How to get into custom keyboards?

trilokmeia9

16 Sep 2020, 11:29

So I've been subbed here for a while, and I see a ton of cool setups. I would really appreciate if someone could point me in the direction I'd need to figure out how to do all the cool things you guys do.

Right now I have what I consider a sweet keyboard, it's a Ducky Year of the Dog edition (pink switches). But I'd really like to try a keyboard with the straight layout (everything is corner to corner, including F keys). I know there are keyboards that are sold in this design, and it's very possible I still just end up purchasing one instead, but if building my own is somewhat feasible and likely fun and interesting, than I'd like to give it a go.

M9HM

16 Sep 2020, 11:44

I wont be the right person to point you towards the right path, as I am not really experienced, but, as a solid advice (applicable to not only keyboards) I would say: the exploring is the most satisfying part. Go to a recycling center and see if they have any old board that is mechanical, maybe you like the old stuff like most people here, or maybe do what I did with my two first boards and customize them with the finesse of a caveman, with spray paint and a salvaged wood, or put keycaps from the old typewriter your grandfather use to have (if you are lucky enough for them to fit)... It is a game, not a job, that's the good part. :D

zzxx53

16 Sep 2020, 17:15

By straight layout do you mean an ortholinear layout?
kbdfans.com is usually a good place to start, for example this DIY kit:
https://kbdfans.com/collections/diy-kit ... 40-diy-kit
Or you can design your own PCB, if you have experience.

zzxx53

16 Sep 2020, 17:16

Also DT is more focused on vintage keyboards; you may find more information on geekhack or reddit's r/mechanicalkeyboards

Yasu0

16 Sep 2020, 18:48

Welcome, I am new here too, but was looking column linear recently so I'll throw in.

I ended up finding an mx point-of-sale type board. If I were you I would check those out, there are several types out there if you're alright with mx black. Also check out x-bow and ergodox which get you switch options including lighter weights and loud/unloud. With x-bow, the price is not bad and you have the choice to buy the same familiar layout at home/office/trunk. Where as searching for a particular POS layout you may only locate one. Or worse none..

To trial low budget ortho layout usually you can find older butterfly or chiclet switch ones on ebay. User Chyros has some expletive laced reviews of some on his YT channel for you.

If you're serious about DIY there are lots of neat ortho kits out there. For $$$ and off the shelf check out ergodox and moon lander. Similar to x-bow but different layouts. Usually they drop the pinky column lower on the shelf ortho options too- which I don't know how you feel about. So they tend not to be row linear like the POS and some of the DIY kits are.

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hellothere

16 Sep 2020, 22:06

You can always buy someone's used ortho and replace the switches and/or keycaps, if it's economical enough. I had an old TKL non-ortho Cherry MX-based keyboard and that's what I did. It was both much cheaper to do and much less time consuming. Took maybe two hours, at most.

kmnov2017

17 Sep 2020, 18:33

If you don't care about fancy metal cases, then just a PCB, plate and switches is all you need.

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hellothere

17 Sep 2020, 18:44

Don't even need a plate if you go with PCB-mount switches :D.

Coeus

17 Sep 2020, 22:26

That's interesting. Though I have not done it myself I know it is possible to design a PCB and then have that design made up. Is the same true of a metal plate? I assume a case would be the most difficult part as most cases are moulded and making the moulds has a lot of set-up cost.

kmnov2017

17 Sep 2020, 22:52

hellothere wrote:
17 Sep 2020, 18:44
Don't even need a plate if you go with PCB-mount switches :D.
Or for that matter skip the pcb, mount the switches on a plate and handwire ....

kmnov2017

17 Sep 2020, 22:58

Coeus wrote:
17 Sep 2020, 22:26
That's interesting. Though I have not done it myself I know it is possible to design a PCB and then have that design made up. Is the same true of a metal plate? I assume a case would be the most difficult part as most cases are moulded and making the moulds has a lot of set-up cost.
Obviously you can get a plate made up. If you want a metal plate, a local laser cutting service will do it for you. Prices vary considerably though. You can also use a plate made out of the PCB material (FR4) as a cheaper alternative...

As for the case, plastic cases are moulded, one can buy plastic cases for 10 euros on AliExpress.

Metal cases are generally CNC'd and will cost quite a bit.

Wooden cases are another option and one can make one by self...

In terms of sound, wood sounds the best followed by plastic and then metal....

Personally, I wouldn't even bother about a case - I'd use spacers between the PCB/plate and use a wooden base to hold everything together..,

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Darkshado

22 Sep 2020, 01:55

OP is a spammer, original post here:https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyb ... keyboards/

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Compgeke

23 Sep 2020, 05:18

Darkshado wrote:
22 Sep 2020, 01:55
OP is a spammer, original post.
Correct. I took care of the user, IP even hit in a blacklist for being a forum spam source. I'mma leave the thread up though since it's got some useful info posted in it already :) .

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