I know this is long overdue. I’ve had a setback or two, and spent as much time tinkering and not accomplishing much as making major breakthroughs.

I think the difficulty with these kinds of projects is that you always get new ideas midway through the process and end up redoing things again and again, likely damaging old work in the process.

The first major problem I ran into was that the reed switches that came with the USBtypewriter kit kept breaking on me. Whoever made them decided that glass would be a great encasement for something with steel leads your supposed to bend.  I also needed more then the four I was given and had to come up with something

After breaking 3 of the 4 and having the magnets that are supposed to trigger the switch cause innumerable headaches, I came up with my own idea. Obsewve.

Now this is downright nifty


Now this one I’m pretty proud of… especially because those wires aren’t visible when I button everything up.

You can basically see that I took two feather contacts and wrapped one around a moving piece of the return levers innards and put another one on the back of the casing. Now, in order to hit the enter key, you have to actually hit the return lever on the typewriter.

Check out how this is supposed to work.

With many thanks to http://www.usbtypewriter.com

Having a magnet inside that enclosed space was a hassle. I’d say on in every ten hits, the magnet would find something else to stick to. Now I have solid physical switch contacts in there that aren’t going anywhere. When the two pieces of metal hit, it creates a complete circuit and a signal is sent to the sensors.

With that in place, I moved on to the shift.


Essentially, the piece attached to the lower contact raises up when the shift button is hit, and that comes up and hits the upper switch.

This one was a little bit different because you can’t just attach them to the computer. The metal of the chasis is used as a ground, and it would probably cause some form of heinous interference.

Let me take a moment to express me deep and ardent love for electrical tape. It’s like the best invention since Guinness. It sticks to anything, and can be restuck dozens of times. It’s the best field bandage known to man for a contractor, and it insulates electric current. So I took some electrical tape and super glued the feather leads to it and then taped them into place. I also used some epoxy on the one that’s hanging upside down.

Here’s another thing that I am totally geeked out about.

The USBtypewriter kit has a switch on the circuit board that allows you to assign a key a secondary function. In other words, reach around to the back of the typewriter where the circuit board goes, hold that button down, and hit 1 for F1. I’m going to have to use it for more common keys as well, but this will allow me to have a plethora of functionality I might have missed.

There’s just one problem.

The interface board is supposed to be on the back of the typewriter.

… Now.

I noticed my typewriter has a button on the front that doesn’t appear to do much. In fact, the back end of it isn’t hooked up to anything.

Random button. Just chillin'

My solution was to build a little bracket and epoxy a similar switch to the one given in the kit to the area behind that button. Basically, I hit the button on the front, and the buttons plunger hits the switch for the interface board.



I’m getting achingly close to the point where I can put everything together, hopefully calibrate the machine once and for all, and just sit back and wait for the monitor to show up.