Full custom computer keyboard

'Ello!

I am just not satisfied with what the keyboard market has to offer! I am an electronics technitian and an IT engeneer and I can make my own, can't I? Well, surely i'm not the first one to come by that idea, so I will ask arround before i start.

I have already ordered Gateron switches and STM32 boards. I have already hooked up 4x4 keyboard matrix to Arduino Micro and tested F13-F24 keys with keyboard library. I already made the basic layout of what i want to do. So let me explain.

First, i the layout I want. i wan't a mechanical keyboard with RGB LE diodes with a lot of function and programmable keys. This is my still work in progress: https://snag.gy/yrRFZQ.jpg. The layout will probably change. i may swap the function key rows, add multimedia buttons, whatever.

Second, the arduino keyboard library has some hackaroo with that 136 thing and does not support power , multimedia nor printscreen, scrolllock, pause. Not that i would use any of those much really (except printscreen) but if I am building a perfect keyboard, well you get it! Now I will try to rewrite that a bit or have a look at HID-project or whatever you guys suggest.

Which brings me to third. With all those keys i need a lot of GPIO and i think the STM32 should do the trick. I am still open to teensy or whatever if it's already all done.

Fourth thing i want is backlight and i need a lot of LED which are diffused, 3mm and not sure if i should look into programmable or plain 4-pin common cathode or what. not sure if there are non SMD and diffused programamble ones. They will draw a lot of current, won't they? A may need additional power supply. How would one go about hooking them up? one resistor on few of them in series? Do i need to worry about something. Control the brightness with PWM? Throw some info on me. They should go into the slit on the switches.

Which brings me to fifth. I will need to get custom set of keycaps that have Croatian special characters as well F13-F24 and G1-G18 and the regular keys are a bit different with shift and alt options.

While you are writing about that, maybe you can help me with the sixth issue which si where to have PCB made. I am not too keen on making my own and trying to line up top and bottom traces, but i might very well try. For now i have looked at seeedstudio and smart-prototyping and the prices for about 150mm x 500mm is 150 usd. I could try and get away with 4,90 100x100 and hooking them up but we will see about that.

That said, what about seventh issue of PCB design? I was thinking about Eagle, but whatever. Bigger issue is two layer board (matte black soldermask would be awesome and expensive) enough? are there designs already with 5-pin Gaterons, LEDS i can have a look at? Not to invent hot water all ower again. Of course, I should say, I plan to hook up a 1N4148 diode on every switch.

Eighth issue would be solved already if I had made that CNC router i wanted to long time ago. until that happens, i'll need something cheap in Europe to make the top plate cutouts. Maybe some kind of fablab or what?

I plan to send updates and pictures as I go along. It will take me months probably to finish this. I would not desigh the PCB until i get the switches or test the layout, I would not make up the case until I have the key layout fixed on PCB and keycaps on keys. I don't want to make expensive mistakes.

So there you go. /r/RoastMe with your thoughts. o/

Hi,
Please read the first post in any forum entitled how to use this forum.
http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php/topic,148850.0.html

It will show you how to include images to your post, some forum members and viewers use platforms that make it difficult to go off forum to view images.

Thanks… Tom… :slight_smile:

Hi,
First - ok

Second - yeh, ok

third. - can just use shift registers, would also make layout easier.

Fourth - use serially-addressable LEDs (like LED - RGB Addressable, PTH, 5mm

fifth. Dunno about keycaps

sixth & seventh I use DesignSpark PCB it's free.

Eighth One option would be to get the PCB manufacturer to route out a blank PCB, you could spraypaint it later.

Yours,
TonyWilk