Stab Stab Stab

A project log for Turbot Keyboard

An ergonomic low-profile 65% keyboard.

deʃhipudeʃhipu 10/16/2020 at 13:310 Comments

Stabs, or what normal people call stabilizers, are special levers added under any key longer than 1.5U to make sure that the key goes down evenly no matter which part of it you are pressing. Many keyboard designs avoid longer keys just to avoid dealing with stabs, but here we don't really have much choice: Turbot has 4 keys that are 2U long, and that is already long enough to warrant stabs.

In Flounder I tested several commercially available types of stabilizers, but they were all either incompatible with low-profile keys, or required space on the underside of the PCB — which doesn't work when the PCB is supposed to lie flat on the desk. So I went ahead and made my own stabilizers out of paperclips, using the holes in the PCB to mount them.

This time I didn't make any holes for attaching the stabilizers and I plan to do something else.

Commercial keyboards that use the Kailh choc switches have a very neat solution for this problem:

The tops of the switches have a special groove to hold the lever. Unfortunately, you can't easily buy switches like that, so I decided to try and make my own. I started by using a bad PCB from another project to make a drilling jig:

Using that jig I can drill holes in the case of the switch on both sides, and then put a paperclip through it. Since I only have 2U keys at most, I will not need those extra bits on the sides. I still need something for the paperclip to hook onto, though, but that was already a solved problem in Flounder:

Simply glue some pieces of wire to underside of the key caps, and done.