This project started as a simple desire to remove the overly large USB plug with something more compact. If I’m wiring a new plug onto the cable, it might be easier to replace the wire with a USB-C socket and use a new cable.
So the keyboard is a Redragon Kumara K522-1 with clicky Outemu blue switches, which I picked up for £30. I thought I wouldn’t have lost a lot of money if I messed it up and somehow destroyed the keyboard.
The first step was disassembly involving the removal of keycaps, eight screws on the plate and two on the rear where the cable enters the case. The cable is then unplugged from the PCB, which was also conveniently labelled.
I then cut the cable to length, stripped the wires, and soldered it to the breakout board using heat shrink to ensure nothing shorts out. There was also a second grounding wire which had to be soldered to the metal outer case of the socket.
Once that was completed, I plugged the cable into the PCB and, using the new USB-C cable, plugged it into a computer to test.
Happy with the test, I then fitted the socket to the case. Luckily it only required a minimal amount of plastic removal to fit quite snuggly in the hole left by the original cable. My ‘dremel’ skills still need some polishing up.
Once that was done, I wanted to do something about the plate with the Redragon branding printed on it. First, I tried to remove it with isopropyl alcohol, with some success, but then I thought that adding Lego to it would be pretty cool. So I then played around with various bricks to see what would fit and still allow the Caps Lock and Scroll Lock LEDs to remain visible.
I encountered problems with the clearance of keycaps and with mounting the bricks, so in the end, I opted to drill out two studs on a 2×6 plate and glue it to the original blanking plate. Under the plate appears to be soldering points for another USB connection. I don’t know what these are intended for.
After that, I purchased some retro-style keycaps (a 150-key double shot set for £30), fitted some foam rubber under the PCB, and felt happy with my creation.
Since then, I have also lubed and modded the stabilisers (how to do this can be seen here). I have also purchased the KBDCraft Adam keyboard, and I love the sound and feel of the linear switches that came with it.
Luckily the Redragon also has hot-swappable switches, so the next stage for this will be the addition of some Akko linear switches. The Redragon is made for Outemu switches, which is incompatible with Cherry MX.