The Airship Captain MK-I(yet Another Steampunk Keyboard)




About: Product design student, Designer, Musician, DIYer.

Well, first let me state that i made this about 4 years ago, so bare with me.

i wanted to try to make a steampunk keyboard that won't require much tools and craftmanship like Datamancer's keyboards which are insane. also to spend as less money as possible and also try to make it on a wireless common cheap keyboard.

i would like to give props to this project which helped me a lot and the brass "friction lid support" was used as well here:

Tools used:

scissors and x-acto knives

also used heavy duty cutter for cutting the plastic keys



a keyboard

glue(any kind will do, i used r21 and wood glue)

nail polish or any kind of polish will do(wood polish)

brass buttons - i used two sizes for emphasizing some keys like the ctrl and shift etc..

vintage ish looking paper(looks a bit like a scroll paper)

guitar strap pins

fabric of your choise

friction lid support - which is basicly a window hardware, but you can also use other hardware parts or make something similar your own, which is what i would have done if i would redo this.

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Step 1: Preparing the Keys

disassemble the keys from your keyboard of choise - this can be done with a flat head screwdriver and a little force.

most newer keyboards nowdays have this rubbery thingies under the keys so make sure you keep them.

try to take a picture of the keyboard before you do all that, so you will know what goes where

Then print out your new keys label, i made mine with photoshop, i measured the inside diameter of the brass buttons and used that for the sizing, also i arranged them in a manner that will look like the way they are orginized on the keyboard itself and then put an image of a steampunk ship. the idea was trying to make it look like the keys form a picture - in the longrun it didnt really work well, but it has a nice look to it.

then i cut the plastic keys tops in such a way there will be only the minimum of the top left(as possible)

after printing and cutting the keys labels i glued a piece of cardboard to each brass key(from the packeging of the keyboard itself) so they will be a bit taller and also glue better.

glued the keys labels to the brass buttons, and put a nice coat of nail polish on top

after all the keys dried(it didnt took more then 10m), i glued the new brass keys to the plastic keys buttoms.

Step 2: Making the Rectangle Keys

Ok, so for the rectangle keys i searched for AGES on ebay for some brass like things that would fit with a nice rim and all. after much searching i found this dollar bill pendants that fitted well for the cause.

so the same steps apply for those keys as well - cut, glue cardboard on the bottom and glue the label and then polish.

For the space bar and the hole where there was those annoying play shut down buttons i inserted some fabric and ordered an engraved brass plate from ebay to fit there.

since not all keyboard has those annoying buttons i didnt bother to make a step that explains to disassemble the keyboard and take them out. but if you got those then thats how its done:) not complicated at all, just be carefull not to hurt the circuit board and wiring.

Step 3: Final Touches

So for the buttom plastic part of the keyboard i glued in some Victorian looking fabric and then screwd two Guitar strap pin heads on the sides.

the fabric part could have been done less sloppy. i admit.

then i screwed the windows brass hardware thingies on the sides of the keyboard, using very small screws! so i wont hit the keyboards pcd and stuff inside.

Step 4: Thats It!

and now its done! hope you liked it :)

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    9 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    if you lookup Steampunk Revolution by Abney Park on youtube you will see a keyboard similar to yours at 1 minute and 7 seconds in to the video.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent work! Looks great!

    One minor thing: "Space Bar" is what we call it, but "Space", by itself, should have been what was written on it. You did not use "Shift Key" or "Enter Key"... so why do it on the space bar? If it was a conscious choice, the only reason I can think of was that a short word like "space" would look lost on that long bar. If it was not planned, then you can go ahead and use this excuse when asked. ;-)

    Nevertheless, it is still very beautiful. If the Victorian era had keyboards they would have looked like this, I'm sure.

    Full steam ahead, Captain!

    ede waard

    4 years ago

    won't need a lot of changes for a dieselpunk keyboard. another project for my ToDo-list.

    1 reply
    NeIdanede waard

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    hey! what kind of changes did you think about? i was thinking of making some diesel punk stuff too