Clunke Button

Assistive input device for interacting with adapted toys and tools.

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Clunke is a low cost, printable switch for adapting toys and appliances to be used by people living with motor control disabilities.


Assistive Technology (AT) buttons are a way for someone with a limited range of motion to control his or her environment at the same level as anyone else. Most AT buttons available are quite expensive, and are engineered to be used in high reliability situations. As a result there are a lot of home DIY projects to make cheaper buttons, but they often lack long term suitability and are thus more stop-gaps than replacements.


Clunke exists to fill the gap between low cost switches (e.g. taping wires together) and high cost switches (existing commercial solutions) with a material price point of $10 and sturdy design suitable for daily use.


This button's initial model was created as part of a team-based senior design course. We worked with a local organization, UCP and TASC of Huntsville, to design and construct an AT keyboard and AT button.

The senior design class ended with a second button design made, but not user tested. I now maintain the project and am working toward a third design revision and user testing.


The current button design requires a hobby level 3D printer and mechanical keyboard switches. See instructions below for build details.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 689.37 kB - 08/23/2016 at 19:47


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 863.46 kB - 08/23/2016 at 19:47



Design file.

x-extension-fcstd - 349.61 kB - 08/23/2016 at 19:47



Design file.

x-extension-fcstd - 16.47 kB - 08/23/2016 at 19:47


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 3.40 kB - 08/23/2016 at 19:47


  • 200W Print Bed Heater Results

    Christopher Bero10/19/2017 at 14:27 0 comments

    I finally determined that the 100W heater I had just couldn't keep up with the demand of printing at 80-100C, so I purchased a silicon 200W replacement and got it installed.

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  • Still Tuning

    Christopher Bero10/12/2017 at 00:13 0 comments

    The PETG arrived!

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  • PET-G Tuning

    Christopher Bero10/09/2017 at 15:45 0 comments

    Printing with PETG is turning out to be pretty difficult. Every time I think things are tuned, something new goes out of whack and I'm back to square one.

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  • On Using Feedback

    Christopher Bero10/08/2017 at 14:07 3 comments

    I heard the Thomas Edison made 1,000 failed attempts before inventing the lightbulb sound byte over and over during grade school. There are a lot of anecdotes describing the hardships and long odds entrepreneurs overcome in the course of becoming successful, and I feel as though hearing them without some experience makes it difficult to really appreciate how much effort it takes to shrug off negativity.

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  • Quieter Printing - Adding a SSR

    Christopher Bero10/03/2017 at 13:50 0 comments

    My printrbot's motherboard (printrboard, as it is called) has a mosfet for controlling a heater for the print bed. Early on with the printer I noticed that this component tends to get a little toasty, so I used its 12V output to control a relay which handled the load better.

    Except the relay goes CLACK ... CLACK ... CLACK as it turns the heater on and off to maintain a consistent temperature while the printer is running.

    Yesterday I replaced the relay with a solid state relay (SSR), and it's certainly a relief to avoid the periodic clicking sound! I'm going to run some hour-long tests on it today to make sure everything works well, and then put it to use!

  • Making the Most with Money

    Christopher Bero10/01/2017 at 15:23 0 comments

    Sorry, the descriptive log title lost out to alliteration.

    The semifinals prize money arrived. I've been in touch with two of the three other students who were on the design team for the original button, and we agree that the money should go toward testing and then making buttons. So the prize funds are for button materials only (i.e. not 3D printer parts). I'll be tracking it all on this post as I go.

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  • Good Printers make Good Buttons

    Christopher Bero09/29/2017 at 02:56 0 comments

    - or at least they make any buttons at all.

    My Printrbot (pictured above) has not had an easy life. Almost from the day it arrived as a kit, I've been ricing (in vain) to achieve lofty goals like queue based 24/7 printing. And in response it has spent more time than not being broken or mid-upgrade. Over this summer I decided to rip out a lot of the crazy stuff and try to get back to nice, reasonable working order. It's going well, but there's still a lot left to do.

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  • Auto Leveling the Manual Way

    Christopher Bero09/29/2017 at 02:50 0 comments

    This is the recently-concluded story of my printrbot's trip to manual bed leveling land and back again.

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  • Printer Migration

    Christopher Bero09/29/2017 at 02:48 0 comments

    The printer is now safely at work!

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  • Hackaday Prize and State of the Clunke

    Christopher Bero09/27/2017 at 03:14 0 comments

    So this project made it into the finals round of the Hackaday Prize! Given how awesome the other assistive tech projects I saw were, I'm still pretty surprised.

    I've delayed quite a while with this log entry; right now is a pretty tumultuous time for me (just started a new job) and I wanted to make sure all the bases were covered before posting anything. Let's quickly take a look at where the Clunke Button stands today, and then I'll get back to the Hackaday Prize.

    Read more »

View all 14 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    Making one button takes me about 8 hours of printing and 1 hour of assembly.

    • Print the button base, button hatch, and and key cap.
    • Solder the MX switch to the mono port with two pieces of wire, about 3 inches each.
    • Install the MX switch in the middle of the button base, and then run the mono jack to the port on the flat side. Screw the mono port's threads into the hole in the side of the button.
    • Jam the key cap onto the cherry MX switch. This can optionally be done with a light spring over the switch stem to adjust the force of the button.
    • Optionally glue or bolt (M3 bolts) the shelf liner to the bottom of the button to make a no-slip base!

    Can also optionally have superglue to hold things together.

View all instructions

Enjoy this project?



Michael wrote 10/09/2017 at 19:39 point

Obviously doesn't have the high reliability your going for, but still fun in the same vein.

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Christopher Bero wrote 10/09/2017 at 23:22 point

That's pretty cool, I love the printed springs haha!

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davedarko wrote 07/06/2017 at 20:56 point

this is also great for presenting projects stuff on cons / faires etc. - thank you for sharing :) 

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Christopher Bero wrote 07/07/2017 at 15:16 point

Good to know, thanks!

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