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Multifarious Industries

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About Multifarious Industries

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  1. Not quite as cheap as what spamh8r was talking about, but I used these: https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1030. $45 when you buy 60. Any cherry style PCB mount switches should fit though.
  2. I found JLCPCB to be the cheapest. It was about $17 for 5 boards (which I think is the minimum?) and the shipping was about that much again. I looked at some of the places in the US, thinking that I'd be able to get them faster, but some wanted up to $200 for 5 boards, so I went with the significantly cheaper/slower route. Most PCB places will let you upload a zip file and get a quote so you can use the one in the repo.
  3. That makes sense. I'm not sure about other models, but for the 800, they used the same standard spacing still used on keyboards today. About 19mm or 3/4" is 1 unit. Most of the keys are 1 unit, with the tab, return, and shift being 1.5 units, the left shift is 2 units and the spacebar is 9 units. I used a 19.05mm grid and it worked great. I laid it all out in kicad and then printed it out to make sure it fit where the original keyboard went before ordering the PCBs. The only real measuring I did was for the outline of the PCB and to figure out how tall to make the key adapters to keep them at the same height as the original.
  4. If you are doing a brand new PCB like I did, I'm not sure you need a scanner? I figured out which keys were connected to which pins on the connector, and routed all the traces myself. They don't need to match the original ones.
  5. Thanks! I've considered making more to sell, but it would depend on the demand. The cherry switches were actually pretty reasonable. I got 60 of them for $45 online. My hope was to make them cheaper to build than an OEM keyboard from eBay that would eventually have the same problems. I definitely kept it under $100 and if I was making a larger batch of them I could get the cost down even more. As for touch typing, I type around 60 wpm on a modern keyboard and for me, the limiting factor was not the wiggle, but the slightly different placement of the keys that slowed me down.
  6. Bob, I embarked on a similar project and also opted to use the original keys. I've made a post with the details and the files needed to make your own.
  7. Like many of you, I have a couple of Atari 800s with keyboards that aren't working for various reasons. I didn't like the idea of buying a NOS one from ebay and having it fail for the same reasons as the ones I have, but there weren't any other available options. Then it occurred to me that since mechanical keyboards are now a hobby, maybe I could make my own. My goal was to make a drop-in replacement keyboard that didn't require any modifications to the Atari, used the original key caps to maintain the original look, and should be easy enough for most maker types to reproduce. Luckily, the 800 keyboard is pretty simple. Its just a matrix of switches with no diodes or microcontrollers needed. So I mapped out the matrix using a multimeter and got to work in KiCad designing the PCB. A few weeks later, my newly designed board was delivered from the board house in China. After soldering in 57 Cherry MX black switches and a pin header, I hooked the new keyboard up to the Atari with an IDE cable for testing, and success! The PCB worked first try! The original keyboard mounts at an angle and is very recessed compared to modern keyboards. As I had a Stackpole keyboard to use as a template, designing 3d printable mounting brackets was pretty easy. I also integrated a support to run along the top edge of the PCB and limit the amount of flex it had when typing. The adapters to use the original keys, however, were much more challenging. The dimensions of both the original keycaps and the Chery MX switches required pretty tight tolerances, and since I needed an adapter for every key, I wanted them to print without supports and without needing tedious cleanup. After dozens of failed attempts, I finally got something that would fit snugly and could be printed in bulk on my 3D printer. Here's the finished installation: The keys have a little bit of wiggle, because of the extended height of the keycap/adapter/switch combination, but it's very usable and the modern switches should last a very long time. For those of you who'd like your own, I've uploaded all the files for the PCB and 3D prints to github and have included some instructions. https://github.com/multifariousindustries/Atari800Keyboard If you make one, please let me know what you think!
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