Author Topic: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps and Dyed Gateron Blues)  (Read 26215 times)

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Online richfiles

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***UPDATE***
The Main keyboard is now COMPLETE!!! I still need to build a number pad. I'll do this when I have a chance to get a plate.
At the moment, I still have to program it though.


I just purchased the "Danger Zone" keycap set off Massdrop. It's my very first custom key cap set, very first mechanical keyboard, and first time doing a custom keyboard. While I do plan on having a separate number pad I can set aside, and a Kerbal Space Program controller with actual flight instruments built into my desk, I wanted the primary keyboard to be both fully featured and compact. I discovered the 75% layout, and feel it is one of the best layouts out there, but I really wanted to retain a few more keys than that it offers.

I decided to do a layout with an extra column of keys, so it has 2 columns of keys to the right of the return and right shift keys, instead of just one column, as a standard 75% board does. This let me do a couple of things:

A: It let me slide the arrow keys over to the right by 1u, thus allowing both a standard sized right shift key, and the ability to use six 1.25u modifiers with a 6.25u or 6.5u spacebar. Alternately, seven modifiers can be used, if the left modifiers are three 1.25u, a 6.25u spacebar, and four 1u modifiers to the right. This is an exceptional degree of modifier row flexibility! I personally chose to use six modifiers, with a 6.25u spacebar, and made one modifier (the one immediately to the left of the spacebar) into a 1.5u modifier, to enhance it's use as a Mac keyboard layout. That was just my preference.

B: Because of the standard key sizes, this custom layout can be populated by most base TKL keycap sets, without having to dip into extra add-on options!

C: This custom layout provides 88 keys, while most 75% layouts only provide 84 keys. This means that you get 1 key more than a standard 87 key TKL, but have a smaller footprint. If a TKL keycap set has no real options to fill in the last 88th key... Great excuse for an artisan key! :thumb:

I used the renders of the Dangerzone keycap set to create a render of what I expect my keyboard to look like. I'm getting the custom plate made via the LeandreN Prototyper group buy http://leandren.bigcartel.com/prototyper-round-1. Invoicing is today, so orders should go out real soon! Like I said, i'm pretty excited! This is my first mechanical keyboard, and I decided to go   big  compact or go home...  :p

As for the case, I will use the keyboard to bridge my Kerbal Controller and my PC case, which have drastically different styles. The Computer case is a 1939 Philco radio cabinet, with brass accents, a nixie tube clock, and strong art deco stylings. The plate will be anodized blue, to match the keys, but I'll use brass screws on the keyboard to hold it all together. The plate will screw into four wood strips that I will glue into a rectangular ring bordering the perimeter of the plate, and I'll sand the corners round. I'll stain it to match the computer case, and then seal it. The bottom will be a metal plate with rubber feet. I may use brass for the bottom. I think it'll look very nice. I'll use some keys from the Danger Zone key set on the Kerbal Controller to get some style crossover there as well.

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Internally, I'll hand wire the matrix using the diode leads to connect from switch to switch. I don't know if it's worth it to mess with a Teensy or not. I run a "Hackintosh", basically Mac OS running on stock PC hardware. I have no PS2 ports. Macs tend to just have 6KRO, not NKRO. I'm half tempted to salvage the PC board from my old mac membrane keyboard and recreate the matrix. It WAS a good keyboard, till it lost a game of chicken with a can of pop. :rolleyes: I guess that's something i'd be happy to get advice on. Longtime DIYer, but VERY new to microcontrollers, completely inexperienced with C, and far more comfortable with a soldering iron than code. If i'm just running Mac OS, are there even any NKRO option for me? Is it worth the bother?

I am interested in both opinions on my custom layout, as well as 6KRO/NKRO options and issues on Macs.
Hope you all like my keyboard project!

***EDIT***
FIRST PHOTOS!!!

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« Last Edit: Sun, 03 April 2016, 17:16:07 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 07 October 2015, 05:27:19 »
I also am unsure the exact shade of blue the anodizing will be... I'm hoping a little darker and less turquoise, and a little bluer than what I grabbed. I wanted something for the render, so I grabbed the first blue anodized image I found on google images and stretched it to fit my keyboard layout. LOL Turned out alright, I suppose.

Now the fun part... Waiting till February for keycaps...
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 15:43:51 »
Not bad at all, I'd buy it.

Online richfiles

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 16:28:27 »
Waiting on the group buy to get invoiced as I type this. I upped my own order to 2 plates, incase I build a computer for my workshop later on down the road (or rather, I'll reuse my existing computer inside a new case, and upgrade my existing case with an all new mobo+CPU+RAM+GPU someday).

If this works, then the DXF files are below, for a 6 modifier Mac version and a 6 modifier standard version. The standard version uses six 1.25u modifiers, a 6.25u spacebar, and has a 0.25u gap between the right most modifier and the arrow keys. The mac version (the one I'm making) removes the gap, and slides the right mods and space over slightly to make room for a 1.5u modifier immediately to the left of the space. This is traditionally the location of the Mac's [Command ⌘] key, and is usually a little larger.

It would also be possible to do another version wit three 1.25u modifiers tot eh left of a 6.25u spacebar, and 4 1u modifiers tot he right, with no gap between the arrow keys. I never made a DXF file for that, but it'd be easy enough.

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* 75%+1FinalPlate_MAC_VERSION.dxf (197.94 kB - downloaded 106 times.)

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* 75%+1FinalPlate_Standard_Version.dxf (197.92 kB - downloaded 119 times.)
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 October 2015, 16:33:19 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline .Bryan

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 16:57:24 »
Wow, very well thought out. I got to say I like the layout.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 17:29:53 »
That's a solid compact layout right there.  Well done.

Offline garage_logician

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 17:41:58 »
I love this!  Add bluetooth and a controller (I would want to have programmable layers) and this would be perfect.  Love the layout, the caps, everything.

Online richfiles

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 18:00:02 »
I got the Planck/Atomic keycap pack with my Danger Zone order (I got MOST of the child packs... because reasons). If I REALLY wanted to, that pack comes with Super, Meta, and Hyper keys, if I were so inclined to add them, though they are 1u keys. That pack also came with 1.25u High and Low keys. Plenty of opportunities for layers, if a person wanted to add them. I'm happy to hear people liking the layout!

Mine's gonna be wired, but I am doing a mechanical bluetooth keyboard. I have an Apple //c keyboard. it's the extended memory model, with Alps SKCM Amber (taxi yellow) tactile clicky switches. They feel SOOOO GOOOOD!  :cool: Basically, I'm gonna use one of the push to lock switches on the top for power, and the other to toggle the top row between numbers and functions. It's basically a 60%, with a couple switches and LEDs above the top row.

And thanks for the kind words about the layout!  ;D

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« Last Edit: Thu, 08 October 2015, 19:08:00 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline Data

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 09 October 2015, 22:55:33 »
I'll enjoy watching this build.  :D

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 10 October 2015, 01:16:09 »
Yup! And you know just how long it's gonna be to finish this build, thanks to the SP order backlog! :rolleyes:
It'll be like necroing an old thread by then!  ;D
« Last Edit: Wed, 14 October 2015, 03:08:40 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 14 October 2015, 20:37:16 »
I think I have a temporary solution to the problem of finishing the keyboard LONG before the Danger Zone keycaps arrive...

These MX stem adapters from Shapeways:
http://www.shapeways.com/product/UAXHBNY7S/cherry-to-commodore-print-v1-1?li=search-results-1&optionId=7687641&rc=SearchResults
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They adapt Commodore 64 Keycaps to MX compatible stems, and only cost a bit over $12. Where oh where might I find Commodore 64 keycaps...  ;D

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I may just simply use the old Commodore keys for a keyboard in the future, but if I do, I'll do a PCB or a plate that is designed to work properly with their sizes. Since I have SO many of them to spare, I could do a full compliment of function keys, but in 3 columns of 4. Since I have made PCBs myself, in the past, and since a homemade PCB is dirt cheap, and since Gateron Blues are also like, what, $25 for 120-ish... I'm thinking I can actually make such a keyboard for just peanuts! $20 for a teensy, $25 for the switches, and about $24 for a pair of the Shapeways adapter sets. I already have PCB material and etching solution, and can drill it myself. If I mount the PC board in the same plastic chassis the existing board is mounted in (maybe on top, instead of the bottom, so I can bypass the existing structure, but still use it as a reinforcing structure, and then set the chassis back on the case with standoffs to adjust for the added height of the MX switches on top of the PC board... That might just work! I'd be able to mount it right inside the original C64 "breadbox" case. I'd have to abandon the extra function keys if I go with original case mounting, but hey, that'd be cool!

And as I said... In the meantime, 24 dollars buys me two sets of the key stem adapters, which should be enough to cover every key on my Danger Zone keyboard, till I actually get the Danger Zone keycaps sometime next year.
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 October 2015, 21:10:56 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 17 October 2015, 21:17:46 »
Alright! FINALLY found the Cherry MX Stabilizers I need for the long keys! I needed plate mounted stabs, but could only find Costars and PCB mounted Cherry. out's INSANE how much WASD's mislabeled Costars SCREW with Google search! Why the heck have they not fixed that? Anyway, it seems (at least in the USA) that Ortholinear Keyboards his the defacto place to go to if you want plate mounted Cherry MX Stabilizers, and want to know exactly what you're getting.

ortholinearkeyboards.com has the Cherry stabs in BOTH PCB and Plate mount variety, and CLEARLY lets you know exactly what you are selecting. Tried the ancient post recommendations of Mouser... For $0.88 vs $1.00... I'll pay the extra at OL for the certainty that I ordered the right thing. Mouser doesn't even have product photos.

I ordered enough plate mount stabs to do 2 full-size boards (basically, my 75%+1 plate, with a number pad on the side) as well as enough PCB mount stabs to do ALL the long keys in the Danger Zone child packs I ordered. I'll probably be using many of those extra keys on my Kerbal controller, and will likely have all those be PCB mounted stabs and switches. $30 worth of stabilizers, for two 75%+1 keyboards, 2 number pads, and a Kerbal controller! :D

I'm glad I like this keycap set so much, cause added all up, THIS IS EXPENSIVE STUFF. O_o

I am also toying with the idea of having my number pad attach to the keyboard with magnets, with contact being made electrically using pogo pins. If I need it, I just click it into place, and the magnets pull it into place. If I don't need it, I just pull the number pad off and set it aside, no cables required.
« Last Edit: Sat, 17 October 2015, 22:09:51 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline KRKS

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 21 October 2015, 14:00:28 »
I'd prefer something like this.



For you the gaps may be a waste of space, but for me they help in finding the numrow and Frow(and the exact keys in it) without looking.

EDIT: Also, a keyset for a gamer bottom row(just remove one of the 1u's) may be easier to find than a single bottom row 1.5u, and may look nicer as well.
« Last Edit: Wed, 21 October 2015, 14:04:00 by KRKS »
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Offline RenegadeParadox

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 25 October 2015, 22:20:15 »
What child pacts did you order? I ordered a Base Kit, The Wingman Pack, Arrow Pack, Alternate Function Pack, and Dogfighter Pack but stupidly didn't think about getting the Maverik pack for the K65 I bought specifically for this set. I am going to have to be patrolling the forums sales to try and buy spares to make it work for my board. By the way that render looks amazing, looks like a really awesome board.

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 26 October 2015, 02:27:32 »
I bought:

Base Kit
Number Pad
Wingman
Goose
Arrow
Dogfighter
Planck+Atomic
RAF
Alternate Function

Yes, it's FAR more keys than my keyboard will EVER handle, but I intend to save the Wingman pack keys for my Kerbal Space Program controller, and I REALLY wanted to grab a variety of the unique keys.

Also... The Maveric pack is the ONE PACK I did not see anything unique in, that I believed i needed, so I didn't order it! Sorry!

At least one person on the drop specifically sold their K65 for a replacement keyboard with more standard keys, just to use this set.

Corsair uses some non standard key sizes in their modifier row, including the space bar. You can get away with filling in some of the odd modifier keys with keys from the Wingman kit, if you're so inclined, but you may not have any workable spacebar option. Signature Plastics doesn't have a mold for a 6.5u spacebar in this key profile, so it simply doesn't exist. You'd be forced to leave the original space on there, or try to mess round with carefully cutting and gluing multiple spacebars together, which rarely, if ever looks good.

It's one of the reasons I went 100% custom. Even the 75% uses some non-standard key sizes, though readily available key sizes. I wanted to do a design that combined compactness with 100% standard key sizes.

Specifically, what keys are you looking for? No one can help with a K65 space bar, but maybe I might have a little something sitting around for your other key needs. I do not know if it is possible to modify the stabilizers of a K65 to move them inward. If they are plate mounted, you could probably try to file the plate to bring the inside edge of the stabilizers in. That's a tall order, and you'll have an 0.25u gap on either side of the space bar, but it's better than nothing. Obviosuly, you'd void your warranty, and you've need to disassemble it, which is a daunting task for what appears to be a plate mounted keyboard with PCB. The chassis REALLY looks like an integrated plate, looking at pictures of the thing.

You can try to file it assembled, if you can get the stabilizers out. I'd file upside down, with a vacuum cleaner sucking at it the whole time, if I tried that... Once you try a mod like that, you've passed the point of no return. You'll have voided the warranty, so if you get shavings inside, and it fails, your SOL. Be VERY careful if you take the mod.

[]-----[_]-----[]

file it to this

[_]----[_]----[_]

the stabilizers would mount closer together, to accommodate the Base Kit's 6.25u spacebar.

Or sell/return the keyboard, and not buy Corsair, till they learn that their crappy non-standard modifier row is screwing key cap enthusiasts over. Even though i made my keyboard with Mac specific modifier sizes, I STILL made an extra .dxf file to accommodate a 100% stock modifier row for non Mac users...  :rolleyes:
« Last Edit: Mon, 26 October 2015, 03:38:24 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 26 October 2015, 02:40:47 »
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I ordered 2 sets of the Commodore 64 stem adapters from Shapeways. Hopefully those will be on their way soon. I also pulled a bunch of Commodore 64 and VIC-20 and 64C keys to wash. As much as Commodore's unique function keys rock, i have to consider standard layouts... My solution is to use the lighter colored 64C number row keys for Function keys. 1-9, 0, - and + will serve as my F1-F12. I also pulled a bunch of 1u symbol keys, and all the modifiers, in hopes that I can manage to fill all the spaces on my keyboard. I know I'll have some gaps, and the symbols will be ALL wrong, but at least the keyboard will be usable. I might do a custom C64 layout keyboard someday, with authentic C64 keys (not repros). For now, those keys will just get me going till my Danger Zone caps arrive.

I'd probably have just MADE a C64 keyboard from the get go, if the keys were in a proper ANSI layout, Instead, the keys use a strongly ISO flavored layout, with ISO-ish symbol placement, but not quite, and with an ANSI return, but placed far right like an ISO... It's such an odd keyboard... Danged non-standard symbols... I can barely work with that!

On a side note, my Gateron Blues arrived!!! I love them, though they have a quieter click than my Apple //c keyboard's Alps Ambers... God, I love those Alps switches! I also actually built my very first keyboard on Thursday! I'll probably make a post for it tomorrow... It's not your standard keyboard...  ;) It's a DSKY keypad! ;D It's almost 3 AM here though, so not tonight...

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« Last Edit: Mon, 26 October 2015, 03:41:19 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline RenegadeParadox

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 26 October 2015, 22:11:18 »
I'm not really worried about a warranty on my K65 as I got it for 20$ on ebay since it was pretty beat up had been spill on/missing keys and what not. I have always liked the look of the Corsair boards though I dislike the MX reds that are in it atm. My plan is to tear apart the board (clean up the PCB as needed) desolder all the switches, solder in the Zealio switches that are in the mail, then (in 4 months) pop on the Danger Zone set. Basically I need three 1U keys to make this work for this keyboard (because the Alt keys are the same and smaller Ctrl keys will fit). There is a semi easy fix for the Space Bar which is to shave off the inner part of the stem to allow the male part of the spacer to slit into the stem. Worst case I just have to find myself a 6.5U space bar that looks like it will fit in, or attempt to modify the board/ plate to accept 6.25U spacebars. I suppose I have a long time to think about it till I get the key caps in but at the moment I think I'm just going to try and find DZ 1u caps or blanks. Either way really like your design and am looking forward to seeing it fully completed.

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 03 November 2015, 18:29:23 »
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Just got photos from the manufacturer! I'm getting excited!  :p
Can't wait for it to arrive! I have my temporary Commodore keys ready.
The Shapeways order for the stem adapters shipped today.
I have a teensy OR a donor keyboard. I can use either one as my controller.
I have the nice strips of wood I will use as my middle sandwich layer.
I have over 9000 diodes on a reel (impossibru!). I think I'm good! :))

My only snags are the Cherry MX stabilizers from Ortholinear Keyboards. and the bottom plate. OLKB are WAY backed up cause of Massdrop fulfillment. I need to make the bottom plate. I was NOT gonna pay as much as custom plates cost when I know I can do it myself. I'll honestly just trace the plate, when it arrives, onto a sheet of metal, mark it, drill it, and then saw / dremel / file / sand it to my desired shape. Still considering a pice of brass plate. Found a local source.
« Last Edit: Tue, 03 November 2015, 18:33:39 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 17:46:33 »
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Got my Commodore Key to Cherry MX stem adapters from Shapeways today! So, the way these seem to work, is, aside from the obvious straight adapters, the angled adapters are to put stabilizers at the correct distance for the RETURN key, and the narrow posts are to support the overhanging offset stem mount on the weird double stemmed 1.5u keys (Like CTRL, RESTORE, and SHIFT).If I had designed these stem adapters, I think I'd have created a wider adapter for the 1.5uh keys that connects to one or both of the stem sockets, and places the MX stem centered. Regardless, It seems like it'll work. I just have to wait for the plate now.
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 November 2015, 18:37:01 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 26 November 2015, 02:33:31 »
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I got my plates today! The blue one is obviously the one I'm using for the Danger Zone key cap set. I got the Cherry MX stabilizers installed... Wow! Those were a real pain! Took quite a while to get the wires bent juuuuust right, so nothing would bind. Space bar took me over an hour to tweak just right! Required the perfect tongue angle!

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I've taken the theme a bit further though... I tested one of my Gateron switches, and it turns out that the plastic takes dye VERY nicely! I've now got all the top housings soaking in the dye, so now my MX compatible Gateron Blues, will actually BE blue! 

I did play around with some sharpies, but I didn't like the look. the left, is obviously the original uncolored switch, the second left is the dyed one (the method I'll be sticking with), and the two on the right are the sharpied ones, using two variations of color.

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Having experimented with the dye, and finding it stuck nicely, and gave a good color, I strung all the Gateron MX Blue top covers onto a wire, and let them soak. THis is how they all came out! Looking nice! Now to lube everything, and pop them all into place! I was looking at a guide... here, i think, and it mentioned some brands of lube that were suitable. Ended up finding a reel oil for fishing gear. Supposedly, it's safe on plastics, and the first switch hasn't melted yet (though I borked it by assembling the top backwards! Derp! Now I know...

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Also, a size comparison to a fullsize mechanical Apple Extended Keyboard II. (I am sorry to say, that the yellow is not a white balance issue... It's really that bad!   )
« Last Edit: Wed, 25 January 2017, 19:27:17 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Re: Custom 75% layout: "75% + 1" (With Danger Zone keycaps)
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 26 November 2015, 06:36:45 »
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And it's dyed, lubed, and assembled!
It's 6:30 AM here. I'm finally about to go to bed, and probably be too tired tomorrow to even think about wiring the matrix!
« Last Edit: Wed, 25 January 2017, 19:21:42 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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Wired the rows and diodes last night. Only had to use a couple inches of wire, to bridge the gap between the space bar. Formed each diode to make the actual horizontal row connections. The current layout would be a simple 6x17 matrix. There are enough unused interconnections that I could honestly optimize the matrix, if I wanted to.

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I shaved the plunger caps, and trimmed the switch pins and stabilizing pegs on the front row. The keyboard will be set at an angle, and by trimming the front row of switches as low as possible, the idea is to allow the bottom plate to sit as physically close to the front edge of the top plate as is physically possible

121281-2
The angle is visible on the side profile. The shaved bottoms of the switches in the front row should help to reduce the overall height of the front edge of the keyboard. I could wire the columns tonight, if I wanted, but quite frankly, I'm a bit tired... Stayed up till 4 AM wiring those diodes into rows.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline merlin64

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Very nice, this might just be the perfect keyboard for me. If this ever becomes a GB, I'd definitely want in!

Offline Bromono

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(Attachment Link)
Wired the rows and diodes last night. Only had to use a couple inches of wire, to bridge the gap between the space bar. Formed each diode to make the actual horizontal row connections. The current layout would be a simple 6x17 matrix. There are enough unused interconnections that I could honestly optimize the matrix, if I wanted to.

(Attachment Link)
I shaved the plunger caps, and trimmed the switch pins and stabilizing pegs on the front row. The keyboard will be set at an angle, and by trimming the front row of switches as low as possible, the idea is to allow the bottom plate to sit as physically close to the front edge of the top plate as is physically possible

(Attachment Link)
The angle is visible on the side profile. The shaved bottoms of the switches in the front row should help to reduce the overall height of the front edge of the keyboard. I could wire the columns tonight, if I wanted, but quite frankly, I'm a bit tired... Stayed up till 4 AM wiring those diodes into rows.

I have never wired my own keyboard before.

But you have done a very clean job on it thus far!

Keep it up!

 :thumb:

Online richfiles

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I have never wired my own keyboard before.

But you have done a very clean job on it thus far!


Thanks! I'd better be good at it! I've been soldering for the past 31 years, ever since I was just a shrimp!  ;D
I've probably picked up some good technique by now!  :p

Tinning your parts... It makes a difference. Getting the initial coating of fresh solder onto each part you want to join makes a huge difference when dealing with point to point soldering like this. The diodes are all pre-tinned from the factory. That's why their leads are "silver" instead of copper colored... That's a thin tin coat that makes the solder adhere well. The Gaterons I was working with are not tinned, so it pays to go over each lead with fresh solder and a clean tip. Some people prefer the brass wool for cleaning a soldering iron tip, but I prefer good old fashioned wet sponges. Once you've tinned your switch lead (assuming it's not pre-tinned), then you'll find assembly goes SO much easier. My one fault was that near to the end (I worked space row to function row), I started getting the anode side of my diodes pretty short. It's good to have lead length, as that adds mechanical strain relief. it also keeps the heat of the molten solder away from the glass envelope or the diode junction. I think I'll test this with the multimeter today, make sure there are no shorts or opens, and that each switch functions in the matrix as expected. I am fortunate enough to have many thousands of diodes on a reel... If any DO turn out bad, replacing them will be trivial.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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121430-0
Just finished all the column wiring. I ended up altering the row configuration a bit, to try to optimize the matrix a little. I understand why the standard 75% keyboard conveniently works with 84 keys... It's one of the optimized full matrix layouts. My 75% + 1 requires me to add at least another line to push my matrix passed 84 keys. I ended up using a 14 x 7 matrix, which has 98 key positions, of which I use 88. This uses 21 I/O positions to achieve. To get 7 rows, I bound the top right 7 keys, and bottom right seven keys into a pair of row clusters. The bottom is tied to the actual bottom row, with space and the modifiers. The top 7 key cluster is it's own unique "row" and shares columns 8 through 14. This leaves I/O leftover, which I can use for things like a Caps Lock LED, etc.

121432-1
I'll do another post later on detailing this technique, but it's 2 AM here, and I'm going to bed. In order to secure the longer runs of wiring, I used an old wire binding technique known as "lacing". You take a nylon cord, usually waxed, and tie it off to an origin point. Then you use a simple knot to bind the wire along the run. This is still commonly seen in military, aviation, and space applications, as well as electric motor windings (this is where I learned it). It was far more popular for use in even general equipment, back in the 1970s and earlier, before zip ties were readily available.

What do I use for my lacing cord? Dental floss. That's it. You can buy proper waxed nylon, but I find for small jobs like this, dental floss is perfect. Try to avoid minty flavors, if you can find plain waxed. I don't THINK the minty flavor will cause you problems... It's likely just an aromatic oil that will evaporate over time.

Zip ties (or whatever you call them where you're from, I've heard other names for them, but can't remember any) more or less killed lacing in general consumer goods. Back in the 30s-70s, everything from radios to TVs to calculators often had nicely laced wire looms. Individual wire breakouts were well organized, and quite frankly, there is a special kind of beauty to it... Today we have zip ties. Too bad for zip ties though, I wanted compact cable management in my keyboard that wouldn't interfere with the thickness. That's why I laced my keyboard... And it's kinda cool!  :cool:

And, I wouldn't be me if I didn't show off some of the old calculators in my collection that make use of lacing!  ;D

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Here is my Smith-Corona Marchant (SCM) Cogito 240SR (made in 1965). Bottom pic will give you a few closer details of the wire lacing. Notice the way they break out individual wires from the loom to the power supply to the right. This was a benefit to wire lacing... VERY precise cable management.

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This is my Электроника(Elektronika) 4-71Б, and if you haven't figured out from the name, it was made in the USSR back in 1976. While this angle does a poor job at showing off the lacing, this calculator has some of the nicest and most intricately fine lacing I've seen in my life. You can JUST see the edge of a wire bundle in the front, right where the case is cracked. There are more laced bundles behind the screen. This unit has a badly damaged case, but is perfectly functional! Russians couldn't build a keyboard, PERIOD, but man could they lace up a bundle of wires like pros!  :thumb:

Anyway, back on topic... I took a lot of pics of the build process. I promise to do a follow up later with some details on the lacing itself. As I said, it's 2 AM... 2:30 AM now.

My keys to making it super simple were:
A: A wire wrap tool, with a tiny slot insulation stripper and the appropriate spool of wire.
B: A good clean soldering iron and good quality solder.
C: Floss.   :))

There might have been a smidge of patience too.  :rolleyes:
« Last Edit: Thu, 24 December 2015, 13:59:52 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Online richfiles

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So... I'm at a small impasse.

Teensy 3.1 (which I have already) or Teensy 2.0 or 2.0++ (which I would have to order).

There seems to be well established software for the Teensy 2.x devices, and there appear to be good tutorials on using them. On the other hand, it seems that software for the Teensy 3.x devices is somewhat new, and I'm uncertain how easy or difficult it'll be for a software noob like me to get up an running. Here's the thing... I fully intend to have an expansion port on the side of the keyboard to allow me to add a numeric keypad. I already have a nice set of pogo pins for the task, and have figured out, mechanically, how I want it to work. This means that I may potentially have up to a 6x6 matrix in addition to the existing matrix. I've read about port extenders, such as the MCP23017. I could use just a couple of pogos to provide the interface. Again, I'm only just beginning to learn C. I've only ever dealt in BASIC, and that was back in the days of Commodore 64s and TI graphing calculators (and their TI-BASIC variant).

So the question is, do I:

A:  Just buy a Teensy 2.x so I can rely on the well established software with good tutorials, and save the Teensy 3.1 for a project with higher processing demands, when I'm far better practiced at coding (such as my FDAI "navball" controller for Kerbal Space Program, which I've constantly hit limitations with, even using an Arduino Mega2560)?

or

B: Just go ahead and solder in the Teensy 3.1 and hope I get it figured out before February, when the Danger Zone key caps are due to arrive... I may really not have needed to mess with the intermediate Commodore keys at the rate this is going... I really only have one more month left, plus a week or so.
« Last Edit: Sun, 27 December 2015, 19:37:00 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline merlin64

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I am very impressed by your work. Have you considered asking other forum members to help design a PCB? This would solve a lot of the wiring issues and make it more accessible to others.

Offline nathanrosspowell

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I have seen a few impressive customs made using a teensy 3.1 with the kiibohd firmware. Sadly, I've not found a step by step guide for how to get it to work.

I have a Quark plate (from ortholinear keyboards) and find myself in the same position that you are in. I'm going to give kiibohd a bash and I'll report back.

Offline KRKS

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I have seen a few impressive customs made using a teensy 3.1 with the kiibohd firmware. Sadly, I've not found a step by step guide for how to get it to work.

That's because it's so overcomplicated you'll be too tired to write an in-depth tutorial. I'd say you'll have more luck with Animus(firmware in UniqueK boards, pretty sure they've opensourced it).
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Online richfiles

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I ended up buying a pair of Teensy 2.0 boards direct from PJRC. Seemed like the simplest solution.

I want to use a port extender to connect an external number pad, kinda like how the split is done in the Ergodox. Then I could just use a a four conductor cable (like a phone cord or a TRS connector with an extra ring) or pogo pins and magnets, and communicate with I2C.

Now, speaking of that... I've seen some people use the MCP23017 and others use the MCP23018.They seem rather similar. One appears to be strictly open drain output on the GPIO, one seems to have more I2C address configurations. Is there a preference among the community, or a preferred chip for use with the firmware? I'd love to get it ordered at some point, even if I don't use it right away. Is the Teensy software written to prefer one or the other. Also, how does the Teensy handle hot swapping on the I2C. Can the firmware be configured to gracefully recognize when the number pad (port extender) is disconnected, or does it expect the port extender to always be connected?

My goal is to have a removable number pad that can either "click" into place on the side of the keyboard using magnets and pogo pins, or maybe be remotely connected with a cable. Or both options... If I can get the I2C termination right. I'm not actually building the number pad right away. I don't even have a plate for it yet... though I WISH I'd have thought of it when I ordered the plates I do have... I somehow doubt I'll get a perfect color match to the anodizing. Oh well. I'll just deal with it. I'm not that picky.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Online richfiles

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Very nice, this might just be the perfect keyboard for me. If this ever becomes a GB, I'd definitely want in!

I am very impressed by your work. Have you considered asking other forum members to help design a PCB? This would solve a lot of the wiring issues and make it more accessible to others.

That's an interesting thought. I'd certainly not be opposed to anyone developing a PC board for this layout. I just didn't feel the need to worry about it myself, seeing as how I had just planned to hand wire it. The rows/diodes took me one night, and the columns and lacing took one more night. For me, the labor was a fair exchange to me for the cost savings, but I do see that this could benefit from a PCB, if others were interested. Most reactions to this layout have been positive. Proper LED support alone would be very nice for those who use backlit keys, or like under-lighting. I've never been on the supply side of a group buy, so I can't say I have any experience there.

Truth be told, I have no idea where to begin, though I imagine any available 75% PC board layout could be relatively easily altered in an editor... It just needs the extra column, and the slight repositioning of the right shift key. Electrically, the extra column added could potentially need an additional GPIO line, as the standard 75% layout (at 84 keys) sits at a naturally efficient matrix size (7x12=84). My matrix ended up being a 14 column by 7 row configuration, cause that was easy to hand wire. Ironically, you CAN get an 88 key layout with an 8x11 matrix, which is actually the same number of GPIO lines as the 84 key matrix. YOu gain efficiency by having a "squarer" matrix. You just are forced to get really creative with the layout, as keys get sorta all over the place, in terms of the matrix itself. If you add ISO compatibility, then it's possible that could even bump things passed that 88 key mark, making the need for more GPIO a necessity. Basically, in my hand wiring, I wasted 2 GPIO lines for an easier matrix layout. I have a few wasted matrix positions as a result. No big deal.

I did make sure to keep the LED holes relatively clear, but some of my rows come VERY close to the location of the LED holes, and without a PCB, securing LEDs could be tricky. I've left myself in a state where I may cut tiny beads of heatshrink to keep my LED leads safe from shorting to the rows. I am not the biggest fan of under-lighting. Backlighting, sure, but under lighting seems unnecessary to me (a personal style choice), and since the Danger Zone keys have no translucence to the double shot legends, it didn't seem necessary. I planned on maybe having a couple amber LEDs in the corners and maybe one on the spacebar, to mimic the incandescent back-illumination of some aircraft instrument panels. Not full illumination on every key though... Just something dim and subtle. Maybe only 5 or 8 LEDs across the entire keyboard. I plan to mod my Caps Lock key by drilling a hole in it, and trying to rig a light pipe to illuminate the hole. Don't know if I'll have a custom mounted LED, or if I can rig a light pipe to the gateron LED mount.

I actually chose to mount the LED mounting "up", so it faces away from the front of the keyboard. This actually conceals the LED front he front view of the keyboard, hiding any direct glow of any keys I do install and LED into.

I wouldn't have a clue who to talk to though, or how to even go about arranging setting up something like this.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline nathanrosspowell

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I have seen a few impressive customs made using a teensy 3.1 with the kiibohd firmware. Sadly, I've not found a step by step guide for how to get it to work.

That's because it's so overcomplicated you'll be too tired to write an in-depth tutorial. I'd say you'll have more luck with Animus(firmware in UniqueK boards, pretty sure they've opensourced it).
Interesting. I can't seem to find a link to it though.

Online richfiles

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124073-0
Got the wood trim cut and pre assembled. I'll be taking it back off to make the USB opening, as well as the port for the number pad attachment point. The wood is oak... and was a pain to cut and file. everything was done with a hand saw and a hand file. Used a dremel to pre-drill the holes for the brass screws.

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There's plenty room in the back for the teensy to just simply sit beneath the switches.

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The keyboard is built at a slight angle. The front trim is 1/4 inch thick, and the back is 1/2 inch thick. (6.35 mm in front, 12.7 mm in back)

124083-5
With the plate included, the current thickness of the front edge is 0.3 inches (7.62 mm). I'm sure a little thickness will be added with the bottom plate. I'm considering some thin copper or brass sheet for the bottom plate. I'll need a plastic insulator to shield the switches. If the copper or brass proves to be too stupidly expensive, I'll just probably cut out a steel plate from the side of a PC case or something.
« Last Edit: Wed, 13 January 2016, 01:29:07 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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126668-0

As an update to my own project, I ordered some parts from an Apple MagSafe 2 magnetic quick disconnect connector, and some additional magnets. I'm mounting them in the side of my keyboard, so I can create a magnetically detachable number pad, which I will build sometime in the future. Checked the clearances, and the MagSafe 2 connector should just fit, and my additional magnets are only 4mm in diameter, but are 6mm deep, and the strongest rating for their strength. I figure a pair of magnets and the MagSafe2 connector ought to keep a number pad firmly attached. I have plenty room to add additional 4mm magnets if I need additional binding strength. My connections will feature Power, Ground, Rx, Tx, and Sense. Sense is just a simple signal that will indicate the presence of an accessory to the controller. Rx and Tx are the I2C communication lines, and the Power and Ground are to power the port extender that would be in the number pad to create the matrix for it. I realized I could use the unused keys of my keyboard matrix as sense detection. I just need to have the sense pin activate a transistor that connects a row and column together. The software would see the keypress as meaning a number pad is present, and to scan for the port expander.

NO idea how to actually implement that functionality in code though. I don't even have number pad plates made, at the moment, so I ain't TOO worried about number pad functionality just yet. For now, I just wanna get the ports installed, so I can add the functionality by software in the future, should I build it.

Anyway, I got the MagSafe connector fitted into the side frame of my keyboard. I have not finished the frame parts for the number pad yet... It got late, didn't wanna disturb the neighbors with late night sawing and drilling and filing... I might have thought about it though...  :p

Pics should be self explanatory. I have not re-stained any of the cut areas of the wood, so ignore the lighter color, for now. The magnetic receptacle and the magnets are both fitted. The MagSafe receptacle sits slightly inset, with the contact plate being flush with the edge of the wood. On the number pad, the steel rimmed plug segment will protrude just slightly from the edge of the number pad frame, and will slightly insert into the side of the keyboard. The magnets on the number pad side will also slightly protrude, to form a positive mechanical lock when the two separate halves are fitted together.

I'll pick up some 5 minute epoxy from the store tomorrow, to set the magnets and connectors permanently. I might try to use a thin bead of wood glue around the seam of the MagSafe receptacle, since good wood glue accepts wood stain, and I can basically fill in the gaps around the connector. My cuts were not... ideal... Anyway, close enough. I can work with what I have, and the gap is still technically tight enough to hold the connector in place without the epoxy applied yet. Oak is a pain to work with, and I ain't redoing that piece! LOL ◴‿◶

Got the notice that Signature Plastics has shipped the Danger Zone keycaps to Massdrop, and they should have them by the end of the week. I'm so excited! My first custom keyboard is a mere couple weeks to completion! Anyway, I've "ejected" the Commodore 64 keys. Watch that canopy! ;D It was a cool novelty, and useful for testing the feel of the keyboard, but we all know what keys are really intended for this keyboard...  :cool:

So, I have pics, enjoy the build progress so far.

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« Last Edit: Tue, 02 February 2016, 05:30:57 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline nathanrosspowell

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The mag connection is really cool! It'd be sweet to have both the numpad and the connection to the PC both be mag connections - you'd just need to make a custom USB cable, I guess?

Keep us posted on your progress, I am loving all of the pictures  :thumb:

Online richfiles

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I actually have three pairs of the connectors. Part of me is considering building a small USB adapter block and mounting a MagSafe socket to the back. It'd be the MagSafe connector, with a mini USB port (cause Micro USB is flimsy and totally sucks, and regular USB is HUUUGE). I don't like the idea of my Teensy bearing the strain of a cable, and I don't feel like chopping up cables to put inside, though I might. It'll probably depend on if I can make the USB adapter small enough to look decent. I think I can... Might be as simple as a cavity milled out of two small bits of wood, screwed together. I'll also need a USB Mini B port on a PC board that I can salvage and secure.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

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126745-0

Well, the MagSafe based number pad attachment has been completed. It comes together with a solid snap! I'll be setting the number pad frame parts aside, till I can get a plate made for the number pad. I can now reassemble the frame to my keyboard, and once wired in, I'll be ready for a number pad upgrade whenever I have the opportunity to build it.


The magnets are inset on the keyboard, and protrude slightly on the number pad side. This helps create a positive lock and keeps everything nicely aligned. The connector on the keyboard is flush, but the magnetic portion is inset. The steel shroud on the number pad side slightly protrudes, surrounding the contacts, and fitting into the inset portion of the keyboard side of the connector. That definitely helps with alignment.

The most important part... It passes continuity tests. None of the 5 pins are electrically shorted to one another, and I have proper conduction from one connector to the mated connector. It is ready for installation!

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« Last Edit: Tue, 02 February 2016, 23:42:07 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline jshane

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(Attachment Link)

Well, the MagSafe based number pad attachment has been completed. It comes together with a solid snap! I'll be setting the number pad frame parts aside, till I can get a plate made for the number pad. I can now reassemble the frame to my keyboard, and once wired in, I'll be ready for a number pad upgrade whenever I have the opportunity to build it.


The magnets are inset on the keyboard, and protrude slightly on the number pad side. This helps create a positive lock and keeps everything nicely aligned. The connector on the keyboard is flush, but the magnetic portion is inset. The steel shroud on the number pad side slightly protrudes, surrounding the contacts, and fitting into the inset portion of the keyboard side of the connector. That definitely helps with alignment.

(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)

You'll need more protrusion with the magnets as they are beveled and will eventually work themselves out of the slots wearing the wood around them over time. The surfaces of two similar metals have a low coefficient of friction and magnets do not handle lateral load very well (shear strength).

I designed an entire system inside vehicles that is assembled with electro-magnets that can sustain about 90 G's. No mechanical fasteners (for maintenance, primarily), so I have some experience with this these techniques in wooden substrate (it's in a few yachts and about 40 tour buses).

Just a thought when I saw this.
« Last Edit: Tue, 02 February 2016, 23:46:33 by jshane »

Online richfiles

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I still want it to pull apart easily. The protrusions int he front are minor, but they ultimately are to protect the alignment of the connector, which itself has it's own metal and, seems to be a thermally resistant plastic... Soldering iron barely marred the back of it when soldering. These will also sit flat on a desk, so I don't think there will be much to strain it. It's just loose enough that I can pull it apart. I did the round magnets alignment, by aligning the connector's together, and drilling the two halves through together.I epoxied one magnet in place, and then after it was solid, I epoxied the second magnet, so it could sit where it wanted to sit naturally. Anyway, when resting on a desk, there should be no lateral forces, and I'm actually considering using teflon feet on the number pad, as opposed to rubber feet. I want to be able to easily slide it out of the way. If the main keyboard has rubber feet, and the number pad has teflon, it'll go wherever I slide the keyboard too, but the weight of the keyboard, and the rubber feet on it should keep things stable, I think.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline merlin64

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looking good, have you actually wired the teensy in yet?

Offline jb1830

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 Oh man this build is awesome! Can't wait to see it completed.
               
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Online richfiles

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126970-0

Doesn't it kinda look like the handle of a steak knife?
Of course my keyboard is full tang!  :))   

Got the part mounted. Just enough clearance to clear the wires. Too tired after work to solder it today... Work was easy... Stupid Fallout 4 kept me up late!

It fits NIIIIICE!!! It self aligns nicely, as well.

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Bit of a set back... Minor, and VERY stupid, but it probably means ordering more parts or potentially not having it done when the caps show up... Ordered a small Mini-B USB breakout board from Amazon. See today it shipped by... Royal Mail? What? I'm in the US! OH, COME ON! Amazon, you had one job! I go out of my way to find a seller that doesn't appear to be Chinese, and what do they do? Amazon goes and ships from the UK, my kinda time sensitive IMPORTANT BIT that connects my no cheetos clickety clacker to my Kerbal Up Goer simulator box. Really...   

I may just re-order... of course, I can't find another breakout this small. Go FIGURE... Amazon, I am disappoint.
« Last Edit: Wed, 25 January 2017, 19:29:17 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Offline xondat

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So it's coming from the UK? Damn. Depending on what service it can be quick.

Online richfiles

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  • Location: MN, USA
Well... Very good news... and VERY bad news. :eek:

First, the Good news. I think I've found my bottom plate. I was going through my storage unit and found an old piece of rack mount test equipment from the 1960s (A Phase Angle Voltmeter, for the sakes of useless trivia). Had an aluminum cover panel with a laminated plastic layer that has a faux "leather" like texture to it... BINGO! That's the bottom!  :thumb:

I'll cut two pieces, one for the keyboard, and one for the as of yet nonexistent, but planned number pad (maybe just a wide piece I can trim to specific size later). It even has a paint coat on the inside, so it SHOULD be insulated from contact with the switch matrix, even if it were pressed inward, but I'll still drop in a sheet of plastic as an internal insulator. It's really thin... 1.1mm (.043 inch), and I can punch a nice countersunk hole for each screw. I'll get wood screws for the bottom, that'll go in flush. That way, I'll only add a hair over 1 mm to the thickness once I add the bottom plate.

Now for the bad news...

I was casually looking at keyboard stuff, and came across this HORRIFYING picture...

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Oh, say it ain't so! When I was FIRST doing this layout, I mentioned (back on page 22 of the Massdrop Danger Zone discussions pages) that I wanted to use the stepped caps lock, and asked if the stem position was centered...
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/danger-zone-sa-keycap-set/talk/277804
"Also, is the stem on the caps lock key centered with no stabilizer? I intend to use the stepped caps lock key. The plate was generated based on the stock Keycool 84 layout, with my modifications performed to it. I don't wanna order a plate and find the caps lock key is wrong."

I was told it was fine, but having seen that picture, doubts were raised. I didn't know if it REALLY was fine or not? The comment that said it was fine never actually mentioned the Caps Lock, just said the layout was fine. I didn't remember if I knew how to do stepped keys in the layout editor back then, and got terribly worried that now, that this close to the finish line, I might have screwed up. The example pic from the layout editor back then had a standard Caps Lock key shown, even though I mentioned wanting to use the stepped cap. If I had submitted that DXF file for the plate manufacturing... Dang it... This is bad... :(

I really hate the thought of not being able to use my stepped Caps Lock on this thing...

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So, I checked it... DANG IT! I've confirmed it... my plates are wrong
I re-ran my current keyboard layout through the plate builder, and the Caps Lock switch is offset to the left of the tab switch, when a stepped Caps Lock is indicated from the Keyboard Layout editor.

My plates have the Caps lock offset slightly right of the Tab switch. ╱)⤳⁔⤺(╲

Does someone actually KNOW what the exact distance of offset is? Looks like the only way i'm getting a stepped Caps Lock is to grab a file and mar up my pretty little anodized plates to make this work. I'll have to cut a filler and epoxy it into the gap left by widening the switch opening in the plate.

So someone informed me the offset is 4.76mm. I may try to turn this to my advantage. My original plan was to drill a hole in the stepped area of the caps lock key and mount a light pipe to redirect the light from the MX LED to the hole, as a caps lock indicator. I realize I can do it even easier now. If I can do it right, I'll drill a hole in the insert piece that will be epoxied in place to stabilize the switch. A tube will be glued to the key so it passes through the hole in the filler piece, and my LED will be below the plate. That should shroud any side spill from happening with the light.

I got some blue model paint too, so I can get it "close enough" to the color of the plate.
It might almost look intentional...

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« Last Edit: Fri, 05 February 2016, 15:22:21 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Online richfiles

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I've been looking into things, and it seems that there is already a documented stem modification for making a stepped caps lock fit a keyboard designed for a full caps lock. I think I'd rather give that a shot, than start hacking up my plate. There are gracious people who have already offered their Danger Zone stepped Caps Lock key (since some keyboards just don't use it), so even if I dont get the key cap mod right initially, I DO have backup options if I go that route.

Still gonna mod the key with a lighted window to indicate if caps is locked or not.

I have also been considering underlighting. I can't say I've really been a fan of it in the past, but I can see the value in acting as a homing guide when ambient lighting is otherwise low or off. I have found some amber LEDs, that while not as cheap as I would care for, will arrive shiped in 2-3 days (local company). Still have not decided if I will dimly illuminate all switches, or just get the borders. Since I have no PC board, LEDs would have to all be manually wired. I'd HAVE to use SIP sockets, cause without them, soldered LEDs would prevent the top housing from being removable. The plastic used by Gateron seems to be relatively thermally resistant. If I use my wire wrap tool, I can basically create a "bead" of wire + solder at the base of each. I think that could work, and I've gotten proficcient enough with wire wrapping, that lately, I find PCBs to be too much of a hassle to bother to make, though I still do wish I had one for this keyboard.

...

Or, as I realize, I have piles of cheap Chinese PC proto board. I could literally just cut squares of it out, just to act as a solderable backing to hold the pins. Either way, I think I should be okay.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Online richfiles

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Well, good news! :thumb:

The keys SHIPPED! I have an active UPS tracking number that shows delivery by next Wednesday (17th). ;D

Seeing as how it's UPS SurePost... I expect the 18th instead. I think I'll instruct them to hold it at the post office and pick it up in person. :rolleyes:
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Online richfiles

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  • Location: MN, USA
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Just gonna say... That was a real pain!
I did this, I guess, because I'm a masochist and enjoy making myself suffer? :rolleyes: :))

I cut 88 rectangular 1x3 hole chunks of proto board to be butted against the switch bottom. They will serve as the base that the two SIP pins will be soldered into. I'll assemble the switches with the SIP pins installed, and insert the LED to get the alinement secured so when I solder it, the pins will be in the right position. The reason for 3 positions instead of two, is that the third position gives me an extra pad I can use to allow me to solder a small SMT resistor to each LED.

Also, since I AM adding LEDs, I need one more I/O line to control them. I'll be cutting 4 row wires in the matrix, joining them all together (to the 7th row), and wiring 5 switches to adjacent columns in order to convert the matrix from 14x7 to 13x7. I'm realizing if I had actually planned the matrix out on paper instead of in my head as i wired it, I probably would have caught that bit of efficiency improvement right away. No biggie. It'll be a very minor mod to implement.
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Online richfiles

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  • Location: MN, USA
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It's Happening!!!  :cool:

YES!!! My keys came a day earlier than tracking said they would!  :thumb:
CRAP!!! My SIP sockets and LEDs and MX top housing removal tools JUST arrived today too! Now I gotta take all the switches apart to install the SIP sockets and LEDs before I can drop the caps on!  :(

Well, I'm working on it now. I'll take a proper photo tomorrow, set up my grey backdrops outside in the sun for good colors and everything... Once I have the SIP sockets and LEDs installed, and all the keycaps on! ;D :p
« Last Edit: Tue, 16 February 2016, 17:44:06 by richfiles »
"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)

Online richfiles

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  • Location: MN, USA
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I got half the SIP sockets and LEDs installed. As much as I hate to do so, It's 9 pm, I've been at this for quite a few hours now, and my fingers are none too happy about it. If I want any hope of having any fingers functioning at all tomorrow, i think I'll need to call it a night. It's driving me nuts to have the keycaps, and not be ready to install them yet! Still, I'll only make more work for myself if I put it all together, only to have to tear it apart again.

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Tomorrow, I expect all the LEDs and SIP sockets to be installed. I may have to pop a few off if I have issues with the top housing seating properly. The SIP sockets have to have a notch trimmed for the top housing to fit right. I noticed a pair of switches that were really hard to close. I'll open and re-trim those. Sometimes, the vibration of the cover snapping shut just rotates the SIP socket, so the notched bit no longer lines up. Easy fix, but a thing to watch for when installing these.

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"75% + 1" Keyboard with "Danger Zone" keycaps and magnetically detachable Number Pad. Dyed Gateron Blue switches with amber sub lighting. Blue anodized plate and wood trim. (Firmware in Progress)
Bluetooth Apple //c keyboard with Alps SKCM Amber Switches. (Build in Progress)