RETRO KEYBOARD MOD


Originally my goal was to build a keyboard with similar style as this Steampunk keyboard, but due limited funds and facilities I had to settle with whatever I could get my hands on.

Starting point

I found an old ACER DFK-192M AT keyboard from local PC hardware store that sells mostly used stuff from the late 90's. The keyboard was filthy and kept at the back of the store with bunch of other old AT and PS/2 keyboards. Price: 1 euro per piece, no warranty. Well within my budjet. Back of the keyboard claims that it was produced in 1990. The main chipset by Intel is a product of a much older date 1977. Its not just retro its qenuinely old.
This one was the only one with mechanical keyswitches (white ALPS type). They produce nice audible sharp click sound when pressed and good tactile feedback. Base of the keyboard is made of thick metal plate and provides excellent support for any addons.

Disassemble

The keyboard was dismantled and cleaned. I popped off all the keys since I tend to replace them with antique or atleast severally dated typewriter keys or perhaps with metal rimmed buttons.

Hackjob

The Keyboard base needs something to lay on so the angle will be right. I took the original mounting br /ackets from the keyboard case by sawing them off with a hacksaw and screwed them on place with regular computer casing screws. Maybe I'll paint them later.

Mexico Provides

The Metal rimmed buttons proven to be a too expensive choice and there was no suitable antique typewriter available locally so I salvaged a fully functional late 60's mechanical typewriter from local recycling center. Even the numerical shift keys match my layout except for numer 3 that has ยง instead of #. I'll fix that later with stiker. Labeled Laser, made in Mexico, price: 3 euros.
Unfortunantely it only has 84 keys whereas regular AT keyboard has 102 keys. I'm planning to use an old calculator as keys for the numpad.

The Return of The Hacksaw

Typewriter keys had small extension underneath to keep them attached to the typewriter. I chopped them off with hacksaw and sanded the ends flat.

Hot Stuff

Both the keyswitches and the bottom of the typewriter keys had small gaps in them. I filled the gaps with hotglue. This was enough to keep the keys attached to the keyswitches.

Half Way There

the keyboard with all its alphanumeric keys and typewriter shift keys as Ctrl keys is fully functional and pleasant to use.
The spacebar is way too long to fit on the keyboard so I'll have to chop it up to make a spacebar and an altGr key and fit the typewriter spacebar with mounting br /akets used under the original spacebar key to keep it aligned with the metal br /acer on the keyboard base.

Function Black

I popped off the rest of the main keys (alt, shift, enter, tab etc. and function keys and painted them black with spay paint. I kept the directional arrows and numpad still in place.

What am I supposed to be? Blind?

I made typefaces for black keys using Dymo label printer. The font is pretty big so I had to shorten them a bit. Now I have keys like: ENT, SH and AGR, but they look rather good for a temporay solution.