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Boxy Pixel Aluminum Button Fix
#1
As I mentioned in my build thread ( Here ), I noticed that the buttons on the Boxy Pixel have a tendency to bind up with the shell. Meaning that when you're playing a game like Mario where you're pressing two buttons at once by rolling your thumb, your inputs might not register because the button(s) gets stuck.

What's happening here is that the button will tilt slightly as you're pressing it and the bottom edge of the button will make contact with the sidewall inside the button well. The bottom edge of the button is somewhat sharp and it digs into the wall instead of sliding past it as it should.

So, the solution is pretty straight forward: remove that sharp edge on the buttons. I basically took a small needle file to the bottom edges of all the buttons to give them a nice curved edge. I then followed up with some 500 grit sandpaper cut to about 1/8" wide wrapped over the file to smooth them even further. I finished with a buffing pad just to get them as smooth as possible to promote smooth sliding.

All the buttons are now super smooth and I couldn't get them to bind up even if I wanted to...   Update: They actually still bind up, but are better. Still feels gritty sometimes. It's a shame I had to even do this, as this would be easily fixed by just slightly changing the shape of the buttons during production.

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#2
(07-29-2019, 06:40 AM)krisyadao Wrote: I noticed that the buttons on the Boxy Pixel have a tendency to bind up with the shell.

It could be possible as the buttons are non anodized, and combining them with your non anodized shell, it only increases the friction and the friction area between the unfinished aluminum parts (both shell and buttons).

Boxy says that machining marks and non anodized products may require sanding, cleaning or polishing. All over his website.

The buttons must move up and down, so in order to have a smooth glide, the surface must be smooth. It is a byproduct of the manufacturing process have end up with machining marks, or leave some residue, that might produce a non smooth surface between the shell and button. It increases the friction.

IMO I think you removed a large quantity of aluminum. Did you try smoothing the surfaces with a fine grit before attempting to remove material?

But I am glad you found a solution that worked for you.  Tongue

Edit: Have you tried different rubber membranes? You may have a shorter membrane or a "weaker" (non supportive) one that is giving the buttons extra room to wiggle around and get stuck. Different manufacturers do things differently. For example: It is not uncommon to hear that someone had a problem with the plastic buttons of GBA-GB mods because they are physically different, even by a fraction of a millimeter, which throws any tolerances down the trash bin.
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#3
The buttons were "smooth" as is. The same as you would receive them if you had ordered the anodized shell (they are sold separately). I just feel the shape isn't quite right. True, it is mentioned that the shell may need finishing, but I interpret it as it needs finishing for aesthetics and not for function.

Quote:3.  If raw aluminum is purchased (No anodize), it will come as is from machining.  Some cleaning, and/or finishing will be needed.  3M fine sanding pads work well.  Polishing compound can be use to achieve a shine fairly easily.  In short, these are sold to those that would like to sand, polish, paint, or finish on their own.  

It also wasn't really that much material that I took off. The pictures make it seem more exaggerated as they are so close up. You can't see any of the modification when the unit is assembled. 

The membranes are the ones specified for use with the BoxyPixel shell. The CM3 comes with them pre-soldered to the board. So they are a constant in the design (also quite strong).

I guess my point is that it wouldn't have hurt to have the buttons be a different shape on the bottom from the factory. It would have avoided this issue regardless of if the shell were anodized or not.
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#4
This is a good fix, and I'm thankful that you've posted it here. Have you mentioned this to Boxy Pixel or linked them to this thread?

In theory, it's fairly "easy" for them to make modifications to the design of upcoming batches of shells/buttons if they deem the change worthwhile.
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#5
I figured I'd wait and see the responses of other current owners of this shell before passing it along to him. Just in case this issue is just on my specific shell.
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#6
So I went ahead and ordered some 3D printed resin buttons. They feel so much better than the metal on metal grinding.

So lesson learned here: Get the anodized shell to reduce friction. The unfinished shell is a little too rough to use the metal buttons smoothly.
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