Builder Jason Allemann showcased on YouTube a project that he started back in 2005: a fully functional keyboard made in great part using just LEGO bricks.
Mind you, building the LEGO keyboard didn’t take Jason 9 years. On the contrary, he explained on his JCBrickworks blog that he “shelved the project for a number of reasons. Mostly because I was trying to build it onto the membrane of a Microsoft Natural keyboard, and working around the various angles of the keyboard was giving me a lot of trouble.”
The builder decided to leave the Microsoft Natural Keyboard aside and used instead a keyboard someone had thrown away on the side of the road. Jason then proceeded to make a frame using a grid of Technic connectors and axles. This grid enabled him to leave enough room between the keys above the membrane.
One the first problem was solved, another one arose: he needed to find appropriately printed tiles for each of the keys. Luckily for him, the LEGO Group made in time many tiles that could be successfully used as keys on a keyboard. Jason did not disclose the provenience of these tiles, but I assume that he must have relied on eBay, even if only for just a bit.
The more difficult part was creating the tiles for special functions (Scroll Lock, Print Screen, NumLock, etc), but Jason claims that he had a lot of fun doing this. Supposing that The LEGO Group will ever release new printed tiles, Jason is willing to replace the existing ones, as the upgrade process is incredibly easy.
I love it that LEGO builders get more and more creative. In the recent past, we’ve seen Braille printers, cars, a 3D chocolate printer and other ingenious devices made either entirely or in great part of LEGO bricks. This stands to show that the little plastic pieces have many uses, as long as it is someone with imagination who plays with them.
As shown in the following video, the LEGO keyboard is extremely easy to use. It does look bulky and somehow resembles mechanical keyboards, but it actually is as easy to use as any other one. There’s a bit of tension in the frame, but overall, it’s nothing that could prevent people from typing.
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