Monday, January 30, 2012

Steampunk Keyboard

A few years ago, I fell in love with Datamancer's epic steampunk keyboard mods.  I decided that I needed one of these for myself, so I decided to take a stab at my own version.  I bought a regular keyboard from Wal-Mart  and set to work.

One of the first thing I did was snip the skirts off of all the keys. I had purchased a large lot of typewriter keys on eBay, which I intended to cut flat on the back and epoxy to the posts of the old keys. Unfortunately, I didn't have the proper equipment to do that, so I ended up having to cut grooves into the posts that the backs of the typewriter keys could fit into.

Since the keys were all rather rusted, I sanded off the rust and spray painted the backs of all the keys a uniform colour. 

I made the faceplate for the keyboard out of a nubbly faux leather.  I cut a rectangular piece of the faux leather roughly the size of the board and used a pair of cuticle scissors to cut out holes that corresponded to the posts on the keyboard.

I then stretched the faceplate over the frame of the keyboard and glued it down to the top half of the frame.

After the glue keeping the faceplate down had dried, I glued the backs of the typewriter keys onto the keyboard posts with e6000.  The glue proved to be very strong, and the keyboard is still going strong now, 3 years after I first built it.

I printed out some antique lettering to put into the key backs and applied them to the new keys.

I then put the glass back into the keys and put the rings back onto the rims.

I bought some wooden trim at Joann's (of all places) to use to frame out the board.

I cut the trim to size, and glued it on with e6000, bungee cording it on while the glue dried completely.

Once the glue had dried, I gold leafed the wood and added a filigree jewelry piece to be the space bar.

I added some amber coloured gems over the Scroll Lock, Cap Lock, and Number Lock lights, and added brass filigree pieces to frame each light.

I also added filigree scrollwork to the corners of the board to finish it off.

The keyboard is fully functional, and I actually use it every day. I would like to make another keyboard in the future, but until then, this one is still going strong.

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