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  1. #1

    A 3D Printed Mechanical Keyboard

    Adam Forland recently took it upon himself not just to design, 3D print, and assemble his own fully functional keyboard -- he taught himself how to do all of it. Forland's Planck-inspired mechanical keyboard, which features buttons all in the same size and shape, required a lot of patience on the maker's part. He even had to break the main case of his Lulzbot Mini 3D printer in order to accommodate the size of the two sections of his print job. Materials costs were quite low, but the project's value really came in the time commitment, as precision was key to the functionality. Forland says it was worth it, though, as the keyboard works like a charm. He's made the design files available on Thingiverse so other entrepreneurial makers can create their own. Find out more in the full article: http://3dprint.com/52748/3d-printed-...ical-keyboard/
    Below is a photo of Forland's 3D printed keyboard:

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Umm, given that you can buy any number of fully functional usb keyboards for a few quid/bucks - why bother ?

    Just because you can do something - doesn't mean it's worth doing.
    Or am i missing something here ?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    Umm, given that you can buy any number of fully functional usb keyboards for a few quid/bucks - why bother ?

    Just because you can do something - doesn't mean it's worth doing.
    Or am i missing something here ?
    Funny enough, I was working on a printed mechanical keyboard prior to my other projects. I have 120 Cherry MX-Browns, a Teensy 2.0 and enough diodes for it. My plan was a 3d print base plate, with several 3d printed 'layers' that would make up the case. Just haven't gotten around to printing it yet...

    I think to answer your question is, because we can. It's no difference then me designing my own printer. You're right, it does cost a bit more than a standard mechanical keyboard, but you get the chance to completely customize the look and feel of it. There are entire communities (deskthority and geek hack) which are devoted to mechanical keyboards, and many of those users build their own keyboards from scratch as well (usually with CNC or laser cut frames)

    For instance, you could design a keyboard that omits the function keys, or adds in additional keys for a smaller space bar, or you can space the keys out further if you have larger hands, or curve them, you could also make any sort of layout, tenkeyless, almost anything you want. Building a mechanical keyboard is similar to our own RepRaps, in that there are AVR boards, and firmwares designed for custom layouts. Once you go mechanical, you can't go back

  4. #4
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    Add Wolfie on Thingiverse
    I think I am with aardvark on this one. Unless there is a specific need, ie special layout or size constraints, its kinda a waste of print time and filament. I mean really, $5 gets you a keyboard that will likely outlast whatever you plug it into. Pretty sure it cost more than $5 in filament alone.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    I think I am with aardvark on this one. Unless there is a specific need, ie special layout or size constraints, its kinda a waste of print time and filament. I mean really, $5 gets you a keyboard that will likely outlast whatever you plug it into. Pretty sure it cost more than $5 in filament alone.
    Apologies for responding to such an old thread, but while doing some research I came across this and felt compelled to make some points:

    1. You will not find a mechanical keyboard for $5 or anything close to that range. Mechanical keyboards are distinguished from your typical cheap "rubber dome" keyboard in that the mechanical keyboard switches have much longer lifespans, improved tactile feedback, greater customability due to many different switch designs, and are generally constructed from more robust material. If you're not at your keyboard all day, these things may not matter to you. As a programmer, mechanical keyboards are very appealing (and from what I've head, such things also appear to typists, editors, and gamers who desire a high level of responsiveness from their keyboard).

    Don't take my word for it. Do some research on "mechanical keyboards"

    2. With that said, while 3d printing isn't the most cost-effective method of manufacturing anything, including keyboards, there are many types of mechanical keyboard switches (a switch is an actuator for an individual key) for which the actual keyboards are no longer being produced.

    There are several switch designs like the Cherry MX series today that are widely available and popular, but purists may prefer other types such as the Alps SKCL/SKCM line of switches that stopped being produced some time during the 90s. I, for one, am looking for a new board using the SKCM 'Blue' (different switch types are typically given different colors), but no such board is currently in production, even though switches are still available.

  6. #6
    Thanks @internetPatriot for this update. You have written some useful information and I like this lighting.
    Last edited by kistnon; 06-29-2018 at 09:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    I've got an old cherry keyboard somewhere. I reckon you could fight zombies with it !
    Talk about heavy duty.

    But bought a client a cherry wireless set a couple years ago and it was rubbish.

    Didn't know they were still making the decent keyboards.

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