Skeleton Keys - My first mechanical keyboard

Hey Keebtalk community,

I’m brand new to the mechanical keyboard scene and can’t believe it’s taken me this long to actually start on making my first mechanical keyboard. I especially love that keyboards can be so much more than a simple tool, but moreso a beautiful work of art… or at least I think so :grinning:

So after digging around for some time around 6 months ago, I pulled the trigger and bought the Keychron K2. It’s a great board. I love that it can be connected via bluetooth, and also has a layout for Mac computers built in. In full transparency, I use a Mac probably 90% of the time for work.

Although it is awesome, there were a few things about the K2 that I wasn’t crazy about. Those are:

  • The board is sooooo high off the desk that you need a wrist rest to even use the thing. Being familiar with the Mac design aesthetic, I wanted a keyboard that didn’t need this wrist boost.

  • My board came with Brown switches. Awesome to start with, but after I started learning more, I realized there was a whole world out there! So I wanted a keyboard that I could swap switches out easily without soldering.

  • The keycaps felt a bit cheap, so I wanted something better there too.

  • I realized that I’m not an RGB fan-boy, lol. It’s cool, but I learned that I like artful design over flashy lighting. Just personal preferences.

  • And I wanted something a bit… prettier. It’s a functional design, but after seeing some of the other custom stuff out there, I wanted something made with beautiful metals, and a clean design feel.

Sooo… that led me to explore buying parts and putting together something custom, but with pieces made by other companies. And well… we know how hard it is to buy the stuff we want these days! But I had an idea, instead and waiting and hoping that someone was looking to sell the exact parts I wanted… and for a reasonable price :grimacing: which is never going to happen… I started exploring what it would take to design something awesome myself from the ground up. And in particular, building a case, plate, and PCB all spec’d to what I really wanted.

So that’s what I’m going to do, and I’m going to try and share that journey here with everyone! If you like what I’m making, I’d love to hear your feedback. I’m making this keyboard for what I want out of it, but if anyone really likes it, please let me know and maybe I can make more of them!

~Skeleton Keys

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Ok, to kick this off, I want to make a keyboard that I could use across both my Mac and my PC. And I also wanted it to be as small as I could make it while still being very functional. In general, the Mac Magic Keyboard layout is awesome, as it’s effectively a 65% but with the function keys. So this was my attempt at something similar:

It’s essentially the same setup as a Keycool 84, but with one of the top keys, I think the scroll lock key, removed, and all the function keys shifted half-way over so that they are not just perfectly above the numeral keys. I think this looks so much better.

Now there is 4 extra keys on here, Home, End, Pg Up, & Pg Dn. I never use them, but the alternative was to just leave them off and have a metal blank spot, so I just left them in, and maybe I’ll program them to do something else… or maybe I’ll learn to use them on my PC more!

~Skeleton Keys

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For comparison, here is my Mac Magic Keyboard:

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Similar, but not exactly the same, as I like the hybrid Mac/PC layout that Logitech does here:

So this is what I’m building! Will keep you all in the loop!

~Skeleton Keys

Oh, I like this layout with the F row placement, not something I saw previously in other 75% layouts.
You obviously remove one key on the top row but there is already plenty of keys available so no biggies :stuck_out_tongue:

Have fun for your venture!

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Looking forward to see you go through this!

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