DIY Project: Make Your Own Great Steampunk Keyboard

DIY Project: Make Your Own Great Steampunk Keyboard

Range Govindan
Nov 5, 2008

Steampunk keyboards are popping up everywhere. The only trouble is that they are pretty darn expensive. If you take a look at the latest one that we featured here at Unplggd, you won't be happy to find out that this was a unique keyboard commissioned for $1500 for a female client. After seeing this, we thought that making your own Steampunk keyboard might be a good idea. Read on to find out more.

Phirzcol has wanted a Steampunk for a long. He thought that it was time to make one himself. This project is pretty simple, if time consuming. Creating the keys can be quite long. Instead of creating your own, you could easily harvest some from an old typewriter. The trick is finding one that has enough keys to use for your keyboard, since keyboards have between 104 and 130, depending on the media keys. By our count, you'll need at least 3 typewriters to get this number of keys. Basically, this project hinges on creating and working on a piece of wood that will be wrapped around a normal keyboard and working on a series of keys to replace the covering of your old ones.

The first step in making a Steampunk keyboard is choosing your base keyboard. You'll need to make sure that the keyboard will allow you to wrap wood around it in one axis. More than one axis will needlessly complicate things. This means a keyboard that has a flat surface. It's best to look for older keyboards than newer ones, since the old cheap ones used to be flat. Then, you'll remove the top of the keyboard. A piece of wood is made to go over the surface. You'll have to make holes into it to fit the new keys.

Next you'll select a piece of brass tubing that fits the approximate size of your keys. You'll cut a number of keys. This varies on the amount of buttons that you have on your keyboard. You'll need to use a tube cutter for this process. A piece of this tube will be used to cut through the wood. Next, you'll create the numbers and letters for your keys. They keys are created using a resin/polymer which is poured into the small brass cylinder. After a few tries, you should be an expert.

You'll take off the cover of your old keys and adapt them to the new covering. They essentially receive a facelift, using the new keys that you've just made. You'll have to allow 2 days for the filler product to dry. Then you'll use your new keys to attach them through the wooden cover that you made. Read the full tutorial over at Instructables. [photos by Phirzcol]

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Steampunk Keyboard

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