Blinging Buttons for Pick and Place

With 3D-printing, cheap CNC machines, and the huge variety of hardware available these days, really slick-looking control panels are getting to be commonplace. We’re especially fond of those nice indicators with the chrome bezels, and the matching pushbuttons with LED backlighting; those can really make a statement on a panel.

Sadly for [Proto G], though, the LEDs in his indicator of choice were just boring old one-color units, so he swapped them out and made these addressable RGB indicators. The stock lamps are not cheap units, but they do have a certain look, and they’re big enough to allow room for a little modification. The original guts were removed with a Dremel to make way for a Neopixel board. [Proto G] wanted to bring the board’s pads out to screw terminals, so he had to adapt the 3.0-mm pitch blocks he had on hand to the 2.54-mm pitch on Neopixel board, but that actually came out neater than you’d think. With a little hot glue to stick it all back together, he now has fully-addressable indicators that can be daisy-chained together and only take up a single GPIO pin.

These indicators and the nice looking panel they’re on is part of a delta pick-and-place robot build [Proto G] has been working for a while. He’s had some interesting side projects too, like the clickiest digital clock in the world and easing ESP32 setup for end-users. While we like all his stuff, we can’t wait to write up the finished delta.

7 thoughts on “Blinging Buttons for Pick and Place

  1. “With 3D-printing, cheap CNC machines, and the huge variety of hardware available these days, really slick-looking control panels are getting to be commonplace. We’re especially fond of those nice indicators with the chrome bezels, and the matching pushbuttons with LED backlighting; those can really make a statement on a panel.”

    That would a sort of retro feel. Modern is more like the movies with plenty of “oh shiny”.

    1. Regarding movies (and TV series): did you notice that computers always make sounds… when you enter something it beeps, when it has found something it beeps, when it finished a task… it beeps. And when a file is copied and the spy is about to be captured if he doesn’t escape soon (but the copy action prevent him from escaping otherwise the mission is failed)… then the computer makes continuous beeping sounds sometimes with the frequency slightly rising when copying progresses.

      In real live… my devices don’t shine (except from devices with touchscreens that seem to glare more then a bathroom mirror) and my computer doesn’t make a sound (unless I insert/remove a USB device). And to be honest… I like it that way (except the touchscreen glare).

      Regarding the project… it looks really retro, perfectly suited for some hyper-action-fighter-helicopter of the 80’s (especially with that red switchcap). I assume that there will be added some labels to the buttons and switches later on, looking forward to a video about that because adding text and symbols to a frontpanel (if done properly) can be a very difficult task. Though… if the panel is small enough you can always print a transparent sticker containing all text/symbols. Then again if the sticker is good enough to hold ink.. it will hold dirt just as well (most likely even better) so then you need to add some coating. So how do you prevent your printed sticker from dirt or wear, although laminating is a good option.

      1. I remember reading years ago, and I don’t know if this is actually true, that it has become a bit of a thing to make computer interactions in tv-shows bad on purpose. As a sort of internal joke and “competition” to see who can get away with the most silly stuff.

      1. I was thinking about some kind of 3D printed nozzle you could screw onto soda bottles to make water rockets. That would be neat too. Then you could have a full arsenal.

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