Instructables

Buccaneer Keyboard

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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 rampkins.com

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



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iExv-aYj32Q

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

Picture of Making the keys
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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.

Woww did you make this urself .. great man

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.

CMDAcheron2 years ago
What keyboard did you start with?
Das Model S Ultimate its said in the 1st step
Aaronius2 years ago
Simply beautiful. A warm Victorian-tech feel without the air of decay that some steampunk projects possess.
richie_1142 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?
ZoDo2 years ago
REALY NICE WORK!!!!
swtprince2 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)  recklesskiba2 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!
SinAmos2 years ago
Freakin' awesome and enough details. haha.
maurodlh2 years ago
Beautiful !!!!
Venemot2 years ago
The one word that came to my mind was........."AWESOME".
rch2 years ago
Without a doubt, the finest looking keyboard of any genre I have ever seen.
Excellent work by a true craftsman.
kimblebear2 years ago
This is one of the most beautiful bits of steampunk I've ever seen.

Well past my expertise, but what an aspiration level

If you ever get them put into production, I'll buy one - in fact I'd be your UK agent

paqrat2 years ago
Beautiful keyboard and beautiful craftsmanship.
Dimorius2 years ago
С ума сойти, как красиво!!! Супер!
djayriv2 years ago
This is truly awesome. I am definitely going to have to make my own now, I have been holding out for awhile now about making a steampunk keyboard, and computer system. This was the final inspiration I needed. Superb job.
eskimojo2 years ago
Which brings to mind a horrible joke.

How much does a pirate charge for an ear piercing?

A BUCCANEER!(buck-an-ear)
Pirate 1: "Where's your buccaneers?"
Pirate 2: "Under me buckin' hat!"
Ah, I thought that was the price a pirate farmer charged for corn...
Beautiful workmanship for sure. What did you guys do for keyswitches and electronics to interpret the keystrokes? Did you just rip the membrane off a cheapy keyboard and use that?
as far as i know, the das keyboard uses an old style of mechanical switches to register the keystrokes.
Oh duh...I just saw that it was like the fist sentence that said what keyboard was being used :).
That would be the easiest way to do it =)
stihl882 years ago
What beautiful craftsmanship! You must be a retired clock builder :)
S1892 years ago
Now that is truly beautiful!
-chase-2 years ago
Ditto - like most i really like the look of these style boards.

You really did a great job - nice instructable!

chase
jalm_x2 years ago
TODA UNA OBRA DE ARTE!!!!
TU MUY BIEN!!!
Amazing!!!!
makermike2 years ago
This is very nice. I particularly like the leather.
jackg2 years ago
ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!!!!
splazem2 years ago
Amazing! Great job!
Blackmac2 years ago
This is gorgeous! I want one.
bLiTzJoN2 years ago
Very well done - I love the attention to detail and use of quality materials. I might very well have to do this myself! Now you need to do a monitor to match.
yosu2 years ago
Beautiful and easy.
One of the best!
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