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[IC] Fracture - 75% Gasket-Mounted Alice

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royan:
Fracture - 75% Gasket Mounted AliceInterest Check Form
Discord
Photo Album Hello geekhack, I'm royan, a keyboard designer from Canada. Fracture is my take on a 75% Alice/Arisu style layout, a form factor that doesn't get a lot of attention.
Specifications:
Case Materials: Anodized 6063 Aluminum or Sandblasted Polycarbonate
Mounting: Poron Gasket
Case Angle: 6.5 degrees
Weight Material: Stainless Steel (Raw Finish, visible machining marks)
Badge Material: Stainless Steel, final version will likely not have a badge, looking into other options
Front Height: ~19.2mm (not final)
PCB: Designed by myself (Unified Daughterboard, 1.2mm (QMK Support w/ RGB Underglow, Solder only, VIA WIP))

Price and Sale Format:
100 units, $550USD (subject to change with level of interest)
GB format, Vendor/s TBD

Layout Options:


* Stepped Caps
* 2.25U/1.00U and 2.00U/1.25U Left Spacebar
* Split Backspace
Prototype Round 2 Album
Courtesy of @stillchromatic, He offers mail-in product photography services for small starters!

Sound Test #1
Aluminum Case
Gazzew Boba LT Linear Switches
TX Stabs
POM Full Plate
GMK Polybius
(written comments in video description)

Sound Test #2 - itsFirewire
1, 2
Polycarbonate Case
Cow Linear Switches (UHMWPE Stem)
TX Stabs
Aluminum Half Plate
PBT Taro

Design Choices:

Naming, Weight and Layout
The name 'Fracture' is inspired by the weight design and the split layout. I've always really liked the geometric weights on boards like the Mammoth75 or Glacier80. The decision to go with raw machining was not expected, but I loved the way it turned out when experimenting with different surface finishes. Each 'shard' on the weight has a short depth, so the light contrasts very well in various settings and low angles. I aimed to keep the layout relatively simple and consistent with the original Alice layout. The addition of a knob, LED screen or macro column makes the top of the board look very busy and focused on keeping it simple with the addition of a badge in the top-right corner. Layout options are shown above and there will be no layout changes (no ISO, no knob option, etc...) The artwork is not final and the final artwork will be explored and decided on in my Discord server in the coming months.

Picture by itsFirewire, under sunlight
Case Design
This board is quite large and hefty, so I've made sure that there is plenty of room on the underside of the board to make transport easy. I've designed the bottom case to be simple and more rounded, to contrast with the sharpness of the weight. The R2 prototype has a front height of ~19.2mm which I find to be moderately comfortable. Looking into reducing the front height further to eliminate the need for a wrist rest. For now, I've left it as an option in the IC form.
There is no alignment system for the plate however this does not affect the building experience. Gaskets fit into small extruded tabs with the plate fitting snugly on top without interfering with the case. Gasket thickness is ~1.6mm.
R2 proto uses KBDfans feet but will be switching to one of the GEON options.

Plate, Typing and PCB
The R1 prototypes only had 8 mounting points and I found the typing to be too stiff and inconsistent. The gaskets were also way too thick in this version, making assembly difficult and typing very stiff, regardless of the plate material. The R2 prototype fixed all these concerns, with 10 smaller mounting points and addition of flex cuts underneath the function row and the center of the alphas to make these sections feel more comfortable. I've experimented with various plates, both half and full. With the current plates that I have on hand, I've found the POM full plate produces the best sound while maintaining a good amount of flex. Comments on my current build in typing test.
PCB will likely be solder only, depending on the interest of half plates. The backlighting on the PCB is also not final. This is primarily to experiment with the polycarbonate version and is mainly dependent on how popular the polycarbonate option is. That being said, I am satisfied with how it turned out even though I'm generally not a fan of backlighting. Working on getting this onto VIA.

Customization and GB Plans
Colors are another topic I'd like to briefly mention. Currently, I've prototyped 3 different variants of this board: E-Coating, Anodization and Sandblasted Polycarbonate. All of these are presented on the IC form for your choosing as well as the option to suggest another variant. From all the colors and finishes that I've tested, I don't think that E-Coatings match the theme of the board very well and will likely only run polycarbonate and anodized aluminum. Plate materials and options are also included in the IC form, currently planning on including an aluminum or POM full plate as part of the kitting with options for additional plates as an add-on.
The target price is around 100 units @ $550USD and I'd prefer to run this through a single vendor but is subject to change based on interest.
Current Kitting: (recommendations in IC form)

* Fracture Keyboard
* Fracture PCB
* Daugherboard + 10cm JST cable
* Plate (either aluminum or POM full plate)

* Hardware
Current Changes from Round 2 Prototype:

* Added text on inside of weight (font subject to change)
* Looser plate tolerances with casing
* JST connector bottomed out on the bottom case in R2 proto, cavity in bottom case added.
* Thinner bezel below right spacebar
* Added chamfer to screw holes
* QoL with gasket implementation and plate alignmentTo Do List:

* Gather feedback
* Finish PCB firmware
* Organize another stream
* Find Vendor
* Finalize GB kit/priceSpecial Thanks to

* kbye for walking me through the initial PCB design and putting up with all my questions :)
* @stillchromatic for the incredible photos for the R2 prototype!
* itsFirewire for showing off this board in his stream a couple months back!
* reticent, for the feedback on the R2 proto and IC.
* AB community for being so supportive of this project <3
* everyone reading up to here and providing feedback!
Iím not very active on geekhack and this account doesnít have any activity. I will be much more active now that this post is up and major updates will be posted here. Otherwise, Iím mainly active on Discord, which is where youíll see most of the smaller updates for this project. Hopefully this interest check shows my dedication and commitment to this project. Thanks for reading!

stillchromatic:
Really excited for this! Interesting design and fancy angles. MmmmMMmmMMm.

kbye:
Looking sick. great work!

twitchytheinsideman:
Very interesting board. Gasket-mount Alice with F-Row  :thumb:. Sadly too expensive for me personally.

TimeDoctor:
Very excited for the Fracture! Looks like exactly what I've been wanting with the exception of my oddball QMK Audio support and hotswap but I know that hotswap isn't everyone's cup of tea, glad to look forward to it. Can't think of another keyboard I've been looking forward to like this.

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