Build a Mechanical Keyboard

  • Saturday, January 19, 2019
  • Saturday, January 26, 2019
  • 2 sessions
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019, 1:00 PM 3:00 PM
  • Saturday, January 26, 2019, 1:00 PM 3:00 PM
  • ETA Studio Class Code: EL011919JB
  • 3


  • $80 + 65 materials fee
  • $60 + $65 materials fee

To register and pay off-line, please call the registrar at (206) 842-4475 x216 or come into BARN.

Be sure to "Join Waitlist" if this class fills (there is no cost to do so) and we will notify you if a seat opens up or this class is offered again.
Registration is closed

In this two session class you will be building a fully-functional, custom-designed mechanical keyboard and take it home with you to use. 

Why do so many people love mechanical keyboards? A mechanical keyboard has switches with springs rather than the more common plastic membrane.

Because mechanical key switches provide the user with tactile feedback, they can make typing more efficient and accurate. You can also choose switches that give acoustic feedback with pleasing “clacking” sounds. Mechanical keyboards are generally more expensive than mass-produced membrane alternatives, but they are sturdier. They last longer and even if something wears out it can usually be repaired.

Beyond superior functionality, these keyboards also offer aesthetic flexibility that creators enjoy. You can easily customize the look of your keys, and do it again whenever the mood strikes. There are many different types of keyboard layouts to choose from.

The design we will build in this class is a split layout created for ergonomic comfort. Our keyboard is rugged and small enough that you can carry it anywhere, with 42 keys (as opposed to 100+ on a full-sized one) and programmable functional layers.

To create your keyboard, you will use the studio’s laser cutter to cut the wood and acrylic components. You will also exercise (or learn) soldering skills as we hand wire all of our key switches and connect them to the microcontroller. Then, you will assemble and troubleshoot your new device, and learn how to update the firmware.

We will be using Cherry MX Blue (clicky) switches. This class will not include keycaps, as these are a very personal choice for which you will want to do some research. But we will discuss options and you will be allowed to rummage through my box of random keycaps and keep whichever you fancy to use while you’re searching for the perfect ones for you.

Class size is limited to 4.

There is a materials fee of $65.

Our keyboard design was created by Phil Hagelberg and is called Atreus (

Skill Level: Class is for all levels. 

Ages: Ages 14+ welcome


Jorge Barrios nudges bytes for a living and is learning how to move atoms around. He is on the ETA Steering Committee and is sometimes spotted as a studio monitor.

Questions? Contact:



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