Here is my cost breakdown so far:
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$ 2.96 PCB from China $ 3.73 All surface mount components except switches and the cable headers (I already have tons of headers) $ 17.24 Laser cut steel plate (unfinished, no paint or anodization) ------ $ 23.94 Total
The lowest cost key switches can be had for between 18 and 25 cents each, so I expect a maximum cost for the switches to be around 18-20 dollars.
Also note that the plate will be flat, not bent, so I have to figure out a mounting solution.
I noticed that the C64 keyboard uses a flat, 20 pin cable, meaning I should be able to use a standard 40-in IDE ribbon cable!
Still going to be several weeks until I have time to solder it and work out the kinks.
I have a couple extra PCBs and sets of surface mount components if folks would like to try and build their own.
Cheap and cheerful Mechboard here I come. Here is a shot of the freshly minted PCB in green to match my C64: