Author Topic: [IC] BLASTER75 by ALTAiN - 75% Top-Mount, Pen Holder Board Oct. 2022 Update)  (Read 11189 times)

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Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
B L A S T E R 7 5
DYNAMIC YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE





MAJOR UPDATE IN OCTOBER 2022

Hello Geekhack and all geeks, we're finally ready to reveal what's been going on behind the curtain,
and this time it's not something we are proud of doing so.

That being said, with our deepest apology we must announce what's been going on behind the screen - the background,
the problems, the outcome, and the future of our project.

For those who wish to avoid long texts, there will be TL;DR at the end.


- Background -

Back when we initiated BLASTER75 IC, we've received major feedback on our price point and colour range.
After discussions and negotiations with all our manufacturers, we've decided to arrange the colours
as having black bottom case only for our first round, and put more variety of colours on the top case.
Also, with that decision made we've also planned our first project would take in-stock sales format.
The prototypes we made (the prototype picture is included in the IC page) were above our internal standards,
so we moved on to the production stage.
Production was done in April, so we headed to our ano manufacturer.


- Problems and its outcomes

Ano streaks were the prevailing issue on almost all of our top cases, and most of the streaks were on exterior.
Overall, the anod quality we expected from the sample runs were not achieved in a full production run
and were sub-optimal. We've tried numerous methods (including a few other GB runners' advices)
to solve this issue with no meaningful outcome, except one - the problem seems to go away mostly with more matte finish.
Spending almost half a year after production was done, we've came to the conclusion that
the materials were the core of the problem and cannot be solved easily.
So far, Red and Silver matte finish were the most prominent in their quality (these are still sub-optimal, however;) after Black.


- Future plans

We'd like to announce a few things that are settled within our team.

1. We currently have 33 matte-finish [ALL BLACK] BLASTER75 units that meets our minimum quality standards.
They are all QC'd and are being packaged at the moment.
Given that most, if not all, units are sub-optimal at best, we've taken a substantial price discount -
$320 USD, including all the parts and components (except shipping fee).
Sales will take place on our Shopify Page (under construction at the moment) on all global orders.

2. If anyone is interested we'll also be offering our [RED TOP / BLACK BOTTOM] B-Grades (along with other colors with enough requests)
after our A-grade sales is over. Will post their pictures as soon as possible.

3. Local (South Korea) In-Stock sales will take place approximately 48 hours prior to the international in-stock sales.
If (by the slimmest and slightest chance of all) the Sales in Korea depletes our first in-stock rounds,
we'll take an extra few weeks to make up for the second, international-only in stock round.


- Final Words

We are truly sorry for not delivering the perfect quality standards, and that our resources, abilities and knowledge
were insufficient yet to resolve the issue at hand. However, what's more important than our feelings is that
anyone who has shown us an interest for BLASTER75 deserves to know the detailed and transparent information.
However, we have not given up our quest for resolution. Different anod manufacturer(s) and non-anod surface treatments
are underway, and we'll let you know the results as soon as they are available.
Several pictures will be uploaded very soon, for both our ALL BLACK unit and Red Top B-Grade unit.

Also, we've contacted a few other reviewers who kindly accepted our review request,
so please take a look at them when they are revealed!


-TL,DR;
1. We planned to offer various top case colors while having black bottom case only, for increasing color variety with low costs.
2. We also prepared for in-stock sales, and all production unit were produced in early April, 2022.
3. We've encountered ano streaks prevailing on all colours.
4. Matte BLACK Top/Bottom case yielded best results among those, so we will be offering ALL BLACK matte units only for the time being.
5. ALL BLACK in-stock units will be offered at $320 USD excluding shipping.
6. Specs such as Mounting Mechanisms, Kit Components, and PCB Layouts remain identical to the original IC.
7. B-Grades of other colours may become available, with more price cuts.
8. Please join our Discord Server for more frequent updates!



Pictures of [ALL BLACK] Units












Media Coverage

1. NAOGOL (Unanodized Prototype, polished)


2. NAOGOL (Polished&Anodized Prototype, 7 Different Switches )


3.하리아빠/hariappa (All Black, MX Black Hyperglides, w/o Foam )


4.하리아빠/hariappa (All Black, MX Black Hyperglides, w/ Foam )


5. 하리아빠/hariappa, Written Review (for English speakers, please use Google Translator)

https://blog.naver.com/hariappa/222900125672



A large portion of Original IC contents below are obsolete, but I'll leave them for transparency's sake.

Please only refer to the Layout, Dimensions and Weight, and Kit Components section for information up-to-date.



1. Introduction

This is ALTAiN's first project, Blaster75.
A 75% layout Custom mechanical keyboard, themed after laser blasters.

A little background on our project development story - We were fascinated by 75% layout keyboard
as it has TKL functionality intact while keeping the overall size smaller. We were also keen on maintaining
minimum blank spaces around typing areas as much as possible. Thus we chose 75% layout as our first project's
major aim.



2. Features & Specs



Housing Material : Aluminum 6061
Plate Material : Aluminum 6061
Typing Angle : 6 degree
Weight Material : Stainless Steel - SUS304
Feet : Silicon Pad, Double-side taped
Weight when assembled : 2.3~2.4kg (~5 lb)
** See the Dimensions and Weight section below for assembly weight verification!
Colours offered : Black, Gray, Navy
* Blaster 75 will also be launching with limited Special Colour Edition, details TBD.

PCB Specs : 75% Layout, ATMega32u4 MCU, USB C-Type, ANSI/Solderable ONLY.
Layout Support :


* We are currently working on (1) finalizing our PCB Sampling, (2) completing QMK-based Firmware,
and (3) officially supporting our pcb with QMK / VIA. This will take some time to complete.
We will be updating our PCB Sample pictures as soon as they are ready,
and release the base firmware once our Discord and the firmware are both up and running. 


Dimensions and Weight:




Prototype is built with Aqua King (stock), Swagkey V2 Stabs (produced by JWK)




3. Renders
* Disclaimer:
More
Prototype photos and renders were slightly edited for colour accuracy.
Colours may appear differently depending on displays and light.









4. Prototypes (NOT A RENDER)


* Disclaimer:
More
Prototype photos and renders were slightly edited for colour accuracy.
Colours may appear differently depending on displays and light.





More proto shots will be updated.



5. Kit Components



   1 x Top Housing
   1 x Bottom Housing
   1 x Plate
   1 x PCB
   1 x Weight
   1 x Poron Foam
   10 x Silicon Feet
   Screws (Some Extras included)
   1 x L-Wrench Driver for Assembly



6. Price and Quantity

Quantity - 300 units capped, FCFS. This is subject to change any time prior to the actual GB.
Price - TBD, but we are estimating Mid - $400 USD, w/o Shipping.




7. Timeline

   GB Launch: ~April Q2 2022(TBD, Most likely mid-June) GB Delayed to Q3, 2022
   GB Timeline: 1 Month after GB Initiation
   Fulfillment: TBD, Q4 2022



8. Special Notes


Altain is a team of a keyboard hobbyist and a designer located in South Korea. We started working on Blaster75 Project since the January 2021.
We'll be working on creating our Discord server too! Once created we will post the invite links for anyone who's interested in Blaster75 and our future projects.
Your Constructive Criticisms and Feedback are always welcome! We expect to learn much from, and give our best back, to the community.
All information above may be subject to change prior to the actual Group Buy and finalization of its details.
Copy the codes below and paste it on your Signature at your forum profile to support us, if you'd like!
Code: [Select]
[url=https://https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=116631.0][img]https://i.imgur.com/grzqPFY.png[/img][/url]
Join our discord for updates! https://discord.gg/Xwsy4UXfgF

Altain is a legitimate and legally protected Trademark. Blaster75 is copyright-protected.




« Last Edit: Wed, 19 October 2022, 03:39:33 by Altain »

Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
Re: [IC] BLASTER75 by ALTAiN
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 19 March 2022, 10:30:34 »
Reserved for FAQ.


FAQs
  • Yes, we are very sorry Hotswap PCB is not available. But we will definitely be working on RGB-enabled Hotswap PCB in near future!
« Last Edit: Sun, 03 April 2022, 23:59:12 by Altain »

Offline AT

  • Posts: 24
Re: [IC] BLASTER75 by ALTAiN
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 20 March 2022, 21:24:50 »
I love the design , very unique . I am very interested  :thumb:

Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
I've split the Update section for better clearance.

Update history:
22.03.20 - images fixed for now, at least on my end. Please let me know if there's anything wrong with the images!
22.03.21 - images properly fixed using imgur links. IC contents updated for better visibility.
22.03.24 - We've made a Quick Survey Form, and we'd like to hear your opinions!
Here is the link : https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeF6fKFYYTDX3HbEsVcIjnz-02EUwBbj8UDBUye63_7EiMYwA/viewform

22.03.27 - We opened our Discord Channel and created our IC Form! We'd like to hear your opinions, feedback, and thoughts. Please refer to the links below:
Discord : https://discord.gg/Xwsy4UXfgF
IC Form : https://forms.gle/NBit48yx1xyM4zL48
22.04.04 - We've updated minor info on our IC - Dimensions and weight, price, and GB Timeline Sections. We'll be updating more pics and info as we finalize our project in bits and pieces and make them whole.
We've also ordered another round of prototypes for all our parts and they will be on our hands by the end of April or early May if everything goes smooth and well.
22.05.18 - new pricing and media update.
« Last Edit: Wed, 18 May 2022, 18:31:23 by Altain »

Offline superjackie

  • Posts: 76
No hotswap. Next time my friend.

Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
New Update on pricing and media coverage!
We will be having another youtube build, and our own video as well as detailed pictures when all parts are ready for GB in terms of quality.
As of May 18th, we are currently adjusting anodizing here and there so it comes out with the color we want. There may be slight color changes
as we see fit. If it does, we will update the colors in renders and pictures prior to the actual GB.

Offline bugeyedmonster

  • Posts: 4
  • Location: San Jose, CA
Very interested in this 75, but discord link isn't working for me.

Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
Very interested in this 75, but discord link isn't working for me.

Discord link updated, sorry it's my bad for letting the code expire.

Offline irithyll

  • Posts: 52
  • Location: United States
Any plans on releasing videos (reviews/sound tests) with an anodized prototype before the gb as well?
Love the board!

Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
Any plans on releasing videos (reviews/sound tests) with an anodized prototype before the gb as well?
Love the board!

Yes, definitely! We are under anod process for our 3rd round of proto. When they are ready to be revealed, we'll not only record our own clip but also do another build YouTube posted prior to GB as well.

Offline Jubileus

  • Posts: 105
Would be interested for a while version! If not, black looks good too.
Will the hotswap PCB be ready before the board ships? Would be great to save on shipping.  :D

Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
Would be interested for a while version! If not, black looks good too.
Will the hotswap PCB be ready before the board ships? Would be great to save on shipping.  :D

While we're not anticipating hotswap PCB be available for this GB, we'll definitely be working on a compatible hotswap PCB in the future.
We'll see what we can do for those who purchased BLASTER75 and want hotswap pcb later on.

Offline Altain

  • Formerly zungzangbi
  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: South Korea
Major Update in October, 2022 - and it's a shameful one, I must admit.
However transparency is more important, so I've included all information necessary
as detailed as possible to let you get a grasp on what's been going on, and what'll happen.