The hex keypad

A project log for wirez80

Z80 machine with a hex keypad and 7-segment displays built on a cylindrical wireframe

matsengmatseng 12/21/2018 at 10:533 Comments

Originally I had planned to use the ubiquitous 6x6mm tactile switches, but I found enough of the 12x12mm model with keycaps as leftovers from a previous project, so I decided to use them instead.

Soldering up 20+ switches in a nice orderly array would be a really hard thing.  As the happy owner of a 3d-printer it was easy to model a jig in Fusion360 and print it.  30 minutes of modeling and 1.5 hours of printing later I had this in my hand.

3D-printed jig for 12mm tactile switches
3D-printed jig for 12mm tactile switches

With the jig it was a piece of cake to just plonk down the switches into the holes and solder some newly straightened, cut and bent steel wires to them.

It ended up looking like this:

Nice huh?  I'm quite pleased with this result, but unfortunately the stem on the switches can be rotated like 10-15 degrees in both directions so the keycaps end up all crooked after the keypad been used.

I might have to print some gridded overlay for the switches that will keep the caps lined up properly.  Or else I just have to do some "homestyling" and straighten up the caps before taking photos of it so it looks nice and pretty. ;-)


Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 12/22/2018 at 05:12 point

Not suitable for monkeys.

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Ted Yapo wrote 12/21/2018 at 11:21 point

Awesome keypad!  I want one with 104 keys.

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matseng wrote 12/21/2018 at 21:53 point

As a keypad the switches are more or less ok, but they are not "touchtypeable" and would make a lousy real keyboard.   Maybe for something that is really super retro stuff where ergonomics and other silly things are not important then maybe, But I'd probably select the round keycaps - they look older in some way....

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