Custom keyboard (number pad)

Posted by 1 18th Aug 2017

As an Excel nerd, being able to type numbers in very quickly is a real boon, so I've grown to appreciate my keyboard's number pad. I don't love its layout, but I have adapted to it. The layout is something that's always niggled me and I did enquire with a few keyboard OEM's for customisation options. None ever replied. Time passed.

There's now a subculture of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who have tinkered with and refined methods of manufacturing a completely custom keyboard. It's still not a simple task, but if you really want a personalised, custom keyboard, it is now achievable without spending a fortune. You can still spend a fortune, you just don't have to.

If you start down the Google rabbit-hole of "how to make a custom keyboard", there are a couple of dead-ends and a whole slew of terms to learn, but by far the most useful resource I found so far is It's not the prettiest tool, but once you play with it and get it figured out, it's much better than mucking about with Adobe Illustrator to build a visual representation of your desired keyboard.

I've got only as far as a design and ordering my keycaps and switches. The perfect 'feeling' switches, but I compromised on the keycaps. My keys will be blank. Colourful, but utterly featureless. The difference between spending $50 or over $130.

This is definitely a sideline project for a rainy day. I'll be surprised if it's finished by Christmas. When anything interesting happens, I'll be sure to write about it.