Limited run of blue key slant WP34S overlays


Forum Friends,

Eric has graciously offered to do a custom run of overlays for the WP 34S. I'm embedding an image of the overlay that myself and at least one other forum member are ordering.

In the interest of maximizing Eric's ROI, I thought I would let everyone know in case there is additional interest in ordering one or more of these overlays.


Edited: 8 Feb 2012, 12:44 p.m.


I have to admit, I like this layout better. It seems much cleaner. I'll be ordering some too.


As the designer of the original UI I must ask you urgently: please (!) print the labels on the prefix keys white and get that 'g' from Helvetica. Will calm my stomach significantly :-) TIA!

Besides, there's a very long tradition of g-shifted functions being printed blue - nearly as long as f-shifted ones printed yellow (or golden, as HP expressed it). Where present, h-shifted functions were printed black so far, what we cannot allow here ;-) Anyway I still think the green color is the better alternative on the slanted front. Depending on the printer, both green and blue may be chosen a bit lighter.




Well, why not print the h-shifted labels black on a grey background? So the slanted part of the key will become grey. Just crossed my mind - sometimes the so called 'impossible' may be the best choice :-)



As the designer of the original UI I must ask you urgently: please (!) print the labels on the prefix keys white and get that 'g' from Helvetica. Will calm my stomach significantly :-) TIA!


Besides, there's a very long tradition of g-shifted functions being printed blue...

I agree with this, as it is clearly a fact. Never the less, set your 15C or 41 or any number of other calculators next to your 34S. The similarity of the blue "g" key is much less noticeable than the glaring difference of the green key slants shining out at you.

Ideally, I'd like to keep g blue as well as the key front, but that would require firmware changes, and I've no doubt how you and the rest of the team would shoot me down if I proposed swapping the function (and keycodes all over the place) of the g and h shift keys.

Thanks for your thoughts, Walter, and all the hard work that got us to this point. Customizing wouldn't be possible if you and the team hadn't first created it.



I had been working on an alternative overlay since the other day when Eric said he would be willing to make custom ones. It is very similar to yours except for a couple of things:

1. changed the font of all lower case x and y to Century Schoolbook, to more closely match the classic HP look for these characters

2. moved the alpha labels to the lower right corner of each key instead of lower left.

Edit - Bob was kind enough to incorporate my ideas, see his following post.

Edited: 8 Feb 2012, 8:01 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


I can live with the placement of the f/g labels above the keys but I prefer the yellow/blue/green color scheme of the original design.


Happily, it appears that various preferences can be accommodated.


Here's an updated version with Helvetica "g", white shift labels, and the serif'd lowercase x/y. I've also shifted the alpha labels to the right of the respective key instead of the left. I think this will accommodate Jeff's request, and is a look I really like.

Edited: 8 Feb 2012, 3:10 p.m.


That looks great! Guess I'll place an order with Eric.


Even better!


Hi Jeff,


2. moved the alpha labels to the lower right corner of each key instead of lower left.

Just curious, why move the alpha labels?


Lower right corner matches previous HP calculators, for example the HP48.


But this causes the alpha labels to hide when keying (wasn't this the reason for placing the lettering above the keys rather than below?) Also this breaks the symmetry of the alpha labels placement in the lower half of the overlay. The only change I would suggest to Walter's design would be placing the labels above the keys, as in the original HP-34C and these later overlays.


Lower right corner matches previous HP calculators, for example the HP48.

That's what I thought. Good reason for it.

Though I do concur with Gerson that as a right-handed person, I have a slight preference for labels on the left so that my big fat thumb doesn't obscure the alpha label when it is already on the right key.


Actually there's no problem if the labels are hidden when the keys are pressed, this happens with the primary functions all the time. Anyway, it would be great to have three or four options to choose from when ordering the overlays. I think I'll stick to the current version. It looks just fine for me.


I hope you have upgraded the 20b to V3 and flashed the 30b to a 34S in the meantime. ;-)


Not yet. No FTDI USB-serial cable no joy. Might get one soon :-)


Obrigado, Gerson. Thanks. The current version comes closest to what the designer had in mind d:-) and of course you're right with the hidden labels.


oh, dang! and i thought i could capitalize on you guys so i can get back the price i paid for the cutter! :)

anyway, i should say that i've seen the light (or the printout of my friend's printer), and green/yellow/blue isn't as bad on my eye as i thought it'd be. i guess i'll have to get an hp printer now! (mine's an old canon).

here's the layout. any takers? :)

i still prefer the linux libertine greek fonts though.


This is the version that we actually ended up ordering from Eric. Printing is set to occur on Friday.

There are numerous changes in addition to the color swap and label relocations:

  1. Numerals changed to Arial font to match legacy HPs
  2. Key top labels changed to a very light gray instead of stark white
  3. Revised pi symbol
  4. Larger -1 exponent on inverse functions to make them more visible
  5. Changed all register references (x and y) to italic serif font to match legacy HPs
  6. CPy,x expanded to discrete labels
  7. Increased size of s and r
  8. Change sign key relabeled CHS
  9. Relabeled factorial key to x! for better visibility and to match legacy HP
  10. Many small alignment changes to improve consistency and legibility


Even though we all are used to see blue labels on the slanted edge, I must admit that the green g-shift-key embarresses me.

Couldn't the f- and h-labels be placed above the keys - even though this is in contrast to the classic HP three-shift-keys-layout?



the green g-shift-key embarresses me.

One could get rid of the letters f, g and h altogether and just put the respective colors on the labels. Or do the letters serve any specific purpose?


The letters help to name key sequences in absence of color.


The x and y letters look quite nice in general. The f, g, h letters are looking like they were originally designed.

Change sign key relabeled CHS.

FYI, +/- was prefered over CHS resulting from a poll in this forum many weeks ago.


Very nice tweeks. Looks good. As for little things like the CHS vs +/- Eric certainly has the ability to include both on the new overlays, then people can choose the one they prefer.


This is what I ended up producing and mailing today for those who had ordered it:



Alpha left and swap back blue and green and I'm a taker. I don't like the yellow/green pairing for f/g. (Eric, don't take this as an order, it's just me expressing my personal opinion.)



I'm curious as to your preference for the alpha labels on the left. To my knowledge, the WP 34S is the only HP (or HP-like) that has ever had alpha labels to the left of the respective key. Here's a partial list of alpha to the right models:

  • HP-22s
  • HP-32s
  • HP-32sii
  • HP-48s/sx
  • HP-48g/gx
  • HP-49g/gii/g+
  • HP-33s
  • HP-50g
  • HP-35s

Of the other HP models with alpha, the 42s uses menus, the 41C family has alpha as the only marking on the slanted key fronts, and the clam shells have dedicated alpha keyboards.



What happend to the grey key label background? They were my main reason for ordering... :-(

Edited: 12 Feb 2012, 6:59 a.m.


Those were just guidelines to show approximately where to cut. They should never have been shown to the public, but some people didn't hide those layers before posting sample images here.



Eric, is there a difference for you (in cost and work involved) wether you produce an overlay from your own image or from an image provided by the customer? Is the number of overlays produced from a specific layout an additional factor in this or could you produce just one custom overlay at the same cost as usual?

No matter what I like your original overlays I have in V2 and V3 and am also looking forward to having this limited run version, be it grey or black!


The time to set up a custom run is relatively minimal, but it's likely that I would need to spend some time tweaking the layout to get all the alignments right. After I got the "final" image from Bob for this, I still had to go in and rearrange some things, and it still took me 3 tries (making useless overlays in the process) to get the cut lines right.

If it's a minor variation of one of the (now two) existing layouts, it should be pretty simple, but if it's significantly different it will take some work.



Eric, please refresh my memory. How do I order some of the limited run WP 34s overlays?



Order the overlay as normal, but when sending payment, make sure to add a comment specifying you want the special blue key slant design. Following up with an email to confirm this would be ideal also. 21 sold so far!


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