Trust me, you don’t have to build your own keyboard from the deskpad up to be happy or feel like one of the cool kids. Sure, it doesn’t hurt, but not everyone is able to or even wants to start from next to nothing. Take [Roger] for example. [Roger] started with a stock mechanical keeb — the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK) — which can be outfitted with magnetic add-on modules such as a thumb key cluster, trackball, trackpoint, and touch pad, and made it his own.
While the stock board that you choose may not be so option-laden, there are plenty of other things one can do to customize things, and [Roger] did basically all of them. The Kailh browns that the UHK came with were too loud, so [Roger] swapped them out for Zilent V2 Silent tactiles and dampened the case with plenty of neoprene foam.
[Roger] frequently switches between two keyboard layouts, which got confusing at times. But instead of boring blank keycaps, he scrounged around until he found a cool set. (We do like the way they look with the wood wrist rests.) Speaking of those wrist rests, the right one is carved out and hiding a 10,000 mAh power bank, because [Roger] also made the UHK wireless using one of those often-out-of-stock BT-500 Bluetooth adapters. This allows him to switch between two PCs with a keyboard shortcut.
Think you want to go split, but not sure about key wells and column stagger and all that jazz? Something like the UHK is a good place to start, because it takes the familiar brick wall layout and breaks it into two pieces. No idea what you want? Check out the split keyboard finder.
Between manufacturing technologies like 3D-printing, CNC routers, lost-whatever metal casting, and laser and plasma cutters, professional quality parts are making their way into even the most modest of DIY projects. But stamping has largely eluded the home-gamer, what with the need for an enormous hydraulic press and massive machined dies. There’s more than one way to stamp parts, though, and the budget-conscious shop might want to check out this low-end hydroforming method for turning sheet metal into quality parts.
If hydroforming sounds familiar, it might be because we covered [Colin Furze]’s attempt, which used a cheap pressure washer to inflate sheet metal bubbles with high-pressure water. The video below shows a hydroformer that [Rainbow Aviation] uses (with considerably less screaming) to make stamped aluminum parts for home-brew aircraft. The kicker with this build is that there is no fluid — at least not until the 40,000-pound hydraulic press semi-liquifies the thick neoprene rubber pad placed over the sheet metal blank and die. The pressure squeezes the metal into and around the die, forming some pretty complex shapes in a single operation. We especially like the pro-tip of using Corian solid-surface countertop material offcuts to make the dies, since they’re available for a pittance from cabinet fabricators.
It’s always a treat to see hacks from the home-brew aviation world. They always seem to have plenty of tricks and tips to share, like this pressure-formed light cowling we saw a while back.
Continue reading “Low-Budget Hydroformer Puts The Squeeze On Sheet Metal Parts” →
Fashioning a custom, one-off rubber part for your project isn’t usually an option, but [Ben Krasnow] has an alternative to injection molding and casting: machining frozen rubber.
As [Ben] points out, you can’t exactly pop a sheet of rubber on your mill and CNC the needed shape; the bit will push the material around rather than cut it. Freezing the rubber first, however, allows you to carve into the now-hardened material.
His initial setup consisted of a sheet of aluminum with water drizzled on top, a square of neoprene placed on the water, and a steady stream of -60 to -80C alcohol flowing directly onto the rubber. The water underneath freezes, holding the neoprene in place. This proved problematic as the ice-clamp gives way before the milling is complete. [Ben] later adds some bolts to clamp the pieces down, allowing the milling process finish as planned.
A small plastic tray sits underneath this assembly to capture the alcohol as it runs off, feeding it back with some tubing. [Ben] recommends against a submersible aquarium pump—his initial choice—because the pump stopped working after a few minutes immersed in the chilly alcohol. An external, magnetically-driven pump solved the problem although it does require manual priming.
Stick around after the jump for the video and check out some of [Ben’s] other projects, like his quest for the perfect cookie, or CT scanning a turkey.
Continue reading “Cryogenic Machining: Custom Rubber Parts” →