Introduction: Make Your Own Roll-Up Keyboard

Picture of Make Your Own Roll-Up Keyboard

Have you ever wanted one of those pricy roll up keyboard but didn't want to spend the money? Here is a quick and dirty way to make your own.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials

For this project you will need:

1 USB Keyboard
1 Screw driver with interchangable bits
Handful of small project sized nuts and bolts

Step 2: Deconstruction

Picture of Deconstruction

Using the screwdriver deconstruct the keyboard.

Step 3: More Deconstruction:

Picture of More Deconstruction:

Remove the keyboard's membrane switch pad and control board. The membrane consists of 3 separate layers tacked together.

Step 4: Assembly:

Picture of Assembly:

Using the rubber pad, plate and nuts & bolts, reassemble the membrane to the control board. Make sure that the traces of the membrane line up with the traces on the control board. If your keyboard had a socket and ribbon cable just reinsert the cable and you ready to label the keys.

Step 5: Complete:

Picture of Complete:

After the long process of labeling the keys you are now ready to use your roll up flexible keyboard. Using a text editor check to make sure all your keys function. HINT: to save time label only the keys you use most, or learn to touch type :)


schumi23 (author)2011-10-30

Anyone know if this coul dbe done with a laptop keyboard? not USB/PSP (has ribbon cable) OK, my question is more of "are there any adapters that exist?

j4jackj (author)schumi232013-07-06

It is a PS/2 keyboard. But do not try to make a rollerup keyboard out of it. IT WILL FAIL.

pjain7 (author)2011-07-06

can this be done with a ps/2 keyboard???
actually i thought about this some time ago.. searched it on the net but could not find this..

ghmagm (author)pjain72012-02-06

YES YOU CAN! I looked it up and found a schematic! However, its quite complicated.... The 6 pins on the ps/2 each have different purposes as you may know. 4 of them are exactly like the usb. So basically, this is the usb ====.
under the first "=" that is connector/line 4. the second = is 3 and so on. on the ps/2, the plastic should be on the top. the whole entire left side is going to be used.the very top one is going to 3 on usb, the middle to 4, and the bottom to 1. on the right side, the middle is going to 2. The final connects(soldering) is gonna be fun XD GOod luck!

dlavie1 (author)pjain72011-07-18

Yap it also works.
It's not about the Plug. It's just about the membrane.
PS/2 and USB are the same (most of the time)


freakyqwerty (author)2011-07-09

Does anyone know if a dogy keyboard short circuits whether It will ruin a laptop/computer or not?

ultralegomaster5096 (author)2011-06-16

I won't save it, keyboards cost like $15 these days, and a used one might be even less...

darkria 45 (author)2011-04-09

what if you put a thin platic or silicone coating on this?

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-01-22

Cool! Now I have to get around to making my metal keyboard...

gmjhowe (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-23

metal keyboard?? man get it done! thats the kinda thing we wanna see.

ElvenChild (author)gmjhowe2010-09-18

apple keyboard with metal keys would be awesome

alvincredible (author)gmjhowe2008-01-23

amen, brotha!

LinuxH4x0r (author)alvincredible2008-01-23

But copper is so damn expensive! (I'll try to do it this summer if I'm not too busy)

gmjhowe (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-24

copper? what about aluminium? tho if you do use copper u could always use 2p coins. (if in uk that is)

Plasmana (author)gmjhowe2009-01-15

Uhh, the newer 2p coins are copper plated steel... However, the older ones should be almost pure copper. You can test the difference by using a magnet.

LinuxH4x0r (author)gmjhowe2008-01-24

Sure! I'll use them if you can make them into sheets for me! I'll just bite the bullet and get some.

Plasmana (author)LinuxH4x0r2009-01-15

What about copper tape?

firelord88 (author)2010-06-12

or you could just go to a computer store pick up a roll out one for $15

Redgerr (author)firelord882010-07-08

thats 15$ more than you need to spend if you happen to have a keyboard laying around... its also cooler if you said you built it yourself and it works! thats my opinion anyhow

ipwnuall2 (author)Redgerr2010-07-21

hahaha boned.... Just Kidding! ;)

Maxaxle (author)2008-01-30

That looks like the kind of thing that I would do on the weekend! But I don't wanna let go of my decent, although basic, keyboard quite yet. Besides, I prefer to use buttons over thin, touch-sensitive pads that leave your fingers sore from bumping the desk so much, lol .

Kryptonite (author)Maxaxle2008-12-06

Hey, do you do HTML coding? just the way ou wrote <sarcasm> lol </sarcasm> is the same as you do affects and stuff when writing out a web page. The reason I ask is because if you do, I'd dearly like some tutoring. =P

cyrozap (author)Kryptonite2009-02-09

Use Wikipedia.

Kryptonite (author)cyrozap2009-02-13

Jee, thanks for all that amazing help...

loofkid (author)Kryptonite2010-04-09 has a very good tutorial. thats how i learned.

Kryptonite (author)loofkid2010-04-12

I started web design this year, and that's the website we use mainly!

cyrozap (author)Kryptonite2009-02-14

You're VERY welcome!

cd41 (author)2008-12-06

howed you print the key labels if you already took the keyboard apart?

peach_fart (author)cd412008-12-13

maybe he printed them before he made it?

cd41 (author)peach_fart2009-01-07

thats crzy talk you know he had a second keyboard lol:)

Crizzle (author)cd412010-04-04

Then whats with your original comment if you know a possibility or mabye even the answer?

master-of-chaos (author)cd412009-05-09

Guess till you get em right.

tolkientrekker (author)cd412009-03-26

You know, as an alternative, there are loads of letter stickers at scrapbooking and craft stores... and remember, you still have the intact keys from the original itself for reference! ;)

jsvanriet (author)2010-04-03

hey just out of curiosity...You know how the sell silicon that people can use like artists and stuff to create molds and what have you not?  What if you placed this INSIDE of the silicon inside a mold as it was curing?  Anyone got any ideas/willing to be the guinea pig?  I have heard about silicone molds but have never tried or even know where to start...just throwing the idea out there for the more accomplished/inventive community members.

Yellowsmiley (author)2009-05-13

One thing, the contacts on the circuit board and the keyboard membrane don't hold tightly together with anything i've tried (superglue the edges of the circuit board and the membrane, electrical tape). Anyone got any ideas?

Umm Maybe Hot Glue? It Does Wonders!!!

scratchr (author)Yellowsmiley2009-10-08

wire glue click herebut carful it is unforgiving.

Azayles (author)Yellowsmiley2009-06-14

melt the three layers together at strategic points using a soldering iron and an old bit.

AwajiMan (author)2009-08-23

This is a great idea, but keep in mind that the labels for keys should be the size of the holes in the membrane contacts, not the size of the physical keys on the keyboard. For example, the space bar sits on top of a contact the same size as all the other keys on most membrane keyboards, and you would have to aim for that exact spot instead of the area where the space bar would normally be. Same for shift, tab, any other non-square key. Would require a lot more accuracy, and probably be slower to type on at first.

thisiswhatwecalltragedy (author)2009-06-23

What kind of feedback should I expect? Do you press as hard as you would with a regular keyboard, not as hard, harder..?

r0b3r7 (author)2009-03-08

I need Help! I went out and got a cheap keyboard to see if this would work, and if it did use it because this idea is frikkin sweet. The keyboard i used is a Dynex multimedia keyboard, and it's frankly, not working too well, but that's because of me. One of the wires connecting the control board to the wire to the usb broke loose, and I'm trying my best to fix it. And, because I'm stupid i tried using superglue to get it back together, before realizing that superglue doesn't conduct electricity. What i need is for anyone to tell me if this project is beyond redemption and if it isn't howto fix it. thanks to anyone who helps

r0b3r7 (author)r0b3r72009-03-08

I forgot to mention that i didn't actually connect the wire, i saved it just in time, thought superglue is all over the place where the wire connects to the control board. Please excuse my double posting

A.C.E. (author)r0b3r72009-06-21

reassemble it as good as you can and return it. say it is dead.

matstermind (author)r0b3r72009-03-28

solder it. wires are pretty easy to solder together.

RicaPower (author)2008-11-23

can u use like 3 of the "membranes" to make a thick sturdy skin?

Yellowsmiley (author)RicaPower2009-05-11

Potentially you could, but all 3 membranes would need to be of the same brand and the circuitry needs to look the same, also your key reaction/your keys ability to actually react will decrease.

tinyelefant (author)2009-03-11

Awesome! I did this with a spare ps/2 keyboard, the only thing I had trouble with was the little rubber piece that goes behind the circuit board other than that it went together like a dream.

aaronjehall (author)2009-02-16

On the last episode of brink I saw, Kip added lights to a keyboard by desoldering the scroll lock light and running2 brighter leds off the same spot with some extra wire and a couple of holes drilled in the case. I wonder if something similar could be done here. My hopes would be that the membrane would work like fiber optics, or one of those bar lights with the clear plastic etched to reveal an image when the light is turned on... just thinking

filmakerob (author)2008-11-18

well, one thing , how well does it work ? i mean cuz i dont know if i want to rip apart my key board just to do this,

osxtiger (author)filmakerob2009-02-16

You can buy cheap membrane keyboards for a buck or two.

About This Instructable




More by Auger Duval:Lightup Christmas Tree DecorationDIY Versalaser Air Assist ConeArduino Traffic Light Controller w/Remote Control
Add instructable to: