Techkeys NineKeyBoard CNC Edition

Some of you may have remembered back in April I posted about the SixKeyBoard Pendant I created back in April. Today, I am excited to launch the NineKeyBoard Pendant now with speed control capability. In addition to being a full time IT professional, and woodworking hobbiest, and dad of 3 amazing kiddos, I also have another obsession with mechanical keyboards. If you have never typed on a mechanical keyboard, dump your keyboard and get one right now - it is life changing. So this hobby led me down a rabbit hole which turned into a small business selling Mechanical Keyboard creations and accessories. I saw an opportunity for a perfect crossover between my two hobbies and the result is the Techkeys SixKeyBoard CNC Edition.

I realized that without speed control you are still going back and forth to your laptop/keyboard so I added an additional row of keys. This project took a lot of time, money and coordination, but today I am excited to release the Techkeys NineKeyboard CNC Edition.

NineKeyCNC NineKeyCNC2

This handheld controller has some pretty nifty features:

  • Plug and Play USB - behaves like a standard keyboard
  • Anodized Aluminum Case
  • Cherry MX Compatible tactile and clicky Blue Switches. Click clearly defines a key press unlike a common keyboard or gamepad.
  • USB Cable routed from bottom of device to reduce interference with CNC
  • Allows operator to get extremely close to bit, and operate with one hand for precision jogging or zeroing operations and eliminate back and forth to PC/Keyboard
  • Programmable through visual programming tool EasyAVR.

My primary objective is to share the hard work that I have poured into this project, but if you would like to support me by purchasing one it would be much appreciated. I realize there are a lot of options for jogging devices (game controller, mini-keyboards, tablets and mounted PCs) but I would argue that nothing beats a tactile clicky switch you can hold in one hand and does not require you to look at to control.

FAQ
Q: This is not wireless - will this be a problem for me?
A: Wireless may be nice but presents a lot of challenges - Wireless requires batteries which die at inopportune times, Wireless devices often require syncing/re-syncing procedures, and most wireless devices are not designed for size and layout with CNC in mind.

Q: Why is this more expensive than an amazon keyboard?
A: Everything about this product is custom made and manufactured in a small batch. If the finer details like tactile feedback, anodized aluminum case, and custom keycaps/layout don’t matter to you, this may not be the pendant for you.

Q: Can I re-program the key layout?
A: Yes - and I made a YouTube to walk through exactly how: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n21MFfKx-mg&

Q: What if I want to mill my own case? Can I just buy the PCB?
A: Yes - PCB option is available at a significantly reduced cost

If I didn’t cover your question I welcome all comments and feedback!

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Great news!
Two units ordered today.

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The post above was edited to remove all purchase links.

This is something which we are still feeling our way through, so our apologies for any inconsistencies or any perceived unfairness.

I will note that the old Shapeoko forums have specific for sale sections, so posting in both places may be workable.

I bought one of the original SixKey versions and enjoy using it on my Nomad, and have already ordered a NineKey version.

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Sorry - I clearly did not read the fine print and was unaware of this policy.

I’m still happy to discuss the pendant if anyone has any questions about how it works or why mechanical keyboards are so amazing :smiley:

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Got mine today! MOST happy!!

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My two units arrived today! :tada: :smiley:

Insert sound of kids at Christmas and mechanical keyboard clicking here :wink:

But seriously, a really nice product.

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Sorry for the noob question, but what does this plug into, your laptop or directly into the CNC usb port?

Plugs into the laptop/desktop/Mac/Raspberry pi/tablet or mobile phone.
It is a miniature keyboard/HID(human interface device).

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Hooked to a laptop via USB is it kind of like a USB numeric keypad? That’s what I use now to extend the arrow keys (and up down, and 1-4 for speed control) when I’m using CM to jog.

Also, CM has four levels of speed. Is there a way to configure this device to support all 4?

You are correct it does act similar to a numeric keypad. There are 3 buttons for speed control and it comes pre-programmed for 2, 3, and 4 (I personally find it very rare that I need the speed setting for 1) but the board is programmable so you could modify that to your workflow if needed.

I know it has been requested that CM will have some updates in the future to allow keyboard commands for one notch faster and one notch slower as well as possibly some homing options like move to XY 0 and Z + 6mm

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