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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Bristol, CT
Re: Getting the letters off of keys - Possible? - 04-03-2009, 12:43 AM
I would try to get a replacement key from Dell and have on hand. Then lift key off key board (you have experience at this as you have done it) and sand the character/s off, being aware you will have a different resulting finish. This can be brightened with Novus no. 2 plastic polish if your willing to spend the money for the polish. Cheap alternative is to get a fine sanding finish (600 to 1000 grit) and use a little mineral oil or even the oil from ones face, i.e. near the nose. (laught...this is an old pipe smokers trick to oil pipe bowls) and I have used it to give a little luster to sanded plastic such as ABS, which I believe this may be. As a professional modelmaker, I have been there and done it with all the methods above.
Two part epoxy paint would give the best lasting paint scenario, however, a costly proposal for a key or two.
If all else fails, you can send me the key/s and I could modify, retexture, generate rubber molds and cast in a black resin. You wouldn't like the cost however.
Edit: If your up to experimenting you can also try this: Remove key. With a small artist brush test solvent effect (under side of key...an area not seen when key is used, thus no harm visually to upper surface) on platstic. I.e., does laquer thinner, acetone (nail polish remover has acetone in it), mineral spirits or like solvents you may have on hand "attack" the plastic? If so, sand the character/s off. With artist brush "dry brush" key with a lacquer or possibly an acrylic enamal paint (hobby store). The technique is to bring the tip of the brush straight down onto the key and lift up. The idea is to get a light texture, mimicking the texture on the production key. You may be able to do this with just the solvent. You may get the luster as well. This is where extra keys come in handy, developing technique. Resanding and redo may be a solution here as well.
If the solvents, esp. lacquer thinner or acetone have no effort, i.e. does NOT "attack" the plastic, then the plastic is a poly base such as polypropylene. This means you can sand the characters out, however, polishing is harder (if not impossible) to accomplish and paint adhesion is much more difficult. Krylon Fusion spray paint or equivalent for "poly" plastics will be required.
I hope this helps.
Additional Note: Borrow someone's nail polish remover. Test as above (underside of key). If positive "attack". Compare cost of hobby paints to cost of black nail polish. Sand and "dry brush" as described above with either the paint OR black nail polish or possibly with just the nail polish remover, or combination of remover/black nail polish to acquire effect.
Practice on any plastic that behaves like the key plastic to develope technique.
P.S. Are you sure a little piece of black electrical tape or masking tape would not do the job? Cheap and easily replaced when needed.
US/Uk International keyboard.
Find someone to do all your typing.
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