C64 Mini – Cutting the existing Keyboard Part 1

Did an attempt at a jig to make hacking up your own keyboard just a little easier….

it’s fairly easy to hack up the existing keyboard into bits….(get hacky thingy, cutty thingy, hack, cut…maybe smooth off burrs if you’re feeling artsy)

Getting the brand new hacked up bits of plastic that once looked like a keyboard to sit straight on the switches and resemble the previous keyboard resemblance …..not so much.

Turns out that making things ‘straight’ is hard……..so, some ideas

3D design and print new keycaps with locking mechanisms that work with my chosen keyswitches (still onging, it’s been MONTHS of work)

My first other idea…….. create a form to fill with plaster of paris, press the plastic full keyboard into that form, leave to set…

Remove keyboard and admire a perfect negative image of the keyboard.

Two things that could be done with this

Use that plaster of paris as a form to create resin keycaps (without any lettering) – I’m working on that!

second – it can be used as a perfect ‘form’ to sit the newly butchered keycaps in, fill with epoxy glue, sit keyboard PCB on top and let the keycaps become glued on, all nice and straight like!

it’s fairly easy to export the keyboard PCB outline from EasyEDA as a DXF then import to Fusion, extrude and…voila!

But…There’s an ever so tiny mistake in the image above

That’s the printed version…The holes line up great!

But….

Yeah, the keyboard should be face down!, D’oh!

i’ll see if the snips’ll work

The other thing….

Fits like a glove….

Nice and snug – Note the top row of keys is level…..

Some small design work needed but the idea has promise!. I just need to re-jig the hole widths a little to accommodate the angle of the keyboard better!

I’ve purchased another couple of C64 Minis so that I can improve this jig more. I’m not quite certain where the keys will ‘fall’ once they’re seperated from the base of the plastic moulding.

The more I think about it, i’m thinking that there could be a shedload more work in this jig – one ‘saving grace’ though – due to the way injection moulding works – there’s a slight taper on the existing fake switches. And, I suspect that the rear of them has been modded so that they’re almost perpendicular to the base. this will help the whole mould ‘pop off’ the injection machine…

That also helps me with this jig as it really means that, at the base of the keys, all the keys seem to have the same uniform rear rising, almost perpendicular taper and front curving taper. kinda like the below diagram

That could turn the whole change into just re-extruding the jig key holes at the 8 degree angle of the keyboard as above……..

A Broken Rice Cooker :-( (3D Printing to the rescue!

Picked up a Tefal rice cooker when living in Australia. They’re superb, reliable and make great cakes

Highly recommend buying one 🙂

Our latching mechanism broke recently, requiring us to jam some weights on top to ensure the lovely cooked rice goodness continued……….

I Gone Dun Fixed it!

I’m getting a little better at Fusion360 now and my work with the C64Mini keyboard taught me enough about surface modelling to knock up this thingy 🙂

The old one’s at the top………the sticky outy bit snapped.

Now, another rabbit hole though……PLA is quite tough

….Until it’s warmed up.

….Rice cookers get a little warm…

It lasted a couple of weeks at least…

Picked up a roll of ABS, first time I’ll be using it, so wish me luck!. Also i’ll redesign those curves just a little better 🙂

3D Printering – The Ender 3 Pro….

Just over a year ago I purchased my Creality Ender 3 Pro…an absoloute steal at about £140 after discounts and Topcashback special offer at the time.

I was having so much ‘fun’ with my Wanhao Duplicator 9 that I didn’t open the box for nearly 1/2 a year. and I only fired the thing up a few months ago!

I have to say, I’m impressed. The printer deserves its rabid fanbase following. It printed flawlessly out of the box without any setting up.

It’s surprising the difference having a reliable ‘work horse’ printer makes to the hobby. I need a bit – I just go print it. no faffing about with levelling and bed adhesion.

Till it doesn’t…….

OOps!

Note, if your previously reliable printer seems to under-extrude, even on known great filament – try the extruder arm.

Something seemed ‘off’ when printing standard stuff – almost overnight the printer just seemed to under-extrude, not be reliable and, well, become more like my Wanhao D9 (a bit crap)

Even bizzarely, the printer would print OK over to the left, but under-extrude to the right. Took an hour to diagnose this! When the head was over to the right – it would pull the mechanism slightly which dislodged the arm enough to slip the filament.

Luckily, This extruder tech hasn’t moved in years…….An unassembled, missing parts kit I picked up off facebook a couple of years ago (syntek, sintek or something similar) which itself was a few years old had just the part..(which complete, looks identical to this Aliexpress one …..

Works a treat….

Except….There’s those new fangled ‘dual gear’ type extruders they’re on about….

and….well, I have a LOT more spares upstairs that i’ve gathered!

And, well, if i’m upgrading one extruder drive mechanism, it’s shockingly easy to add a second….

and…

Fortunately (for the Ender 3) , My Wanhao Duplicator 9 decided to ‘blow up’ a bit *Probably assisted by my dual 5015 blower fan mods

See that Poor MOSFET M3 – Right by R12….

So, now, my D’s guts, kinda look like this……..

What’s best! – I now have a working 3D printer that I can use to print parts for my broken 3D printer!

Wooo

Now, looking at dual extruder mods……… – https://www.thingiverse.com/bleugh/collections/3d-printer-carriage

looks like my tinkering time’s filled up again. gotta get designing a ‘fix’ for the D9…and a dual extruder / colour setup……

C64 Mini Keyboard – More CAD

The first mediocre print!

It’s taking way too long, but I think I now have the lettering ‘just right’ – at least on the screen.

This was printed a bit too hastily at 0.08mm layer height on an Ender 3 printer. I’d used a brand new roll of untested filament and didn’t bother changing any settings. – it’s dimensionally ‘spot on’..

I’ve purchased a 0.2mm nozzle for my next trial , it’ll take ages but i’m hoping that those fine details on the characters come out a little better.

Why it’s taking so long……..

I’m learning as I go. I’m ‘tracing’ letters i’m finding on the net, creating them as a new sketch along the whole rows. There’s 4 differently angled rows so each needs to be extruded in a different direction to ‘cut’ the key.

This first run matches the C64 keyboard font as close as I can get. I’ll then ‘archive’ this layout for future use and create a second ‘3D print’ version.

This version will forgo the accuracy of the font and make features much wider, more rounded to allow the characters to come out better once 3D printed. The complex ones like ‘run stop’ won’t ever come out great on a standard filament printer, but the letters already come out pretty good…that’s a win for me!

a full keyboard!

The full keyboard is above – and you can see part of one of the adaptors i’m designing to click them onto the keyswitches. each keycap is hollow. that small grey part will sit inside the keycap

Where the time’s being spent…..

And finally – part of what’s taking so long.

Each key/character is taking on average about 1/2 an hour to an hour to design. Lets say 45 minutes.

65 keys to label

That’s a LOT of minutes…and i’m only getting an hour or two every few nights – a good solid weekend ‘free’ would be great and have this sorted.

On top of that labelling (which is now finished) I have to try to make each letter more legible and easier to 3D print. Generally that means ‘bevels’ everywhere – you can see above that i’ve done ‘Run Stop’ and ‘Shift Lock’ but SHIFT is still to do….it’s not as easy either as ‘copy, paste’ the Shift from Shift lock – that’s a different sized font on a different sketch plane.

Just one example of the issues I’m seeing…The Letter B

The Letter B – trying to create a fillet – rounding off the edges

The Letter B above has an issue with the geometry – just by the 0.1 – there’s a part internally up towards the arrow that shouldn’t be there – that’ll could play havoc with a slicer when set to really small layer heights

B – Alternate view

But, the Fillet also creates a zero thickness surface which looks unsightly and will probably cause issues if I don’t correct it now

So, Back to the sketch

Letter B – The Sketch

As you can see, i’ve kept the characters with few (if any) constraints. this way has been easier to freehand and eyeball as I can drag stuff around till it looks right by ‘locking and unlocking’ lines. most constraints used to create right angles, etc have been removed after to help with the process of making it 3D

Anyways, the ‘issue’ with the fillet seems to be around the place where the two control point splines meet – i’ve highlighted one in blue above.

I re-coincide each spline (have found deleting and un-deleting works, as well as hitting coincident )

That change should hopefully roll back up the timeline to allow me to make the fillet work.

To Create the key lettering I the character by 1mm elsewhere in my workspace, then move it to over the key.

Then extrude the face of the character into the key and ‘cut’ ….

this may seem odd, but it’s a really quick and easy way of consistently creating cutouts on a row of keys and making quick changes later.

That didn’t work, so, jump into surface mode – delete the entire inner arc of the B. Re-create the arc as a ‘patch’. Stitch together the lower part of the B. Then stich the whole keycap, then re-apply fillet and…..Voila…..3/4 an hour later, one filleted B…And a learned workflow if the same thing happens on another key!

Note, as-is, the keyboard fonts are a bit innacurate. I’ve sized everything based upon the smallest characters that need to fit – i.e. run stop, etc. The individual letters could be bigger – but any bigger and they’d look too big compared to those……….

Next steps,

DFM – Design for manufacture.

Just because you design a 3x2mm hole, doesn’t mean it’ll print at 3×2. Generally Filament printers do outer perimeters a little larger, inner perimeters a little smaller. The first few tests i’ve done now prove this. so, After a few months of ‘out of the box working’ on my Ender, I’ve finally gotta bite the bullet and calibrate it. The plan is to create an offset in the CAD file so that I still design the holes accurately based on measurement, BUT, can add a accurate ‘calibration figure’ Fudge figure to make them a little larger or smaller as necessary.

Right now my Printer is doing slightly oval prints – which should be easy enough to sort out if my D9 Adventures were anything to go by

3D Printing – Upgrades – Here we go again!

Haven’t even fully assembled the thing yet and I discover there are many upgrades

https://all3dp.com/1/20-must-creality-ender-3-upgrades-mods/

https://www.thingiverse.com/

many very cheap!, A few expensive, many quick, a few slower…..

I do however own a few Ikea Lack Tables

and being a little dissapointed that my D9 was just too big to fit inside, I’m probbaly going to knock up a small stacker with my 3020 and ender 3! ………..when i’ll actually use all this crap for making stuff for the kids to play with, who knows!, still, the ‘possibilities’ are keeping me sane right now!

 

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More 3D printing…New toy – Creality Ender 3

Well, after endless weeks of frustration with the D9 and extrusion issues, I’ve gone and done a few things

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Purchased a silly amount of ‘spare parts’ at ridiculous prices from random chinese websites – it’s like Christmas! every day!, there’s steady stream of small boxes and packages arriving. I’ll have enough bits to build a couple of spare printers soon…….

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Continue reading “More 3D printing…New toy – Creality Ender 3”