Mechanical keyboards are all the rage for offering satisfying clicky feedback and improved typing speeds. But few people can say they have one that’s made from wood.
Over on project site Hackaday, Tauno Erik published his attempt at making one. He explains that he had a cheap plastic keyboard with some missing keys, but instead of simply replacing the keys, he took the controller out of the inside and created a wooden case and keycaps.
Getting it working required soldering wires onto the keyboard’s logic board and then mapping what codes each row and column output. Then Erik chose the keys he wanted and soldered wires into the right places. The buttons were connected through a mounting plate.
The keys are made completely from plywood, a type of wood that’s strong even when it’s thin. The top layer is solid oak, while inside layers consist of birch plywood. The biggest challenge, according to Erik, was sanding down the keys to the right size. It was all done by hand, meaning this is a truly bespoke wooden keyboard.
It’s not just a beautiful keyboard, but for some we imagine it might evoke nostalgia for the Atari 2600 and its iconic wood grain veneer. There’s something about wood that makes it perfect for the home setting. A nice finish would make the keyboard feel really luxurious to the touch. There’s also just something pleasant about using an eco-friendly material that is biodegradable, unlike traditional plastic.
Wood is, unfortunately, quite hard to work with, which is probably why it hasn’t taken off for use in electronics. The material is quite inconsistent whereas plastic can be poured into molds to get precise shapes easily.