tactile switches

I have a bunch of questions about tactile switches.

For my project, I need to make about 20 boxes, each with 6 buttons on it (plus various other electronics). I would prefer not to spend hundreds of dollars on just the buttons, so I’m thinking I should use tactile switches. Tactile switches don’t seem to have a convenient mechanism for undermounting through a surface. I guess I am supposed to somehow mount a PCB with tact switches such that it is spaced some exact distance from the surface? How do I do that?

Another question I have is that it looks like that for most tact switches you cannot put caps on them. So does that mean that they are supposed to be used in production “as is”? or is there something else that you are supposed to put over them? What are the options for tactile switch coverings?

4 out of the 6 buttons in my project are for navigation. It would be nice if I could get some caps that where shaped like arrows, but I cannot find that. I could only find this one here:
http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/459162026-LED-TACT-SWITCH-WITH-CAP-wholesalers.html
but that one requires a minimum purchase of 200. I only need 80 at most.

I’m open to suggestions for other types of buttons as well that would be cheap and functional. The project is for a wedding, so it needs to look somewhat nice also.

You can find thru-hole switches here with long buttons, have the button shaft stick thru the enclosure wall. http://www.dipmicro.com/store/index.php?act=viewCat&catId=548

No suggestions for caps.

Tactile switches are generally very small and used for reset buttons and the like, not generally pushing over and over, like for a game. Is that what you are trying to do? Why not a small pushbutton, they work the same way but are generally superior unless the button is not much used and space is at a premium. I know pushbuttons are more expensive but there are some very cheap suppliers out there. I have had great luck with these guys:

http://www.taydaelectronics.com/electromechanical/switches-key-pad/push-button/pb-11d02-push-button-panel-mount-spst-no-pb-11d02-th1-00.html http://www.taydaelectronics.com/electromechanical/switches-key-pad/push-button/pb-11d02-push-button-panel-mount-spst-no-pb-11d02-th1r00.html

I don't know what to do concerning arrows on the buttons other than maybe making a stamp or a stencil and finding paint that is durable for making a marking on the button.

Damn, that's a good price, easy to mount thru hole too.

Just ordered $38 worth of stuff - switches, pots, knobs, Rs, Cs, diodes, and trying a panel-mount power jack.

CrossRoads: Just ordered $38 worth of stuff - switches, pots, knobs, Rs, Cs, diodes, and trying a panel-mount power jack.

I think you will be happy. They generally take about a week to get it to you but everything that I have received from them has been very good quality stuff. The last thing I bougth were these nifty plug-in terminal blocks and headers:

http://www.taydaelectronics.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=A-672 http://www.taydaelectronics.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=A-690

Snap in, snap out...

And a bunch of caps, several thousand, all a few cents each. I guess I will never have to buy caps again, I hope.

I guess I am supposed to somehow mount a PCB with tact switches such that it is spaced some exact distance from the surface? How do I do that?

There are lots of ways of doing this. Most consumer products use tact switches with fancy molded plastic keys. Take a few products apart and have a look.
Basically something the the user presses is mechanically linked to the tact switch.
I used these switches in these three projects:-

http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Hardware/Econo_Monome.html
http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Hardware/Mini_Monome.html
http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Hardware/Hexome.html