A Steampunk Keyboard

To go with my Autocalculograph I proceeded to make a keyboard in the same style.


The finished article.

The starting point was an old UNISYS keyboard. Plastic mouldings inside state date of manufacture was 1991. I'd seen images of the wonderful keyboards made by Jake and Datamancer (the 'von Slatt keyboards'), but felt those designs were too 'pristine' and 'new' looking for the industrial look of my Autocalculograph, but they were they origin of this idea.

To start, the keys have their heads removed by means of a bench grinder. This leaves me with a bunch of 'pegs', 'stalks', whatever you wish to call them.
The new, round, keytops are snap fasteners. The right design for this produces a metal ring around the cut-out and pasted-down labels.

This round design didnt fit all the keys - the ENTER, SHIFT, BACKSPACE etc. keys need to be rectangular in shape. After a bit of thought I settled on using copper pieces, with the middle part etched out via electrolytic etching.

The three led lights (capslock, numlock, scrollock) are replaces with guages. There was only room for two guages. I dont use the scroll lock, so that gets left out. There is still a scroll lock LED under all that that is visible when lit - its just not obvious. The 'manufacturer' name is written under the words CAPSLOCK and NUMLOCK and only visible under a magnifying glass... Airkraken Pty Ltd

The space bar is the original space bar, covered with copper sheet.

The keyboard is framed in Tasmanian oak, with a rosewood stain.

The curly cable is stained dark brown using hair dye.

The layer under the keys is leather, salvaged from some furniture dumped by the roadside.