WP 34S overlay installation


Received my 34S yesterday - Thanks, Jose!

For those who are nervous about applying their own overlay, relax! I'm not nearly as steady as I used to be, but I washed my paws, got my readers, fine tweezers and a good work light, and gave it a go. Results - Excellent! Hopefully others will share a better way than mine, but here's my observations:

- The overlay decals are NOT the ultra-pressure sensitive type that permanently adhere as soon as even a corner touches. They can actually be gently adjusted before smoothing them down.

- For the button overlays, grab the very bottom edge with the tweezers and line the top edge with the key top. I actually left about 1/64" of margin at the top edge, and it centered all the legends nicely. Make sure you are also lined up left-right, then smooth it from the top edge to the bottom edge.

- For the keyboard overlay, I initially started from the top down, and it wasn't working well, so I gently, slowly lifted it back off. It worked much better starting with the "Enter" row, working down to the bottom, then finishing the top.

- Smooth the keyboard overlay with something soft, like a Q-Tip. Anything hard or edgy (even a fingernail) will leave a mark in the vinyl.

Since this is such a pioneering project, I'm experiencing a giddiness I haven't felt since purchasing my ultra-powered TI-58c in undergrad school. Looking forward to using this cool tool!


Knowing how un-talented I am at such things, I was expecting it to be difficult and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. The quality of the sticker kit is really first-rate and that certainly helps.


One brief word of caution. When I installed my first overlay, I had a key label that started a bit out of alignment, and I tried to "slide" it with my finger. This actually can work, but I suggest you not even try it. When I did so, I had to put a lot of pressure on the key to get enough force to slide the label on it, and I ended up permanently damaging the snap dome of the key, making it mushy and destroying the nice HP click.

So use a magnifier, steady your hand against a sturdy object, and line up each key label before you put any real pressure on it to stick it down. It is, after all, "pressure-sensitive adhesive".

If you need to peel a key label or the background overlay, note that the least force will be required if you peel at a 90-degree angle to the surface. Pull "up", not "back", and take your time. In the self-adhesive papers, films and foils industry, this is known as the "90-degree peel adhesion" characteristic. (There are also tests for 180-degree peel adhesion --- peeling "back" --- and shear --- sliding at 0 degrees. Things I found out working in a lab during a summer job way back in college days...)

Fortunately, I bought a couple HP-30Bs, and I could sacrifice one as a "learner". I kept it so I can learn on it (mess it up) when I do my first crystal/cap and IR upgrades.



I found that the difficulty in applying the overlays has been highly overrated. I have purchased five overlays for three calculators, believing the application to be such delicate surgery, but I really haven't needed the extras. It is nice, though, to have extra key covers on hand when the existing ones start showing wear around the edges.


I'd like to add three additional observations:

- You really need to leave some margin at the top edge, because otherwise the existing blue legends on the slanted side of the keys will not be covered entirely.

- Make sure that all the keys are free from grease and oil from fingerprints. If in doubt, rub the keys with alcohol to clean them up before you apply the decals.

- Afterwards, firmly rub over each decal from top to bottom to make sure it firmly adheres to the original keyboard. Otherwise, edges of the decals might come loose over time.

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