Author Topic: Handmade wood and cork tray mounted 60% case  (Read 3437 times)

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Offline tom_toe

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Handmade wood and cork tray mounted 60% case
« on: Fri, 19 November 2021, 07:58:24 »
Hello everyone! Me and a buddy have been working together on a wooden case design, we’re both passionate about woodworking and were looking for a project to sharpen our skills. Here are the results and the process if anyone is interested, it's cool because it's mainly handtools as we're broke af.

The results:



The sides of this one are made of oak, while the bottom is walnut. This is the board that is shown in the making process

\

Top down view of the same board



These are a couple made from walnut for the sides and oak for the bottom. The feet are made of cork.



Walnut sides, oak bottom



pretty happy with our results, the joints are quite tight



This is a cool one: it's made fully from oak, and blackened using iron acetate and black tea.



Here are all of the prototypes we've made so far, still a lot of inconsistency but it's ok.




How it's made:

There's a lot of pictures, if you're interested click on more

More

We start off from rough sawn lumber, in this case it’s walnut for the bottom and oak for the sides.



We’ve made prototypes made from a chestnut base and walnut sides, which we’ve found a little too lightweight, although the chestnut is really a pleasure to work with, and has good carving possibilities as far as grain goes; full oak and oak bottom with walnut sides, as oak is denser than chestnut and has more interesting features (the medullary rays).

All of the dimensioning is done with hand tools, for the base we start from a face, flatten it and then square the sides in order to cut the piece to 2cm and then flatten it again.



In order to cut the side pieces we flatten and square two sides, in order to cut a 10mm piece that has two square planes. The pieces are then dimensioned to size using very rough jigs. 



Once the sides are dimensioned we can proceed to cut all of the grooves. On the base we cut a 3mm tongue that will match a 3mm grove on the sides, then cut a 5mm rabbet to accommodate the backplate.



Now we can dimension the base, using winding sticks to make sure we're planing on a straight plane and don't have any twist. After it's flat on both faces and square on both sides we can bring it to the shooting board to square off the ends and sneak up to the final dimension



The base can then be brought to the router table to create the tongue to fit into the grooves of the sides.



Once we have the side pieces we can cut the inside of the base to fit the pcb, so we start from a bigger offset, then we drill with a chamfer bit where the pcb has soldering points or protrusions. The usb-c slot is also cutout in the base. This is also when we drill the places for the bushings.



Now that the base top is completed we can cut and then plane to a 5 degrees angle, and chamfer the sides. It’s easy to tearout while planing the end grain sides to an angle (especially with oak, walnut is more forgiving).



Using a kimuko-style jig for the miters with a chisel we shave off very small amounts until everything fits. This is very easy to mess up if the base is not very square, and if you’re too confident. It’s time to glue up. If everything is precise, painter tape will be enough to hold the sides tight and show no glue line. It’s not necessary to glue the sides to the base, this way probably any wood movement will be accounted for.



Once everything is glued together we can go on to cutting the jointery on the sides. This is done on the router table, with a dovetailing bit. A guide holds the keyboard at a 45 degrees angle, and the cut is done in one pass.



A small piece is dimensioned to be glued inside the joint. Spread the glue, slide the piece in, wait for it to dry then cut it flush and sand smooth



This is where the most **** up happen, it's really tricky to keep the sides straight while sanding the joints flat, as you saw from the picture with all of the prototypes on top of each other, the sides are not really straight, they tend to warp a little. Also the usb-c cutout has to be routed in, so with a 6mm bit and stop blocks we can do that on the router table too.



Everything is almost finished, we just need to chisel out the places for the cork feet, sand everything to 220 grit and finish.






We’re still trying stuff out as it comes to finish, as it really makes or breaks the piece, walnut finishes extremely well only with wax, but oak needs something like shellac to fill the pores, but the shellac we have is yellow in color, we’ll try with a neutral one once we get our hands on it.



Conclusions:


This is what we’ve accomplished so far, and we’re really liking this process and the results we’ve got. But this is still far from what we have in mind: we want to try with a brass backplate, the standard size backplate for poker style mounts doesn’t really fit this design too well as the tolerances have to be really really tight. We would like to custom design a backplate with a bigger offset from the pcb, brass we think will look quite nice especially with walnut.
So yeah having a cnc would be really dope also to cut the inside in a better way, with much nicer details inside out.

This project was born because we were looking at wooden keyboards on the market and really they’re not that interesting. The figures and grain, if a piece is just cnc’d out from a thick slab, do not come to life; we think wood looks its best when it's juxtaposed, and joined with different species and grain directions.
Let us know what you think!



« Last Edit: Sat, 27 November 2021, 05:55:05 by tom_toe »

Online suicidal_orange

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 21 November 2021, 13:06:04 »
What a first post, took me back to the good old days when this hobby wasn't all about renders :thumb:

Thanks for taking the time to document the process, I'm no woodworker but they sure look good to me.

Welcome to geekhack :)
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Offline ylothar

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 21 November 2021, 13:13:00 »
I am already imagining GMK Tiramisu on it... :cool:
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Offline Rob27shred

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 21 November 2021, 14:12:19 »
What a first post, took me back to the good old days when this hobby wasn't all about renders :thumb:

Thanks for taking the time to document the process, I'm no woodworker but they sure look good to me.

Welcome to geekhack :)

I am a woodworker & can say with certainty just from these pics that they did do an extremely good job on these! Very clean joints & lines, the finishes look great, & the wooden feet is a super nice detail IMO. Awesome work OP, the only question I have is I'm assuming these are tray mount cases, how many standoffs are used & in what positioning? I'm hoping you went with just 4 & excluded the middle one & one by the spacebar as that seems to be the optimal setup for tray mount IME. Anyways again great work & you guys should make some of these to sell! I'd definitely grab one up for my few tray mount 60% builds!

Offline AuthenticDanger

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 21 November 2021, 16:32:14 »
Can you show a finish inside? I'm curious how you're doing standoffs for the PCB (I'm assuming this is tray mount).

I like the idea of a "traditional" woodworking case and I hope you continue to revise your process and make these available to others!
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Offline pixelpusher

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 21 November 2021, 16:57:11 »
It's beautiful.  I have quite a selection of wooden keyboards in my collection.  One thing that I would also like to see is the inside.  I highly recommend that you remove (or make it possible to remove) the center post.  It makes for a much more pleasant typing experience. In a perfect world, you would also want to have some sort of rubber on the standoffs for dampening, as well.  See the recent wooden tofu from KBDFans here: https://kbdfans.com/collections/60-layout-case/products/tofu60-walnut-o-ring-mount-case

Also, the PCB needs to sit much lower so that the switches are not exposed when viewing from the side.  I would shoot for this as a top priority.  Many people in the hobby see exposed switches as a trend from early in the hobby and it has fallen out of favor.

So you'll need to find a way to lower the pcb and/or raise the side walls to cover.

A recent wood and resin case I purchased does a good job of hiding switches.

278957-0278959-1
« Last Edit: Sun, 21 November 2021, 17:01:06 by pixelpusher »

Offline tom_toe

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 22 November 2021, 03:38:48 »
What a first post, took me back to the good old days when this hobby wasn't all about renders :thumb:

Thanks for taking the time to document the process, I'm no woodworker but they sure look good to me.

Welcome to geekhack :)

I am a woodworker & can say with certainty just from these pics that they did do an extremely good job on these! Very clean joints & lines, the finishes look great, & the wooden feet is a super nice detail IMO. Awesome work OP, the only question I have is I'm assuming these are tray mount cases, how many standoffs are used & in what positioning? I'm hoping you went with just 4 & excluded the middle one & one by the spacebar as that seems to be the optimal setup for tray mount IME. Anyways again great work & you guys should make some of these to sell! I'd definitely grab one up for my few tray mount 60% builds!


Thank you so much!! It's a pleasure to get compliments from someone into the craft! Our idea would be to sell some oneday, although of course the design is not finished and in order to finish we would need some machinery and become a legitimate business (quite pricey here in Italy). As far as the standoff goes, here is a pic of what they look like right now. Thank you for your suggestions, we'll take them into consideration for the next prototypes!



We would like to try and include some form of dampening using thin cork sheet. In order to do this we would need a cnc (or a very complex router jig) to carve out a more complex design to support the pcb in different places, and a laser cutter to cut the cork. Something like these, although we're not a fan of these designs yet.



Tell us if you think this is a good idea, we're definetly not veterans at this, so we would need to experiment with prototypes to get an idea of the changes in feel. I don't know if it's better to look for a springy effect, or a solid connection in between all of the components.

We'll keep you updated on the progress on this thread, this month we'll look into what our expenses to open a business would be to get an idea, we also have some christmas gifts to make and during the christmas break we won't be here, so I don't know if there's going to be any significant progress. We want to set up a woodworking shop anyway, this would certanly be a nice product to include in the portfolio.

Thanks again! We feel welcomed c:

« Last Edit: Mon, 22 November 2021, 03:54:13 by tom_toe »

Offline tom_toe

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 22 November 2021, 03:47:36 »
It's beautiful.  I have quite a selection of wooden keyboards in my collection.  One thing that I would also like to see is the inside.  I highly recommend that you remove (or make it possible to remove) the center post.  It makes for a much more pleasant typing experience. In a perfect world, you would also want to have some sort of rubber on the standoffs for dampening, as well.  See the recent wooden tofu from KBDFans here: https://kbdfans.com/collections/60-layout-case/products/tofu60-walnut-o-ring-mount-case

Also, the PCB needs to sit much lower so that the switches are not exposed when viewing from the side.  I would shoot for this as a top priority.  Many people in the hobby see exposed switches as a trend from early in the hobby and it has fallen out of favor.

So you'll need to find a way to lower the pcb and/or raise the side walls to cover.

A recent wood and resin case I purchased does a good job of hiding switches.

(Attachment Link) (Attachment Link)

Thanks for the suggestions, we want to try thin cork sheet as a dampening material, but we need a laser cutter to do that. We'll try and make the sides taller as it's not really possible to lower the pcb and backplate into the base without removing the solidity of the piece. We also would like to have a custom backplate to have a little bit more space between the sides of the pcb and backplate for mounting stability and maybe looks.

That resin board looks stunning, really. I've never seen anything like that, where did you get it? I didn't really have any luck in finding custom wooden cases this quality online.

I've replied to Rob with pics of what the finished inside looks like now

Offline tom_toe

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 22 November 2021, 03:49:03 »
I am already imagining GMK Tiramisu on it... :cool:

We would definitely approve as italians!

Offline tom_toe

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 22 November 2021, 03:50:32 »
What a first post, took me back to the good old days when this hobby wasn't all about renders :thumb:

Thanks for taking the time to document the process, I'm no woodworker but they sure look good to me.

Welcome to geekhack :)

Thank you! We already feel welcomed! c:

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 23 November 2021, 08:16:59 »
Exquisite work! I am very impressed.
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Offline pixelpusher

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 23 November 2021, 10:47:52 »
It's beautiful.  I have quite a selection of wooden keyboards in my collection.  One thing that I would also like to see is the inside.  I highly recommend that you remove (or make it possible to remove) the center post.  It makes for a much more pleasant typing experience. In a perfect world, you would also want to have some sort of rubber on the standoffs for dampening, as well.  See the recent wooden tofu from KBDFans here: https://kbdfans.com/collections/60-layout-case/products/tofu60-walnut-o-ring-mount-case

Also, the PCB needs to sit much lower so that the switches are not exposed when viewing from the side.  I would shoot for this as a top priority.  Many people in the hobby see exposed switches as a trend from early in the hobby and it has fallen out of favor.

So you'll need to find a way to lower the pcb and/or raise the side walls to cover.

A recent wood and resin case I purchased does a good job of hiding switches.

(Attachment Link) (Attachment Link)

Thanks for the suggestions, we want to try thin cork sheet as a dampening material, but we need a laser cutter to do that. We'll try and make the sides taller as it's not really possible to lower the pcb and backplate into the base without removing the solidity of the piece. We also would like to have a custom backplate to have a little bit more space between the sides of the pcb and backplate for mounting stability and maybe looks.

That resin board looks stunning, really. I've never seen anything like that, where did you get it? I didn't really have any luck in finding custom wooden cases this quality online.

I've replied to Rob with pics of what the finished inside looks like now

I purchased the board from https://fnctl.co/

Good luck on your project.  Looking forward to updates.

Offline tom_toe

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 23 November 2021, 13:36:38 »
Exquisite work! I am very impressed.
Thank you kind sir!

Offline tom_toe

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Re: Take a look at this wooden 60% case me and a buddy made
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 27 November 2021, 05:45:34 »


I purchased the board from https://fnctl.co/

Good luck on your project.  Looking forward to updates.

Thank you! Their boards sure look stunning. We have some updates, we've tried to make the sides taller, as lowering everything into the base is a little more complicated. I think we need to look at lowering the kb assembly into the base a little bit, because making the sides this tall is a little too much for our taste. We can go a couple of mm taller, but this much makes everything disproportionate.





We've also began tinkering with cork, and we've managed to get thin slices straight from the bark material, which is really cool. It's much stronger than we anticipated in its natural form. Of course the shapes of the supports are VERY rough, we just routed them out as we could, but it can be integrated near the standoff quite well. We've recorded a quick sound test, mind you the switches are stock brown and the stabs are completely stock and taken from the same donor board from which the switches were taken, so this is as rough as it gets. Hopefully during Christmas I can manage to build a proper kb for soundtests.




The changes are very slight, but you can already hear how less hollow it sound. I imagine that changing the shape of the supports will also influence sound. Well we have a lot to think about


Offline ylothar

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Re: Handmade wood and cork tray mounted 60% case
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 27 November 2021, 10:49:00 »
Great job guys!

If you want you can also post on KEEB.it (in Italian language).
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Offline tom_toe

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Re: Handmade wood and cork tray mounted 60% case
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 27 November 2021, 11:40:21 »
Great job guys!

If you want you can also post on KEEB.it (in Italian language).
Sicuro fratm!

Offline ylothar

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Re: Handmade wood and cork tray mounted 60% case
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 30 November 2021, 15:17:46 »
Hi guys and thank you for posting on KEEB.it, we will have the opportunity to talk about your beautiful project there too  :p

Have you evaluated something similar to SALVATION as a mounting system? The idea teases me a lot and using the cork could come up with an interesting thing ...  :cool:
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Offline tom_toe

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Re: Handmade wood and cork tray mounted 60% case
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 03 December 2021, 10:35:21 »
Ok, so we're back to the drawing board for a little bit. The suggestion from ylothar

Have you evaluated something similar to SALVATION as a mounting system?

put a bug in our mind, so we are looking to experiment a little with it.

In order to have the keyboard assembly float on cork we have to reconsider some choices we've made on the design.



The main problem lies in the jointery between the base and the sides. Right now we have a tongue and groove (1.0) that gives us very little flexibilty about the position of the pcb: if we want to lower it into the base we'd have to make the sides taller, resulting in a unbalanced design. The same stands if we want to make the keyboard assembly float onto the cork: we don't have enough space, and making the base wider results in having too much space between the backplate and the sides, not pleasant to look at.

So, for the next revisions, in order to test a floating design, we want to change jointery to something similar to revision B, which gives us quite a bit more room around the pcb, without impacting the stability of the joints (1.1). This design is quite harder to make (without a cnc), compared to the first one, which was designed to be easily made with our tools. We'll try the upcoming week to make a prototype to see how it goes. It'll be a little weaker compared to the first one, but I don't see that as a problem right now, as we can stand on top of the prototypes we've made so far without them braking or cracking. It's just a matter of making a prototype and see what works and what doesn't.

Also, we would like to experiment with pcbs with a jst connection to a daughterboard, so that if we go for a floating design, the movement of the pcb and kb assembly won't impact the usb connector. We're thinking of getting a Bakeneko60 PCB from cannonkeys, but we would also like to try a 65% layout (it seems just better imo), so if you guys have any suggestions on available 65% pcbs with a daughterboard, we'd love your input!

This following week we'll also experiment a bit more on processing cork, we've order some leather hole punch tools to see how they work with it.

We'll keep you updated!

Offline ylothar

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Re: Handmade wood and cork tray mounted 60% case
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 04 December 2021, 04:23:08 »
The suggestion from ylothar
Have you evaluated something similar to SALVATION as a mounting system?

put a bug in our mind, so we are looking to experiment a little with it.

«How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?»