If you have an office job, for example if you write for Make:, chances are you spend a lot of time using a keyboard. If you’re not satisfied with the unit that came with your computer, you could buy one, or better yet, build one yourself. Check out the following for some ideas!
Laser Cut, OLED Enabled Keyboard
On the surface, this keyboard by Michael Spradling may simply look like a solidly-built unit with a few custom colored keys. Underneath that unassuming exterior, however, are several laser-cut layers of acrylic, a few 3D-printed parts, and, most impressively, a small OLED display where the display lights generally are positioned.
Dual Arduino Keyboard Input
Arduino boards are great for many projects, however, if you need to use a keyboard with one, the required software takes up a lot of its CPU capacity and memory. As many of his projects require a keyboard input, Steve Spence instead used one Arduino to read keyboard input, passing this data via serial to the second Arduino that does the actual work for the project.
Colorful Split Keyboard
If the ergonomics of lining your fingers up on a traditional keyboard just aren’t cutting it, having a keyboard in two separate pads could be a solution. Will Yager decided to build his own using a Teensy microcontroller for each half, as well as custom PCBs. The multicolored buttons are a nice touch, though one likely needs to have good typing skills to use keys without letters on them!
Here’s an interesting binary keyboard found on Greg Heo’s site (also seen many other places). Although this could serve as inspiration for future builds, Heo goes one step further than simple inspiration, and shows us how to replicate something like this virtually on iOS.
Grand Piano Keyboard
In it’s not-quite-done state, this keyboard sort of resembles a grand piano. Once fully assembled, however, this keyboard assembly looks more like something you’d see on a spaceship in a 70s era science fiction movie. Very impressive!
This keyboard, as documented on Barnorama, would look at home on Jules Verne’s submarine, or at a steampunk aficionado’s home. The woodworking is impressive on this keyboard, and the raised keys really make this build stand out.
This project, from The Bit Bang Theory, is “A mechanical keyboard built from scratch using parts from old keyboards.” Perhaps the most impressive build on this list, it features programmable lighting on the bottom and loud keystrokes via Alps switches. If that weren’t enough, it also has an internal USB hub, 8GB of flash storage, a keylogger, and macros.
Finally, this jumbo Keyboard from Pete Prodoehl was produced for the “Word Headquarters” at the Betty Brinn Children’s museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It has 46 CNC-cut keys, and uses a Teensy 2.0 ++ development board for processing.