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Modding Building your own keyboard

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Pyrthas, 24 Aug 2006.

  1. Pyrthas

    Pyrthas What's a Dremel?

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    My guess is that I won't have the ability to do this, but I'm really tired of keyboards not having the exact arrangement of keys that I want (the physical keys themselves; I don't care about what functions they're assigned, since I remap a bunch of stuff through the registry anyway). So, does anyone either know of anyone who's successfully constructed a keyboard or know of a company that will do custom keyboards on a relatively small scale (as opposed to all the ones that do them for companies, which I obviously can't afford and in any event don't need)?

    Again, I figure the answer's going to be "keep dreaming," but oh, well. The closest thing I've found is the DX1, but that only supports 50 keys, and I'd like a fully-functional keyboard. (For me, with an ideal setup, that means at least 75 keys.)

    Thanks.
     
  2. Brooxy

    Brooxy Loser of the Game

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    2 USB keyboards? should have enough keys...
     
  3. Cardan

    Cardan What's a Dremel?

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    why dont you just buy an xkeys thing and have those keys mapped to what you want and put it next to your regular kb
     
  4. crazydeep74

    crazydeep74 What's a Dremel?

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  5. Pyrthas

    Pyrthas What's a Dremel?

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    Sorry for not being clearer. I want more keys in a small footprint than are currently available. The biggest complaint that I have about normal keyboards, aside from the gigantic footprint, is that the space bar is way too big. I barely use any of it, and I'd love to have a key or two (well, really just an alt key) that my left thumb could hit without distorting my hand (I always use my right thumb for space when typing normally). While buying additional keyboards will certainly give me more keys, it won't let me chop up the bottom row of my keyboard and rearrange everything.

    For now I'm just using a Japanese keyboard (I don't understand any Japanese), because they tend to have a lot of keys close together, which can be remapped, of course (you can see a good image here; that site was really helpful, as an aside, since it had the scancodes for all those keys). It's still not quite what I'd like, though. For one thing, I have to use a mouse bridge (basically, a thing that sits over the right side of your keyboard and functions as a mouse pad) to compensate for the standard-sized footprint.

    Here, I'll throw a quick mockup of what I'd want together in paint. Ignore the black keys; they were just there because I wasnt sure how much room I'd need. I'm sure that I could tweak things a bit more, but this should make it clearer why just buying more stuff to put on my desk isn't going to cut it.
    [​IMG]

    Edit: I suppose I wouldn't mind a few more keys below those, which would also be accessible to my thumb, but that's not quite as important. This was just tossed together to see how many keys I'd need at a minimum.
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2006
  6. Soulmage

    Soulmage Minimodder

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    Just get a happy hacking keyboard
     
  7. Pyrthas

    Pyrthas What's a Dremel?

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    Have one. And a Deck. Prefer the Deck, since I like having f1-f12 without a fn key. But neither of them lets me actually *split the space bar up into several smaller keys*, which is why I was asking about building a keyboard.
     
  8. DougEdey

    DougEdey I pwn all your storage

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    There is an easy way to change the layout of a board. Each key works by shorting two connectors under the rubber beneath each key.

    You can just re-position these, using a lot of soldering.
    Also, look at what this guy did
     
  9. gbeeby

    gbeeby What's a Dremel?

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    by any chance do you have an ocd in keyboards ??
     
  10. Pyrthas

    Pyrthas What's a Dremel?

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    I find it rather sad that on a forum dedicated to tweaking the hell out of everything else in a computer, attempts to mod keyboards in any significant way are met with such derision. Most of the compuer-using population sees computers as simple tools, not something to be altered significantly. Apparently, most of the modding population sees keyboards the same way. I guess that's kind of ironic, isn't it?

    Thanks for the link, Doug. I figured I might just try resoldering things on my Deck (or, more likely, on a second Deck that I buy just for this), but was hoping to find a record of someone else doing something like that first so that I wasn't just going into things blind.
     
  11. Denied

    Denied What's a Dremel?

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    Dood. Lighten up. I doubt he was seriously having a go.

    And I would say that a keyboard is a functional part of the computer... in the same way that people don't look to change the underlying operation of a CD-ROM... sure they put windows in them and mount them vertically... but in the end it's still a device we use to read CDs (or DVDs)... A keyboard is much the same. People do mod them... paint them, light them etc... but yes... you are correct, they don't tend to mess with the actual FUNCTION of them.

    I can see what you mean about all the wasted space of the keyboard... I found a keyboard that was a very small footprint and had a half size space bar.

    http://www.elx.com.au/item/elsKB-MINIUP

    Good luck with the search...
     
  12. hydro_electric_655

    hydro_electric_655 Dremelly Dude

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    gbbeby doesn't spit out stuff to make you happy he just implys you might have a mental error or he does.

    But it wouldn't be terribly hard. I may cut a keyboard up for you and slap some pics and such. The main thing is to be able to cut the key's and circuit board then resolder the traces in an appropraite spot. Hard and time consuming but totally possible.
     
  13. Pyrthas

    Pyrthas What's a Dremel?

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    Yeah, I just took apart a couple keyboards after taking a look at the link that Doug posted. Now I just need to decide if I really care enough to buy everything that I'd need. Thanks also for the link, Denied. It's not quite what I'm looking for, but I always like to see more options, in case I realize that I can put them to use later.
     
  14. MrMacomouto

    MrMacomouto What's a Dremel?

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    You could buy a rough sized touch screen LCD and write your self a small program so you could design the keyboard however you wanted it.
     
  15. Rich_13

    Rich_13 What's a Dremel?

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    wasn't there a keyboard where the buttons could be positioned anywhere on its base and u could have as many or as few keys as you wanted (they were all seperate keys)

    Think I saw this a while back online somewhere
     
  16. Cabe

    Cabe What's a Dremel?

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  17. Soncetina

    Soncetina What's a Dremel?

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    a very cool way of doing it would be by using a touch screen as a second monitor, put it face up infront of u (like a keyboard) and then have an "onscreen keyboard" on it. Standard windows comes with an onscreen kb but i doubt ud b able to play with where the keys are etc, but im sure you could find som1 to make one in c++ unless theres one out there already...
     
  18. the fodder

    the fodder What's a Dremel?

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    I didn't verify key for key but it looks like you have your Japanese keyboard reconfigured to your liking it just the ten key you don't like. Why don't you just cut off the offending appendage? I am planning on doing it to my M$ natural as soon as I decide if I can live with out the arrow keys I want a really small keyboard.. You keyboard probably has like internal connections, just tape and fold over the membrane. this guy has a step by step his end result is just sloppy.
     

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