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The old original buttons
The new handmade buttons
Buttons are a different story, especially in the older units they are pushed a few hundred thousand times and that has also left its mark. The original letter is then totally disappeared and all that then remains is a button with a worn hole. For me it began with the purchase of a restored Big Wheel, it is a "beauty" of a bingo, only the buttons were not the best and because these are special buttons with 3 arrows in a circle is finding good buttons a dream that never will come true. For me there was only one solution, I am going to try to make buttons. Can say that this problem now no longer counts for us and we are able to make any button we need.
The first casted buttons in brass
The first idea was to pour the new buttons from prints of beautiful old buttons, this was possible at a friendly caster but after a few test models, which at first glance looked good, this was not the solution because the shrinkage of the material after cooling was so great that they could not be used, after they were assembled in a lockbar that were simply too small and was not a pretty sight. Then I decided to make the buttons in 2 parts, because the original were made this way as well. This choice was the right one and after making an attachment I was able to make them again at a not too difficult way. Blank buttons made from aluminum, this because the original heads are also made from aluminum and the brass handle I chose for this buttons because rods from 9.5 mm were available and easy to handle.
The first made aluminium button
Making the letters and symbols for the buttons took me in first instance evenings working behind the computer to determine which files were necessary for the computer-controlled engraving machine which is making the engraving in the button.
Because the button has a radius and the signs need to be everywhere at the same depth, I had to make an extra attachment so that the machine could follow the radius. After some polishing work on the button it was already great to see, but next step was to had it chromed. It turned out that not every company could give the aluminum a chrome plating but fortunately I found not too far from me a company that could do this perfectly and the result was stunning, which had exceeded all expectations, the "perfect" button was now fully available . Finally the coloring, that goes by thin paint with which the engraving is completed.
finished buttons and shooterplates for the bingos which will be restored