Various keyboards that I’ve put together (but why?)

Full Keyboards

Corne

Image of Corne

This is the first proper keyboard I made, and is still in daily use in my working-from-home setup. The three-row, column-stagger layout was a bit of a gamble, but it turned out to be a good one and I’ve stuck with it for subsequent keyboards.

Manta

Image of Manta

After the Corne, my next keyboard was a bit off-piste, in two regards. Firstly, it was a small-run design that caught my eye on Mechboards, and second it uses a wireless controller. In fact, it was a bit more off-piste than I originally intended, as once I started I realised nobody had actually tried this particulkar combination before. This made it a fun project, and the end result is a great single-piece portable keyboard. It was my primary office keyboard for quite a while, and still sees action as a VR accessory.

Ferris Sweep

Image of Ferris Sweep

In constrast to the Manta, my Ferris Sweep build is pretty by-the-book (although the MBUK version of the boards have some oddities compared to the standard ones). It’s a fully wireless true-split, and the low-profile switches and ten column layout result in a very compact. It’s now my go-to portable keyboard for when I head into the office.

Smaller Projects

MBUK Macropad

Image of MBUK Macropad

Before I took the plunge (and spent the money) making a full keyboard, I wanted to check that my soldering skills were up to the job. The MBUK Macropad kit provided a cost-effective and fun way to do this, which I recomment to anyone else wanting to get started on making keyboards. I even made use of the end result for a while, as a handy mute/video switch for Teams calls.

The One Percent

Having got used to increasingly reduced layouts with the Corne and Manta, I wondered how minimal a keyboard was possible. This project was the result, though I’ll confess it hasn’t made it into daily use.

Layouts

Layouts

Image of Layouts

One of the big advantages of building your own keyboards is that you have a lot of control of both the physical and logical layout. Having made a few, it turns out that I have a definite type (sorry):

  • Column stagger with three rows
  • Home row mods
  • A pair of thumb keys for space, delete and layers

After a few iterations, I’ve settled on a layout that works across all of my keyboards (so far), but I continue to refine it.

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