C64 Mini Keyboard, 1/2 alive and Some CAD

Bit of a change of pace from the electronics, onto the CAD…Here’s a first draft of the first key on the C64 Keyboard – the Left Arrow!

Done at full scale, then at 50% scale

img_3163
img_3167

And here’s the cousin, relaxin’ in the sun with the Brim still on, fresh from the printer.

 

How I got there…………

I’d hoped it would be easy enough to model up a single key, duplicate it 60 odd times, occasionally stretching a few for the larger keys……

That would really make only 4 keys to model –

My very early attempt at extruding a few keys – it just looked odd

 

Keyboard Render - First Version

So, out with the keyboard, a few macro shots and some eyeballing of angles……..D’oh!

To get the below rough angles, I took some high resolution images, scanned them in and just used Fusion’s canvas feature to create a sketch that roughly made the angles. I’ll print a few out at some point to check

A quick google and I’d found out that this guy – http://www.calaquin.com/search?q=c64  had also figured out the keys were different depending on the row

Thingiverse –  https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2025280 Helped a little, a few others have knocked up some C64 Keys it seems

There’s also some ‘iffy’ looking ones up on the net….

https://www.myminifactory.com/object/3d-print-commodore64-replacement-blank-keycaps-109077

There’s also some amazing models out there

https://www.cgtrader.com/3d-models/electronics/other/commodore-c64

and some good looking ones, but clearly flawed – lacking the curves of the original keys

https://www.cgtrader.com/3d-models/electronics/computer/vintage-computer-commodore-64

 

So, because i’m learning Fusion360 and i’m a stubborn person, i’ll attempt to model one myself!

Here’s my first bit…………

C64 Mini Side Keyboard Profile
A Quadrilateral should have all the internal angles adding up to 360, My special quadrilaterals don’t 😉

Each Row of keys on the keyboard has a unique shape / profile…This ain’t good for my nerves, I’ve just ‘gotta’ do this properly and that now means I have to model a LOT more keys

The C64 has 3 Main key sizes, Plus a space bar….4 Key types total

  • CTRL, Restore, Shift Keys and F Keys are all about 1.5 wide
  • Return – About 2 Wide
  • Space – About 9 wide and ‘raised’ convex profile, not concave like the other keys
  • Standard Keys – 1 wide

Now, I have to model more keys

  • Top Row – 2 Key types to model.
    • 1 Wide, 16 Keys;
    • 1.5 Wide,  F1
  • 2nd Row – 2 Key types to model
    • 1 Wide, 13 Keys,
    • 3 keys 1.5 Wide
  • 3rd Row – 3 Key types to model
    • 1 Wide, 14 Keys,
    • 2 Wide, 1 Key
    • 1.5 Wide, 1 Key
  • 4th Row – 2 Key types to model
    • 1 Wide, 13 Keys
    • 1.5 Wide, 3 Keys
  • 5th Row – Space bar! (1 Key type to model)

Total Key Types to model – 10!

 

That’s going to be 2 and a half times more work than expected………

 

 

 

 

Author: bleughbleugh

Early Fourties, Wife, two kids in primary school. Both of us work full time...3 years now Back in Blighty after a decade away...It's a new country for everyone! Still finding time to tinker!

6 thoughts on “C64 Mini Keyboard, 1/2 alive and Some CAD”

  1. Great work so far! I’m pretty much in the exact same place as you on my mod, except I don’t have QMK going yet. On the keys, I was actually thinking about filling the existing keys with epoxy, setting the pcb/switches on top to set, and then somehow cutting them apart from each other. Haven’t figured how to cut and keep ’em pretty yet… Good luck!

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    1. Hi,
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      To use the existing keyboard, I was thinking
      Create a mould from it – from plaster of Paris or something.

      Can maybe use epoxy to make a new keyboard keys
      Or
      cut the keys apart
      Sit them in the mould
      Fill them with epoxy
      Jam switches in

      Mould will keep keys in place

      To get the keys off I was figuring to use a belt sander

      QMK took me weeks to figure out! Still not perfect!

      Like

      1. I’m glad it’s not just me with QMK issues. I don’t program much anymore, but I still figured it would be easier than it has been to debug! Unfortunately I have so many other projects, I haven’t been as inclined to get back to it, but it’s making it’s way back up my list. I have a laser CNC and have been tempted to see if it’ll cut the keyboard without it melting back together! I have an original C64 breadbin and made a BMC64 from a keyboard I had, so the mini is just a neat conversation piece at this point.

        Like

      2. I love seeing your kit available. As I wrote, months ago now, I have my own designed PCB and have it working on a PC, but still can’t get QMK going for theC64mini. I know you are selling the kits, so don’t want a freebie, but I’d be willing to pay for your software if you are willing. I’m using the same microcontroller as you, but my matrix is different. I’m pretty sure I can update for my matrix, I just can’t get the setup correct. If not, no big deal, just thought I’d ask. What price are you asking for the kit, BTW?

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      3. Hi there,
        This guy

        https://thec64community.online/thread/200/keyboard-mod-thec64-mini

        Has made his QMK code available!

        It took me a few months to figure out how to compile QMK and mod it to work with the mini so I’d rather not release it at this stage!
        I will release it at some point next year after I’ve got a full self contained kit available with keycaps and it’s tested Better 🙂

        I just used one of the standard QMK maps and added pages for the extra functions

        Like

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