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[IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard

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I am pleased to present the result of my first custom keyboard design project:

A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard that accepts standard-sized keycaps

The idea was to take the popular 65% layout and make it ortholinear while still be able to use standard-sized keycaps. I also tried to maintain an aesthetically balanced layout. I know I am not the first to make this kind of layout (SPRH, Fold KB, ZT60, Spacey, etc.) each one was missing something for me, so I made my own.

I have been an ortho user for a few years now. Ortholinear boards themselves are great, but it has always been difficult to source keycaps because most of the beautiful custom keycap sets out there are designed to accommodate a few of the most common layouts in order to hit the required numbers. 40s kits are becoming more common, but many 40% keyboards are staggered layouts, and ortholinear 40s use smaller 1u keys. Ortholinear keyboards with larger mods tend to use Ergodox style 1.5u modifiers, but Ergodox kits are very niche, even compared to 40%. As a result, Ergo kits are rarely offered for custom sets. I would rather have keycap makers lower their MOQ so that designers could make all kinds of rare kits for unique and interesting custom layouts, but that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. I also wanted to make this a sort of an easy gateway into ortholinear, and because of it's compatibility with 65% and standard ANSI layouts, people will be able to use just about any MX-compatible keyset that they may have lying around.

I have two functional prototypes that I have been daily-driving for the past few months. In fact, I am typing this post on the one in the picture! I have a few extra functioning PCBs as well.

* QMK compatible
* USB-C (Center mount)
* ESD Over-Current Protection
* Khail Hotswap
* Encoder support (two locations, but only one supported at a time)
* Stepped caps lock support (Stepped caps lock switch is south facing, normal is north facing)
* Split backspace support
* Supports three different bottom row mod/arrow cluster configurationsLayouts

The Case

The case in the picture features:
* Stacked clear acrylic with special chamfered edge and countersunk screws for a smooth surface. (Production models would have shallower countersinks for closer to flush fit.)
* 7o typing angle
* Layout options to two top layers to accommodate blockers for arrow cluster and encoder(s)
* High profile
* 17mm front height (desk to first chamfered edge)
* Can accept CNC Aluminum Cone Feet
This is a fairly early stage Interest Check. I am mostly just putting out feelers to see if enough people would be interested in buying one, and to get feedback on the design. Price and expected run dates are not set yet. I have been working with a local plastics company to get the beveled and countersunk pieces. Their turnaround times have been pretty good, but their QC has been a bit lacking. Fortunately, they are responsive and will redo pieces quickly. I have also designed an FR4 skeleton case for a lower cost option if people just want to give the layout a try. I would be interested to see what people think of this board. If it does go to groupbuy stage, it would likely be a very limited run at first, as this would be my first time running a GB and I would like to be able to closely oversee quality control and keep things at a more manageable level.

Interest Check Google Form: (4-5 minutes)

Anticipated questions:
Will ISO support be offered?  No. Due to the ortholinear nature of the layout, ISO enters cannot be used.
Typing test?  Maybe. I do not have a fancy streamer setup. To be honest this board is more about the layout than the sound experience. It would really only be to showcase functionality.
Price?  TBD (probably around or under $200 for acrylic and sub $100 for FR4 skeleton. Maybe over $100 for carbon fiber skeleton if people are interested.)
GB Date?   TBD (probably within the next 6 months, Q1 2022)
MOQ/Limit?   Going to try to keep the first run around 20~25 Units for acrylic. Might go higher for skeleton.
RGB?   Not in the current iteration. I am considering redesigning the pcb with a duplex matrix for added encoder and RGB underglow support for a future build, but that will take a while. Maybe in a R2, if this gets past a R1.
VIA compatibility?   Working on it. I typically don't use VIA, so I have to read up on implementation
Any plans for an aluminum version?   Down the road, yes. If a first GB round is successful, I plan to design an aluminum board with and updated PCB. For now, I am trying to keep things simple and (relatively) inexpensive.
Will there be any other colors besides clear for the acrylic case?    Maybe. If there is sufficient interest, I could see making the layer under the top most acrylic piece an accent piece as 3mm acrylic is widely available in many colors. The rest of the case, specifically the top piece would likely need to stay clear, as that is the only color available from the plastic company I am using. I don't really want to complicate orders too much.
Will you share the plate files?   Maybe after first round GB concludes.

Thanks for looking!

Probably the nicest looking iteration of  base kit Ortho I've seen, awesome job!

really cool great job! :thumb:

I actually love the way this looks,  GLWIC!

Interesting and pretty. GLWIC!


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