Joe Scotto's First Hand-Wired Keyboard of 2024 Is the Compact, Mirrored ScottoKatana

Driven by a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, this fully 3D-printed keyboard "is likely my best-sounding board yet" says Scotto.

Gareth Halfacree
2 months ago β€’ 3D Printing / HW101

Maker and mechanical keyboard enthusiast Joe Scotto has unveiled his first design of 2024: the ScottoKatana, a compact katana-layout hand-wired keyboard with eye-catching 3D-printed keycaps, all released under an open source license for anyone to build.

"The ScottoKatana is a 33-key katana staggered keyboard with a 6.25u space bar and two 1.5u function keys," Scotto writes of his latest design. "The board uses Gateron Milky Yellow [key switches] lubed with Krytox 205G0 and is likely my best-sounding board yet. The keycaps are fully 3D printed and feel really nice to type on."

The ScottoKatana is named for its layout, which differs from a traditional staggered keyboard by mirroring its keys across a central line of reflection with the left-hand side staggered to the left and the right-hand side staggered to the right. In Scotto's case, that central point is a gap in the casing β€” with the keyboard using only 33 keys, compared to the more common 60-key katana layout.

Inside the 3D-printed housing is, as with all of Scotto's latest designs, a Raspberry Pi RP2040-based "RP2040 Pro Micro" microcontroller board β€” though the keyboard is also compatible with other Pro Micro-footprint boards with a USB Type-C connector. As always, there's no PCB behind the switches: everything is wired by hand, using rigid copper bars for common grounds and flexible wire for the rest of the connections.

The Katana is only the latest in a long line of hand-wired keyboard designs created by Scotto and released under an open source license. Late last year the maker showed off a gaming board built for his brother, while other designs included have included an ultra-thin butterfly-style ergonomic keyboard, a one-handed keyboard inspired by the old Frogpad design, a single-microcontroller split keyboard, and one which wears a "secret" on its sleeve: it's actually a mouse.

Full details on the build are available on Scotto's website, while the 3D-print files for the case and keys and source code for the keyboard controller firmware are available on GitHub under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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