Quick Hack: Making a Microsoft 600 Keyboard a 1337 Keyboard

1337 Microsoft Keyboard!!

I am actually a big fan of the Microsoft 600 wired keyboard, it’s dirt cheap and it feels good to type on. With the Raspberry Pi on its way, I have come to the realization that I will need a second usb keyboard to use with it. So, for $25, you too can build your own “1337″ keyboard!

All you really need for this project is a keyboard ($20) and a can of flat-black plastic spray paint ($5)

The first step is to tear the keyboard apart, which is just undoing the screws on the back.


Next, crack it open and put the bottom piece with the membrane aside. Don’t unscrew the screws holding the logic board in place, it is somewhat of a pain to reattach if it is removed!

Really, don't remove this!

Next is the fun part, simply pop all the keys (They really just pop out!)  and line them up on piece of cardboard. I used my screw driver to punch the holes. When it came to the larger keys (like the space bar and both shift keys) I used a knife to cut a slit for the keys to fit into. Don’t worry about the little steel “Stabilizer” bars on the wider keys, leave them on. When it comes time to put the keys back on, they will reattach themselves.

Keys before painting

It’s not a bad idea to take a picture of the layout of the keys on the cardboard before you start painting so that it is easy to put the keys back where they belong!

I used 5 thin coats of paint, allowing around 15-20 minutes between coats. I however made the mistake of doing this outside just below freezing so the paint clumped up a little bit. This created a nice grippy finish however, and I am really happy with how it turned out.

Lastly, put all the keys back in and seal the unit up and your good to go!

Happy Hacking!


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