Forget about that staggered key layout -- a holdover from mechanical typewriters -- and build your own custom ortholinear keyboard! Honor the angle of your wrists with the split design.

This 60% layout is fast and efficient (once you practice and get used to a new way of working) -- keyboard "layers" allow you to access any key you need by "lowering" or "raising" to whole new sets of keys.

Pick your favorite MX compatible keyswitches and press them into the socketed 6x5 NeoKey PCB. Build a 3D printed or 3D printed/laser cut acrylic combo case.

Two TCA8418 matrix expanders handle reading the diode key matrices, and a Kee Boar KB2040 running CircuitPython does the rest, acting as a USB HID keyboard device.

Create and edit your own custom layouts with the keymaps.py config file. The layout I used was inspired by this keyboard project.

Parts

Video of hand holding a QT Py PCB in their hand. An LED glows rainbow colors.
What a cutie pie! Or is it... a QT Py? This diminutive dev board comes with one of our new favorite chip, the RP2040. It's been made famous in the new
$9.95
In Stock
Angled shot of 400mm long STEMMA QT cable.
This 4-wire cable is a little over 400mm / 15.7" long and fitted with JST-SH female 4-pin connectors on both ends. Compared with the chunkier JST-PH these are 1mm pitch instead of...
$1.50
In Stock
2 x Adafruit TCA8418
Keypad Matrix and GPIO Expander Breakout
2 x NeoKey 5x6 Ortho Snap-Apart Mechanical Key Switch PCB
NeoKey 5x6 Ortho Snap-Apart Mechanical Key Switches
6 x Kailh Mechanical Key Switches
Linear Black 10 pack

You'll want to pick some keycaps. If you are highly elite and need no legends, try one of the choices below. Otherwise, search online for "MX compatible ortholinear keycap set". The ones used in this guide are the Drop MT3 profile Dancer ortho kit.

or

pile of 50 Brass Heat-Set Inserts for Plastic - M3 x 4mm.
Wanna improve the connection strength between your project's 3D-printed parts, and also have nice clean surfaces? Instead of gluing bits together, or screwing plastic screws...
$5.95
In Stock
Opened box showing many nylon screws
Totaling 420 pieces, this M3 Screw Set is a must-have for your workstation. You'll have enough screws, nuts, and hex standoffs to fuel...
$16.95
In Stock
Black Nylon Screw and Stand-off Set with M2.5 Threads, kit box
Totaling 380 pieces, this M2.5 Screw Set is a must-have for your workstation. You'll have enough screws, nuts, and hex standoffs to fuel your maker...
$16.95
In Stock

This guide was first published on Oct 26, 2022. It was last updated on Apr 11, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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