This is, without a doubt, the best time in history to be a keyboard enthusiast. Those of us who take our keyboards seriously have never had so many fantastic options before. Whether you’re a writer, a programmer, or a gamer, there are a multitude of keyboards on the market for you. Even so, you may end up feeling like none of them quite fit your needs. If you’ve found yourself in that situation, you can build your own DIY keyboard. That’s what GuzziGuy has done with this custom keyboard that features a beautiful CNC-milled case and a very unusual number pad location.
Most keyboards that have a dedicated number pad put it on the far right side of the keyboard. There is a good reason for that: it lets you easily type in hexadecimal without moving your hands. But that wasn’t important to GuzziGuy, who is left-handed and wanted the number pad to sit comfortable on the left side of the keyboard. Aside from that, he wanted to keep the keyboard as compact as possible and chose a 65% layout (plus the number pad). It uses full-size key switches, but the case is as thin as it can be in order to facilitate comfortable typing.
That case is made from a combination of walnut wood base and an aluminum top plate, both of which were cut on a WorkBee CNC machine. Most of the key switches are Kailh Box White models, which have a solid clicky feel. The number pad keys, however, are Kailh Box Royal models that have a more tactile feel. The logic was that this would help keep GuzziGuy from accidentally pushing the number keys with his pinky. The switches are all hand-wired together, and an Elite-C controller from keeb.io is used to connect the keyboard to a computer. The Elite-C is essentially an Arduino Pro Micro with a stronger USB-C connector and a few other minor changes. Like the Arduino Pro Micro, this will show up as a USB HID device when it is connected to a computer. Not everyone will appreciate this unusual keyboard layout, but it does illustrate how you can customize a keyboard to suit your own personal needs.