View Full Version : Keyboard stickers

Viktor Voroncov
09-17-2010, 2:31 PM
Just want share idea with other SMC members. Practically all my customers do a lot of keyboard stickers from 3M laser engravables films
The idea is simple - add new languages/non standard signs to standard PC/laptop keyboard. As this films is not removable - durability is guaranteed.
Attached file with ENG-RUS-LT keyboard.
Sometimes they do custom orders but very often engravers sell this sticker's sets to PC/laptop sellers, to stationery shops and etc. I am not sure but looks like Spanish, Chinese, Japanese sets could be popular in USA.

Dan Hintz
09-17-2010, 3:47 PM

Isn't that your company you hotlinked to?

Viktor Voroncov
09-17-2010, 4:03 PM
yes, Dan, it's mine

James Terry
09-17-2010, 7:53 PM
I would like to see some examples of the end product of doing these. And seeing as how most of us only have flatbed engravers, how does one efficiently go about engraving things that are on a roll?

Viktor Voroncov
09-18-2010, 3:44 AM
Sorry for quality, pictures were taken by mobile. Idea is clear - we have SILVER/BLACK film for keyboards with light color of keys and BLACK MATT/WHITE or BLACK GLOSS/WHITE - for black keys. Engraving is not easy. First of all all films supplied in rolls width 90 or 120 mm. We buy them in 300 meters rolls and sell by linear meter. So when customer have materials - film do not want lay flat as long time was in roll (sorry don't know exact word in English).
Same time thickness of EACH LAYER is too small (12 mkm) , so you need very careful position on table - absolutely flat. Impossible engrave with high quality for example 120x600 mm band due difference of table level. Maximum size of one engraving work usually is 120x300-400 mm. But if you want to do barcodes or other images with big areas of filling - I reccomend use 120x200 mm one-time engraving area.
Another headache is how to fix film on table. Double-side scotch do not work as add non-flat position. 3M repositionable spray adhesive - too expensive, need cleaning with more expensive cleaner :). So we even design vacuum tables for this applications:
But there is a lot of advantages of using this laserable films - high profit and repeatable orders. If some of your customers make something which need durable identification - 3M is best choice and you will have orders for many years ahead.
I do not know how everything is in USA, but in Europe very often manufacturer include in drawings information that all markings on final products schould be made from for example 3M 7846 Laser film.

Michael Hunter
09-18-2010, 6:46 AM
My Epilog dealer in the UK sells sheets of permanently sticky stuff for doing jobs like this. The sheets are about 3/16" thick and semi-rigid, can be cut to fit the laser bed. When the stickyness wears off, you just wash them in water and they are good as new.
VERY expensive stuff, but probably cheaper than a vacuum bed (unless you can build that yourself).

I'm sorry, but I don't know what it is called (other than "hold-down sheet").

Viktor Voroncov
09-18-2010, 7:27 AM
Mike, there is different names for this material and for example Rowmark sell it under name FAT-MAT. It work well BUT it's expensive, and sometimes/very often you do mistake and cut this material. After in place of cutting FAT-MAT do not work well.

Richard Rumancik
09-19-2010, 11:47 PM
Viktor, is the 3M material laserable with CO2 lasers? The data sheet I found says YAG but maybe CO2 works too.

This seems similar to a material I tested many years ago from Tesa. I don't know the part number but it was probably Tesa 6930 or something very similar. I recall it being pretty fussy to mark; making it lie flat brings back some memories. When lasered, it created white characters on black label stock. The biggest problem I could see was procuring the material in small lots. I would have had to buy a lot of material from Tesa. Since it has a shelf life you would need to use it quickly.

In North America access to a lot of 3M products is restricted to "converters" which are approved by 3M. They do this because they feel that their reputation is on the line if someone processes thier product and makes a poor end-product out of 3M materials. I haven't tried, but buying this material in North America could be difficult.

The Tesa product was used a lot for tamper-proof labels on autos including VIN plates. I don't know how well it would stand up to a keyboard. That is a pretty aggressive application.

Viktor Voroncov
09-20-2010, 1:07 AM
Yes, you are right. TESA is similar to 3M films. TESA have wider product range -they have WHITE/BLACK, CLEAR/WHITE-YELLOW films and etc. 3M more concentrated on custom orders from big players (Ford, Mercedes and etc - VIN labels). Both films can be engraved on Yag and CO2 lasers. Most peoples use Yag for engraving due big orders-need of faster speed. But for small orders CO2 is ok.
Durability of keyboard stickers is OK, I have on mine laptop same stickers over 4 years.