You may remember my wood computer chassis, and then wood mouse. (Both linked in my sig, and both still going strong. Looking at the old photos of the mouse, I think I need to add some new ones to show it nearly four years on!) If so, you may also remember that I suggested I wanted to do a wood keyboard to match. Well, the keyboard is starting!
I had wanted to make it with my own buckling-spring capacitive switches, but could never come up with how to make them properly – that's why nothing has happened on it in about four years. Recently I was thinking about mechanical keyboards and thinking I wanted one, but still thinking about this too... I really wanted to make my own board! I decided to see if I could find the normal mechanical keyswitches at a reasonable price. I did. So I experimented with making keycaps, and was successful enough to decide to go ahead. So it is finally happening!
Normal 104-key layout, but with function keys to get some other bits
Gateron Brown (Cherry clone) switches
Integrated IBM TrackPoint "mouse"
Flat profile (far easier for making keycaps)
The keycaps are custom, being manually milled by me. I'm making them out of some kind of cherry (because it is nice wood and also strong, not anything to do with the switches). I started with rimu or similar, but decided that it wasn't strong enough for my liking. The cherry is a big improvement in that aspect, and if anything looks even better. (Cherry is beautiful timber, but I'm not sure how well it'll show up as keycaps – if it was just a flat slab there wouldn't be any question.) They're time-consuming to make, but not too bad as I do several (20+) at a time.
The firmware is based on an existing open-source one, and is nearly done. The most important thing it needs is testing – and I need hardware to do that properly! But I know that it does at least partially work (a single switch that I've got temporarily connected to a microcontroller the same as the final keyboard controller works, and so does the TrackPoint [which also goes through the keyboard controller]).
I'll be posting more in the coming days, and will definitely be posting photos once I've got some worthwhile.