I just built a keyboard
I get hyped after some videos from hackers how explained how to build a keyboard on Youtube.
This slowly started to be one of my todo things. I never did soldering nor electronics but, meh, this was a good starting point.
Here the result. I'm so proud!
After my first keyboard (and first mistakes), here what I learnt.
- Soldering station (mandatory)
- Little screwdriver (magnetic one if possible)
- Keycap remover (very usefull)
I bough all the keyboard parts on
- Keyboard PCB
The main board of the keyboard.
- USB-C cable
To connect the PCB to the computer.
- A Case
Basically the ground and border of the keyboard.
The things you actually put your finger on.
The toggles under the keycaps. There is lot of different colors for different feelings. The more common are brown cherries.
- A plate
It is going on the PCB. We will clips switches on it.
There is only one switch under Enter or Space but the keycap do not swing from one side to the other. This is stabilizers!
You should double check your differents part, keeping in mind the keycaps count and ensuring it would fit in the plate and PCB.
You cannot put switches or stabilizers in the wrong orientation. Grouped holes on the PCB are for the same key. Using one or the other will only inpact the key layout.
- Inspect your future layout and place the stabilizers on the PCB where needed.
- Put the switches on the plate then slowly place the plate on the PCB. Some switches pins can be twisted, slowly put them straigh back if needed.
- Move the different switches one by one until all pins that are behind the switches fit correctly and are visible from behind the PCB.
- Do not sold now. Place some keycaps on the switch, mainly on the borders. The middle keys are hard to missplace but the border can have multiple positions. You do not want to desolder at the end (but it will maybe happen and that's ok)
- Sold when you are sure of the switches position
- Remove some keycaps that cover the screws.
- Screw the PCB on the case
- Add the missing keycaps
- Enjoy your keyboard, Yay!
This was definitely the funniest part. Soldering really is trivial and you should not fear this part.
You should configure your soldering tool to something between 360C and 400C.
Place the tool on the pins. You should be on contact to the pin and the PCB.
Touch the tool with your soldering wire. The wire will melt and you have to wait until it flow. It should looks like a pyramid, almost covering the pin.
Be carefull to not touch the PCB differents component or you could destroy them.
After two or three pins, you'll be confortable with this. Stay patient and enjoy the work.
The keyboard should just work out of the box (you can't say this!). Anyway, you still can write, hack then flash the software on the PCB.
For my PCB, let's read
the QMK documentation
the online QMK graphical configurator
More to see? #
Sone keyboard builder only speak about lube. I do not really carred about this but this somehow feel important (or not?).
I should check about this and see how this give a better feeling.
Maybe using different switchers for some key could be cool. Having a different feeling for Esc or Space by example.