Steampunk Keyboard
7th March 2008

I've been kicking this idea around for a few years. About 3 years ago I got a pile of old typewriter keys with the idea of building a steampunk theme keyboard and ultimately a whole computer that wouldn't look out of place on the desk in my living room.

Over the intervening years I've seen some very good steampunk keyboards on The web. Built by people with slightly less procrastination than me.

This is about half of the keys I have. At the time they were being sold as "craft items" for making novelty jewelry.
Not all from the same typewriter I suspect. I did buy an old typewriter with the view to removing the keys to get at least one matching set... However when it came to it I couldn't bring myself to do it. Especially as it didn't take much to get it up and working.
I figure there are two ways to go about this... there's the easy way and the Mark Rimmell way. The easy way is glue the old keys onto a modern PC keyboard... However I was adamant right from the start I wasn't going down that road. So here are about 200 miniature momentary switches...
... and here's one close up. There is a reason for this madness (and you'll see just how mad it gets when I come to wire these up). I do not want to go to all the trouble of building a keyboard only to have it fail on me. If I go down the road of gluing the keys to commercially available keyboard if it fails it's pretty much a case of strip it down to salvage the old keys and start again... However I reason that if I build it from scratch using these switches, if one fails, I just replace it.
I will however be needing a donor keyboard for the controller.. So all I have to do is make up my mind as to which type.. Do I want it wireless? How about multimedia buttons? Decisions, decisions..


More later.

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