Author Topic: ErgoDox - Custom split ergo keyboard.  (Read 574417 times)

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Offline inaneframe

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[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #200 on: Thu, 29 December 2011, 04:52:45 »
I was non-elitist before it was cool.

Offline Human

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« Reply #201 on: Thu, 29 December 2011, 10:08:42 »
Better made it 2 seperated boards(left hand and right hand), LOL...

Offline Dox

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« Reply #202 on: Thu, 29 December 2011, 21:26:42 »
Ok, here is the new case. There is still no trackpoint.
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36215[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36214[/ATTACH]

2 set of 11 plates (including the mounting plate) per hand. The plates are symmetric for the second hand. I still need to do something to give it some angle/mounting option.

To give you an idea, for 10 set of 11 plates (5 keyboards) not anodized, the cost would be around 110$ per hand (plates only).
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Offline litster

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« Reply #203 on: Thu, 29 December 2011, 22:43:56 »
Looks nice!  Should be pretty hefty in weight, which is good  What parts are you using for screws?

Offline Dox

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« Reply #204 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 06:59:09 »
Thanks lister, I got to say that I took a bit of inspiration from your cases.
I will use some M3X12 countersunk cap screw like these.
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36238[/ATTACH]
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Offline mharrison

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« Reply #205 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 11:08:38 »
Not to rain on anyone's parade or efforts, but... add me as another for whom the aluminum case is the least interesting aspect of this keyboard. If I have to pay $400, more than half of that is for the case. I'd much rather pay $150-$250 with a wood or plastic case.

Offline Dox

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« Reply #206 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 11:30:02 »
Just to clear a misconception about the case material. The same layered case in acrylic would cost around 20$ more by hand than the current aluminium one.
It's not the material that is expensive, it's the time to machine/cut the plates that is the main part of the cost.

If I was building hundreds or thousands of keyboards, I would get some injection moulds and a plastic case but for the low quantity, there is no magical trick around the cost.

The case will cost more than half of the keyboard no matter the material. Nothing prevents you from designing your own keyboard if you think you can do this for 150$ (this is what I thought before I did my doxkb witch cost me around 400 each).
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Offline hoggy

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« Reply #207 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 12:18:21 »
I think the effort on the case is worth while.  I hired a maltron a few years back.  The reactions people had went from positive (or weird) changed instantly to cheap rubbish if they picked it up.  Everyone who felt the weight assumed that if it's lightweight, then it's cheap and tat (as the maltron is much, much lighter than it looks).  

If there's a choice between materials that cost roughly the same, I'd recommend the heavier option.

I do have a weight limit on my keyboard shelf of 1.4kg...
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline mharrison

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« Reply #208 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 12:33:09 »
Quote from: Dox;480288
Just to clear a misconception about the case material. The same layered case in acrylic would cost around 20$ more by hand than the current aluminium one.
It's not the material that is expensive, it's the time to machine/cut the plates that is the main part of the cost.

Thank you for clearing up where the cost comes from. I wasn't implying that I could do better, I was assuming the cost was due to the aluminum.

Offline litster

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« Reply #209 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 12:48:50 »
Dox is correct.  Material is cheap.  Cut time and design and the test runs to find problems of the design is the most expensive.

Dox, besides screws, what nuts are you using?  Thanks.

Offline Dox

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« Reply #210 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 12:52:54 »
No nuts! As the plates are aluminium, there will be screws on top and bottom and they will be threaded in the plates in the middle of the case. I'll post a cross section later.
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Offline mharrison

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« Reply #211 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 12:56:22 »
Have you thought about broadening the audience a bit? Throw it on Kickstarter and get 100 people to pay $300. It couldn't hurt.

Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #212 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 13:20:34 »
So... $220 for the plates/case. If we are ordering the switches as a whole, we'll get super-discount pricing from mouser (like $0.79/switch). What are we estimating on 25-50 PCB's: $50/hand? we could do single layer, with using the cutoffs from the diodes to make jumpers if that'll acceptibly bring the price down.

Finally: WOW dox: that layer case will look awesome. I'd buy two if I could afford it. Have you looked into CNC'ing a tool for a stamping press? We could get them all manufactured in 5 minutes if we did that.
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Offline sordna

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« Reply #213 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 13:23:54 »
How about 3D printing the case? Heck, with a layered case, it can even be a DIY cardboard affair at minimal cost!
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline litster

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« Reply #214 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 14:49:42 »
Quote from: sordna;480401
How about 3D printing the case? Heck, with a layered case, it can even be a DIY cardboard affair at minimal cost!


[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36282[/ATTACH]

Dox, one suggestion for your plates.  If you can use thicker materials for the middle layers, then you don't have to cut as many plates, and that should lower the cost due to fewer layers to cut.  You would likely still use thinner (1/16" or 1/8") plates for top and bottom layers.

Offline Dox

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« Reply #215 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 15:26:04 »
Quote from: mharrison;480375
Have you thought about broadening the audience a bit? Throw it on Kickstarter and get 100 people to pay $300. It couldn't hurt.
I thought about it but with my current job, I don't have the time to manage something like this.

Quote from: dorkvader;480396
So... $220 for the plates/case. If we are ordering the switches as a whole, we'll get super-discount pricing from mouser (like $0.79/switch). What are we estimating on 25-50 PCB's: $50/hand? we could do single layer, with using the cutoffs from the diodes to make jumpers if that'll acceptibly bring the price down.

Finally: WOW dox: that layer case will look awesome. I'd buy two if I could afford it. Have you looked into CNC'ing a tool for a stamping press? We could get them all manufactured in 5 minutes if we did that.
The PCB will be double sided. 50$ per hand is a good guess. I pretty sure that machining stamping tools would cost a lot more than the current laser cutting.

Quote from: sordna;480401
How about 3D printing the case? Heck, with a layered case, it can even be a DIY cardboard affair at minimal cost!
It could be done but I'm not sure about the cost. I really don't think that it would reduce the price significantly. It can be done in cardboard as you said (and litster demonstrated) but I'm going with aluminium.

Quote from: litster;480498
(Attachment Link) 36282[/ATTACH]


Dox, one suggestion for your plates.  If you can use thicker materials for the middle layers, then you don't have to cut as many plates, and that should lower the cost due to fewer layers to cut.  You would likely still use thinner (1/16" or 1/8") plates for top and bottom layers.
I thought about it but the way the case is designed, there is not a lot of layer combination possible without having to machine the plates afterward (something I try to avoid to keep cost down).
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Offline Dox

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« Reply #216 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 15:52:55 »
Cross section:
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36287[/ATTACH]
ErgoDox x2 | DoxKB x2 |   IBM SSK   | HHKB pro2

Offline Pyrolistical

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« Reply #217 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:16:55 »
Are you using all the same keycaps for all the rows since its a flat keyboard?

Offline sordna

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« Reply #218 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:25:21 »
Quote from: Pyrolistical;480551
Are you using all the same keycaps for all the rows since its a flat keyboard?

Let me answer this one: BECAUSE it's a flat keyboard, it should have normal keycaps (which have varying profiles) to give it a contour, just like 99% of the flat keyboards out there.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Dox

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« Reply #219 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:27:11 »
Quote from: sordna;480560
Let me answer this one: BECAUSE it's a flat keyboard, it should have normal keycaps (which have varying profiles) to give it a contour, just like 99% of the flat keyboards out there.
This. But the keycap choice will be left to the users.

Edit: I did a single height of spherical keycap for the renders because it's easier to model.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:29:22 by Dox »
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Offline litster

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« Reply #220 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:38:27 »
Dox, what software do you use to render in 3D?

Offline Dox

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« Reply #221 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:40:32 »
SolidWorks 2011
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Offline richie

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« Reply #222 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:42:37 »
Just read though the whole thread and I'm in if its less than $400 and ready constructed!
How far can the 2 parts be separated because I'm thinking I can use this with a Wacom tablet in the centre?

Offline Dox

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« Reply #223 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:47:17 »
Quote from: richie;480576
Just read though the whole thread and I'm in if its less than $400 and ready constructed!
How far can the 2 parts be separated because I'm thinking I can use this with a Wacom tablet in the centre?
I ordered a few different connectors and cables a couple days ago to decide what is the best way to connect the 2 halves. I plan on having 2 short cables coming out from each halve that could be connected directly together or connected with an extra cable between them to give more separation.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 December 2011, 16:49:45 by Dox »
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Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #224 on: Fri, 30 December 2011, 17:31:22 »
@richcie, I'll put you on the lists.

About connecting, and interconnecting, it's not a HUGE deal, but are you plannning on carrying the ground as well? Ideally, you'd have the connector connect to the aluminium case, and carry that "ground" to the other side. This would connect to the USB connector at the end. In an ideal world, it'd also be connected to the ground of the computer (earth) for proper grounding techniques, and it won't interfere with the operation, but it's something to consider as well.

The difference between neutral and ground is important, especially for analog electronics, and safety purposes. It's not analog, and the voltage/current is too low to be a safety issue, but if we're designing it, we should do it right.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 December 2011, 17:34:45 by dorkvader »
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Offline Ascaii

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« Reply #225 on: Sat, 31 December 2011, 02:10:14 »
Quote from: dorkvader;480396
So... $220 for the plates/case. If we are ordering the switches as a whole, we'll get super-discount pricing from mouser (like $0.79/switch). What are we estimating on 25-50 PCB's: $50/hand? we could do single layer, with using the cutoffs from the diodes to make jumpers if that'll acceptibly bring the price down.

Finally: WOW dox: that layer case will look awesome. I'd buy two if I could afford it. Have you looked into CNC'ing a tool for a stamping press? We could get them all manufactured in 5 minutes if we did that.


As for switches, I highly recommend people joining the switch group buy over at DT. We currently have a price of 0.60$ per switch. That includes reds and clears! Im getting my switches for the dox there.
"Mechanical keyboards are like pokemon:
you start with one, and then you wanna catch em all."

Offline fim

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« Reply #226 on: Sat, 31 December 2011, 04:39:39 »
Btw, not sure if it's been mentioned or whether it's feasible but I was wondering if we could have a detachable usb cable instead of the built-in one (like the HHKB). That way, it'll be much easier to replace faulty cables and/or use extensions.

Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #227 on: Sat, 31 December 2011, 10:21:02 »
Quote from: Ascaii;480866
As for switches, I highly recommend people joining the switch group buy over at DT. We currently have a price of 0.60$ per switch. That includes reds and clears! Im getting my switches for the dox there.

Aw man, why come DT has to get all the good GB's? When's this gonna end? I want about a million of each.

Thanks for the info Ascaii.

Quote from: fim;480898
Btw, not sure if it's been mentioned or whether it's feasible but I was wondering if we could have a detachable usb cable instead of the built-in one (like the HHKB). That way, it'll be much easier to replace faulty cables and/or use extensions.

I think it should have a detachable one, though I'm not 100% sure on the internals layout and placement of the microcontroller.
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Offline Inf3rn0_44

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« Reply #228 on: Sat, 31 December 2011, 12:21:29 »
Sweet design, i'd buy if it was 200-300.
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Offline inaneframe

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« Reply #229 on: Sat, 31 December 2011, 13:09:49 »
The teensy has a mini-b USB port on the shortest side of it anyway.  If you wanted it hardwired, you'd have to mod it.  Given the shape of the keyboard and the likely placement of the teensy board, it doesn't look like the port will be external to the device.  This means the cable is easily replaceable by popping it open but not "detachable" on the fly.

Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #230 on: Sat, 31 December 2011, 23:55:46 »
Quote from: Inf3rn0_44;481012
Sweet design, i'd buy if it was 200-300.
Sure, I'll add you to the list.

Quote from: inaneframe;481032
The teensy has a mini-b USB port on the shortest side of it anyway.  If you wanted it hardwired, you'd have to mod it.  Given the shape of the keyboard and the likely placement of the teensy board, it doesn't look like the port will be external to the device.  This means the cable is easily replaceable by popping it open but not "detachable" on the fly.
Yeah, I looked through the images, and that's what it looks like. I think on mine, I'd make (or buy) a mini-USB cable to plug into the teensy, and come out of the case, about a few inches (like in the concept art) then plug it into a normal extension cable for length. I want this to be portable.

I'll also have to look up which pelican cases it'll fit in.
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Offline inaneframe

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« Reply #231 on: Sun, 01 January 2012, 01:38:00 »

Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #232 on: Sun, 01 January 2012, 11:22:10 »
Wow, angled USB extensions: nice. Thanks for the link inaneframe
Edit:
Quote from: Ascaii;480866
As for switches, I highly recommend people joining the switch group buy over at DT. We currently have a price of 0.60$ per switch. That includes reds and clears! Im getting my switches for the dox there.
Hah! It's 7bit's phantom order, also on GH!

http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?23572-Phantom-Custom-Keyboard-Group-Buy-%28Order-Only%29

On the ergoDOX pricing:

There are 38 keys/side at the moment, so I'm seeing ~$365 at the moment (110+50+ .60*38)*2 still not counting teensy, cables, connectors, keycaps, or shipping.

I wonder if the cost of the plates will decrease for an order quantity of 60 (30 pairs).


----
I think I'm going to program mine so I can type one-handed like that frogpad, that way if I'm eating chips or something, I don't have to worry about getting my keyboard dirty.
« Last Edit: Sun, 01 January 2012, 17:38:36 by dorkvader »
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Offline Kindari

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« Reply #233 on: Mon, 02 January 2012, 10:43:01 »
Dox, what kind of shop does this have to go through to get the plates cut? I have a few contacts in a couple different machine shops that might be able to get a deal on if that's the kind of service you need. I'd be happy to at least look into it for you, but I don't know what to tell them to get an accurate quote. Thanks.

Offline Dox

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« Reply #234 on: Mon, 02 January 2012, 10:52:49 »
Quote from: Kindari;481832
Dox, what kind of shop does this have to go through to get the plates cut? I have a few contacts in a couple different machine shops that might be able to get a deal on if that's the kind of service you need. I'd be happy to at least look into it for you, but I don't know what to tell them to get an accurate quote. Thanks.
The plates just need to be cut with a plasma cutter or something similar with high accuracy. I was planning to do the threading and the bolt countersunk myself to reduce the cost. I can send you a DWG file for the plates required for 1 hand later today. That way, you should be able to get an accurate quote.
ErgoDox x2 | DoxKB x2 |   IBM SSK   | HHKB pro2

Offline Dox

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« Reply #235 on: Mon, 02 January 2012, 11:03:16 »
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36457[/ATTACH]
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Offline litster

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« Reply #236 on: Mon, 02 January 2012, 11:36:06 »
would water jet cutting work?  That's what we use for the Phantom mounting plate.  BiNiaRiS found a shop to do it for us.  for the Phantom mounting plate, minimum order is $110, but it shouldj't be a problem for you since you have a lot of plates to cut for each case.  They should also have 1/8" aluminum.  the downside is I think you will need to paint it.

For a full keyboard, how many plates are there, and how many of the plates are exactly the same?

Offline Dox

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« Reply #237 on: Mon, 02 January 2012, 11:59:31 »
Water jet cutting can work too as long as it leaves clean edges. I need 11 1/16 plates by hand so 22 by keyboard. I can't tell you yet how many plates are exactly the same but there wont be many. Maybe 2 pair of 2 plates by hand are exactly the same.
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Offline litster

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« Reply #238 on: Mon, 02 January 2012, 12:37:24 »
I looked at your case design again.  I see the differences between plates.  You maybe able to get more plates to be the same cut if you don't screw in from both the top and the bottom at different locations.  For example, have holes through and through from the top layer to the bottom layer.  You would need to use different screws and nuts though.  

Another thing is, if you can make the holes and cable cut out symmetrical, then you could potentially have more plates be the same.  One of the sides have two holes for cable out, if they are lined up vertically at different height, then you could have the same plates for the cut out.  I am not sure if the PCB design could allow this though.

Offline Dox

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« Reply #239 on: Mon, 02 January 2012, 13:22:39 »
I want to keep my nut-less design (screw top and bottom) to keep a low minimum height.
I cant place the holes for the USB and right/left hand cable stacked vertically.
With a CAD drawing, the machine programming take only a few seconds (in modern machine shops) so I don't think I would save that much in having multiple similar plates as the major part of the cost is the cutting time itself.
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Offline nesiax

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« Reply #240 on: Tue, 03 January 2012, 20:07:21 »
Hi , I come back to work on the key64, currently i am working on the first pcb prototype, i have made some changes regarding the initial design, one of the most important is the introduction of 64th key, which is a special key just for the purpose of programming the keyboard without the need for dip switches.

Following excelent prinsvalium tutorial, this is the 3d view of the left halve i got now:



As soon as i finished it i will post the files at the key64 website for anyone who wants to adapt to their needs.

Another change: the keyboard will have 4 leds:

  • Num Lock
  • Caps Lock
  • Scroll Lock
  • Programming Led, a.k.a. 64 key led.


I also made some changes regarding the placement of the keys, i am sure it varies according to the hands shape of each person, but here is the pdf if somebody wants to test the footprint and check if that really follow your hand.  In particular i have changed the position of the thumbs and redesign the wave.  I would like to hear comments about it, i am not sure if that is too exagerated but that's what i got from my hands, or maybe we could make a "standard" wave.

This is the idea i have on how to join the two halves:

is a cheaper retractable alternative that could be implemented in the ErgoDox.
now: key64.org with cherry blue keys and dsa keys |  before: noppoo choc mini with cherry brown keys
Check out the key64.org project , A Libre * Design, Minimalist, Ergonomic, Splittable, Symmetric, Compact 64 Keys, Eco-Friendly, Durable, Native Colemak Keyboard, Embedded Mouse and Firmware Programmable USB Keyboard.  * Free as in Freedom.
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Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #241 on: Tue, 03 January 2012, 23:45:24 »
Hmm, some excellent ideas: are you an engineer?

1. nice teensy location next to the thumb. I much prefer it that way, though I'm not sure if DOX would want to completely redesign his.

2. The programming LED is great. Having a programming mode is cool, but having an LED so you know when you're in it is great. Hmm, Another idea is to have a row of LED's somewhere that light up if you're in another shifted layer (for example, hitting capslock shifts to all caps mode. Hitting fn+shift might move it to mousekeys mode, etc. Having lights available to the user to indicate this would be great. Like one lights up when fn is pressed (or if you have a way to "lock" the mode) and another would light up when altgraph is pressed, etc.

3. So you'd join them with a rainbow cable? Wouldn't you be concerned that it'd break, or pull out? I imagine you'd have feet on the keyboard, so that the excess cable can go under the keyboard.  Hmm, you could use beefy connectors like the ones that were used in then (unrelated) project:
http://www.amb.org/forum/a-delta1-hat-trick-of-sorts-t776.html
[WTS]cherry center-stem capslock fullset, ricercar spos IBM nut and bolt mod guide Keyboard Photos "I sort of want to have 1/4 of a grand staircase connecting two halves of a split level"
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Offline Parak

  • Posts: 826
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #242 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 06:53:17 »
I'll throw out some ideas for connecting two halves together that I researched for my own split project, generally from easiest to hardest, less awesome to more awesome, and obviously less time intensive to "wtf this is taking forever" :p


  • Use two controllers, that are separately programmed, with separate USB cables.
  • Use one controller, with one usb cable, and bring the matrix over from the other half via some cable (ideally commonly and cheaply available).
  • Use two controllers, that are separately programmed, with separate USB cables, and small cable (RJ11 or such) interconnect using SPI (or similar protocol) between the controllers. This allows for things like mod keys on one half affecting the keys on the other half like in 2, but with flexibility of using the halves individually if so desired.
  • Use two controllers, each of which picks up its key layout from a single shared memory location. Each half also has a USB2 hub; the controller interconnect is a USB3 cable going into the hub of the other half, with the SPI traffic of step 3 happening over the extra unused wires of the cable.
« Last Edit: Wed, 04 January 2012, 07:07:55 by Parak »

Offline Dox

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 398
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #243 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 09:12:13 »
Quote from: dorkvader;482889
Hmm, some excellent ideas: are you an engineer?

1. nice teensy location next to the thumb. I much prefer it that way, though I'm not sure if DOX would want to completely redesign his.

2. The programming LED is great. Having a programming mode is cool, but having an LED so you know when you're in it is great. Hmm, Another idea is to have a row of LED's somewhere that light up if you're in another shifted layer (for example, hitting capslock shifts to all caps mode. Hitting fn+shift might move it to mousekeys mode, etc. Having lights available to the user to indicate this would be great. Like one lights up when fn is pressed (or if you have a way to "lock" the mode) and another would light up when altgraph is pressed, etc.

3. So you'd join them with a rainbow cable? Wouldn't you be concerned that it'd break, or pull out? I imagine you'd have feet on the keyboard, so that the excess cable can go under the keyboard. Hmm, you could use beefy connectors like the ones that were used in then (unrelated) project:
http://www.amb.org/forum/a-delta1-hat-trick-of-sorts-t776.html
1: I personally don't like this placement.
2: Good idea but I can't implement this yet.
3: There is no place for those beefy connectors and there is no place for a retractable cable in the case.

Quote from: Parak;483034
I'll throw out some ideas for connecting two halves together that I researched for my own split project, generally from easiest to hardest, less awesome to more awesome, and obviously less time intensive to "wtf this is taking forever" :p
  • Use two controllers, that are separately programmed, with separate USB cables.
  • Use one controller, with one usb cable, and bring the matrix over from the other half via some cable (ideally commonly and cheaply available).
  • Use two controllers, that are separately programmed, with separate USB cables, and small cable (RJ11 or such) interconnect using SPI (or similar protocol) between the controllers. This allows for things like mod keys on one half affecting the keys on the other half like in 2, but with flexibility of using the halves individually if so desired.
  • Use two controllers, each of which picks up its key layout from a single shared memory location. Each half also has a USB2 hub; the controller interconnect is a USB3 cable going into the hub of the other half, with the SPI traffic of step 3 happening over the extra unused wires of the cable.

1: no.
2: Yes
3: no.
4: no.
I will use 1 controller only. Some other ideas are interesting.
ErgoDox x2 | DoxKB x2 |   IBM SSK   | HHKB pro2

Offline kps

  • Posts: 607
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #244 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 09:59:22 »
Quote from: Parak;483034
I'll throw out some ideas for connecting two halves together that I researched for my own split project, generally from easiest to hardest, less awesome to more awesome, and obviously less time intensive to "wtf this is taking forever" :p

I'll add my thoughts from my own yet-another-split-project.

Quote
1. Use two controllers, that are separately programmed, with separate USB cables.

Doesn't work on OS X, which treats separate keyboards as fully independent — a modifier on one doesn't affect others.

Quote
2. Use one controller, with one usb cable, and bring the matrix over from the other half via some cable (ideally commonly and cheaply available).
Needs a relatively large interconnect. (25-pin RS232 is the only common cable I can think of, other than plain ribbon.)

Quote
3. Use two controllers, that are separately programmed, with separate USB cables, and small cable (RJ11 or such) interconnect using SPI (or similar protocol) between the controllers. This allows for things like mod keys on one half affecting the keys on the other half like in 2, but with flexibility of using the halves individually if so desired.

This is similar to what I'm doing, with three (or more) controllers. Each key unit will have a small controller (ATmegax8, probably) to scan the matrix and report to the larger master controller (Teensy or similar), which will handle programmable remapping and USB to the host. The wire protocol between key units and master will be good ol' PS/2 — it's proven in practice, has code libraries, and permits the parts to be tested independently: the key units with regular PS/2-to-USB converters, and the master with existing PS/2 keyboards. It also means that the master will, incidentally, itself be a reprogrammable multi-port PS/2-to-USB converter.
« Last Edit: Wed, 04 January 2012, 11:04:47 by kps »

Offline Parak

  • Posts: 826
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #245 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 10:38:58 »
Quote from: kps;483113
Needs a relatively large interconnect. (25-pin RS232 is the only common cable I can think of, other than plain ribbon.)

It's relatively simple enough to use a hardwired multiconductor cable, though depending on the conductors needed it might be hard to source in smaller quantities, and obviously inconvenient should the length need to be adjusted. One more possibility I could offer here, since we'd need around 13-15 wires, is an HDMI connector. They are cheap, small profile (even smaller as micro or mini), have cheap cables of any length, and carry 19 pins. The downside is that even regular HDMI connectors are SMD mounted - I could only find one that seems to have TH mounting and that's still very fine pitch, so soldering these in any case would be non-trivial.

Edit: That's a pretty neat idea with PS/2, BTW!
« Last Edit: Wed, 04 January 2012, 10:51:57 by Parak »

Offline sordna

  • Posts: 2892
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #246 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 10:48:00 »
Single fiber optic cable FTW !
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline kps

  • Posts: 607
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #247 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 11:07:39 »
Quote from: sordna;483144
Single fiber optic cable FTW !

I don't think there are any off-the-shelf parts that would let you power the remote unit over fiber.

Offline nesiax

  • Posts: 67
    • key64 libre keyboard
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #248 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 11:16:40 »
Thanks for the tip ! HDMI cable and connector will do ! at least for the key64 it fills the requirement for a 8x8 matrix  (16 lines), plus two leds and 1 ground = 19 lines which is exactly the same number of lines the hdmi cable offers !
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36574[/ATTACH]
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36575[/ATTACH]
However i am thinking that this will be done on the key64 version 2, right now i just prefer to measure and latter i will optimize otherwise i will never finish the keyboard.
now: key64.org with cherry blue keys and dsa keys |  before: noppoo choc mini with cherry brown keys
Check out the key64.org project , A Libre * Design, Minimalist, Ergonomic, Splittable, Symmetric, Compact 64 Keys, Eco-Friendly, Durable, Native Colemak Keyboard, Embedded Mouse and Firmware Programmable USB Keyboard.  * Free as in Freedom.
The key64 need a case, if you want to design it please contact us

Offline nesiax

  • Posts: 67
    • key64 libre keyboard
[Interest Check] Custom split ergo keyboard.
« Reply #249 on: Wed, 04 January 2012, 12:33:29 »
Quote from: dorkvader;482889
Hmm, some excellent ideas: are you an engineer?

Well, according to my university diploma , yes i am :)

Quote from: dorkvader;482889
1. nice teensy location next to the thumb. I much prefer it that way, though I'm not sure if DOX would want to completely redesign his.

This is the unused space on the board i didn't find any other place to put besides the other halve at the same place.

Quote
2. The programming LED is great. Having a programming mode is cool, but having an LED so you know when you're in it is great. Hmm, Another idea is to have a row of LED's somewhere that light up if you're in another shifted layer (for example, hitting capslock shifts to all caps mode. Hitting fn+shift might move it to mousekeys mode, etc. Having lights available to the user to indicate this would be great. Like one lights up when fn is pressed (or if you have a way to "lock" the mode) and another would light up when altgraph is pressed, etc.
That's a good idea, however, if you do touch typing that's irrelevant, i just use them for "debuging purposes" and for backwards compatibility with PC 104 keys.
I need to keep key64 minimalist in design, while i not pretend to start a discussion about how many keys a keyboard should have, just take a look at the apple remote control vs. direct tv remote control:
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[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 36577[/ATTACH]
I would bet Directv remote control was designed by engineers.
While apple remote control was designed with people with usuability in mind (usually none of them engineers)
That's the way we need to think about keyboards, first focus on usability, then focus on engineering.

Quote
3. So you'd join them with a rainbow cable? Wouldn't you be concerned that it'd break, or pull out? I imagine you'd have feet on the keyboard, so that the excess cable can go under the keyboard.  Hmm, you could use beefy connectors like the ones that were used in then (unrelated) project:
http://www.amb.org/forum/a-delta1-hat-trick-of-sorts-t776.html

Some similar ones, i don't have the time to polish those keyboard details, i just want to follow the programming rule "First measure, then optimize", which implies i need it working ASAP, there is still a long way to go and optimizations could be done later.
« Last Edit: Wed, 04 January 2012, 12:35:39 by nesiax »
now: key64.org with cherry blue keys and dsa keys |  before: noppoo choc mini with cherry brown keys
Check out the key64.org project , A Libre * Design, Minimalist, Ergonomic, Splittable, Symmetric, Compact 64 Keys, Eco-Friendly, Durable, Native Colemak Keyboard, Embedded Mouse and Firmware Programmable USB Keyboard.  * Free as in Freedom.
The key64 need a case, if you want to design it please contact us