Youtube channel RKade (opens in new tab) is all about “gaming like you’ve never seen it” and I have to admit that I have never before seen two people build a 16-foot long keyboard from scratch. The build seems to be taking a tilt at the (currently vacant) Guinness World Records spot for ‘biggest keyboard’ though, as the RKade pair would find out, Guinness World Records are a load of rubbish.
The breezy video takes you through a sped up version of the labour-intensive process by which the channel’s hosts first build the keys—constructed from cardboard before being painted and having lettering decals applied. They’ve designed an unusually large layout, 3d printed a tonne of custom component parts for the mounting, and installed ‘springs’ to make the keys pop back up.
It’s a build that is equal parts technical ingenuity and good old-fashioned getting your hands dirty. There are a few hiccups along the way, though the largest is when the wood they’ve used to construct the frame begins warping, necessitating a complete teardown and re-making the keyboard frame with particle board.
The whole ginormous structure works through a standard keyboard circuit board, which sits under the edifice with each key activating a lever switch that is wired-up to it. The moment one of these giant keys is pressed and an ‘a’ appears on-screen is kinda magic.
Needless to say, RKade used their creation to play a typing game: the twist being that the host with the lowest score had to then type out ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ as punishment. It’s actually quite nice to see a rickroll used in a somewhat creative way for once. As you’d guess, it’s much easier to type out the whole thing with clever use of keyboard shortcuts. When the keys are several feet apart though, time to get some exercise.
Oh and: the pair didn’t get the Guinness World Record. Apparently because it’s not based on an existing keyboard. But who cares, this thing justifies its own existence.
This isn’t the first and will certainly not be the last attempt to build a giant keyboard. Razer brought a giant one to CES 2018, which was around ten times bigger than the standard size, but next to this it looks itsy-bitsy small.
Stiffer competition in every sense comes from Russian artist Anatoly Vyatkin’s beautiful concrete ‘Keyboard Monument,’ installed in the city of Yekaterinburg in 2005. This is the largest keyboard in the world, at 50 feet wide and 13 feet high, though unlike RKade’s build this is a non-functional tribute.
Thanks, Keyboard Builders’ Digest (opens in new tab).