2015-12-02 (W) Desktop Chording Keyboard

The previously printed version of the desktop keyboard was given away before it was mounted. The pieces will have to be mounted.

New brass rods were purchased for this keyboard. Brass rods go through the holes in the switches and keyboard sides to keep them together and keep the switches from rotating. There was no need for threaded rods since the switches have friction pads inside the holes to keep them in place on the brass rods. Brass rods were cut to length using a pipe cutter despite the fact that the rods were solid. Any method of cutting which makes a clean edge is acceptable such as a hack saw or a Dremel with a cutting bit.

Brass rod in a pipe cutter

The pipe cutter left a distorted edge on the brass rods which made it difficult to add the switches. This distorted edge was ground off by spinning the brass rod in a drill and pressing the edge to a rock. Abrasion from the rock took away the unwanted metal. Beware of metallic flakes while doing this. A belt sander or disc sander would have preferable to this method but these tools were not available.

Brass rod being ground with a stone

Four lengths of brass rod were cut. Two were needed for each section of the keyboard. Longer lengths of rod will be used for the four switch finger assembly while the shorter lengths will be used in the three switch thumb assemble which was shorter. A bolt cutter was used to trim the long #6 bolts used to hold the keyboard sides an equal distance apart. Acorn nuts replaced the ordinary nuts. Acorn nuts will protect the ends of the cut bolts from causing damage.

Four lengths of brass rod

Trimmed bolts with acorn nuts

"Under the hood" of the keyboard halves

Downloadable Files:

To do:
  • Wire an Ethernet cord to switches
  • Model spacers for keyboard stabilization
  • Build plastic base
    • Cut shape from sheet plastic
    • Drill wiring holes
    • Attach keypads
  • Write instructions

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2

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2015-11-17 (Tu)


  1. Your belt really should course in the center of both the rollers plus the platen, however if you encounter any stubborn belt, you need to be confident the item trails in the center of this rollers.


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