Could you at some point maybe do a tutorial on how to do the backlighting? (I code on my calc in the dark a lot. Don't ask.)
darkwater4213 wrote:
Could you at some point maybe do a tutorial on how to do the backlighting? (I code on my calc in the dark a lot. Don't ask.)
I'll make a video about my process eventually but to be frank, don't do it with LEDs. It's so tedious and so many things can go wrong it's really worth looking into better ways of lighting them. 3D printing new keys with glowing filament might be a neat way to do it. I already documented the inside key dimensions in a previous post. Maybe dye sublimation could be used to print the text back on the keys.
Somehow I missed the conclusion of this project a while ago, as well as the recent updates. The method of key backlighting shows an extreme level of patience, although I'm very curious about robustness. Do the connecting magnet wires flex when the keys are pressed? Have you had any problems with fatigue and wire breakage as the keys are pressed? I'd be curious to see what would if a cut (e.g., laser-cut) edge-illuminated plexiglass sheet with holes for the keys would provide enough incidental illumination, or even your small LEDs mounted on the underside of the faceplate pointing into the sides of the keys (but not mounted in/on the keys themselves).
I left some slack in the wires around each key so they shouldn't be flexing much. I haven't had any issues yet and I hope they'll last at least a few years before wearing out. Plexiglass keys would look pretty sweet! You could probably fit the LEDs in the corner of each area the key sits in. I still wouldn't recommend trying to deal with 50 LEDs though Razz

EDIT: I made a short post about this project on Imgur and it did really well! 100k+ views, 1,200+ likes, and it made it to Most Viral. I'm excited to see what the people on YouTube and Reddit will think when I post there!
I somehow missed the whole backlighting update, very cool addition to the build! Kerm has a good point though, those wires will fail at some point. Trying some translucent filament and 3D printing some buttons would work well, especially since translucent PLA tends to be more diffusive than clear. I think the best way to use a few LED's and get the most out of the lighting would be to try that and then use small fiber-optic cables to transfer the light from LED's mounted in the back of the case to the front, where they could run alongside the button rows or have the ends point at individual keys (I don't think there's room for that though). You could easily bundle all the cables into one core that goes into one LED that way. Maybe throw in a larger RGB LED and a Picaxe 14m2 and you'd be able to do some pretty cool stuff with a lower power consumption.
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