Making A Custom Machined Aluminum Keyboard

(STL.News) When we talk about computer keyboards, what most people are familiar with are the traditional plastic-made keyboards.  A keyboard is an essential component of a computer.  It houses the keys by which you communicate with your computer.  As the keys are important, it is also valid to say that the keyboard case is also important.  Therefore, one common CNC machining process related to computers is the making of custom CNC machined aluminum keyboards.

This article will introduce a custom CNC machined aluminum keyboard.  This will include how to make it, the different materials employed, why aluminum is the most common material, and its
benefits.  Let’s dive right in!!!

How CNC Machining Helps in Custom Aluminum Keyboard

It is natural to think all keyboards are plastic.  However, with the right process, such as CNC milling, you can have a state-of-the-art CNC keyboard that has better functionality and aesthetics
than generic plastic casing keyboards.  Below is the procedure involved in making an aluminum keyboard and how CNC machining processes such as CNC milling helps.

Designing Stage

Designers also call this stage the layout designing stage or prototyping stage.  This is an important stage where all you decide how the aluminum keyboard will be.  Designing the custom keyboard commences by using CAD software.  Here, all the rudimentary associated with the keyboard are analyzed and incorporated into the design stage.  The design stage is important as it helps you to test the prototypes and check whether they match with keyboard PCB installation.

Machining Stage

The machining stage is composed of two stages:

  • Building of Programming Per Structure – Here the designed aluminum case is taken for programming per structure.
  • Machining of The Upper and Bottom Case

After testing out the designs, machining of the upper and bottom of the keyboard case occurs using CNC milling.  CNC milling aluminum is achievable using a 3-axis, 4-axis, or 5-axis machine. Depending on the experience of the CNC service team, it is easy to use any of the three to finish the aluminum keyboard project.  On the one hand, 3-axis CNC milling machines are the common ones for a simple keyboard case.  On the other hand, 5-axis CNC milling machines are the desired machines for complex keyboard cases.  The steps further include processes such as logo engraving.

Post-Machining Stage

Your aluminum keyboard is ready functionally. However, in terms of aesthetics, there is a high chance you won’t like what you see.  Therefore, further processes (post-machining processes) are
important in making the aluminum keyboard look presentable.  Below are the important processes that are done after CNC milling.

? Deburring

Burrs are small imperfections located on milled metallic products such as an aluminum keyboard.  Deburring is the procedure of removing such burrs.  Therefore, it is an important process that leads to a smooth keyboard.

? Polishing

After deburring, you have to polish to make the surface of the keyboard shine and smooth.  Polishing involves using abrasive particles and polishing tools/media on the keyboard.  Methods
available for polishing include mechanical, chemical, electrolytic, ultrasonic, etc.

? Finishing

If you desire a unique color for your aluminum keyboard, there are many methods you can use to achieve that.  Below are the common methods applicable.

Anodizing: Since the material used is aluminum, anodizing is the major way of giving such a keyboard the perfect surface finishing.  Consequently, the keyboard becomes stronger, ant-scratch, and anti-rust. Anodization also provides you with many colors such as red, green, black, black, etc.

Painting: Painting is another surface finishing method to add colors to your aluminum keyboard.

Which Aluminum Is Best for Making a Keyboard Case?

There are many types of aluminum alloys that you can use in making a keyboard case.  Below are some of the widely used aluminum alloys in making keyboard cases.

6061 Aluminum

This type of aluminum is what you can call the jack of all trades. It is a popular aluminum used in making keyboards due to its excellent strength, highly anti-corrosive, high weldability, and

5062 Aluminum

The 5052 aluminum is another excellent choice for making aluminum keyboards.  Its properties are similar to that of 6061 aluminum.  However, while it has better finishing and anti-corrosion
properties, it is having lower machinability.

Other types of aluminum you can use to make a custom keyboard case include:

– 5053 aluminum
– 7075 aluminum
– 6053 aluminum

The Benefits of Aluminum Keyboard

There are many materials you can use to make a custom keyboard case.  Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.  However, the most widely accepted material for making keyboard cases is aluminum.  Below are the benefits you can enjoy by using the material


Depending on the post-machining process you use, aluminum generally has better aesthetic value than other materials.  For example, with anodization, you can have a custom keyboard with excellent scratch-resistant properties and variable color compatibility.


Aluminum keyboard cases are better in terms of durability than most materials used in making custom keyboards.  It is needless to say that they are better than the traditional plastic keyboard
cases as they can stand the test of time while it remains sturdy.

Anti-Rust Property

Traditional plastic keyboard cases do not rust.  However, the same value is evident in aluminum keyboard cases.  Aluminum will react with air to form an anti-rust layer that prevents rusting.


This is an important factor in making a custom aluminum keyboard.  Plastic keyboard cases are popular because they are lightly weighted which ensures portability.  However, with other
advantages, aluminum is also lightweight.

Recycle Ability

Aluminum is an eco-friendly material.  Therefore, you don’t need to worry about environmental hazards when you use them.  By recycling, you can reuse the material when the need arises.

Heat Control

A good keyboard material must be able to dissipate heat.  This is another important area that aluminum keyboard cases trump plastic keyboard cases and other materials.  When used, aluminum dissipates heat faster than other metals and plastic.  Consequently, CNC machined aluminum keyboards are common and used in many places.


Aluminum mechanical properties provide it with better machinability than other materials.  It is malleable which improves design versatility.  Therefore, you can easily create keyboards of
different sizes.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, the most common keyboard cases that we know are made from plastic.  However, keyboards can be made from a variety of materials based on processes such as CNC milling.  This article introduced CNC machined aluminum keyboards, the necessary processes involved, the types of aluminum material used, and the benefits of using aluminum materials.