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DIY Copy/Paste buttons for use with your computer ...
and simpler than using key-strokes.
Click pictures for enlarged pop-up views.....
and for descriptions on the pictures themselves.....but make sure "pop-ups" aren't blocked.

My hopes are that this project may give others ideas of how to better do something like this for themselves.  I had not really been planning on posting it at first, so pictures that I took may be of poor quality.  As I said---I do hope that others find it at least inspiring to try something similar. 
I had been thinking for a long time about creating a Copy/Paste set of buttons for my keyboard.  I once had an e-machine keyboard that had them built in.  They were soooo handy for a lot of copy/paste things that I did.  I looked everywhere to find similar keyboards but had no luck.  Why don't more manufactures do this?  I'm not fast at hitting double keys like Ctrl/C for copy and Ctrl/V for paste while using the mouse, with my other hand, to highlight things...but I can easily hit ONE button for each.
I'm sure there may be a fancier and more "electronic" way to accomplish what I am about to explain.  But with a still limited, yet growing, knowledge of electronics, I opted for a more mechanical way that I could accomplish this.  Also this first example was just a test to see if it really would work.  Later I may refine it to something much smaller and actually incorporated in my keyboard.  For now I put it all in a project box.  I must admit that I find myself reaching for it all the time lately.  It really is handy for me.
As I previously said, some of the pics aren't the best.  I will try to explain what I was doing so that you will at least get the gist of it for your own venture, should you decide to try it..........
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I started by taking apart an old keyboard.  This is hard to understand by the pictures so I will try to explain more as I go along.  Once most modern day keyboards are torn apart and the tops, with keys and little rubber plungers, are thrown away, you get down to three layers of plastic laminates.  It looks like one piece of plastic with lines on it here----but is really three layers.
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These plastic laminates are really like a printed circuit board in that the lines that you see conduct electricity.  There is a top layer of lines, then a sheet in between, and a bottom layer of lines.  This is the top.

Here is the middle sheet of plastic.  There are holes under every dot that leads to a key on the board.  I've held some white paper under them to make them a bit more visible
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Here is the bottom layer with yet another array of contacts.  So what is happening is that the top contacts are insulated from the bottom contacts with the thin center layer of plastic with no contacts on it.  But remember the holes.  Those holes allow the key to press the top contact--through the hole---to touch the bottom contact.  Hence each spot like that becomes a switch.
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It took awhile to trace the plastic to see where the Ctrl and C and V contacts were and what they shorted out.  I'll explain it more at the end in greater detail as I need to make up some more pictures to better show it.  For now let me say that I first tried to short the correct combinations of Ctrl/C and Ctrl/V with a regular DPDT switch.  But there was a problem.  You don't normally hit Ctrl and C at the same time.  If you accidently get C first---you simple print a C.  So sometimes the switch would contact what made a C before the Ctrl part.  This is why I moved on to the next idea..
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I decided I was going to use to micro lever switches, bolted together, with some sort of plunger that would hit them at different times.  I would do this for each copy/paste function.  There are dozens of inventive ways to do this.  What I did probably took more effort than it was worth....but here it is anyway.  I started with the thread part of a 1/4 bolt and drilled an 1/8 inch hole down the middle.  I wanted a threaded outside so I could adjust the thing up or down later---if needed
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Here you see the completed hole and the treaded outer part of the sawed off bolt.
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I then took a short section of what was handy for 1/8 inch rod.  In this case I took an 1/8 inch welding rod and removed the flux coating.  I chopped off a section and finished cleaning it by putting it in a drill press and spinning it while holding sandpaper against it.
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Here is my home made push button.  The bolt with the hole becomes the shell and the rod becomes the inner button part.  What came together next was not in any real way planned.  I just sort of winged it as I went along.  I wasn't sure how everything would mount and work...but this is what i finally came up with.....
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Here are the micro lever switches bolted together.  There is a bolted pair to the left and a single one to the right.  Note they have two holes.  I used one set to bolt them tightly together while the other hole will become a pivot point for them.  You'll see what I mean as I go along.
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Here is the project box with a small stud bolted in place.  I won't bore you with the complications of doing this---as it was a pain in you know what.  But I wanted it to come out so that the lever parts of the switches hit the raised groves in the box.  Hence the one wrong hole showing.  Oops!  But you'll see why I wanted these in a certain you go on.
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This shows one of the button plungers ready to hit the lever switches.  I didn't use any return springs on the push rod as I found the natural return of the lever switches, by their own internal spring, worked just fine.
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I did want to stop the plunger from falling out if the box though, if it was ever turned upside down.  So I place the plunger into the drill press again and held a hacksaw blade against it until I had a small grove.  I later placed a hairpin clip (or at least that's what I call them) around the grove, once the plunger was in place.
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This concept may be confusing.  What I did was grind down the part of this raised slot so that ONE lever, on each of the two levers, would hit it.  Am I making that clear enough?  I wanted each SET of levers to have one lever hit a HIGH spot (the part not ground down) and the other lever a LOW spot (the part that is ground down)  Remember that spacing I needed for Ctrl to make contact before C or V?  This does that.  The lever on the higher part closes before the lever on the lower part.
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Again, this is not easy to see.  But here both plungers are raised up (no hairpin clips yet) to show the lever switches in place and ready to do their thing.
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This may be a bit better to see what is happening.
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OK---we are jumping around here.  Now we are back to the keyboard chip.  As you will see further down. the chip is used to convey the correct commands through the USB cable to the computer.  We are using it to convey the Ctrl and C and V commands that we will switch on and off by the lever switches.  Again---I don't want to bore you with too much detail.  But I wanted to contact only 5 spots on the chip.  There is no real easy way to solder to them so I have a way that I make a plastic plate to press against them.  In the chip's original use the contacts from the plastic sheets were pressed against it.  But I do it with a small home made contact plate.  The plate is drilled with a hair-fine drill for wires to pass through that will contact the chip and yet allow their other ends to have wires soldered to them.  For a really full description of this. please go to my Proximity sensor page and scroll about half way down...

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Here are the chip board and my home made contact board bolted together.  I now have 5 wires I can solder to.
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Finally I was ready to solder things together.  These parts were waaaay too small to deal with.  I would use bigger lever switches next time.  Someone with better electronics knowledge could probably use switching transistors or something electronic instead, to get the spaced pulses needed for the commands.
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Here is the unit going together.  It's hard to trace what I did with the wires as I used some old black cable I had and there are multiple sections of it showing----along with the cable that was originally attached to the chip and that plugs into the USB on the computer.  But I'll do a schematic further down to explain.
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Here is the unit going together.  It's hard to trace what I did with the wires as I used some old black cable I had and there are multiple sections of it showing----along with the cable that was originally attached to the chip and that plugs into the USB on the computer.  But I'll do a schematic further down to explain.
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The little chip board was secured to a small post on the left with a screw.  It just sort of dangles in the middle of the box---but that is fine.  It doesn't show here, but I made a small grove where the face plate bolts so as to allow the USB cable to come through that.  Now I'll try to explain more about the circuit design.  It may be different for a board you use, but this is what happened for me.
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Finally we have the completed unit.  the cable coming out is the original USB cable attached to the chip inside.  Just plug it in and Windows should recognize it.  I should note here that some keyboards do seem to not be recognized by Windows at first.  So to save any problems, test the keyboard, before you tear it apart, with the computer it's going to first be used on.  Now for more details about the wiring.....
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Click the picture to the left for a much more detailed description of the schematic.  You won't get just a pop-up....but rather a whole new page that opens on top of this one.  When you are done with the new page, simply close it to find this page still underneath.