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DK2 Build Thread: Tenkeyless Cherry MX Modded Micosoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

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First: one of the finer things in life: a GIANT nub on the home keys:

To save you scrolling through several pages of very similar-looking things, here is the link to an imgur album of the matrix:

Each pin on the controller goes to one or more dots under a key. Drag a wire to it and then do that for all the pins and switches, and you've got a working switch matrix. I used these images to verify my matrix after it was wired up - this is my THIRD take on this matrix and I think this is the most usable version. You should be able to wire up your own MS4k controller from these pictures, I hope! I was wary of the matrix changing, but this exact layout has worked for both controllers I've used from a random sampling of these boards, so I hope it will work for you also! I don't show wiring to them, but I left in all the dots under all the keys for the tenkey section in case someone cares to wire up a battleship version later, I think this should be all you need.

I decided to wire this board from the end of a string and then work my way back to the controller. If I were smart, I would have labeled these wires as I went along. If I were smart, I would have remembered the mirror image problem I had last time and saved myself a lot of confusion and rework hours. But . . .

here's the whole board wired up, complete with a few wires going to where they ought not because of the aformentioned forgetting about things being backwards when you look at the backsides of them :(

and here it is after a bit of rework AFTER soldering most of it up, realizing my mistakes, and redoing the wiring. In this condition, I had most of the keys registering keystrokes properly, so it was a funkctional-ish keyboard

I ended up reworking so much that a switch lost a leg and had to be replaced. I verified the non-registering keys were only not working because their wires weren't making good contact, and soldered the wires to all the switches. I verified it all worked again, then dressed the wires a bit more neatly.

and then came time to try to close the cases. It didn't, quite. I had to trim the stuff that used to press the matrix to the controller. Wires are thicker than the old plastic sheets that used to be there.

Having figured out the mouse controller would fit nicely in the gap under the keys, I shortened the wires, attached the left and right click wires to their keys on the keyboard, ready for one final operation check and I'd close it up

and . . . the trackball stopped working. The trace for one of the sensor wires was lifted during the shortening. The picture is bad but you can see that one of these joints is not like the others:

But I got it fixed and then it as on to fit and finish stuff. The F Lock key doesn't fit. It pokes up a little, the back of the switch hits the bottom frame. That doesn't look horrible so I'm leaving it:

The wrist rest on the far right side was heated with my plastic welding soldering iron tip and carefully bent, and the gap is now tolerable-to-me:

The holes for the multimedia keys got patched-over. If I have to open this board again, I hope I don't find I got plastic in these switches' wires because I'll be breaking that to open the cases :( but I can always redo plastic work :p

It doesn't look perfect back here but it's the bottom of a keyboard so it doesn't bother me. It's sanded smoothish and doesn't feel bad to touch. Good enough.

The cable exit had to be moved closer to the middle of the board because the cables were interfering with too much stuff under the keys and wires and whatnot inside. No biggie. Check out the super high teck new hole for cables

And then it was done! Except that it rocked instead of sitting flat. The vestigial feet by the cut end of the board were interfering with the thing sitting flat! Those got heated and mashed flat into the board, then it was sanded smoothish:

And she goes! It will take some time to get used to the layout but I don't hate it and the key action is already sheets better than any membrane board. The typing is about as quiet as the MS4k this is replacing. I hover when I type so the giant nubs on the index keys help with location, bigly. The 45g switches aren't too light for me, and they don't clack much on rebound. Overall it's a success and I imagine I'll like it more, the further I get toward completing the book I'm writing that made me want a keyboard for the house in the first place.

These pictures were processed and this post was typed up on this keyboard:

She's alive and works! Here's my new DK2 keyboard sitting on my notebook computer. It doesn't press any keys or mess with the trackpad so that's great. Thanks to Jesus for the ability to do this sort of thing, and thanks to my wife for her support and encouragement, especially when I was frustrated at my mistakes in-process.

Thanks for looking! I hope you will remember to keep geekhack updated on your next project as well, with plenty of photographs!

Why is the Q key in a weird place

wow its amazing you finally did it. you are awesome would love to see mechmodded logitech g102

Alice the hard way

treeleaf64 the q is in a strange spot because that's where my pinky fell when I was making the layout. That's how my hand likes to move, is why.

PlayBox thanks for the kind words!

Rob27shred you are pretty much correct. I'd recommend someone without the tools and ability to consider an Alice style instead of doing . . . all of this.

I've been typing on this for several ten-thousands of words now and it's pretty okay. I ended up having to move the N key just a little, by approximately the same process as I used to fix the QWERTY section, but less drastic. I found I kept mis-clicking the mouse keys so I put a gaint nub on the left-click and that's worked out great. The spring on the space key was a little too firm and I would sometimes not press hard enough, so I put a lighter spring in there.  The trackball in the middle is brilliant.  I haven't really missed having a left spacebar but I did strike a mouse key by accident a few times.  I haven't felt the need to do anything with the custom keys on top, but the calc and audio control keys are nice to have.

Overall I'm pretty happy with this effort.


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