Author Topic: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX (or Alps) Keyboard  (Read 80153 times)

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Offline samwisekoi

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GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX (or Alps) Keyboard
« on: Wed, 20 August 2014, 23:09:59 »
Prologue for the Newly-Arrived
18-May-2015

This is not a necro-thread.  It is a very slow-burn project that sits behind other projects, like me completing my own F-122 "Super-Soarer" mod, getting the Beta GH36 completed, and wrapping up my own prototype JD45 keyboard.

The current layout of the GH-122 is shown in this post: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=62003.msg1589582#msg1589582

That layout shows the possible one hundred and fifty-two key positions the board will provide.  It will be Cherry MX and Alps keyswitch compatible, and it will be fully programmable.  Backlighting is TBD, as are several other details.

The GH-122 project is not dead; it is merely on hiatus, waiting its turn.

Cheers!

 - Ron | samwisekoi

Original Post


So here I am on a Wednesday night watching the Nuclear Green group buy and waiting for the prototype GH-36 matrix keypad PCBs to arrive.  And what do I see on geekhack?  Another Great Find post for an F-122 that I won't ever own.

75228-0
Another F-122 I won't ever own.

And there I am with my PCB design software open in a VM in front of me, and I started to wonder what it would cost to make a small quantity of MX (or Alps) 122-key keyboard PCBs.  So I cobbled one together using the layout of the F-122 above, adjusted to modern keycap spacing.  Here is what I got:

75230-1
GH-122 Exercise by samwisekoi 2014

The answer to what would it cost?  Just $60 each for a batch of 10 PCBs.

Of course there are issues.  Setting aside the case question for the moment, what controller could support a 24x7 matrix?  The PCB would clearly have to bend for the upper bank of 24 function keys.  Can the Easy AVR software support a controller big enough to drive this thing?

And, of course, are there any other people in this fine community crazy enough to try to build such a beast?

Anyone?

Let me know.

 - Ron | samwisekoi
« Last Edit: Mon, 18 May 2015, 10:10:27 by samwisekoi »
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline Hak Foo

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 20 August 2014, 23:32:04 »
Some thoughts:

The second block (all the function keys) could be built as a second PCB, potentially even with a second controller, bringing the scope down to conventinal sizes.
Worth-considering options:
* ANSI style support
* Conventional inverted-T arrow support
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Offline AKmalamute

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 00:05:01 »
All those people who want to play with the Teensy 3.1 would have a very real reason to do so.

I'd say that nostalgia aside, ANSI enter keys and maybe inverted - T arrows should be on the (switch-)plate.

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Offline dorkvader

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 01:12:57 »
teensy++ has enough pins for sure, as akmalamute says, T3.1 as well. another option is to use a normal teensy and get some io expanders like what bpiphany has on the replacement boards (I think he uses an atmega 27u2 and 2 chips to drive all the rows / columns)

I'd like to see the four key locations around the arrow keys have the options (like the "unsaver") so people can opt for inverted t. + extras. I really liked that aspect on my phantom.
---
Now, while I don't think the curved PCB is required, it would be pretty interesting. Even without it, I like this idea. (lots of 122-key keyboards aren't curved: nmb (I think), cherry, etc.)

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 10:22:32 »
Interesting idea.

If this is being done from scratch, I recommend adding a 1x key between the 1.5x modifiers on the bottom row. It would be a small and useful addition in the PCB design.
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Offline SL89

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 10:26:53 »
yes yes yes

Offline Krogenar

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 10:48:17 »
I'm in.

What would be necessary to make this compatible with M-122 versus F-122? The Model F's are rare and hard to find -- and people say their cases are brittle anyway. M-122's seem to be a lot more available.

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Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:02:14 »
Totally in for this. I'd prefer a more ANSI-like layout, but you can always include options. :)

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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:17:53 »
Totally in for this. I'd prefer a more ANSI-like layout, but you can always include options. :)

Show Image


Might as well have a full top 2 rows all the way across to have a full battlestation!

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:25:14 »
Totally in for this. I'd prefer a more ANSI-like layout, but you can always include options. :)

Show Image


Might as well have a full top 2 rows all the way across to have a full battlestation!

I'm sure you refer to this image, which I posted here quite some time ago:

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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:25:45 »
Totally in for this. I'd prefer a more ANSI-like layout, but you can always include options. :)

Show Image


Might as well have a full top 2 rows all the way across to have a full battlestation!

I'm sure you refer to this image, which I posted here quite some time ago:

Show Image


I knew I had seen that somewhere :eek:

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:36:49 »
The PCB would clearly have to bend for the upper bank of 24 function keys.

Not necessarily, if one were to use sculpted profile keycaps, which are designed to replicate this sort of curvature. :P
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Offline SL89

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:43:00 »
why not just use 2 PCBs?

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:44:12 »
why not just use 2 PCBs?

Yes, if a bend really is necessary, using two PCBs and a plate that will bend in that area is the way to go.
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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:51:02 »
Wow!  Apparently people are interested, at least as a thought experiment.  So I went ahead and did a proper layout.

 - ANSI
 - ISO
 - Full matrix for any arrow cluster desired
 - Hidden switch positions in all the usual places (e.g. under Backspace, both centered and off-set Capslock, etc.)
 - MX and Alps (Matias)  switch support
 - Teensy++ controller
 - Bend and floating controller daughter-board will be supported by using optional ribbon cables, location TBD.
 - Bottom row options:

1.5 - 1.0 - 1.5 - 7.0 - 1.5 - 1.0 - 1.5  (Leave the 1.0 switches out if you want.)

1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 -6.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25

I haven't done ANYTHING for LED support beyond pads and resistor locations.  I haven't done the proper things to the numpad (just remembered that.)  I haven't put in stabilizer mounts.

And I have not connected the sections, the controller, or even run the row/column traces TO the controller.

But the actual switch layout addresses everything suggested except for the mega-matrix top rows.

75268-0
GH-122 PCB Pre-Prototype Design by samwisekoi 2014

Keep commenting and I'll keep running traces!

 - Ron | samwisekoi

p.s.  Also, go buy some Nuclear Data Green keycaps to fill this mother!
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline SL89

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 11:58:06 »
Sam, i am very interested in this.

ANSI would be great,

and i like that you are keeping the nav cluster open for different configurations.

and i personally like 1.25 x x x 6.25 x x x 1.25 as you stated.

I'm guessing this will need a case designed for it as well.

Either way this is a great idea, there arent hardly any fullsize boards, let along fullsize customs and there is NOTHING with all the extras that are part of this idea.

Thanks for getting the ball rolling.

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 12:06:41 »
Wow!  Apparently people are interested, at least as a thought experiment.  So I went ahead and did a proper layout.

 - ANSI
 - ISO
 - Full matrix for any arrow cluster desired
 - Hidden switch positions in all the usual places (e.g. under Backspace, both centered and off-set Capslock, etc.)
 - MX and Alps (Matias)  switch support
 - Teensy++ controller
 - Bend and floating controller daughter-board will be supported by using optional ribbon cables, location TBD.
 - Bottom row options:

1.5 - 1.0 - 1.5 - 7.0 - 1.5 - 1.0 - 1.5  (Leave the 1.0 switches out if you want.)

1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 -6.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25

I haven't done ANYTHING for LED support beyond pads and resistor locations.  I haven't done the proper things to the numpad (just remembered that.)  I haven't put in stabilizer mounts.

And I have not connected the sections, the controller, or even run the row/column traces TO the controller.

But the actual switch layout addresses everything suggested except for the mega-matrix top rows.

(Attachment Link)
GH-122 PCB Pre-Prototype Design by samwisekoi 2014

Keep commenting and I'll keep running traces!

 - Ron | samwisekoi

p.s.  Also, go buy some Nuclear Data Green keycaps to fill this mother!


Is that an LED screen in your mockup, we could just roll it that way :thumb:

Of course I say go all out crazy and split it out into 8 pcbs to be connected together or could at least be cut apart and used otherwise.  :p

75270-0

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 12:10:45 »
Is that an LED screen in your mockup, we could just roll it that way :thumb:

That's the controller daughterboard, for the Teensy++ 2.0. :D
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Offline HoffmanMyster

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 12:15:27 »
Wow I am very interested in this. Following close.

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 12:27:53 »
Is that an LED screen in your mockup, we could just roll it that way :thumb:

That's the controller daughterboard, for the Teensy++ 2.0. :D

:facepalm:

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Offline 0100010

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 12:43:34 »
How about 114 keys - like a Sun 7 layout.

http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/6e020637a1db9ef6f08ea54922507bf9

Or add 4 more keys on the top right - like the image in my signature for a 118 key layout.
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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 12:49:58 »
Well, you guys are insane.  But you are my kind of insane!

Here you go.  I'll add the 2x to R2C1-2 when I fix the numpad.

The ICs are for LED control unless someone else has a better idea.  The little circles are for proper CAPS, NUM, and SCROLL LEDs.

I may not keep all of those extra switches, but they don't add to row or column count, so they are in for the moment.

Jeez.

75274-0
Not Just Stupidly Large, Insanely Large!

 - Ron | samwisekoi
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline JPG

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 13:02:17 »
I don't understand why you could not just get a real F122, but still this project is nice in itself.


As for my input, here it is:


1. To make it way easier to produce, at least on a first batch, I suggest that you get a plate that can be used as a case when bent since making a real case for this monster would be quite some trouble. It would also give it some style the same way Fohat does with his caseless F122.


2. It will probably be easier to make a second pcb for the top fonction row as many people suggested since it will be easier to put it there without bending the pcb. Remember that cherry keycaps need the profile while the F122 use the bend on the plate/pcb for the curvature of the keys.


Also, while the F122 is nice, it's HUGE. making a space unsaver layout as an option could be nice for many people, or not if you want to go the REAL BIG KEYBOARD way which is nice in itself. I agree that for a first batch, keep the layout simple and the options limited. When you will all brag about how awesome the keyboard is, if there's enough interest then you could open the possibility for more layouts since the limitation will mostly come from the plate. Not sure you will want to produce 10 plates and make them with 7 different layouts as it would end up probably!


EDIT: This reply was typed on my REAL F122  :p
IBM F122, IBM XT F X2, IBM AT F (all Soarer converted), Filco Camo TKL Browns

Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 13:12:33 »
Ok, reality checks from JPG and from the cost estimation program.  Adding all of those top switches pulls the PCB across some square inch boundary layer, doubling the cost.  So, it is back to the 122+ design shown a few posts above.

To JPG's points, I am going to design the board so that the top section and the logic section can be sliced off of the main PCB and connected via internal ribbon cables.  That will allow for flexibility in mounting exactly in the ways JPG suggests.  Also, I am keeping all of the logic left of the numpad section, allowing for an easy trim to space unsaver profile.

So we are back to 122/ANSI plus a full directional matrix area.  I'll lay the traces for that version, and if more than ten people actually want these, then we can do further options.

Again, I am ignoring the obvious case and firmware questions for now.

 - Ron | samwisekoi

[edit]
Fixed the attribution in this post.  I was referring to JPG, not some other person with lots of 122-key keyboards and an almost identical avatar.
[/edit]
« Last Edit: Fri, 22 August 2014, 17:32:35 by samwisekoi »
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 13:17:29 »
I'm still in. :)
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Offline xavierblak

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #25 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 13:47:30 »
I don't want to derail the thread too much. But this is somewhat related to something that's been bouncing around in the back of my head for a little while.

The idea would be instead of creating one large board instead create keyboard modules(i.e. a 60% board, a keypad, a function board) than then connect to a keyboard controller board via a communication wire (using something like SPI or I2C). The advantage there would be you could be very custom in how you layout the keyboard and have any size board you want. You just get a plate cut put the boards in, wire them to the controller configure which keys do what and you'd be good to go.

This is a more complicated solution than just making a fixed size pcb but I just wanted to put it out there to see if anyone else had any similar thoughts.
« Last Edit: Thu, 21 August 2014, 13:50:50 by xavierblak »

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #26 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 13:51:06 »
I don't want to derail the thread too much. But this is somewhat related to something that's been bouncing around in the back of my head for a little while.

The idea would be instead of creating one large board instead create keyboard modules(i.e. a 60% board, a keypad, a function board) than then connect to a keyboard controller board. The advantage there would be you could be very custom in how you layout the keyboard and have any size board you want. You just get a plate cut put the boards in, wire them to the controller configure which keys do what and you'd be good to go.

This is a more complicated solution than just making a fixed size pcb but I just wanted to put it out there to see if anyone else had any similar thoughts.

Wow!  Apparently people are interested, at least as a thought experiment.  So I went ahead and did a proper layout.

 - ANSI
 - ISO
 - Full matrix for any arrow cluster desired
 - Hidden switch positions in all the usual places (e.g. under Backspace, both centered and off-set Capslock, etc.)
 - MX and Alps (Matias)  switch support
 - Teensy++ controller
 - Bend and floating controller daughter-board will be supported by using optional ribbon cables, location TBD.
 - Bottom row options:

1.5 - 1.0 - 1.5 - 7.0 - 1.5 - 1.0 - 1.5  (Leave the 1.0 switches out if you want.)

1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 -6.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25 - 1.25

I haven't done ANYTHING for LED support beyond pads and resistor locations.  I haven't done the proper things to the numpad (just remembered that.)  I haven't put in stabilizer mounts.

And I have not connected the sections, the controller, or even run the row/column traces TO the controller.

But the actual switch layout addresses everything suggested except for the mega-matrix top rows.

(Attachment Link)
GH-122 PCB Pre-Prototype Design by samwisekoi 2014

Keep commenting and I'll keep running traces!

 - Ron | samwisekoi

p.s.  Also, go buy some Nuclear Data Green keycaps to fill this mother!


Is that an LED screen in your mockup, we could just roll it that way :thumb:

Of course I say go all out crazy and split it out into 8 pcbs to be connected together or could at least be cut apart and used otherwise.  :p

(Attachment Link)

nobody reads my posts :P

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #27 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 13:59:43 »
Doesn't MOZ have a thread about that in Making Stuff Together? I'm on mobile, and can't be arsed. :P
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #28 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 14:01:24 »
Doesn't MOZ have a thread about that in Making Stuff Together? I'm on mobile, and can't be arsed. :p

Yeah moz's project I believe he called it blox was a little more intense.

EDIT: here is that thread http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=48326.0
« Last Edit: Thu, 21 August 2014, 14:04:20 by SpAmRaY »

Offline xavierblak

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #29 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 14:09:28 »
nobody reads my posts :P

Sorry.  I saw your post, I guess I was thinking of them as two different ideas. ;D

I'll take a look for Moz's post.

Offline JPG

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #30 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 14:20:33 »
I don't want to derail the thread too much. But this is somewhat related to something that's been bouncing around in the back of my head for a little while.

The idea would be instead of creating one large board instead create keyboard modules(i.e. a 60% board, a keypad, a function board) than then connect to a keyboard controller board via a communication wire (using something like SPI or I2C). The advantage there would be you could be very custom in how you layout the keyboard and have any size board you want. You just get a plate cut put the boards in, wire them to the controller configure which keys do what and you'd be good to go.

This is a more complicated solution than just making a fixed size pcb but I just wanted to put it out there to see if anyone else had any similar thoughts.


I am also pretty sure we could achieve something similar with the case design with 3d printing. Don't know how much it would cost, but I am pretty sure a design with some lego-type joints that would be solidified with something maybe. Anyway, nice idea, probably shared by many, but I think the first step would be to make a more simple keyboard, get the details ok and then go for modularity!
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Offline pasph

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 17:12:23 »
Sorry but after going through Phantom and GH60 i really hope that this will be a small venture, no way that i'll be in another super ultra mega custom kb GB.
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Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #32 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 17:20:21 »

Sorry but after going through Phantom and GH60 i really hope that this will be a small venture, no way that i'll be in another super ultra mega custom kb GB.

It's Ron, so you know it's good. No chance of mistake with a Ron GB.
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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 17:45:23 »

Sorry but after going through Phantom and GH60 i really hope that this will be a small venture, no way that i'll be in another super ultra mega custom kb GB.

It's Ron, so you know it's good. No chance of mistake with a Ron GB.

Thanks!

I was just looking to see if I was the only one who might be interested in this.  If around 10 people are interested, then the boards are worth making.  Otherwise, not so much.

One thing that is 'mega' is the trace count.  24 columns is a LOT of traces, and I am trying to keep them all .020" thick as well, so that is kind of a pain.

In related news, I just got the shipping notice for the prototype GH-36 PCBs!  So I have to get this battleship off my plate before those get here.

Anyhow, this won't be a big deal.  We'll run a few and that may be all it ever is.

But it will be cool if it happens!

 - Ron | samwisekoi
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Offline 0100010

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #34 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 18:27:43 »
May have to buy into this one myself.  Looking over at MOZ's blox project - great idea but seems a like lot more work to implement.  This is just a large sized board, which is not at all like anything I have been thinking of myself......  ;)








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Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #35 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 18:44:07 »
May have to buy into this one myself.  Looking over at MOZ's blox project - great idea but seems a like lot more work to implement.  This is just a large sized board, which is not at all like anything I have been thinking of myself......  ;)

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Looks to me like you have it handled. Get a plate cut, get 120 Enabler PCBs from Melvang, switches, and a Teensy. Voila!
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Offline Hak Foo

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #36 on: Thu, 21 August 2014, 23:05:54 »
If it's ALPS-ready, I'd rather have this than the GH36, the product I was currently waiting on.  A macro-board is nice, but it's fundamentally an extra "thing" -- an extra USB port consumed, an extra cable to run, an extra unit to malfunction.  Baking it all together in a single unit (or even a single plate with two PCBs attached) offers a much better experience.

The Enabler, I still don't quite get what advantage it offers over direct wiring, assuming you don't want backlit.

Ponderable:  I assume that PCB stuff is priced by square centimetre and manufactured by the "sheet"... so presumably it doesn't take many of these boards to make up a "sheet" run.
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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #37 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 00:27:09 »
I followed the Matias blueprints, so the pads should fit. I don't know anything about Alps stabilizers, so that will be up to you.  Also, I had to rotate the ISO enter switch, so I have no idea if that will work with Alps keycaps.

Regardless, this is going to be one huge board.  Assuming it works and we can get cases and firmware for the Teensy++.  😉 :cool:

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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #38 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 08:52:30 »
May have to buy into this one myself.  Looking over at MOZ's blox project - great idea but seems a like lot more work to implement.  This is just a large sized board, which is not at all like anything I have been thinking of myself......  ;)

Show Image


Show Image


Show Image


Hmmm.  Looks like a job for a Ducky 108 plus two columns of a GH-36.

 - Ron | samwisekoi
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

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Offline jdcarpe

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #39 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 08:57:59 »
I followed the Matias blueprints, so the pads should fit. I don't know anything about Alps stabilizers, so that will be up to you.  Also, I had to rotate the ISO enter switch, so I have no idea if that will work with Alps keycaps.

Regardless, this is going to be one huge board.  Assuming it works and we can get cases and firmware for the Teensy++.  😉 :cool:

 - Ron | samwisekoi

I don't think firmware will be a big issue. Most common firmwares can likely be modified to work, since the Teensy++ uses the same ATmega32U4 chip.

Don't forget to include the 2x keys for the number pad. You can rotate those also, if you need. :)
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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #40 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 09:08:02 »

I don't think firmware will be a big issue. Most common firmwares can likely be modified to work, since the Teensy++ uses the same ATmega32U4 chip.

Don't forget to include the 2x keys for the number pad. You can rotate those also, if you need. :)

Thanks!  I did forget the numpad!  Easier than the ISO Enter key, anyhow.

Here is a fun fact:  running the circuit trace test function crashed my Windows VM with an OOM error.  Lost some work, grr.  Looks like I may need to run the PCB design program on my gaming box!  (This has never been a problem doing PCB layouts for normal-size keyboards.)

Back to checking my traces!  Let's see if it will fit in the maximum 3.5GB I can allocate to this 32-bit VM.

 - Ron | samwisekoi
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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 10:05:04 »
Update:  Ran fine under 3.5GB, so here is the fully-traced PCB, including 2x positions on the numpad PLUS the top-left keypair for that Sun look:

75369-0
GH-122 PCB Pre-Proto v140821F5 by samwisekoi 2014

For this version I added pads and cut lines for the upper function-key section.  I will likely change those to a cable, but as-is, it can be cut and bent using simple jumper wires between the pads above and below the cut line.  The RH and LH sections can be cut off, but I have not yet worked out exactly where to cut.  I will do that and add those cut lines in the next major revision.  Cutting off the numpad will require some care, but is certainly do-able.

On to the Teensy++ daughter board, and possibly some in-switch LEDs.

If you see anything wrong, please, please let me know!

 - Ron | samwisekoi

p.s.  The main section of the board is 19.25" wide and 4.60" tall.  The horizontal spacing between sections is 0.250" and the vertical spacing to the upper section is 0.750" (one switch position.)  At some point I will add mounting/support holes at the edges and in the switch areas as well.

I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

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Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 10:20:57 »
I would be interested in this if made the PCB to fit Cherry G80-2000 series. Would be nice replacement for those PCB to fix the numerous issues they have like bigass enter, or ISO enter, or only 2KRO... etc.


Adding support for JIS layout would also be very nice.

Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #43 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 10:24:47 »
I would be interested in this if made the PCB to fit Cherry G80-2000 series. Would be nice replacement for those PCB to fix the numerous issues they have like bigass enter, or ISO enter, or only 2KRO... etc.

Adding support for JIS layout would also be very nice.

Send me some specific measurements and I'll see what I can do!  Spacing and mounting holes in particular.

 - Ron | samwisekoi
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline absyrd

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #44 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 10:24:49 »
I would be interested in this if made the PCB to fit Cherry G80-2000 series. Would be nice replacement for those PCB to fix the numerous issues they have like bigass enter, or ISO enter, or only 2KRO... etc.

How easy are the g80-2000s to get? Assuming you were just hunting for case material...

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Offline Melvang

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #45 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 10:49:11 »

The Enabler, I still don't quite get what advantage it offers over direct wiring, assuming you don't want backlit.


The advantage is you have easy switch modding without paying for the extra machine time for cutouts in the plate.  Using stock plates in a stock case you have it.  The reason is you can just pull the switch and pcb out through the mount hole (Enablers will fit through both MX and Alps switch holes just fine) while all solder points are still connected.  The wires just come with the switch.  Then you can mod your switch and just push it back into place.  No soldering required and plates are cheaper.  Plus, you don't have to pay for all the space between switches.  For a medium run pricing of 150 square inches from osh park the price is only $0.25 pre switch.  So for 123 keys (if you need to order in multiples of 3 for medium run) it would only be $30.75 + shipping.  Granted you need to get 600 of them for medium run pricing.  But if you are under that area break it would be $153.75.  So, you would actually be cheaper to order 600 of them to hit the medium run pricing (small run $5/sq. in. vs medium run $1/sq. in.).
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Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #46 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 11:45:40 »
I will see what I can do, but I am not terrific about measure things accurately.

There are several different models in 2000 family. Some are extremely hard to get, others not too much like 2551 and 2500 are probably most common.

Offline kalrand

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #47 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 11:54:12 »
This sounds like something I can get behind.
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Offline samwisekoi

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #48 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 12:08:24 »
I will see what I can do, but I am not terrific about measure things accurately.

There are several different models in 2000 family. Some are extremely hard to get, others not too much like 2551 and 2500 are probably most common.

Really the most critical dimensions to make the new PCB fit into the old case are the spacings between the sections.  The rest we can finagle.  So, for example, are the horizontal gaps between the right edge of the 1.500" Backspace key position and the left edge of the 0.750" Insert key position 0.1875" (1/4 of a switch position), 0.375" (half a switch position) or something else?

Similarly, is the vertical gap between top edge of the 0.750"  2@ key and the bottom edge of the F1 key position a full 0.750" (one switch position) or something else?

I have a G80-3700 and some ML full-size, so I could measure those, but it would be better to measure the PCB of a G80-2000 keyboard.  Specifically between the center of one mount hole to the center of the adjacent one.

If you want to send me an example keyboard or PCB, I'll take some measurements and send it back.  Probably unharmed.

Otherwise, you could measure the distance from the top edge of the 2@ keycap and the F1 keycap, and then between the right edge of the |\ keycap and the Delete keycap, those two dimensions will be a good start.

FYI, on my G80-370, the distance between the top of the NumLock keycap and the top of the Escape keycap is 1.500", so the gap is 0.750", or one switch position exactly.

Is any of the above do-able?

 - Ron | samwisekoi
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline xavierblak

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Re: GH-122 Making a Stupidly Large MX Keyboard
« Reply #49 on: Fri, 22 August 2014, 12:16:56 »
Another option for a compatible case might be the the Chyron keyboards. There are always a few available on ebay. They aren't all cherry keyboards but the cases look like they might be same.

I have a cherry one if you are interested in measurements.