The project makes use of 11 buttons, 1 switch, 1 acrylic sheet and a plastic box.
The aim is to make a cheap vs expensive button box projects.
On the cheaper version of the sim racing button box i used an Arduino Leonardo board and plastic push buttons.
First off, lets talk about the materials:
The Abs box used is a simple one, semi-rigid with a rugged texture.
This in particular uses screws to attach the cover to the main body.
The box´s finish is not state of the art and some marks of the molding process can be noticed, so the post-molding treatment it´s almost non existent.
It measures 200 mm in length, 110 mm wide and 60 mm in depth.
The top cover of the box was laser cut as well as the acrylic and its ready to fit 12 buttons; 11 push buttons and 1 switch.
As the acrylic is 3mm thick it was not possible to use the box cover + the acrylic on top because the buttons where not long enough, so the acrylic on top of the case, without the cover, was indeed the best option.
The push buttons:
Plastic, with good tactile feel but not extremely precise. We can say the push buttons are decent but that’s all. It´s a bummer to use heat next to the contacts we want to solder because the plastic melts in 3 seconds.
For the price of the buttons i do not mind this because for 1.98€ i can get 10 push buttons.
The dimensions of the buttons are 12 mm in diameter on the main body and 18mm in height.
The switch used is of good quality; a one time actuation switch to use for “pit limiter”.
It measures 6 mm in diameter.
The multicolored option of the buttons are a good option because its visually easier to see and press but for now it will stay all black. This arrangement of the box and its colors was thought to be used in a profile aluminum rig and this layout will stay cool. The decals, on the other hand, is something i have not thought of, yet.
Lets approach the decals part;
There is a wide variety of stickers to these kind of projects but the best ones are the ones you make, for three main reasons: the layout, the colors and the proportions.
Here are some examples:
I say the best are yours just because the cutting and resizing of some of the decals can be time consuming, and that time can be applied to make some new or different. There are some techniques that cannot be reproduced with these decals.
Example: “Mirroring technique”
All what is seen on this decal is made separately, so the letters are made separate from images and/or lines so that you can apply them on the back side of a cover box and not be worried about peeling off with the use. More on that with in next project: Button Box V2.
Ok, so i aim this project for 30€ total, excluding labor with one of its integral parts being the Board; Arduino Leonardo board with ide software version 1.6.6.
There is no need for a comment on this board, it is just needed to upload the sketch and its all good. You might encounter a set back or two and if you do please contact me.
Now to the other important things:
I found and used several sketches and through my experience the Kevin Peat´s one is the easiest to work with.
In my YouTube channel, i give it an explanation about the wiring but the main thought here is:
The buttons must be wired up as columns and rows. If you watch this schematics, the “blue wire” is connected vertically to the buttons on that vertical row and the “red wire” is connected horizontally, to the buttons on that horizontal row. Please check the video for more information.
Let´s say you did not watch the video; there´s something that might help when wiring in such a way:
The above connector facilitates connecting more than 1 wire together.
Mr. Peat´s homepage link: http://www.kevinpeat.com/arduino_button_box.html
The only set back that happened was that the sketch was asking for a “Keyboard.h” line and i had to include the line: #include <Keyboard.h> , in the beginning of the code.
With this sketch you can only press one button at a time.
When all is well wired and the code uploaded it’s just plug and play.
This button box is fully functional and if i knew i would have make it with more buttons.., oh well.
One more photo,
I´ll update this project with decals and for now i think this is it.
A couple of thoughts on closing:
•It is possible to make a nice looking box as a DIY project,
•More than 20 buttons can be used with the Arduino Sketch,
•Nice cost/benefit ratio ,
•Basic solder know how,
I got a weird feeling that something is missing..
See ya soon, in the Button Box V2 – The “expensive” Version.