SiCK Mechanical Keyboard Is 3D Printed

We’ve noticed a rash of builds of [ FedorSosnin’s] do-it-yourself 3D-printed mechanical keyboard, SiCK-68 lately. The cost is pretty low — SiCK stands for Super, Inexpensive, Cheap, Keyboard. According to the bill of materials, the original cost about $50. Of course, that doesn’t include the cost of the 3D printer and soldering gear, but who doesn’t have all that already?

The brains behind this is a Teensy that scans the hand-wired key matrix. So the only electronics here are the switches, each with a companion diode, and the Teensy. The EasyAVR software does all the logical work both as firmware and a configuration GUI.

If you look at the many different builds, each has its own character. Yet they look overwhelmingly professional — like something you might buy at a store. This is the kind of project that would have been extremely difficult to pull off a decade ago. You could build the keyboard, of course, but making it look like a finished product was beyond most of us unless we were willing to make enough copies to justify having special tooling made to mold the cases.

PCBs are cheap now and we might be tempted to use one here. There are quite a few methods for using a 3D printer to create a board, so that would be another option. The hand wiring seems like it would be a drag, although manageable. If you need wiring inspiration, we can help.

For ultimate geek cred, combine this with Ploopy.

23 thoughts on “SiCK Mechanical Keyboard Is 3D Printed

    1. There are 6 unlabeled keys in the keyboard pictured that you could configure for whatever you needed. In fact, most designs I’ve seen of SiCK use the right most keys for PgUp and PgDn. Also, this is an open source 3D printer friendly project, so add all the keys you need.

  1. I would have thought a wire wrap tool would make short work of hand wiring the keyboard, in practiced hands probably not as long as hand soldering every switch to a PCB.

    If you wanna build every single last thing yourself, one of the TV Typewriter crowd, maybe Don Lancaster himself had a scheme for switch construction, that would no doubt be greatly accelerated by 3D printing. Okay, printers are slow, maybe de-frustrated. Only saw a passing mention of it in an old Byte, so might need some archaeology of the digital Jurassic to drag up the details.

    1. I looked. It was the Feb 1973 issue of Radio Electronics. And yes, he really is talking about making the keyswitches. The actual keyboard decoder was in the April issue of tge magazine.

      Both issues can be found on the internet.

      When he wrote them, there wasn’t much in tge way of Surplus ASCII keyboards, but a few years later they were cheap and plentiful. I must bave tossed a bunch of them, right now I wish I’d kept a few for the switches.

  2. It would be really nice to be able to place and space the keys exactly the way I want them (and eliminate keys I never use – caps lock, etc.). I’d need to figure out how to do the “IBM Click”, though.

  3. Five rows, fifteen columns… so twenty IO pins needed overall. Screw the Teensy or clone — use a 32u4 Pro Micro clone and shave another $7+ off the cost. This also gives the advantage (depending on your opinion of such things) of typically taking a now-more-common USB Micro cable, rather than the Mini-B type.

    Also: regarding the economic availability of 3D printers and the like… a little education goes a long way here.

    Al, I’m sure you live in a nice house with a nice mortgage and family and maybe a couple pets where there’s enough money to not only pay the bills and all but to get a decent 3D printer or cheap CNC for the kids for Christmas every year or two… but do please remember, when you write these articles, about my side of the tracks and the people that live here…

    I’m on a fixed income at 33 because of mental health issues that I was born with whether I wanted ’em or not. The “below the neck” effects of those (yes, Virginia, it does indeed happen!) do not permit me the freedom of driving a car, amongst many other issues. 6-1/2 days out of seven I’m in a 700 sq ft apartment decorated in various shades of undercooked oatmeal. The rent is cheap (by law… it’s income controlled… not the famous “Section 8”, something else) and my neighbors are nice, quiet, and for the most part peaceful, and the maintenance guy and office manager do their jobs well — but, all the same, I get out exactly once a week for shopping and a nice lunch if I can pay for it and that’s about bloody well it. Since I live in a small, relatively rural town (at least for this state… I mean, it’s North Carolina, not say Utah or The Dakotas or one of those squarish midwestern states where, you know, it’s a 45+ minute drive to anything other than more corn) we don’t even have a proper bus system like folks in the bigger cities are used to… this is a motley assemblage of handicap vans, hotel-style shuttlebuses, and Eurovan conversions that is coordinated approximately well enough to not be more than a half hour off on either side of whatever time you told them you wanted to go somewhere — and, as you might guess from the wording, it really operates more like a taxi service. You have to call in by 11am two days in advance to get a ride, and they take you door-to-door. There really aren’t any fixed routes except one that goes up to a major state-run hospital in a nearby big city, and of the three or four runs that route makes during the day, only one actually reaches this town… the others all end in the next town over!

    I have roughly $1100 to live on a month. That covers rent, bills, food, and TBH not a heck of a lot else. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for what I get — and there are a lot of folks who get a lot less out of the SSA — but if someone would kindly tell them that there are these regularly occurring events in life, every year or so, called “birthdays” and “Christmas” that tend to be extraordinarily expensive — and thus extraordinarily difficult — for folks like us, I’d appreciate it. Anyone here who gets a Christmas bonus: enjoy it as much as you dang well can. I don’t get one. Oh — and before you mentally knee-jerk — I know you want to say it, everyfrigginbody does — “oh stop your lousy *** whining and get a dang job ya friggin lazy bum” — yeah sure I’ll just go down to the job store and buy one. Oh friggin wait, it ain’t work like that. Here’s the thing: how the **** am I supposed to get a job when every single flippin otherwise-marketable skill I have has, in the fine print (metaphorically) one or two little caveats that make it utterly and completely useless for that?

    I have been on Disability since 2011 or thereabouts. (It may have been as late as 2012. I don’t remember.) I graduated from college (a small four-year liberal arts institution) with a reasonably marketable degree in mid-2009. I have been looking for jobs that might suit me since at least 2008 or so. There ARE no jobs for me. I simply have an entirely too weird set of needs, as far as employment is concerned, for there to be a job that fits me… and the sort of mental issues I deal with on a daily basis also mean that self-employment is not an option either.

    …sorry, today’s been an exceptionally bad day for me (today was my day out and it was *ahem* an epic rolling dumpster fire of a life mess when I desperately needed a chance to relax for a few hours), and that extremely flippant remark (and the perceived attitude behind it) kind of set me off… usually I’m a little more restrained than that. I’ll stop now…

    …but, like I asked… please do remember me, and the fact that I am not alone.

  4. I like the idea and looked at all of the pictures, but I didn’t see any space for the Encoder. Where does it go? Also, has anyone done this with steampunk or alien fonts for a keys?

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