Building the Dactyl – Part 1 – 3D printing

So my first project for this year is to get a Dactyl. In true open source spirit, the case is on thingiverse and there are already a dozen iterations of it. What I wanted was to have wrist-rests integrated to the main body. So I got the regular dactyl top and a modified bottom case, and 3D printed them in CBS’s legendary BitLab with Lucas’ help.

Printing the lower case

We had a few false starts when it comes to printing the top half of the cases. The support structure was inadequate and the top halves warped out of shape. Learned quite a bit about how things could go wrong when printing intricate parts.

When the time came to put the switches in, I ran into another problem. The Kailh type switches I had, had a different structure than more traditional Cherry type switches. The dactyl top was not designed for the newer design. Since reprinting the thing would take too long, and getting switches would cost too much, I simply took a nail file and a hobby knife and went to work on the upper half. Trying to make it compatible with the switches. Took some doing but it worked.

At first I thought I could file away the nobs, but I decided to just cut them off. (Failed top in the back ground)

Finally I fitted all the switches I salvaged from the previous keyboard on the top. I must admit I had to use gorilla glue to get them to stay put. Not an elegant solution, but it works.

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