PocketCHIP "Mechanical" Keyboard

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PocketCHIP "Mechanical" Keyboard by anthonysavatar Aug 20, 2017
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Fusion 360

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A "mechanical" keyboard faceplate for the PocketCHIP.

Keys are held in place with straitened paperclips that are 1mm in diameter. This gives the keys a pivot point and reduces the amount of force needed to press each button.

Assembling only requires straitening paperclips and threading them through the holes in the case and keys.

A full print would require:

1x face plate
1x dpad
2x spacebar keys
2x backspace/enter keys
48x standard keys

I would print a few extras in case of print errors or breaks during assembly. You also may want an extra backspace/enter type key for the "P" key on the PocketCHIP. My faceplate doesn't lay completely flat and the standard key doesn't have the same click feel of the others as it's slightly higher than the rest. Using the backspace/enter key lets it reach the PCB switch dome. YMMV.

The Fusion 360 design (my first) can be found here: http://a360.co/2w4sP3R

The idea for the keys came from the HP-35s keyboard. I plan on adding some nice color-coded vinyl sticker labels similar to the WP 34S Overlay

Faceplate is based on the PocketCHIP Keyboard Faceplate by vjapolitzer

Forum thread

V2: 2017-09-14 Added face_switch_plate_row2_through_hole.stl which makes the row 2 paperclip hole bore through to the d-pad.

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Is there a preferred printer for this? I ordered from one vendor and nothing fit, the tabs were super weak, holes way too small.

Sorry to hear! I printed on a prusa i3 with .2 mm layer height and in PLA. The parts are quite small and there is very little room for expansion of the plastic. I don't recommend ABS for that reason.

a tip;

you can make a nice cutting tool out of a paperclip by taking some nice snips and cutting it at an angle. then bend it sorta like a questionmark, hold it at the top , drive the tip into the print(s) while twisting for more friction :)

Good to know, thanks! I added another faceplate version that bores a hole from the left side of the row 2 keys to the dpad opening. That way removing the paperclip from row 2 is easier.

Great design!

The frame model has a single hole for the spacebar, are you using a different frame that uses two spacebar keys?

I've gone through 3 attempts now to print keys with inset chars on them. I can make it look ok for about 70% of the keys, but between the first layer sealing the openings and general challenges with the level of detail, I'm about ready to give up and use a fine tip sharpie then just put a coat of sealant over it. I'll try a couple more attempts, if I can get a decent result I'll share the OpenSCAD file and STL.

Here is what slic3r shows for the spacebar keys for me. https://imgur.com/a/dlWAv

You are absolutely right and I have been completely brain dead. Geez, you can tell I printed, but didn't try mounting the faceplate yet. I was looking at the hole for the power button and thinking it was the space bar. Duh.

Sorry about the confusion! :-(


Thanks much!

The faceplate STL should have two separate holes for the two spacebar keys. Is that what you are seeing? They are the two double wide keys on the bottom row.

I can imagine it would be hard to print with inset characters. The keys are so small already and adhesion to the print bed can be a bit challenging. In a couple months I should get the prusa i3 multi material upgrade and may try printing letters on the keys with a different color filament.

Comments deleted.

Wow, this is really awesome! A really neat idea, and it looks great, too. Looking forward to printing one when I have the time.

Very nice design, excellent solution for strengthening up the keypad of the original design. I happen to have various sizes of music wire on hand for r/c airplane control pushrods - should work great for the hinge wire. I'll be printing this one soon, thanks for sharing.

Nice! Straightening the paperclips can be a pain. That wire sounds perfect. I knew there had to be a better option but figured everyone would have paperclips on hand.

Would you mind enumerating how many of each key type we need to print? Im guessing that everything besides the dpad and the two space buttons and the 2 backspace enter are the same buttons?

That's exactly right. For my print I made:
2x spacebar keys
2x backspace/enter keys
48x standard keys
1x dpad

The paperclip holes are pretty small and you may want a few extra in case of print errors or difficulty assembling.

Before assembly I'd recommend pushing paperclips through all the holes to clear out any excess leftover plastic.