Yet Another Keyboard

Last updated on January 16, 2020 by Jean-Philippe Bernardy
Tags: Keyboards

Introducing the Yak

I just finished building a keyboard which I designed myself. Why Yet Another Keyboard? Even though there is a plethora of existing designs based on the Dactyl, none of them really satisfied me for various reasons. And, if I spend the effort building a keyboard, I do not want to compromise on design.

A shot of the Yak

Here are the main characteristics:

The keys
How curved it is

Build the Yak

You can build your own Yak in just 10 very hard steps:

  1. Source 66 Cherry MX keyswitches, DSA keycaps, and 1N4148 diodes; two promicro boards; 20 socket-head 8mm M3 screws; 2 m3 nuts.

    • optional for backlight: 2 leds; 2 220 ohms resistors.
  2. Make physical copies of the models

  3. Download a modified QMK and flash it on the promicro boards:

    nix-shell --run "make handwired/yak:default:avrdude-split-left"
    nix-shell --run "make handwired/yak:default:avrdude-split-right"
  4. Insert keyswitches, and wire them according to the layout (see the QMK tutorial on handwiring).

  5. Build wrist rests with some hardwood pieces, for example:

    • Cut two 10 × 8 × 4 cm blocks
    • Drill mortises to fit the bottom plate tenons (Use an 8mm drill bit)
    • Somehow cut out room for the bottom plate support
  6. Snap the frame into place (lower row first).

  7. Insert the promicro boards and secure them with nuts and bolts.

  8. Connect all the components and wires according to the config (see QMK tutorial on split keyboards and backlight).

  9. Screw the bottom plate to the body (if the body is PLA, heat the screws to about 150°C to tap the threads), and fit the wrist rests into place.

  10. Connect the two halves before powering either of them with a micro usb cable.

Shave the Yak

The Yak models are generated with a Haskell DSL targetting OpenSCAD. Check this page for information on the design and the technology.