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Steampunk Mechanical Keyboard Mod (Evie)

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I have wanted to do a mechanical keyboard mod project for a while now and after completing my steampunk case mod (Evie) last year it seemed the perfect time to have a crack at it.

My problem started with trying to find a high quality mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX Red switches that was not covered with rgb (almost impossible in this rgb fanatical period we are going through. In fact, I didn't want any key lighting on the keyboard at all. Finally, the keyboard had to be just a plank - no fancy curves or any other such additions.

The reason for needing just a basic oblong plank style keyboard is that my design idea was to have a walnut casing (containing the keyboard) sitting/supported inside a brass cradle.

Enter the Gigabyte Force K83 - basic plank, no lighting and Cheery MX Red switches.


Key caps removed


The switches on the K83 are plate mounted so all 104 switches would have to be unsoldered so that access to the metal plate could be achieved. The metal plate would be covered in black leather before having the switches replaced. Trying to cut around each switch would just look feces - it was going to have to be the hard, long and tiresome way for this part!



Next step was the replacement keys. I was planning on using a set of keys by Datamancer but when I saw them I was very dissapointed. For a set of key caps costing nearly £100 the finish quality was very bad indeed. The labeling was not straight and obviously had been printed on a laser printer using really cheap paper - plus I think the ink was running out half way through as some of them were faded. Not impressed. However, there are not that many options available.

There was nothing for it. 104 key strip down was needed and new labels created and printed.


First design test pass resulting in several adjustments.


All 104 keys now redone and placed in section bags.


Now on to the switches. Problem here was the red of the Cherry MX switch showed when the new keycap was in place plus the switch bodies were obviously black plastic. Out with the airbrush and soon sorted. The switches now being antique bronze.


Badge design for the keyboard linking the Evie keyboard Mod and Evie Case Mod together.


Black leather now coating the steel switch plate and the Cheery MX's replaced.


On the bottom of the K83 is a rather large and modern sticker - this would not do at all so a new one was designed and printed to be more in keeping with the steampunk theme. The test fit of the keyboard plank into the walnut frame is also shown in the second image.



Now the basic work was done and the walnut cradle complete (other than treating with oil to bring out the colour and grain which would be done later), it was time to move on to the brass supporting cradle.


Hand cutting and finishing all the brass components begins.



Test fit of side supports onto the walnut cradle.


Basic cradle work complete and testing for square/trueness. A lot of brass polishing to come.



That's it for now. In the next update will be the finsihing of the walnut cradle, assembly of the keyboard and the modding of the cable and plugs.

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Finally got to finish the Gigabyte Force K83 Steampunk Keyboard Mod.

Here are the final pictures of the build.






I must admit the process of undertaking a keyboard mod was a welcome change from my bigger case mod builds. For anyone wishing to do a keyboard mod I can highly recommend the Gigabyte Force K83 as a base unit to build around. Great build quality, Cherry MX Red switches and good key response specifications.

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That thing looks amazing. Your brass work is spot on and looks so nice on there.  The detail on the cord is such a nice touch to really finish off the whole thing.

Question, on the wrist rest, are those two middle bold caps going to be a problem with typeing?  It looks like they are right where your hand would sit.

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Funnily enough it works out just fine and the centre dome nuts don't effect typing at all and I don't feel them when my wrists are on the rest. Perhaps it's due to the size of my hands (large) and my wrist spacing on the rest.

The original design I had was for the raised pad area to be a split wrist rest with two equal halves (one for each hand). Once I had it made and attached it just didn't look right so what you see now is version 2.

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