Keyboard Builders' Digest / Tips & Tricks
Morningstar PCB art
Astra's Morningstar is a cute Pro Micro based, hotswap, 40% ergonomic unibody keyboard with a little glowing LED star in it.
Published April 11, 2022
I've planned to feature the Morningstar – especially its distinctive PCB art – for a long time, and now, after the introduction of Astra's Procyon, the time has finally come.
The Morningstar is a cute monoblock keyboard with a nice touch: a star-shaped PCB art in the middle with animated LED backlighting:
last prototype. everything works, everything fits. the easy part is over! pic.twitter.com/YnyQ1pNCdO— Astra | star★boards (@sbkeebs) January 18, 2022
PCB art is a whole different world on its own. If you are not familiar with the term, feel free to do a google search on your own risk – because you may find yourself spending hours with endless scrolling.
So we are not talking about a custom silk screen here but actually playing with different PCB layers (and their combinations) to achieve various effects.
As you can see on the Morningstar PCB, you can start with getting rid of the solder mask and copper layer which results in the exposed glass-reinforced epoxy resin, a pale yellow opaque layer:
With no copper layer, some light can pass thru the painted substrate, and i think that's neat as heck. [...] Alas, I don't dig the PCB yellow, and the gradients don't come thru – Astra.
While there are many iterations of the design, as of my understanding, the final version has a star-shaped hole in the PCB and uses a frosted acrylic diffuser:
I'm really happy that this glowy star, which depends on LEDs being reflected off the surface below and into the frosted acrylic diffuser, actually works this well with such a small clearance – Astra.
And here is the back of the PCB with the LEDs arranged neatly around the star:
Thanks to Astra for the inspiration.
Published on Mon 11th Apr 2022. Featured in KBD #73.
Did you like reading this post?