Author Topic: Basic plate making (cherry MX)  (Read 1319 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Knightfury

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 1
Basic plate making (cherry MX)
« on: Thu, 23 October 2014, 04:03:13 »
I'm trying my best to get through all the useful looking threads but... there seems to be a general higher level of development going on than what I'm actually after (the bit I need seems to be common currency and common knowledge so not really discussed anywhere).

As such, apologies for "newbies first post is a specific question that's answered millions of times already", I'm struggling to see the wood for the tree's in here :(

I'm after a VERY simple plate being cut, ffor 10 cherry MX keys in a 3x3 with an extra 1 in the middle below:

Code: [Select]

Like so. Needs to be a good snug fit (so I note there's a comment about 0.1mm less than cherry spec giving a snug fit in a thread here) as I don't plan on using a PCB underneath if I can help it.

Who/where should I be talking to?

Do we have a source of simple dxf/stl bits I can drop into a design somewhere? I'm maybe trying to use a tool that's too simple (sketchup) but making the stl myself is proving VERY troublesome (electronics/programming/computers I do, seems CAD is my Achilles heel).

If someone could point me at useful bits I'll... well, I'll be very grateful as a start :D can try and give a little back somewhere too :)

If anyone happens to have a random CAD file with what I'm after mocked up and ready to go (literally those keys on a plate like 1mm thick) ready for 3D printing I'll find some way to repay the favour :)


Edit. So, I looked a little harder and came across which links into tinkercad. A short time messing in tinkercad later and voila:

So I'm fixed. Hopefully this is useful for someone else too and I'm forgiven for the newb post.

Off to the 3d printers I go :D
« Last Edit: Thu, 23 October 2014, 05:39:57 by Knightfury »

Offline 0100010

  • Posts: 1127
  • Location: DFW, TX, US
  • Not Sure
Re: Basic plate making (cherry MX)
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 23 October 2014, 10:02:12 »
Generally plates aren't that thick - for a Cherry switch should be around 0.06".
  Quoting me causes a posting error that you need to ignore.

Offline Neebio

  • Posts: 115
  • Location: Canada
  • Dance Master
Re: Basic plate making (cherry MX)
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 23 October 2014, 10:50:03 »
The GH CAD resource thread is stickied in this section (
There should probably be some useful stuff in there.

Off the top of my head, switch plates are usually 1.5mm thick, or very close to it.  I believe that is what is called for by Cherry spec sheets.

Again off the top of my head, I believe switch holes in plates are, at their simplest, just square holes of a certain dimension, offset by 19mm center to center.  IE, again off the top of my head, I think keycaps are generally 19mm square, or a little smaller than that.  I think I remember the Cherry switch spec sheet saying switches for 1 unit keys are 19mm apart center to center.

That should make your plate design very simple, as you will just need correctly sized squares offset by 19mm from each other, on a 1.5mm thick plate.  If you're going to have this machined by a shop, you probably don't even need to specify the thickness.  Just the two dimensional design of the holes, and then the shop will take care of cutting depth based on the stock metal being cut.

Hope this helps.  There are definitely people more knowledgeable about this stuff than me also.  If nobody else replies in a suitable amount of time, try sending a PM to jdcarpe or The_Beast.  Those two know their stuff, or will be able to point you in the right direction.
RK9000RE w/ Raindrop & DDR arrow keys
Cherry G80-11900LUMEU-2 w/ Red/Black SA keys

Offline dorkvader

  • Posts: 6284
  • Location: Boston area
  • all about the "hack" in "geekhack"
Re: Basic plate making (cherry MX)
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 23 October 2014, 11:36:11 »
16 ga steel is the best choiuce for plate, but you can use aluminium if you want.

If that one switch at the bottom is supposed to be larger than 1x, look into stabilizers. I think you can just copy/paste out of the GH CAD resources hub.

Switches are supposed to be 0.75" apart (so the centers are that much) which is 19.05mm. Usually this isn't a problem, but some people have reported difficulties in the past. I can link the topic if you need more info on this.

Offline jdcarpe

  • * Curator
  • Posts: 8854
  • Location: Odessa, TX
  • Live long, and prosper.
Re: Basic plate making (cherry MX)
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 23 October 2014, 12:10:38 »
For those wanting to make basic plates like this, your best option is to make a 2D CAD file and have it laser cut from steel, aluminum, or acrylic.

To make your basic layout, member ne0phyte has created this wonderful little layout generator tool:

Edit the code at the bottom to reflect the layout you want, then click that button above the text entry box that says DOWNLOAD DXF

Layout for this example in OP:

(generated DXF file attached)
KMAC :: LZ-GH :: WASD CODE :: WASD v2 :: GH60 :: Alps64 :: JD45 :: IBM Model M :: IBM 4704 "Pingmaster" ::

in memoriam

"When I was a kid, I used to take things apart and never put them back together."