Keyboard Builders' Digest / Projects
A self-designed 132-key keyboard by dangerbobgames built along the lines of the classic IBM Model M 122.
Published March 20, 2023
This impressive piece of bent metal committed by dangerbobgames, inspired among others by the IBM Model M 122 introduced in 1985, is a refreshed version of the iconic layout with unibody split alphas and an inverted T arrow cluster. 132 keys, all handwired.
I was inspired to make this keyboard by seeing various vintage keyboards such as the 122-key model m ("battleship"), as well as the LZ ergo for the split layout. I wanted a lot of macro keys while also having an ergonomic layout to reduce some wrist strain (the split layout also just looks cool) – dangerbobgames.
For this number of keys the author used a Teensy++ 2.0 devboard. With 36 easily accessible GPIO pins (44 input/output pins in total) there was no need to use an IO expander or any trick with the matrix.
According to the author, the most difficult parts were getting the bends right and making the parts interface with each other properly. If anyone attempts something similar, he would recommend leaning towards a simpler design as there are less things that could go wrong with the final product.
As for the handwiring part, dangerbobgames confirms what most of you with some background in handwiring already know: "it is not really difficult, just tedious". He recommends being patient and keeping the wires organized, as it can be a pain to go back and redo sloppy solder joints.
- Laser cut & formed steel case
- Laser cut steel plates
- Teensy++ 2.0 controller running QMK
- This specific build in the top photo features Gateron Yellow 2.0 switches with KPrepublic dye-sub PBT keycaps (Gentleman set).
Published on Mon 20th Mar 2023. Featured in KBD #117 (source).
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