Author Topic: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row  (Read 932 times)

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Offline Iaotle

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  • Location: Amsterdam
Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« on: Wed, 03 July 2024, 19:51:49 »
Hey guys, I'm looking for something resembling an 1800 or 96% layout but with an extra F-row, and preferably numpad on the left side. I also prefer the grid layout (perhaps even with ortholinear skew), but it seems that most 1800 layouts have the default skewed rows. I've made a little mockup of what I want, and was wondering if there is anything that I can get that resembles this without going the full custom route. Any suggestions welcome!

Offline Rhienfo

  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Why is everything I want here so expensive :(
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 05 July 2024, 08:12:13 »
Welcome to Geekhack :)

I saw the layout and I think you would have to go the custom route, ortho in general is way too niche and combined with a layout like this there definitely isn't anything similar.
keyboard collection - fjell
More
Cherry Blacks - Unlubed - Filmed and springswapped with tx 55g mediums - Alu Plate | Pretty happy with this, the blacks were cherry picked so they weren't that scratchy to begin with, but currently breaking them in, may lube them with a dry lube like ro59 or ptfe powder.
| hhkb bt
More
lubed with tribosys 3203 | Like topre a lot, prefer it lubed but did make less tactile but that might have been a skill issue. Probably will get more tactile over time as the domes age.
| m0115
More
bad orange alps lol | Definitely needs a restoration. Planning on wax boiling them and maybe a replacement pcb because the board has only 2 key rollover apparently.
| Praxis
More
Gateron Yellows - Lubed with 205g0 - 62g tx mediums - pc plate | Probably my favourite keyboard already, feels super nice and sounds pretty good, it's got a great layout as well. Probably gonna build this with mx browns, I feel like it would suit the board more.

Offline wjrii

  • Posts: 76
  • Location: Texas
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 05 July 2024, 10:17:09 »
Hey guys, I'm looking for something resembling an 1800 or 96% layout but with an extra F-row, and preferably numpad on the left side. I also prefer the grid layout (perhaps even with ortholinear skew), but it seems that most 1800 layouts have the default skewed rows. I've made a little mockup of what I want, and was wondering if there is anything that I can get that resembles this without going the full custom route. Any suggestions welcome!

I agree with Rhienfo.  The number of options has exploded in recent years, but an ortholinear southpaw battleship will be a bit of a tall order.  :-)  The only thing I can think of is a large Point of Sale board like the Tipro KMX 128 or its clone the Cherry RC128BM. They will be VERY ortho though, LOL.  You could set them up to match the basic criteria, but not to match your layout, and while they seem perfectly programmable, I have no personal idea how easy it would be.

THIS was somebody's DIY build, and it's not southpaw but might have some ideas for you.  My own most recent hand-wired build was a no-stabilizers southpaw 1800-ish, and until very late in the "design cycle" (LOL) it was going to include F13-F24.  Overall though, the ortho folks don't tend to prefer large boards, generally topping out at a 15x5 grid, and the 1800 crowd is generally happy with traditional row stagger.

If your aesthetic needs are flexible (see my junkboard above), and you have (or are willing to build) soldering skills, making a full custom is surprisingly cost-effective in many areas, even more so if you have access to a 3D printer and/or laser cutter.  I did some earlier builds based off of aluminum plates I designed in KLE, moved to 2D CAD with Swill's plate generator, and had cut by Xometry.  Sides can be cut as well for a true sandwich case (the DIY aesthetic is not as in vogue anymore, but there are still commercially available versions), or you can save on material by getting a little creative and designing a twig case to put smaller pieces of material between the screws and maybe even nest them so they interlock to form a solid sidewall (or you can 3D print something). If you plan it right, they will only increase the size of your cutting order slightly.

The other thing to consider when you start playing in this space is keycaps.  If you need accurate legends and/or to use a "sculpted" profile like Cherry or SA or OEM, it starts to get very challenging and expensive.  the flat-aligned tops of XDA and DSA are your friends here, and even then there are things to keep in mind.  For instance, the only 3u wide keys I know of are spacebars, so they might not have the feel you would like on your Enter key.  I hope you don't mind, and you certainly have no obligations to use or even consider it, but I took the liberty of tweaking your layout a bit to match available keycaps, though even then not every set has 2u Shift and you're looking at repurposing some other 2u key or turning a spare numpad Enter sideways.  If you're comfortable with ISO style layouts, consider making your main Enter key vertical and it will fit perfectly if unsculpted, with a 2u "plus" being an option if you need to go sculpted.  Depending on your typing skills, blanks might be an option, or maybe blank modifiers combined with a regular set of alphas.
« Last Edit: Fri, 05 July 2024, 10:40:12 by wjrii »

Offline Iaotle

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  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Amsterdam
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 06 July 2024, 05:59:56 »
I guess ortholinear is not super important, as I'm alright with grid... Out of curiosity, why did you decide against the additional F-row on your last build?

Thank you so much for the advice and the modified layout! I'll definitely do a few design passes and look at my options for building one. I've contacted a local keyboard shop and am also discussing with them, but I'm no aesthetics freak, I'm fine with blank caps, I'm more about that functionality :)

Offline wjrii

  • Posts: 76
  • Location: Texas
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 06 July 2024, 11:11:29 »
I guess ortholinear is not super important, as I'm alright with grid... Out of curiosity, why did you decide against the additional F-row on your last build?

Thank you so much for the advice and the modified layout! I'll definitely do a few design passes and look at my options for building one. I've contacted a local keyboard shop and am also discussing with them, but I'm no aesthetics freak, I'm fine with blank caps, I'm more about that functionality :)

I was using ortholinear and grid more or less interchangeably, but yeah, a lot of them are simple grids of 1u keys.  There is at least one layout that simply makes the main typing block of alphanumeric keys ortholinear, then lets the standard modifiers sit where they will.  IMO that tends to look better with a low profile "floating keycaps" design (think the linked board, Drop boards or various steel plate gamer boards) where the plate has a fairly nice finish, but it's a definitely one way to keep your keycap needs simple if physical footprint is not a huge concern, and not to presume, but in your case it likely isn't, LOL.  That said, you could plan around commonly available keycaps to shave a little bit off that Keebio layout though, particularly on the left.  I treat KLE like my personal Tetris, LOL.  Something like THIS would have very few keycap kitting issues.

For my build, I was initially planning to make it completely laser-cut, pedal to the metal, 124 keys or something, just a vast expanse of painted Masonite hardboard (I made a little numpad that way that came out well).  Ultimately, though, I wasn't sure how much I would like the southpaw configuration, so I wanted to keep it cheap, even by my low standards.  I reworked it to fit a set of keycaps I already had (e.g. lack of an Enter column on the numpad), and threw together some sidewalls that printed quickly and easily but hid the layers of hardboard.  In retrospect, I hate the way Cherry profile feels with zero degree incline, so saving vertical space by cramming the microcontroller into the top right ended up being an unnecessary compromise, better suited to builds with unsculpted keycaps.  If I were to go back, I'd probably rethink some things, but the next half-baked project is already on its way from China.  :D

Offline Iaotle

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Amsterdam
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 07 July 2024, 13:31:38 »
I guess ortholinear is not super important, as I'm alright with grid... Out of curiosity, why did you decide against the additional F-row on your last build?

Thank you so much for the advice and the modified layout! I'll definitely do a few design passes and look at my options for building one. I've contacted a local keyboard shop and am also discussing with them, but I'm no aesthetics freak, I'm fine with blank caps, I'm more about that functionality :)

I was using ortholinear and grid more or less interchangeably, but yeah, a lot of them are simple grids of 1u keys.  There is at least one layout that simply makes the main typing block of alphanumeric keys ortholinear, then lets the standard modifiers sit where they will.  IMO that tends to look better with a low profile "floating keycaps" design (think the linked board, Drop boards or various steel plate gamer boards) where the plate has a fairly nice finish, but it's a definitely one way to keep your keycap needs simple if physical footprint is not a huge concern, and not to presume, but in your case it likely isn't, LOL.  That said, you could plan around commonly available keycaps to shave a little bit off that Keebio layout though, particularly on the left.  I treat KLE like my personal Tetris, LOL.  Something like THIS would have very few keycap kitting issues.

For my build, I was initially planning to make it completely laser-cut, pedal to the metal, 124 keys or something, just a vast expanse of painted Masonite hardboard (I made a little numpad that way that came out well).  Ultimately, though, I wasn't sure how much I would like the southpaw configuration, so I wanted to keep it cheap, even by my low standards.  I reworked it to fit a set of keycaps I already had (e.g. lack of an Enter column on the numpad), and threw together some sidewalls that printed quickly and easily but hid the layers of hardboard.  In retrospect, I hate the way Cherry profile feels with zero degree incline, so saving vertical space by cramming the microcontroller into the top right ended up being an unnecessary compromise, better suited to builds with unsculpted keycaps.  If I were to go back, I'd probably rethink some things, but the next half-baked project is already on its way from China.  :D

Yeah, but I like the spacing as-is tbh. I'm not a looks kinda guy, I hate reaching for keys, that's the whole reason behind the tight f-cluster. The first improved layout you sent, plus gap-filling the missing keys is enough for me :)

Offline wjrii

  • Posts: 76
  • Location: Texas
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 07 July 2024, 20:42:57 »


Yeah, but I like the spacing as-is tbh. I'm not a looks kinda guy, I hate reaching for keys, that's the whole reason behind the tight f-cluster. The first improved layout you sent, plus gap-filling the missing keys is enough for me :)

No worries!  I absolutely get wanting what you want.   Hopefully you just have a feel now for what your options and challenges are likely to be!. Welcome to GH.  :-)

Offline Iaotle

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Amsterdam
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 10 July 2024, 12:10:37 »


Yeah, but I like the spacing as-is tbh. I'm not a looks kinda guy, I hate reaching for keys, that's the whole reason behind the tight f-cluster. The first improved layout you sent, plus gap-filling the missing keys is enough for me :)

No worries!  I absolutely get wanting what you want.   Hopefully you just have a feel now for what your options and challenges are likely to be!. Welcome to GH.  :-)


Do you have some tips on how to create a PCB, which controller etc to use? Since you've made your own board, I'd be interested in getting some advice on this front, maybe some common pitfalls etc? My board has lots of keys, so I assume there's some limitation on what I can pick there. I should be ok with soldering/lubing/etc when I get there.

Offline Rhienfo

  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Why is everything I want here so expensive :(
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 12 July 2024, 01:57:41 »
Do you have some tips on how to create a PCB, which controller etc to use? Since you've made your own board, I'd be interested in getting some advice on this front, maybe some common pitfalls etc? My board has lots of keys, so I assume there's some limitation on what I can pick there. I should be ok with soldering/lubing/etc when I get there.

I don't know much about pcb design but I remember hearing that a lot of modern pcb designers use stm32 or rp2040 controllers pretty recently. That might be a good start but look into it more as well, there are definitely good resources around.

Not sure how up to date the Ai03 guide is but that should at least be a good start.
keyboard collection - fjell
More
Cherry Blacks - Unlubed - Filmed and springswapped with tx 55g mediums - Alu Plate | Pretty happy with this, the blacks were cherry picked so they weren't that scratchy to begin with, but currently breaking them in, may lube them with a dry lube like ro59 or ptfe powder.
| hhkb bt
More
lubed with tribosys 3203 | Like topre a lot, prefer it lubed but did make less tactile but that might have been a skill issue. Probably will get more tactile over time as the domes age.
| m0115
More
bad orange alps lol | Definitely needs a restoration. Planning on wax boiling them and maybe a replacement pcb because the board has only 2 key rollover apparently.
| Praxis
More
Gateron Yellows - Lubed with 205g0 - 62g tx mediums - pc plate | Probably my favourite keyboard already, feels super nice and sounds pretty good, it's got a great layout as well. Probably gonna build this with mx browns, I feel like it would suit the board more.

Offline LASERman Projects

  • Posts: 143
  • Location: Kent, UK
  • Soldering is my native language.
Re: Hi everyone, looking for an 1800 layout with an extra F-row
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 12 July 2024, 03:52:56 »
Maybe they can make ortho southpaw variant of Boston for you.

And here is the most beautiful one I saw on MUK Meet2024 for appreciation: