Sunday, December 03, 2006

Typewriter to Keyboard Conversion

Typewriter to Keyboard Conversion

I've been waiting awhile for somebody to do this, and document it online. An old Underwood just seems like it would be the perfect keyboard for a steampunk or retro themed pc mod.

Granted, there is this mod, which has been floating around for awhile, where a guy took an old Underwood, gutted it and fitted it with a mini-itx motherboard. For a keyboard, he used a mini-computer keyboard with the tops of the Underwood keys glued to the corresponding characters. He also programed to the system to play a sound bite of a typewriter key being struck whenever a key was pushed. Definitely clever, and fairly easily done, but not the solution for everyone. However the conversion from analog to digital writing machine seemed like a can of worms that I was unwilling to jump into without a guide.

But, Lo! it appears such a guide has arrived.

Yes, it really works. Even down to slapping the carriage return for Enter.(But believe me - this project isn't as awesome as you think. It's a neat idea but has a few technical flaws - no "1" key, no backspace, no Escape. I have plans for a second version that will correct these flaws. Enjoy what's here, but don't think it's all that fantastic.)

My wife suffers from repetive stress problems in her fingers and wrists. Sometime in October we were talking about different keyboards on the market for people such as herself. In the course of the conversation she mentioned that she finds old-fashioned mechanical typewriters much easier on her fingers because they offer gradual resistance rather than the feeling of moving through air then hitting a wall, like most computer keyboards. Ah-hah, I think to myself! At last I know what I will give her for Christmas. The first weekend after Halloween I went out and found an old Smith-Corona and got to work.

via Brass Goggles the Steampunk Blog

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