Resources for keyboard makers

Resources for keyboard makers

Software tools

  • The keyboard layout editor is an online tool to design (flat) keyboard layouts.
  • KiCad is my electronics/PCB design tool of choice.
  • Ergogen generates (unrouted) PCBs, cases and plate designs, from a formal layout description.
  • FreeCAD and LibreCAD are two FLOSS CAD programs, focusing on 3D and 2D CAD, respectively.
  • Cosmos is a generator for Dactyl-style keyboards. (probably an evolution of the Dactyl generator)


  • QMK is the most common keyboard firmware project for wired keyboards. Very easy to use, comes with a nice CLI and tons of features.
  • ZMK is another firmware, a bit less featurefull than QMK, but designed for wireless keyboards, including fully wireless splits.
  • Keyberon is a Rust no_std crate for writing keyboard firmwares, which I have yet to experiment.


Other lists


  • LaserBoost (Barcelona, Spain) for laser cutting, including metal.
  • Sculpteo (France and others) for laser cutting (but not metal) and 3D printing. Be careful that minimum order is 50€.
  • JLCPCB for PCBs.
  • PCBWay, also PCBs, a bit more expensive.

Notes on T[R[R]]S cables

Which pins are shorted by plugs with less than four connectors.

Pins are, from tip to sleeve: T - R1 - R2 - S

  • In a TRS male connector, R2 == S (R2 is shorted with S)
  • In a TS male connector, R1 == R2 == S (R2 is shorted with S)

For maximum cable compatibility, if you need three wires, use T, R1 and S. If you need two, use T and S.

 │ │ │ │ │ │
┈┝━┥┈┝━┥┈│ │┈R2
┈┝━┥┈│ │┈│ │┈S
 ░▒▓ ░▒▓ ░▒▓
 ░▒▓ ░▒▓ ░▒▓
 ░▒▓ ░▒▓ ░▒▓
  █   █   █
  ┃   ┃   ┗━ TS
  ┃   ┗━━━━━ TRS
  ┗━━━━━━━━━ TRRS

Hotswap sockets


Copy-pasted from

  • 7305-0: Gold-plated sockets (7305-0-15-15-47-27-10-0) Shorter leg that can be more difficult to solder, but has a shorter lip above the PCB that’s more flush
  • 0305-2: Tin-plated sockets (0305-2-15-80-47-80-10-0) Easier to solder because of longer leg, but taller lip that pops up above the PCB
  • 3305-1: Gold-plated sockets (3305-1-15-15-47-27-10-0) Best of both worlds! Easier to solder with the longer legs and is more flush with the top of the PCB with a lip than even more shorter than the 7305-0