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Winner Interview - Meet Hadi and his The HAD66 Keyboard

by: Jun 17,2020 584 Views 0 Comments Posted in Activities

Layout Ponoko HAD66 Keyboard Shared Project PCBWay 3rd PCB Design Contest PCB PCBWay

Summary:       Hadi’s The HAD66 Keyboard wins the third prize of The Best Designs in PCBWay 3rd PCB Design Contest.

PCBWay Team: “ Could you please briefly introduce yourself? Many other PCBWayers in the community want to know more about you.”

Hadi:" Hello, my name is Hadi, and I am a content creator looking to expand access to design resources for the implementation of mechanical keyboards and DIY more generally. I have a small YouTube channel that you can find by searching for my name, “Hadi”, or by navigating to my entry or interview videos on the actual site page.  "

PCBWay Team: “When did you start making and how did you learn the skill of PCB Design?”

Hadi:"Back in early 2019, I, like many others within the keyboard community, was in want of a TGR Alice, a limited edition produced by the highly-esteemed designer Sam Yuk Tsi ("yuktsi"). Due to its rarity and relatively novel layout, though, getting one was nearly impossible and no alternatives were readily available. From there, I endeavored to make my own using a myriad of YouTube videos, written guides, and community forums, eventually arriving at my submission to PCBWay’s design contest. "

PCBWay Team: "When did you get involved in the maker movement? Do you remember what first drew your attention?"

Hadi:"IHonestly, I’m not terribly sure of the precise moment I became a “maker”, but I’ve always identified myself with creative efforts more generally, even if I had no experience in the particular hobby I was admiring. If I see an interesting craft that really grips me either in person or online, I will imagine myself taking up the activity instead of simply coveting the resultant item. Humans are so incredibly capable, and, overall, I find the process of creating, of making to be far more meaningful than just throwing money at something. The latter is too easy."

PCBWay Team: “How did you know about our 3rd PCB Design Contest? And what drove you to attend this contest?”

Hadi:"Coincidentally enough, I learned of the contest from Ponoko’s newsletter well after completing the board using acrylic pieces from them. I had been familiar with PCBWay as a circuit board manufacturer but hadn’t used its services. Since I already had the design and an assembly video produced, I figured I might as well make a submission."

PCBWay Team: “About your award-winning work, The HAD66 Keyboard, could you please tell us more details about it or the story behind? And why did you choose it as your entry?” 

Hadi:"As I mentioned earlier, I had wanted a very specific keyboard but there weren’t any alternatives available at the time. Additionally, I had wanted to play around with strips of isolating foam (dubbed “gaskets” in the keyboard community due to their usage in sealing applications) as opposed to typical mounting strategies for switch plates, so the impetus to design my own board was fairly strong. Regarding the decision to submit it as my entry, I believe the “ergonomic” layout is more interesting than the typical staggered varieties, and that the acrylic enclosure represents an accessible option for makers looking to implement their own keyboard."

PCBWay Team: “ What part of the project process excites you the most?”

Hadi:"The elation of seeing a design translated into a physical, tangible thing and subsequently leveraging it within your daily life is incredible. Few things compare to the pride of carrying an idea through to completion, especially when you can use the resultant item daily. Life is pretty routine, and the elevation of mundane tasks like typing through effort and creativity is a practice in divinity."

PCBWay Team: “ In your opinion, what comes first - the existing technology or the design idea?”

Hadi:"The question is pretty much akin to “chicken or the egg” dilemma. In short, both, certainly. In some very rare cases, an idea is so novel as to have no obvious precursor. However, a vast majority of designs are built either in response to or with elements of technologies that already exist."

PCBWay Team: “ What makes you different/ unique from other makers?”


PCBWay Team: “How did you feel when you found that you were one of the winners?”

Hadi:"Honestly, I felt a little guilty to say the least. There were a ton of submissions by people who are far more deserving, not to mention qualified, and I didn’t feel my derivative design was particularly worthy of commendation. I'm really not trying to take credit for the inspiration or reference material--the idea to produce this board was based on a number of different designs, and I used resources (tutorials, footprints, drawing files, and forums, namely) from the mechanical keyboard community for the implementation."

PCBWay Team: “What do you think is the most important inner traits to be a good PCB designer?”

Hadi:"Consistency and attention to detail. There are infinitely many ways to route electrical components to one another to meet the requirements laid out within a schematic, but, at the end of the day, having a cohesive design strategy that applies across the board is paramount. For example, I like to limit the number of vias to a minimum, keep my routes aesthetically similar and symmetrical, and arrange components neatly relative to one another. Of course, respecting a manufacturer’s constraints is also important if you want the board to be produced down the line.  "

PCBWay Team: “What do you think of Open Source Hardware? And how do you look at the future of open source community?”

Hadi:"As a movement, Open Source Hardware is fantastic in that it enables individuals to be creative collaboratively. With technologies like 3D printing, laser-cutting, CNC, and even PCB assembly becoming increasingly accessible, consumers will eventually see their manufacturing capabilities expanded to where making seems just as natural as buying."

PCBWay Team: “What do you think of our website or the community page? PCBWay will contribute to the open source community more. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?” 

Hadi:"Your main website and order form are certainly well implemented, but it would be great if designers could just upload gerber files along with a formatted bill of materials to simplify the manufacturing process. The community site is always a good source of inspiration, and I enjoy browsing through the projects."

PCBWay Team: “What are ingredients of a good maker space? If you were to create and equip a new maker space for a school or library, how would your ideal solution look like?”

Hadi:"A good maker space should have an enthusiastic community of makers along with a structured and fair means of allocating its resources to individuals. If I were to equip such a facility, I’d start with a variety of manufacturing machines and tools before assessing which seem to be the most in demand. Basic power tools, 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser-cutters should allow for the implementation of a vast majority of hobbyist projects, but having an industrial reflow oven would be neat."

PCBWay Team: “PCBWay 4th PCB Design Contest has been in our to-do list, will you join in again? And would you like to suggest your friends to attend as well?”

Hadi:"If I manage to get something interesting produced by the submission deadline, sure! As for encouraging friends to apply, I can't say that I have any, let alone ones that design PCBs."

PCBWay Team: "Do you have any suggestions to the contest? Regarding to the participation process, display of works, voting, etc."

Hadi:"Participation and the judging criteria for the entries were fairly straightforward, but it would be nice if the submission form were easier to use. I remember having some issues with embedded photos and videos, and formatting the text was pretty much impossible."

PCBWay Team: "If a reader who is inspired by this interview wants to get started with making, what are some good tools and resources for beginners?"

Hadi:"YouTube and any hobby-specific forums are incredible platforms for learning. If you’re looking for something specific that you cannot find, don’t be afraid to ask others and, even if nothing seems to stick, persevere. The hardest part is starting and, if you’re reading this, I imagine you’re well past that step."


Winner List of PCBWay 3rd PCB Design Contest

Hadi's Youtube Channel

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