Are you looking to sink your teeth into a brand-new tech project? If so, why not consider building your own keyboard? Whether you’re an experienced technology designer or a newbie in this field, this is a great DIY challenge to undertake simply because it requires focus, patience, and attention to detail.
Here’s everything you need to know about building your own keyboard:
Purchase the right parts
If you want to build a workable keyboard, you need to make sure that you purchase the right parts. The solutions that you invest in will make or break the success of this project going forward, which is why you cannot afford to leave any stones unturned in this instance.
Here are seven crucial components that you must have at hand if you’re to succeed in building a keyboard:
- Case — Whether you opt for aluminum, plastic, or clear acrylic, it’s imperative that you choose a case that matches your keyboard size specifications.
- Printed circuit board — The PCB will control the input/output to the computer device that your keyboard is connected to.
- Pressure tactile switches — This is a type of switch that operates when pressure is applied to it, making it perfect for your keyboard keys.
- Mounting plate — This holds the switches in place while they are being soldered to your PCB.
- Stabilizers — Often overlooked, stabilizers will stop your keys from wobbling whenever they’re touched.
- Keycaps — The keycaps that you purchase will have a profound impact on the uniqueness of your keyboard, so be sure to choose wisely in this instance.
- Soldering iron — This handy device is what you will use to solder your switches to your PCB.
Starting the project
Now that you’ve purchased all the right parts, found yourself a clear workspace (ideally one that is free of flammable objects!), and cleared your schedule for a couple of hours, it’s time to get started on your keyboard building project.
Here is the basic outline of the process that you must follow:
1. Press your stabilizers onto your PCB
So long as you retain a delicate hand and remain focused, this is a relatively straightforward task to undertake. Simply align the prongs with your PCB and apply a degree of pressure to press them in. Remember, orientation is key at this stage — if you don’t want any mishaps with regard to your keyboard letters/numbers, you need to ensure that you press your prongs into the appropriate holes.
2. Align your switches with the plate and solder
For a perfect alignment of switches, you’re going to want to keep the plate on an even keel on all sides. You might also want to test your keys whenever you lay a new row to ensure that nothing has gone awry — should you get to the end of your building process only to find that a mistake has occurred, you will have to rip out all of your keys and start again!
3. Secure the assembly into the case and fit your keycaps
Fortunately, so long as you have experience using a screwdriver, the final hurdle is an easy one to overcome. Simply place your assembled keyboard into the case and secure it down with screws. Once this is in place, fit your keycaps by pressing them firmly down onto your switches.