Author Topic: Custom case/layout made by me! Would appreciate some feedback  (Read 900 times)

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Offline jjoejimmy

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Custom case/layout made by me! Would appreciate some feedback
« on: Sun, 15 March 2020, 02:13:21 »
I only recently joined geekhack and have been looking at all the cool custom builds of everyone. I haven't been able to find a board that perfectly fit me, so I decided to design my own. I've been working on a custom keyboard on and off for the past couple of weeks in Solidworks and Fusion360. In the end, I would like to make this mainly for myself, but if anyone is interested as well I could make a few to lower the cost of parts. The current state, however, is by no means complete and I think I have a long way to go before even the first prototype. In addition, because I have never owned (or even seen) a high end board, I am quite naive to the design aspects and think other experts could give me a better idea on how to do this!

I wanted a compact keyboard (65% or so) that would be easy to customize, mainly with an assortment of keycaps (both budget and expensive sets). To that end, I tried my best to keep a standard bottom row, with a 1.25-1.25-1.25-6.25-1.25-1.25-1.25 layout. This misses one of the 1.25 keys on a normal standard bottom row, but would still be able to use a majority of keycap sets out there. I also wanted dedicated arrow keys, and a few macro keys, just in case there were a few keys I miss when moving down from a full sized keyboard to a smaller one. This was what I made in Keyboard-Layout-editor:

After I had done that, I saw that there was a nice gap between the keys on the right side of the layout, just enough to fit a 0.91" oled screen. So I added one just for the heck of it. As a fun little aside, I also wanted a way to swap the weights at the bottom easily, so I could choose between acrylic for lighting, brass for some heft, or even wood for a change in sound. To do that, I designed a nice mechanism that would hold a slab of any material (without the need of holes) using 4 nuts. In the example render, I am using brass. Finally, I'm having trouble with screw placement. I think that the ones currently in the design are far too close to the edge, and I haven't been able to find a good way in Fusion 360 to place screws on slanted surface. Hopefully someone here can help me out with that  :confused:

I'm not too good at rendering, so the image is a little dark, but this is the first draft of my design. I'm using keycaps found here ( I'm also very bad at choosing colors so everything is in dark gray:

One thing that will definitely be happening is rounding off the edges so I don't stab my hands   :eek:

In general, I feel that the design is way too simple. Initially, I had wanted to make something quite simple to decrease machining costs, but when I quoted each part in Protolabs and Xometry, the price still came up quite high. There must be many things that I am not aware about regarding CNC that is driving up the price.

Another note is that I have not designed the PCB. The parts and clearances were made with a PCB in mind, including the USB-C port in the back and . Also, my plan is to make this keyboard top mounted, but there are no holes for mounting the plate yet. If anyone has ideas on where to place those holes for a good feel, that would be much appreciated too.

If you look at my imgur album that I have linked at the bottom of the post, you can get a better idea of how everything fits together. I also have SLDPRT files for everything if any of you would like to take a look.
I'd like some feedback on aesthetics, ease of manufacturing, and honestly anything else that catches your attention.

Thank you all so much!  :D

Here is a link to an imgur album with all the images I posted above and some extras:

Offline rinkaan

  • Posts: 80
Re: Custom case/layout made by me! Would appreciate some feedback
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 31 March 2020, 19:57:14 »
is the incline "feets" seperate pieces that are to be screwed on with countersunks?
if they are designed as a single piece it might be a lot more expensive since they need to cnc the whole piece out from a single billet.
from the BOM u posted seems like thats what is going on, but from the top view it is showing screws so cant tell exactly...

Offline jjoejimmy

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Custom case/layout made by me! Would appreciate some feedback
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 02 April 2020, 16:41:26 »
After looking at other boards and tips for CNC, I see how my design would be near impossible to manufacture out of metal. I'm going back to the drawing board!