Keyboard Assembly 3 - 3D Printed Cover

A project log for Thumb Keyboard

Experimental thumb keyboard, suitable for a hand held device

David BoucherDavid Boucher 03/26/2019 at 20:340 Comments

This is the last of these logs covering my first prototype and I'll be talking about the 3D printed front cover.

The most important function of the front cover is to hold the key labels, which are paper strips that go above each row of keys (see previous log). There are four rows of holes to accommodate the switches and above each row is another row of smaller holes to accommodate the labels. The label is slotted in from the back of the cover and a plastic bar (also 3D printed) holds it in place. Here is a picture of the back to help make things clearer. I've removed one of the bars that hold the labels in.

The parts were designed on OpenSCAD, which, for those of you that don't know it, is a tool that allows 3D models to be defined programmatically. The output is an STL file which can then be sliced and printed or incorporated into a larger part such as a complete case.

One of my aims with this project is to make the keyboard layout fully parametric. The current design allows the number of rows and columns to be changed but I would like to add more flexibility in future, such as allowing offset key rows or taller row labels.

The OpenSCAD files can be downloaded here. PLEASE NOTE: I have reorganised the downloads so that everything is in one archive. This one also contains the software and the key label spreadsheet covered in the previous logs.