to space constraints in the last iterations. If I find the room in flash I'll put these back with higher priority then adding new features.


#86

Marcus,

I agree, we already discussed NULL in depth, and the issue against it is clear enough for me; I was just joking at myself with the previous post.

On the other hand, the "keep ON pressed to turn OFF" seems a good idea to me.

Best regards,

#87

Quote:
I haven't been able to put it into more use without an overlay yet, so I'm looking forward to another print run.


I have a few slightly used paper ones I'd be willing to let go for a song. Only missing one minus sign... :-)

#88

Quote:
Eric, have you considered or tested black or transparent vinyl as a base layer?

For black, find me a consumer inkjet printer that can print white ink and maybe we'll have something.

I do have a few options for transparent overlays that may look nice on the 30b, but realize I would still need the white vinyl for the keys themselves.

One possibility are "waterslide" decals, like you use when making model cars or model airplanes. The best way to do this would require disassembling the calculator, applying the waterslide decals, and then putting a clear spray over the whole calculator face. It would probably look very nice but would take a lot of work.

The other, of course, is transparent vinyl, but in both of these cases, I suspect the colors would not look very good due to the inability to print white.

Eric


#89

Ah, I was thinking you had some kind of specialized vinyl printer. Maybe you just mentioned you had a vinyl cutter before and I was thinking you had a printer too. I've had T-shirts screenprinted before and they could do white ink on dark fabrics. I was picturing a similar setup. If you're just using a consumer inkjet then that would limit you to white vinyl.

Never mind. Carry on.

#90

The overlay is great:


§ Tools needed: tweezers (actually 2 of them), your finger.


§ Adjusting on the calculator faceplate: Used Eric's method starting from the middle of the keyboard and moving towards the ends. Row by row, adjust the overlay around the key openings with your finger. Another tool might damage the very nice matt finish.

§ Both tweezers are used to put the stickers on the keys. Prior to this I had erased the Hp key labels.

It's been one month now since I put the overlay in place. The stress-tester is my 14th year old daughter which has one of my Wp§34s in absolute daily use and abuse.

In the schoolbag rubbing against books, at her desk... the key stickers did not move and the overlay is still perfectly in place.

...and my daughter thinks the calculator is "cool".

I never thought I would bring kids to RPN with a non-Hp calculator (sorry Den, I don't have one of your gems :-)

Nice work, Paul, Marcus, Walter, Eric and now Neil.

Thanks to all of you.

Etienne


#91

Quote:
...and my daughter thinks the calculator is "cool".

That's about as high a praise as is possible :-)


There is no need to erase the keys before applying the new labels. They cover the existing text (just).


- Pauli

#92

Merci bien a tu et ta fille :-)

I didn't really expect teenagers thinking this is cool stuff. I admit, however, I am pleased about this verdict. May she live long and prosper and enjoy the realms of mathematics like her dad :-)

Walter


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