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Toolmongers lucky enough to have a computer in their shop (whether for CNC, CAD, simple word processing, or to satisfy that Twitter addiction) have probably gotten crap in the board at some point. If you’ve ever wrestled with an aluminum chip stuck under your spacebar or tried to type with fingers doused in 5W-30, you probably know what I’m going on about.

You can keep your keyboard intact with a plastic overlay, but those tend to get really nasty over time, and finding one to match your specific keyboard may be a struggle. But Adesso has a cheaper solution: the waterproof, fully-sealed AKB-230. We see them a lot at the auto repair shop or the steel shop. Those guys swear by them.

At $23, it’s priced reasonably, even if you probably can’t write an email in the Marianas trench. Dust and contaminants are no problem, since there are no recesses for crud to fall into. It’s flexible enough to roll into a neat cylinder, which is a useless feature for shop use, but it does make the board very portable if need arises. If the sucker gets dirty, all it takes is a spritz of Simple Green to give it that new-rubber luster.

Adesso AKB-230 [Adesso]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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11 Responses to Adesso Shop-Proof Keyboard

  1. I remember when these keyboards were closer to the $ 200 range.

  2. DaveD says:

    I’ve always wondered how these work. Right now I’ve got spare keyboards (that only cost like $5 online) so if my garage keyboard dies, I just swap it out….

  3. Jim K. says:

    I’ve taken the DaveD approach as well. Old keyboards are pretty ubiquitous in my life. Free piles, discards from my office when new computers are bought, etc. When one of my shop keyboards gets too messed up to be useful any more, I simply move on to the next. Seemed sort of wasteful at first, but then I realized they were more often than not headed for the landfill when I got them so I actually was extending their life before moving them on. (Plus there’s nothing like the tactile feel of an old school IBM Model M.)

  4. Lex Dodson says:

    Jim, I know what you mean. My worry with keyboards like this Adesso is that they might feel rubbery and vague, but it’s a really cool concept that I’d like to test drive at some point. Too bad none of the local electronics stores keep these things on the shelf.

  5. Joe Alcorn says:

    I have actually used these from various manufacturers.

    I have found that the labels on the most used keys rub off fairly quickly, and the other keys soon follow.

    Plus, they are a pain in the rear to type on, as the keys tend to squish sideways, making you hit other keys.

    The only place I could see them being of real value would be in environments where there is a large (or small) chance of spillage. I have seen wet keyboards fry a motherboard before…

  6. Eli says:

    I’ve found these flexible keyboards to be very hard to type on. I’ve always been better off with:
    A) a urethane keyboard cover (you can order these online for $10 or so)
    B) a fully sealed industrial keyboard (nice, but $$$)

    Take a look at the keyboards on the toughbook or Itronix laptops..they feel just like regular keyboards except they are completely waterproof.

  7. joe says:

    I have one of these sitting next to me, unhooked and sitting on a shelf.

    I wanted to use it hooked to a computer next to a mill that might be spraying coolant everywhere, but the keys are so mushy and hard to hit, I think I might go with one of the many old keyboards I have lying around, and just wrap it in saran wrap.

  8. Mike says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar keyboards at staples for $10

  9. Zathrus says:

    As Mike says, you can get these for $10 or less.

    As everyone else notes, they’re a complete pain in the rear to type on. Maybe if you’re a hunt ‘n’ peck “typist”, but they’re useless if you actually know how to type.

    If you’re worried about spills, there are “spill proof” keyboards available for about $10-15 as well… got one for my kids’ computer. It’s already survived one spill. I’m sure it’d be no good for full immersion, but if that’s your concern then there are bigger issues anyway…

  10. Swedub says:

    I have to agree with some of the other comments. I had a keyboard like this and they are very hard to type with. You think your pressing down on a key and it just teeters to the side and doesn’t register the keystroke. Just use a regular (cheap) <$10 keyboard. If keys get sticky rinse it off and let it dry or just buy a new keyboard. You could also just get one of those plastic covers like you see in some restaurants.

  11. Scott says:

    Not as cheep as a hand-me=down, but dishwaser-safe and surely easier to type on:

    http://www.sealshield.com/silverseal.htm

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