Full Sized Keyboard in a Notebook (3 Ring Binder Not a Laptop)




This is a proof of concept...trying to make a fullsizebendable keyboard that students could carry around to classes out of a rigid desktop keyboard. This could be built in about an hour.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials

1. Old Keyboard
2. Philips Head Screw Driver(small)
3. Notebook
4. Tape(of the Electrical Variety)
5. Scissors(for cutting Tape)
6. A sharp knife
7. A Ruler
8. Hole Punch

Step 2: Open Your Keyboard

This will involve taking out a bunch of really small screws and pulling the back panel off. It varies from keyboard to keyboard.

Step 3: Now That You Have It Open...

Be warned, much of this is keyboard specific and you will have to figure out how to work it for the different keyboards you use. I've opened quite a few and most are similar inside.

You need to check to see if there is anything holding it in. If there is, remove it, but hold onto any pieces that you remove, especially the circuit boards! Take a close look at how the plastic bit attaches to the circuit board. You can also see, here in my picture that a black ground wire attaches to a metal strip. You may need to recreate this inside the notebook, I would say use Aluminum foil!

Step 4: Pull and Tape

Now, you pull the plastic keyboard circuit out of the tray. These are usually 3 layers stamped together.
To be sure they dont come apart you have to tape the top, bottom, and sides everywhere but where the plastic circuit is supposed to meet with the circuit board.

Step 5: The Notebook

Now you need to make four cuts on the notebook along the spine. Measure the height of the plastic keyboard piece. Then cut four straight lines into the notebook, one on the front near the spine, two on the spine(front side and back) and one on the back near the spine. Get as close to the spine as possible.


Step 6: Stuffing!

Now you want to tuck your plastic keyboard circuit into the cover of the notebook. I found it easiest to tuck it into the front of the spine and thread it through all the way to the back of the notebook and do the front last, after you have added the circuit to the front.

Step 7: Electronics

Now you want to do it one of two ways....
1) You can go ahead and stuff the rest of the keyboard in.
2) Measure what's left

Because now you have to make a little pocket for the remainder of the electronics from the keyboard. Measure the width of the circuit board and make a cut a little longer just above where the plastic circuit is supposed to connect to it. Try to line it up and if possible, screw it down to the cardboard inside.

Also, if you have a hole puncher, you can make holes for the different LED's to go through on the front(Caps lock, Scroll lock, Num Lock).

Then, tape down all 7 cuts on the notebook leaving the cord hanging freely or, you can make one more cut and have the chord run out of the top of the spine of the notebook.

Step 8: Keyboard Layout

Now, you have a working notebook keyboard, but, unless you're SuperTyper! you wont be able to tell which key is which.

What could be done is making a stencil of a keyboard and painting it on, or taping down a good printout of one....

Either way, you are going to have to make sure that it lines up well.

Be the First to Share


    • Fashion Contest

      Fashion Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Hot Glue Speed Challenge

      Hot Glue Speed Challenge

    10 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Do you have any pictures of the finished product?

    ToshibiPumpkin Pie

    Reply 13 years ago

    Yeah, I'm well aware of these. Thanks though.


    13 years ago

    I really love this idea! I'm going to be doing alot of traveling soon and I'm looking for something like this for when I start. Keep it up!!!


    Reply 13 years ago

    Part of the problem, I had already started building it before I decided to turn it into an instructable so I really didn't have the pics I wanted. Another issue, is like I said, it was a proof of concept. I built it, plugged it into my linux box, with no keys and fumbled around with it until i got a feel and tested it. It works, but it was really more of a proof of concept. I immediately discovered that even a tiny laptop keyboard is easier to use than this is....that and the keys didn't line up well....because the covers of the notebook were just a touch too thin(less than a centimeter). Once again...sorry for the confusion.


    13 years ago

    I agree with Tiuk. It would have been better if you had mentioned that you are trying to make a foldable keyboard out of a conventional "rigid" keyboard. Good work though! It took a HUGE while for me to figure out what this project is!


    13 years ago

    Sorry, I live in the US, south east to be more precise. We have a funny way of saying things, but you're right, it is a binder, it's just that we all call them notebooks.


    13 years ago on Step 7

    A picture of the inside of the finished binder might be a good idea.


    13 years ago

    It took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out what exactly was going on here. In Canada we refer to notebooks as the things with cardboard covers that are sold with paper already in them (ie. spiral notebook, or ones with glued spines). What you refer to as a notebook I know only as a binder (three ring binder). Maybe I'm just dense, but I thought I'd post this to clear up confusion for anyone else. Great idea, by the way, I think I'll try it!