CherryPi Mechanical Keyboard Warrants A Long Look

[Gosse Adema] has been poking a Microsoft Natural Elite for the last 20 years, and the curvy old girl is about to give out. Looks like he got bit pretty hard by the DIY mechanical keyboard bug in his quest to replace her. Luckily for us, he documented his build.

Where do we start? A first keeb is decently-sized undertaking, but [Gosse] turned it up a notch and made it as low-profile as he could — it’s 2cm thick with the keycaps on. This ultimately meant designing the board such that the anti-ghosting diodes sit inside a cutout underneath their respective switches, which are low-profile Cherry MX Reds. There is no Eagle template for those yet, so [Gosse] whipped one up and milled a prototype PCB before deciding to go the fab route.

The Raspberry Pi Zero W that controls this keeb lives in a separate controller box in the name of slimness. If you are as-yet unimpressed by this build for some reason, [Gosse] even rolled his own firmware, which he explains as part of this epic journey. Seems the only thing he didn’t do was mold his own keycaps, but not everyone wants to type on blanks. We wonder if [Gosse] is aware of the terrifically low-slung Kailh choc switches, although prefab keycap options for those are even more limited.

Speaking of, here’s a tasty choc-filled game pad.

Quickie USB Keyboard Device

There are a ton of applications that we use that can benefit from keyboard shortcuts, and we use ’em religiously. Indeed, there are some tasks that we do so often that they warrant their own physical button. And the only thing cooler than custom keyboards are custom keyboards that you’ve made yourself.

Which brings us to [Dan]’s four-button Cherry MX USB keypad. It’s not really all that much more than four keyswitch footprints and an AVR ATmega32u4, but that plus some software is all you really need. He programs the Arduino bootloader into the chip, and then he’s using the Arduino Leonardo keyboard libraries. Bam! Check out the video below.

Continue reading “Quickie USB Keyboard Device”

Isomorphic Piano Keyboard Is Button Madness

[nikescar] sent in a link to a huge isomorphic MIDI keyboard. We might have missed it the first time around, but that doesn’t diminish such a great looking project.

According to the project page, this humongous keyboard is the work people at Louisville Soundbuilders’ efforts to clone the AXiS-64 MIDI controller. Instead of looking like a ‘normal’ piano keyboard, this isomorphic keyboard puts notes in a hexagonal pattern. This keyboard layout is very useful – fingerings for chords are the same across all keys – but these keyboard layouts are fairly rare and MIDI controllers are expensive as a result.

To make the keyboard in the video velocity sensitive, there are two layers of PCBs. The top layer uses Cherry key switches, while the bottom PCB is an array of tact switches. Measuring the time between the top and bottom key presses gives the on board microcontroller velocity information that is converted to MIDI notes. This setup has a few downsides, namely the huge amount of switches, components, and pins needed for two keyboard matrices.

The project page hasn’t been updated for a few months, so we’re pretty curious about the current status of this build. If any of the Louisville Soundbuilders have an update on this project, send it on in.