You can spend as much money as you want to customize a mechanical keyboard and install the fanciest switches, but it will never sound as satisfyingly clackety as this setup by Jatin Patel who built an unusual contraption that recreates the sounds of an old-school mechanical typewriter.
The first iteration of Patel’s creation simply featured a series of solenoids—small devices that use electromagnetic coils to quickly extend and retract a metal plunger or piston—mounted to a long wooden board. A custom Python script on Patel’s computer reads every keystroke and sends it to an Arduino connected over USB. The Arduino then triggers the solenoids to fire, resulting in a loud but satisfying clacking sound with every key pressed.
It resulted in a typing experience that would make any mechanical keyboard fanatic jealous, but Patel didn’t stop there.
Wanting a more authentic typewriter experience, Patel created a second version of the machine with the solenoid-covered board connected to a pulley and a motor that moved it in small increments with every press of a key, similar to how an actual typewriter moves the carriage from right to left. An additional solenoid was added to ring a bell when the carriage needs to be reset, which is accomplished manually by simply sliding the entire mechanism back towards the right.
It’s about as absurd as hacks can get, and it’s clear Patel wasn’t worried about aesthetics as they cobbled this whole thing together. But when you actually hear it in action, it’s hard to argue what a beautiful sound this monstrosity creates.