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I Built A Keyboard! (Image Heavy)

keyboard keeb diy mechanical

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31 replies to this topic

#21 tonybelding

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:17

I agree on the trouble finding a keyboard. It's like the evolution of keyboards is going backwards.

 

Now I'm curious, why do you say that?

 

It seems to me like things are advancing rapidly now.



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#22 aeba

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:03

Shows my ignorance on mechanical keyboards and what ever is The Cutting Edge™ right now; but where is evolution of keyboards going right now? Seems like it's going to mechanical keyboards without tenkeys. Possibly even more minimalistic layouts. Personally I could deal with tenkeyless keyboard, but only if there is good additional keyboards for numerics.

 

The only obvious evolution to me seems to be total programmability (in some keyboards), and wider choice of switches. Apparently Amiga 500 had a membrane keyboard, so for me all those switches mean little, or nothing at all.

 

At the moment I use keyboard macros quite often, so I would need either programmable keyboard, or keyboard with macros. The only ones I have seen which possibly fulfill my needs are Corsair k95 platinum and Asus rog claymore.


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#23 Astron

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:09

 

Now I'm curious, why do you say that?

 

It seems to me like things are advancing rapidly now.

It it hard these days to find a keyboard with a range of multimedia keys, programmable key and the matching quality.

I had the Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000 for some time and needed a new one at the end of last year. But the successor lacks quality and other manufacturers can't match the usability of my old board.

Well. I have a new one now. Got a Logitech K350 for christmas.



#24 tonybelding

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 17:31

Shows my ignorance on mechanical keyboards and what ever is The Cutting Edge™ right now; but where is evolution of keyboards going right now? Seems like it's going to mechanical keyboards without tenkeys. Possibly even more minimalistic layouts. Personally I could deal with tenkeyless keyboard, but only if there is good additional keyboards for numerics.

 

The only obvious evolution to me seems to be total programmability (in some keyboards), and wider choice of switches. Apparently Amiga 500 had a membrane keyboard, so for me all those switches mean little, or nothing at all.

 

At the moment I use keyboard macros quite often, so I would need either programmable keyboard, or keyboard with macros. The only ones I have seen which possibly fulfill my needs are Corsair k95 platinum and Asus rog claymore.

 

Here's what I consider to be about the top of the heap in current production keyboards: Input Club WhiteFox

 

It has the newest Kailh BOX type switches, aluminum case, dye-sublimated PBT keycaps, a 65% key layout, and is fully programmable.  This is about as good as it gets without building your own.

 

When it comes to layout size, my own feeling is that the "standard" ANSI 104-key full layout is a dinosaur from the 1980s IBM PC-DOS era when most computers didn't have a mouse and were controlled solely using the keyboard (with heavy use of the F-keys), and most of them were used for data entry or spreadsheets (with heavy use of the num pad and nav keys).  Those days are long past, and keyboards are finally leaving that legacy behind and going back to a normal sized layout with the emphasis on typing.

 

However, I don't see 104-key or 87-key (TKL) keyboards going away.  They'll continue to be made as long as enough people want them.  The trend we're seeing is just that more people don't want them.  Don't forget, too, that USB accessory number pads are cheap and plentiful now, which did not exist in the 1980s-1990s.

 

Full programmability is wonderful.  I don't think I'll ever get another keyboard that's not programmable, and I'm a little puzzled at why the more mainstream keyboard makers are resistant to it.  I don't think it adds much to the cost of producing a keyboard.  The only thing I can figure out is that they are afraid it's too complex and they'd have a customer support nightmare?

 

Your comment about the Amiga 500 both puzzles and irks me.  I had an Amiga.  I had an Atari.  I don't see how that connects in any way with not wanting a better-feeling keyboard to type on?  Do you think this is some kind of nostalgia trip, of old geezers just wanting to relive whatever clicky-clacky mechanical action they had back in the Good Old Days?

 

I saw a video on YouTube where somebody took his camera to a mechanical keyboard meetup.  They had tables filled with modified and custom-built keyboards, and it was fascinating.  I was almost more interested in looking at the crowd, though.  They were all so fresh-faced, they looked like college or maybe even high school kids.  I don't think I saw a single hairy-legged goat like myself.  I would have felt really out of place.  These kids obviously are not interested in nostalgia for keyboards that were in use before they were born.



#25 aeba

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 00:29

*snip*

 

Your comment about the Amiga 500 both puzzles and irks me.  I had an Amiga.  I had an Atari.  I don't see how that connects in any way with not wanting a better-feeling keyboard to type on?  Do you think this is some kind of nostalgia trip, of old geezers just wanting to relive whatever clicky-clacky mechanical action they had back in the Good Old Days?

 

I saw a video on YouTube where somebody took his camera to a mechanical keyboard meetup.  They had tables filled with modified and custom-built keyboards, and it was fascinating.  I was almost more interested in looking at the crowd, though.  They were all so fresh-faced, they looked like college or maybe even high school kids.  I don't think I saw a single hairy-legged goat like myself.  I would have felt really out of place.  These kids obviously are not interested in nostalgia for keyboards that were in use before they were born.

Hey, you said that, not I. What I tried to say is that I have never in my ~30 years of computer use actually used mechanical keyboard. Thus I have absolutely zero reference point in preferring <insert switch 1> over <insert switch 2>. What I am sure, is that I have no interest in starting to change switches in a keyboard. Nor could I even if I wanted to; my soldering days are long gone.

 

Besides, I am one of those geezers who use spreadsheets, and hobby accounting.


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#26 rsexton

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 02:53

This is fabulous!  My day job is in the electronics business.   Do you have a blog posting or something that provides more details on where you sourced your components?

 

I love the keycaps.   Those are fun.



#27 tonybelding

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 04:48

This is fabulous!  My day job is in the electronics business.   Do you have a blog posting or something that provides more details on where you sourced your components?

 

I love the keycaps.   Those are fun.

 

I also posted more technical details over on geekhack.org, which is sort of like FPN for keyboards.  You can find it here --> https://geekhack.org...2199.msg2554931.

 

I can summarize some of my best sources, though.

 

mechanicalkeyboards.com are a major importer of keyboards and parts, and I got the PCB, mounting plate, controller, case and keycaps for my latest Phantom TKL keyboard from them.

 

novelkeys.xyz is a great source of key switches, especially all the cool new Kailh switches.

 

wasdkeyboards.com is where I got that first custom-printed keycap set with all the special legends.

 

Signature Plastics is the major producer of keycaps in the USA, and they do some printing-to-order as well.

 

sentraq.com has a lot of kits and miscellaneous parts (including cases and stabilizers).

 

I try to order most things from US vendors, but the Taiwanese company KBDfans is a major exception, as they've been running a hot streak lately with new PCB kits, keycaps, switches, cases, almost everything.



#28 tonybelding

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 04:54

And here is the Green Phantom keyboard that I put the finishing touches on just last night!

 

green_phantom_02.jpg

 

  • Phantom PCB and mounting plate
  • Teensy 2.0 micro-controller
  • Kailh BOX Navy switches
  • Maxkey Portland SA keycaps (double-shot ABS!)
  • TEX aluminum case

I have a sheet of Sorbothane stuffed under the PCB to dampen any vibrations, and it's all very solid indeed.  The switches are super-loud and clicky—maybe too much for me, but I had to try them!



#29 tonybelding

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 04:36

And here's the latest…

 

Zo65-02.jpg

 

Although it looks different, this is the same basic layout as my first keyboard.  I've only added one key: the green Compose key, which is good for typing all kinds of special characters.  I'll be doing a full writeup (and start a new thread I expect) on this within the coming week-or-two.



#30 milkb0at

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 22:16

That keyboard looks edible! I look forward to the write-up so I can find out what on earth it is.



#31 tonybelding

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 22:50

That keyboard looks edible! I look forward to the write-up so I can find out what on earth it is.

 

Not trying to keep anyone in suspense, but I actually built two of these and only had enough keycaps to cover one of them.  So I'm just waiting for more keycaps to arrive before I issue the full report.



#32 wallylynn

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 01:30

But then we can't see if it has a tootsie roll center.





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