Author Topic: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?  (Read 829 times)

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Offline Me

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Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:10:15 »
I am building a custom mechanical keyboard, and I was wondering about my case. Should I get it laser cut, should I 3d print it, should I make it out of wood? Should I get a sandwich or poker case. I have an ok amount of CAD experience, but I'm a fast learner, so I should be fine with that.

Thanks!
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline retoid

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:11:15 »
Yes.

I'd say do whichever method you prefer and like the best :)

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:15:03 »
Not to be offensive or anything but its kinda funny when you ask a question in the mechanical keyboard community the answer is almost always:

"Personal Preference"
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline nevin

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:26:28 »
this forum or the whole custom keyboard niche wouldn't exist if our "personal preferences" in keyboards were available in stores.

your input devices are personal to you, there's no right or wrong answer on what you like or dislike, same goes with how to build your keyboard. yes, there are easier ways & harder ways to do things but there's no one right way to do things.

there's no such thing as a best switch or best keyboard or best anything. what one person thinks is best is not everybody's option. everybody has their own "best" ______.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:35:48 »
I mean yeah, I understand that, but aren't there standards that are just better options, and more than that, people could give general guidlines and then the person asking can use that to create their custom solution.

Disclaimer(or whatever this is): I am asking this purely out of curiosity, no hard feelings.
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:36:28 »
And also in your opinion what would be the answer to my original question?
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline nevin

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:41:48 »
if you're going with 60% poker cases are readily available and probably the cheapest option
- 2nd would be to get spaced plates made (sandwich). FR4 (pcb material) or metal
- 3rd would probably be to 3d print a case, might even be able to find a file that's already been created & just edit what you need
- 4th 3d printed base with wood veneer
- 5th cnc cutting a block of wood or metal to make your case
.... based on readily available and price.

...and no, no hard feelings, all good. :thumb:
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 13:51:23 »
I am going with an 60% sized layout, but it is custom so I don't know if that will work out. Does that mean I should go with a sandwich case? I mean, I have been thinking about it as the first keyboard I really liked was the logitech g915 because of just how cool it looked(i had no idea about anything, and thought that it was a well priced kb for a prebuilt, how wrong i was), and I also loved the style of the case. Would that be what a sandwich case would look like? If so I think that I will go for that.
 
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline vvp

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 15:33:42 »
Yes, it will look somewhat like g915.
Here are some samples of sandwich cases:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=42772.msg1249528#msg1249528
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=42772.msg1249174#msg1249174
https://drop.com/buy/sentraq-60-diy-keyboard-kit

If you are going to design your keyboard the first time then be prepared to fail a few times.

Offline fpazos

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 16:10:30 »
I have one laser cut 100% made of medium density wood and other 100% made of 3d printed pla (included the 4mm plate). First with kailh chocs and second with box silent. The sound of the wood is amazing and the dampening properties of the second too (influenced by the design).

I also have a middle point of a 75%  with steel plate and 3d printed case with browns. The sound of 3d print is dry and partly muted, not very grateful.

Enviado desde mi Redmi Note 7 mediante Tapatalk
 

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 18:10:38 »
Ok, what material do you recommend for the sandwich case. Also, In your opinion, what is the best material for a plate. Thanks!
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline nevin

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 18:20:05 »
you could 3d print your middle layers in a transparent filament or have them cut out of acrylic or polycarbonate if you want to do an underglow.

check sculpteo & ponoko for available materials & thicknesses
https://www.sculpteo.com/en/lasercutting/
https://www.ponoko.com/start

plate material... aluminum, FR4, wood laminate.. stick with the standard 1.5-1.6mm so the switches "click" into place. if you go thicker for your plate you'll probably have to fix the switches in with superglue or hot glue.
- i like FR4, but that's just me (doesn't have the "ping" that metal does, steel being the worst with this... "ping")

priyadi used almost like a mirror acrylic for their top plate - "Promethium51"   https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=89176.0
« Last Edit: Thu, 18 March 2021, 18:21:42 by nevin »
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline jamster

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 20:22:23 »
I mean yeah, I understand that, but aren't there standards that are just better options, and more than that, people could give general guidlines and then the person asking can use that to create their custom solution.

Disclaimer(or whatever this is): I am asking this purely out of curiosity, no hard feelings.

Thing is, it really is 'personal preference'! And you kinda need to list some preferences otherwise any answers are blind guesses.

e.g. wood if you like organic, artisanal stuff. laser cut for metal (and it's attendant potential static/grounding issues). 3D printing is invariably some kind of plastic, and pretty low res unless you are going quite high end. Probably easier to iteratively prototype though.

I'm playing around with hobbyist 3D printing at the moment... the only reason I'd use it for a keyboard case is for prototyping, or because I was unable to use either of the previous methods (which happens to be the case, I have zero woodworking and metalworking skills). Also at the hobbyist end, 3D printing has quite limited max dimensions- I can just about fit one half of a split case into one print.
« Last Edit: Thu, 18 March 2021, 20:24:09 by jamster »

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 20:38:23 »
ok, well, let me list some preferences. I basically want a thin, floating keys style case. I like a brushed metal look for the plate, and I like a deep, thocky sound for a bottom-out. Also, I don't really like the look of 3d printing, but I am fine with wood or metal(just want to know which one is more cost effective) for the sides/other parts of the sandwich. Plus, I am using a custom layout that I made myself, so it has to be something custom, I can't just buy one off the shelf. Luckily, I am handwiring, so that takes out the compatibility factor, but it still needs to be custom. Thx for any suggestions!
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 21:43:23 »
This is one instance where it actually isn't entirely a personal preference, manufacturing methods and one's capabilities come into play here as certain things are better suited.

For example, what skills and tools are at your disposal? If you have a CNC handy, well then it makes sense to use that, but if you have no cnc or cad skills, but you have access to a woodshop well wood becomes more attractive. Not every tool works well for everything either, lasers do not like Lexan but love acrylic and wood but while you can laser and cnc wood the way you would create something would be radically different.

Anyhow...
Most people who dislike 3d printing dislike it because of the 3d printing they have seen. If done well and/or worked after it can look every bit as good as injection molding or even cast/milled metal. Better still, in this case since you want low profile you could easily print an undertray and have a metal plate cover the entire top, hiding almost all of the printed parts. This is probably the cheapest, most solid solution. A bit of sanding and primer and that case would look just as good as anything you can buy (sandable primer and scratch filler is your friend) though for sound I think PETG is a better choice but it doesn't hold paint well. For a more solid sound and feel you could also get a metal top and bottom then 3d print or laser cut acrylic for the middle. Personally, I still like the wood idea and it's something almost anyone can do with relatively common hand tools or even a Dremel.  All that said, the lowest profile you can get will be the 3d printed base, you can make recesses for the wiring and contacts, something not easily done on the other methods and it isn't conductive even if it contacts, but it won't give you the same sound as solid aluminum, it can be good, but it won't be the same. If you really want that solid sound you need mass, plain and simple, you can deaden it, you can tweak it, you can change it to be more pleasant but nothing absolutely will match mass in every way but you can fake that. For this, the best way to do this is 3d printing, create pockets for coins or lead shot then add a little epoxy to hold it all in place. This probably didn't help you decide and there's more than one way to do this stuff but like I said before, it comes down not just preference but abilities and methods you can take advantage of.

My advice, use whatever method is easiest, fastest and cheapest for you.
Why? Because chances are this will not be the last one you do, in fact it may spur you to immediately try something different once you figure it out and have a chance to try it so doing it cheap, easy and fast means you can redo it better a second time with all the improvments you have in mind. It also means you stop obsessing over the "best way" and get moving on it.
Novelkeys NK65AE w/62g Zilents/39g springs
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62g Zilents/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, pic
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| Logitech Illumininated | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 22:05:50 »
allright, i think that was pretty good advice, and if im being completely honest, i probably should have realized that earlier and just got to doing it cuz i wasted a lot of time doing that. Thanks!
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 18 March 2021, 23:47:27 »
allright, i think that was pretty good advice, and if im being completely honest, i probably should have realized that earlier and just got to doing it cuz i wasted a lot of time doing that. Thanks!
Good luck!
Novelkeys NK65AE w/62g Zilents/39g springs
More
62g Zilents/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, pic
| Filco MJ2 L.E. Vortex Case, Jailhouse Blues, heavily customized
More
Vortex case squared up/blasted finish removed/custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, foam sound dampened, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs, 40g actuation
| GMMK TKL
More
w/ Kailh Purple Pros/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 Magnetic cable
| PF65 3d printed 65% w/LCD and hot swap
More
Box Jades, Interchangeable trim, mini lcd, QMK, underglow, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, O-rings, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, in progress link
| Magicforce 68
More
MF68 pcb, Outemu Blues, in progress
| YMDK75 Jail Housed Gateron Blues
More
J-spacers, YMDK Thick PBT, O-rings, SIP sockets
| KBT Race S L.E.
More
Ergo Clears, custom WASD caps
| Das Pro
More
Costar model with browns
| GH60
More
Cherry Blacks, custom 3d printed case
| Logitech Illumininated | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline Me

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Re: Wood vs 3d printed vs Laser cut case?
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 19 March 2021, 08:55:20 »
Thanks, bye!
"In the end...the keyboard's most grand form of existence is as an ethereal bridge between man and machine...Each depression of the keys, evanescent.. Our transitory thoughts crashing into the web, carving canyons through the internet wasteland such that life may once again flourish..."

tp4, compendium of speed, 2015