Keyboard Builders' Digest
Save 5% at Qwertykey! Code: KBDNEWS
Keyboard Builders' Digest / Projects


Another Raspberry Pi Pico based keyboard: Budgy by keyboarddweebs.
Published November 24, 2022
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 120K readers.

The Budgy is a 34-key open-source split sporting Picos as controllers – shared by keyboarddweebs aka doesntfazer, designer of the Crowboard.

Another raspberry pi pico based keyboard. I call it the Budgy. This time split in half! – keyboarddweebs.

I reached out to Alex for some info and to correct my mistake of featuring the Crowbar six months after being published – simply because I wasn't aware it was open source. :|

Could you tell us about yourself and Keyboard Dweebs?

My name is Alex Miller – or my online alias DoesntFazer. I am a huge advocate for the open source/GNU community. I started Keyboard Dweebs to get away from the group buy model, and when I first opened it in 2019 there was really only 1 or 2 stores that sold little (sub-40) keyboards.

My other inspiration for going into business was to fund my keyboard addiction, expensive hobby for a cheap person like me. I know this might be sacrilegious, but I didn’t get into this hobby for the Thock. I didn’t get into it for the lubed switches and GMK keycap sets. I got into it because I saw people making these crazy 60% builds out of model Ms, I was seeing things like the Ergodox start to appear. I thought it was all so cool.

But about 1 year into my keyboard journey, I developed carpal tunnel. And that’s when I started going down the ergo rabbit hole.

Some thoughts on the Budgy and your inspiration?

The Budgy is named because it’s small like a budgie, and it’s a budget keyboard.

This is the second keyboard that I have designed under the Keyboard Dweebs name. The first being the Crowboard.

I would also like to side note, everything made under the Keyboard Dweebs name will be named after a bird species and have some kind of connection to the bird that it’s named after. I love birds. Hehe.

But I don't like designing cases. When I first saw the Gergoplex, it opened my world up to a new way of thinking. There’s no need for a case! This also saves a whole bunch of money as well for everyone involved. What inspired the Budgy was seeing these diodeless builds like the Cantor, Piantor, and Ferris. I figured this would be one more way to pass on some savings, and remove the annoyance of soldering diodes.

Some thoughts on your experiences, lessons learned?

I originally wanted to do this as a single board PCB like the Crowboard. After realizing that the Pico, only having 29 pins wouldn’t work I started seeking other options. I bought a BlackPill (STM32F401) and built out a firmware for it only to realize that I was mislead by the pinout diagram I was looking at, and it did not have 34 pins. So I had to go back to the drawing board. I settled on a split keyboard. I always liked the CRKBD and how it has the MCU on display, and I thought it was fitting to show off the Pico once again like I did on the Crowboard.

I won’t bore you with too many details, but I did run into issues with the firmware after assembly because in my infinite brilliance turned on SERIAL_USART_PIN_SWAP when I was prototyping because I didn’t check the footprint when I was wiring things.

There are two versions in the repo. What's the difference?

As for the Rev2, it’s not complete yet. I am adding per key RGB, and I am considering adding OLED’s, and maybe even some EC11 low profile encoders if I can find a place to put them.

If you were to download the files for the rev2 today, it only has the per key RGB implemented, and it should work in theory. I haven’t tested anything yet. So download and send to JLCPCB at your own risk!

I'm likely not going to be selling the rev 1s. I feel like I need to add more, but didn't want to go all out on my first split keyboard. If I do decide to sell them, I will probably sell as a kit, and as a prebuilt without keycaps and limited switch options because assembly time is reasonable.


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

Published on Thu 24th Nov 2022. Featured in KBD #104 (source).



A 40%(ish) wireless low-pro split called xobdox – designed by Lost_Negotiation_830.

Charybdis - Dactyl trackball keyboard

The Charybdis by Fmcraft is a Dactyl spin-off with well-placed trackball.

Glove80: Rethinking split contoured ergonomic keyboard

Co-designer Stephen Cheng reviews the main design and ergonomics decisions of the eight year journey to bring Glove80 split contoured ergonomic keyboard to mass manufacturing.

Custom Reform keyboard

Jacqueline designed a custom ergo keyboard for her Reform laptop – based on the Lily layout.

Lil chonky bois

Third iteration of the lil chonky bois by Sndr666 with case files (git).

Wave keyboard

Etienne Collin's Wave is a reversible split Ferris/Sweep derivative with Mini DIN 4 connectors.