Vivienne Encarnacion

@viviennediegoencarnacion

Part 1 of 2: How I built my first DIY mechanical keyboard in less than 2 hours

Assembling the hardware. Also read PART 2.

This tutorial series is is heavily inspired by Ryan, and SydMeet 2018. The steps are very high level, and the tutorial does not include the ~scientific~ parts pertaining to why and how the mechanical keyboard works.

Materials:

Bought from Don (was also available on SydMeet2018 loot bags)
Bought from Don (was also available on SydMeet2018 loot bags)
Bought from KBDFans

Step 1. Solder diodes to PCB

Fold the diodes prior to inserting it to PCB. Insert all 20 diodes to the Ds, the dark part of the diode should go to the squares, and the light part of the diode should go the circles.

Flip to the back of the PCB and solder the legs of the diodes then cut excess legs.

Step 2. Insert stabilisers

This part is optional depending on the keyboard layout that you are achieving. In my case, I wanted to build a classic numerical pad which requires 3 stabilisers.

The part of the stabiliser with long metal should go to the big upper circles, and the bottom part should go the small lower circles. I find it easier to fill the big circles first.

Inserting stabilisers
Properly clipped stabilisers (front view— left, back view— right)

Step 3. Solder pin headers

Insert the pin headers onto the PCB. Make sure that the long pins, and the diodes are on the same side of the board.

Inserting pin headers

Make sure that the pin headers are stable, and that the pro-micro can be inserted later to the pin headers. I tried to be resourceful by using an improvised “left foot” to the board. Solder the short pins individually.

Step 4. Solder switches

Insert corner switches to the plate, make sure that you get the proper orientation by doing a test-insert of the switch on PCB.

Combine plate and PCB by fitting the corner switches onto PCB.

Solder the corner switches first to build a good foundation followed by all other switches.

Step 5. Solder pro-micro

Add pro-micro to PCB by (1) inserting the TX part of the PCB with the TX-side of the pro-micro, and (2) inserting the Raw part of the PCB with the Raw-side of the pro-micro. Carefully solder each pin as this part is very challenging.

Step 6. Test if pro-micro is receiving power

Do a quick test if you did solder the pro-micro correctly by current setup to your personal computer.

\o/ praise the soldering sprites \o/

Fun fact: I forgot to solder a switch. Try to look for it in the image above. Answer will be on Part 2: Software configuration. Hahaha!

Sources:

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