Instructables

Make a Techie Name Badge

Picture of Make a Techie Name Badge
Reclaim discarded technology and make yourself a name tag that will forever brand you as a member of the technical elite.

Or at least get you into nerd pride movie night.

Or something.

 
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Step 1: Acquire Keyboards

Keyboards are regularly thrown away. Being continually pounded on by fingers, they break. Being in a position to have things easily spilled or dropped on them, they break. New computers tend to come with new keyboards, and people frequently are so used to their old keyboard that they throw away the brand new keyboard. Computers come with standard bare-bones keyboards, and people want fancy illuminated wireless ergonomic keyboards.

Whatever. Find the junk pile of any high-tech community, and you can probably find quite a few keyboards that no one wants anymore. You'll need one keyboard for each of repetition of the most common letter in your name. "WestfW" needs two keyboards cause it has two W's. "Mary Ann" still only needs two keyboards, but "Beekeeper" would need 5 to cover all thoses E's.

Step 2: Remove and wash keys...

Remove the keys by prying them up with a screwdriver or similar tool. This will get easier as more keys are removed; start with near keys that aren't needed for your name, so you can scratch them up and not lose any keys. Throw the keys into a net bag and put them in a dishwasher to clean off the finger gunk and dust. You can probably slosh them around in some soapy water by hand if you don't have a dishwasher...

If you're making more than one badge, or are likely to EVER make more than one, it may be helpful to make SOME effort to sort the keys into some sort of holder.

I find the oven part a bit too much work. Can't one use a glue-gun instead?

erisraven2 years ago
Idea - would laptop keys work better? Kinda the same effect, but thinner....
westfw (author)  erisraven2 years ago
Hmm. Smart phone keys would be nice, I think. The thickness is not so much a problem as all the extra horizontal space that goes into making the key finger-sized.
Why not just put the keyboard into the dishwasher whole before you pop the keys off? Put it in by itself on the top rack, with the keys pointing down. Shake a ton of water out of the keys at the beginning of the drying cycle. Since you're not going to be plugging it into anything, you can take it apart right away after the washer is done. I've cleaned a couple keyboards this way and continued using them after they dry out completely (waiting a week or two to be safe).
Or you could just take off the front side of the chassis and, leaving the keys in, pop that in the dishwasher. The circuits might still be good, so I'd keep them in working condition so that if you wanted to make something else (like the singing keyboard with the hallmark card thing, or the cheap flexible keyboard)
westfw (author)  brighterfusion6 years ago
Hmm. I guess because in my case I raided keyboards from the company "e-waste" bin over a period of months, extracting vowels and other common letters particular to our family. Popping off keys as you discard, or find discarded keyboards is more space efficient than saving whole keyboards till you're ready to start the project...
Lewkish3 years ago
Im going to make a keyring out of one for my brother for Christmas, he's a bit of a techie geek so this will be cheap and perfect!
mg0930mg5 years ago
Instead of that cardboard. You could use a piece of a motherboard or something. That'd be cool!
 or a stick of RAM
he, you could also kram an LED in there, for even more nerdness :)
sabbott5 years ago
Love it. And love the idea of using smaller keys for stuff too. I am thinking that artist's resin would make a more attractive material, but might lack some geek-appeal. This is quite inspiring! I love it when there are instructables that reduce landfill, and actually highlight the issue generally.
great idea but I just thought of using the square holes that is used on the keyboard to hold the keys in normally just cut it to size then place keys on after that add tons of hot glue and magnets and your done
KID8936 years ago
i made one very cool im going to wear mines in school very nerdy/geeky thanxs
Tailslvr7_76 years ago
One Word: SUCCESS. Two Short Sentences: +1. Good idea.
lordoffire6 years ago
nice job....I wouldn't have thought to put in the oven....good idea......
moshen6 years ago
You have inspired me sir!! I made a nifty fridge magnet using a dead 2.5" HD. I attached the magnet from the hard disk on the back. Great instructable!
IMG_2650.jpgIMG_2651.jpg
Rakkan6 years ago
I might make one of these, but instead of coating the keys in glue like that, I was thinking about placing them on a metal/plastic backing, then screwing on over them a casing with holes for the keys to show, but tight enough of a fit so they won't fall out, just to make the thing look overall a bit more professional.
AT6 years ago
This is a fun idea. I might have to try this one out. Add some spare hard-drive magnets to hold it on. I need to start collecing dead keyboard...
MDude6 years ago
Unless you want to go "1337" and replace some of the letters in your name with numbers. But then you'd look like a dork, not a nerd.
Dzwiedziu6 years ago
It's nice, but a little crude. And the office door plaque is superb!
westfw (author)  Dzwiedziu6 years ago
I think "a little crude" is part of the effect I was aiming for... ?
If so then you have done it! ;)
Aeshir6 years ago
Lol this is awesome. I can't think up a use for it yet, but I might make on anyway, just to show how cool I am. Maybe i'll put it on my wall or something in my room.
ewilhelm6 years ago
I will attest to the street cred this gave westfw when he showed up at Nerd Pride movie night wearing it.
HamO6 years ago
Most excellent idea. Well done, great pix. Thanks for sharing.
I love this idea! Pete
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