Author Topic: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard  (Read 4044 times)

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Offline SamuraiKek

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[IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« on: Wed, 25 August 2021, 14:29:23 »
Manibus

Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard

274867-0274869-1



We're two keebheads from Romania with backgrounds in Computer Science and Business who've decided to launch a hardware design company. Blank Tehnologii is our child and Manibus our first product.
A little backstory for Manibus: around 3 years ago, after experimenting with custom aluminum keyboards and getting addicted to building boards, I (Alex the CS grad) wanted to try out a split ergonimic keybord but to my surprise, nicely finished aluminum split keyboards were very few and almost impossible to get.
That's when I've deciced that I would go out and design one myself from scratch. About two years into the design and development process I've joined forces with Alex the Business grad to bring this keyboard on the market.
The philosophy behind Manibus is simple: design a premium feeling split keyboard with good ergonomics and configurability while not breaking the bank.




0 Contents:

  • Details
  • Status
  • Pricing
  • Photos
  • Timeline



1. Details

Included in the kit:
  • Cases: Anodized Aluminum
  • Wrist Rests: Bead Blasted Polycarbonate
  • Plate: 1.5mm, Bead Blasted Aluminum
  • Mounting Method: Tray Mount
  • PCB: In-house desing. USB-C connection with hot-swappable sockets. Qmk configurable.
  • Magnets: 12 neodymium magnets
  • Teflon & Silicone pads
  • Available case colors: Mainly looking at Anodized Black/Silver but we are open to suggestions.

More details:
  • The wrist rests magnetically attach to the cases. Each case and wrist rest has three neodymium magnets that keep the wrist rests in place with perfect force.
  • The keyboard will come with both teflon pads that offer a smooth slide for easily making micro adjustments or normal silicone pads for those of you that prefer a well planted keyboard.
  • The keyboard doesn't come with a tenting sollution out of the box because a nice, well designed tenting system would either increase the cost of production too much or break the clean look we're aiming for. However, the bottom of the cases come with extra m2 screw holes that give you the possibility of impleneting a tenting system, be it simply with some long m2 screws or with a 3D printed system.
  • Not conviced by the layout yet? Try it out yourself by printing the switch plates: https://github.com/SamuraiKek/manibus-switch-plates



2. Status

Multiple 3D printed prototypes and two aluminum prototypes.
5 rounds of PCB prototypes. Currently waiting for the 6th one to finish and get delivered.
Here's an in-depth look at the design process of the keyboard I've made a while ago.




3. Pricing

The keyboard will be sold directly by us.
Number of units and pricing TBD.

Access the IC Form directly from here or from our Website.



4. Photos

274871-2274873-3
274875-4275533-5
275535-6275537-7
275539-8

5. Timeline
  • 08/25/2021 Original post
  • 08/30/2021 Made the switch plate files available as STL's for 3D printing. Added more photos.
« Last Edit: Mon, 30 August 2021, 14:24:48 by SamuraiKek »

Offline SamuraiKek

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Re: [IC[Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard]
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 25 August 2021, 14:35:53 »
Reserved

Offline baobaozi

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 29 August 2021, 17:22:05 »
I like the sentiment, more splits in the world and more "higher end" ones are nice.

But this one seems to lack refinement. Have you made a proto, even if it's just a 3D printed plate to put switches and caps onto? I dare say that thumb cluster is unusable. That's not how thumbs angle, I guesstimate you'll be hitting two thumb keys at once.

ai03 is coming out with the orbit-x soon and you can see they've put more consideration into the case design.

But I wish you the best, whether you decide to revise or not

Offline SamuraiKek

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 30 August 2021, 04:24:26 »
Hi! Thanks for your reply and thoughts.

Quote
But this one seems to lack refinement. Have you made a proto, even if it's just a 3D printed plate to put switches and caps onto?

The pictures in the post are of the aluminum prototype. Cases are anodized aluminum and wrist rests are polycarbonate. No fancy renders and studio photos yet, but we're in the middle of doing these and we'll update the post when they're ready.
You can have a look at the development process of this keyboard which took almost 3 years: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=110060.0

Quote
I dare say that thumb cluster is unusable. That's not how thumbs angle, I guesstimate you'll be hitting two thumb keys at once.

We have made multiple design iterations of this keyboard, starting from a layout closer to ergodox style keyboards. Our conclusions and findings have actually led us to this more compact thumb cluster. I get into more detail about it in the development post ^. TL;DR of this would be: after using an ergodox and our first protoype for almost a year and seeing many people complain about  the thumb cluster on ergodox style boards, we've tried to do a different approach which in our opinion is much more comfortable and natural for a split style keyboard.
I will follow up with a typing test video when I get the chance.

Offline _rubik

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 30 August 2021, 12:15:16 »
Interesting choice to found a full company behind this one board. I'm not a frequent ergo board user, but this layout looks pretty appealing.

Would you be open to releasing a plate file so folks can handwire a proto themselves before committing a full alu version? I know ergo layouts are highly subject, so I (and I'm sure others) may want to feel it themselves before committing?
ai03 Meridian ¤ Mech 27 ¤ E8.5 ¤ Brutal60 ¤ SSK White Label ¤ HHKB Pro JP ¤ vAEK68 Alps Blues ¤ RF87u

Offline SamuraiKek

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 30 August 2021, 12:53:20 »
Interesting choice to found a full company behind this one board. I'm not a frequent ergo board user, but this layout looks pretty appealing.

Would you be open to releasing a plate file so folks can handwire a proto themselves before committing a full alu version? I know ergo layouts are highly subject, so I (and I'm sure others) may want to feel it themselves before committing?

It made sense to found a company. We have bigger plans in the future and it gives some trust to the community that we're serious about what we're doing, especially this being our first product. Handing invoices, paying income taxes, etc is also easier as a company, at least where we're from.

Releasing the plate file actually sounds like a great idea. I will set up a github repo and will update this comment and the post with a link to it once it's ready.

EDIT: Here is the link to the repo: https://github.com/SamuraiKek/manibus-switch-plates
« Last Edit: Mon, 30 August 2021, 13:45:00 by SamuraiKek »

Offline _rubik

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 30 August 2021, 13:00:00 »
Would you be open to releasing a plate file so folks can handwire a proto themselves before committing a full alu version? I know ergo layouts are highly subject, so I (and I'm sure others) may want to feel it themselves before committing?

Releasing the plate file actually sounds like a great idea. I will set up a github repo and will update this comment and the post with a link to it once it's ready.

Hell yeah :thumb:. I'm excited to get one of these built and to try it out
ai03 Meridian ¤ Mech 27 ¤ E8.5 ¤ Brutal60 ¤ SSK White Label ¤ HHKB Pro JP ¤ vAEK68 Alps Blues ¤ RF87u

Offline baobaozi

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 01 September 2021, 08:47:21 »
Well, I'm happy to be proven wrong!

Any chance there's a printable layout so I could check it out?

Hi! Thanks for your reply and thoughts.

Quote
But this one seems to lack refinement. Have you made a proto, even if it's just a 3D printed plate to put switches and caps onto?

The pictures in the post are of the aluminum prototype. Cases are anodized aluminum and wrist rests are polycarbonate. No fancy renders and studio photos yet, but we're in the middle of doing these and we'll update the post when they're ready.
You can have a look at the development process of this keyboard which took almost 3 years: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=110060.0

Quote
I dare say that thumb cluster is unusable. That's not how thumbs angle, I guesstimate you'll be hitting two thumb keys at once.

We have made multiple design iterations of this keyboard, starting from a layout closer to ergodox style keyboards. Our conclusions and findings have actually led us to this more compact thumb cluster. I get into more detail about it in the development post ^. TL;DR of this would be: after using an ergodox and our first protoype for almost a year and seeing many people complain about  the thumb cluster on ergodox style boards, we've tried to do a different approach which in our opinion is much more comfortable and natural for a split style keyboard.
I will follow up with a typing test video when I get the chance.

Offline SamuraiKek

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 01 September 2021, 09:25:25 »
Quote
Well, I'm happy to be proven wrong!

Any chance there's a printable layout so I could check it out?

Yep, you can download the layout files from here: https://github.com/SamuraiKek/manibus-switch-plates

Offline iaji

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 02 September 2021, 22:21:38 »
Hi! Thanks for your reply and thoughts.

Quote
But this one seems to lack refinement. Have you made a proto, even if it's just a 3D printed plate to put switches and caps onto?

The pictures in the post are of the aluminum prototype. Cases are anodized aluminum and wrist rests are polycarbonate. No fancy renders and studio photos yet, but we're in the middle of doing these and we'll update the post when they're ready.
You can have a look at the development process of this keyboard which took almost 3 years: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=110060.0

Quote
I dare say that thumb cluster is unusable. That's not how thumbs angle, I guesstimate you'll be hitting two thumb keys at once.

We have made multiple design iterations of this keyboard, starting from a layout closer to ergodox style keyboards. Our conclusions and findings have actually led us to this more compact thumb cluster. I get into more detail about it in the development post ^. TL;DR of this would be: after using an ergodox and our first protoype for almost a year and seeing many people complain about  the thumb cluster on ergodox style boards, we've tried to do a different approach which in our opinion is much more comfortable and natural for a split style keyboard.
I will follow up with a typing test video when I get the chance.
here's a video of a comfy thumb row based on my hand. have you tried somethinglike this?

Offline SamuraiKek

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 03 September 2021, 04:46:03 »
here's a video of a comfy thumb row based on my hand. have you tried somethinglike this?

Hi! Thanks for sharing that video. The thumb position when using Manibus is actually very similar to yours. I've started from a layout like yours but then I figured that if I wanted a high profile case that would go nicely with Manibus, I wouldn't be able to tray mount it without having a gap where the plate is visible between the thumb keys which I really don't like. It ruins the clean look for me. The solution was to put the keys upright, bring them close to each other and have these 1.25u and 2.25u keys that actually perform, I would say, just as well.
I could have gone with something similar to your layout, but then I would have had to change the mounting system from tray mount to a top/bottom mount which would have made the case 2 part. A 2 part case would imply higher manufacturing costs. Split alu keyboards are more expensive to machine already and adding an extra layer of complexity with a sandwich design would have only made things pricier.

That's the reason why I've designed the layout this way. It's still very comfortable, I love the desing (but that's subjective I guess) and it stays true to what I set out to do: a high quality split aluminum keyboard with a reasonable price.

Here's also a short video demonstrating the thumb position on Manibus:

Not convinced yet? Download the plate files from here: https://github.com/SamuraiKek/manibus-switch-plates and try it out yourself  :D
« Last Edit: Fri, 03 September 2021, 04:48:29 by SamuraiKek »

Offline hottrout

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 03 September 2021, 08:49:30 »
Interesting
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Offline reminbee

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 09 September 2021, 16:47:45 »
Great stuff! The thumb cluster on the ergodox has always been a little too far away from me, and caused strain after long hours of continuous use. Looks like this would help alleviate that! My only comment is filling in some of the sharper corners will help unify the design language, but I suspect that straight section is due to a limitation with the PCB? Looking forward to seeing the final result of this project.

Offline SamuraiKek

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 10 September 2021, 13:54:58 »
Great stuff! The thumb cluster on the ergodox has always been a little too far away from me, and caused strain after long hours of continuous use. Looks like this would help alleviate that! My only comment is filling in some of the sharper corners will help unify the design language, but I suspect that straight section is due to a limitation with the PCB? Looking forward to seeing the final result of this project.

Thank you! You will love this layout then  ;D I know what you mean about filling those sharper corners but as you suspected, it's a design constraint. That's where the USB-C connector sits and filling the zone with extra material would make for a deep entry for the usb cable so I'd rather keep it like this. It has actually grown on me  :D The sollution would be to change from a tray mount design to a top/bottom mount design but that would add extra cost to manufacturing which I'm trying to keep as low as possible.

Offline baobaozi

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Re: [IC] Manibus - Split ergonomic aluminum keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 10 September 2021, 21:08:50 »
here's a video of a comfy thumb row based on my hand. have you tried somethinglike this?
I have, I prefer thumb clusters that fan out more, like yours, and are N/S further away from alphas (like Draculad) because I'm a wrist floating typist, I find the thumb position is different to wrist resting.