HacKeyboard, an open hardware mechanical keyboard – part VII

Hi everyone! This is the seventh post on building the HacKeyboard. In case you haven’t read the first ones, here are the links:

[HacKeyboard, an open hardware mechanical keyboard, part I]

[HacKeyboard, an open hardware mechanical keyboard, part II]

[HacKeyboard, an open hardware mechanical keyboard, part III]

[HacKeyboard, an open hardware mechanical keyboard, part IV]

[HacKeyboard, an open hardware mechanical keyboard, part V]

[HacKeyboard, an open hardware mechanical keyboard, part VI]

Putting it all together

Hackeyboard switches

Since everything was finally working, it was time to put the PCB into the case and solder the switches to the PCB. To make it easier, I removed all the switches from the case and put them back in one by one, so that I could get their pins into the respective PCB holes. It took some time but it went by very fast. It was almost finished! 🙂

Hackeyboard assembling

Hackeyboard assembling

After soldering all the switches I connected the keyboard and tested each one of them to verify that everything was working correctly. Once everything was soldered and verified, it was time to close the case, tighten the screws a little bit, connect the keyboard to the computer and be proud of what I had finally accomplished. 🙂

Finally it was time to enjoy the RGB colors of the LED ring, the special features that would give extra productivity while working and the great tactile and audible feedback of typing in a fully mechanical keyboard. 🙂

Hackeyboard assembling

If you are building your own and managed to build your keyboard up to this point, you have just made what once was only possible in big factories with big machines and lots of workers. Better yet! You have made a keyboard with features that no other keyboard on the market has! 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

HacKeyboard at Lisbon Mini Maker Faire 2014


I couldn’t complete the keyboard in time for Lisbon Mini Maker Faire 2014 but I took what I had anyway: the complete case and the three PCB iterations with a working PCB.

Although the project wasn’t finished, it was very pleasing to share the project with other makers and with the visitors of the Faire. Having it with the PCB outside the case actually made it more interesting because everyone could see how a keyboard works. Even little kids were amazed to see it because for them a keyboard “is just that thing that you buy on a supermarket” and never wondered how it worked. Using a small piece of wire I could simulate keystrokes and they could see the PCB output characters to the laptop screen and the RGB LEDs changing colors.


Some vintage computing enthusiasts that visited the Faire were also amazed with the keyboard and provided great feedback and great ideas for future projects.

I went there to share something but I think I got much more in return. 🙂

HacKeyboard at Lisbon Maker Faire 2015

Hackeyboard Lisbon Maker Faire 2015

To conclude this project, once again I took it to a Maker Faire, this time Lisbon Maker Faire 2015 (no longer Mini and now one of the 4 Featured Maker Faires in Europe). This time I took the finished keyboard and once more I was very happy to share the project with visitors and other makers. Some of the visitors of the previous edition went to the Faire again and went to see the progress of HacKeyboard. Once again, more suggestions, more feedback and more ideas. 🙂

Hackeyboard Lisbon Maker Faire 2015

Awards and press coverage

Without any doubt, HacKeyboard was the project I did that won more prizes and got more press coverage. 🙂

Featured on Instructables.com

A little time after I submitted the project, it got featured in the Instructables main page. Instructables also shared it on Twitter and Facebook. By the time I’m writing this post it has more than 61.000 views and more than 550 favorites! 🙂

hackeyboard instructables

Featured on Hackaday.com

A Better, Open Hardware Keyboard” – I only had published part I of this project and before I knew it, it was on Hackaday. 🙂

HacKeyboard Hackaday

Featured on HackedGadgets.com

HacKeyboard – Hacked Mechanical Keyboard

HacKeyboard HackedGadgets

Featured on Electronics-lab.com

HacKeyboard – Open Hardware Mechanical Keyboard

HacKeyboard ElectronicsLab

Featured on Hacker News from Y Combinator

HacKeyboard, a mechanical keyboard built from scratch” (also on Twitter)

HacKeyboard HackerNews

Featured on Make Magazine

8 Crazy Keyboards That Will Trick Out Your Typing” and I quote:

“Perhaps the most impressive build on this list” 🙂

HacKeyboard Makezine

Featured on Aberto Até De Madrugada

HacKeyboard na Mini Maker Faire Lisboa

HacKeyboard Aberto ate de madrugada

HacKeyboard é o mais avançado teclado que poderás construir tu mesmo

HacKeyboard Aberto ate de madrugada

Featured on Future Behind

Este artigo podia ter sido escrito num HacKeyboard, mas primeiro precisamos de fazer um

hackeyboard future behind

First Prize in the Epilog Contest VII at Instructables

Won a 3Doodler 2.0 and an Instructables prize pack including a robot t-shirt 🙂

HacKeyboard Epilog Prize

Second Prize in the Make It Glow Contest 2015 at Instructables

Won a set of M232 Monkey Lights and an Instructables Prize Pack including a robot t-shirt 🙂

hackeyboard make it glow prize

Honorable Mention in the HobbyKing Tech Contest at Instructables

Was supposed to win a Polaroid Cube, a Memory Card and an Instructables Prize Pack but the freight company that was supposed to bring it to my home lost the package 🙁 However, they refunded me the value of the prize and I can use the money to buy parts and tools to make more projects 🙂

Maker of Merit at Lisbon Maker Faire 2015

HacKeyboard was one of the projects I took to Lisbon Maker Faire 2015 and was partly responsible for my Maker of Merit award.

Hackeyboard Maker of Merit

Shared by Microchip Technology on…






and Google+



Nominated for Keyboard of the Month in the Innovation category at GeekHack.org.


HacKeyboard – The End!

So, we have finally come to the end of this series of 7 posts about building the HacKeyboard. This was, by far, the most extensive project I have written and built.

I really hope you liked this project and somehow got you (more) interested in electronics, digital fabrication, mechanical keyboards and sharing knowledge. As you can see, I have made it completely open for anyone to replicate and modify. I like to think that by doing it I have somehow contributed to the knowledge base of mankind. 🙂

If you have a company and want to make a product out of it, go ahead. Please just let me know beforehand. If you also think I should earn a fee per unit sold to support my work, I would also like that, but that’s completely up to you to decide if it’s the right thing to do or not. 🙂 If you also need some support and extra developments, feel free to contact me using the form in this page.

At least two more big projects are coming soon, both regarding Digital Fabrication! 🙂 If you were at Maker Faire Lisbon 2015, you probably know what’s coming! 🙂 Stay tuned! Don’t forget to hit the Like button, share this blog with your friends and if you think I deserve it (I do, don’t I? 🙂 ) , make a donation so that I can buy new tools and parts for new projects. 🙂


Below you can find the full photo gallery.

See you soon 🙂

Full Photo Gallery

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