Author Topic: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit  (Read 5038 times)

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Offline pmdbt

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[IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 19:48:56 »
Hi everyone, this is Jerry from KeebsForAll. I'm super excited to be announcing the FB60/Freebird60 project to the keyboard community. We have been working on this internally at KeebsForAll for the last few months and we hope you guys enjoy what we've come up with!

FB60/Freebird60, the ultimate entry-level custom keyboard kit.
267172-0

Kit Summary


Case kit with the following:

- 60% tray-mounted aluminum case with the option to use o-rings for a simulated gasket mounted feel for a bouncier typing feel.
- 60% hot-swap PCB with an optional arrow key layout. VIA compatible
- Silicon dampener and silicon bump-on strips
- 60% Aluminum universal ANSI-layout plate
- Modular components, so everything can work with a Tofu60 or another standard 60% case, PCB etc.
- All for an affordable price of $130.00 USD or less depending on your configuration!


Concept Background

I first joined the community at the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, because I was looking for new hobbies to keep myself busy. The keyboard community fascinated me and I was shocked to discover all the different layouts, materials, and mounting styles of different custom boards. I was instantly hooked! However, I noticed that at the time, pretty much everything keyboard-related, especially entry-level items, were all out of stock. I checked out a few group buys and was shocked to learn that I would have to wait up to a year if not more to actually receive the products. When I asked a few questions on the different subreddits about why components were always out of stock; why group buys took so long to complete; and why prices were so high, I was told "that's just how this hobby is" and "if I don't like it, I should just go find another hobby".

Well, I'm a super stubborn person, so when people told me to just accept what I thought were some deficiencies in the hobby, I decided to try and fix those deficiencies myself. As a result, I started KeebsForAll, so that I can start supplying the community with more in-stock products, faster group buy timeframes, and most important of all, high-quality products at more affordable prices.

The FB60/Freebird60 was the first project concept I thought of when I started the company. I reached out to some designers and ultimately collaborated with Dingus (Case designer) and Taylor (PCB designer), who are both members of the community who share the same vision that I have--to provide more high-quality community-driven designs at affordable prices. This is how the project was born.


Project Name Background

This project is dedicated to my partner, who is also my co-founder at KeebsForAll. She used to always say "I'm a free bird and I can do whatever I want" whenever I told her we shouldn't eat something unhealthy or do something silly etc. Without her, I'd be a boring robot, so the case and PCB are dedicated to her free spirit and her unwavering support when I make risky life decisions like starting my own companies.

Project Goals


- Make an affordable entry-level 60% kit that allows for an arrow cluster layout, but keeping the PCB hot-swap and the case metal.
- Keep the pricing at a maximum of $130 USD including higher-end Durock screw-in stabilizers and silicone dampeners.
- Keep each component modular, so that users of Tofu60 and other default 60% cases or PCBs can still use many of this kit's components.


Case Renders

267174-1

267176-2

267178-3

267180-4

267182-5

267184-6

267186-7

267188-8
« Last Edit: Mon, 26 April 2021, 15:26:06 by pmdbt »
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Offline pmdbt

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 19:50:03 »
Prototype Case Images

E-white prototype

267190-0

267192-1

267194-2

267196-3

267198-4

267200-5
« Last Edit: Mon, 26 April 2021, 15:26:28 by pmdbt »
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Offline pmdbt

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 19:50:15 »
Prototype REV2 FB60 Hot-Swap PCB

The REV1 PCB has been discontinued, so that it's not being produced anymore, but it's still being sold. If you choose this version of the PCB, you'll be able to obtain additional savings in the kit, but quantities are limited. You can also ask our customers who have bought the REV1 PCBs what they think about them. The prototype REV2 PCB images are below, but in the production version, the branding and all the silver trim will be gold-colored instead. The PCB supports 2 layouts-a standard ANSI 60% layout and a layout that supports a bottom right arrow key cluster. The PCB is also hot-swap and VIA compatible with mostly south-facing switches.

267203-0

267207-1

Sound Tests

These are sound tests recorded by myself. The first video features Ethereal Panda switches. It does have the silicon dampener in the case but doesn't have the silicon bump-on strips at the bottom of the case. The second video has the same setup as the first video but uses the silver prototype instead and I show the level of flex you can have in the typing experience if you use the suggested o-ring mounting technique. Both prototypes in the video were installed using the intended o-ring mounting technique shown here. The video is not from us, but another community member who modded his Tofu60, but the same technique will work with the FB60.

1. E-white FB60 prototype with Ethereal Panda switches

2. Annodized Silver FB60 with Durock L3 switches


Reviews from Streamers and Youtubers

TBD. We have ordered 10 more prototypes to circulate around different content creators so that you guys can have a more informed choice. This section will be updated when their reviews are released.

Packaging Design

267205-2

Plate Materials

We currently have the aluminum plate already and it's available for sale in our store as a modular component. However, we would love to get feedback from the community on what other plate options you guys would like us to carry for the kit. Please fill out this IC form

Colors

E-white is a currently confirmed color. It's also not 100% yet, but we're pretty certain we can offer E-coated colors without ANY additional charges, so there is a chance every color offered will be an E-coated color. One of the new prototypes we ordered is E-black and will be sent to a content creator for review. Again, please fill out the IC form to let us know which colors you'd like to see in the production version.

Pricing

Pricing hasn't been finalized yet. But it's 95% likely that the pricing you see here will be the same as the GB/Pre-order. The only other things we need to make sure of are the pricing for different plate options that the community picks via the IC.

The summary:

- Only case (includes silicon bump-on strips and silicon dampener) - $75 USD
- Budget option (includes REV1 PCB, Aluminum Plate, Plate-mounted stabs, silicon dampener, silicon bump-on strips, basic USB-c cable) - $99 USD
- High-end kit (includes REV2 PCB, Aluminum Plate,Durock V1 screw-in stabs, silicon dampener, silicon bump-on strips, basic USB-c cable) - $130 USD

See Here for price breakdown spreadsheet.

Vendors


[US and Canada] KeebsForAll (Ourselves)

We're in discussions with different vendors, especially in Asia and Europe. However, we've dropped our own margins by a huge amount to be able to offer you guys the best prices. As such, it's very likely other vendors won't want to work with us because there might not be enough margin built-in to split with them for them to want to do all the work of logistics and running the GB. The other option is they get to raise prices as they see fit, but we really don't want to do that, so there is a chance we'll try to fulfill ourselves internationally.


Pre-Order Timeline


Right now, we're aiming to release the GB/Pre-ordering between the end of May 2021 to end of June 2021. We're waiting for extra prototypes to arrive and be shipped to the reviewers and for their content to be completed before we launch the Pre-ordering. The factory has told us it should take around 8 weeks to finish the entire production once we place the order. Then it'll take another month to ship to us. Once we receive it, we'll start shipping individual orders out on a rolling basis every day. So, our current estimate is 12 weeks between us placing the order and the items shipping to you all.


Thanks and Shout Outs!


- Dingus for working with us on the case design.
- Taylor for working with us on the PCB design.
- Nhils for helping with the package design.
- Liz for the awesome renders you see here.
- Our awesome KeebsForAll community members, who have been giving us feedback and encouragement throughout this entire journey.


Join our super friendly community here to stay updated with the project and many others to come!
« Last Edit: Mon, 26 April 2021, 15:29:29 by pmdbt »
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Offline Weaselpc

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 19:58:58 »
Nice to have a budget kit with an alu case.

Offline ee

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 20:02:59 »
i love tofu
mad

Offline dingusxmcgee

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 20:14:37 »

Offline Kamui7

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 21:32:20 »
Pls consider to make a WKL/HHKB version.

That would be very interesting.
Even more so because we are not have budget WKL/HHKB keyboards running around.
« Last Edit: Mon, 26 April 2021, 00:41:43 by Kamui7 »

Offline Ustinj

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 21:54:21 »
I like it. Looks like a good alternative to the Tofu - would you be offering this as case only? Also do consider removable / no center mounting points, I think that's something people generally feel makes a tray mount case 'up there'.

Make a WKL/HHKB version.

That would be very interesting.
Even more so because we are not have budget WKL/HHKB keyboards running around.

I think a major reason they can offer this case for budget pricing is it being a tray-mount one-piece case. WKL / HHKB require two pieces and a little more machining.


Offline KnoblesseOblige

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 25 April 2021, 21:59:06 »
I like it. Looks like a good alternative to the Tofu - would you be offering this as case only? Also do consider removable / no center mounting points, I think that's something people generally feel makes a tray mount case 'up there'.

Make a WKL/HHKB version.

That would be very interesting.
Even more so because we are not have budget WKL/HHKB keyboards running around.

I think a major reason they can offer this case for budget pricing is it being a tray-mount one-piece case. WKL / HHKB require two pieces and a little more machining.

You could theoretically do an HHKB/WKL case if the PCB had cutouts for the blockers. Obviously would require a custom PCB, but wouldn't necessarily make a tray mount case too much more expensive.

Offline Michelle Obama

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 26 April 2021, 02:31:29 »
please try to contact Zion Studios Ph for a GB collab in SEA. A lot of Filipinos want to start a budget keyb.

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Offline Weaselpc

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 26 April 2021, 08:12:50 »
if im reading the ic form right, by "case kit" do you mean just buying a case if we decide we want another color case? If so, What would be the expected price in comparison to the whole kit?

Offline pmdbt

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 26 April 2021, 15:22:55 »
Quote
if im reading the ic form right, by "case kit" do you mean just buying a case if we decide we want another color case? If so, What would be the expected price in comparison to the whole kit?

You can pre-order just the case without the other components if you'd like, but the kits are structured so that it's cheaper if you buy the entire kit with the stabilizers etc. The case only option includes the case, the silicon dampener, and the silicon bump-on strips as well as o-rings and screws for $75 USD. The color options in the IC form are meant to help us find the top 4 choices for the community. Those top 4 choices will make it into production.

Quote
please try to contact Zion Studios Ph for a GB collab in SEA. A lot of Filipinos want to start a budget keyb.

Yep, we actually know them, so we've already reached out haha :)

Quote
You could theoretically do an HHKB/WKL case if the PCB had cutouts for the blockers. Obviously would require a custom PCB, but wouldn't necessarily make a tray mount case too much more expensive.

We might introduce a future PCB that's HHKB compatible and also offer Magnetic blockers so that you can turn the current case into an HHKB case without having to purchase a brand new one. Unfortunately, we won't be able to offer it for this initial Pre-order though.

Quote
I think a major reason they can offer this case for budget pricing is it being a tray-mount one-piece case. WKL / HHKB require two pieces and a little more machining.

Yep, this is the reason, but we're always looking for interesting designs and cool ways to mod a case into something people want, but without requiring them to buy another case. We're looking into detachable blockers that can mod the existing case into HHKB aesthetics etc.

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Offline treeleaf64

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 26 April 2021, 15:33:49 »
Bakeneko 60 from cannonkeys is a better deal
sorry my friend
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Offline seh0nk

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 26 April 2021, 17:12:56 »
Bakeneko 60 from cannonkeys is a better deal
sorry my friend

It is pretty close because of the Bakaneko's better mounting style.

But personally I would choose the Freebird - the PCB supports multiple layout hotswap, you can use screw-in stabilizers, it comes with screw in stabilizers, it comes with silicon dampening, the finish is way better (e-finish vs casting marks from cast aluminum), usb-c cable, and it still flexes (as you can see from the sound test video).

To me it seems more like the "complete package" if you're a beginner, and an overall higher end product. But the mounting style is pretty important


Offline tex_live_utility

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 26 April 2021, 19:17:47 »
Please no center mounting post. At least make it removable. Consider eliminating the spacebar post as well.
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Offline OneCreativeMind

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 27 April 2021, 07:23:56 »
Seconding the request to remove the center mounting post and potentially the spacebar post, this is really nice otherwise  :thumb:

Offline phoenixrage

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 27 April 2021, 08:13:03 »
Please no center mounting post. At least make it removable. Consider eliminating the spacebar post as well.

+1

Offline Onixio

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 27 April 2021, 08:14:32 »
do you plan to make an ISO version?
I could be really interested! :D



Offline treeleaf64

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 27 April 2021, 10:31:53 »
Bakeneko 60 from cannonkeys is a better deal
sorry my friend

It is pretty close because of the Bakaneko's better mounting style.

But personally I would choose the Freebird - the PCB supports multiple layout hotswap, you can use screw-in stabilizers, it comes with screw in stabilizers, it comes with silicon dampening, the finish is way better (e-finish vs casting marks from cast aluminum), usb-c cable, and it still flexes (as you can see from the sound test video).

To me it seems more like the "complete package" if you're a beginner, and an overall higher end product. But the mounting style is pretty important

Cherry clip ins are fine. Multiple layout hotswap doesn't matter if you just get a different hotswap pcb, or if you get a solderable one.
Silicone dampening is not necessary. The finish is the only thing that's better, but come on. It's 2021. Tray mount? Seriously?
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Offline phoenixrage

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Re: [IC] Freebird60/FB60 60% Budget Aluminum Case Kit
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 27 April 2021, 11:55:14 »
Bakeneko 60 from cannonkeys is a better deal
sorry my friend

It is pretty close because of the Bakaneko's better mounting style.

But personally I would choose the Freebird - the PCB supports multiple layout hotswap, you can use screw-in stabilizers, it comes with screw in stabilizers, it comes with silicon dampening, the finish is way better (e-finish vs casting marks from cast aluminum), usb-c cable, and it still flexes (as you can see from the sound test video).

To me it seems more like the "complete package" if you're a beginner, and an overall higher end product. But the mounting style is pretty important

Cherry clip ins are fine. Multiple layout hotswap doesn't matter if you just get a different hotswap pcb, or if you get a solderable one.
Silicone dampening is not necessary. The finish is the only thing that's better, but come on. It's 2021. Tray mount? Seriously?

for the price, its ok to still be tray mount imo since its supposed to be entry level that isn't injection moulded.