2015-12-04 (F) Weekly Summary

This week I got to add another keyboard to my second year portfolio. The base, which was ordinary whitewood, was cut and drilled to hold the keypads while allowing the wires to pass to the bottom invisibly. Keypad mounting holes were also run from below so no screws were visible.

Keypads on unfinished base

After construction the keypads were removed so the wood could be stained and finished. To add some contrast a stain was used which was lighter than the keypads. This contrast looked all right but something closer to the keypads might have looked better.

Finishing base

Wiring was done on the base. A short Ethernet cable was salvaged. One end was trimmed to expose the wires while the RJ45 end was left on the other side. Each of the trimmed wires was given a quick disconnect, one for each switch while the ground wire was distributed to get to each of the seven switches. Wires were kept tidy although there was plenty of room on the underside to hide wires.

Wired base with unattached keypads

All the components were added to the wooden base. In addition to the wooden keypads brass corners were added. These were not functional or necessary but I really liked the way the shiny brass looked on the dark wood. Small corners were used for each keypad and large corners were used on the base.

Keyboard in sunlight 1

Keyboard in sunlight 2

An Arduino Micro was installed in an RJ45 wall-mount enclosure with eight screw terminals inside. The back of the enclosure was carved out to expose the Arduino’s micro USB port. The program from the Wrist Mounted Chording Keyboard was taken without modifications. Fortunately the program was written to have the modularity to operate without an accelerometer or a Bluetooth module.

Arduino Micro in wall-mount RJ45 enclosure

After all the components were installed and all the keys were confirmed to be wired correctly the keyboard was tested and passed.

Keyboard in operation

An entire day was used, and necessary, to organize the files for the 3D printed chording keyboard. These files were kept at the bottom of each journal entry. The links point to files in my Dropbox account so they can be updated as necessary without the need to change links.

Downloadable Files:

The plastic keypads were assembled. Long #6 bolts were trimmed using a wire cutter which had a bolt cutter. Brass rods were cut by placing them in a small pipe cutter. Actually, the brass tubes were spun in the pipe cutter by using a power drill. If my cheap pipe cutter had a warranty I bet this would void it.

Assembled keypads with the switches up

Wiring was done the same way as the wooden keyboard except there was no base to go through. The Ethernet cable was held firm by putting a nylon cable tie over the cable and fastening it to one of the bolts.

Wired keypads

Wiring was kept the same as the wooden keyboard on purpose. This would make testing easier and eliminate the need for more hardware. After rearranging the wires a couple times the keyboard typed flawlessly.

Operational keypads

Holding the keypads together hasn’t been solved. A small piece was modeled to go between the keypad bolts opposite the hinges. Two will be printed in order to tighten bolts to them and hold the two pieces stationary in relation to one another. This will not keep it in place on a desk. Other methods considered included gluing everything to a plastic base or modeling holes so that angle braces could be added and then attached to any surface with bolts or screws.

Code and model

The rest of the weekly summaries have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2


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