Author Topic: [IC] Babylon - Update: new proto pictures & upcoming build stream  (Read 3284 times)

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Offline FatFreeWater

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Build stream Upcoming w/ Alexotos! Will update with date as soon as it is set.

Check out his discord for the exact date or follow this thread for updates.



Thank you for all the feedback! We've made some key changes in response to the feedback provided.

Feel free to keep providing feedback for Babylon on the form here.

Change Log:
  • Added a brass weight.
  • Updated the kit with alignment walls to assist in building.
  • A lot of feedback said the case was too sharp, so I added a 1.2mm filet instead of using chamfers to break vertical edges. The cube look will still be maintained, without the sharpness. New photos will be available with the changed model at a later date.
  • Top case raised 1mm (19mm front height -> 20 mm front height) to cover keycaps from all angles.
  • Plates have been reproduced in blue due to a complication with black soldermask and lettering. Black plates are B-stock and will be offered accordingly.
  • Added a silver anodize color to the in-stock options.
  • We'll consider adding e-white or cerakote white to the in-stock options. Still looking how at how to best do this.

These changes do mean that the base kit will change in pricing, unfortunately. Pricing is TBA while I'm still working out the details for the new model w/ weight.




Requested Kit Specifications

Thank you for reminding me that I left off some basic details on my previous post.
  • Aluminum: 6061
  • Mounting Options: Float, Gasket, Both
  • Case Weight: Approx. 1.4kg
  • Typing Angle: 6.5 degrees
  • Front Height: 20mm
  • Front Bezel Width: 7.5mm
  • Side Bezel Width: 13.5mm
  • Surface Finishes: Anodized, Cerakoted(White)
  • Brass Treatment: Sandblasted and Clear-coated



New Photos

R2 - Lightning Blue

More

R3 - E-white w/ Weight
More



Original post collapsed below to save space.

More

This data will help us realign the number of units made for in-stock R1 vs R2/R3 with more colors.




BABYLON

65% "Float Mount" Keyboard

"Absolute" Design
Innovative Gasket Mount
Fully Prototyped Demonstration
In-stock Availability SoonTM


In collaboration with FJ Laboratories. Check them out!



Exploded View

Babylon is a "float mount" keyboard that chases after the old-school clacky sound signature, like an OTD 365 Mini. The process of "Absolute" design -- which is inspired by the absolute value operation, in which a vector is reduced into a scalar -- brings every element of a keyboard back into scrutiny, starting from something as basic as the number of screws on the board. After re-evaluating the effect of flex cuts, daughter boards, gaskets, and O-rings with the most attentive efforts, only the most effective designs are selectively incorporated into Babylon. The result is a clacky, bouncy float-mounted keyboard with minimal flex cuts to maintain uniformity of sound.

The PCB/Plate Assembly is treated as a single unit in this gasket design, allowing the whole unit to bounce up and down on the bed of O-rings rather than bending the plate material or compressing gaskets. With gaskets on top and o-rings on the bottom of the assembly, both the plate and PCB are muted. This removes the need for foams in our 65%. As a result, this design provides the user with maximized control of the sound profile through their switch and plate choice.

Build Guide is provided here to help understand the internal mounting system. It will be moved to our own website at a later date.





Prototypes & Sound Tests

Does "Absolute" Design work?

During the prototyping phase for Babylon, multiple configurations were tested to obtain the most optimal setup.
The resulting design -- "Float Mount" -- is a high-performance, second-generation gasket mount that deviates from the typical poron sandwich or o-ring between pcb/plate.


Renders suck. Let's get to the real deal.


The blue displayed will be the "Lightning Blue" offered in the first round of sales.

More accurate photos from a proper photographer will be posted soon.



FR4 Plate
(Production Run will be Black)

AD65 PCB - 1.2mm, QMK and VIA supported
(Production Run will be Black)

Babylon has both the provided parts and features to be constructed with standard poron sandwich gasket mount and "Combo Mount" where both the traditional gasket and the bouncy O-rings are used.
Feel free to request these from streamers when they review the board! I'm not a fan of the sound signature of alternative setups.

The main reason for providing these alternative configurations is because there are niche cases of extremely hard typers or users who may exceed the typical usage cases of a standard office keyboard.
Eg. Users who need to travel with a board and want something more secure/not wiggling in their baggage.

Notes:
  • Babylon needs a harder plate material due to the O-rings pushing up from the pcb. Soft plates can bulge upwards.
  • 70a O-rings prevent Babylon from shaking and rattling. If you'd like to try a softer O-ring, a 50a O-ring will add significantly more bounce and softness, but these will cause the plate/pcb assembly to be loose and wiggle more. That said, 50a O-rings presented no issues in all typical standard use cases. However, 70a O-rings are chosen for the kit to provide more foolproof access to users. 50a O-rings can be purchased very easily aftermarket as these are standard AS568-250 O-rings.




Schedule

R1 Prototype - Finished
R2 Prototype - Finished
Sound Tests - Finished
R3 Prototype - This is only to test the feet cutout and will only include the bottom case. No changes to the internals or mount.
Order units - Pending R3 Prototype
Arrange Streamer Reviews - Pending packaging and R3 Prototype. Expected Mid-November 2021.
Availability Date for Purchase - Expected Q2 2022
R2 Production - TBA
R3 Production - TBA



Availability

Babylon will be offered in-stock. 150 total units.
All Top Cases will be Black.
Bottom Cases are split between Black and Lightning Blue.


Interested in other colors? Fill out the poll here: poll
R2 and R3 will be arranged with the most popular colors in mind.
Unit count will not increase significantly over 100-150 units per round due to the space and labor limitations.
Trailblazer Keyboards will not use the group buy model.

Price per Unit will be $300, which includes:
1x Case
1x Plate in FR4
1x AD65 PCB - Solder ONLY
1x Stabilizer Shims - Discontinued after R1
3x Complete Gasket Sets
2x Complete Rubber Feet Sets
2x 70a NBR Orings (5in ID x 5.25in OD x 3/8in CS)
1x All necessary screws

Units will be sold on the storefront at Trailblazer Keyboards, which is currently in development.
External vendors are not considered at this time.

The plate file will also be available should you choose to make a new plate over FR4. I'll include a commercial license for those who want to "GB" their plate run or sell as a vendor.



Shout Out & Thanks

The largest thank you goes out to Fishcord, FJ Laboratories, Keyboard Atelier for providing tips and guidance throughout the project. Public files for Daughterboards and Stabilizer shims from AI03 also had a major contribution to making this project possible. It greatly affects smaller and newer developers with the means to experiment. Without these communities, Babylon could not be possible. :)

Shout Outs to musicman123, Carbon, MeiSucks, Kurisu, MiggyBunny, Magmar01, StupidFish, MFChill, Hooker Fish, and Funbox in particular for dealing with these crazy shenanigans, providing moral support for the project, and offering constructive feedback throughout the process!



Interest Check Feedback Form

If you'd like to provide feedback on this IC itself or on any details of Babylon, please go to the form here.

Babylon is an extensively prototyped board already. We cannot guarantee that all feedback can be accounted for. However, if you'd like to reach out and provide feedback on the IC, please do so here and we will work to the best of our ability to accommodate.

We will read all feedback regarding the IC and adjust for future projects accordingly.



FAQ

More

Q: Woah, this is a bit ambitious for a first project and first post!
A: "All that glitters is not gold." This isn't even my first prototype or my first manufacturing experience. However, I don't see the point in showing bad projects where I made mistakes and the outcome is less than stellar. This is the first project that I believe justifies a Geekhack post because it is fundamentally excellent.

Q: What is on the plate?
A: It's Babylonian Cuneiform glyphs. The triangle and dash is a mark created from the stroke of the reed. The plate is decorated with typography referencing the name, instead of traditional silver accents.

Q: Why is it named Babylon?
A: It references the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World within the city of Babylon as an analogy to the mounting style.

Q: Why is the title 00.65? Not 01.65?
A: Babylon is not recognized as the debut board. It is a mere proof-of-concept. Babylon lacks the design aesthetics leveraging available finishing (PVD Brass, Mirror Polish, Burnt Ti, Etc.) to be seen as a true designer & collector keyboard.

Q: Why is the only color option blue for the first run?
A: Look up the Ishtar Gate and Lapis Lazuli. All elements on this board have their own meaning and connection. It's a little bit unfortunate if another blue round is not desired as it is a very special element to the name. Hoping you guys like it!

Q: Why no external vendors?
A: While this would decrease shipping costs for some buyers, external vendors would limit the flexibility of the in-stock model. Expect Babylon to continue differing from traditional keyboard sales to provide greater access to users and lower access to flippers. Whether or not this works is up to fate, but I'll be trying my best to skew the odds in users' favor.

Q: $300 is a bit high for a full aluminum two-piece board.
A: I would agree with you. Pricing reflects in-stock availability rather than Group-buy availability. Also, pricing for keyboard production is very erratic during 2021 as aluminum prices are increasing, power irregularity for manufacturers, and pandemic issues with shipping. Please consider this a worst-case scenario at the moment, with a realistic perspective that I might not be able to do much about it.

Q: Why are stabilizer shims discontinued after r1 as part of the kit?
A: It turns out the main stabilizer brands (Durock v2, Everglides) do not need these, even with the 1.2mm PCB. A lot of users have reported not using these with Durock v2 in the Polaris, Vega, or other 1.2mm PCB builds. I had to order shims to test as this is my first 1.2mm PCB as well, but I concluded that the shims do little. The preferred building method is to install stabilizers naturally without shims. As a result, these will be removed to simplify the kitting.



Future answers to questions in the comments section will be posted here.


« Last Edit: Mon, 29 November 2021, 11:36:16 by FatFreeWater »

Offline FatFreeWater

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 14:01:05 »
Reserved

Offline Jalapeno28

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 14:05:01 »
Lets ****ing go

Offline magmar_01

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 14:09:38 »
HYYYYYPPEEEE let's get it king

Offline Baka Bot

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 18:44:37 »
Can i get the point of the mount and how its done in less than 10 words. thank you in advance

Offline YMwoo

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 20:27:44 »
Interesting design and fair price point.
One thing though, I feel like the case design lacks character.
It's indistinguishable from other boards at a glance.
Also more top case color would be nice too.
Nevertheless GL!

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 20:28:18 »
Can i get the point of the mount and how its done in less than 10 words. thank you in advance

It make the thocc. You are welcome in advance
May display immature behavior
Does not understand simple things (Treeleaf moment)

Has stopped talking in third person

treeleaf KB concoctions: https://discord.gg/dMSaFY6qVW

Offline FatFreeWater

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 20:44:46 »
Interesting design and fair price point.
One thing though, I feel like the case design lacks character.
It's indistinguishable from other boards at a glance.
Also more top case color would be nice too.
Nevertheless GL!

Thanks! Case design is a little more minimalistic for this first one. Was focusing a ton on making the mount work rather than prototyping badges or parts. xD

Offline FatFreeWater

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Re: [IC] Babylon - |00.65|
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 16 October 2021, 21:10:18 »
Can i get the point of the mount and how its done in less than 10 words. thank you in advance

LOL it's a bit wordy huh.

PCB sits on a bed of O-rings as the bottom gasket. Removes the need for any foam. Also very flexy as a result.

Offline FatFreeWater

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Re: [IC] Babylon - Update: new proto pictures & upcoming build stream
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 29 November 2021, 11:38:58 »
Updated: Response to feedback w/ changelog, better images, and build stream upcoming.