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New: The Fulcrum keyboard, featuring sideways 5-way switches and "Word Keys"

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Hi! I'm new here. I'm a daily r/ergomechkeyboards lurker but I had no idea this forum existed! I recently posted my new keyboard over there and someone told me I should post it here as well.

I hope this is the right place to do it, please let me know if not.

This is the Fulcrum, which is a 20-key keyboard, extended with two horizontally-mounted 5-way switches on the thumbs. This allows you to use the natural range of motion on your thumbs, as opposed to how normal keyboards force them to use the same type of keys as your other fingers. It also avoids the tendency of ergo boards to have them stretch awkwardly over a thumb cluster in order to hit multiple keys.

Using these joysticks has been a game-changer for me. It feels so much more natural than regular thumb clusters, and more easily paired with other keypresses as well. I mostly use them for modifiers and layer switches.

There is a github repo with more info, but I'm more than happy to answer any questions here too!

The only other thing that I think people might find notable about the design is the inclusion of "Word Keys" in the layout. The words "the" and "and" each have their own dedicated key. This has been great in practice, and I think makes sense on paper too: we never question giving Z or Q their own key, but the trigram "the" is more common than either of those letters (~2-3 times as common actually, at least according to my keylogger data).

How reliable are those 5-way switches?

Working great so far! Should I expect them to break down somehow? This is my first time working with them.

I will say that the operating force is higher than I'd like, and someone the pointed me to a model now that is much lower, so I wouldn't be too disappointed about swapping them out eventually.

My original plan wasn't to have the joysticks be that long, but it was needed to get leverage on the switch to overcome the operating force. Otherwise you'd move the whole board around when you use them.

I do not know. That is why I'm asking. You should find the rating of them in their specification. Let us know if you have it.

E.g. Cherry MX Blue is rated for 50e6 presses, Brown for 100e6 presses.

I've not been able to find a datasheet for them despite some effort. FWIW, this is the lower operating force model I will use next time. Looks like it's rated for 200,000-1,000,000 which should be plenty


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