Author Topic: Strange keyboard time!  (Read 1791 times)

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Offline MatsNorway

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Strange keyboard time!
« on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 04:01:11 »
Build log for my attempt at building my very own keyboard.

My biggest problem so far have been getting this stuff over to Autodesk Inventor for a proper CAD model.

It does not like DWF files in general and DWGs that are too old (2007 format) seems to not work as well.
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 October 2020, 04:16:38 by MatsNorway »

Online yui

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 04:15:30 »
i don't know if you expected feedback, but if you do not know where to source a 1,5*2u enter key i would recommend going with a more standard shape either ANSI, ISO, Focus (BAE) or numpad, as getting a fully custom key like that may be quite expensive, other than that i wish you good luck with it
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 04:18:42 »
I have 3D printed keys already for testing purposes. I will probably use standard keys but that enter key mount also support regular ISO. it just looks fugly. so 1.5x2 for now. Keyshapes is the least of my worries.

I need to get a wiring diagram etc. And i know very little about those things. I also struggle to get this over to autodesk Inventor. DXF file from http://builder.swillkb.com/ is not supported by Autodesk.. I need to convert it somehow to a supported fileformat ala DWG or newer DXF.
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 October 2020, 04:28:31 by MatsNorway »

Online yui

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 04:55:48 »
well the simplest would be to make a 21*6 matrix, if you do not care about rollover it is pretty easy if you do then you will need the diodes, and to be honest that part i do not quite understand fully yet... with a bit more optimizations you could use less inputs 27 io with that kind of a matrix you will need at least a teensy v2 or v2+, or wait for someone who knows more to pass by and give you a better option.
and maybe look at QMK/TMK's documentation those are the most common opensource keyboard firmware around, may help you with the matrix.
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 06:54:12 »
Interesting layout, the possibilities are endless if you can make your own caps!

Without counting this looks like it could be made using a 10x12 matrix with the 'columns' mainly covering two physical columns and two 'rows' connected to alternate switches across each row.  This would then fit the ubiquitous Teensy 2.0, unless you have lots of LEDs planned.  Or as yui said the easy way would be a 2.0++ (works with all firmwares but bigger and more expensive so less commonly used) with 21x6 with pins to spare.
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Offline ddrfraser1

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 09:37:11 »
Noice  :thumb:

Whenever I've done this, I go to the plate and case builder and open the DXF file in Cad. I have no trouble.
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 October 2020, 09:40:56 by ddrfraser1 »

Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:05:35 »
I struggle with the import of DXF to inventor. It is as if Autodesk disowns their own old software.

The switch plate seems to be too big still. Is that because i made it compatible with another switch type too?

Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:11:09 »
Here is some from the design faze.253310-0253312-1

Easier to see that the model is clearly wrong.253314-2

Yet, edge to edge is 19.05mm so not sure what is going on.
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:19:08 by MatsNorway »

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:32:31 »
that's the MX/ALPS cutout (nice). also supports switch top opening while in plate for gateron/cherry flavors of MX.
i don't have a loose plate but i can take a pic (top down) of what a switch looks like in plate.
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:33:41 »
Whatever.. Easy fix, just redid it. 253317-0

I did it before i saw your reply Nevin. The cutout was seemingly too big. Do you use an adapter or something?
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:47:22 by MatsNorway »

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:46:34 »
this is how they sit in that cutout. you can see the blue & yellow on the pcb below the plate. there is space around the switch. it's really only in contact with the corners when you use MX in these cutouts. but works great for switchtop opening, or if you might want to try alps without making a new plate. i really like these cutouts.
253319-0
253321-1
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Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:51:20 »
i'll send you some info then on wiring, firmware, etc...
i'm actually helping another fellow geekhacker with another one-off split hand wire. we got to test it last stream and the half that was wired was working good.

give us a little more info about what all you have planned for this build? anything extra? rotary? LEDs, etc...? will help me get you the info you need, which controller, matrix wiring, etc...
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Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 11:55:42 »
Whatever.. Easy fix, just redid it. (Attachment Link)

I did it before i saw your reply Nevin. The cutout was seemingly too big. Do you use an adapter or something?

nope. they snap in just like any other, and are held firmly.

what are you planning on doing case wise? (sandwich/spaced plates, 3d, machined?) how will the plate be mounted? (top, gasket, standoffs?)
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Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 12:02:54 »
also, are you planning on having a plate cut? if so, you probably want to simplify/enlarge the stab cutouts. while the cutouts are correct, they are more expensive to do that way then just the general opening. look at a couple popular keyboard plates. most use generic stab cutouts. also, the alps/mx cutout should be less expensive then the mx-switchop cutout. (again, due to simplicity)

examples of what's typically done:
https://kbdfans.com/collections/plate
https://www.1upkeyboards.com/product-category/keyboard-kits/diy-universal-60-kits/
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 October 2020, 12:14:24 by nevin »
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 14:05:33 »
Probably 3D printing and some light sanding/painting.

no LED planned. What is rotary? Not much extra planned. Would be nice with a windows disable button tho. Chances planned is num pad button moved up.

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 14:38:37 »
Probably 3D printing and some light sanding/painting.

no LED planned. What is rotary? Not much extra planned. Would be nice with a windows disable button tho. Chances planned is num pad button moved up.

well that makes it easier.

rotary.... rotary encoder, been popular on some recent group buys (example: Satisfaction 75 & many others)

windows disable... can be done in the firmware, just switch to another keymap that doesn't have that key in the keymap.

if it's your 1st handwire, i'd suggest keeping the wiring matrix simple and going with a larger controller like the teensy ++2.0.
if you want to use a promicro or postage board you'd have to do a more complicated matrix wiring. one method is the crushed paper matrix (as mentioned earlier in the thread)

hardwiring articles
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=87689.0
https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?t=1067

other resources
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/
https://kbfirmware.com/
http://builder.swillkb.com/

wire suggestions...
- cannibalized network cable (cat5 or cat6) is pretty common and easy to work with (24gauge solid core)
- magnet wire can be a pain (the enamel is harder to strip than you think)
- some use old ATA ribbon cables for tying the matrix to the controller (to keep it tidy)
- small gauge stranded is fine too
- really anything will work, either what you have on hand or want to pickup

depending on where you want to locate the controller
- either at the edge, using the controller's usb port as where you plug in your keyboard
- add a usb breakout board, locate the controller wherever you like, usb breakout will be easier to mount in your 3d printed shell

i can trow together a diagram and help you with firmware when you get to that point. it's usually the most daunting part of anyone's 1st scratch build.

can you post a link to your KLE (keyboard layout editor)?
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 10 October 2020, 12:21:13 »
Todays work 253357-0
The keys are shown as fully compressed. Keys are just placeholders. I wish to move numpad key up and arrows in.  Which should give me space for pg up and down. Not sure if i ever used them much.
« Last Edit: Sat, 10 October 2020, 12:23:39 by MatsNorway »

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 11 October 2020, 10:09:06 »
caps look like [ur=https://ramaworks.store/search?type=product&q=gridl]rama works grid keycaps[/url]

have you ever messed with a keymap in QMK? you can do Fn keys & combinations where ever you like. a lot of times the arrows are remapped as Home, End, PgUp, PgDn, when Fn is held. (just a way to reduce number of keys and hand movement)

253397-0
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/3575b6aff117ed89299745cee073b424

253399-1
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/7e855b588d50d2165dbbbb8690eda924

another variation
253401-2
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/84b2df6c9dff668c3495df6d45cfba57
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 11 October 2020, 14:32:18 »
I find it easier to wip the wrist/hand around to press a key than to go all octo on it.

So numpad lifted away as i have found my self smashing that button by accident and pr scrn moved closer to left hand
[ Specified attachment is not available ]

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 11 October 2020, 15:19:01 »
whatever works, everybody has their own preference.
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 13 October 2020, 14:48:30 »
What thickness does the mounting plate need to be?

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 13 October 2020, 15:00:14 »
What thickness does the mounting plate need to be?
1.50.1 mm.

Edit:
I have attached an old Cherry datasheet that has some diagrams with dimensions and such. I couldn't find a document like this on Cherry's newer web site(s) that I could link to.
« Last Edit: Tue, 13 October 2020, 15:06:32 by Findecanor »
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 07:20:24 »
That was great! thanks.

I have one problem tho. http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/ uses some strange units. So making chances is a nightmare. If i could switch to metric units on the page to get coordinates that would be great but it seems not possible.

Here is an example.254298-0

Not one key is aligned after the first row. Could anyone give me the center-center distance for 1,25u and 1,5u and 2u?

 This is the formula for getting the length of spacebar, and it seems to be close. 254300-1
Can anyone confirm that the general formula is correct?
« Last Edit: Fri, 23 October 2020, 07:25:42 by MatsNorway »

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 08:57:32 »
in KLE, you can go to options in the top right, and you can turn down the size of the step for finer adjustment. down to .05 "units", default is .25. (see attached)
254321-0

i can measure some caps (i'm sure can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer), but you probably want to go with the default spacing for a keycap (includes a little padding so caps don't rub) and center the cutout.

check this guide out. (was 1st in search result)
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 10:06:53 »
But what are the units?

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 10:59:50 »
Quote
Another aspect to consider is the keycap size. Normally the smallest keys are the alpha-numeric (A-Z, 0-9), they are square(-ish) and their size is referenced as 1 unit or simply 1u. Every keycap on a keyboard is built around the base size of a 1u.

The default area within a keycap is contained is 19.0519.05mm. That includes the keycap size (that will be approximately 18mm wide) and the small gap between keycaps.

read through the link i sent. explains a lot.
https://matt3o.com/anatomy-of-a-keyboard/#:~:text=The%20default%20area%20within%20a,the%20small%20gap%20between%20keycaps.
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 11:41:26 »
The drawing from KLE 254329-0 is inaccurate. Not by much and probably ok. Within tolerance i guess.. but i irks me. Drawing is supposed to be on point.

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 11:49:16 »
Might be slightly smaller, so if you don't compensate for kerf it will still turn out ok?
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 12:18:56 »
Its crooked. 3.101 is oversize while the lower tab is 2.999 or something

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 12:23:12 »
those are just switchtop opening tabs. not really that important. don't hold the switch (the 14x14 holds the switch), just allow for the top to be taken off. more clearance is probably better long as it doesn't interfere with the switch next to it.

the legs on the cherry/gateron switchtop are only about 2.3mm
« Last Edit: Fri, 23 October 2020, 12:27:58 by nevin »
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #30 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 13:10:10 »
254332-0

I ended up importing a new model over fixing and tweaking another one.

I need to make an assembly now.

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #31 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 14:07:03 »
nice. looks like you're getting there
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #32 on: Sat, 24 October 2020, 16:14:42 »
254390-0
I was wondering how they mounted the plate. Saw some did a clamp style so i did that. Still unsure about how i mount the outer frame.

And do the plate need support i wonder. I am thinking of doing it in stainless steel

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #33 on: Sun, 25 October 2020, 13:01:22 »
if you're doing it that way, "clamp" you could easily make this a gasket/isolated mount. little bit of rubber/silicone/similar pad between plate & case. look up similar gasket/isolated mounts. (usually long tabs that are clamped with some kind of softer/dampening material in between (but that's usually in full aluminum builds). don't know that you'd need it if it will be all 3d printed.

stainless is not a popular choice for sound, unless you're going for pingy or clicky switches. (noisy)

plate mounting/support
- depends on how stiff or flexible you want the typing experience to be. (all person preference)
- don't use anything softer than FR4 (pcb material) like polycarbonate or pom. won't be strong enough when in use, unless it's a really thick poly plate.
- FR4, aluminum, brass, stainless
- 3d printed plates are fine too, just usually printed a little thicker and switches are usually hot glued from bottom side (just a dab to keep switch from accentually popping out, because anything thicker than 1.5mm? the switches won't "click"/lock in place). the dab can easily be removed if you need to replace or decide to change switches.

... but, if your plate supports switchtop opening, all you'd need to do is change the spring/stem/top housing to change up your switches, no need to mess with your handwire or the bottom housing.

making the pieces hold together... here's one suggestion
blue - all one piece
red - spacer under plate
yellow - bottom plate
     - screws would go through yellow, red and plate and thread into blue
254468-0
254470-1
254472-2
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #34 on: Sun, 25 October 2020, 13:31:31 »
Good suggestion making blue part one piece. It all depends on how long the 3D print would take. Could easily go past 24 hours.

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #35 on: Sun, 25 October 2020, 14:20:24 »
either that, or something like that.... that the screws go through all the pieces, and thread into the last one. it's the simplest solution.

you could get more tricky with hiding screws etc. like some of the high end customs do. but i personally don't think there's anything wrong with easily visible access points.

some have also puzzle pieced left & rights halfs of the case together because of printbed size.
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 27 October 2020, 02:18:07 »
I have the same problem it seems. Or i have to make it supported as i print it vertically.

Offline nevin

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #37 on: Tue, 27 October 2020, 05:33:39 »
vertically..... that's risky, but you could try. do a test print (a thin stick straight up, as tall as the keyboard case is wide) see if you get any warping. make sure print bed is PERFECTLY LEVEL. if it is off, you'll surely see it in the print.

here's an article that was one of the 1st couple results when i searched for splitting large 3d prints
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Offline MatsNorway

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Re: Strange keyboard time!
« Reply #38 on: Tue, 27 October 2020, 14:37:16 »
Did the outer shell today. Split the keyboard in two halves. ABS plastic.