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 www.keyboard-layout-editor.com. 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.