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customized keyboard


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hello

do you know if any company offers a consumer the opportunity to build a customized keyboard ?

I mean the number of the keys, the function of the keys, the arrangement of the keys, the place of the touchpad, etc

thanks

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How many do you want to order? I think they will accept an order above 100 boxes of 12pcs, with touchpad and all I would say some 40USD a pc, plus shipping and import cost.

do you know if any company offers a consumer the opportunity to build a customized keyboard ?

If you are saying just one keyboard... no idea.
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How many do you want to order? I think they will accept an order above 100 boxes of 12pcs

That would likely work, for simple customizations.

However, he seems to want custom placement of keys, custom number of keys, with an added touchpad, etc. That's fairly major. It means having to design a new custom PCB and/or membrane and a new custom case too, and that's assuming it works with a standard keyboard controller IC and that they don't have to use something fancier (microcontroller with custom firmware, along with drivers for the PC). You'd have to count the [expensive] hours of the engineer who will route the PCB/membrane, the ones who will do the mechanical CAD for the case and stuff, those who would write various code for it... Then getting a custom mold made for the injection molding process which by itself costs thousands... Several setup and tooling costs for the PCB, the parts assembly (electronic parts and mechanical parts), the injection molding place setting up their machines with your mold, etc. Often you'll get all these things done by different companies too (and you want to get quotes from several, which takes a fair amount of time, and might be a PITA to meet them if they're not local too)

I'd say about $50000 USD and you've got a finished product. That's assuming they won't just say "no", because most companies who do stuff like this don't want to waste their engineer's time on something that won't sell in any volume -- there's no profit to make there. They'd rather use their engineers' time to develop a product that they will sell large amounts of, with a margin of profit on each (and as such, only deal with businesses, who also happen have the kind of qualified personnel required to coordinate all this on hand). Developing custom products costs real money (I work for such an OEM), especially in low quantities. Keyboards are only inexpensive because of mass production on a really large scale.

TL;DR: forget it.

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I'd say about $50000 USD and you've got a finished product.

Indeed, that was what I said too, 12*100*40=48k USD, but that would include 1200 keyboards as well. I pay for a mold here 6000USD for each type of plastic material used and after that it's cheap to pump out thousands.

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However, no need for rerouting on hardware level, all keystrokes can be captured in the OS and given another input code so it looks like you have a custom keyboard layout (correct me if I'm wrong). I would use a touchscreen as keyboard and program that (have it programmed), but I can't get used to the non-mechanical "keystrokes" (personally).

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I pay for a mold here 6000USD for each type of plastic material used and after that it's cheap to pump out thousands.

Well, it depends on a lot of factors for sure, like mold size and complexity, what kind of tolerances you need, what metal alloy it needs to be made from (different kinds of processes e.g. using it for macromelt or whatever else), and of course the localized labor price depending on where you're getting it made (labor is probably a lot cheaper in Mexico than in Canada), and if you include the mold design labor in the price (or just getting it machined), the level of overall service and whether you're getting any conformance guarantees from your mold manufacturer might vary the cost, etc. Loads of factors.

However, no need for rerouting on hardware level

Well, I mean if he wants extra buttons and a different physical layout altogether (buttons in different places), there's going to be more custom work there. And if you need special functions, or fancier controls (like a "slider" for zooming), or a number of buttons (as in, more than 104 or whatever) that isn't supported by one of the cheap specialty keyboard controllers, then it's a custom microcontroller job (adds a lot to the price), or a custom IC built for you (cheap when in very large quantities). Same for the touchpad (cheapest thing to do would be to add a USB hub chip on the PCB and combine them that way (but again, custom PCB there too)... It all depends how fancy you want to get I guess.

Either ways, if you have to ask how much it costs, then you can't afford it.

I can't get used to the non-mechanical "keystrokes" (personally)

Same here. I'd be buying a Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate today if it had a slight bend in the rows like Microsoft does in their "comfort" series keyboards. It sucks having to chose between nice, niiiiiice switches and a comfortable layout :( I might still order one sometime soon.

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I'll keep posting this til I'm blue in the face! Still too expensive for me but one of these days... look out!

http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/optimus/

Better your money than mine :P. But that is costume key images, and has no touchpad.
I can't get used to the non-mechanical "keystrokes" (personally)

Same here. I'd be buying a Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate today if it had a slight bend in the rows like Microsoft does in their "comfort" series keyboards. It sucks having to chose between nice, niiiiiice switches and a comfortable layout :( I might still order one sometime soon.

That looks like it will work for more than 3650 days of heavy use indeed, nice industrial look, nothing shiny, no bling, just plain cool! Too bad it has no prints on the keys (kidding, smack me :D).

"A noise to annoy the hell out of people you work with"... Just missing the bell, WHOHA!

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No actually, is there a reason why there is nothing on the keys?

Because you already know where they are supposed to be and you don't look at it anyway? :) That and good looks too. Nevermind that if you use more than one keyboard layout then some of the buttons won't have the right labels no matter which keyboard you have, and they're probably only available in plain old english/US version too. This is language neutral I guess.

I'd really love to have one for the lovely mechanical switches (nothing else feels anywhere near as good -- I miss my old AT101W though), but no bend in the rows and none of the other extras either (like volume buttons or mute which are quite handy) makes me hold back. It's one of those love/hate things, where I love some features from both types and hate some from both too. It seems like you can't have your cake and eat it too.

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  • 1 month later...

IF you only wanted to place existing keys on a different pattern, it would be for free.

At least for keys of identical size: you can de-assemble the keyboard and re-assemble it with the keys at a different location. Then a driver or a creator of keyboard description would re-map the key positions, so you ket the letter that corresponds to the key's caption.

One drawback: the Bios, and Ms-Dos, and possibly more programmes (bootable disk test, Ram test...) would map the keys according to the original keyboard identity, or to some default mapping - typically Microsoft Qwerty.

By the way, this drawback will exist with any custom pattern, until your pattern is such a huge market hit that every OS and application knows it.

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