Well, I managed it!
After ordering some 6mm push to make buttons from ebay, I set about trying to find possible boxes from my housemate’s stash of IT crap that he’s been storing in anticipation of some steampunk projects. I narrowed it down to 2 possible boxes, a pico photo printer and an old Speedtouch modem. Sadly, it ended up having to be the modem thanks to the size of the controller board. It just wouldn’t have fit in the printer no matter how much I trimmed it.
A bit of measuring up, marking out, playing about with some tools and I had mounted the switches; as you can see below, they fit quite well.
With the buttons mounted and the knowledge of where the wiring should be, I broke out my old soldering iron and set to work. Doing the Esc key was easy as it was just 2 direct pins, pin 1 on the left panel and pin 4 on the right panel. The others didn’t turn out to be as easy; pin 15 on the left panel needed to go to both the Up and Left keys and then on the right panel, pin 8 had to connect to Left, Down and Right.
At this point I decided to daisy chain them to save a bit of fiddling, thought it would be smarter to solder them on at the switches rather than trying to cram bunched wires into small holes with just my fingers and hope they stayed in with friction alone. Here’s the mess of wires anyway before I put the 2 parts together.
I neglected to get a shot of the pins as they where all in place but I will get one when I next open it up as there is a minor problem so far. It went together reasonably well after a short problem that any of you with a sharp eye will spot. One of the wires is actually far too short to fit where it needs too. I needed to get the one connected to the Up button right the way down into pin 15 which is very near the bottom. After cutting that out and soldering a longer wire in place, it all went together quite well.
As you can see from the finished item, I had to use some electrical tape around the seam just to hold it all together as the screw hole and the clips are already mashed from Matt’s efforts and removing the guts. Didn’t turn out too badly though.
The only problem I have found so far is that something seems to have guffed along the way as the left and the down keys don’t actually do anything. I’m not sure if that was an error on my part with soldering or if I have managed to put the pin in the wrong place. The good news is that for the moment, having Esc, Up and Right will actually do most of what I want it to do anyway. I will shift forward and backward in a PDF document and also bring me out of full screen mode which is everything I was after.