Friday, 17 January 2014

TECH : Re-labeling a worn out Dk'Tronics...

As far as I am aware, DK'tronics released two versions of their products.  The first one had stick-on labels for the keys.  The second, of which I have, printed the labels directly onto the keys.  While the print is pretty resilient, sometimes those greasy fingers can just wear off the hardiest of inks.

So - with those keys being almost perfectly cleaned off, how was I going to "restore" this old device.  The answer was to look around and see if anybody had released new labels for these keyboards.  As far as I could tell, there was nothing to be found.

Late night greasy pizza, or just sweaty fingers (ooh!) can cause issues...

Well, if you can't find them, then you make your own.  With a little observation, and Adobe Illustrator, I've created a set of new labels that can be printed and used to replace any worn keys.

Printed onto transparent label paper, ready to cut-n-stick

I'm sharing these here for those of you who are in a similiar situation.  All I ask is that if you download this file, please do not redistribute the file online elsewhere without first asking, don't remove my name/blog address (or change it/modify the image/claim it as your own work) or use it to make a profit through selling printed labels from it.  Just a little respect for the work I put into this is appreciated.

By printing this home-made set of labels to an A4 sheet of glossy adhesive transparent acetate paper (you should be able to find these at your local art supplies of stationery supply store), I managed to restore the few missing keys.  Ideally, all keys should be cleaned off and replaced, but for what I need right now, the few that were almost completely cleaned off was a great start.

Clean, align and stick - its as simple as that

I will be uploading a coloured version of this for those wanting non-transparent versions.  I'll post that up as a new blog entry in the next day or so.

Just a note - I printed these on a lazer printer.  If you're using an inkJet, consider sealing them somehow.  Either a transparent sealant spray (which doesn't damage plastic label paper, obviously) or by placing a clean transparent label over the top.

Ink tends to easily smear or wear.  Lazer prints are much more resilient to wear and tear from constant pressing...  Just be weary...



  1. Why don't you just print them in reverse on the back of the transparency and stick them toner-side down onto the keycaps?

    That would stop the legends wearing off.

  2. Ah, now that would actually be a cool idea.

    The downside to this however would mean getting non-adhesive acetate sheets and having to then glue them to the keys with something that wouldn't smear the print, or damage the keys.

    Printing on the adhesive side I imagine might cause a few issues... :)