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For Consumers

General keyboard info

Routing Techniques

PCB Design Advanced Info

Tips for a proper, organized PCB Good Routing Techniques Do not route traces close to the edge.  Do not place EMI-emitting components, such as crystals, near a board edge. Surround pulsating traces with proper ground plane fill to reduce EMI. Ver...

PCB Guide Part 4 - The rest of the schematic

PCB Design PCB Designer Guide

By this point, you should have the MCU schematic zone complete. Step 6. The rest of the schematic The rest of the schematic is not as difficult as the MCU.Let's power through it. USB circuitry Only typical Mini-B USB will be covered here for simplicity rea...

PCB Guide Part 3 - Creating the MCU schematic

PCB Design PCB Designer Guide

By this point, you should have installed the programs, created the repository, and added the local libraries. Step 5. Beginning the schematic The schematic is used to set up the electronics side of things. For this tutorial, we will be using the typical Atm...

PCB Guide Part 2 - Beginning the project

PCB Design PCB Designer Guide

By this point, you should have a repository readied for the project. Step 3. Creating the KiCad project The previous page's setup should have created a folder in your home/Documents/GitHub folder with the project name.  We will be doing all work here. L...

PCB Guide Part 1 - Preparations

PCB Design PCB Designer Guide

This guide is intended as a direct replacement for the aging Ruiqi Mao's guide.Credits go to that guide for serving as a base for this writeup. If you spot any mistakes, please let me know either through Discord (ai03#2725) or email ([email protected]), a...

Using ai03 Plate Generator as a CLI tool

Case and Plate Design

The ai03 plate generator doesn't have to be web-hosted.  Requirements Python 3.7 or higher The files here Requirements in requirements.txt of the repository Usage python plategen.py -h for all arguments and their options cat kle-raw | python...

Plate with ai03 Plate Generator

Case and Plate Design

A quick and easy method that doesn't compromise. Tutorial Begin by making the layout in Keyboard Layout Editor.http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.comIf you need compatibility cutouts, overlay the various options. Copy the info from the Raw Data tab into ...

Switch Dimensions and Physical Specifications

Case and Plate Design

For a list of all switch datasheets available on hand, please see the switch datasheets tab of ai03's designer resources spreadsheet.   

Contributing

The Wiki Itself

To request an account, send a direct message to ai03#2725 on Discord requesting an account on this wiki with an email address. For making edits, please follow this structure: Wiki Structure Books - Top level categories, i.e. PCB Design, Switch Selection Ch...

Kerf Settings for Various Services

Case and Plate Design

Ponoko Acrylic: Thickness Kerf in mm 3mm 0.2 4.5mm 0.25 6mm 0.26 8mm 0.24 Lasergist Stainless Steel: Thickness Kerf in mm 1.5mm 0.15

EMI Shielding and Reduction

PCB Design Advanced Info

Healthy PCB designing. Important to prevent a keyboard from malfunctioning from too much outside noise, and also to prevent a keyboard from wreaking havoc upon nearby devices such as pacemakers.Texas Instruments states that any frequency above 80 MHz is a con...

Good USB Routing Practices

PCB Design Advanced Info

A quick summary of Good Usb Practices Trace length Matching Intel suggests that USB traces be matched to 150 mils within each other in length. Trace spacing is debated. Intel suggests 20 mils spacing between the USB traces. Texas Instruments suggest...

USB Type-C

PCB Design Advanced Info

Make your keyboard future-proof and reversible Type-C USB Slightly wider than MicroUSB connectors. Keep in mind when designing PCBs to fit standard cases. Soldering is much more difficult. Mini/Micro-USB has 5 pins. Type-C has 24. Completely surfac...

Backlighting And RGB

PCB Design Advanced Info

Bling bling. QMK-Compatible LED backlighting This is one LED per switch. The structure is: . |- LED --- Resistor -| | | N-Channel 5V ---|- LED --- Resistor -|----- MOSFET ----- GND | | ...

List of KiCad Keyboard Parts Libraries

PCB Design References

For all footprint needs. Library name Library description Author URL MX_Alps_Hybrid.pretty Combined MX-Alps hybrid footprints ai03 https://github.com/ai03-2725/MX_Alps_Hybrid.pretty keebs.pretty KiCAD library for hybrid MX/Alps footprints ...

For Designers

Info for making things happen

Matrices and Duplex Matrix

PCB Design Advanced Info

Improving upon their design. Maximizing the matrix For non-macropad keyboards, routing a matrix with one pin per row and column will almost always lead to inefficient results. With the same number of keys, a more "square" matrix will require less cols a...

Microcontroller Design

PCB Design Advanced Info

For successful and elegant controller circuitry. Microcontroller Basics Controller such as ATMEGA32U4 are often used as low-cost, low-power processing units for mechanical keyboard PCBs.They often require various components of their own in order to function ...

Error-Checking

PCB Design Advanced Info

Produce functional PCBs the first time around. DRC Checks Begin here. Run a DRC. Does it report anything? Are there any errors aside from overlapping stabilizer/switch pads? Physical Checks These errors are easy to miss, since some are not scan...

Welcome

The Wiki Itself

  Welcome to the keyboard designer wiki @ ai03.com! Looking for the infobase with the FAQ, build guides, and general keyboard info? If so, visit info.ai03.com instead. If you wish to return to the main ai03 website, click here. For Contributors To requ...

References

PCB Design

All the info in one place.

Advanced Info

PCB Design

The real work.

PCB Designer Guide

PCB Design

Learn how to make mech keyboard PCBs.

Keyset Design

Creating beautiful keycaps.

Keyboard Firmware

All the code.

Case and Plate Design

Physical goodness.

The Wiki Itself

Contents that don't belong in any specific categories.

PCB Design

The circuitry handbook.

Other

Stuff that doesn't fit into other categories

PCB Guide Part 5 - Creating the PCB

PCB Design PCB Designer Guide

Now that the schematic is finished and footprint data has been exported, we can begin with the PCB. Step 8. Preparing the PCB From the KiCad menu, open the PCB file. First, let's adjust the grid so it's fine tuned for making keyboards. On the left pane, ...