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PROS

Simply does not wear out!

No ink! No paint! No glue!

Nothing to peel, loosen or crack!

Blocks future oils, dirt and buildup 

Easy installation

Easy to remove or reposition

CONS

Some keypad designs require specially designed buttons (more detail)

Risk of unwanted button presses when incompatible or installed improperly 

 

Q: When should I use ButtonWorx™

A: Only when you want your button repair to last!

In my opinion, no other button repair is an option unless you just don’t care or only need it to work short term. There are plenty of other choices out there that seem to be a solution…. but they all have the same weakness. Nothing sticks to rubber keypads for long!

I started repairing business telephones in the early 90’s. Multi-line phones were expensive and proprietary. Parts were not available and the manufacturers did not want anyone repairing them. As you can imagine buttons were high on the list of problems I had to deal with on a daily basis and replacement parts were not available.

My company offered a 1 year warranty on repair service so it was critical to come up with methods to repair buttons that would not fail. 

Specialty cleaners, conductive glues, epoxy, foils, paint, ink… You name it, I tried it! I even improved them with industrial adhesion promoters or other labor intensive preparations. Nothing sticks to rubber keypads! They all failed eventually. Any phone that was put back into service quickly came back for warranty work within the year. Worse yet… every time a button repair failed, the conductive material could short circuit the button and lock up the device! Hold down one button and the others stop responding.

Eventually I came to the realization that nothing would ever work…. I had to come up with some way to repair buttons without trying to change the rubber keypad.  

I’d seen membrane keypads before. They are sometimes used in high end devices in one form or another. Rubber keypads wear out faster than other buttons, they seep oil and the carbon rubber pills break down over time. To limit these weaknesses you can make the rubber thin (so it contains less oil) and top it off with hard plastic buttons or you can add a membrane as the conductor in place of carbon pills (plastic film, metal snap dome, etc..).  However, these methods increase cost so they are rarely used.

ButtonWorx™ started small with keypads made by hand using hole punch, foils and tape. It took a lot of time and experimentation. Most of the materials and techniques failed but it was clear the repairs were often far superior to coatings and I had plenty of time along with the motivation to keep trying.

For about 2 decades I used membrane keypads to repair phones I worked on. The process evolved from hole punch to CAD drawings with computer controlled cutting tools. I was micro-producing designs for a handful of different devices. Over those 20 or so years I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. It was very gratifying to occasionally see a phone I repaired 5, 7, 10 years prior… a phone that originally had notorious problems with buttons… and see those buttons still working like new a decade after repair.  

Occasionally someone would reach out to me, asking to buy the membrane keypad so they could do the repair themselves.  At first I was resistant. I had not designed the product with the intention to sell them. It wasn’t the peel and stick ButtonWorx™ I have today. They were usually multi-step parts that required more understanding of how they work and what NOT to do. I didn’t bother to make them with detailed cutouts to match the board layout so it would be easy for someone else. Some needed trimming to fit in different locations and it was easy to do it wrong. A millimetre off and it could short out buttons or even damage the device. However, as time went on, customer requests increased. Eventually I made two designs for others to buy and install themselves. One full keypad for the Panasonic KX-TGA450b cordless phone and a 7mm round individual button that could be applied anywhere.  And that was when ButtonWorx™ was born. 

Today, about 7 years later I have hundreds of specific designs and  many more choices of individual buttons. ButtonWorx™ has been installed in countless devices. Toys, old computers, remotes, phone keypads, keyfobs, alarm panels, snow plows… all the way up to massive industrial machines having control boards with hundreds of large rubber buttons.

What makes ButtonWorx™ different?  

There is nothing like ButtonWorx!
Until now, if you wanted a keypad of any kind your only real choice was to go to China and have them custom made. It costs thousands of dollars just for tooling and setup. Development takes many months and you have to buy at least 10,000 keypads to make it worth while. When you start putting them into service and find a problem of any kind… you can’t change the design without losing all your inventory and waiting months for a new supply. 

With ButtonWorx™ membrane keypads I can manufacture 6 keypads or 600. With no tooling needed, a design that sells just 100 pieces in 3 years is still profitable.  This allows me to make keypads for obscure items and collectibles as well as popular devices with a large customer base.