Moved to Fabrication.
This is more of a fab question than a quesitona bout a specific input device.
This is probably pretty far fetched but I just thought about it. I want to cut and shape my own control buttons out of lexan. I had thought of printing the play arrow, volume signs, etc onto a transparency and gluing the to the buttons but i want to round all the edges so that won't work.
Then I thought about using temporary tattoo paper to print high detail labels, sticking them on, and clear-coating over them.
My question is: Will the ink stick to anything other than skin? (It has been a while since I had any experience with these)
I don't know if this would work or not but check with a trophy shop as they can screen print on plastic
tell more about the kind of button you want... is it backlit? are you trying to create text or just icons? what finish are you looking to achieve? check out my civic worklog... there's some custom buttonry lurking around there, maybe that will give you some ideas.
I'm want to cut my buttons, 8 of them, out of lexan then sand them to round the edges and to get the frosted effect. Yes I want to add a backlight as well. Since my buttons will show light, I want black pictures/text on them. The detail has to be decent because my buttons are small. Think 1/2" x 1/2".
might be easier to print whatever you want on transparency film and stick it to the back side of the lexan using maybe a micro-thin layer of silicone and just work out the bubbles until it's clear and adhered. That way the printer does all the detail work and you can just worry about trimming the edges square.
just my personal opinion though, i think it'd look better if you had black buttons with the text/icon lit up.
Actually I tend to think you're right that having black buttons with lit icons would look better. I just didn't know how I would get it to look right. I am a little worried about a transparancy peeling up around the edges.
if you let the silicone cure and it's nice and thin, i don't think you'd have a problem with peeling. It's got enough stretch that the heat/cold cycles won't affect it as much. Just make sure you get 100% coverage.
As far as precise masks go, try laser cutting vinyl. 2k1toaster did some fine work for me, but there are many places to go that will probably prorate their hourly charge and do multiples of everything you can imagine for $30-$60.
When it comes down to painting the button, use Krylon Fusion if you don't have an airbrush. For some reason that stuff atomizes really well and lays down pretty smooth and thin so you don't have a perceptible "step" between the icon and the color. You can clear over it to give it a more even look too.
By the bye, for a frosted look on clear plastic, sand (or media) blasting works very well. I can't say sanding won't but I kind of think it won't. I have personally had the sandblasting done to clear plastic and it came out looking exactly like frosted glass. The cool thing is you can do it with colored transparent plastic too, for that blue or green frosted glass look.
Just and FYI.
They actually make obscure lexan and plexiglass... and it already has the "sanded" look that you are talking about... I think we had some come in the shop the other day... don't think we have any more of it.. but if we do, I will take a picture of it to let you see it, if you want.
Pm me for any Lexan, plexi, or glass needs.