geekhack Community > Ergonomics

column spacing


So I've been thinking about making a 36 key ergo board to help out with some pain in my hands. I placed my hand on a piece of paper, let my fingers sit comfortably and used their positions for the home keys. I've wound up with some extreme column spacing, more than I've seen on any other keyboard. Here is a 3D printed mock up with DSA keycap profiles:

I have larger than average hands, but they're nothing exceptional. Here they are sitting on the home keys:

The index and middle fingers column are 29.1mm apart. I can easily reach all the far keys.

I'm actually pretty confident I'm on the right track. The mock up feels super comfy, and I've noticed how cramped my fingers are on a 19.05mm spaced keyboard. I'm just really surprised I haven't seen anyone else do this. Do I have freaky hands? Am I missing some obvious reason why no one else uses this large column spacing? I figure the gurus at geekhack should know.


2 things .... ( or 3..)

1. Historical ... typewriter -> electric typewriter -> keyboard, because...

2. bigger costs more to make (especially when iron), and originally made for female clerical staff.

3. How would such spacing work on an ANSI style board? Especially the inner columns, or outer edges.

I also find 19mm a bit cramped, and don't have particularly large hands.

Cheers, Ian

Large column spacing is not used because there are two columns for a pointing finger and two columns for a pinkie. if you increase the spacing then it is harder to reach outer columns for pointing fingers / pinkies. And it is also a waste of space.

If you're comfortable, and don't need more keys, I don't see why you shouldn't go for it!  Would love to see the finished product!

I'm also interested in a custom physical layout for my hands, and while my hands aren't as large, I came up with something similar. On small keyboards like the one pictured, only the index finger has to move laterally so only the two index finger rows need to be closer together and you have that. IMO for a bespoke keyboard you can toss out all conventions because it is being made for your hands only. You need the physical layout and your logical keymap to work for your needs, period.


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