Author Topic: Dream Keyboard  (Read 3700 times)

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Offline AliceRed

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Serbia
Dream Keyboard
« on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 01:58:33 »
Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Alice.
Not so long ago, I began to be interested in the world of custom keyboards. Now I own KBD67 lite r3. I dream of a good keyboard, but I have no money (and I'm only 16 years old).
But since my father works at a factory with metals, I decided to design my keyboard Ė my father will be able to make the case). I've already made a model in fusion 360.
But there was a problem when I began to deal with the creation of the PCB ... it's difficultÖ Who can suggest options for how to design a PCB ? or maybe there are companies that do it not expensive? I opened the PCBWay website, but it's very difficult to figure out how and what to choose for the board( Thanks to everyone who responds)

And I'm sorry for my not very good English

Offline fanf

  • Posts: 17
    • Tony Finch's home page
Re: Dream Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 06:03:56 »
There are a few ways to get a PCB, depending on whether you want a standard layout or your own special design.

Easiest and least flexible is to get a hotswap PCB. Thatís what I did for my first custom keyboard.

Or you can get a PCB that you have to solder the switches to. These often have more flexible layouts. Youíll need to get soldering equipment if you donít already have it - I got a Pine64 Pinecil smart soldering iron, which is pretty effective for its price.

If you want a weird layout, the easiest way is to use a microcontroller board such as an Adafruit KB2040 or a Sparkfun Pro Micro 2040. That will handle all the tricky electronics for you, and your custom board only needs to have footprints for the switches and controller, and can be soldered by hand. This is what I did for my second keyboard, using a Waveshare RP2040-Tiny.

I have a small collection of links about designing a PCB for a keyboard https://github.com/fanf2/kbd/blob/model-b/keybird74/rp2040.md - they are mostly about designing the microcontroller circuitry from scratch, which I have not yet done myself. But the tutorials by ai03 and ruiqimao are also great as general introductions to the process of PCB design as well as keyboard PCBs specifically.

I used KiCAD to design my PCB and got JLCPCB to make it for me. It wasnít cheaper than buying a ready-made PCB but it was a lot more fun, learning how to use KiCAD and how to get it manufactured. https://dotat.at/@/2023-08-09-kbpcb.html

There are also a lot of great electronics tutorials on YouTube, which I found particularly helpful for improving my soldering.

Good luck with your project! Keyboards are fun to make, and itís great having a useful tool I made myself.

Offline AliceRed

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Serbia
Re: Dream Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 08:18:16 »
There are a few ways to get a PCB, depending on whether you want a standard layout or your own special design.

Easiest and least flexible is to get a hotswap PCB. Thatís what I did for my first custom keyboard.

Or you can get a PCB that you have to solder the switches to. These often have more flexible layouts. Youíll need to get soldering equipment if you donít already have it - I got a Pine64 Pinecil smart soldering iron, which is pretty effective for its price.

If you want a weird layout, the easiest way is to use a microcontroller board such as an Adafruit KB2040 or a Sparkfun Pro Micro 2040. That will handle all the tricky electronics for you, and your custom board only needs to have footprints for the switches and controller, and can be soldered by hand. This is what I did for my second keyboard, using a Waveshare RP2040-Tiny.

I have a small collection of links about designing a PCB for a keyboard https://github.com/fanf2/kbd/blob/model-b/keybird74/rp2040.md - they are mostly about designing the microcontroller circuitry from scratch, which I have not yet done myself. But the tutorials by ai03 and ruiqimao are also great as general introductions to the process of PCB design as well as keyboard PCBs specifically.

I used KiCAD to design my PCB and got JLCPCB to make it for me. It wasnít cheaper than buying a ready-made PCB but it was a lot more fun, learning how to use KiCAD and how to get it manufactured. https://dotat.at/@/2023-08-09-kbpcb.html

There are also a lot of great electronics tutorials on YouTube, which I found particularly helpful for improving my soldering.

Good luck with your project! Keyboards are fun to make, and itís great having a useful tool I made myself.

thank you very much for the detailed answer)
I want a unique layout)
I started making a PCB for one guide based on RP2040, but unfortunately for some reason there is no last part of the guide (
after which there were problems...

Offline fanf

  • Posts: 17
    • Tony Finch's home page
Re: Dream Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 09:01:13 »
Feel free to take a look at my PCB design as an example of how I used a dev board instead of designing all the circuitry myself https://github.com/fanf2/kbd/tree/model-b/keybird69/kicad tho I recommend you keep the switch matrix simple, donít repeat my mistake of using a fancy duplex folded layout!

Oh, and I forgot to mention the other option: no PCB at all, instead you can handwire the switches, eg,
https://www.crackedthecode.co/a-complete-guide-to-building-a-hand-wired-keyboard/ https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=87689

But note that a handwired build needs plate-mounted stabilizers which require fancy cutout shapes in the plate.

Offline Leslieann

  • * Elevated Elder
  • Posts: 4504
Re: Dream Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 16:48:39 »
If you're just making a board for yourself, you might just want to try hand wiring as fanf suggested.
While a pcb is cheap, you often have a minimum quantity, which can drive the price up a lot more than you would expect.

You could also design your case around an off-the-shelf pcb, either pcb or one out of a cheap keyboard (makes getting replacements cheap). For instance I would like to get a custom case for the GMMK (non pro) which you can buy barebones, you can get them cheap, fast and it works pretty well.
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
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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
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Box Jades, Interchangeable trim, mini lcd, QMK, underglow, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, O-rings, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, in progress link
| Magicforce 68
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MF68 pcb, Outemu Blues, in progress
| YMDK75 Jail Housed Gateron Blues
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J-spacers, YMDK Thick PBT, O-rings, SIP sockets
| KBT Race S L.E.
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Ergo Clears, custom WASD caps
| Das Pro
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Costar model with browns
| GH60
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Cherry Blacks, custom 3d printed case
| Logitech Illumininated | IBM Model M (x2)
Definitive Omron Guide.

Offline Rhienfo

  • Posts: 558
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Why is everything I want here so expensive :(
Re: Dream Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 06 September 2023, 18:03:42 »
You could also design your case around an off-the-shelf pcb, either pcb or one out of a cheap keyboard (makes getting replacements cheap).

Yeah maybe fit your board around a hiney pcb for example if you can. Hiney pcbs are great and have both tkl and 60% options.

You might also be able to find more non standard layouts from other great pcb makers (I think mechlovin sells an alice pcb if you are looking for that)

If you are looking for a non standard layout, most gbs have an option to buy a pcb on it's own so you could do that.

Recommenced doing this over scalping a pcb from a keyboard due to reduce waste.

I'd also recommend copying similar mounting points of a keyboard (such as a tgr jane v2 for the same reason) but since you can get plates custom cut (and probably cut your own with that machine) it isn't as important.
« Last Edit: Wed, 06 September 2023, 18:06:16 by Rhienfo »

Offline AliceRed

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Serbia
Re: Dream Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 08 September 2023, 01:14:27 »
Many thanks to everyone for the answers)
I started to understand a little)
And another question.
Does anyone know where I can download a 3d model of a full keycap set?
I want to make a 3d render of my keyboard and see how it will look in space)