Introduction: Secret Keyboard Hack!

Computers, mice & keyboards are everywhere nowadays. So why not hack one? The keyboards look innocent - well, most of them....

Most of us don't use the small numeric keypad, which houses the num lock button. So, might as well put it to good use - turn it into a small, quick, concealed & secure place to store items.

This hack takes about 30 mins to perform, and requires basic skill. I suggest you use a spare keyboard if you don't know what you are doing.

Go to the end of the instructable to see how to lock the compartment!!

Big shoutout & thanks to Kipkay, who did a video on it -  See above!)

Check out his channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/kipkay

Hope you enjoy the hack!

Step 1: Take It Apart!

Firstly we want to open it up. So flip the keyboard over and remove all of the screws & put them somewhere safe - we need them later. On some keyboards the screws may be hidden behind rubber stoppers.

Now you should get 2 parts - the bottom of the keyboard plus some transparent film, and the top with all the keys, and a thin rubber film. Move the rubber film onto the bottom of the keyboard - So it looks like picture 3.


Some of your keys may fall out. Mine were made in a way so that they couldnt simply drop out - the only direction they could move was in and out (like when they were being pressed)..


Step 2: Glue!

Now its time to glue the keys in place.

Firstly, you want to prop the keyboard up, so that the keys look like they aren't being pressed. It'l attract attention if all the keys are stuck in the pressed position.

Now, take out the glue. As you can see in the picture, i used SuperGlue first. However, I ran out of superglue, and also the superglue packet i used didn't work, so I had to result to the traditional hot glue gun.

WARNING: DON'T PUT HOT GLUE ON UNSET SUPERGLUE - It really stinks and the fumes makes your eyes sting.

Apply the glue to all of the Num Lock keypad, except the Delete key! The delete key will be used as a quick release to help you get the keypad out of keyboard.


Step 3: Cut the Rubber

A relatively simple task now - Cut the rubber to make space for your storage.

Draw a line down the edge of the num lock keypad, and cut with a pair of scissors.
Don't cut the transparent film/membrane as the circuit flows through these points to enable the other keys to work.

Step 4: Smooth the Surface & Cover With Paper

To let the different layers in your keyboard stay in the same place, there are small notches on the plastic case.

We want to get rid of them, so take your pliers and pull away the small things which stick out. There was a big hole which the screw went through, so i just used a knife to flatten that too!

Now its all flat, we want to get a piece of A4 paper to cover the part of the rubber film we just cut off. This is just for aesthetics, but also stops you from accidentally pressing the keys.

Step 5: Cut Out the Cover

Now its time to cut out the cover.

I started off with a normal modelling knife, but i figured you needed something better. I only had access to a dremel (no power tools), so i used the rotary cutting bit on the dremel to cut it out.

Try and follow the red line template when cutting it out (I had to draw it freehand, so the lines a bit wobbly,) but try and cut straight :P

Once your done, file/pick off the small flakes of plastic, and sand the corners a little so that the key unit fits nicely in the hole you just made.

Step 6: Finish the Back of the Key Pad

Now, grab the remaining piece of A4 paper, and cut it just smaller than the size of the keypad. Make a hole for both the back of the Delete key, and the screw hole. Now, using normal sellotape, tape the paper onto the back of the keypad. This will make a nicer finish.

Now you want to cut the tip off a pencil, or small wooden rod. You want to glue this into the delete key so that it is flush with the paper when the delete key is in its normal position, and so that it sticks out when you press the key down. This will help you lift up the keypad.

Finally check that the keypad fits back nicely and doesnt brush the edges

Step 7: Close Up

A rather simple step...


Just put the keyboard back together, by putting the screws back.

Wait, you've got 1 screw left? Keep that for the next step ;)

Step 8: How to Use It, and Lock It!

Use it like a normal keyboard. All the buttons work, apart from the num lock section, but i'm sure you hardly ever use it anyway!

Go store some money in there - put a handful of notes in there and nobody will notice. Its great if you got something small on you which you need to put away quickly.

However, there is a super secret locking mechanism on it - remember that left over screw from before? Place your money in the compartment, and put the keypad over it. Now turn over the keyboard, and screw it in!
Now that'l stop people from easily opening it!


If you like it, please favorite and vote up for the contests. I'l be happy to hear any comments, suggestions & feedback in the comments!!

Good luck, makers!

Comments

author
rickyeatough made it!(author)2014-03-17

Hey guys,

Kipkay made a great video about this, check it out -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZIlBQI53E0

author
Jynxi made it!(author)2013-12-26

Kinda cool idea. The only problem I see with this is, if someone ever breaks into your home, it seems the first thing they like to steal is the electronics. That means a double whammy for the owner. Good bye computer & cash stash...

author
rickyeatough made it!(author)2013-12-27

Good thinking. We (my family and I) actually got burgled a couple of years ago, and although all our computers and monitors were gone, they wern't interested in our keyboards as we had pretty standard dell keyboards. However, my brother had a gaming keyboard and they took that, but otherwise id say the hacks fine to perform on normal keyboards

author
altomic made it!(author)2014-01-26

note to self - always steal the keyboard as well.

author
King+Crab made it!(author)2013-12-31

Yeah but if someone broke in, I doubt a keyboard would be an ideal object to steal. It's cumbersome, and there are wires that go behind the desk and are probably tangled with something. And even if it's a gaming keyboard, it's rare to be over $150.
Cool idea for spare keyboards though. I never want to throw my old ones away, but I never use them.

author
AJMansfield made it!(author)2013-12-30

It's the monitor and the box, though, that are the targets. The keyboard and mouse are less vulnerable, because a) they are not as valuable (usually), and b) if they are valuable, chances are the owner can easily obtain the registration number from the vendor (because they cashed in the code for some promotional item in-game), while the same cannot be said for the monitor or box.

author
nwlaurie made it!(author)2013-12-26

I'm told that thieves these days aren't interested in the computer so much as the flat VDUs. They grab them as easy to take and easy to sell, the rest of the kit is a bit of a faff to take quickly while still keeping it in sellable condition.
Nice hack.
Trouble is I have an Apple keyboard with no separate panel!

author
PrncssGeek made it!(author)2013-12-26

Love it! Now if I could break myself of the habit of actually using the number keypad that is a hack I could use! Thanks for sharing. I might do that for the kids in the house, they love secret hiding spots!

author
Grey_Wolfe made it!(author)2014-01-19

I thought using the preexisting gap in the bottom of the keyboard might be a valid option.

author
PrncssGeek made it!(author)2014-01-19

Hey that's a great idea! I have some older clunky larger usb keyboards that I could had that space into a hiding compartment into nicely! That is a very valid option!

author
Grey_Wolfe made it!(author)2014-01-19

Interesting and creative hack. I might suggest simply making a stealthy cover for the bottom crevasse shown in your first picture with the screwdriver. Using the same kind of plastic you could make a piece that fits into that slot giving you more space while maintaining functionality. You could even replace one or more of the existing screws with longer ones for holding the compartment closed, which would add to legitimizing the appearance. Plus the space is already built in allowing the hack without even voiding your warranty (if that matters).

I only throw this idea out because, while not everyone does, the person that tries to use your number pad will quickly notice something is afoot. :D

author
Tin+Man made it!(author)2013-12-27

Don't forget which keyboard you put this mod into!
Sometimes I get fed-up with all the old computer junk lying around and chuck the lot in the recycle bin...

author
tn. made it!(author)2013-12-26

this is cool - i've got a half-dozen various keyboard lying all over the place and i never once thought to adapt one or a few to make secret hiding places!

author
hammer9876 made it!(author)2013-12-26

It seems like spare keyboards clutter up my space. Like, they are too good to throw away, right? This is great.

author
skyjazzy made it!(author)2013-12-25

I love your idea

author
ronhenderson65 made it!(author)2013-12-24

If you use your numeric keypad a lot, you could use an external (usb) numeric keypad instead of the one on the keyboard.

author
TP_inc made it!(author)2013-12-24

nice me and my dad have all kinds of computer parts and accessories hanging around so i may try this

author
wet_colored_arch made it!(author)2013-12-23

Been thinking about putting Raspberry Pi in keyboard - this looks like a good spot I hadn't thought of.

author
DaddysGal22 made it!(author)2014-01-14

I don't use num lock but my bro does and he would kill me lol :)

author
amconder made it!(author)2014-01-02

Ah it's ok I think it would be better if u could still use key board -maybe it's just me ???!!??!!!! Idk ??!!!!?!!

author
rickyeatough made it!(author)2014-01-03

You can buy an external keypad to use with this hack. You can still use the keyboard, but just not the num pad section

author
joselyn08 made it!(author)2014-01-02

This is a good idea but in muy case it would be a desaster! I always use that keyboard so... it s not for me. Bit it is well think!

author
fahlazad made it!(author)2013-12-29

but head...

author
The+Last+Gunslinger26 made it!(author)2013-12-28

Too bad you cant still use the numberpad, I use mine all the time when I'm typing in my Passwords for different sites around the web.

author
curtis.stanley made it!(author)2013-12-28

Great idea, but I use the number pad ALOT so this would not work for me :( .

author
Darxide23 made it!(author)2013-12-27

Sadly, I use the 10-key all the time. As do most people, I imagine.

author
shizumadrive made it!(author)2013-12-26

I guess im the only one who uses that numpad. Still cool item.

author
Yerboogieman made it!(author)2013-12-24

10-key is basically required for school, etc.

author
ac-dc made it!(author)2013-12-26

Or gaming or everyday use. Once you get used to using it, it's the faster way to go, especially if you use it for page navigation with multiple keyboards because modern keyboards have a tendency to move around the dedicated page navigation keys and omit some of them while they almost always stay in the same configurations on the number pad.

author
Spydamonky made it!(author)2013-12-24

Most of us don't use that pad!? I use mine all the time!
Regardless, very cool. If I didn't use my NumPad so much I would totally do this, finally my sister won't steal my money!

author
rickyeatough made it!(author)2013-12-24

Hey

If you use the pad i suggest you could maybe do it on a spare keyboard? I don't know many people who use the pad, so i thought that it would be the best place to hide things as most people ignore it!

author
Spydamonky made it!(author)2013-12-24

I'm trying to figure out a way to do it while keeping the functionality in tact! It would just be a matter of cutting the numpad out and restoring the connections you break, on top of all of the other modifications you did. Now that would be seriously cool!

author
rickyeatough made it!(author)2013-12-24

The only way i can think of that you could restore the connections is by just simply cutting out the numpad, and leaving the rubber film as is. However, this would result in a small amount of space to store (EVEN smaller, practically no space). Also, if you stored things like money in there, it would interfere with the domes on the rubber to send signals to your pc, so your keystrokes wont be great! So, unfortunatly i don't think that there will be a way to keep the funtionality of the num lock and make the storage inside!

author
Spydamonky made it!(author)2013-12-25

I will take a look, hopefully the connections all run in one bus which will make reconnection far easier; if not that is a bit of a problem. I have opened keyboards that have the various blocks of letters on different films which would make it nice and easy. I will have to see what my current board is. If it is then the game plan is to do exactly what you did but trim the film so that it fits through the hole and maybe extend the bus that connects the keys to the controller.

author
ac-dc made it!(author)2013-12-26

It is possible to do it, but not at all reasonable and you will need some expensive silver solderable paint in order to make an extension for the film deposited circuit tracks.

This would be much easier to do on a vintage IBM style keyboard that uses a phenolic PCB with copper traces and individual mechanical switches, but frankly it isn't worth the effort then either with so so many other, better hiding places.

One of which might be emptying the guts out of an old optical drive, then gluing the disc tray faceplate onto a backing sheet, then onto the plastic bezel. Now you have a much larger compartment with a snap off cover and have lost no functionality if your PC's case had a spare external bay... providing you didn't need the spare optical drive to use as an optical drive.

author
wet_colored_arch made it!(author)2013-12-23

wet_colored_arch

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