I took piano lessons as a kid and really love the feel of a weighted-key keyboard. Now that I'm recording most of my music digitally, I wanted a MIDI keyboard that both fits on my desk and has weighted keys. Unfortunately, no manufacturer makes a weighed-key keyboard with anything less than the full 88 keys. So...I decided to make one myself. Here's where I started, with a keyboard I bought on Craigslist.
Getting the length dialed in
I wanted to remove some keys from both the high and low registers; fortunately, the circuit board design encouraged this approach since there were actually two circuit boards - one for each half of the keyboard. This shows what the finished keybed will look like.
Modified circuit board
After gaining an understanding of the circuit, including multiplexing and the dual sensors per key that allow for velocity sensing, I cut the PCBA and soldered jumper wires to restore the circuit for any keys whose function was affected by cutting electrical traces.
Modifying the keyboard body
After ensuring that the modified circuit functioned properly, it was time to modify the keyboard body. Horizontal band saw time!
This image shows the lengths that I removed from the keyboard.
The Finished Product
After more cutting, drilling, and reassembly, I now own a fully functional, 53-key MIDI keyboard!