Help me find some fake knobs and buttons
September 22, 2009 8:18 AM   Subscribe

I need buttons, knobs, and levers! I need to build a non-functional control panel, and I would love to find some fake (but satisfying to push) buttons and so forth that I could order online and could easily be taped/glued into place. Bonus points for some sort of simple button which, when pushed, could send a wireless signal to computer making it execute a program.
posted by blahblahblah to Technology (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you're in the US, stop by your local Radio Shack.
posted by unixrat at 8:20 AM on September 22, 2009

I see you're in Cambridge. If you can get out to Highland Ave. in Needham, MA You Do It has an entire floor devoted to knobs and buttons and blinky things.

Also, I think MIT has some sort of swap meet where geeks trade and sell old electronic devices.
posted by bondcliff at 8:26 AM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

Ok, this is a little different than what you asked for, but this is my favorite fake control panel, ahnds down.
posted by cjemmott at 8:39 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding bondcliff - get thee to You Do It. If it's electronic and you need it, they have it. It's pushbutton heaven!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:48 AM on September 22, 2009

A single control panel yields plenty of good buttons and knobs with intriguing labels.

Since you're in Cambridge, I'd recommend going to the MIT Flea (the next one is Sun Oct 18 9am - 2pm) or any one of these New England Ham Radio swapfests.
posted by zippy at 8:48 AM on September 22, 2009

Thank you, Bondcliff! Vermont has none of these and I have been vainly seeking a similar place for a few years. Excellent.
posted by FauxScot at 8:58 AM on September 22, 2009

Argh, should have mentioned that I moved to Philly, so the local button picture is more clouded, but these are good suggestions so far.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:58 AM on September 22, 2009

Internet retailers would be especially helpful, I should also add.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:05 AM on September 22, 2009

Places like your local Salvation Army outlet usually have tons of old stereo equipment in various states of uselessness. Give them a call and ask if you can have some of their discards. In a few hours with a screwdriver, clippers and maybe a soldering iron you will have more than you know what to do with. No sense in buying new stuff if your buttons don't need to function.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:12 AM on September 22, 2009

American Science and Surplus has an array of switches, buzzers, and doodads.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:16 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Good answers so far. If money's no issue, Digikey (online) would have all the buttons, switchets, etc. you could want. (Depending how many you need, it might still be reasonable.)

As for the button to control a computer- you're best off hacking apart a mouse so that you start your program on a mouse click.
posted by JMOZ at 9:26 AM on September 22, 2009

Get yourself some real arcade-game buttons and joysticks! Here's a link to some: I'm sure you can find them cheaper with a little more Googling.
posted by lsemel at 9:32 AM on September 22, 2009

Don't know if it you'd be able to push it, but you're bound to need a panic button.
posted by penguin pie at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2009 has no minimum order. Knobs, Nuts, Balls.
posted by Mitheral at 9:49 AM on September 22, 2009

Remember when you make this panel that you need at least one red button that is covered by a box on a hinge. This is THE BUTTON, covered to make sure that it's not accidentally hit. What does THE BUTTON do? I dunno, but it sure looks important.
posted by explosion at 10:46 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding American Science and Surplus. They have had some great oddball items over the years.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 11:40 AM on September 22, 2009

Happ has all the buttons you could ever want and more.
posted by judith at 5:40 PM on September 22, 2009

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