Author Topic: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods | GB Live Now!  (Read 8489 times)

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Offline Rocky5232

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Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% Keyboard with Full Mods

Update:
The Rocky Elbert GB thread has been approved by the moderators! I'm going to open my site for orders on July 19th at 12:00 AM PDT. You can join the Rocky Keebs Discord server for weekly updates: https://discord.gg/g85htjfCxc.




The Rocky Elbert is a keyboard kit meant for people looking for a tiny layout, high keycap compatibility, and a low cost. It has no number row but keeps full size modifier keys, so any keyset that can be used on a 65 percent board will work on this as well. I posted a very early interest check previously, but it was clear that I needed to continue working on my idea and flesh it out fully. I currently have a working, near-final prototype that I’ve been using for around the past month, and it’s been working well for me.

Layout



The layout is best described as a 65% with no top row. This makes it extremely easy to find compatible keycap sets since the modifiers have standard sizes. The keyboard also supports split spacebars.

PCB



To keep prices low, the PCB won't be preassembled, so anyone who buys the kit will need to solder on diodes for n-key rollover, a pro micro, a reset button, and switches. These can all be done easily and will have the same result as buying a normal, preassembled PCB. I'll also create a clear guide with pictures on how to do it for anyone new to building keyboards. Pro micros won't be included, but they can be found on Amazon or AliExpress for cheap prices. The PCB supports 5-pin MX switches and PCB-mount stabilizers. The pro micro will be on the left side of the board, so a right-angled cable would be ideal.

Case







The case consists of a plate and a base, both of which are made of FR4, similarly to the Practice series from Cannon Keys. They’ll be held up by 6 14mm M2.5 spacers. The reset button will be accessible through a hole in the plate. There is a decent sized bezel that is even on all four sides.

Included Parts
- PCB
- Plate
- Base
- Diodes
- Spacers
- Screws
- Reset switch
- Bumpons


Parts You'll Need
- Switches
- Stabilizers
- Keycaps
- Pro Micro


Other Details
- The PCB is compatible with QMK and VIA
- The split spacebars will use 2.75u, 2.25u, and 1.25u keys
- All the parts will likely be in black, but I might add a white version
- The screws in the pictures are M2, but the final version will have M2.5 screws
- An order number is visible on the base in the pictures that won’t be on the final
- Pricing is yet to be decided, but the kit will most likely be between 25 and 40 dollars


If you're interested in this becoming a GB, please fill out this form!

Edits
3/13: Clarified how the PCB works and added information about a guide that will be released.
3/13: Added info about where to buy pro micros. Also wrote about possible acrylic middle layer and hotswap options.
« Last Edit: Mon, 19 July 2021, 02:03:51 by Rocky5232 »

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 19:19:03 »
Updates
3/14: I added a question to the form about an acrylic middle layer after it was requested, and most people having been saying that they want it, so I'm probably going to be designing one that can be added as an optional addon. It's a similar story with hotswap. I'll probably make it an option to get 7305 Mill-Max sockets with the keyboard. Also, quite a few people have commented on the placement of the USB port, so I'm definitely going to be moving the pro micro to the top-right of the PCB.
« Last Edit: Sun, 14 March 2021, 03:38:29 by Rocky5232 »

Offline powwu

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 19:50:58 »
' makes me happy. full size mods make me happy. budget makes me happy. proto makes me happy. GLWIC


Offline Vibex

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 20:31:29 »
Really like the concept of this board. Not sure I have a need for it myself, but still love seeing interesting budget boards!

Not a deal breaker (or maker tbh) but would love to see some ISO support. Also what was the reasoning behind putting the port on the side of the board instead of the back?

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 20:35:18 »
' makes me happy. full size mods make me happy. budget makes me happy. proto makes me happy. GLWIC
Thanks!  ;D

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 20:41:39 »
Really like the concept of this board. Not sure I have a need for it myself, but still love seeing interesting budget boards!

Not a deal breaker (or maker tbh) but would love to see some ISO support. Also what was the reasoning behind putting the port on the side of the board instead of the back?
Thanks! I avoided adding ISO support because the big enter key takes place of the pipe, which is the easiest backspace key to get used to and also because it would help keep the PCB design simple.

As for the port being on the side, the only other place that a pro micro footprint could fit without getting in the way of the switches was on the far right, which I've heard a lot of people complain about.

Offline tominabox1

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 20:57:16 »
isn't this a 55%?

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 21:31:34 »
isn't this a 55%?
TBH I've never heard of a 55%, but it might be one. I'd appreciate it if you could link an example!

Offline Chippy

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 22:29:01 »
that is long...must suck if you use mouse on left side.
This and the swiss cheese keyboard is the next generation of keyboards

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 13 March 2021, 22:35:55 »
that is long...must suck if you use mouse on left side.
It's actually the same length as a normal 65%, but yeah, it does look pretty long haha

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 19 March 2021, 23:33:34 »
Hey guys! It's been a few days since I posted an update, and I wanted to answer some of the questions that I got in the IC form and clear some things up.

Q: Will this be international?
A: Probably. I'll be setting up a Shopify store to do the GB so as long as I don't run into any issues with them I'll be able to ship to most countries.

Q: How will hot swap work?
A: I want to avoid having multiple versions of the PCB since that'll split the quantity and increase the price, so I'm planning to just have an option to get Mill-Max 7305 sockets with the kit, which'll need to be soldered on.

Q: Can you move the pro micro to the top instead?
A: Yep! Quite a few people asked about this, so the pro micro will now go in the back of the board on the right side. I also flipped it, so the standoffs will be slightly shorter.

Q: Will there be an acrylic middle layer?
A: I'll probably make it an optional add-on. My current price estimate for it is around $15, but it depends heavily on the number of people interested. It'll look something like the Iris, but it'll have three thin layers instead of one thicker one.

Q: Does the elite-c work with this?
A: Although I haven't tested it, the elite-c should work. I'll make sure to test it out and update this when I build the second prototype.
« Last Edit: Sat, 20 March 2021, 00:03:01 by Rocky5232 »

Offline Adqam64

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 20 March 2021, 16:23:55 »
I think this is really neat.  The form factor is a golden opportunity for ISO support.

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 20 March 2021, 18:11:58 »
I think this is really neat.  The form factor is a golden opportunity for ISO support.
I just looked into if whether or not I can add ISO support, and it's unfortunately not possible because the stabilizer cutouts interfere with the new placement of the pro micro pins.

Offline Adqam64

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 21 March 2021, 06:09:25 »
I just looked into if whether or not I can add ISO support, and it's unfortunately not possible because the stabilizer cutouts interfere with the new placement of the pro micro pins.

Thanks for checking!

Offline Hebolo

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 26 March 2021, 07:10:12 »
Really love this concept. It's as close to my ideal 40/45% as I've seen anything get. I program, so I need the bracket keys. My preference is to have a 1u \, right control, Fn, and shift key, and no nav keys (one delete key instead between enter and right arrow). But, if people prefer this, there's a good chance that I will go for it.

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 06 April 2021, 01:54:24 »
Really love this concept. It's as close to my ideal 40/45% as I've seen anything get. I program, so I need the bracket keys. My preference is to have a 1u \, right control, Fn, and shift key, and no nav keys (one delete key instead between enter and right arrow). But, if people prefer this, there's a good chance that I will go for it.
I'm not completely sure what you mean with that layout. Would you be able to show a KLE of it? As far as I can tell from the description, it seems to be a less standard layout, which is something that I tried to avoid since I wanted it to be super easy to find keyset for the keyboard. However, I would be open to doing this in the future if more people are interested!

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 06 April 2021, 02:42:36 »
Hi all! I'm sorry for the lack of updates; I've been really busy the past few weeks and haven't gotten too much time to work on this.

I have the design finalized, and I've ordered a second prototype, which will be the final one unless any unexpected issues arise. For this prototype, I've moved the pro micro to the top right of the board and designed an acrylic middle layer. Along with testing to make sure that there aren't any problems with those, I'm going to be making sure that the Mill-Max sockets don't have any clearance issues with the pro micro. I'm also going to be double checking for compatibility with the Elite-C.

I'm hoping to put this into the GB stage around a week after I build the second prototypes, as I need to set up a Shopify store. I'll have pricing finalized then by the latest. My current estimate for the main kit is around $30 to $35, and the acrylic layer will most likely add around $10 to $15. I'm still not sure about the pricing for the Mill-Max sockets as I'm not completely sure how high the interest is, so I may post another form to check specifically for that.

Offline densus designs

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 06 April 2021, 07:59:52 »
Looks V Nice!

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 06 April 2021, 18:25:26 »

Offline Hebolo

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 11 April 2021, 17:50:40 »
I'm not completely sure what you mean with that layout. Would you be able to show a KLE of it? As far as I can tell from the description, it seems to be a less standard layout, which is something that I tried to avoid since I wanted it to be super easy to find keyset for the keyboard. However, I would be open to doing this in the future if more people are interested!

Ah yeah. Making it on KLE, I guess it would have to be less standard.

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 04 May 2021, 20:45:41 »
Hi everyone! Things have unfortunately been a little slow since the last update. I received the new prototype for the PCB a little while ago after waiting a long time for shipping, but it turned out that the MX switch footprint that I used was slightly out of spec, so the Mill-Max sockets were unable to fit. I've ordered a new PCB that has the proper-size footprints, and it will hopefully arrive soon. For the actual group buy, I'll create a Discord server so that I can provide smaller updates without cluttering this thread.

Offline Rubbermilitia

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 04 May 2021, 20:50:39 »
Interesting layout, love budget boards, and I'm always looking for a use for my ever increasing collection of switches. Let's go

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk


Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 04 May 2021, 20:51:51 »
I'm not completely sure what you mean with that layout. Would you be able to show a KLE of it? As far as I can tell from the description, it seems to be a less standard layout, which is something that I tried to avoid since I wanted it to be super easy to find keyset for the keyboard. However, I would be open to doing this in the future if more people are interested!

Ah yeah. Making it on KLE, I guess it would have to be less standard.
I'd be curious to see it if you're interested in sharing. If people show interest, I'd be happy to look into making it. It's totally fine if you don't want to show it.

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 04 May 2021, 20:59:25 »
Interesting layout, love budget boards, and I'm always looking for a use for my ever increasing collection of switches. Let's go

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
I'm glad you're interested!

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 14 June 2021, 02:50:26 »
Hello! I am almost ready to start the group buy! I received my final prototype PCBs and confirmed that they work with the Mill-Max sockets. I also finished making my Shopify website which you can check out at rockykeebs.com. In addition, I've decided on the final pricing: the main kit will be $35 while the acrylic layers and Mill-Max sockets will be $20 and $28, respectively.
However, before I am able to create a group buy thread, I need to have at least 25 posts on Geekhack. I don't want to clutter the forum with unnecessary posts, so I would appreciate it if those of you who are interested would leave your questions and feedback as a reply to this thread instead of in the interest check form. Thank you!

Offline thicthock

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 14 June 2021, 03:07:31 »
pretty interesting board I would get it but I hate microsoldering

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 14 June 2021, 03:28:30 »
pretty interesting board I would get it but I hate microsoldering
I appreciate your feedback! This board doesn't require microsoldering since all of the components are through-hole, but I can definitely see how the smaller components can be annoying to solder.

Offline thicthock

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 14 June 2021, 06:29:53 »
Ah yes I used the wrong term. Non native speaker.

I meant the USb soldering. Its something you must really like doing.  :D

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 14 June 2021, 15:26:00 »
Ah yes I used the wrong term. Non native speaker.

I meant the USb soldering. Its something you must really like doing.  :D
Yeah, I can totally see how needing to solder the USB can be off-putting. I had to make it like that to keep the price low, but I'll keep it in mind for future projects!

Offline NightRye_

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 14 June 2021, 23:54:40 »
Simple design and very cheap, nice.

Sent from my SM-M115F using Tapatalk


Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #30 on: Tue, 15 June 2021, 00:26:45 »
Simple design and very cheap, nice.

Sent from my SM-M115F using Tapatalk
Yep! That's exactly what I was going for!

Offline riterdando

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 15 June 2021, 01:26:46 »
This is very interesting might be my first board below 60% size

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 15 June 2021, 22:51:06 »
This is very interesting might be my first board below 60% size
Awesome! I found the layout pretty difficult to use at first, but I've gotten so used to it at this point that I have a hard time using any other board.

Offline WQ

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #33 on: Wed, 16 June 2021, 00:09:46 »
do you have a discord server or any other place where I can be alerted whenever there is an update for htis board?

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods
« Reply #34 on: Thu, 17 June 2021, 01:21:35 »
do you have a discord server or any other place where I can be alerted whenever there is an update for htis board?
Yep! I recently created a Discord server. The invite link is https://discord.gg/g85htjfCxc.

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods | GB Soon
« Reply #35 on: Thu, 08 July 2021, 23:14:01 »
Hey all! I've submitted the GB post, so it'll be up when a mod approves it. Currently, it's planned to start on July 11th, but if the post isn't approved by then I'll push it out a few days.

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods | GB Thread Submitted
« Reply #36 on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 02:55:42 »
The group buy thread hasn't been approved yet, so I'm holding off on starting the group buy. I'll start it within a day or two of when the thread is approved and post an update here.

Offline Mr Chrome

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods | GB Thread Submitted
« Reply #37 on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 04:17:35 »
Sheesh, that is a nice layout... looking forward to the GB :thumb:
“This plastic rectangle is alright. The plastic rectangles on top of it, though...”

Offline Rocky5232

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Re: [IC] Rocky Elbert: Budget 45% with Full Size Mods | GB Thread Submitted
« Reply #38 on: Sun, 18 July 2021, 23:48:21 »
Sheesh, that is a nice layout... looking forward to the GB :thumb:
Thanks! I appreciate it.

Offline Rocky5232

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The mods have approved my GB thread, and my site will be open for orders in just over two hours!

Offline Rocky5232

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The site is now open for orders!