Go Talk Button Guard


This 3D printed button guard physically restricts access to the volume control and change level buttons located in the upper right corner of a Go Talk® 9+ Augmentative and Alternative Communication device.  These buttons can be a distraction for people first learning how to use the device. Small holes over each of the buttons still allow a caregiver or assistant to activate the buttons using a pen or other small object.


When in place, the guard provides a physical barrier to prevents a user from activating the volume control or change level buttons with their finger. The buttons can still be pressed by using a narrow object such as a pen through the small holes in the guard.

While the Go Talk 9+ has a lock feature to eliminate unwanted use of these buttons, this guard physically limits access to the buttons, which can encourage a new user to explore the other keys.

Build Instructions

The Go Talk Button Guard consists of a single 3D printed part and requires no additional assembly other than attaching it to the AAC device.

A typical print uses about 6 grams of filament and requires about 30 minutes to print. This is about $0.25 worth of material. The print file is available in the downloadables section. After the print is complete, ensure there are no burrs or sharp edges.

Ideally, the color of filament is chosen to match the color of the AAC device so it provides minimal distraction.

The guard is positioned over the buttons and either fixed permanently with adhesive (e.g. superglue) or temporarily using double-sided tape (e.g. UGlu).



This design was created by James Kauppila based on a request from Michelle Anderson.

Lamp Words For Life – VI Keyguard

This project is a low-cost 3d printed keyguard for use with the PRC-Saltillo LAMP Words for Life® – VI AAC program. It was created by by leveraged the capabilities of their keyguard designer.

The pre-designed keyguard is compatible with the Accent 1000 device (Model ACN1000-30) – the STL file can simply be downloaded and printed. For other devices or customizations, follow the instructions to modify/extend the design.

The cost of materials is less than $2.

This design features elements that make it easier to use by people that have visual impairments. Contrasting colors can be achieved by pausing the 3d printer midway, swapping filaments, and resuming the print.

Easy Measurement Tool for Custom Keyguards

This tool is used to improve the accuracy of measurements for the customizable 3d printed keyguard device. In particular it is used to measure the size of the opening in the tablet case but it can also be used to measure the sizes and locations of screen elements without requiring that the tablet be taken out of its case. It’s very hard to replicate these measurements with a ruler because most cases are smaller than the ruler which then has to be propped up on one side of the case and the extent of the opening has to be guessed at by eye.

You can learn more about how to use the tool on here: and you can learn more about our customizable keyguard here:

There are two different “top” files. One has a cavity for a standard 5mm hex bolt and the other has a cavity for a standard 5mm square bolt. The top requires a pair of embedded standard M5 nuts that should be inserted just before the z-axis reaches approximately 7.125 mm. At that point a sacrificial bridge is added which will later be pierced by an M5 bolt. The images show the sacrificial bridge in Fusion 360 as well as in Simplify 3D. The top should be printed at a 0.15 mm layer height or your slicer may not create the sacrificial bridge. If that’s the case, the next layer of plastic (above the insertion of the nut) may have nothing to attach to and will just gum up. You could try spraying the nuts with hairspray to make them sticky and serve as a surface for any plastic that touches them.

The knobs were remixed based on this design: The small knob is used with an M5 x 20 mm bolt and the larger knob is used with an M5 x 25 mm bolt.

Top and base are epoxied or super-glued together with the rods in place – being sure not to get any adhesive on the rods.

A couple of strips (one on top of the other) of electrical tape on the bottom of the base will help keep the base from slipping on the tablet glass as you try to take measurements.

Finally, a 10 cm piece of ruler tape (e.g. Amazon ) can be attached to the side of the tool so that it can be used to directly take measurements of the communications app.

Thingiverse is weird! At the moment it coughs up a 404 page if you try to download all STL files at once – so just download them one at a time.

Teknet Wireless Keyboard Key-Guard

Keyguard for people with coordination issues. The guard helps the user with dexterity and striking the correct key.

Customizable, 3D Printable Keyguard for Grid-based, Free-form, and Hybrid AAC Apps on Tablets


Keyguards help individuals with limited ability to point reliably at regions of an app running on a tablet. They do this by physically separating access to specific regions of the tablet screen with rails that rise up from the surface of the tablet. In this case, the apps are associated with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

Some AAC apps organize their content into grids with menus and message bars, above or below the grid. Others are much more creative and unpredictable in their layouts. Hybrid apps are largely grid-based but their keyguards can be enhanced by selectively exposing specific regions of the app.

The number of possible choices for tablet, tablet case, and AAC app, make it impossible to design a few keyguards that will meet everyone’s needs. To complicate matters further, users have lots of flexibility for how they organize the content in their apps. All of this is to say that users must be given control over the keyguard design. I know of only one 3D modeling tool where that is possible – without requiring that each user become an expert in 3D modeling. That tool is OpenSCAD. OpenSCAD has a “Customizer” feature that allows users to provide input to an OpenSCAD design that can shape the design to meet their specific needs.

We have created an OpenSCAD design that allows the user to identify their tablet, describe how the AAC app is laid out, describe their case, and choose a mounting method to mount the keyguard directly to the tablet or to the case. Once the keyguard is fully described you can generate and save an STL file that you can print on your 3D printer.

This is a Thingiverse Customizer design but only for grid-based apps. Free-form and Hybrid apps require greater specification and visualization than Thingiverse’s Customizer can support. For those keyguards you will need to download and install the latest version of OpenSCAD and a good text editor like Notepad++.

If you will be using OpenSCAD, the only files you need to download from here are called keyguard_v15.scad, screen_openings.scad, and case_openings.scad. All other files are just for illustration. You also need to go to to learn how to customize the keyguard.

A PDF form is provided as well for collecting and communicating the requirements for your keyguards.conditions that affect a person’s ability to use natural speech.

Keyguards are typically cut from a sheet of acrylic by a laser cutter and can be quite expensive to purchase commercially. A 3D printed keyguard has a number of benefits:

  • can be as customized as you need
  • is not limited to being flat so it can be mounted in a variety of ways
  • can be printed in a vast number of colors
  • costs less than $1 per keyguard

At that cost, you can easily have multiple keyguards for multiple app configurations.

To make a custom 3D printed keyguard, visit the Volkswitch site to and follow along with the comprehensive instructions. You’ll need to make the necessary measurements of the tablet and the app to change the OpenSCAD design parameters and generate the custom STL file for 3D printing. The OpenSCAD design file is available on Thingiverse.

Keyguard for Teknet Wireless keyboard

An acrylic laser cut keyguard that prevents the user from striking the wrong keys. This keyguard build is specific to the Teknet wireless keyboard. This is a quality, wireless, inexpensive ($15 US) that can be purchased online (.
My original design was intended to have a ring or two that acts as a gasket, or spacer around the perimeter of the keys intended to set the height of the keyguard. The face of the keyguard has small holes that allow the user to rest a hand on top without activating any keys. keystrikes occur when the user rotates the hand a the wrist allowing his finger to drop in the hole and make the selection.

Jim Krebbs from HackerLabs Rocklin redesigned and improved my original design as you will see in the photos and the attached dxf file. instead of a spacer ring to lift the tol keyguard to the desired height, his spacers fit in between and around each key. This keeps the guard from smashing down when your hand rests on the guard in the middle. I love the green acrylic. We think it would be helpful for someone with vision needs, helping to visually separate the individual keys.

In another build, Jim laser cut a piece of birch instead of acrylic. It gives it a nice organic appearance. The wood could be decorated with rastering or stained to give it an even nicer appearance.

Acrylic case for use with iPad Air2 with or without Proloquo2Go

Proloquo2Go is a communication aid made for the iPad for users who are unable to speak. It uses expressive icons to help its user create messages which are converted into audio messages through a voice synthesizer. Proloquo2Go displays these icons in a matrix form in the middle of the screen with navigation tools along the bottom of the screen. The user builds or creates a message by specifying a sequence of icons which is then read by a voice synthesizer.

The iPad uses a capacitive-touch screen for input. In using Proloquo2Go, the user needs to tap a sequence of icons to build the message. However, for users with limited hand control, it may be difficult to lift the hand/finger after the intended icon is tapped/touched (without sliding onto the adjacent icon). The cut-outs on the top layer of the case exposes only areas in the middle of (the matrix of) icons. The edges of the cut-outs lifts the user’s finger allowing for the icon to be recognized by the software.

A second example is of an open case where the entire usable screen is available for input. Other matrix sizes (3×4, 3×5, etc.) are available but not included here.

The examples shown uses clear 3mm thick acrylic that has been cut using a laser cutter. A total of four layers are used for the case (Layers 0 to 3, with layer 0 being the top layer. NOTE that layer 0 is cut upside-down. Engravings in acrylic are “protected” from environmental elements in this manner.) Layers may be melted or welded together with acrylic solvent cement. Tips: NOTE that it is not recommended to weld the top layer (layer 0) to the other layers. Holes for four screws and locknuts (size 2-56) allows interchangeability of this top layer. ALSO NOTE that layer 2 (next to bottom) contains small pieces that allows access to the power button as well as the “up” and “down” keys for volume control. The feel of the exposed sides of these pieces are intended to be different — for easy tactile differentiation. If layers 1, 2 and 3 are melted together, be sure to include these small piece as it is impossible to insert these in afterwards (without breaking them). These pieces should fit loosely into the slots provided — DO NOT PUT SOLVENT NEAR THESE PARTS! The most difficult part to place is a short piece in layer 2 — between the on/off button and the 3.5mm headphone jack. Use the headphone jack opening in layer 1 to gauge the correct placement of this short piece. Use a clamp or vice to line up the layers for melting. Use the solvent cement sparingly — just a dot at each intersection of surfaces (while clamped) is enough to hold, as the solvent uses capillary action to move between the layers.

Archive of pictures as well as the .dxf files used for cutting parts/layers of the iPad Air2 enclosure (see also Downloadables below):

Keyguard for TouchChat HD AAC app

This is a 3d-printed keyguard for the TouchChat HD app. The layout is a custom, condensed ABC keyboard, which has been modified from the standard QWERTY user available on the app. This particular keyguard is designed for use on the 3rd generation iPad, but can be readily resized for other devices. A few pieces of velcro will secure the keyguard to the screen.

Laser Cut Keyguards

A keyguard is a thin plate that sits over top of a keyboard or an Alternate and Augmentative Communication (AAC) device. A keyguard may help a user use the keyboard or AAC device more easily and more effectively by helping them press buttons more accurately and helping support their hand or finger to reduce fatigue. Keyguards can also be used with a stylus.

Keyguards may assist individuals with Autism, Down Syndrome, ALS, apraxia, stroke, or other conditions that affect a person’s ability to use natural speech.

A variety of designs are currently available via the Github link below. The designs are for a specific combination of device, case, app, and app configuration. We will continue to add designs and welcome help from other as well. We are working on a system that makes it easier to submit a request for a custom keyguard, and for skilled makers to complete the design for a custom request.