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Low cost membrane keypad prototypes?

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by David L. Jones, Apr 22, 2009.

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  1. I'm after a place that can do low-ish cost membrane keypad prototypes and
    small qty (100's).
    Not actually membrane with the flex cable, but the simpler polydome (or
    tact) variety that sticks directly onto the PCB.
    I've been quoted $600+ for tooling locally, just wondering if there is
    someplace cheaper?

  2. Guest

    Hi Dave,

    Have you tried Permark? They are usually very competitive on pricing.

  3. 600$ seems already a good pricing. Alternatively capacitive sensing can be a
    zero-tooling solution, as it could allow to design your keyboard as a simple
    PCB and overlay it with any kind of decorative layer (laser-printed, etc).
    See solutions from Cypress (capsense), Microchip and others.

    Friendly yours,
    Robert Lacoste
  4. Thanks.
    Yes, I was already considering the Atmel Qtouch, but the keys are densely
    packed (6mm spacing) so although it might work, I suspect there might be
    quite some development to perfect it, and then there is the possibility of
    some people having issues with it.
    Anyone have any experience with touch technology at that spacing?

  5. Nutz

    Nutz Guest

    I've used Entech a lot in the past. Quality has always been good. Pricewise
    they seem to be in the middle.
  6. 6mm spacing will definitevely be challenging...
  7. linnix

    linnix Guest

    Why would this be better than a plastic top cover with conductive
    pads? PCB toolings would not be much cheaper than printed plastic
  8. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    You could just put individual tact switches on the PCB; it'd be quite
    labor-intensive until you go to pick&place.

  9. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    6 mm from key to key? Isn't that, like, 1/4"? I know of people whose
    fingertips are bigger than that.

    Good Luck!
  10. Yep!

    But in the case of my project such a spacing is a necessity.

  11. Yeah, thought of that, but then I need the graphic overlay anyway, as I
    don't really have space above the keys on the PCB silkscreen.

  12. Thanks for the manufactuer links everyone, will check them out.

  13. linnix

    linnix Guest

    You can print flat plastic cover at very low cost. Tooling is
    necessary only if you make doomed contact area. PCB (FR-4) is too
    rigid for doomed contacts and can not be printed with color. FR-4 is
    generally more expensive than plastic. I would use as small as
    possible FR-4 between bigger plastic cover and base.
  14. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    A graphic overlay is almost trivial - a piece of plastic and a silk-screen.

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