Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #142

Giveaway and advent calendar update, quick news, in the mailbox, meetups, vendor updates, new discount.

Published November 6, 2023
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Hey y'all,

Sorry folks, too many projects are going on at the same time, I'm overwhelmed to say the least. I'll try to reply to all the unanswered mails and inquiries but can't promise anything.


Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up.

If you are new to, you can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.


Reading for the weekend

Pic: Gateron Mini i

Gateron Mini i

Pic: 8BitDo Retro Keyboard

8BitDo Retro Keyboard

Pic: CMY keycaps by Sadek

CMY keycaps by Sadek

  • Jbam9 shared a case for the JB69, a handwired ortho with a solenoid.
  • Cbskii's Storyboard is a 5x12 hotswap ortholinear keyboard with an e-ink display.

Pic: Storyboard by cbskii

Storyboard by cbskii

  • There are still some empty slots for the MK Advent Calendar, let me know if you have a good idea for an article and would like to contribute.
  • Community: the swansong of MKUltra is over. Read Thomas Baart's PSA for more details.

Pic: kbt 2.0.0

kbt 2.0.0


Pic: Dave's handwired board

Dave's handwired board

Pic: gvlsplit


Pic: Trackball keyboard by fairladyxy

Trackball keyboard by fairladyxy

Giveaway update

As already told, the application form is live. Click here to enter the giveaway. Once you've checked out the list of prizes (still not final), you can enter your choice in the form so I can pair winners with prizes they actually are interested in and can use. So you won't win low-pro caps if you're only into MX switches.

Last year I had to reach out to all the 100+ winners to ask them about their preferences so hopefully asking this in advance will spare me some emails.

In addition, watch out for regions! Choose prizes from your own region or expect possible taxes and customs fees when choosing "worldwide" items.

Thanks to all the vendors who offered prizes for this event:

Capsule Deluxe, Chosfox, Custom Keyboard Co., Cyboard, Dangkeebs, FalbaTech, Goblintechkeys, Green Door Geeks, Heavymetalkeyboards,, KEEBD, Keebmonkey, Kemove,, Keycapsss, KEYGEM, KHOR, Kinetic Labs, Krome Keycaps, Little Keyboards,, Mechboards, Mechbox, Mintlodica, Momokai, Turtlekeebs, Upgrade Keyboards, ZSA Technology Labs.


  • ZSA Technology Labs joined the ranks of donors with a generous initial donation. Thanks Erez!
  • One recurring donation cancelled.
  • And as always, many thanks to everyone who helped this project thus far, especially to regular donors. Without you, this project wouldn't have survived for 3 years.

If you missed it last time, there are some new donation options. Some of you hate PayPal and think it's a big barrier. That's why I've added Stripe, PayPal, Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee and Patreon now. You find all the links on the donation page.

In the mailbox

When you think it isn't really possible for a retro keyboard to be even more filthy (1976 Videoton), another Videoton shows up and you feel instantly infected by a dozen of unknown viruses just by staring at it for more than a few seconds. Time to grab my hazmat suit again.


So at first sight this seemed to be a common DEC LK-201 layout, the first with the inverted T arrow cluster, but take a closer look at it. It's probably easier to notice the difference if you live in Europe where all the funny accented and national characters usually take the place of symbols on the base layer. The strange thing is this does not happened here, we have both the symbols AND the national characters. How is is possible? This board has 113 keys because two-three extra columns compared to the standard layout! :D (And I love the nice doubleshot Ő and Ű caps.)

Despite the Videoton/TKI sticker this is a Cherry keyboard (G80-0592 with vintage black switches). No date indicated except some components (1979) – but the board itself was manufactured later since MX blacks weren't around until 1983 I guess. Cleaning later.

Keyboard archeology

Speaking of the Videoton, I still haven't unsoldered a switch but have exchanged some mails with Daniel Beardsmore who runs, an excellent resource, and is very knowledgeable about all the obscure boards, switches and circuits. My favorite line from his mails:

…the way people believe keyboards work (microprocessor or microcontroller running matrix scan firmware) is only valid from around 1977 onwards – Daniel.

So many things to learn.

Meetup database

Well, not publishing the newsletter on Friday makes this section quite meaningless so no upcoming meetups this time.

Instead, here is Daihuku's stream of TenKey Vol.5 (the opening starts at about 16:30):

As always, the meetup database is both a calendar and an archive so feel free to send me upcoming events or even ones from the recent past to make this collection as comprehensive as possible.

Vendor database

New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:

  • SublimeKBD offered you a 5% discount on all keyboard switches (KBDNEWS, one use per customer). Thanks Vince!
  • Cleanup continued: Elboard, Superanked, Mechfashion, BeyondCustoms, Happy Coil Cables, NeonKeys removed/closed – result of the giveaway mass mail bounces and reports by readers (thanks Daniel and Nanda!).


  • The map tile service behind the maps on the vendor and meetup pages was closed a few days ago – that's why all the maps are blank now. I was sent a code snippet which could hopefully solve the issue but this is not top priority for me these days.


Still with me?

I was going to tell a time-traveling joke, but you guys didn’t like it.


That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!

Until next time,

Do you like this post? Share, donate, subscribe, tip me off!

Published on Mon 6th Nov 2023. Featured in KBD #142.


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