Wednesday, August 16, 2017

16mm Edward

16mm Radical Edward keyboard

Ed's smallest keyboard. 16mm spacing using the 16mm 30% PCB. A custom top plate was made to look like the rack mount keyboard Ed uses. The plates were sanded down and dyed with iDye Poly Silver Grey dye.
The silver grey dye looks mostly black. The FR4 board is translucent and you can still see light through it if you hold it up to a bright light. Blue, Red, Purple PCB iDye Poly examples.

 Funko Pop - Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV

 Ed's computer is a TOMATO

 The regular green 16mm PCB.

 40%, 30%, and 16mm Edward.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Split Plates

PCB top and bottom plates for the Let's Split

Created these plates to complete my Let's Split. Previously I installed the two boards into a single Planck sized PCB sandwich case. The top plate has switch top removable compatible cut outs. The bottom PCB has the public domain Lupin III logo on one side, the other is blank.

The plates are symmetrical. The holes are sized for M2 screws and spacers. 11-12mm spacers will have enough clearance.

Gerber files on Github.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Gherkin Alps 1.1

Gherkin Alps switch compatible with RGB underglow

Second version of the Alps compatible Gherkin PCB. Main change is the rotation of the switches so the switch pins are all towards the middle of the board. This leaves a large flat area along the edges where a WS2812b LED strip can be placed. Power and data pads on the corners to solder the LED strip to.

The top PCB plate is 1.2mm thick which is within the range for a Alps plate. Any thicker and the switches will not clip into place. The bottom plate is the same PCB as the regular MX compatible Gherkin.

Files on github. It is running the Gherkin firmware with RGB.

 The green solder mask on the top and bottom plates were sanded down to the bare fiberglass material which is translucent.

 20 WS2812b LEDs are probably too many. This is the 60 per meter type, the 30 per meter type would be a better fit.

 Side view. 9mm spacers with a low profile socket for the Pro Micro.

 The LED strips are connected with solder bridges to the long pads.

Closeup of the solder bridges. A piece of kapton tape was placed across the pads to prevent the solder from flowing along the entire length of the long solder pads. Don't try this with regular tape, it will melt and you will have a sticky mess.

Monday, July 31, 2017

4 Pack

4 Key macropad PCB

Made a larger version of the 2 Pack. The design is the same, just wider. The LEDs are now in a 2x2 matrix, which requires only 2 resistors. This is run by an Arduino sketch with an interrupt driven LED scan. This allows for multiple levels of brightness and reactive lighting.

The combined board is a perfect 77.4mm square. It is small enough for the $2 for 10 special at
  • 1.6mm PCB top plate/PCB/bottom in one
  • M2 spacers and screws
  • Pro Micro controller
  • Switch top removable cut outs
 Two assembled macropads. The left one has been sanded down to the bare FR4 material.

 The PCB before and after splitting and sanding the edges smooth with sandpaper.

 Side view. The Pro Micro's are socketed. Low profile sockets were used.

 USB connector end. The notch in the bottom plate allows for large USB connectors.

Friday, July 28, 2017

30% Edward

Radical Edward's 30% keyboard

A smaller version of the 40% Edward made from a Gherkin PCB and a custom PCB top plate.

The bottom plate is the standard Gherkin plate, as are the middle pieces. All of the 1.5mm PCBs were sanded down to remove the solder mask. They were dyed in red iDye poly dye. They came out a dark brick red color, probably due to the yellowish color of the fiberglass. I have also dyed PCBs wth iDye Poly purple and blue.

The rack handles are generic 64mm stainless steel drawer handles. The keycaps are Signature Plastics SA profile Row 1 keys from a random grab bag.

16mm Edward is here.

Funko Pop Ed in front of the keyboard.

The bottom showing the dyed middle pieces and the USB connector of the Gherkin PCB.

The bottom. The screws that came with the handles were too long. They were designed to be used with a thick drawer. I used 3/8" 8-32 stainless button head hex screws from Amazon.

Ed with her keyboards. The all stainless steel  40% Edward and the fiberglass 30% Edward.

LCSC discount on first order

$8 discount on first order

If you are ordering some resistors or diodes from you can probably pay for the whole thing with this discount code [firstorder8]. Not sure how long the code will work for, but I got the same insert on my last two orders from EasyEDA. I have already used this code on one of my orders with free shipping with a PCB order from EasyEDA.

They are also offering lower shipping prices, but I have only ever used the free shipping offer where you combine it with your EasyEDA PCB order.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Numb Chucks

Number row as a weapon

Connected two FML macropads with a micro USB OTG cable. While the fiberglass construction of the FML would be quite sturdy, the USB connectors on the Pro Micro's will probably break off the first time you hit something with it.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tomato in a Gherkin

Tomato 2.1 PCB in a Gherkin case

In order to fit the Pro Micro in the same location as on a Gherkin I used the larger clone version with a mini USB connector (instead of micro USB). These have an identical pinout to a regular Pro Micro, but are physically much larger. These are sold on eBay and Ali Express. You need to compare the pictures since they are mostly identical in description. They tend to cost a little more.

The previous Tomato versions placed the Pro micro facing the back, instead of out the side. This made them only partly compatible with the Gherkin case plates.

  • Individual WS2812B LEDs inserted into cutouts and soldered to PCB.
  • 0805 0.1mfd bypass capacitors
  • Larger Pro Micro with mini USB connector
  • V 1.3
  • V 1.2
  • V 2.1 Files

Tomato assembled with Kailh white box switches. LEDs in the front, like a Gherkin it can be flipped with the LEDs on the top of the switch instead.

Bottom of the Tomato with vented PCB bottom plate. Dimensions are compatible with the original Gherkin plates.

Tomato 2.1 PCB top. There are no mounting holes, and the PCB mount holes for switches are removed. Plate mount switches only.

Bottom of the PCB. The WS2812B LEDs and 0805 capacitors are installed on this side.

The larger mini USB Pro Micro on the left. It is wider, taller and thicker than the original Pro Micro. It is wider than a standard DIP socket so I cut the socket apart, two 12 pin SIP sockets could be used instead.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Cherry ML Function stick

I was left over with a lot of ML keycaps from the MLP keyboard. Created this thin 1x12 macropad for use as function keys.

The Pro Micro is running a simple Arduino sketch.

I built 2, one with 6mm spacers and one with 4mm spacers. To use 4mm spacers you need to use a low profile socket. The thin head laptop style screws are very low profile. I will be sticking these to the edges of monitors with 3M command strip removable adhesive.

The files are on Github.

Numb Chucks

 The low profile Cherry ML switches. The keycaps are from a PLUM keyboard.

 6mm and 4mm spacers.

 Another view.

 Sitting atop a MLP.

Larger USB connectors fit fine.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Strange Fruit

Blue Cherries on a dyed blue PCB

I dyed some PCBs blue. The soldermask was sanded down to the bare FR4 fiberglass surface. I tried 3 different dyes, each for 15 minutes simmering on a hot plate. The first dye was Rit Denim Blue. After 15 minutes there was no noticeable coloring. The second was Rit Dyemore Blue. Also no noticeable change after 15 minutes. Finally iDye Poly Blue. After 15 minutes it was a deep blue. I left it in for another 5 minutes and it didn't seem to get any darker.

I found this post where it took almost 2 hours to dye with regular Rit dye. So it can be done if you have a lot of time.

I have also dyed some purple PCBs.

The keycaps are from a PMK grab bag. They are upside down.

 Upside down Cherries.

 The pink one is the correct orientation.

 Six Pack with Outemu Teal switches.

I also dyed a Gherkin plate and a 2 pack plate at the same time.