Keyboard Builders' Digest / Tips & Tricks
@tsukasa_metam's Cityscape48 is a pretty unique split keyboard with a multi-layer PCB construction to achieve a faux-keywell effect.
Published May 19, 2022
As 100-year-old patents suggest (e.g. here), we usually keep reinventing the same wheel even when we think we are doing something original.
However, @tsukasa_metam's Cityscape48 is really something I've never seen before: it achieves the keywell-effect by utilizing multiple layers of PCBs held together by screws. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know that's a pretty unique approach.
Other than being a structural element of the construction, the screws are also an integral part of the circuit itself, ensuring there is an electric connection between the boards.
There is a feature I would like to point out: The electric circuit between the boards is connected via screws – @tsukasa_metam.
Furthermore, these partial PCBs stacked on top of each other mimic not just a keywell but also a slight tenting.
The switches used were TTC low profile ones (ali) – thus the uncommon footprint and cutout – and the keycaps are flat F10 caps from Pimpmykeyboard.
Of course something similar in general could be achieved by using sculpted keycaps or a 3D-printed plate but there's more to this particular design than pure l'art pour l'art craftsmanship or aesthetics. According to the author, it helps preventing typos:
It was devised to prevent the mistyping I often make. With a normal keyboard, when I press the Q key, I press the A key at the same time. This is the kind of typo I often do. On this keyboard, the key travel is 3.2mm and the step height is 2.8mm. Even if I press the Q key to the bottom, the A key is not entered – @tsukasa_metam.
Unfortunately, the PCB is not in the public domain, but @tsukasa_metam's thread on Twitter may start you off and point you in the right direction.
Published on Thu 19th May 2022. Featured in KBD #79.
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