Author Topic: HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB  (Read 11588 times)

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Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 08:25:31 »
Sooooo..... I really love the very small keyboards i read about on this board but the features these boards have could be better so i decided to give building a board like this a go myself (In the words of the famous Clarksonius; How hard can it be?). And since for a forum called geekhack there can never be enough actual hacking* done by geeks i decided to do a little post of my board here.

*) By hacking i mean the kind done with a hacksaw or in my case powertools ;)

Take a big board, an angle grinder, some pieces of metal profile and a lot of spare time and you could end up with something like this;
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43084[/ATTACH]

NKRO over PS/2 and 5KRO+mod over USB
Fully programmable in two layers
Compact yet strong as heck (1,5m steel plate mounted and 2mm aluminium case)

Now, for me part of the fun of building anything is to use old/recycled/salvaged parts. For this specific build for example all the rewiring on the board has been done using wire pulled from a old broken network cable, case has been built from metal found in my garage, connectors have been salvaged from and old ADSL modem, a paperclip and an empty ballpoint refill are now doing a great job as a stabilizer, and the majority of parts has been taken from a used Access board (think mounting plate, keys, caps, screws, feet etc). The only things i really had to buy for this build are the nice color caps and the USB board (also known here as a blue cube i think).

Now, as you can probably see on the pic above im still waiting for more/other good ol caps to arrive but since i type blind most of the time i can work just fine on the board as is. I will however in the future change/add many things on this board (maybe even teensy the thing so it could be a bit thinner), ill try to keep my little build updated here.

Made some more pics;

Heres a nice up-front shot showing the nice 14x5 size a bit better;
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43086[/ATTACH]
As you can see width-wise its about as small as it gets but both top and bottom could one day lose another CM or so....

This is basically how the back looks like right now;
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43087[/ATTACH]
This back is just a temporary one so its not pretty. As you can see the plate is stepped outwards to house the pretty large Access-IS control board but if i ever decide to swap the board to a more compact teensy controller i should be able to fit a nice flat plate.

Here you can see how much thicker the current back makes the board;
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43088[/ATTACH]
The straight side also widens a tiny bit to the back as you can see, this should give enough clearance to house a teensy. Yes, it also needs either some paint or a better brushing-job... i know.....

And heres just some fancy other angles;
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43089[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43090[/ATTACH]

Currently im running the board programmed like this (top is regular, bottom layer 1);
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43095[/ATTACH]

fossala

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 08:34:26 »
Looks good. Wish I had the skills to do something like that.

Offline kaiserreich

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 08:57:46 »
You've made a WYSE decision.
The board looks great.
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 March 2012, 09:00:27 by kaiserreich »

Offline jonnybastard

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 08:59:53 »
Damn that looks unreal, love the unbreakeyble moniker.
KMAC    -    HHKB Type-S    -    Filco TKL LineaR    -    Poker X    -    KBT Race LE

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Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 09:05:30 »
Added MOAR pics!!eleven!1

Offline snoopy

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 09:12:09 »
very very nice! good style! :clap2:

Offline o2dazone

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 10:59:37 »
omg
make me one and then sell it to me thanks in advance!

Offline sth

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 11:02:49 »
Hunky.
11:48 -!- SmallFry [~SmallFry@unaffiliated/smallfry] has quit [Ping timeout: 245 seconds] ... rest in peace

Offline chel-

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 11:07:32 »
That's pretty cool. I don't like the layout but that's just my opinion. Wish I could do that.

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 11:47:33 »
Thanks for the compliments everybody :D

Quote from: chel-;539106
That's pretty cool. I don't like the layout but that's just my opinion. Wish I could do that.

And that's the brilliant part; I do! That is the great thing about building something for yourself!

Layout-wise i only had a couple boxes to tick compared to the layout on my 6Gv2, first of all i cannot stand that button between the shift and the question mark.... i keep making a mess of every time i have to use that so for this build i made sure the shift and ? were nice and snug close together. Then total size was a big issue as i really wanted something small and i think 14 keys width is as close as you can get whilst still having a functional board (most compact boards i have seen in fact are 15). As for the choice in enter key..... i never got the whole idea of ANY button thats two rows high (well, maybe except for the enter on a num-pad that i can slap with my right thumb like a bass guitar). 1.25 enter key however would have been too small so i went for a 2.25 size there. I might swap the two keys above the enter one of these days but for the time being that just a bit too much of a hassle just for aesthetic purposes as its just working peachy.

That double 1x1 right shift does take some getting used to tho..... everytime i land my little pinky a bit in between the two im like WTF? But it still beats ending every question with `|/\?` or any combination thereof LOL

Offline sordna

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 23:07:56 »
Nice !!! You mentioned Access, are using the programmable controller from an Access-IS keyboard or did you use something else?
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline hashbaz

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 23:16:42 »
Well done sir.  Thanks for sharing this with us.

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 03:44:56 »
Quote from: sordna;539826
Nice !!! You mentioned Access, are using the programmable controller from an Access-IS keyboard or did you use something else?


Yup i re-used the control circuit thingies the Access-IS board (aka donor) ran. I just cut the main PCB and mounting plate with an angle grinder (10 minutes) and then re-wired everything to repair all the traces i cut and make everything work with the control-board again (freaking HOURS of work lol). I then ofc had to make a configuration file basically from scratch for Softprog (also way too much work) so i could correctly program everything but thats a whole different story.....

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 04:22:26 »
I added some more eye-candy into a separate chapter thingy;

http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Book:Building+the+thing

Offline Deepfish

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 04:29:36 »
Pretty cool board, curious how long did it take you to build the board.

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 04:44:34 »
Quote from: Deepfish;539953
Pretty cool board, curious how long did it take you to build the board.

Well... its still not finished tbh, and i doubt it ever will be (all these kind of things are never ending projects for me). But at time of this writing i'd say somewhere around 10 hours of actual work invested. In that time ive included the actual work like cutting, modeling, soldering, programming and NOT stuff like hunting down components, thinking, doodling up ideas and waiting freakin 24hrs for each batch of 2-component glue to set....

Offline PixelVandalism

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 05:20:24 »
It looks amazing :D
I want one.

Offline Icarium

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 05:54:28 »
A couple of questions:

1. You used only the controller from an Access-IS board, correct? Does it matter which board? Did you do anything else on the electronic part?
2. What kind of board did you start out with? Would you say it is important that it is plate mounted or would PCB mount do?
3. How did you make the case?
I had a sig once but it's gone. It used to display an icon of a Kinesis. Just imagine that.

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 12:50:57 »
Quote from: Icarium;539967
A couple of questions:

1. You used only the controller from an Access-IS board, correct? Does it matter which board? Did you do anything else on the electronic part?

Well its hard to speak for every Access-IS board out there because ive only handled two so i cannot give you any guarantees on this answer. Couple things i can tell you with some certainty; The old board i handled (1999) has a hand full of serial to parallel shift chippies on the switch PCB. Cutting up a board like that or trying to make a control board from one of those keyboards work on a DIY level will be tricky to very hard. The more recent board however (2006) has all the needed parts for this functionality mounted straight on the controlboard so you can hook any diode matrix not exceeding 7 columns straight up to the board without any further fancy electronics tricks or adding any components. The recent model also has a nice detachable flat-cable between the switch PCB and the control board.

So in short (and taken in account the limited knowledge i have on these boards) id say; Go with a modern version, newer is better here for once!!

Quote from: Icarium;539967
2. What kind of board did you start out with? Would you say it is important that it is plate mounted or would PCB mount do?

The control board i used came from a AKEOCTF200/1 which i guess is very similar to the AKE0CTF359 boards that you can find quite easily on the bay. I even dare to guess that boards that have quite different functionality but roughly the same layout have the same control boards, but the more simple ones simply will not have the control boards fully populated. But like i said above, if you manage to find one with the proper control board you can hook up ANY diode matrix on to it be it plate mounted, PCB mounted (in fact, electronically speaking these are the same thing) or you could even hack something up yourself from cardboard, play-dough and kitty litter cuz it will not matter to the control board.

Quote from: Icarium;539967
3. How did you make the case?

Aluminium profile, hacksaw, angle grinder, bench-grinder, beer, fine and course files and sandpaper, the most wicked industrial 2 component glue i could get my hands on, hammers, clamps, BIG pliers and just some experience on working with metal basically....Big pliers are a must for any project..... gotta love big pliers... hmmmm.... now where was i? Im a mechanical engineer, the case is the easy part for me.... its the electronics and programming that tend to freak me out :spit:  In fact, if i could have been bothered to de-solder all the switches i might have even made the case all out of steel so i could weld it all together but since i wasn't planning on that amount of work and also didnt go for the cleanest looking board ever (just working and freaking strong is enough for me atm) so i just went with the glue approach. Working great, still in one piece! Typing on the board right now in fact, cant wait for summer so i can use the board to take a swing at flies.
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 March 2012, 12:53:12 by Maarten »

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 09 March 2012, 13:02:28 »
Oh btw, on the serial to parallel chip thingy.... if you can work with these with confidence;
http://www.fairchildsemi.com/ds/74/74VHC164.pdf
youd be fine with any board i guess..... just make sure you have a couple of those chips laying around and also know how to physically hook these up to anything.

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 10 March 2012, 10:56:55 »
New caps in!!! Wicked grey;

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43409[/ATTACH]

Slow but steady this one is coming together......

Offline sordna

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 10 March 2012, 11:32:24 »
Nice keycaps! Who makes them / where do you buy them from?
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 10 March 2012, 12:11:57 »
Ive been told they were made by signature plastics.... and they came from this beast of a board;

http://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1935&hilit=signature

When i bought em i was under the impression that the alphanumerics would be white-ish but they are SUCH a great shade of grey..... Its almost scary.

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #23 on: Sat, 10 March 2012, 12:19:35 »
I mean.... just LOOk at this.....

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 43432[/ATTACH]

Dont you just love that shade of grey? Please ignore the hairs and dust... my cat also likes the board ;)

Offline komar007

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 10 March 2012, 17:24:05 »
Amazing build, interesting layout;)
It looks really good. How heavy is it?
I should try such a reduced layout, maybe next time I build something. But only after I get the round four keycaps. And that will take some time;)
Contact me if you need a programmable nkro usb controller. It's not done yet, but it works, well, more or less.
GH60 rev. B w/ ali's case|Cherry G80-3000 HFU/05|IBM Model M (51G8572)
Check out the GH60 project! | How to make a keyboard

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 11 March 2012, 12:07:46 »
Quote from: komar007;541567
Amazing build, interesting layout;)
It looks really good. How heavy is it?
I should try such a reduced layout, maybe next time I build something. But only after I get the round four keycaps. And that will take some time;)
Contact me if you need a programmable nkro usb controller. It's not done yet, but it works, well, more or less.

Well, shes a hefty little sucker..... Without cable shes currently ticking the scales just shy of 800 grams ;) Thats one-and-three-quarters of a pound for you colonial folk (you know who you are).

And right now i have a little USB board in there that gives me 5KRO+modifiers and since this is only for backup use (on laptop or on the move) i have no need for NKRO USB functionality just yet. When hooked up to my main system via PS/2 i guess its NKRO. I say guess because i have not been able to press all the buttons down at the same time without windows going all haywire on me but ive had results over 25 simultaneous key-presses.... But if i ever find the need for NKRO over USB ill let you know, thanks for the offer!
« Last Edit: Sun, 11 March 2012, 12:09:33 by Maarten »

Offline braaaiiins

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 19 March 2012, 22:25:39 »
Not a fan of the layout either, but mad props for completing your project. Lookin goood.

Offline NorrisB

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #27 on: Tue, 20 March 2012, 00:17:21 »
I like everything except for the keycaps

Offline Awful

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #28 on: Tue, 20 March 2012, 02:56:00 »
Very nice job man. Kudos!
I hate everything.

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #29 on: Tue, 20 March 2012, 05:59:07 »
Quote from: NorrisB;551163
I like everything except for the keycaps

Hehe.... New caps on their way so maybe you'll like the next setup better.

Also nice little update; I have a new controller on route for this baby that will make it better in every way! Board will be slimmer, more layers and programmability options and better USB support (my built in blue-cube is giving slight problems every now and then). It will also get some true multimedia controls (volume controls and mouse simulation).

Offline cactux

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #30 on: Tue, 20 March 2012, 06:11:14 »
Could you show us what is under the hood ;-)
[FS]☠ The temple lol ->HERE<-

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 20 March 2012, 06:23:11 »
At the bottom of the wiki page you'll find a link to some building pics. Here's the link for you convenience ;
http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Book:Building+the+thing

I dont have any completed pics because... well.. its not exactly pic worthy atm lol. When i receive my new controller ill wire everything a bit more decently and ill put some pics on.

Offline cactux

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 20 March 2012, 06:36:34 »
^ thank you
[FS]☠ The temple lol ->HERE<-

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #33 on: Sat, 26 May 2012, 12:39:12 »
Aaaand, heres another little update;

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 51531[/ATTACH]

I just cant help myself, i keep swapping keycaps. Right now im typing on the board as in the above shot, also worth noting is that the back-plate has now been replaced by a completely flat one as the board is now running the chameleon controller she was built for so she is now more comfortable to type on as well!

I've also placed 4 LEDs under the spacebar (currently they indicate Fn and Num on the left and Scroll and Caps on the right half of the space bar) and when i get my hands on a proper black one ill modify that with 4 little windows in the front (clear plastic filled holes) to show a bit better what the leds are doing cuz now i just have to look at it under an odd angle to be able to see the reflection of the LEDS;

Regular layer 0 vs layer 2 LED indication
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 51532[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 51533[/ATTACH]

The two most left leds show the layer im in in binary just because thats so nice and nerdy ;) Both leds off means base layer 0 (mostly function as caps indicate), right only is layer one (toggle; mainly numerals -+ replaced by functions F1-F12 and ESC as ~ ), left only is layer 2 (level; many many media keys everywhere and shortcuts for windows and various apps) and both leds on is layer 3 (both toggle or level selectable; hides all the functions i rarely use but would still like to be able to access like a full numpad functionality under 789-uio-jkl-m,. as 789-456-123-0 00 del)!

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #34 on: Sat, 26 May 2012, 14:34:38 »
And i also got the KeyMouse working in a useable way. In layer 3 i now have the WASD cluster mapped to mouse up-left-down-right, left control is the left mouse button and WIN i right (for use with my pinky). R and F have the scroll functionality and the left Alt is still alt (to use in conjunction with the numpad keys for fancy stuff йвдаезклипо).  Its actually pretty neat to use that layer eventho it alsmost lost all its alpha's :D!

Offline sordna

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #35 on: Thu, 31 May 2012, 20:58:11 »
Great stuff! For mousing, did you setup that layer as numpad keys and use mousekeys on your computer, or your keyboard controller can actually act like a real mouse?
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #36 on: Fri, 01 June 2012, 04:45:39 »
Quote from: sordna;605174
Great stuff! For mousing, did you setup that layer as numpad keys and use mousekeys on your computer, or your keyboard controller can actually act like a real mouse?

The chameleon actually emulates a mouse to the point where your computer is unaware that its actually a keyboard sending the commands.

If you for example plug the chameleon into a XP system the OS will install two peripherals; a keyboard and a mouse (ofc it doesnt need any fancy drivers, its just bare-to-the-bone keyboard and mouse 'slang' that the chameleon uses to communicate with the PC). With the FlexMatrix software you can tell the board exactly how to behave when its acting like a mouse, you can ofc tell it what buttons do what (move the mouse cursor in any direction, scroll, click left/right/middle or double) but you can also set how the cursor will accelerate.

So i have for example in my deepest layer set the WASD cluster to move the mouse. When i first press W for example the cursor will start to move slowly up and accelerate to a pretty high speed untill i release it. If i (whilst still pressing the W key) then also press the D the cursor will move up/right at an angle, when i then release W but still keep holding D the cursor will continue its course straight right. My left control and windows key are then left and right mouse button (i can use with my pinky to click stuff).

The chameleon will ofc store all these settings internally so if you take it to any other system itll still act like you programmed it. So if i were to plug the board into some ol windows 95 system i could instantly use the board as a keyboard and/or mouse to do stuff as the system would not be able to tell that its not a regular keyboard and regular mouse i just plugged in. Pretty neat!

Offline sordna

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #37 on: Fri, 01 June 2012, 11:05:10 »
Awesome stuff, I guess Chameleon is a fitting name for it. Where can one buy it from? Any pointers to a manual in English for it?
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Maarten

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HHKB/Poker style ghetto salvage board - My first DIY KB
« Reply #38 on: Fri, 01 June 2012, 11:11:20 »
Quote from: sordna;605624
Awesome stuff, I guess Chameleon is a fitting name for it. Where can one buy it from? Any pointers to a manual in English for it?

http://deskthority.net/wiki/Chameleon_keyboard_controller

Its actually pretty easy to wire up, programming software works great as well tho i might write a little howto on the FlexMatrix editor one day as all the HEX coding stuff for the header registers and Sfunc can be messy to figure out if you dot know what all that does.


oh and you can get one from attarian (thats where i got mine from) but keep in mind that i might take quite a few months before youll get it LOL
« Last Edit: Fri, 01 June 2012, 11:13:24 by Maarten »