MACH3 Waterproof Keyboard

Some time ago I decided to make waterproof keyboard for my MACH3 CNC control. MACH3 is the simple CNC control software which can be installed to any PC. http://www.machsupport.com/software/mach3/

I have medium size mill CNC machine and regular PC keyboards don’t live more than 2 month because of dust and coolant. I tried some models of silicone keyboards but protection if too soft and it can be easily damaged with any sharp object.

Then I found this Waterproof keyboard for CNC Control

There are several configurations. The cheapest is about 150$ and includes DIY kit with PCBA, PS/2 cable, front panel, overlay printed layer and screws set. There is a fully assembled and even advanced version of the keyboard but I have some free time and I can to assemble it by myself.

As a bonus it has two encoders for feed and spindle speed override. Also upper line of keys executes often used commands for CNC control.

I’ll show you how to assemble and configure this keyboard for MACH3 CNC control.

Step 1: STEP 1 Assembling

Mount all screws and fix them with two nuts at the back side of the front panel. It is important to use two nuts because they provide necessary gap between PCB and front panel. Then mount PCBA on the screws and fix it with next 8 nuts.

Step 2: STEP 2 Mounting Front Panel Overlay

The best way to mount overlay is to fix it with double sided tape. Just glue several lines of tape on the front panel and glue the overlay.

Then cut with sharp knife unnecessary parts of the overlay.

Step 3: STEP 3 Connection

Connect the keyboard to PS/2 port of your PC. If you don’t have this port you can use PS/2 to USB converter. But you have to use active type of the converter. e.g. like this one, https://www.amazon.com/SANOXY-USB-PS-2-Adapter/dp/B00007AP2O

or similar.

More expensive version of this keyboard includes converter in the kit.

Step 4: STEP 4 Configuring

The keyboard will be recognized as standard PC keyboard. You don’t need to install any other type of the software.

Run MACH 3. Then check that upper line of the keys is executing the most often used commands like Spindle start/stop, MDI mode, JOG mode etc.

After this check feed override function. By rotating Feed encoder you must be able to override current feed on 10% per one click. The same situation is with spindle speed override.

Step 5: STEP 5 Finalization

I added the back cover made of sheet metal with powder painting so it looks quite professional and I’m not afraid to damage it.

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