Keyboard Caps in wood


#1

Found this on /r/MechanicalKeyboards and just have to have a set in Blackwood(normal keys), Red heart (esc key) and purpleheart (ctl, meta, etc.) and maybe cherry for the space bar.

The guy on reddit doesn’t have those wood so would anyone here be willing to help create something amazing?


[Discussion] Key cap ideas
#2

I was going to comment about the cost of using African Blackwood, but then a little research shows it should likely only cost you about $1.50 per key for the wood. You will need extra because some of the wood will be brown/purple or even light-colored sapwood. It might take you a while to accumulate a large enough stash that’s appropriately color-matched.

It turns beautifully but it’s difficult to work any other way. Dulls cutters something fierce … Be prepared work work with small pieces of wood. AB is impossible to find in large pieces; probably because it’s a gnarly tree that doesn’t grow long straight pieces.

If you do this project, I’d like to see how you shape all six faces of the keys. I could learn from that. I guess with a custom holding fixture you could do the bottom sides one at a time …

http://www.wood-database.com/african-blackwood/


#3

well the good thing is that I’m using a 68 keyboard instead of the standard 101/105 keys.


#4

How dead would using the HAAS for this make him?

If he could use it, I would imagine maybe a top and a bottom fixture being all he need. I could see doing the top and side faces easily from a CAD model, and the tool changes between the end mills/drills to hog out material and the small drills for the stem being pretty handy.


#5

Oh I absolutely agree. I was assuming (possibly incorrectly) that it might be challenging to find pieces of AB that are bigger than scraps (Ok, I’m exaggerating but not much). That makes using the multi cam a little harder. Although you can buy an unlimited supply in 1” x12” pieces.

I’d source the material first if it were me …


#6

You can use an alternative like Ebony, Rosewood, Cocobolo, and many others that are dense and rich in oil and wear with deliciousness.
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#7

I didn’t think about Ebony, Rosewood those look amazing!


#8

you also might be able to you black palm. I know that Rockler sells them in turning blanks for relatively cheap ($7.99 for a 1.5x1.5x18). It’s got an… interesting grain structure, so it might not be to your tastes. If you do end up using it though, be careful when cutting it, and make sure that you seal it well. Before sealing, that wood really like throwing splinters into fingers


#9

Woodworld on Greenville has loads of pen blanks in all sorts of obscure wood. Not sure about pricing though. Their 1/8 ply and mdf are reasonable, however.


#10

Sounds like a great place for the Hakone Marquetry artist and maybe able to source them for this project.


#11

Thanks everyone for the suggestions on wood types and where to find them. Mind you that I myself have been way over capacity with everything that I have to get done and already have as a “hobby” so I’m unable to pick up another hobby just for a really epic keyboard.

Thus, I’m looking to hire a fellow maker to acquire the material, develop the caps, and generally be excellent.

If your interested then PM me and we can work out the details.


#12

Ebonizing other high-tannin wood (like oak, walnut, or cherry) will also get you a black/near black finish without dye/stain.

Plus, the science of it is kinda cool! Rusty metal (iron oxide) + vinegar (acetic acid) + time ==> iron acetate, which reacts with the tannin in wood and turns it black. You can optionally pre-treat the wood with a strong black tea to add even more tannins to the wood prior to treatment.

One can use the same concoction (called “vinegaroon” in leatherworking circles) on veg-tan leather to blacken it.

Reacts quickly, penetrates deeply, doesn’t rub off. Cool stuff.


#13

Rusty metal (iron oxide) + vinegar (acetic acid) + time ==> iron acetate, which reacts with the tannin in wood and turns it black.

I think that’s the same science behind iron gall ink.


#14

Similar: Wikipedia says iron gall ink used iron sulfate, not iron acetate, but both seem to react with the tannin to make the black coloration.


#15

So let’s try this way…

While I would love to take everyone’s suggestions and spend hours at the space. With things at work, home, classes, and committee duties. I have little to no extra time to dedicate towards taking on another project, something I’m aware several of us at the space could say, But since I’m wanting to feature this in upcoming VCC coding videos and have this keyboard go with me to different conferences and meetups. It would be great if I could say, “it was made by the fine makers of Dallas Makerspace”

Could someone help make that happen?


#16

I make no promises, but I’m willing to try a few things and give it a shot.


#17

I’ll PM you about this.


#18

@JeremyDoss, @Himecchi, and I have been discussing working together to each make our own wooden keyboards since june (wat a coinky-dink!).
Maybe if theres anybody else (@apparently_weird ??) who is interested in collaborating, sharing multicam files , etc for this kinda thing please hmu.


#19

Definitely eyeballing wood for my keyboard building project!


#20

Ma~n you always eyeballin wood… :expressionless: