Author Topic: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches  (Read 647 times)

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Online iso

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MEK - Modular ergonomic keyboard

A. Module case - extra buttons, trackpad
B. Foot
C. Module bracket
D. Handle with brackets
E. Left console
F. Console bracket - Ball head joint for the left-right console
G. Module support
H. Right console
I. Aluminum pipe - 25mm dia, 400mm long.
J. Ball head joint - thumb articulation
K. Thumb arm support
L. Bracket/ballhead joint for central console
M. Central console
N. Thumb cluster
O. Thumb arm support

The legs have wingnuts on the back side so I can adjust the height/slope, those can be moved to the front as needed
Already printed bunch of keycaps but I`m waiting for some filament samples to have those in various colors, I will post pictures later
Used about 40% from a 1kg roll, approx 40 components, not counting bolts/washers/nuts.
I will add the models soon so everyone can print their own.
Center console and the module will have custom keys/shortcuts/functionality.
An accountant wil be able to attach a different center console/module from a media editor or programmer.

This is work in progress.

Online iso

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Keycaps - A to Z, printed at 0.08, about 7hr, PLA.

Will fit Cherry MX/Gateron, enjoy.

Font used - https://www.dafont.com/kimberley.font
« Last Edit: Fri, 15 March 2019, 22:24:10 by iso »

Offline Coreda

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Watching with interest  :D

Online iso

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Numbers, 1 to 12 and + -, printed at 0.08, about 3hr.

First layer is always jagged, looks ugly because needs to stick to the printer bed and has extra pressure on it, easily fixed with exacto and patience
« Last Edit: Sat, 16 March 2019, 03:49:48 by iso »

Online iso

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Last night I glued all switches on the left/right console plus the thumb cluster
On the printer, the top row symbols, dedicated switch for each, no more holding shift/modifier, OBJ attached.


Online iso

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Left and right console keycaps are done, on the printer, thumb keycaps.


Return 2x
Backspace 2x
Blank 2x
Shift
Alt
Control
Tab
Menu
Windows
Run

I havent decided yet If Im gonna have 2 "space" keys or just one.

« Last Edit: Sun, 17 March 2019, 21:16:29 by iso »

Online nevin

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WOW! Extremely impressive!

thanks for sharing!
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Online iso

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Looking sexy all medium gray, all center console switches glued in place, I`m happy with the keycaps on thumb cluster.
Some of the symbols look too thin, like & $ and %, I will have to reprint some of them.
Over 60 keycaps left to print for the center console, at least 24h printing time, I will do the F keys first because I already have the numbers then the rest of the symbols and  end with macro/modifier keys.
After cleaning the keycaps with the exacto knife I will add nail polish inside the grooves, 4 diff. colors, F keys, macro, symbol/number and letter.

Online iso

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Resized font for (  )  @  *  _  =  ` and %
( and ) been moved half mill. to the side from center.
Added ESC (arrow up at 45%) and DELETE (thumb down) keycaps




Online nevin

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(.....wolf whistle) .....just unbelievable.

if you need a hand with the symbols/icons, i can help and probably feed you a vector file you can import into your 3d software.

was figuring you were going to do some kind of infill.

i'd be curious to hear what the caps sound like. it's a really unique design, solid, plus different material/construction than standard molded keycaps.

i see the stems on the caps are square-ish, nice touch. how much room do you have between the cap stem & the housing?

what are your initial thoughts on the concave alpha clusters?

are those razer green switches?
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Online iso

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 18 March 2019, 23:04:18 »
Keycaps printed are 12.20mm by 12.40mm
This fluctuates, if you print at high temperature the keycap will shring slighty more, also, depends on the material too, PETG does not shrink as much as ABS, but who cares, less than half a mill, you`re not looking at the keyboard anyway :)
When pressed, the top of the keycap is about 1.2mm above the body of the switch.
The margin from the edge of the stem to the inside of the switch is very small, i`d say 0.1mm, but again depends what material you`re printing with and temperatures, if I feel is grinding, and is happening sometimes, I get a fine file and I give it 2 smooth passes and its gone.
The "hat" is 2.5mm thick, the font is sunk in about 1.5mm, deep enough that after I add nail polish and sand it off to get a crisp edge, I will still have 1 mill. left.
The keycaps does not touch the switch except where the stem is, around it, so, whatever noise the switch makes.
From A to Z and thumb cluster I`m using quiet brown gaterons, for all other im using older switches I pulled from a razer keyboard I bought off ebay for $15 free shipping , some guy`s dog ate the cable and he was selling it for that not knowing that people do take those apart and re-use the switches.
Fonts work the best with 3ds max because generates the high quality shape even after resizing, and they are free for personal use, at dafont.com, search for icon or symbols, you`ll find them.

When you print at 0.08mm, all layers,  is very hard to calibrate the printer, the room temperature will throw off the calibration, in the morning I have to rise the bed slightly and afternoon when gets warm, to lower it. Without exageration I probably did over 50 caps before I got it to print consistently acceptable, the first layer still looks jagged at close inspection, nothing an exacto knife cant fix, but still :)

3ds max got text as shape, then convert to poly, then extrude the polygons upward, then close borders, move it 1.5mm over the keycap model, center it and merge/cut, bam, new keycap.
« Last Edit: Mon, 18 March 2019, 23:07:17 by iso »

Online nevin

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 19 March 2019, 00:38:57 »
interesting.
yeah, i guess they would be quieter, not having a chamber (underside of normal cap) to effect the sound.

keycap process.... now that's dedicated.

what do you think about the silent browns? i've been looking at them and the aliaz switches. i've been using cherry browns with the qmx silencing clips on my 60% for what... 3 years now.... (wow, didn't realize it was that long ago). i definitely think the internal dampening is a better setup (like the old dampened alps) i also have a set of the newer plate mount compatible qmx silencing clips but i don't like them as much. the tolerances around the cap stem are too tight and would bind occasionally when i first got them. the rubber is different & not as good as the original.
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Online iso

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 19 March 2019, 11:32:13 »
To me a keyboard or a mouse is just an input device, I dont have... fetishizing tendencies when talking/owning/creating those, its either working the way I want it or not.
Then boils down to I do something about it to make it work, if the answer is still no then I move on to somehing that is working or maginally better or at least I can do something to modify it to my liking to serve its purpose.
I dont have any of that internal dialog... oh I wish this was stainless steel and every time I press the button an angel would come down from heaven and give me a foot massage  :))

Offline praxis87

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 19 March 2019, 14:45:11 »
To me a keyboard or a mouse is just an input device, I dont have... fetishizing tendencies when talking/owning/creating those, its either working the way I want it or not.
Then boils down to I do something about it to make it work, if the answer is still no then I move on to somehing that is working or maginally better or at least I can do something to modify it to my liking to serve its purpose.
I dont have any of that internal dialog... oh I wish this was stainless steel and every time I press the button an angel would come down from heaven and give me a foot massage  :))

 :)) :)) :)) :)) Funniest post I've ever read on here.  I thought I was there with you until I realized that I've spent almost $200 on keycaps at this point.

Online iso

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 19 March 2019, 18:15:30 »
Well now, I`m in the wrong business, I feel I can produce stainles steel keycaps. How much would you pay for a set ? :) @praxis87

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 22 March 2019, 19:35:18 »
Wow
Sent from a trash bin.

Bitba_t

My keeb :P

Online iso

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 23 March 2019, 15:14:27 »
At first I had keycaps printed in 4 main colors and the characters painted to contrast, light gray/black, medium gray/white, blue/white, black/white. Volume up/down were light orange/black. After I installed everything... it was too distracting, so I decided to print everything again on medium gray and only use different colors for characters. Only the modifiers, macro, F keys will be different, numbers/letters/symbols will be medium gray/black.

I found that nail polish is perfect for painting the characters, dries fast, dries hard, easy to sand off the excess, multiple colors including clear coating, built it tiny brush.

Since the groove on the key is about 1.2mm deep, will take some time for the lacquer to dry, usually I leave it about 1hr, re-apply, let it dry again, re-apply.
Needs to be done multiple times because as lacquer dries, will shrink, some may like that, I like to have it flat
If you don`t let it dry properly, when applying the clear coating, the still wet lacquer will bleed in, mixing or will smear over the file/sand paper.
After drying I keep the key upside down and do 4, 5 light passes on a medium coarse metal file, till the dry lacquer is level with the top layer, then another 4, 5 passes on a super fine metal file, blow the dust with compressed air.

At his point the key is done unless you want to add a clear lacquer coating on top, the process is pretty much the same but will take super fine sand-paper/file, lots of patience to only grind off portion of the clear coating and keep it matte. I only did this to demonstrate the technique, I don`t find it necessary.

After little usage the clear coating on top will get slightly shiny, if that bothers you, don`t apply it.

I only used PLA for keycaps, after few months, depending on how these wear out, I will give nylon a try.

Center console:
Row1 : ESC - Win - Page break - Scroll-lock - Insert - Caps lock - Print screen - Delete
Row 2: Home - Shift+home - Volume up - Volume down - Macro 1 - Macro 2 - Shift+end - End
Row 7: [ -  Control+S - Control+A - Firefox - Control panel - Desktop folder - Page up - ]
Row 8: Control+C - Control+V - Control+X - Control+Z - Control+Y - Page down

Left thumb:
Return - ALT
Space - Shift
Backspace - Control

Right thumb:
Menu - Return
Tab - Space
Run command - Backspace


Why so many keys ? I`m trying to not use modifiers, every char has its own key as much as possible, to me the speed is not much of a factor but success rate, meaning less backspacing/deleting although I predict my speed will increase too the moment I get used to the new layout.

Uploading keycaps models soon, stay tuned.




Online iso

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 23 March 2019, 23:14:10 »
ALL KEYCAPS

All keycaps included plus some variations of same key I tried, so, some keys will appear twice, there are plenty of free 3d programs that will let you import OBJs and separate the models and export/print only what you need.

FREE FOR PERSONAL USE
[/color]

KEYBOARD MODEL

MEK.zip includes the keyboard files minus the module and the teensy box that attaches to the handle, on the back of the keyboard, I will add those later.

I`m using 4-40 screws/bolts, M3 would be a better choice.
Consoles have a slot for FC-14P 14 pin JTAG, will allow you to detach consoles, add different module, etc.

Enjoy.
« Last Edit: Sun, 24 March 2019, 13:57:55 by iso »

Online iso

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 24 March 2019, 05:20:11 »
Now a question for you guys, will a teensy 2.0 handle 120 keys ? Thanks.

Online nevin

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Re: MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard, teensy, mechanical switches
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 24 March 2019, 07:27:57 »
It's more the number of rows & columns then the # of keys.

What's your matrix? Think I counted it before... 8x18? If it is 8x18, you'd need 26 open ports. (Dont have everything in front of me at the moment)

IF the teensy 2.0 is too small (not enough ports) you can always get teensy 2++ that will definitely cover it. There are also some other controllers that look good for handwire QMK proton c & postage board. I don't know details off the top of my head about either yet but both look promising as purpose built keyboard controllers. Love the way the postage was designed to connect/sit over 3 switches. This is very smart and aleviates having to come up with some way to mount the controller (like teensy/pro micro).
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