I have been wanting a Raspberry Pi Zero for quite some time now, and I finally found an excuse to get one! One day I was taking apart an old keyboard and noticed there was a whole lot of un-used space inside it. So I thought to myself, I wonder If I could make a computer out of a keyboard? The result was exactly what I had thought it was going to be (surprisingly), a computer built into a keyboard, which is wired to the computer! It probably took around 3 to 4 hours, but I had to wait for shipping, so it took about 10 days. This entire project new would cost around $40, however, I had a few items, so it was more like $20.
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Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials
I did not use very many tools for this project, all you need are:
Phillips head screwdriver
Hot glue gun and hot glue
Cat (Optional, used for entertainment)
Soldering Iron and solder
I think that is it.
There is actually less parts than there are tools, unless you are counting the keys on the keyboard individually. Everything I bought came from eBay, except the Raspberry Pi zero, which I got from CanaKit.
Short usb cable: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1X-USB-2-0-A-to-B-Micro-US...
Battery Pack: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5000-mah-Dual-USB-Waterpro...
Other Battery Pack: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5600mAh-USB-Portable-18650...
Raspberry Pi Zero: https://www.canakit.com/raspberry-pi-zero.html
Toggle Switch: Found mine in a smoke detector... Not quite sure where you could find one, but any type will work, you will just have to adapt it.
Micro SD Card: Fred Myers or just about any other store with an electronics section.
You can find keyboards at practically any thrift shop, or you could ask your neighbor or grandparents or parents, or your closet, they are everywhere. I used a Dell Quietkey, as I had 3 of them.
Step 2: Disassemble Keyboard+ Plan
If you ever want to put a computer inside a keyboard, you might want to start by taking out the screws on the bottom. The keyboard I am using has eight. Once it is open, you will want to place the parts that go inside, vaguely here they should go to get an idea of what your doing. There were some plastic bits in the way of where the electronics go, so, with pliers and wire cutters, remove those bits until the electrics fit. Originally, the keyboard only has one wire sticking out of it, so to accommodate for the two wires that will be coming out of it, drill out the hole some, until the wires fit. While the drill is out, if you want an on and off switch (and have one), a hole can go right up by the Esc button, and a toggle switch can be inserted. I pried up a bit of the metal so the prongs on the switch wouldn't touch it and short.
Step 3: Powering It
I am using a portable solar panel battery, and a portable other charging part off of the other charger. Now that I think about it, that might not be the best, but it works (I think). I soldered a longer wire on to the battery, then attached it to the toggle switch, then from the toggle switch to the circuit board. the ground went right to the circuit board.
Step 4: Keyboard and Securing the Computer
Now why would you build a computer into a keyboard if the keyboard doesn't work. I stripped a micro usb cable and soldered them accordingly. I used some scissors, cardboard, and hot glue to secure the components. There was a little flap on the bottom that wouldn't close anymore, so I took off the part that was restricting it from closing, and hot glued it in place.
Step 5: Final Product
To finish this up, I hot glued some wires in place, stuck the screws back in place, and promply realized that the hdmi cable had been cut... to fit some of the cables in place, the bases may need to be slightly trimmed down. Apparently I trimmed a little bit too far. In the two seconds it was working, well, it worked. I think It turned out pretty good!
Participated in the
Microcontroller Contest 2017