Category: Do It Yourself

DIY My E Mac Button

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My E Mac Button is an augmentative alternative communication device (AAC) device for individuals who are not able to use their natural voice for basic wants and needs.  This device is created by a parent of a child with special needs.



Tap lights

10 sec sound voice recordable module for greeting card

Electric Drill and 3/8 inch bore

Dremel or some kind of rotary tool and drill bits, sanding drum, cutting disc

small driver set with flat head and Philips bits

sharp hobby knife or utility knife


1/4 inch drill bit to pilot holes

dikes or wire cutter

hot glue gun and two sticks should be more than enough

Acetone to help remove the sticky foam from the bottom of the device. 

3 small screws (for feet)

Technical Specifications: 

Step 1: Parts

One package of small tap lights from a dollar Store for $1 each.    Next you will need to go to an online store and purchase a "10 Sec Sound Voice Recordable Module for Greeting Card" and or the seller "vitaric".  It should include two buttons, a LED light, microphone, speaker and the electronic board that connects it all together.  You should test it before starting to make sure it works. 

Step 2: Tools

Electric Drill and 3/8 inch bore

Dremel or some kind of rotary tool and drill bits, sanding drum, cutting disc

small driver set with flat head and Philips bits

sharp hobby knife or utility knife


1/4 inch drill bit to pilot holes

dikes or wire cutter

hot glue gun and two sticks should be more than enough

Acetone to help remove the sticky foam from the bottom.  Lighter fluid works good too.

3 small screws (for feet)

Step 3:  Open tap light

Take the bottom off of the tap light. This will expose the battery compartment.  Use a thin knife or one of those plastic cards credit that come in the mail.  Slide the knife or credit card between the edge of the outer shell and the battery compartment.  Slide it all the way around the compartment, this should loosen / break the seal.   Pull them apart and set the outer shell, clear button dome and shinny silver thing that sits on top of the LED Lights to the side.  Take the flat head screw driver and pry off the circuit board with the LED lights.  If you’re careful you can save that for a different project. 

Step 4: Time for the fun part

Use the cutting disc and your rotary tool (i.e. Dremel) to cut out the battery compartments.  By taking the cutting disc and cutting about a 1/8 of an inch from each end of the battery compartments.  Then cut along the long sides of the battery compartments.  Switch to the sanding drum to clean up the edges.  The author removed the triangular portion, stating that it interfered with the button, mic and LED light.  So you may want to cut it out now and save yourself the trouble of taking it all apart again.


Step 5:  Fitting the circuit board

Test fit the circuit board in the new space you created from the battery compartments.  The corners of the board should rest on a flat spots which should give plenty of area to hot glue it in place.  But you will want to make any sanding or cutting now to make it fit flat.  Now route the wires with the record switch, microphone and LED though one of the holes you made when cutting out the battery compartments.  The playback switch, (illustrated on the diagram, indicate that the yellow wires and speaker) should remain out on top for later.  Try not to move the wires as much as possible.  It could potentially break off at the solder joints. 

Once you have the circuit board and all the wires in place, take the hot glue gun and glue each corner of the circuit board to the top side of the battery compartment. 

Step 6:  Name your button

Trace the clear button of the dome that was set aside earlier in the process.  The author used left over photo paper because it's a little stiffer than paper.  Cut out the circle.     You may want to trim inside the line a little bit.  You want it to lay flat inside the clear dome.   Take a marker or pen, write or draw the word, "action", "saying" or "instruction” you want it to be.  Leave it blank or don't put the paper in at all if you plan on changing what it says often.


Step 7:  Speaker placement

The speaker should fit nicely inside the button dome.  Make sure the face of the speaker is inside the dome.  Put a couple of dabs if hot glue along the seam where the dome and the speaker meet.  This will help keep it in place inside the button dome.  It should fit securely inside the dome.   If, it is gently forced inside the dome,  you may not need much hot glue.  Note:  Be gentle when handling the dome.  The dome can crack.  If it cracks, you will have to use super glue to adhere back together.

Step 8:  Modify button spring

It doesn't look like a spring but that is what it does.  Remove the “shinny” thing and cut off the cone shape with the hole where the LEDs fit through.  Make it as flush as possible.  You may use the sanding drum to take off the rough edges.

Step 9:  Base plate

Most of the time the base plate comes with that sticky foam tape.  It can be removed.  Acetone helps to loosen and take off that sticky tape.  It will take a couple of tries but eventually it will rub off with a cloth soaked with the acetone.


Once you've got it clean make two holes with the drill using the 3/8 bore.  You will want them on opposite sides.  Try to place them inside but close to that line and the teeth that lock the base plate to the battery compartment.


Make another hole using the small dremel drill bit.  Make it approximately 1/8 or smaller.  You may have to start small and work your way up to the size of the LED light.  They seem to vary in size.   Try to place it near one of the 3/8 inch holes like shown in the picture.

You can do it now or later, pre-drill the holes for the feet.  Try to make them as triangular as possible but just like the rest of the holes in the base plate keep them inside the line.


Step 10: Microphone

Insert the microphone in the 3/8 inch hole that is near the hole for the LED light.  Hot glue the mic on the back side (or inside) of base plate.  Do the same for the switch and LED light.  Let cool then try dry fitting the base cover.  You may have to make some cuts / sand to make it fit and lock.

Step 11: Putting it all together

Take the main core of the button with the circuit board, speaker, buttons, etc. and glue the remaining button (Play back button) to the center of the circuit board.  Wait until it cools.

Place the “shinny” silver thing over where the Play back button was glued.  Try to line up the corners with those little tabs to hold it in place.


Set the speaker / button dome over the “shinny” silver thing.  While holding it all together, put the outer shell over the entire assembly.  It should come together and still allow the push button to operate.  If it doesn't, trim off those tabs then dry fit it again.

If you haven't pulled the tab from the battery to activate the record / playback please do so before you hot glue it together.

This would be a good time to test again the unit for correct operation.

Hold down the Record button on the bottom plate while speaking into the mic.  The LED light should stay on while recording but flash once when playing it back.  Release the Record button when done recording.

To play back the recording, press the dome button.   It should playback.

If you didn't get a light when recording or playback and you don't hear anything make sure the plastic tab sticking out from one of the batteries on the circuit board isn't still preventing contact to the battery.  Sometimes I had to press hard on the battery contact to bend it back so that it would make a good connection.

Everything is working properly then put it all back together.  Make sure the speaker wires don't get in the way of the outer shell and the base.

Put just a dab of hot glue in 3 or 4 spots around the outside seam where the outer shell and the main base meet.  No need to glue the base plate to the unit because it should still slip in to the slots and a slight turn clock wise will lock it in place.

Now you have an E Mac button, Enjoy and I hope it will help your special person in your life.

Author: c2kpierce



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DIY My E Mac Button