Author Topic: Making my own keyboard from scratch  (Read 7009 times)

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Offline rondg

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 361
Making my own keyboard from scratch
« on: Thu, 06 June 2019, 06:49:19 »
I have always wanted to make my own keyboard but thought that I lack the skills and technical knowledge to create one myself. But I want all that to change because Jae's J01 and TalkingTree's TOAD and TOAD v2 inspired me.

Here is what I have now.

220602-0220604-1220606-2

Heavily inspired by the Cherry G80-1800 keyboard, the board that started it all for me.

I created this thread to hold myself accountable of this goal. Progress will be slow and updates will be sporadic.
« Last Edit: Thu, 06 June 2019, 07:19:31 by rondg »

Offline Kelseer

  • Posts: 12
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 06 June 2019, 07:09:12 »
Good luck! I think its awesome that you're doing this, and I'm sure you'll finish it off.

Hope to see your finished product sometime in the (not too distant?) future!

Offline rondg

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 361
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 06 June 2019, 20:41:13 »
Good luck! I think its awesome that you're doing this, and I'm sure you'll finish it off.

Hope to see your finished product sometime in the (not too distant?) future!

Thanks! I know nothing about electronics and PCB design. I think that is my biggest hurdle right now  :(

I just realized that this looks a lot like the Keycult no 1. While doing the renders, it did feel that I based the design to some keyboard I saw somewhere but I can't remember what keyboard. I'll change the design  ;D

Offline The Gambler

  • Posts: 20
  • Your resident osu! player, destroyer of keyboards.
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 09 June 2019, 10:45:04 »
For now, I would start small.

Heck I am still working on a small 2x4 keypad and it's taking a while :)

I would like to save the responsibility of routing a full-sized keyboard PCB later.
DIY LFKeyboards VA68M ALPS
Gherkin ALPS
DIY MF68 Clears (di0ib's PCB)
Too many osu! keypads

Logitech G203/ Zowie ZA12

Offline rondg

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 361
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 05:05:34 »
Update!

As The Gambler suggested, I decided to start small.. Not really "small" in size but small in steps. I made a hand wired version first just to see if:
1. I can customize qmk the way I want it to
2. Know what I can and cannot do

My next steps are:
1. Find a way on how to draw simple shapes on the OLED - not just through the glcdfont.c, but actual draw in code. I know Hadron v3 and Satisfaction75 does this, draw simple shapes. I can't make it to work with a teensy MCU though - it does not compile.
3. Update the keyboard design and decide on the mounting. Top plate mount? Top PCB mount? Gasket mount? Isolation mount? So many options

Anyway, here are some pictures:

This is the layout that I am going for:


Here is the hand wired prototype? This is the first time I ever used a breadboard, hand wired a keyboard, used a rotary encoder and OLED screen. Not all columns are connected, as I ran out of wires  :-[. But it does work. Ignore what's on the OLED screen. I was trying out some things, and it does not show any significant info/functionality as of now...
« Last Edit: Sat, 13 July 2019, 05:22:44 by rondg »

Offline nui_e

  • Posts: 5
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 07:28:27 »
I want to build from scratch too.

I'm planning on hand wiring a broken PCB board.
Do you have any suggest on tools? What chip should I use and where I can find basic electronic knowledge needed for this project?

Offline rondg

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 361
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 07:43:38 »
I want to build from scratch too.

I'm planning on hand wiring a broken PCB board.
Do you have any suggest on tools? What chip should I use and where I can find basic electronic knowledge needed for this project?

I am not an expert and I am pretty sure that someone else is a lot more qualified to answer your question. But I'll try to answer.

Besides the typical tools for building a keyboard (like solder station/gun, solder sucker, solder wick, flux, etc), you may want to use a multimeter to follow the traces.
I assume that you will use QMK, so read the docs.
There are a lot of guides for hand wiring, so I suggest that you go read those too.

Offline Legonut

  • Posts: 31
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 10:52:23 »
I want to build from scratch too.

I'm planning on hand wiring a broken PCB board.
Do you have any suggest on tools? What chip should I use and where I can find basic electronic knowledge needed for this project?
You'll probably want to start with the STM32 (Proton-C) or Atmega32u4 (Elite-C) development boards, then you can wire up a basic matrix and try stuff out.

Offline nui_e

  • Posts: 5
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 12:11:20 »
I want to build from scratch too.

I'm planning on hand wiring a broken PCB board.
Do you have any suggest on tools? What chip should I use and where I can find basic electronic knowledge needed for this project?

I am not an expert and I am pretty sure that someone else is a lot more qualified to answer your question. But I'll try to answer.

Besides the typical tools for building a keyboard (like solder station/gun, solder sucker, solder wick, flux, etc), you may want to use a multimeter to follow the traces.
I assume that you will use QMK, so read the docs.
There are a lot of guides for hand wiring, so I suggest that you go read those too.
Thank you. Will start from there.

I want to build from scratch too.

I'm planning on hand wiring a broken PCB board.
Do you have any suggest on tools? What chip should I use and where I can find basic electronic knowledge needed for this project?
You'll probably want to start with the STM32 (Proton-C) or Atmega32u4 (Elite-C) development boards, then you can wire up a basic matrix and try stuff out.
Thanks a lot. That saved me so much time.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk


Offline zantetsuken9000

  • Posts: 16
  • Location: Australia
Re: Making my own keyboard from scratch
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 02:59:02 »
This is an awesome idea and something I'd like to do some day.
I'm trying to start small with just re-designing the case for my KBD67.

I've got an industrial designer background that's let me develop a few factory contacts in China that could CNC aluminium but I've got no clue on standard sizes of things like plates, PCB's, screw mounting positions, etc for keyboards.

Like, does a 60% case always have the same screw/bolt positions? Or do they vary to fit specific PCB's?

Anyway, that's just my little thought process at the moment.
Keen to see more of your project in this thread.
KBD67 - Zealios 67g - GMK Bento