This guide will show you how to build a mechanical keyboard designed for typing one thing only - “VOTE”! Perfect for responding to heated political debates on social media, or simply reminding friends & strangers of the most important action they can take as citizens of a democratic society. Bonus – anyone named Veto or Tove can use it to type their name as well.

What you’ll need

Parts

6 x 1N4148 Diodes
Small Signal Diodes for switch matrix
1 x Trinket M0
Microcontroller Board for running CircuitPython code

1 x Printed Circuit Board

8 x Mechanical Keyswitches, Cherry MX compatible, PCB mount type

5 x 1u Keycaps, Cherry MX compatible (see notes below)

1 x 3u Spacebar Keycap, Cherry MX compatible (see notes below)

Tools

1 x Flush Cutters
For clipping excess leads
1 x Soldering Iron
For making connections
1 x Solder Spool
Solder Wire - 60/40 Rosin Core
1 x Panavise Jr. - PV-201
PCB vise for soldering
1 x Micro USB Cable
For programming Trinket M0

Key switches

projects_keyswitches.jpg
two PCB mount keyswitches (left) and one plate mount keyswitch (right)

The PCB is designed to be used with Cherry MX compatible PCB mount keyswitches – as opposed to plate mount keyswitches. PCB mount switches have two extra plastic posts on the bottom that keep the switch from twisting horizontally during installation & while in use. Plate mount style switches can be used instead, but they will exhibit the aforementioned twisting behavior.

Keycaps

Keycap lengths are measured in units relative to a single character key. So, for example: the 'A' key is denoted as being 1u in length, while the TAB key is 1.5u, and the standard Spacebar is 6.25u

Due to the unusual layout, finding proper keycaps for this project can be a challenge – particularly the 1u Return & 3u spacebar caps.

The V, O, T,  E, & Return caps I used are from a limited-run set called XDA Oblique and the 3u spacebar is from an add-on kit for this set.

To create something similar without scouring r/mechmarket, you can pick up the English Spacebar & Base kits from this set. Alternatively, you could use caps from this complete set which costs a bit more. Whichever keycaps you end up using, just make sure they're Cherry MX compatible – which is the most common type.

This guide was first published on Jul 28, 2020. It was last updated on Jul 28, 2020.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Aug 14, 2020.