Picture of Guitar Hero Hacks: Key Molding
I recently modded a Guitar Hero controller at the behest of fungus amungus. He's heading up the overview, and I'm going to show you how to create duplicates of your GH Controller keys in frosted clear plastic.

I'm going to review two types of molds using the same materials and principles. The first will be a simple block mold. The other will be the same block mold but it will include multiple castings. This is often called a gang mold.

You're going to need:
  • RTV silicone. I will be using Smooth-On OMOO two part silicone molding compound. This is fairly easy and inexpensive to pick up. You can order it online or at some craft and plastics stores. Any RTV (or Room Temperature Vulcanizing) silicone will do. For this process the Polyester casting resin I will be using has some cure inhibition (meaning that it will remain sticky) against tin cure silicone (your standard inexpensive RTV). This means that to get good parts out of the mold, you will have to coat the mold in sealant before casting your parts, bake the parts after they're cured, or apply a clear sealant to the parts after they are molded.
  • Latex Gloves
  • Foamcore
  • Stirring sticks
  • A digital scale or graduated measuring cups
  • Bondo car body filler. You can pick this up at most hardware stores and auto shops.
  • Clear Polyester resin. Find it at a plastics store, or order it online. Sometimes craft stores will sell this as a way to make cutesy paperweights with flowers trapped in them, etc.
  • MEKP catalyst. This will often come with your resin. You can also find it as fiberglass catalyst in most hardware stores.
  • Polyester resin dye
  • Respirator, ventilation system, or open well ventilated space to work in. Be mindful of your neighbors, as the polyester resin smells something awful, and will cause some people with sensitivities to feel ill.
  • Hot glue
  • A mold board. Any piece of smooth wood or plastic will do. Remember to seal the wood before casting on it, or else the mold will be difficult to remove.
  • Disposable paint brushes
  • Plenty of paper towels
  • The touch
  • The power
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BunnyRoger1 year ago
Wishing I still had my guitar right now :-(
Very nice!!
MAApleton2 years ago
Very creative. Thanks for the good idea.
mikeyc.20093 years ago
Try putting a really tiny amount of plasticine clay at the seam where the board and the part come together. This will help secure the part to the board and keep the silicone from flowing under the part. Makes for a cleaner and sharper edge.
G2K6 years ago
Due to price of silicone and my inability to find any without ordering online (which I'd prefer not to do), could plaster of paris be used instead? Also, When I've got the LEDs in, I don't want it to be like a small light coming from the center of the button, I want the whole thing to be lit up. Would the best thing to do be make clear buttons with Bondo and colored LEDs? And finally, what's the best kind of LED to use? I don't want it to be blinding, but I want the button to be very well lit up (so almost blinding :P). I also want it to last as long as possible on a 3V battery. Thanks for the help and amazing tut!
Slagr G2K6 years ago
Plaster of paris would not stretch like silicon would, so you'd have a harder time getting the parts out and you might not get as good of a mold. I made totally clear buttons and colored LEDs and the whole button lights up for me. Sharpie markers work well for coloring LEDs. I used 5mm white LEDs with a recommended voltage of 3.3-3.6, but I've been running them pretty well on 3V. Bear in mind your fingers will be covering any button that is lit up, so the light will be reflected back through the button.
G2K Slagr6 years ago
OK, thanks. 2 more questions; 1. I've noticed in a picture on the LED instructable that there are little black strips on the new button. The current buttons have these on. Am I supposed to remove them and put them on the new button? 2. Where is a good place to buy LEDs, or more specifically, in Canada. Retail prefered, but online works, I guess.
Slagr G2K6 years ago
1. the black strips are removable. 2. I got mine from Radio Shack, though I don't know if they're in Canada. Their website would probably be able to ship them there.
Radio Shack is in Canada but its better to go to The Source ( used to be partnered with radioshack but no longer)
darkmickey G2K6 years ago
translucent white paint paint the inside of the key with this paint
RedSpider934 years ago
Can anyone give me a rough estimate as to how much the materials for this project would cost altogether?
I managed to make a mold just fine, but the resin came out funny on me again. Even after letting it sit for a day, it was still very tacky. Does that mean I'm not adding enough of the catalyst?
Slagr5 years ago
Well, I'm attempting a strum bar version of this mod, and it's worth noting that the mold for that part is much more difficult to manage.

Also, for sticky parts, I'd recommend low-heat baking of the part.  It'll harden it up a bit-- just make sure you don't melt it.
ddjji6 years ago
whats "the touch" and "the power"?
Slagr ddjji5 years ago
deadpan comedy.
bofthem (author)  Slagr5 years ago
mattdias6 years ago
So, if i only had 3v of power coming from the battery, when two or three buttons are lit up at the same time, would they shine less bright?
Slagr mattdias6 years ago
not noticeably.
mattdias Slagr6 years ago
Seiko1256 years ago
Where can you buy these products. alot of the hardware stores near me do not carry them. They're a bit expensive so where coiuld I get them cheap
bofthem (author)  Seiko1256 years ago
They're just kind of expensive. I haven't yet found a cheap way around it. I'd look and see if there's a branch of Tap Plastics around you, or Freeman MFG, or Smooth-on, or SilPak. Otherwise you'll have to order online... doesn't much matter though as it's usually just as expensive in the store as online.
I used this little kids toy called zubber instead of the omoo because it was only 8 bucks instead of the twenty that i would've had to pay. You just mix the white activator with the colorful, play-do-like zubber, and let it sit for 15 minutes. here's my mold.
zubber mold
zubber mold.jpg
after it sits for 15 minutes it hardens like rubber.
i also found it could save you from having to by bondo. The castings come out with a lot of residue/dust, so you get the opaque feeling from that. So actually, including that i used casting epoxy instead of resin, and not buying bondo, I payed $15 instead of whatever it would normally be for the omoo silicone, the sealer, and the bondo. Hope this saved someone time and money. It did for me.
its not as clean looking though
please comment if this helped
Wow! Kudos for massive creativity! This is brilliant! Sheer Genius!
{$EoF}Elite6 years ago
For the crystal clear spray, can you offer any recommendations on what I should use?
galaxyman76 years ago
You can actually make a plastic with sulfur that can be poured into molds and machined. It's called sulpho plastic. Go to my instructable to find out how to make it here http://www.instructables.com/id/Super-cheap-strong-castable-SULPHO-PLASTIC/
kagenin6 years ago
Is it possible to set the LEDs in the cast during this step instead of drilling out cavities for them later? Or at the very least, maybe using another mold to prepare a cavity for them later?
Slagr kagenin6 years ago
It's possible to mold the cavities during casting, but it'd be more trouble than it's worth and it would be more difficult to ensure a uniform location for each hole. If you were make a new mold with the cavity already in place, you would have to make a two-part mold.
Slagr6 years ago
was you decision to make the keys translucent just a personal choice, or does it improve the effect or have some other positive effect on the overall outcome?
Bazzatron Slagr6 years ago
theres another instructable on putting LED's into the keys for awesome play effects - you could make the keys look however you like - its your guitar lol
Slagr Bazzatron6 years ago
I thought my intent to add LEDs was implied. I asked because I wondered if translucency would make the light more visible within the key or improve it in some other way. I'd just as soon cast transparent buttons and sand them for light reflection, but I figured I'd ask first.

I do have experience btw: http://www.scorehero.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=72498&start=135

I will be putting the LEDs in a different guitar though.
weberry12237 years ago
would you be willing to sell the guitars original fret buttons to me
bofthem (author)  weberry12237 years ago
No. I'm not going to be selling any part of this project. It's just not worth the effort of tracking ten or twenty purchases and invoices and shipping as many packages when I already have a pretty intense job. I'd suggest you track down some returns at Wal-Mart or a game store to see if there are broken controllers you can just have.

This is my younger borhtr
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