Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Issue 36 / Week 29 / 2021

This is a hand-picked selection of last week's content from a keyboard builder's perspective. Posts that may teach you something, make you think and contribute to the common knowledge of the DIY builder community.

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Behind the Scenes of Issue 36

Issue 35 follow-up, new supporters, latest progress, PCB design baby steps, layout design & keyloggers, to-do list.


I'd like to inform you that (for the first time after 36 weeks!), for temporary personal reasons, I might not be able to put out new issues on time in the next two weeks.

I'll try my best, but don't panic if I can't keep the usual publication date (which is btw Monday, 14:00-15:00 CET.)

These next issues will come eventually but they may come a few days later.

Sound database

I didn't put any sound test in my database lately. I kept, however, saving typing tests posted on r/mk – I was just lazy to insert them into the database for two weeks.

Now I tried to make up for lost time.

I'm not sure this database is of any interest, but as with my other projects, things may gain unexpected traction after some time.

PCB design

I continued fiddling with…


This is exclusive or early-access content for my supporters on BMC.

If you can't afford supporting this project, don't worry, I might publish parts of these write-ups later.

Btw, the full story is 8800+ characters long and you can read it at:


Blended Dactyl Manuform

A blended Dactyl Manuform by okinawa-keyboards with source and STL files.

Source code for this Dactyl Manuform generator written in Python for Blender released by okinawa-keyboards:

GitHub: Thingiverse:

Next: cleaning up the code, as many of the workarounds originally needed have been rendered obsolete as Blender improved.

Dactyl spinoff with a border

Yet another Dactyl spinoff, now with a border. Committed by jc2price.

I used /u/Okke's Tightyl as a starting point, adding back a couple of thumb buttons and a border. I'm pretty happy with the result!

Github repo:

It's not the most user friendly repo since jc2price ended up rewriting the dactyl script in Python just well enough to serve his own purposes.

The openings for cables / other hardware are a perfect fit for the parts used.

If you're using this as a starting point for your own build, all I can say is good luck – jc2price.

Lil Chonky Bois updated

Lil Chonky Bois by Sndr666 updated with MX hotswap & wireless versions.

Github repo:

(With bonus wrist rest STL.)

I thought I had to settle when I found that the only Esun ABS+ in stock was this natural color. But it turned out to be a happy accident, I love this filament. Solid, but translucent.

Walnut isopad

An isopad by Bitdrive_ made of walnut.

PCB git repo:


Jesse Vincent interview

Jesse Vincent of Keyboardio talks about his projects and career in keyboard building.


ThicThock Konpeitou

ThicThock Konpeitou switch review by ThereminGoat.

Coming with stems made of JWK's new mystery material known as "JX", this review takes a dive into the complicated history and details of the ThicThock Konpeitous.

Read it here:

Tips & Tricks

Tented Sofle case

An Alice-style tented case for the Sofle keyboard by foureight84.

[q]I decided to design a case for the Sofle in the style of the Alice keyboard. I just built this today and need to test and make some tweaks to the design. I'll release the STL once I am happy with the result for anyone interested. It's about 11 hours of printing @ 110mm/s – foureight84. 10-degree slant with a 7-degree incline. The bridge plate keeps the two halves angled at 10 degrees with magnets. The 7-degree feet are attached using magnets too.

STLs pending.

Tenting solution using magnets

OBOSOB came up with a detachable tenting solution, using magnets.

Magnetic phone holders attached to some acrylic I had lying around – OBOSOB.

Magnetic phone holders used as adjustable tenting mounts for keyboards as an alternative to splitkb's tenting puck.

The advantage being you can slap the metal plate on the bottom of a keyboard with or without a case and it doesn't add height when detached, even if you're going caseless.

Would work on the bottom of any case too and should equally not add additional height when taken off the tenting setup. You need to stick the mounts to something, you could even mount them straight to the desk if you don't mind it being static.

More pics: Magnetic stand used:

Acid-etched case

Acid-etched artwork on a Tofu60 with weathered gold foil. Posted by neuro-logic.

A (not keyboard related) video on the process of acid-etching:

Microswitch SD to MX adapter

Jpl3k designed an adapter to run a Microswitch SD keycap on an MX mechanical keyboard.

More pics:


Plate wrist rest

The plate is the wrist rest of this design by modularsynth123456.

Bent steel goodness.

You can feel it flex a bit, in a kinda good way. I am going to wait and see on this.

Keyboard Spotting

Acorn Archimedes 3010

THEletter01 found this Acorn Archimedes 3010.

More info:

German industrial keyboard

German industrial keyboard found by Jpl3k.

More pics:

German-made industrial psuedo-mech/membrane keeb Jpl3k pulled off some defunct machinery at the junkyard.

I wonder if these nice keycaps are the exact same spotted earlier on the Preh Commander, the keyboard used by German pharmacists.

One-handed Maltron

A Maltron found by lychee-ramune while cleaning up a storage room.

IBM Selectric Model 1

IBM Selectric Model 1 typewriter with sound test. Posted by josefquevedo.

Sound test:

u/josefquevedo found this IBM Selectric Typewriter Model 1 on craigslist for $90 in excellent working condition. The model 1 was released in 1961, and is pretty rare nowadays; especially if it works!

All the keys work, and it feels so awesome to type on. The feeling is hard to describe, but it feels like your fingers are punching the paper itself with all of the letters being typed.

Memorex Telex keyboard

Memorex Telex keyboard restored by lrussell887.

A 1988 Memorex Telex keyboard with Hi-Tek Series 725 brown switches. Using Soarer's Converter to adapt 5-pin DIN to USB. It was saved by a lot of scrubbing and some WD-40 contact cleaner.


Laptop replacement keyboard

A tented laptop replacement keyboard by kevinfrei.

Kailh Choc Clear (clicky) switches, carbon fiber plates, Elite-C controller, and a magnetically removable “foot” in the middle.

FoldKB split ortho using standard keyset

The FoldKB by friglesnart and bakingpy is a split ortho using standard keyset.

u/friglesnart actually came up with the name and the layout, I’m just the one implementing the design and making PCBs/cases – bakingpy.

Zaphod in the acrylic plate case

Zaphod by petejohanson in the acrylic plate case.

I've been using some clear NuPhy caps to show off the purpz. Sadly, they're not available for purchase.

The purple PCBs from Elecrow beg to be shown off too.

KMO - an input pass-through and macropad

Meet KMO by sango_gg, a companion for your keyboard that acts as an input pass-through and macropad.

Since KMO acts as a keyboard pass through, I need one microcontroller to be the USB “host” that your keyboard plugs into — this micro sends the inputs serially to the second micro that has a USB port connecting to your computer.

The second micro shows up on your computer as a virtual keyboard at the same time processes the inputs to animate KMO, play games, or whatever you want him to do.

The first micro is pretty low powered since it’s only processing the USB keyboard HID reports

The second controller has more horsepower since it has to drive the display, act as a virtual keyboard, and run any code for KMO’s functions.

That was Issue #36. Thanks for stopping by.

This issue was made possible by the donations of:, Jeremy Kitchen, AikenJG, @kaleid1990, u/chad3814, Eugenie, sebastian siggerud, ajoflo & siriximi

Your support is crucial to help this project to survive.

Discussion over at r/mk!