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A keyboard made from Rosewood and Bamboo crafted to bring back natural aesthetic and tactile function. Available with backlight
A keyboard made from Rosewood and Bamboo crafted to bring back natural aesthetic and tactile function. Available with backlight
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310 backers pledged $17,392 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Raw is a creative manufacturing studio that was founded in Industry City of Brooklyn NY. Industry city is a creative enclave and business accelerator that is home to many designers, artists, and others alike. Being a part of this unique environment allowed us to design and manufacture our ideas in house with a high attention to quality and craftsmanship.

Our creations

We have a unique creation process here that starts with an idea on our blackboard which eventually evolves into a prototype. After numerous tests we discuss our prototype with a select group of designers who share their feedback, which drives the necessary change for perfection. 

When the product is ready for production, we ensure that each step of manufacturing is handled with attention to detail but most importantly quality. 

Functional Prototype

We began development for the wooden keys in October of 2012 after being inspired by Robbie Tilton's Natural keyboard constructed from moss and wood. We found his attempt to bring nature back to the desktop keyboard fascinating. Our goal was to simplify the process without voiding the warranty yet still maintaining the same aesthetic and tactile function. 

The materials are Santos Rosewood and Bamboo. Rosewood provides a dark and rich finish while the bamboo is more pure and light. 

We needed a perfect adhesive that could provide maximum adhesion while leaving no residue when removed. After numerous tests and samples from 3M, the perfect match was found. With the adhesive and wood in place, we set out to create a pattern for the laser. The final design can be seen below:

Prep work involves sanding to a perfectly smooth finish and applying the adhesive. It is then up to the machine to complete the task

It is almost a must to re-finish the wood after the laser because of the residue. Fine sandpaper does the trick with a coat of beeswax, but most importantly a nice layer of lacquer. 

It was finally time to install the first set of our wooden keys. The very cool thing here is we made sure that the caps lock indicator still functions with the keys in place so a cut out was necessary, we also now developed cut-outs for the whole keyboard to preserve the backlight feature.

As the installation went on we became annoyed because it's quite tedious to install 78 keys with perfect alignment so that got us thinking; what if we can make a special jig that will ensure perfect alignment. Looking at the layout, the most difficult keys are the ones that carry the letters/numbers and the functions, ex: screen brightness. In essence what we have done is create a small cap that attaches to the shape of the actual key but has a top layer that is to the size of the wooden key. This ensures 100% perfect alignment every single time.

We will be including this handy tool with each keyboard, one for the letters/numbers and one for the functions on the top row

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Risks and challenges

The most challenging part of the manufacturing process for these keys is the time it takes to produce each set. With the current equipment we have been testing, each keyboard takes 30 minutes to produce however that is only because the technology used for production is not up to standard. With multiple machines present at our workshop, production can be 4x-6x faster. This will allow us to steadily manage fulfillment and mass produce these keyboards in house. We are putting a strong focus on international compatibility so layouts for different languages are being developed and will be delivered at the same fulfillment date as the US version.

At this point we already unified compatibility for the Macbook Pro, Air, and Retina by incorporating an extra set of keys that are different between the two models. This allows us to build a unified product that is compatible with all three models.

We are also testing out a new method of installation, this should help with perfect alignment of the wood for those tedious keys. The packaging details are being worked out as well and some prototypes have been made but nothing concrete has been set forth. We want you to participate in the shaping of this product's future as much as possible so with every update, your feedback can drive the necessary change for improvement.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A special thank you and your name will be on our list of supporters.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Buy us a coffee so we can stay awake during production.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Get a small set of keys for being a contributor to the cause. The set will include caps lock, enter, and spacebar. This unit will be compatible for the Macbook Air, Pro, & Retina of all sizes. This particular pledge will also apply for the Wireless and Numeric keyboard. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood, macbook model, and language layout that applies to your pledge.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A wooden skin crafted from Rosewood or bamboo with your initials. Available for the iPhone 4/4S and the iPhone 5, we will do a survey at the end of the project to collect wood type, iPhone model, and your initials.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    100% cotton shirt screen printed locally in Brooklyn NY by VRAI with our logo.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Wood keys for the wireless keyboard crafted from Rosewood or bamboo, Model #A1314. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood type and language layout that applies to your pledge. Compatible with all international layouts & languages

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Back-lit wood keys for the Macbook Unibody crafted from Rosewood or bamboo. Compatible with the Macbook Pro, Air, and Retina including international keyboard layouts/languages. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood, macbook model, and language layout that applies to your pledge.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Macbook wood cover crafted from Rosewood or Bamboo. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood, macbook model, and symbol cut-out that applies to your pledge. Compatible with Macbook Pro, Air, and Retina of all sizes.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Wood keys for the numeric keyboard Model #A1243. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood type and language layout that applies to your pledge.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Custom back-lit wood keys for the Macbook Unibody crafted from Rosewood or bamboo. We will engrave your name or quote onto the space bar of the keyboard. Compatible with the Macbook Pro, Air, and Retina including international keyboard layouts/languages. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood, macbook model, and language layout that applies to your pledge.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Custom wood keys for the wireless keyboard, Model #A1314. We will engrave your name or quote onto the space bar of the keyboard. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood type and language layout that applies to your pledge.Compatible with all international layouts & languages

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Custom wood keys for the numeric keyboard Model #A1243. We will engrave your name or quote onto the space bar of the keyboard. A survey will be sent at the end of the project so you can choose the wood type and language layout that applies to your pledge. Compatible with all international layouts & languages

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A set of 50 business cards crafted from Rosewood or Bamboo engraved with your name, contact information, and company logo. Optionally we can also cut out your logo from wood (rather then engrave). All information will be collected through a survey at the end of the project

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Corporate backer, your company logo laser engraved into your choice of product delivered way before production.

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Funding period

- (20 days)