A keyboard you build yourself should really be made just for you, and meet your specific needs. If you approach it this way, you will likely break ground and inspire others simply because it’s personalized. Such is the case with [_GEIST_]’s highly-customized lily58, designed to work in two modes — on the desk, and mounted on the back of a tablet.
The lily58, which is a 58-key split with dual OLED footprints, was just a starting point for this build. For tablet mode, where the keyboard is attached to the back of a tablet with hook-and-loop tape, [_GEIST_] created custom plates that double the thumb keys on the back.
We love that there is a PSP thumbstick for mousing on one layer and inputting keystrokes on other layer. But we can’t decide which is our favorite part: the fact that [_GEIST_] threaded it through the bottom of a Kailh Choc switch, or the fact that there’s a Pimoroni Haptic Buzz with a different wave form for each layer. [_GEIST_] also added an acrylic middle plate layer to support quick-change magnetic tenting legs.
Keyboard mods don’t have to be involved to be adopted by others. This modified Dactyl adds custom wrist rest holders and has deeper bottoms that allow for less than perfect wiring.
Somewhere between the onset of annoying hand pain and the feeling of worn-out, mushy switches, [sinbeard]’s keyboard dissatisfaction came to a head. He decided it was time to slip into something bit more ergonomic and settled on building an Iris — a small split keeb with an ortholinear (non-staggered) key arrangement.
The Iris is open source and uses an on-board controller, so you can have the boards fabbed and do a lot of SMD soldering, or get a pair of PCBs with all of that already done. [sinbeard] went the latter route with this build, but there’s still plenty of soldering and assembly to do before it’s time to start clackin’, such as the TRRS jacks, the rotary encoders, and of course, all the switches. It’s a great way for people to get their feet wet when it comes to building keyboards.
Everything went according to plan until it was time to flash the firmware and it didn’t respond. It’s worth noting that both of the Iris PCBs are the same, and both are fully populated. This is both good and bad.
It’s bad you have two on-board microcontrollers and their crystals to worry about instead of one. It’s good because there’s a USB port on both sides so you can plug in whichever side you prefer, and this comes in mighty handy if you have to troubleshoot.
When one side’s underglow lit up but not the other, [sinbeard] busted out the ISP programmer. But in the end, he found the problem — a dent in the crystal — by staring at the board. A cheap replacement part and a little hot air rework action was all it took to get this Iris to bloom.
Want to build a keyboard but need a few more keys? Check out the dactyl and the ErgoDox.