Okay, so you want to build a keyboard — something crazy-curvy like the dactyl or dactyl manuform. The kind of keyboard that has to be hand-wired, because key wells and rigid PCBs do not play well together. You want to build this keyboard, but all that hand-wiring would mean that you can’t easily swap switches later. And it will means hours and hours of fiddly soldering. What do you do? You could buy or design your own switch PCBs, but again, those are rigid and space is limited inside of most of these designs.
If you’re [stingray127], you trade those hours of soldering for a week of designing and printing some sweet little hot-swap sockets with wire guides. This is version four, which is easier to print than earlier versions. They are designed to use through-hole diodes and 24 AWG solid-core wire and give a tight fit. Can’t figure out how to use them? [stingray127] has a wiring guide with plenty of pictures.
We really like this idea, and it makes the end result feel more like a totally hand-wired keyboard than individual switch PCBs would As you can see, it involves little solder. The only downside is that you can only swap a few switches at a time, otherwise the matrix might fall apart. But that’s hardly even a downside.
Just want to make a macropad? You can easily print your way out of using a PCB for those, too.
6 thoughts on “Printable Hot-Swap Sockets Make Keyboard Building Even Cooler”
That’s an interesting solution. Having looked into the various methods for making a hot swappable keyboard, 3D printing never crossed my mind. It certainly seems like the cheapest solution, especially for those more unusual layouts.
From his write-up:
“I spent a week designing and printing this project to avoid 4 hours of soldering”
Haha, been there, done that! But: he shared his work with others and maybe saves countless hours that way :)
After all it’s not just “not soldering” but easily swapping switches etc.
This is brilliant 👏 I wonder if you could print a whole keyboard like this 🤔
So these are swappable switches – what makes them “hot” swappable? Someone swaps them to Dvorsk whilst you are still typing?
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