There’s more than one way to make a mechanical macro pad, and this wooden wonder represents one of our favorites. [Tauno Erik] had an old rubber dome rectangle keyboard lying around that still worked, but the poor thing was missing some of its caps. After salvaging the controller, [Tauno Erik] got to work on the tedious task of figuring out the mapping of the matrix, which was made easier with a Python script.
Almost every component of this beauty is wood, including the mounting plate and those thicc and lovely keycaps — their top layer is solid oak, and the bottom bit is birch plywood. In order to interface the ‘caps with the switches, [Tauno Erik] designed and printed connector pieces that sit inside the extra large keycaps and accept the stems of the key switches.
Speaking of switches, we’re not sure if [Tauno Erik] ended up using Cherry green switches, browns, or a mix of both (that would be interesting), but each one is mounted on a custom PCB along with a diode and a pull-up resistor. You can see more build pictures at [Tauno Erik]’s site, and stick around for a visual tour of the completed build after the break.
Wood is a great choice for keycaps, and we imagine they’ll only look better with age and use. A more common use for wood on a keyboard build is in surprisingly comfortable wrist rests.
Being a fan of pinball is bittersweet these days. In the go-go 1990s, you could still find pins in places like coffeehouses and the odd gas station here and there as the commercial arcade began to fade into the past. Things were looking up once booze-fueled b-arcades became a thing, but the pandemic economy may come for them soon enough.
Poor [smithsa3] doesn’t have a table around for hundreds of miles. Instead of settling for an older table or agonizing over the average price of newer tables, [smithsa3] found a happy medium and built a full-size virtual pinball cabinet to play pretty much any table there is. The only non-negotiable game was Addams Family, which you can see in the demo after the break.
Inside is a PC running PinballX, along with a 37″ TV for the playfield and two 17″ monitors that make up the backboard. Between the physical inputs and the faithful recreations of current and classic pinball games that are out there, this really is the best of both worlds.
We love that [smithsa3] combined stock and DIY hardware to pull this together. The cabinet uses standard legs and arcade buttons, but [smithsa3] built the plunger, interfaced it with an old keyboard controller, and made a coin slot mechanism that rejects everything but 10p coins.
Spend enough time playing pinball, and you’ll no doubt begin to fantasize about building your own. We’ve seen one or two of those, but not too many that can play themselves.
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