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Building the Perfect Custom Keyboard

Building the Perfect Custom Keyboard

KeebKaigi 2023

Naoto Takai

May 10, 2023

More Decks by Naoto Takai

Other Decks in How-to & DIY


  1. About me • I have been a Rubyist since 1999

    and presented at RubyKaigi in 2008 and 2009. • In 2018, I built my fi rst split keyboard, and since 2019, I've been an enthusiast and designer of custom keyboards.
  2. What's a custom keyboard? • A custom keyboard is a

    customized mechanical keyboard that is built or modi fi ed according to an individual's preferences and requirements. • You have the fl exibility to choose various aspects of the keyboard such as the key layout, case color, key switches, keycaps, and more.
  3. Di ff erences from DIY Keyboard • The DIY keyboard

    can be seen as part of the Maker Movement. • They share the same technology, but in di ff erent contexts. • The Ruby community organized a DIY keyboard assembly event in Matsue in 2017.
  4. De fi ne your perfect custom keyboard • The perfect

    keyboard can be de fi ned as a keyboard that can be assembled exactly as you would like it to be. • What's your preference? • You may never know your preferences from the beginning. • Attend community events and try out di ff erent keyboards.
  5. Zen words ྫྷஆࣗ஌ SFJEBOKJDIJ  • Buddhist enlightenment is experiential

    and cannot be taught; it is like discerning water temperature through drinking, where it's a direct and personal experience that cannot be shared with others.
  6. Solution Area of sector = 10 × 10 × 3.14

    ÷ 4 = 78.5 Area of a right triangle = 10 × 10 ÷ 2 = 50 Area of the gray region = (78.5 - 50) × 2 = 57
  7. Today’s goal • Today's goal is to draw an auxiliary

    line to build the perfect keyboard.
  8. Evaluation criteria • Wine • Appearance / Aromas / Flavors

    / Mouthfeel / Finish • Whisky • Nose / Taste / Finish • Custom Keyboard • Appearance / Typing feel / Typing sounds • Functionality is seldom considered as an evaluation criterion.
  9. Appearance • Include both visual and industrial design in the

    evaluation of appearance. • The quality of visual design is determined by the materials, shapes, and build quality. • In industrial design, the arrangement of functional elements determines the overall design.
  10. Typing feel • Typing feel is emphasized through the balance

    of fl ex and consistency. • Flex has recently become popular in the keyboard community. • The fi ngertips of both hands have the highest concentration of sensory receptors, making them the most sensitive part of the body.
  11. Typing sound • The quality of the typing sound largely

    depends on how well excess echo and friction noise is minimized, thus achieving a pure sound. • The words "thock" and "clack" are onomatopoeic terms used to describe the sound of a keystroke. • "Thock" refers to a deep and muted sound, while "clack" describes a sharper and louder sound.
  12. Custom keyboard structure • In order to satisfy appearance, typing

    feel, and typing sounds, it has become common for modern custom keyboards to consist of the following components: • Key caps, top case, switches, stabilizers, plate, PCB, form, bottom case, and weight.
  13. “Typical” custom keyboard • PBT keycaps, aluminum case, Durock/JWK linear

    switches, Durock stabilizers, PC plate, gasket mount, PORON form, brass weight, etc. • This is a good con fi guration for a fl ex keyboard that produces THOCK sound, but…
  14. The impact of COVID-19 • During the COVID-19 pandemic, it

    seems that there has been a decrease in the diversity of keyboard con fi gurations. • In-person keyboard events have decreased. • Working remotely led to an increase in demand for keyboard. • The German lockdown disrupted GMK's schedule. • Semiconductor shortages impacting the supply chain.
  15. After COVID-19 • I anticipate another period of evolution for

    custom keyboards. • Pursuit of a more e ffi cient and unique keyboard structure. • More budget custom keyboards through mass production. • Factory-lube switches go mainstream. • The decline of GMK and the popularity of PBT keycaps produced by vendors. • Switching from ATmega32U4 to RP2040.