A customized cnc keyboard is a DIY keyboard. According to your own preferences, you can customize a unique keyboard. A keyboard consists of four parts: a kit (shell + pcb + positioning board + soundproof cotton), shaft body, keycap, and keyboard cable. The keyboard is divided into single mode, which is connected through the keyboard cable, dual mode adds Bluetooth connection, and three mode adds 2.4g wireless.
After you design the keyboard prototype, in order to test the feasibility, the first step is to choose 3D printing to test the structure. When there is no problem with the structure, you can use CNC machining to complete the final prototype manufacturing.
What is a CNC keyboard?
CNC keyboard casing refers to a customized physical casing manufactured by CNC processing technology, usually made of aluminum alloy, some keyboard enthusiasts use special materials, such as brass, stainless steel, plastic (PC, acrylic, wood).
Why Use CNC Aluminum keyboard?
When it comes to using keyboards, most of us are familiar with the traditional general-purpose plastic-cased keyboards. However, custom keyboards are usually made of aluminum alloy, which has several advantages over ordinary plastic-cased keyboards.
CNC machined keyboards for personal use can be stressful. So, where to start is to consider the option of machined keyboard casings. The advantages of choosing an aluminum keyboard case include but are not limited to the following;
Advantages of CNC machining keyboard
CNC machining options give your case a new look. This process helps maximize and beautify your keyboard case. After anodizing, the machined casing offers excellent scratch resistance and comes in a variety of colors to enhance the aesthetics of your keyboard.
CNC machines a variety of housing materials including aluminum, copper, stainless steel and titanium. These materials provide a keyboard case that is much more durable than the common plastic keyboard cases on the market. Based on our review of the aforementioned case materials, they’ve proven to stand the test of time while remaining strong.
Combined with the durability of the keyboard, they are also resistant to rust. For example, CNC aluminum keypads are extremely rust-resistant. The aluminum material reacts with air to form an anti-rust layer to prevent potential rust.
The material used to make the CNC machined keyboard helps dissipate heat compared to common case materials. For example, aluminum is primarily used for CNC milling keyboard housings because it dissipates heat faster than other metals. The essence is that the keyboard can be used anywhere.
The materials of manufacture are easily recycled. This means you don’t have to worry about the environmental hazards they may cause since they are easy to recycle. You can also reuse them when needed. In short, they are environmentally friendly.
typical raw material
There are a variety of materials that can be used to manufacture CNC machined keyboards. Each of these materials offers a variety of advantages. The most widely used material for milling keyboard casings is aluminum. This section will consider the different materials that can be used.
You can also contact us if you are interested in other material options.
Material Selection Guide for Custom Keyboards
What kind of material to choose is usually determined by the surface treatment. In our keyboard project, we list the commonly used material selection guidelines
Anodized and electrophoretic surface: The material selection is aluminum 6063 film aluminum plate, the first choice for upper cover, lower cover and positioning plate.
Spraying surface: 6061 aluminum
6063 aluminum alloy sheet is widely used in the manufacture of electronic product appearance parts that require high anodizing effect due to its better anodizing effect (such as white and bright color).
The defect of “material grain” in anodic oxidation is the main obstacle affecting the application of 6xxx series aluminum alloy rolled products in the appearance of 3C products.
Generally, the appearance parts of electronic products are subjected to sand blasting during the pre-treatment process of anodizing.
The purpose of sandblasting is to cover the structural defects of the material (such as “material grain”, that is: thin strips along the direction of processing deformation), and the sand size of sandblasting has a great influence on the covering effect of “material grain”, such as The smaller the sand grain, the worse the covering effect on the “material texture”.
In order to obtain a better appearance effect, the current trend is to use finer sand, so it is necessary to reduce the occurrence of “material grain” from the perspective of the material itself.
The occurrence of “material grain” is related to the structure of the material. If there are too many coarse intermetallic compounds along the deformation direction, but the dispersed phase is too small and the distribution is too sparse, more “material grain” will easily occur.
Keyboard weights: brass, copper, stainless steel
Brass and copper are usually oxidized after processing, resulting in black spots, so sandblasting + metallic transparent paint (anti-oxidation), polished PVD treatment is generally used after processing; stainless steel is polished or polished PVD, these three kinds There are no special requirements for the selection of materials, conventional materials are sufficient.
Copper can also be used as material. The preference for copper is due to its high resistance to corrosion, weathering, durability and machinability. Commonly used for positioning plates, weights and nameplates.
stainless steel material
Stainless steel is another metal that offers impressive properties to keyboard cases. It is available in premium alloys such as 304 stainless steel. This alloy is a perfect choice because it is dust-resistant, machinable, water-resistant, vandal-resistant, durable, and can be easily cleaned with soapy water and disinfectants. Commonly used for weights and nameplates.
is another material that can be used for machined casings for keyboards. Titanium is sometimes preferred because of its inertness. Therefore, they are highly resistant to corrosion. They also offer an impressive finish. Commonly used on nameplates
CNC keyboard manufacturing process
The manufacturing schedule is the same as other typical custom CNC machined parts in our factory. They have design schedules, fabrication schedules, post-processing and finishing schedules.
We also call this layout design (Prototyping).
Before taking any action, first use CAD or 3D printing to complete the design of the keyboard casing and key layout. You can provide us with CAD, if you are confused about it, our experts can help you design an impressive keyboard case. Using a prototype helps to test the design and check how it fits with the keyboard PCB mount.
Build programming by structure
CNC machining stage
Here, the designed cases were then used for the programming of each structure.Upper and lower casing processing
After all the designs have been tested, the programs are handed off to the CNC technicians in the CNC shop. The process includes machining the top and bottom of the keyboard case, and engraving the desired logo on the case.
The milling process for the top and bottom of the keyboard housing can be done using two different milling machines, a 3-axis and a 5-axis CNC milling machine. In most cases, 3-axis CNC machines are used due to the simplicity of the shapes. However, when complex shapes are required, 5-axis CNC milling machines are used.
After the metalwork has been machined into the desired shape, the keyboard casing can be deburred. This process is used to remove small imperfections known as burrs and more imperfections on milled keyboard casings.
The deburring process is followed by a polishing process. This involves using abrasive grains and a polishing tool or other polishing medium on the surface of the CNC milled keyboard housing. This process makes the surface of the milled keyboard bright and smooth. Methods for polishing include mechanical, chemical, electrolytic, ultrasonic, and the like.
Machined keyboard finish
Anodizing and two-color anodizing (aluminum)
Anodizing is the process of providing a better surface finish to the keyboard machined case. This method is specific to aluminum, and it turns the keyboard casing into the desired shape. It makes the outer surface of the case stronger, scratch-resistant, prevents it from peeling off, and prevents rust by blocking oxidation.
The anodizing process provides a variety of colors for the keyboard case, including red, green, black, gold, brown, blue, purple, black, gray, and more.
Whenanodized aluminum case, there are several factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Personal preference: The most important factor is personal preference. You want to choose a color that you like and that reflects your style and personality.
Compatibility with keycaps: The color of the case should also be compatible with the color and style of the keycaps you plan to use. For example, if you have a set of keycaps with a bright and bold color scheme, you may want to choose a more neutral color for the case to avoid clashing.
Durability: Anodized aluminum is a durable and scratch-resistant material, but certain colors may be more prone to showing scratches and wear over time. Darker colors like black, navy, and dark gray tend to hide scratches better than lighter colors like silver and white.
Lighting effects: If you plan to use LED lighting with your keyboard, you may want to choose a color that will complement or enhance the lighting effects. For example, a case with a reflective or metallic finish can create interesting light reflections and effects.
Aesthetics: Finally, you may want to consider the overall aesthetic of your keyboard when choosing a color for the case. Some colors may be more appropriate for a sleek and modern look, while others may be better suited for a retro or vintage style.
the choice of color for an anodized aluminum case is a personaldecision that should be based on your preferences and design goals. Consider factors like compatibility with keycaps, durability, lighting effects, and aesthetics to help you choose a color that will create the desired look and feel for your custom keyboard.
painting with other materials
For other materials, there are other ways to add color, including:
This involves dipping the desired part into a solution containing the corresponding metal salt. The use of this salt helps to fill the pores in the metal surface, thus providing a strong coating.
It refers to the technology of vaporizing materials into gaseous molecules, atoms or ions by physical methods under vacuum conditions, and depositing them on the workpiece to form a thin film with certain special functions. Common PVD deposition technologies include: evaporation technology, sputtering Radiation technology, arc technology. The parts need to be polished before use, and are mostly used for the weight and nameplate of the keyboard.
The above information can help you make a better choice. Once you’re ready for your keyboard case project, we’re here to help. We are a professional customized keyboard manufacturer with strong expertise in the machining of keyboard casings.