by Juli Clover
January 30, 2013
Last time on Handmade Highlights I shared some nifty quill styluses, which are fancy pants styluses with a dashing feather on the end. Today I wanted to highlight another old-fashioned item that you can use with your iPad - a typewriter! That’s right. One industrious Etsy seller named Jack Zylkin has figured out a way to get antique typewriters to work as a keyboard for both Macs and the iPad. How does he do it? Well, it’s a special modification that involves quite a bit of tinkering, as you can imagine. It uses an array of sensors along with a control panel and magnets in order to get the iPad to work with the typewriters. The modifications are hidden for the most part, which means the typewriter continues to look and function like normal, for the most hipster-looking keyboard on the planet. Obviously this modification is not designed for those of you who prefer portability, but it looks amazing in any home office, and is able to serve as a docking station for your iPad. The USB Typewriters are able to type all letters, numerals, and punctuation marks. Shift, space, and the return carriage all function, and non-standard keys, like F1-F12, ESC, and CTRL can be accessed with special toggle keys. If you’re thinking to yourself that this modification can’t come cheap, well, you’re right. The USB Typewriter iPad docks range in price from $699 to $899, which is more than the price tag on the iPad. However, if you’re handy, you can turn your own typewriter into a dock using Zylkin’s USB Typewriter Conversion Kit. It will convert almost any manual typewriter into a USB computer keyboard that functions with the iPad, just like the ones that are sold in the shop. According to the instructions, the kit takes two to three hours to install and doesn’t require any soldering or computer skills. The kit is much cheaper than the finished typewriters, priced at just $74. Not a bad deal if you have your own vintage typewriter and can handle a screwdriver! Want even more Handmade Highlights? Check out my archives. As always, if you find an awesome handmade item that you would like to see featured, make sure to get in touch.