Author Topic: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%  (Read 74187 times)

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Online ideus

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #50 on: Thu, 20 March 2014, 17:46:48 »
I've been building a small one hand (OneHand) or two hand (TwoHand) keyboard which looks very similar to your concept.

Show Image


I have two Teensy controllers, one in each half, and depending on if one or two units are interconnected. Full details are in a thread on Deskthority.

I've built the units onto an acrylic base, which holds them in position. I currently have the two units at a much wider angle (90deg) than your drawing.

The split thumb keys act as modifiers selecting numbers (right hand) or cursor movement (left). I feel you could make a very usable keyboard with your layout, but l'd investigate the key stagger as others have suggested.

I'm now looking at 3D printing a base to hold my two piece design, I may look at hinging the halves to give the best possible ergonomics.

Your one piece design will be much easier to program, and be more reliable than a two piece arrangement. I like each half of the keyboard being tented slightly, l've not tried a flat style.


Could you please share a link to your thread at DT? I like your design, personally the large size of ergo boards prevent me to try some of them, also the lack of portability. Yours look small and quite portable. Thank you for posting.

Offline PJE

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #51 on: Thu, 20 March 2014, 18:48:56 »
Could you please share a link to your thread at DT? I like your design, personally the large size of ergo boards prevent me to try some of them, also the lack of portability. Yours look small and quite portable. Thank you for posting.
My OneHand project is detailed at:

http://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/onehand-20-keyboard-t6617.html

I have mounted two units on a plexiglass base to make a unit very similar to this project with a few keys missing... I'm playing around with different angles between the halves.

I'm also thinking of making a custom TwoHand design with a center CPU board with two 2x1 thumb buttons and the connections to the two identical half keyboards. This would provide two extra thumb keys and also simplify the programming. I intend to use a $5 Pro Micro in place of the two Teensy boards to keep the cost down.

I'm coming to like this type of keyboard, and being fully programmable I can fix any small usability issues in software. I still have to work out all the keys and symbols with my initial code. I can see the benefits of a few more keys, but I'm trying to keep the size to a minimum.

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #52 on: Thu, 20 March 2014, 19:15:32 »
Now that you have your little board a bit longer, how is it to work on?

For writing English (email, chats, etc) it is wonderful; I have no complaints.

For programming, it can be a little more awkward. With my dvorak layout, mostly I miss having forward slash and minus not easily accessible without the fn key. But on the other hand, the position of parentheses and curly braces is actually better than what it is on a traditional layout since it's on the home row, so it's a trade-off.

Typing dotted numbers right now is *very* annoying (like 127.0.0.1) because you have to go back and forth between the fn layer and the unshifted layer. I might make a separate layer just for a numpad to address this.

I still make mistakes every so often where I hit the wrong modifier (fn where it should have been shift or something like that) but that is probably because I don't use this board every day; my Ergodox is still my daily driver.

If I could add two keys (dash and slash) without increasing the size of the board, I probably would. But I don't think it's worth adding an entire column just for those. I don't use ESC, tab, or pageup/pagedown that much, so I'm debating replacing those, but they are in inconvenient locations for touch typing, so I'm not sure that would be an improvement.

On the other hand I'm learning Forth (possibly in order to write my own firmware) and coding in Forth on the Atreus is wonderful since it uses very little punctuation. All in all I'm very pleased with it; there are a few annoyances, but I think you'd have the same issues on any board this small; compromises just come with the territory. It's so much better than the internal keyboard on my laptop that I can't complain.

Offline PJE

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #53 on: Thu, 20 March 2014, 19:53:12 »
Typing dotted numbers right now is *very* annoying (like 127.0.0.1) because you have to go back and forth between the fn layer and the unshifted layer. I might make a separate layer just for a numpad to address this.
On my layout holding the left 'space' changes the right side to a number pad with a period. I also added automatic matched brakets, etc. which enter both opening and closing brackets and then moves the cursor back between them.
I'm very busy at the moment and haven't had time to really nail down the complete layout.

With the PCB arrangement I'm designing, I may also be able to incorporate your design as an option - replacing the 2x1 switches with two 1x1 keys.

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #54 on: Thu, 20 March 2014, 20:52:39 »
On my layout holding the left 'space' changes the right side to a number pad with a period. I also added automatic matched brakets, etc. which enter both opening and closing brackets and then moves the cursor back between them.

Oh interesting. The auto-pairing stuff I just do in Emacs already... but I've read about keys that can act as a modifier or as an insertion key depending on whether they're tapped or held down, but I'd forgotten about it. That definitely opens up the playing field a bit! I don't know if TMK supports that, so I might just wait till I've got my own firmware working before trying that. My firmware is a ways away from working, but I've pushed what I have in-progress here: https://github.com/technomancy/orestes

Offline bearcat

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #55 on: Fri, 21 March 2014, 00:06:56 »
This is a great design!  I really love it!  and nice job on the hand wiring :)

...
For my fingers, the inner index column feels just right; when I move my index finger inward, it goes down a fair bit. But I feel like the pinky column could be dropped a bit further too.
...
It seems like nearly everyone who's done a vertical board has said they should've dropped the pinky row more :)  I ended up putting mine almost 3/4 of a key lower on v2, after looking closer at suka's prototypes...

If you do decide to do a PCB, i'm in for one!  I recommend checking out upverter or circuits.io; they work well enough, are a lot easier to use, and they're free.


Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #56 on: Fri, 21 March 2014, 18:22:56 »
Quote
It seems like nearly everyone who's done a vertical board has said they should've dropped the pinky row more :)  I ended up putting mine almost 3/4 of a key lower on v2, after looking closer at suka's prototypes...

You know, initially I felt like it was too high, but after using it for a while it feels about right because I realized I don't actually hit the top key in the pinky column with my pinky, but with my ring finger. So the pinky is just responsible for three keys: the home row key, and the two beneath it. If I dropped it further it would make the very bottom key more difficult to press, which would be a drag since that's currently where I have Enter.
« Last Edit: Fri, 21 March 2014, 19:00:38 by technomancy »

Offline bearcat

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #57 on: Fri, 21 March 2014, 18:54:28 »
I don't hit that key with my pinky either, even when i've moved it down... ;)

But I also don't have anything else important for my pinkies to do where you have the enter key, so, no problems! :D

Offline PJE

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #58 on: Fri, 21 March 2014, 18:59:12 »
You know, initially I felt like it was too high, but after using it for a while it feels about right because I realized I don't actually hit the top key in the pinky column with my pinky, but with my ring finger. So the pinky is just responsible for three keys: the home row key, and the two beneath it. If I dropped it further it would make the very bottom key more difficult to press, which would be a drag since that's currently where I have Enter.
Hi technomancy, I'm coming to a similar conclusion. I was considering moving the outer row down, but I may hold off or reduce the distance I move the column down on the next version of my keyboard.

Offline clickclack123

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #59 on: Fri, 21 March 2014, 21:41:01 »
On my layout holding the left 'space' changes the right side to a number pad with a period. I also added automatic matched brakets, etc. which enter both opening and closing brackets and then moves the cursor back between them.

Oh interesting. The auto-pairing stuff I just do in Emacs already... but I've read about keys that can act as a modifier or as an insertion key depending on whether they're tapped or held down, but I'd forgotten about it. That definitely opens up the playing field a bit! I don't know if TMK supports that, so I might just wait till I've got my own firmware working before trying that. My firmware is a ways away from working, but I've pushed what I have in-progress here: https://github.com/technomancy/orestes

TMK supports everything! I'm sure it is possible, I'm planning to add this to my ergodox soon. You'd have to use a FN macro.

Offline john71

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #60 on: Sun, 23 March 2014, 10:34:43 »
Typing dotted numbers right now is *very* annoying (like 127.0.0.1) because you have to go back and forth between the fn layer and the unshifted layer. I might make a separate layer just for a numpad to address this.

For the dotted numbers, you stil got some free keys on your fn layer.

I like the design and smal form factor, would it be hard to ad two more thumb keys without messing up the feeling?

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #61 on: Sun, 23 March 2014, 14:36:47 »
For the dotted numbers, you stil got some free keys on your fn layer.

I like the design and smal form factor, would it be hard to ad two more thumb keys without messing up the feeling?

All the free keys currently on the fn layer fall through to modifiers on the main layer, which I need to keep open for certain combinations. I think there's one on tab that I haven't put in the documentation, but the bottom row isn't really suitable for touch typing anyway.

It might be possible to swap the 1.5x thumb keys with two 1x ones, but it would be very tight and might require adding a few more mm to the overall width. I might experiment with that idea if I were building a second, but the upper keys in those columns would be a bit of a stretch to hit.

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #62 on: Wed, 02 April 2014, 11:48:10 »
Typing dotted numbers right now is *very* annoying (like 127.0.0.1) because you have to go back and forth between the fn layer and the unshifted layer. I might make a separate layer just for a numpad to address this.

If I could add two keys (dash and slash) without increasing the size of the board, I probably would. But I don't think it's worth adding an entire column just for those.

I just remapped this yesterday, and I'm happy to report that moving dash and slash to the default layer has helped a lot. Because shift-dash is underscore and shift-slash is question mark, it allowed me to get rid of those keys on the fn layer. I moved pageup/pagedown to the fn layer, but that hasn't been that annoying since I can use space and backspace to page up and down in the browser. (Though I would still really like to have a scroll wheel.) I now have a period key on the fn layer, which helps with entering numbers. It also freed up another fn layer key I hope to use to switch the board into Forth interpreter mode once I get my firmware working. (Currently I've got the Forth interpreter running on the board, but none of the keyboard-specific code has been written yet.) I guess the take-away is that putting keys on the default layer which don't do anything different when you use them with shift (like pageup/pagedown) is kind of wasteful in a space-starved setting like this.

I also moved all the digits to a numpad-style arrangement on the fn layer rather than the traditional across-the-top row. Though it's taken some getting used to due to muscle memory around change-workspace bindings, it's a lot faster for typing numbers.

https://github.com/technomancy/atreus#layout

Anyway, just thought I'd mention that in case it helps anyone else who's designing a layout for a 40%.

Offline PJE

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #63 on: Wed, 02 April 2014, 16:26:45 »
https://github.com/technomancy/atreus#layout

Anyway, just thought I'd mention that in case it helps anyone else who's designing a layout for a 40%.
Excellent work!  The TwoHand derivative of my OneHand keyboard is very similar, and I'll look at your key mapping as an option.

I'm currently designing the V2 PCBs and I've placed two 1x1 keys over each of the 2x1 keys as an option, which other than the slight stager difference would match your layout other than the middle thumb buttons.

I'm also working on a center mounted PCB holding a laptop style touchpad with two 2x thumb buttons which holds the PCB. This would be combined with the two matrix PCBs which can hold their own CPUs or be scanned by the central PCB.

You can see my progress on my thread on Deskthority.

Custom keyboards can get very addictive...



Offline john71

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #64 on: Fri, 04 April 2014, 14:54:54 »
I like the new layout.
I try to find a way to get a french layout in your 40% build,its not that easy.


Offline Constantine

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #65 on: Fri, 11 April 2014, 21:36:47 »
Just thought I should say "thanks" for an inspiring thread! :)

I just finished building my Atreus "clone" today: see http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=57007.

Offline clickclack123

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #66 on: Fri, 11 April 2014, 22:38:02 »
Just thought I should say "thanks" for an inspiring thread! :)

I just finished building my Atreus "clone" today: see http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=57007.

Link doesn't work, and Constantine only has 1 post (this one) when I go into his Profile page??

Offline Constantine

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #67 on: Sat, 12 April 2014, 00:08:55 »
Just thought I should say "thanks" for an inspiring thread! :)

I just finished building my Atreus "clone" today: see http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=57007.

Link doesn't work, and Constantine only has 1 post (this one) when I go into his Profile page??

Looks like the post I linked to is still in the "Awaiting Approval" stage… :-(

Offline Vibex

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #68 on: Sat, 12 April 2014, 13:50:24 »
This looks awesome. I have no soldering skill whatsoever though and have no idea how to do any of this stuff. Would any one be willing to build me one? If so PM me and we can discuss it further. ;D

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #69 on: Sat, 12 April 2014, 13:58:10 »
Technomancy, I'm pretty jealous your Thinkpad still works. Nice to see you pop up in new corners of the internet. <3

This looks awesome. I have no soldering skill whatsoever though and have no idea how to do any of this stuff. Would any one be willing to build me one? If so PM me and we can discuss it further. ;D

I'm planning on making one of these puppies over the summer. If it actually happens I'll make two. I may also try and design a PCB for it since I prefer the solid feel of Plate + PCB. This would delay me actually making one though so who knows!

Offline Vibex

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #70 on: Sat, 12 April 2014, 14:01:48 »
Technomancy, I'm pretty jealous your Thinkpad still works. Nice to see you pop up in new corners of the internet. <3

This looks awesome. I have no soldering skill whatsoever though and have no idea how to do any of this stuff. Would any one be willing to build me one? If so PM me and we can discuss it further. ;D

I'm planning on making one of these puppies over the summer. If it actually happens I'll make two. I may also try and design a PCB for it since I prefer the solid feel of Plate + PCB. This would delay me actually making one though so who knows!
Cool, if you actually build one just let me know.  :)

Offline Constantine

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #71 on: Sun, 13 April 2014, 13:23:31 »
Link doesn't work, and Constantine only has 1 post (this one) when I go into his Profile page??

I think the link to the thread I started (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=57007.0) should work now.

(Sorry about the noise earlier.)

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #72 on: Sun, 13 April 2014, 15:41:40 »
I'm planning on making one of these puppies over the summer. If it actually happens I'll make two. I may also try and design a PCB for it since I prefer the solid feel of Plate + PCB. This would delay me actually making one though so who knows!

Great to hear from you. Keep us posted on your progress; hope you're able to put together something cool.

I'd like to link out to all the builds of the Atreus from people all over in the Atreus readme, so either let me know here or via a GitHub pull request and we'll try to get a canonical listing of all Atreus users.

Offline Constantine

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #73 on: Tue, 22 April 2014, 11:10:21 »
Last weekend I decided to clean up the case design I used in my build so that I can make it available to others. I used a closed-cource tool to create the design, though, and thought that my .dwg file could become useless if DraftSight is no longer available.

After some googling I found OpenSCAD and put together a configurable Atreus case design. I could keep polishing it, but I think it's time to release it.

So, this is a teaser. I'll release the .scad file tonight if I have the time.

Here are some possibilities. Going from one to the other requires changing one or two lines.

61968-0
Atreus

61970-1
Atreus with 45 degrees between halves

61972-2
Atreus with a number row

61974-3
Atreus for aliens with 6 fingers

PS: One reason to do this was to document all design decisions that went into this case: row and column spacings, column staggering offsets, hand separation, the angle between the halves, etc.
PPS: I think this could be useful for making custom keyboards other than the Atreus.

Offline Constantine

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #74 on: Wed, 23 April 2014, 00:57:18 »
The promised OpenSCAD script is available here: https://github.com/ckhroulev/atreus/tree/case/case/openscad

technomancy: I also created a pull request on GitHub. (My fork includes both this case design and the one I used for my build.)

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #75 on: Wed, 23 April 2014, 21:51:35 »
Here are some possibilities. Going from one to the other requires changing one or two lines.

Very cool! I had no idea the programmatic definition of a design like this was even possible. I couldn't get it working using the version of OpenSCAD that comes with Debian Wheezy, but once I built from source it loaded just fine. I merged your pull requests, so the old .svg can now be considered the "v1" design. Will have to update the readme to make the distinction between the two and explain how to make modifications like that. Of course, you can't change the row/column count without also changing the firmware accordingly, but that shouldn't be too difficult to explain.

It would be cool to add the logo back in, but I don't know how that would work with this format; for the boards I build I will probably just stick it back in using Inkscape before I send it to be cut unless you have some ideas of how to do this.

It's funny; this is literally the first time I've used org-mode for a readme, primarily because I figured this was a purely personal project where I wouldn't be getting any outside contributions, so I wouldn't have to use the least-common-denominator of Markdown. But it looks like you know more about org than I do.

Are you using the standard keymap from my TMK fork? I never actually got around to testing that, so I'm curious if it works. It hasn't been updated with the latest layout that has a the digits in the numpad arrangement, which is a lot nicer IMO.

I'm planning on cutting a wood case this weekend; I might add photos of that, but if you'd like to add some of yours instead that would be fine. Once I get to assembly of my second board I'll update the assembly instructions to mention the magnet wire approach; it looks a lot more tractable. I'll also add mention of using the diode legs themselves to connect the columns; I wasn't able to get photos of this the first time around since I wired them in series instead of parallel. (On the other hand, having a photo of what *not* to do might help.)

Thanks for contributing your design!

Offline Vibex

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #76 on: Wed, 23 April 2014, 21:55:33 »
Last weekend I decided to clean up the case design I used in my build so that I can make it available to others. I used a closed-cource tool to create the design, though, and thought that my .dwg file could become useless if DraftSight is no longer available.

After some googling I found OpenSCAD and put together a configurable Atreus case design. I could keep polishing it, but I think it's time to release it.

So, this is a teaser. I'll release the .scad file tonight if I have the time.

Here are some possibilities. Going from one to the other requires changing one or two lines.
(Attachment Link)
Atreus for aliens with 6 fingers
Really like that 6 finger version.

Offline Constantine

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #77 on: Sat, 26 April 2014, 15:35:23 »
Here are some possibilities. Going from one to the other requires changing one or two lines.

Very cool! I had no idea the programmatic definition of a design like this was even possible. I couldn't get it working using the version of OpenSCAD that comes with Debian Wheezy, but once I built from source it loaded just fine. I merged your pull requests, so the old .svg can now be considered the "v1" design. Will have to update the readme to make the distinction between the two and explain how to make modifications like that. Of course, you can't change the row/column count without also changing the firmware accordingly, but that shouldn't be too difficult to explain.

Yes, I should have mentioned the OpenSCAD version. (I used OpenSCAD 2013.06 running on Mac OS X.)

It would be cool to add the logo back in, but I don't know how that would work with this format; for the boards I build I will probably just stick it back in using Inkscape before I send it to be cut unless you have some ideas of how to do this.

Oh, I forgot about the logo. I'll add it back and create another pull request. (Pasting the logo into the DXF file is trivial. Adding it to the OpenSCAD script is a little more work, but OpenSCAD can import (some) DXF files, so adding it to the "configurable" design is not an issue either.)

But it looks like you know more about org than I do.

I'm not sure about that. :-) I use org-mode for my private notes, which are (usually) a mixture of LaTeX and Maxima, in the "reproducible research" kind of way. The rest of org-mode I know very little about.

Are you using the standard keymap from my TMK fork? I never actually got around to testing that, so I'm curious if it works. It hasn't been updated with the latest layout that has a the digits in the numpad arrangement, which is a lot nicer IMO.

Well, I can't even say that I "use" my Atreus yet… all I use it for so far is typing drills. (I can't just switch over -- not yet: my productivity at work would go down too much.)

I am using your TMK firmware fork. I had to tweak the layout quite a bit, though.

The main changes I made are these:
  • Make Control and Alt function as Space when tapped (somewhat surprisingly combinations such as C-Space, Meta-Space, and C-M-c work just fine).
  • I have two symmetrical shift keys, both act as "backspace" when tapped.
  • I have two (symmetrical!) fn keys right next to shift/backspace.
  • The fn layer uses a numpad-like key arrangement.
  • I added a second fn layer (Esc acts as fn1 when held) with navigation and media keys.

I'm sure that's just a matter of habit, but restoring the symmetry of modifier keys was very important for me.


*** Layer 0 layout
|-----------+-----+------+----+---------------+---------------+---------------+----+---+---+-------|
| Q         | W   | E    | R  | T             |               | Y             | U  | I | O | P     |
| A         | S   | D    | F  | G             |               | H             | J  | K | L | ;     |
| Z         | X   | C    | V  | B             | Control/Space | N             | M  | , | . | /     |
| Escape/L2 | Tab | LAlt | L1 | LShift/Delete | Meta/Space    | RShift/Delete | L1 | - | ' | Enter |
|-----------+-----+------+----+---------------+---------------+---------------+----+---+---+-------|

*** Layer 1 layout
|-------+-----+-------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+---+---+---|
| !     | @   | |     | {   | }   |     | /   |   7 | 8 | 9 | * |
| #     | $   | ~     | (   | )   |     | &   |   4 | 5 | 6 | + |
| %     | ^   | `     | [   | ]   | --- | \   |   1 | 2 | 3 | ? |
| Reset | --- | ---   | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | . | 0 | = |
|-------+-----+-------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+---+---+---|

*** Layer 2 layout
|-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----------+------+------------+-------+-------------|
| --- | --- | --- | --- | --- |     | Page Up   | ---  | up         | ---   | Volume Up   |
| --- | --- | --- | --- | --- |     | Page Down | left | down       | right | Volume Down |
| --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | ---       | prev | play/pause | next  | Mute        |
| --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | ---       | ---  | ---        | ---   | ---         |
|-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----------+------+------------+-------+-------------|

As I mentioned in the other thread, I wrote some elisp code to turn these org tables into C code I can paste into keyboard_atreus.c.

I'm planning on cutting a wood case this weekend; I might add photos of that, but if you'd like to add some of yours instead that would be fine. Once I get to assembly of my second board I'll update the assembly instructions to mention the magnet wire approach; it looks a lot more tractable. I'll also add mention of using the diode legs themselves to connect the columns; I wasn't able to get photos of this the first time around since I wired them in series instead of parallel. (On the other hand, having a photo of what *not* to do might help.)

Great! Do post about your progress!

If you'd like to use my photos, that's great. (There could be a gallery of Atreus builds, right?) If not, that's great also.

Regarding the magnet wire approach: it can be a real pain in the neck to strip insulation from magnet wire, so I would recommend using the solderable kind (see http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_from=R40&_nkw=solderable+magnet+wire&rt=nc, for example). Thin should be fine.

If you do have regular (not solderable) magnet wire already, 22-gauge is probably the thinnest I would use. (I came up with a trick that let me sand the insulation off at regular intervals relatively quickly. Let me know if you want me to describe it.)

Thanks for contributing your design!

Hey, that's what open source is about! I'm happy to give something back.

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #78 on: Sun, 27 April 2014, 23:35:51 »
Well, I can't even say that I "use" my Atreus yet… all I use it for so far is typing drills. (I can't just switch over -- not yet: my productivity at work would go down too much.)

Oh, bummer. It took several weeks for me to get up to speed, but I was able to ease into it from the Ergodox first. Getting used to the column staggering probably took as long as getting used to the fn layer, but I tackled those two learning curves independently.

I am using your TMK firmware fork. I had to tweak the layout quite a bit, though. ...

Very cool. I had considered this a while back but never really looked into it since I feel like I'm not all that pressed for space anymore after getting rid of pageup/pagedown. But it sounds like that would open up a lot more options.

I mentioned a while ago that I was writing my own firmware in Forth. I got my Forth interpreter running pretty well on the Teensy, but unfortunately it can't load more than about a quarter of the firmware program before running out of memory. It turns out 2.5kb of RAM is really not much room! I suspect a Forth pro could make it work, but this is my first exposure to Forth and my first real C code, so I've given up on that for now. I may pick it back up if I order a Teensy 3, which has comparative boatloads of RAM, or I may use it in another microcontroller project when I need to do something more complex than scanning a matrix of switches.

In the mean time I ported the Forth firmware I'd written back into C and have been using it for the last week or so. It's still missing debouncing, but apart from that it works pretty well for being 85 lines.

https://gitlab.com/technomancy/atreus-firmware/blob/master/atreus.c

I ended up attempting to rewire my original board using magnet wire and failing. At first I thought it was due to the thinness of the wire, but I replaced the magnet wire with regular wire and it was still emitting spurrious codes. It turned out it was because I changed the pinout to use consecutive pins on the Teensy. I thought it would be easy to change the pinout in TMK, but the way I have it configured I think TMK is using some of the pins for serial debug output or something, interfering with the switch reads. Anyway, long story short it's a bit of a hassle for me to switch back and forth now, so I'm just going to add debouncing to my firmware rather than try to debug the spurious keycodes I was getting from TMK on my board. It's a bit unfortunate that I've effectively forked the pinout though; I didn't realize it would cause an incompatibility with TMK. I'll probably adjust my firmware to work with the TMK pinout for future boards.

I did like the magnet wire a lot and hope it works out for the next board I build. Unfortunately I didn't know to look for solder-friendly magnet wire; I had to burn the enamel off using a candle, and it was a bit tricky to get the solder to stick.

The wooden case I got cut turned out really nicely. The photos show it decked out in caps I stole from my Ergodox, but I've got another set in the mail coming from Signature Plastics.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/technomancy/14004353426/

This one simply has the spacer in 6mm and the rest in 3mm; I'll see how that feels to wire up in terms of room.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #79 on: Mon, 28 April 2014, 00:08:08 »
I mentioned a while ago that I was writing my own firmware in Forth. I got my Forth interpreter running pretty well on the Teensy, but unfortunately it can't load more than about a quarter of the firmware program before running out of memory. It turns out 2.5kb of RAM is really not much room! I suspect a Forth pro could make it work, but this is my first exposure to Forth and my first real C code, so I've given up on that for now. I may pick it back up if I order a Teensy 3, which has comparative boatloads of RAM, or I may use it in another microcontroller project when I need to do something more complex than scanning a matrix of switches.

In the mean time I ported the Forth firmware I'd written back into C and have been using it for the last week or so. It's still missing debouncing, but apart from that it works pretty well for being 85 lines.

https://gitlab.com/technomancy/atreus-firmware/blob/master/atreus.c
Awesome. I need to make my own keyboard firmware at some point in the next few months, and Forth might be just the ticket; certainly a lot of fun to hack on. I’ll use a Teensy 3.0 or 3.1, so the memory shouldn’t be a problem.

Then again, I’m not totally sure that Forth is the best fit; I plan to define the functionality as much as possible in some declarative way (maybe as my own little DSL), and I’ll need a pretty complicated state machine. Since I have only a tiny bit of Forth experience from years ago (plus some random PostScript experience) it might ultimately be easier to stick to C.

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #80 on: Wed, 14 May 2014, 00:05:36 »
https://gitlab.com/technomancy/atreus-firmware/blob/master/atreus.c

I ended up moving this project to GitHub just because GitLab's readme rendering is pretty lame.

https://github.com/technomancy/atreus-firmware

I also just yesterday implemented what I'm calling "double-duty" fn: when you hold fn with another keypress, it acts as a momentary shift to layer 1, but when you just tap it, it brings you to layer 2 till you tap it again to go back to layer 0. So far it's been pretty handy. I wasn't able to make it work satisfactorily with three layers until I added that, which meant falling back to my laptop's internal keyboard for function keys. I sent the second wooden one off to a friend who should receive it later this week, so it'll be interesting to get more feedback about how it works for others.

I'm considering opening it up for orders from others too. If you're interested in ordering one, please check out http://atreus.technomancy.us and fill out the form there. I don't want to set expectations too high since I have no idea what demand would be like or if I'll get tired of building these after three or four, but I'm curious how many others would be interested in buying one.

Also very interested to hear advice from anyone else who has had experience selling handmade keyboards; I'm sure I could learn a lot. Thanks to everyone for your feedback and encouragement so far.

Offline mathiasx

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #81 on: Tue, 22 July 2014, 11:13:53 »
I ordered the plywood version of the case from Ponoko over the weekend.

I'm now deciding what switches to use. A coworker has a CODE keyboard with the Cherry MX Clears, so I'm tempted to go that route. Thoughts?

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #82 on: Tue, 22 July 2014, 11:28:39 »
I ordered the plywood version of the case from Ponoko over the weekend.

I'm now deciding what switches to use. A coworker has a CODE keyboard with the Cherry MX Clears, so I'm tempted to go that route. Thoughts?

Clears feel nice. They are heavier than the more common switches so be aware of that if you're a lighter typist. I really enjoy the tikka takka the MX Blues make in the little birch case. I have also grown fond of the linear modifiers. Something I didn't expect to like. So if you want to give that a try make sure you pick up five or so black switches.

Offline mathiasx

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #83 on: Tue, 22 July 2014, 12:53:56 »
My daily driver is a Happy Hacking keyboard, and side by side, the Cherry MX Clears are closest to the Topre switches than anything else in our office that I could try.

Is there a reason to use blacks as the modifiers over reds? Are the reds too light to match well with the clears?

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #84 on: Tue, 22 July 2014, 12:59:37 »
I'm now deciding what switches to use. A coworker has a CODE keyboard with the Cherry MX Clears, so I'm tempted to go that route. Thoughts?

Personally I'm of the opinion that clears are best for people who can't afford to make a lot of noise at work with blues, but obviously it's a very subjective point, and tastes vary a lot. Being able to try them before you commit helps a lot.

Is there a reason to use blacks as the modifiers over reds? Are the reds too light to match well with the clears?

I originally picked blacks just because they were easier for me to source than reds. But blacks will probably go better with clears because they share the same spring weight. And since all the modifiers are under your thumbs anyway, the lighter springs of the reds aren't really an advantage like they would be if you had modifiers on your pinkies; your thumbs are strong enough not to get fatigued.

Good luck with your build! If you post about it on your blog or some such, let me know and I'll link to it from the Atreus readme on GitHub.

Offline mathiasx

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #85 on: Tue, 22 July 2014, 13:11:10 »

Personally I'm of the opinion that clears are best for people who can't afford to make a lot of noise at work with blues, but obviously it's a very subjective point, and tastes vary a lot. Being able to try them before you commit helps a lot.


Oddly enough, I've got a CM Quickfire here at work with blues and don't really like it. It could be that the cheap key caps ruin it. The keys just feel loose and too light compared to my Happy Hacking keyboard.

I'll let you know when I get to the point of having something to show! I'm probably still a week out from the case arriving, at the earliest. In the meantime, I'm helping teach a friend who bought an Ergodox kit how to solder.

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #86 on: Tue, 22 July 2014, 14:55:34 »

Personally I'm of the opinion that clears are best for people who can't afford to make a lot of noise at work with blues, but obviously it's a very subjective point, and tastes vary a lot. Being able to try them before you commit helps a lot.


Oddly enough, I've got a CM Quickfire here at work with blues and don't really like it. It could be that the cheap key caps ruin it. The keys just feel loose and too light compared to my Happy Hacking keyboard.

I'll let you know when I get to the point of having something to show! I'm probably still a week out from the case arriving, at the earliest. In the meantime, I'm helping teach a friend who bought an Ergodox kit how to solder.

Blues are rather high in pitch relative to older clicky switches like Alps or Buckling Springs and that certainly puts people off. I find the blues in the Atreus to be quite "chattery" but the wooden case dampens them some. I don't like swapping keycaps on hand wired boards but I might do so later this month to sound test between Retro DSA (ABS plastic) and Granite (PBT plastic) on the Atreus to see if they sound a lot different.

Offline mathiasx

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #87 on: Thu, 24 July 2014, 14:05:25 »
On the topic of key caps: Where did you all purchase yours? I'm mostly interested in PBT since I've found I prefer those on the happy hacking-style keyboards.

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #88 on: Thu, 24 July 2014, 14:25:48 »
On the topic of key caps: Where did you all purchase yours? I'm mostly interested in PBT since I've found I prefer those on the happy hacking-style keyboards.

Signature Plastics has a PBT set that's unreasonably cheap; only US$18 for 52 caps.

http://keyshop.pimpmykeyboard.com/products/full-keysets/dsa-blank-sets-1

The only downside is it only has one 1.5x key, and the Atreus needs two.

I've been thinking about making a variant of the case that uses 1x caps for the inner thumb keys so this wouldn't be an issue but haven't gotten to it yet. It wouldn't be quite as nice looking but it'd be a bit more logistically convenient.

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #89 on: Thu, 24 July 2014, 16:00:58 »
On the topic of key caps: Where did you all purchase yours? I'm mostly interested in PBT since I've found I prefer those on the happy hacking-style keyboards.

Signature Plastics has a PBT set that's unreasonably cheap; only US$18 for 52 caps.

http://keyshop.pimpmykeyboard.com/products/full-keysets/dsa-blank-sets-1

The only downside is it only has one 1.5x key, and the Atreus needs two.

I've been thinking about making a variant of the case that uses 1x caps for the inner thumb keys so this wouldn't be an issue but haven't gotten to it yet. It wouldn't be quite as nice looking but it'd be a bit more logistically convenient.

If you request an extra 1.5x key from SP in your order, they might offer you a way to get a second 1.5x key

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #90 on: Thu, 24 July 2014, 16:12:19 »
On the topic of key caps: Where did you all purchase yours? I'm mostly interested in PBT since I've found I prefer those on the happy hacking-style keyboards.

Signature Plastics has a PBT set that's unreasonably cheap; only US$18 for 52 caps.

http://keyshop.pimpmykeyboard.com/products/full-keysets/dsa-blank-sets-1

The only downside is it only has one 1.5x key, and the Atreus needs two.

I've been thinking about making a variant of the case that uses 1x caps for the inner thumb keys so this wouldn't be an issue but haven't gotten to it yet. It wouldn't be quite as nice looking but it'd be a bit more logistically convenient.

If you request an extra 1.5x key from SP in your order, they might offer you a way to get a second 1.5x key

Let's say you ordered the Standard Base Set of DSA PBT keycaps in Black (NDY), and you need an extra 1.5x key for the Atreus...

- Go to http://www.keycapsdirect.com/key-capsinventory.php

- Follow the instructions there to add part number 303133 and description "DSA - 1.5X - BLACK (NDY)" to the text blocks beside where it says "Family - DSA: ABS and PBT Keys"

- Pay with Paypal

- Enjoy your $1 (plus shipping) 1.5x keycap!

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #91 on: Thu, 24 July 2014, 16:44:39 »

Personally I'm of the opinion that clears are best for people who can't afford to make a lot of noise at work with blues, but obviously it's a very subjective point, and tastes vary a lot. Being able to try them before you commit helps a lot.


Oddly enough, I've got a CM Quickfire here at work with blues and don't really like it. It could be that the cheap key caps ruin it. The keys just feel loose and too light compared to my Happy Hacking keyboard.

I'll let you know when I get to the point of having something to show! I'm probably still a week out from the case arriving, at the earliest. In the meantime, I'm helping teach a friend who bought an Ergodox kit how to solder.

Blues are rather high in pitch relative to older clicky switches like Alps or Buckling Springs and that certainly puts people off. I find the blues in the Atreus to be quite "chattery" but the wooden case dampens them some. I don't like swapping keycaps on hand wired boards but I might do so later this month to sound test between Retro DSA (ABS plastic) and Granite (PBT plastic) on the Atreus to see if they sound a lot different.

So I tried swapping the keycaps just now and the keycap is sturdier on the MX mount than the switch is in the switch plate and I like typing on the Atreus too much to rip out solder joints trying to change keycaps so I'll wait to try the granite until I disassemble this one to add a PCB. In the meantime, here's a short phrase typed on the Atreus with doubleshot DSA keycaps.

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #92 on: Thu, 24 July 2014, 17:39:23 »
- Enjoy your $1 (plus shipping) 1.5x keycap!

It'd be nice if there were a way to combine the shipping for the two orders, since IIRC they charge like US$8, but I couldn't find a way to do that. Maybe if you contact them via email they could arrange it.

-Phil

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #93 on: Fri, 25 July 2014, 02:34:53 »
- Enjoy your $1 (plus shipping) 1.5x keycap!

It'd be nice if there were a way to combine the shipping for the two orders, since IIRC they charge like US$8, but I couldn't find a way to do that. Maybe if you contact them via email they could arrange it.

-Phil

The last time I called SP out on absurd shipping calculations they refunded the entire shipping price for my order. So yeah, definitely say something if shipping looks whack.

Offline mathiasx

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #94 on: Sun, 27 July 2014, 09:31:41 »
If you request an extra 1.5x key from SP in your order, they might offer you a way to get a second 1.5x key

I'm going to try requesting the standard base set without a spacebar and with an extra 1.5x key.

Otherwise, I'm thinking about just grabbing 2x of their transparent or translucent 1.5x keys and putting mode LEDs under there. Not that I really look at my thumbs while typing or would need to see it to know I'm holding fn.

In other news: My plywood case from Ponoko should be here tomorrow!

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #95 on: Sun, 27 July 2014, 09:42:10 »
If you request an extra 1.5x key from SP in your order, they might offer you a way to get a second 1.5x key

I'm going to try requesting the standard base set without a spacebar and with an extra 1.5x key.

Otherwise, I'm thinking about just grabbing 2x of their transparent or translucent 1.5x keys and putting mode LEDs under there. Not that I really look at my thumbs while typing or would need to see it to know I'm holding fn.

In other news: My plywood case from Ponoko should be here tomorrow!

That sounds like a sweet contingency!


Offline mathiasx

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #96 on: Mon, 28 July 2014, 17:57:15 »
Not much yet but this came today:

IMG_3162 by Matt Gauger, on Flickr

I have everything but the key caps at this point. Time to start building!
« Last Edit: Mon, 28 July 2014, 18:28:01 by mathiasx »

Offline mathiasx

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #97 on: Tue, 29 July 2014, 12:32:55 »
More Atreus questions: What screws / nuts are you guys using for the Ponoko plywood design? I've got tons of bike hardware (which is all M3 AFAIK) but the bolts are too thick. I suppose I should just take one of the wooden L's to the hardware store and find something that works, but there's surprisingly few hardware stores I can get to here.

Looking forward to contributing back to the project by submitting a PR to update README with some of these answers  :thumb:

Offline technomancy

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #98 on: Tue, 29 July 2014, 13:10:28 »
More Atreus questions: What screws / nuts are you guys using for the Ponoko plywood design? I've got tons of bike hardware (which is all M3 AFAIK) but the bolts are too thick.

That's weird; M3 is what I'm using. Maybe you have M5s?

Some of the hardware stores around here charge a lot more for metric sizes, so I've had some luck substituting 4-40 screws. But definitely take the case with you when you look for screws so you can tell for sure.

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Atreus, a column-staggered 40%
« Reply #99 on: Tue, 29 July 2014, 14:33:20 »
More Atreus questions: What screws / nuts are you guys using for the Ponoko plywood design? I've got tons of bike hardware (which is all M3 AFAIK) but the bolts are too thick.

That's weird; M3 is what I'm using. Maybe you have M5s?

Some of the hardware stores around here charge a lot more for metric sizes, so I've had some luck substituting 4-40 screws. But definitely take the case with you when you look for screws so you can tell for sure.

I've got an Olander near me and we can get just a ton of anything. However, you can only get it in tons. I went to get 3 M2s once and the guy just gave me a sad look and said it wasn't worth his time to invoice me and just let me have them.

If we want to get a bunch of stuff at once I can mail it to you Technomancy to include with the kits as well as send some tim mathiasx.