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Design & Prototype

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by singen, Mar 25, 2012.

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  1. singen

    singen

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    Mar 25, 2012
    Hello, I was looking for a good forum to get some advice for a project I'm looking into starting but I need some advice/help before I do any real work. First off I'm a complete beginner when it comes to electronics (I've soldered some psu wires and pc fans before but that's it).

    I'm looking to make a computer keyboard but since I have zero knowledge of electronics I need to find a company or person(s) to design the circuitry and build a prototype (excluding the case). I'm a bit hesitant to ask but does anyone know a ballpark for designs typically? I cant imagine a keyboard being that complicated but what do I know. Also does anyone have any recommendations of where to get one done? I've found a few sites where I can get a circuit made but they require a design.

    If anyone has any suggestions or advice I'd really appreciate it.
     
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    Hi singer
    Welcome to the forums. :)

    Well considering there are already a whole mass of different styles of keyboards out there for prices that range from a few dollars to less than fifty dollars for the fancy multi function ones.
    Anything you design would have to be pretty spectacular and cheap to compete in the exiting market

    If you are very new to electronics then the designing would obviously be done by some company which will cost you lots of money for both the designing and prototyping.
    And at the end of it all you are doing is reinventing the wheel
    For something worthwhile have a think "outside the box". And think about other ways of human - computer/ machine interfacing that doesn't require the usual style keyboard

    Cheers
    Dave
     
  3. singen

    singen

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    Mar 25, 2012
    Thank you for the respose davenn. Well the cost of design is my main concern right now before I think of the rest of the project. Do you happen to know how much designs usually cost for something of this nature (even just a guess would be appreciated) Thanks.
     
  4. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    Hi

    Couldn't even guess on that. It would depend on the complexity of the project
    For something really basic, you mite be looking at $1000's, more complex.... $10's or $100's of thousands

    The reason thing like keyboards and mice can be produced so cheaply is that they are made by the millions in low cost manufacturing plants in places like China

    Dave
     
  5. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Also, are you talking about a design to be commercially produced or a "one-off" that is you will make one or a small number of these. If it is not top-secret, what is so special about the keyboard you want to design as opposed to the one you buiy for $10?

    Bob
     
  6. gorgon

    gorgon

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    Jun 6, 2011
    What you could do depends on what your design is.
    Is it a physical design you could just make a mockup or nonfunctional (no electronics) design prototype.
    If you need a functionality to demonstrate a prototype, you could rip open and patch up an existing keyboard electronics with some keys.

    If you have some blazing new electronics in mind you need to dig into an electronics design, and not necessarily a new mechanics. You could end up adding new electronics to an old keyboard. The key matrix is mor or less general.

    For a mechanical dummy you can do a lot with plywood, cardboard and plaster or clay. Add some real keys and some nice paint, and nobody now it's a fake.

    TOK ;)
     
  7. singen

    singen

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    Mar 25, 2012
    Im talking about an initial design (and prototype) and eventual mass production (initial run of less than 100 units). Of course this is assuming the economics of it all makes sense. It would be a product that would be competing in a specific niche within the higher end pc keyboarad market where typical products are sold at prices starting at $100 USD and up.

    One of my problems is that I have no idea who I would approach for this. The design is my initial concern because I'd like to see what is and isn't possible (both technically and financially) before I look into mass production.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  8. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    It could cost you a million bucks to build the first 10 units.

    To be sold at $100 you'd probably want the cost of manufacture to be around $20 per unit.
     
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