Picture of Buccaneer Keyboard
buccaneer_8 - Copy.jpg
Christened the Buccaneer , this is our take on a Steampunk Keyboard design - essentially a mechanical computer keyboard that has been modified to resemble an old world aesthetic. The project was inspired by the Steampunk Keyboard created by Jake Von Slatt .

A few more photos of the completed Buccaneer Keyboard can be found on

And, just to show it is a fully functional keyboard, see it in action in the video below!

We hope you enjoy our build log!
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Step 1: Making the keys

Picture of Making the keys
The keyboard began as a Das Model S Ultimate , chosen for its distinctive sound and suitability for our design. The first part of its conversion was to make the brass keys. The plastic keys were popped off the Das , then snipped down with tin snips so that just the stem remained.

Next we cut brass tubing down to size with a chopsaw , while sanding a rim on the end after every cut. The rim was added so that the keys closer resembled that of a typewriter, and to get rid of the saw marks the chopsaw left.

Oak doweling was then cut to length, and the bottom drilled so that the key stems could be slotted into the dowels and glued in place. The doweling was adhered into the brass tubing, filling the hole.

The lettering was designed on the computer, printed off, and then punched out with a hole punch . Protective plastic end caps were also punched out. Both were then inserted to give a completed key.
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elizazet5 days ago

awesome work

elizazet5 days ago

awesome work

nice keyword.

Awesome Keyboard.

beautiful keyword.

Fabulous work

Good job.

Great instrument.

good one.

Nice Work Great Job sir.

This is awesome

nice one work..

very nice..

nice collection;

i love with your job

Great collection

johnsonpaul3 months ago

love this design

GrahamAbbey4 months ago

stylish product

Rejanblink5 months ago

I dont get how you turn the square shaped keys in to round ones ?

Cringojames5 months ago

great keyboard mate..

Davementor5 months ago

great classic collection

KanwarSingh6 months ago

Nice collection bro :)!!!!!!!!

HarryLaine6 months ago

like your stuff !!!!!!!!

indiadumbells6 months ago

nice craftt


mgalyean2 years ago
Great craftsmanship and major kudos that you didn't destroy an authentic antique typewriter to "harvest" the keys. It pains me to see people ironically destroying real antiques in the name of a trend that purports to reflect and honor a bygone design ethic. The irony will surely hit them upside the head one day and they might even feel twinge of fanboy embarrassment if not true (un)maker guilt.

I'm attempting to do the exact opposite in making a usb keyboard from a typerwriter.

That shouldn't be too hard, I say go for it. Back in the 80s I started turning an old Underwood into a printer but never got enough solenoids together. It was important to me that what ever mods I made would not permanently alter the typewriter. I decide early on that I'd be happy just controlling the keys and the CR/LF (funny how those terms actually make complete sense with a typewriter) and feed paper in by hand. Now you got me thinking about it all over again.

I haven't found any instructions yet on converting an electric typewriter, but I would like to do that. Nowhere near as pretty though.

I don't have instructions, but here would be my off the cuff approach:

Start with donor USB keyboard and electric typwriter.

Reverse engineer how the USB keys translate to what codes for feeding into the keyboard controller in the USB keyboard. This is likely row/col parallel digital data. Keep notes on what codes each key sends.

Then you'd need to create glue circuitry that took the outputs from the electric typewriter keys and translated to the proper logic going into the USB keyboard controller. A programmable logic array comes to mind.

CMDAcheron3 years ago
What keyboard did you start with?
Das Model S Ultimate its said in the 1st step
Aaronius3 years ago
Simply beautiful. A warm Victorian-tech feel without the air of decay that some steampunk projects possess.
richie_1143 years ago
I believe a sensible person would use a plane in such a situation. No sense wasting all the time required to set up a router or router table for such a small part. As a craftsman myself, I would've used the plane. Great 'ible by the way!
Great keyboard, how did you put a lip on the brass pipe to hold the key letter?
ZoDo3 years ago
swtprince3 years ago
I have really never been a steampunk fan, but this may change my mind. The BEST keyboard I have ever seen!
awesomness. about how long did it take and how much did yall have to spend on making this beautiful piece of tech.
rampkins (author)  recklesskiba3 years ago
A while and a lot! :)

Time wise, it's hard to gauge. It's something we've spent a few hours on here and there over a few months. The cost of the materials is around the region of 300usd, give or take a few, with the Das, brass and leather being the most costly parts. Cheers!
SinAmos3 years ago
Freakin' awesome and enough details. haha.
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