Author Topic: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB  (Read 4292 times)

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Offline num

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Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« on: Sat, 09 May 2020, 05:48:23 »
https://github.com/overset/JP01

This is a simple open-source CNC aluminum unibody case for the stock Arisu PCB https://github.com/FateNozomi/arisu-pcb using OnShape.



All CAD assets, HOWTO and many more details available at https://github.com/overset/JP01

And the first prototype build is complete:


Time-lapse video of first complete build from tonight:
Typing test of the build:

I started the project on March 24th which means I went from nothing to a fully built board in 46days. That includes getting keycaps on r/mm, switches/lube/films from vendors, and all parts modeled, reviewed, quoted, manufactured, delivered and built. I thought it would take longer. It was not cheap.

My goal was to build a very simple and unibody keyboard and I'm very happy with the result so far. It's the most silent mech I've ever owned.

Another goal of the project was to follow the open-source footsteps of the original Arisu keyboard so I'm open-sourcing my models for those interested.
There are many more pictures, assets, details, etc. on https://github.com/overset/JP01

There is a large TODO list on the repo, so there's definitely a lot of room to improve and always open to suggestions.
« Last Edit: Tue, 16 June 2020, 19:36:58 by num »

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 09 May 2020, 06:10:52 »
46 days from design to an anodized(?) case in your hand :eek: it's more than met it's design requirement of  being quiet too.

Amazing.
                               
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Soarer controller

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 09 May 2020, 13:02:06 »
46 days from design to an anodized(?) case in your hand :eek: it's more than met it's design requirement of  being quiet too.

Amazing.

Thanks! Yes, bead blasted and anodized. This was only really only half the battle and arguably easier than the original PCB design (https://github.com/FateNozomi/arisu-pcb) which was not my work. Saved a lot of time there.

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 11 May 2020, 14:07:48 »
Took a stab at a basic wrist rest design on a new OnShape branch:

242142-0

I might shoot for solid Polycarbonate that's frosted (bead blasted) for a simple design. Do I fillet the bottom edges or not? Do I make the top surface flush with the case or leave at the bottom of the case front fillet?

I'm also trying to work through a couple of other ideas:
  • Wood version (ideally router-cut maple) with 2-4mm plated brass base with logo recessed similar to the case
  • Another wooden version with a top-layer of veg-tanned leather >2mm thickness to make it softer for resting your hands
  • Thinking through neodymium magnet placement inside the case and wrist rest without interfering with current design

Online LightningXI

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 12 May 2020, 01:06:43 »
Nice work! Awesome DIY process.
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Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 12 May 2020, 04:34:26 »
Thanks LightningXI!

I've been getting lost in the land of excess tonight while modeling the wrist rest. The above simple PC design is by far the cheapest even with embossed logo on base and pockets for affixing to main case body. I've added 2 recessed pockets to the wrist rest surface that mates to the main case body that support 2 options:

  • Thin neodymium magnets; caveats being: mounting magnets on the inside of the case might require slight modification to the switch plate and using powerful magnets near any electronics is not a good idea. I'll need stronger magnets to have enough force being at least 4mm apart which makes me even less likely to go this route. I did not account for recessed cavities in the main case to place magnets closer to the surface.
  • I have some cheap nano tape on order and I'm curious if the fine-grit bead blasted and anodized surface will be compatible. It might not be smooth enough but it's cheap enough to test. I like the idea of reusable sticky tape that will not ruin the surface treatment and allow for relatively easy removal of the rest from the case

Another design that led me way too far down the rabbit hole:

242230-0

242232-1

The goal was to match the aesthetic of the main case. The top is a recessed 2.5mm thick high-quality veg-tanned black leather swatch that's laser-cut for a perfect fit. There might be enough room for a 0.5mm-1mm silicone or neoprene cushion underneath for added comfort. I'm really interested in this idea since it is a lot less prone to discoloration than PC, Acrylic, etc. and it's very easy to recondition or even replace.

The main body is a similar design to the main case for a perfect mating to the main case, same fillets and height with a flush fillet-free edge to mate to the top part of the case. The deck-height of the rest will be 1.5mm lower than the main case where its fillet ends - I think this is a better aesthetic than matching the deck-height and having a gap caused by matching fillets for the case and rest - like a small valley.

There is a slightly recessed-mount base plate with 2 threaded through-bolts to made a ~3mm flat brass plate to the base. I'm thinking of a laser-cut sheet instead of machined since easily 1/3 the price but will require slight modification like: countersinking, edge filing, hand polishing and a final coating.

If I go for this more complex rest, I'll then really want to match the main case with a full brass base plate. I already have a prototype laser-cut brass base plate for the main case that requires some finish work but I have yet to take it out of the seal for it to start tarnishing.

The price of this option is 25% more expensive in total than the PC version given the quotes I have so bar. I'm fairly certain I would appreciate this design more than a frosted PC rest no matter how many times I stare at the beamingrobot's Alice PC rest.

I still haven't fully explored a wood option but I'm confident I'll want to get it prototyped with a CNC router for precision, but I do not have easy access to one and I have yet to find a good vendor.

Now time to climb out of the rabbit hole...

Offline kkatano

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 12 May 2020, 09:38:13 »
Amazing work! The case is great and the github documentation is great too.

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 14 May 2020, 03:23:18 »
Thanks kkatano!

I settled on a flush wrist rest design:
242472-0

I placed the order for two CNC aluminum wrist rest main body parts with the same finish as the original keyboard case: bead blasted fine, RAL7024 Graphite Grey.

I've settled on a 3piece design as mentioned in a previous post. Top will be a 2.5mm thick high-quality vegetable tanned leather inlaid flush to the aluminum case which will be like a 2mm bezel around the leather. The bottom plate is the same shape as the top leather layer but only a 1mm inlay to the base of the case. There are 4 threaded holes to make it easy to change. I'll order the top leather layer and base plate to be laser cut. I'm going to prototype a 6.2mm thick brass base plate with a through-cut logo. I'm going to laser-cut another logo with thinner brass material to press into the logo cavity and give an embossed look. Accounting for kerf and tolerances is going to be fun but sendcutsend has really floored me on their accuracy given the have a fiber laser. I'll compensate for a loose fit creatively.

I've abandoned the idea of inlaid magnets or nano tape. Both the case and rest with the selected materials are so heavy they're not going to move. Now to order a few more parts and wait for them to arrive.
« Last Edit: Sat, 16 May 2020, 02:33:45 by num »

Offline gorbachev

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 16 May 2020, 16:38:22 »
Super cool! I've got two lopro and two hipro Arisus sitting on my desk, but I'm not a big fan of layered acrylic plates, so your projects looks really interesting to me.

Curious. What are the costs of ordering 1 or 2 of these from a typical cnc milling place?

Awesome documentation on your github, btw! Really impressive.

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 17 May 2020, 01:48:37 »
Thanks gorbachev!

The minimum parts you will need for this case are the case body, base plate and a switch plate. I got my first prototype case body and base plate from 3dhubs and switch plates from sendcutsend. I've noticed some price fluctuation recently on 3dhubs but it's around ~$550USD just for the case body and base plate as per the specifications in the current drawings on github (bead blasted matte ano RAL7024 for case; smoothed anodized RAL7001) using the longest lead time. I found quotes from Xometry with similar finishes more expensive with longer-lead times. I did not exhaustively look for quotes so there are still many more options but keep in mind a lot of shops will not do low-volume jobs. Sendcutsend 1.6mm switch plates are ~$70 for Brass, which is no surprise I found to be the best acoustics (I tried 5051 alum, 5061 alum, titanium, copper and brass).

I explored several full-Brass base plate designs, even with a shelf to match the typing angle so the case cavity was a consistent depth but all the CNC quotes in Brass I got were more expensive than the case body itself in T6 alum. I am currently exploring a full-brass base plate design that's laser cut to minimize cost. I'm experimenting with a brass inlay for the logo and properly machined countersunk holes. If this turns out well I'll put together a tutorial on how to order, modify, and polish. That is, only if it turns our better than the anodized aluminum base as part of the original spec.

This is optional, but I think it's worth getting the gaskets to help with sound dampening. The 0.5mm silicone switch plate to case body top gasket is the most expensive from Ponoko at ~$30USD. This helps dampen the sound and soften the feel slightly (also use rubber/silicone washers on the switch plate mounting screws) but most of all it drops the keys from the deck-height of the case to the nominal 7.5mm. The switch plate to PCB 2mm EVA foam gasket is ~$25USD from Ponoko and this helps dampen the sound dramatically. I think the 2mm EVA foam case filler is the most superficial, but it was only ~$4USD from Ponoko. The 1.5mm silicone base plate gasket is very useful to prevent reverberation inside the case and ran ~$25USD from Ponoko as well. If you were to just get 1 of the gaskets I think the base-plate gasket is the most worthwhile to prevent reverb.

Now to volume discounting - it's dramatic as you would expect. 3dhubs scales pretty well and I can't cite specific numbers, but their automated quoting tool makes it easy to access (as does Xometry).

Summary: ~$620USD for a single case through 3dhubs without gaskets, PCB, or screws. If you get 2, it will be substantially cheaper per-build. The wrist rest is a different story that I'm still working on and waiting for parts to arrive.

Offline Zustiur

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 17 May 2020, 23:49:45 »
As someone who's only just getting started in case design, that's very fascinating information num, thanks.

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 18 May 2020, 02:26:24 »
Thanks Zustiur and looking forward to seeing your designs!

I spent a few hours polishing a new laser-cut brass base plate and countersinking the holes. A single-flute 90deg countersink bit really does amazingly well on Brass. The polishing came out well, but not good enough. I was not able to completely get rid of the brushed surface that it came with and I wasn't able to tell until I got to the buffing stage. It's not worthy for a picture just yet. I'm going to go over the process again and take the extra time to clean with acetone between the incremental grit changes to make sure it's ready for the next round. It's actually easier Than I would have thought with the right equipment - e.g. automotive sanding and polishing equipment that's not horribly expensive. I'm still waiting for the inlay parts to show up hopefully this week to finish up my first fully polished base plate. This will tide me over until the wrist rest parts arrive.

Offline jouz

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 18 May 2020, 03:29:49 »
I just checked out your github repo, and the documentation is stellar! Amazing work!

This is optional, but I think it's worth getting the gaskets to help with sound dampening. The 0.5mm silicone switch plate to case body top gasket is the most expensive from Ponoko at ~$30USD. This helps dampen the sound and soften the feel slightly (also use rubber/silicone washers on the switch plate mounting screws) but most of all it drops the keys from the deck-height of the case to the nominal 7.5mm. The switch plate to PCB 2mm EVA foam gasket is ~$25USD from Ponoko and this helps dampen the sound dramatically. I think the 2mm EVA foam case filler is the most superficial, but it was only ~$4USD from Ponoko. The 1.5mm silicone base plate gasket is very useful to prevent reverberation inside the case and ran ~$25USD from Ponoko as well. If you were to just get 1 of the gaskets I think the base-plate gasket is the most worthwhile to prevent reverb.

I really appreciate you experimenting with this! I'll try to apply some of your insights to my design :D

What's your intuition on thickness vs dampening effect of the silicone gaskets? I.e., if the design would allow it, would you run a thicker (say 1-1.5mm) silicone gasket also between top case & switch plate?

Regarding the 1.5mm base plate gasket - I notice it covers the entire plate (i.e. it's not just around the circumference were the case meets the plate. I was wondering if you think that the effect it has comes mainly from decoupling the mating surfaces, or if covering the bottom with silicone also has some effect on sound (which would explain why adding/removing the EVA foam in the bottom doesn't make as much of a difference?).

Again, thanks again for sharing!

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 18 May 2020, 12:20:17 »
Jouz! Thanks! I'm definitely watching your BMEK build and thanks for the mention over the weekend. I still surprised I had not seen your GH build thread before a week ago and your latest hipro case design looks great. There's some great inspiration there and I probably could have used it a month ago.

When it comes to sound dampening, my experience is more empirical than scientific. Most of my observations are anecdotal through speaker designs. There are many materials that can help manage sound, but for a metal keyboard case I think it's most important to control reverberations. Honestly, anything more porous than metal will help dampen the sound. My default is some combination of dense foam (comes in many common forms of "acoustic foam" for speakers and wall-treatment) or just silicone sheets.

To answer your first question, I wouldn't run a thicker top-case<>switch-plate gasket. I don't see a massive benefit in between the 2 hard surfaces. There might be some future design to allow for more dynamic flex in the switch plate, but a lot more thought needs to be put into that. With my design, I didn't want to go >0.5mm so there would be at least 7mm of clearance to submerge keycaps.

For the base-plate I did intend to cover the entire inside surface of my flat base plate to create a nice seal, better isolation and most important to reduce reverberation. This was the single most effective dampener and adding the EVA Foam the case cavity did not help much.

I think the 2mm EVA foam between the switch plate and PCB is also very effective, but expensive to have cut.

There's a much cheaper option to start experimenting with before getting custom cut materials. There are many different forms of foam for crafts and I would choose a denser open-cell style (think neoprene). My favorite option is denser silicone sheets that are very cheap. The best I have found are 1mm silicone placemats that are cheap. Yes, placemats. They're very easy to cut and you can get in different thicknesses. I tried this material for the base-plate gasket and it took a few minutes to cut. Honestly this is cheap, effective and no one will ever see. I would start there with cheap thin/thick silicone placemats.

There are far more exotic materials to try like sorbothane, but it is expensive and harder to work with.


Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 22 May 2020, 02:45:37 »
Still waiting on CNC order that's in progress. In the meantime I spent a great deal of time polishing the brass base plate I have and did my first test-fit of the inlay. I'm very happy with the design. The full base plate is fully mirror polished. The inlay is a 1.6mm thick brushed version of the logo pressed into the base plate to be flush. I love the contrast between mirror polish and brushed. I opted not to recess the inlay. I was able to coat the entire surface with ProtectaClear brush-on which I'm very impressed with so far and only 2 coats. I was not able to get a perfect mirror polish as there are slight minute marks most likely due to lack of enough lubrication during the wet sanding process. My next base plate I will be more vigilant in the polishing process to get as close to mirror finish without hairline minute marks.

243211-0

The base plate and logo inlays were all laser-cut and required no filing, just pressed right in with no gaps and a just a great fit. Note the 2nd brass plate in front of the case is the new base-plate for the aluminum wrist rest design.

Hopefully the wrist rest case is timely and the leather top-layer shows up in time for me to complete the next build.

I'm still toying with the idea of a cheaper polycarbonate version of the wrist rest which might be the next project if I'm not floored by this wrist rest design.

I've pushed all the model files to master on my GitHub: https://github.com/overset/JP01/commit/5062518e0fea217dad0aaeb00d0cbe6d698b4cc0 with the aluminum and polycarbonate wrist rest designs. The PC design is not finalized and I have yet to check all measurements 10x over as usual. Once I get the aluminum version built I'll update the GH repo with more pictures and explicit build details - along with the new brass base plates.

Offline jouz

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 23 May 2020, 14:08:16 »
Damn that inlay looks insane! Cool design for the logo, too!

For a PC version, are you thinking about changing the design to allow some kind of threaded inserts, or to just tap straight into the PC material?

also thanks for the feedback regarding sound dampening!

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 23 May 2020, 21:24:50 »
Thanks jouz!

I haven't started to really review PC version for my case in depth yet. It could be manufactured with threads directly in the PC but I would definitely worry about durability especially with a heavy base plate or furious typing on the switch plate. I would seriously consider threaded inserts. I would have to change some parts of my design to accommodate any style of insert.

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 30 May 2020, 22:57:19 »
CNC aluminum wrist rest was completed early and shipped but now stuck in customs. We'll see how long that takes to get cleared. It's still well before the quoted delivery time.

In the meantime, I received a mirror-polished stainless steel base plate that was laser cut. I'm impressed with the precision and it mounts perfectly flush with the body of the case. I was able to use one of my brass logo inlays. Here's a quick picture of the test-fitting:

243945-0

I really like how good this looks and liking the base plate being flush with the case bottom fillets. This adds significant weight although less than the brass base plate. I only need to countersink the mounting holes to make this my new base.

Here's a comparison with the brass vs stainless steel base plates:

243947-1

I have another brass test base plate I'm not going to fillet the edges on and attempt to polish for a flush-mount into the case body with the same brushed logo inlay.

Once the wrist rest is in, I'll experiment with different base plates and try to capture as many views of it for GH feedback.

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 04 June 2020, 19:57:15 »
CNC Aluminum wrist rest body came in the other day and put it together for test fitting:

244321-0

I have a few problems with the anodized finish that I'm working out with the vendor, but the milling/threads are spot on.

The top layer is a thick laser-cut leather inlay that I could modify tolerances on a little more to make it a more perfect fit, but it's really good right now. I have a few leather colors I ordered to test in the future but I'm settling with the black leather for now (burgundy color in picture). I installed my polished brass baseplate on the wrist rest, but I'm working on testing out a more flush polished stainless look now that would help bring total build cost and customization down as compared to brass.

Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 03:05:55 »
God tier content, reads like a fine book. Thank you for sharing!

I am highly interested in following your steps in some time in future when I have bigger keeb spending budget.

Offline 5alt5haker

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 04:52:21 »
Is it possible to make this out of acrylic?

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 11:01:56 »
God tier content, reads like a fine book. Thank you for sharing!

I am highly interested in following your steps in some time in future when I have bigger keeb spending budget.

Thanks! I'm still working on filling in the gaps and writing better instructions. It's still a bit difficult to navigate my OnShape models and I would like to simplify that. I have a few more cheaper options that I'm testing now and will want to document.

Hopefully your budget will allow for some experimentation soon!

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 11:10:18 »
Is it possible to make this out of acrylic?

My case depends on another open-source PCB: https://github.com/FateNozomi/arisu-pcb which the original author also built a stacked acrylic case for that most laser-cutting shops can make: https://github.com/FateNozomi/arisu-case

This design was really intended for CNC Aluminum. Similar to Acrylic, I was going to try a Polycarbonate build with the same design plus a few modifications. First change would need to be adding threaded inserts to support PC. It's technically possible to CNC the current design in PC just threading directly into the PC material. I would worry about the threads in the long term especially with a heavy base plate or significant pressure on the switch plate stripping the threads.

Offline num

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Re: Opensource CNC Aluminum Unibody Case for Arisu PCB
« Reply #23 on: Mon, 15 June 2020, 23:35:51 »
I finally found a good local finishing shop that can do custom anodized color matching. I have to get the wrist rests stripped, bead blasted and anodized again to match the finish of the case. The original vendor has been very easy to work with and offered to cover costs of the re-finishing.

I have all the other parts to complete the prototype builds with the polished stainless base plates and really just waiting on the finish work to be complete by the end of the week. Once everything is fitted I'll get some updated pictures and update the README on github with more explicit instructions.

A few updates I'm planning if I get to build another prototype:
  • Larger radii for internal cutouts. My current base plate has sharp corners when I think a R2-5 corners would look a lot better. This is more for CNC cost reduction than aesthetic.
  • Larger mounting pads with threaded holes where the base plate mates to the case. This will allow me to bring the bolt holes further away from the edge for a cleaner look. It turns out I have a lot more clearance with the switch plate and PCB than I originally thought giving me more room.
  • There is a 0.4mm gap in the leather top for the wrist rest that is hard to notice, but there. I didn't take into account the laser kern when getting cut and will update the files if I fix.

I'm close to putting in an order for a bead-blasted ("frosty") polycarbonate wrist rest but have to run through the model to check dimensions. I'll likely order the prototypes before I get to optimizing the case model.
« Last Edit: Tue, 23 June 2020, 18:19:22 by num »