Author Topic: [IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB  (Read 3339 times)

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Offline vladkvit

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[IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 13:11:29 »
This keyboard was designed to maintain a familiar layout, while being a split ortho keyboard - something that I havenít seen on the market.

It features a slim height of just 11.5mm, per-key RGB lighting, hot-swap switches, and a bezel-less look on the outer edges.

Iíve been daily driving the prototype for a couple of months, and I think it is pretty darn close to my own personal endgame keyboard.





Layout:
36 keys left half, 46 keys right, for 82 keys total. It was designed to be familiar, while maximizing compatibility with existing keycap sets.
Needs an ergodox set (for the 1.5U keys on the sides & thumb keys) plus one of 75% / 1800 / etc.

http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/42d33c206b55fc8938cc24da61229e0a




Why split keyboard?
Comfort and posture. With a split keyboard, the shoulders donít have to be rounded, and easier to ďsit up straightĒ.



How does this differ from Ergodox?
A standard, familiar key layout. Transitioning back and forth from a regular layout doesnít take long
Slimmer, coming in at 11.5mm, compared to Ergodoxís 19mm
Metal case
Hot-swap sockets
Dual microcontrollers. This speeds up matrix polling, making this keyboard better for gaming
There is individual RGB lighting for every single key
Ortho - makes gaming with WASD more comfortable



Kit contents / Whatís included?
Two assembled PCBs, two metal plates, four metal spacers, two base plates, screws, and silicone feet.
It does not include two microcontrollers (preferably Elite-C), switches, or keycaps. The case can be either aluminum or steel.

You need to supply your own split cable and two microcontrollers.








Usability
Hereís a typing demo -
The prototype build doesnít have lubed stabilizers, stab dampening, etc.

With the current setup, the keyboard feels fairly rigid - thereís no flex. If thereís interest, the spacer plates can be optionally modified to reduce rigidity.



Weight
Fully assembled, with switches and SA keycaps, the aluminum version is 460g (16oz) for the left side and 487g (17oz) for the right side. The total is just shy of 1kg (2.2lbs).

With steel, those weights would be around 1kg (2.2lbs) for the left side and a bit more for the right side - 2kg total (4.4lbs).



Pricing estimated at $290, very roughly. Depends on interest, extra features, and further communication with vendors.


PCB comes with all the diodes, LEDs, and hot-swap sockets pre-soldered. Requires an Elite-C or another thin (<3.6mm) flat-mounted microcontroller.



Additional Potential Features

The current prototype is made from anodized brushed aluminum sheets. Thereís an option to get different colors or to get steel.

Switching from Elite-C microcontrollers to built-in electronics. This could take quite a bit of time, and it only really makes sense if thereís strong interest.

Removing RGB. This is fairly straight-forward, and would reduce cost.

Adding a rotary encoder between backspace and F12. This would take a bit of time and testing.

Damping. To dampen the keyboard, the mid-layer sheets could be swapped for a more flexible material. Requires quite a bit more time & research, the keyboard feel is not guaranteed. I could also leave a bit more material out of the mid-layers.



Status
The first prototype works well. I got preliminary pricing from suppliers. Still need to figure out shipping, QC, assembly, and other design tweaks. Currently looking for feedback.






More images
More












Interest check form. There are questions about customizations, features, and pricing. I would really appreciate any feedback.

https://forms.gle/fVj7hCMCCr5nhy1G7
« Last Edit: Sat, 13 March 2021, 13:50:45 by vladkvit »

Offline vladkvit

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Re: Orthograph - 75% split ortho keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 13:13:27 »
Update March 17 2021
Good news - there was enough interest in the keyboard for me to organize a group buy in the future.

There was some discussion on reddit, too - https://www.reddit.com/r/ErgoMechKeyboards/comments/m4fu9i/been_working_on_this_one_for_a_while/

There were several requests to have this board be open source. As an initial step in this direction, here are the interim PCB files - https://github.com/vladkvit/orthograph_keyboard. At the end of the group buy, all of the final design files needed to edit and manufacture the keyboard will be uploaded.

Changes from the prototype.
There was significant interest in damping, so Iíll try to see what I can do there. Will definitely need some time to experiment.
Pretty much everyone wants a rotary encoder, so that needs to be built.

Other things. Color is unlikely to happen due to the small volume of this project (but Iíll check anyways). Just an assembled PCB (no case) will likely be an option.

Update May 1 2021
Some quick notes on the progress.
I got some quotes for foam inserts from a couple of manufacturers. I'm still figuring out the different types of foams and rubbers, and their potential effects on dampening. Also trying to make sure that the dampening doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
I also got a pair of nice!nano board to play around with. They would offer wireless capability and a high matrix scan rate.

Aside - here's a photo of the /dev/tty keycap set on the prototype.

« Last Edit: Sat, 01 May 2021, 14:13:26 by vladkvit »

Offline FishyKeebs

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[IC] Orthograph - 75% split ortho keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 13:24:06 »
Interesting looking forward to seeing how it goes

Offline Tyqar

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Re: [IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 20:17:15 »
I think this looks like my endgame keyboard also. Gorgeous design.

Sent from my KB2005 using Tapatalk


Offline vladkvit

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Re: [IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 20 March 2021, 12:23:52 »
Posted an update (see above).

TLDR - group buy will happen; need to look into a few modifications.
« Last Edit: Sat, 20 March 2021, 12:26:01 by vladkvit »

Offline vladkvit

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Re: [IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 01 May 2021, 14:14:26 »
Posted an update (see above). Looking into dampening.

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: [IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 01 May 2021, 15:07:38 »
Isn't 290 a lot of money for aluminum sheets    Can you clarify the cost
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Offline vladkvit

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Re: [IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 02 May 2021, 00:30:28 »
There are three things that make up the price - materials, PCB + assembly, and shipping.

The aluminum sheets are less than half of the cost of a keyboard, and thereís more to them than it seems. The two sides of the keyboard are different - there are 12 metal sheets with 6 unique shapes that go into each keyboard. Out of the 6 shapes, 4 have countersunk holes and tapped threads. Each piece is anodized and has a good surface finish. For the order quantity I was targeting (a dozen pieces), the price per piece is fairly high.

For shipping - I first need to ship some components such as microcontrollers and hot-swap sockets to the factories. Then, they send the parts to me (this is surprisingly expensive for metal sheets). Then, I can ship the assembled keyboards to you.

I agree that thereís room for cost optimization. It would require a decent chunk of time - which doesnít make sense for a small-run project; my current focus is to incorporate popular requests and get it to to people faster. Iím hoping that by having the designs available online, people can have the option of putting it together regardless of the group buy.
« Last Edit: Sun, 02 May 2021, 00:38:35 by vladkvit »

Offline DeMechanica

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Re: [IC] Orthograph - 75% split keeb with hot-swap sockets & RGB
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 04 May 2021, 10:01:53 »
Love the layout! Iíd be keen on a well mounted (top / gasket / leaf spring / etc) high-profile version!