Wireless Keyboard Inside An Altoids Tin Is Perfect For People Missing Their Blackberry Phones

Remember the Clicks Keyboard from earlier this year? What if you could somehow build your own and carry it around in an Altoids tin??

YouTuber ‘Flurples’ decided the Altoids tin was honestly the perfect vehicle for this miniature keyboard. It was roughly the width of your standard Blackberry phone, which means the keys would be perfectly thumb-sized, and it had the added benefit of coming with its own metal case and lid that made carrying it around incredibly easy. The only thing left was to actually build the keyboard.

Designer: Flurples

Dubbed the Mint Board, this tiny keyboard is quite the tactile dream come true. It fits in your pocket, has an on/off switch, and wirelessly connects to any Bluetooth-capable device to turn into a keyboard. While it’s incredibly small, it’s perfectly usable (even more so than those godawful touchscreen keyboards) although most people will sorely miss the presence of a number row on top. The Mint Board also charges via USB-C, although Flurples didn’t mention what the battery life of the keyboard is on a full charge.

The Mint Board works with an iPad, allowing you to type on a tactile surface and have the letters appear on screen

Initially conceptualized as a 60% layout keyboard, the Mint Board’s design journey was marked by meticulous planning and adaptation to spatial constraints, ultimately settling for a 40% layout that would only feature the essential Qwerty and special keys (no numbers either). Key spacing and switch selection were pivotal considerations when it came to choosing this layout, ensuring optimal utilization of the limited space within the tin.

At the core of the Mint Board lies a meticulously crafted PCB, meticulously designed to accommodate switches, diodes, a microcontroller, and an on/off switch. Firmware development was a strategic endeavor, with Flurples opting for a Nice Nano microcontroller and ZMK firmware to enable Bluetooth connectivity. Despite the transition from the familiar QMK firmware, Flurples found solace in the shared conceptual framework, facilitating a seamless integration process. The assembly process proved to be both a challenge and a triumph, as Flurples meticulously soldered each component, including the microcontroller and battery, with precision and finesse. However, unforeseen challenges arose, such as tight keycaps, prompting Flurples to undertake a redesign.

Once the inner workings were ready, Flurples built the outer housing, relying on a 3D printer to make the upper and lower halves of the keyboard body, as well as the 41 individual keys. The keyboard was secured together using four screws that sandwiched the PCB in between the plastic components, and glued into the Altoids tin, whose sides had cutouts made to coincide with the ports and switches on the Mint Board’s PCB.

Yet, the true pièce de résistance of the Mint Board lies in its personalized keycaps, each painstakingly crafted with legends created in Illustrator, cut using a Cricut Machine, and finished with a layer of clear-coat resin to give it its signature domed shape. Using the keyboard proved to be gorgeously tactile too, with satisfying click sounds that most Blackberry users will fondly remember. The best part, the entire keyboard could wirelessly connect to pretty much any device, giving you a familiar typing experience on everything from your smartphone to even your iPad.

Flurples should seriously consider building a screen into the lid and turning this into a miniature laptop!