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[IC] Compact Ergo - UPDATE: samples, streams, pricing, GB announcement

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Gondolindrim:
Compact Ergo Interest Check


Please visit the landing page below

https://bowlkeyboards.com/pages/compact-ergo-landing-page

Hello GeekHack!

It's been a while since I have posted an IC, and I hope this time I won't disappoint. This is the IC for the Compact Ergo.

TLDR for people who don't like reading (cough cough Simon cough cough)

- Alice inspired ergo with slightly lesser angle (9.5 degrees), southpaw numpad, arrows and rotary;
- Supports ISO and mirrored numpad;
- Factory-soldered RGB user-configurable indicators in VIA;
- Simple top-mount with minimalistic looks;
- All important acronyms are here: QMK, VIA, RGB, USBC, ESD, EMI and OV and OC protection with a DB

- GB will run from june 1 to june 30, priced at 400 for soldered kit and 405 for hotswap kit
- Kit contains carrying case, screws, DB, bumpons, the whole shabang
- Addons like writst rest and different plate materials will be offered


This interest check

The project is pretty mature already. As of today a prototype was ordered and works perfectly; bowl is making revisions to add a new mounting point to relief some tiny pinging noise he perceived while typing.

This IC is meant to, of course, gauge interest and feedback. Please visit this form and give us your feedback! https://forms.gle/KjUAK2sxfXzT5iNF6

You can also join the conversation about the project, and other of bowl's projects, in his Discord server: https://discord.gg/n9FRZewwNR

The main feedback points we need to hear you guys on are: color suggestions, as well as the hotswap variant. We feel that currently most people would like an HS variant, but due to the simplistic nature of the project we did not design one yet.

May 25 update: new samples have arrived with the intended corrections. Please see the samples video at the end!

Brief history and inspiration

MoreThis is actually the fourth iteration of this keyboard and by God it has been a roller coaster. Back in 2021 I was approached by a new designer and, after designing the PCB and getting prototypes, they contacted a vendor who took on the project; a second revision was made. I was genuinelly hyped for the keyboard because the layout is very unique and interesting; the knob feature is also very welcomed so much so I designed the PCBs on stream. Despite the fact that the project still garnered some following, after a couple months both the designer and the vendor simply ghosted me. I knew the project had potential so I contacted a second designer; we decided to start from scratch. We did design and brainstorm, but even after arriving at a nice design, the designer themselves decided to drop the project due to its size and the current state of the hobby, fearful that it wouldn't pay itself commercially.

I was honestly done with the project. That was when a follower of bowl, APM, reached out saying that bowl would take it on. And took on he did. Our objective was to make a rather simple construction board that had a banger layout with a rotary and the indicators. That's it. No flashy curves, no huge logos, just something that types gud and sounds gud. Reject modernity. Return to kebort.

The keyboard features a brass piece inside to improve sound; the piece does not show on the keyboard bottom, instead being an internal weight. This makes for simpler construction, lesser cost, and let's face it, this thing is already heavy as it is, so a huge weight would not be of much help.

I think we arrived at a very good product here. The sound test is solid, and the layout is amazing. The encoder feature is very convenient in the place it is a direct inspiration from the 75% layout, and the indicators are very nice and discreet. The fact that they are configurable means you can set them to math the keyboard anodization color or the keyset.

The indicators are fitted with a small adhesive foam to prevent light bleed (which me and bowl developed together, it's a really elegant solution to the problem to be honest). Apart from these indicators, the PCB features no other lighting because that's what God intended and per key lighting is a travesty to make the building process simple.

The keyboard also features no logos on the outside because let's face it, logos on keyboard externals can be very disruptive. Instead, mine and bowl's logo are on the inside.

Layout

The layout was inspired by biroromi's SPV1 (https://cannonkeys.com/products/spv1-keyboard), which was a "1800CP" with a 75% arrowcluster and a southpaw numpad because southpaw rocks. For CP Ergo, we wanted to translate this idea into the Alice layout albeit with a slightly reduced angle (9.5 degrees) which allows us to put a rotary at the F-row and also support ISO for the bad tasted respectable people that like it.


R1 Pictures

More




R1 Typing test feat. Meowl Bowlkitty

More
Built with Gaterson KS3 Milky Yellow pro on aluminum plate.



R2 proto and wrist rest pictures

More




Complete IMGUR album: https://imgur.com/a/fW85xYR

R2 proto changes


* Added a 5th and 6th tadpole to apply tension to the case screws which acts like a force break without needing to use tape or other nonsense. Also completely optional.
* Added a bit more tolerance around the knob to more closely match the tolerance of keycaps to the case to look more uniform
* Tested aluminum knob, PC Plate, and wrist rest, all 3 were successful
Final sample pictures

GB will offer the colors:

- Cherry Blossom Anodized (light pink)
- Cobalt Anodized (blue gray)
- Cardinal Anodized (red)
- Sparkle Black Coat


Final samples

Typing test (at 03:50):
Pricing, GB date, vendors, and what's in the kit

- 400USD for the soldered kit and 405 for the hotswap kit

Kit contains

- 6063 Aluminum case (anodized or coated)
- Silver anodized knob
- Brass internal weight
- Aluminum plate
- Solder or Hotswap PCB
- C5 Daughterboard and JST to JST Cable
- Carrying case
- Microfiber bag
- 6x silicon bumpers
- Feet (if you're into that kind of thing I guess? I don't judge), screws and other necessary hardware

Addons:

- PP plate
- Polycarbonate Plate
- Carbon Fiber Plate
- Black Anodized Knob
- Frosted Polycarbonate Wrist Rest

Vendors
- bowlkeyboards (US / worldwide)
- Prototypist (UK and EU)

Note on the vendors: we reached out to (almost) every single vendor you guys suggested in the IC form. All of them either did not respond or refused to run the project. The only one that agreed was Jae from Prototypist. We reached out to lots of EU and Asia vendors.

Timeline

GB will be OPEN from june 1 to june 30! Fulfillment is estimated at 4 to 6 months.

Streams

- Alexotos: date TBD
- nainaigogo: date TBD

Thanks

- My mom because I love her;
- Bowl for making this happen (dude saved the project)
- APM who put me in contact with bowl

IC Feedback

Lots of responses! Here I will address the most mentioned requests and concerns!

Please use X vendor!
As said in the vendor section, we reached out to many vendors and Jae was the only one that replied. We tried.

I like this keyboard but the pricing is rough compared to X option that sells for Y amount
Guys, as much as I understand that there are a lot of options today, we are working with pretty low margins already. We understand this is not a cheap keyboard by all means but we want to offer a nice keyboard with the best quality possible. This being said, this will not be even near the thousand units, so we simply can't compete pricewise with huge brands. I am sorry, but this is just economy of scale...


I would like to see this design feature, this curve, or have a badge!
We are pretty set on the keyboard looks, and we like its minimalistic view and simplistic build. Most suggestions we had (making more space between alpha keys and numpad, adding alogo in the middle, having a badge or screen somewhere) will drastically increase complexity and, by extension, pricing. Small tweaks are doable and in fact will be made in the second prototype, but we are set on the aesthetics of it especially because of pricing.

I love you.
Well thank you. I love you too, fellow keyboard enthusiast!

Gondolindrim:
UPDATES

- [21/11/23] Added add-ons section with HS PCB and wrist rest
- [24/11/23] Added IC feedback considerations
- [25/11/23] Add back and bottom pictures, update information on internal brass piece (thanks Simon and Alessio)
- [09/12/23] Second prototype in red color is being quoted, as well as a polycarbonate wrist rest that will be available at GB. Hotswap PCB is under development.
- [21/01/24] Added R2 prototype pictures
- [05/02/24] Added more R2 proto pictures with wrist rest
- [26/03/24] Tentative pricing and schedule, vendors and colors released
- [25/05/24] Added GB colors, pricing, dates!

bowlkeyboards:
 :cool: :eek: :p

synthetics:
WHAT IN TARNATION  :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

looks compact and ergonomical to me

nice renders

glwic guys <3

Bushhawk:
Holy ****, my favourite dead board is back!

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