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geekhack Community => Ergonomics => Topic started by: kurplop on Sun, 19 May 2013, 21:06:09

Title: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 19 May 2013, 21:06:09
I think it's been more difficult for me to post this topic than to actually build my ErgoDox and tray.

[attachimg=1]

I hope this link works.    http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFazJhh    I'm new to all of this you know.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Input Nirvana on Sun, 19 May 2013, 21:31:05
I'm on it, looks great, you've got my attention. Reviewing the link right now, thanks for posting this!
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: daerid on Sun, 19 May 2013, 21:35:15
That's quite possibly the most beautiful mod I've ever seen.


Question: Would you be willing to make another one if paid?
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: AKIMbO on Sun, 19 May 2013, 21:43:22
Wow...that looks amazing!
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Input Nirvana on Sun, 19 May 2013, 21:44:53
I'll be looking closer at the modification to the Sanwa switches...sounds like something that would be a nice change...so many switches don't feel "good" but they are better than others and perform well so are acceptable. I've felt many are 'not worthy'.

Sad story on the Ems, seems the mousing was the real challenge...but I guess that's the price for creating, I should know, I'm a commercial contractor :)
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Glod on Sun, 19 May 2013, 21:50:20
there is so much cool stuff on geek hack, much of it is related to your ability to open your wallet and that's the extent I've reached. this is different. kurplop brought a different level of class here. he's not the only one here with wooden creations for keyboards but creating a tray with this design for the ergodox is in my opinion unmatched.




Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: codyeatworld on Sun, 19 May 2013, 22:41:12
Nice job fixing the aluminum casing, and incredible job on the whole entire build! I am truly inspired!

I didn't know the ergodox casing came like that :(
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Larken on Sun, 19 May 2013, 23:05:34
This is beautiful, Kurplop. Hands down the best ergodox mod I've seen.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Input Nirvana on Sun, 19 May 2013, 23:09:50
Kurplop has covered all the bases....
-uber-ergo
-self-assembly
-innovation
-design
-metalworking (very light finishing counts and I love the helicoils!)
-very basic component electronics
-soldering
-woodworking
-integration with existing (harder to do than it seems)
-troubleshooting/trial and error
-actual finish product (form and function)
-AND he figured out how to post/host on a website!

All that's pretty darn good considering he's the last living midget from "The Wizard of Oz"

Follow the yellow brick road Kurplop!

P.S.- that damn keyboard is getting posted in the Split Kinesis article whenever I get around to fixing it.
P.P.S.- We should name it "KurplopHack"
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: aggiejy on Sun, 19 May 2013, 23:13:54
Ho-lee-mother... that is the nicest thing I think I've ever seen on geekhack.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: aggiejy on Sun, 19 May 2013, 23:18:21
Seriously, would you consider taking money to build me one of those? I have the ergodox coming (unfortunately full hand, but could be cut).  I know you probably do this for a hobby, but PM me a price! :)
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: sherryton on Sun, 19 May 2013, 23:18:52
asdlfjlzojoafjlakdf

i want one...
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: regicide on Mon, 20 May 2013, 01:56:09
Just wow.
Thank you very much for all those pictures, a delight to look through.

I have always been interested in splitting my kinesis and placing my slimblade between them, possibly making them into a single enclosure, but it would certainly look nowhere near as good as the job you have done, seriously amazed.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: boost on Mon, 20 May 2013, 08:13:18
WOW, That is one sick dox!

Nice job!
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Latin00032 on Mon, 20 May 2013, 11:04:18
That's the hottest keyboard setup I've seen in a while.

How many kidneys do you want for it?
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 20 May 2013, 23:04:14

All that's pretty darn good considering he's the last living midget from "The Wizard of Oz"

Follow the yellow brick road Kurplop!

P.S.- that damn keyboard is getting posted in the Split Kinesis article whenever I get around to fixing it.


Wait 'till the guys back at the Lollypop Guild see Input Nirvana's assessment. And they thought I already had a big head!

 

Question: Would you be willing to make another one if paid?

I am flattered and humbled by the responses.  Several people have asked on the forum and through PM's if I'd make more to sell. I've hesitated responding because,  although I'd love to make more, there are compelling reasons why I probably shouldn't. The first reason is time. Making anything custom always takes a huge amount of time, but it's more than that. The mental and emotional investment can be all consuming. I can be easily distracted by such things and my real work suffers. I am also concerned that without tailoring the tray to an individual's unique ergonomic specifications it may fall short of expectations. And last, I'm not sure that the design can't be improved on.

When I first saw the early ErgoDox thread a year ago, I knew I wanted to do something special with it. Like many of you I toyed with different options like what kind of case, tyoe of switches, keycaps, colors, amount of separation, tenting, etc. The question that was still unanswered, even as I was completing the keyboard, was "How are you going to integrate the trackball?". The problem is twofold. I really like trackball located on the right of the keyboard angled down about 20 but with a tented keyboard the ball would either be too low or I'd have to sawtooth the right side and then lose the smooth natural movement from keyboard to trackball. The alternative was to center mount the trackball, which offers symmetry and ambidextrous operation but at the expense of losing the more natural location, sloped on the right. Another option I didn't consider at the time would be to either not tent or minimally tent the keyboard.

I chose symmetry and while it works well there are some things I would address on future designs.

If I prefer the new design I'll donate this one for geekhack to auction off. How does that sound?
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: hoggy on Tue, 21 May 2013, 00:41:22
Beautiful work.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: daerid on Tue, 21 May 2013, 01:44:12
I would be very, very interested in your new design. If it's better than this one, I'll just ask you: How much? All costs, expenses, your time, everything? How much would it take for you to build it and not feel stressed out about it? I'm not offering a blank check here, but I honestly would like to know what something like that would cost.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: regicide on Tue, 21 May 2013, 01:54:06
I would also be interested in some further documentation on the slimblade mod as I am considering doing a similar thing on my Kinesis, apologies if this information exists somewhere and I missed it.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 21 May 2013, 08:08:17
I would be very, very interested in your new design. If it's better than this one, I'll just ask you: How much? All costs, expenses, your time, everything? How much would it take for you to build it and not feel stressed out about it? I'm not offering a blank check here, but I honestly would like to know what something like that would cost.

Would you like a estimate for the woodwork only? Including trackball mod? With ErgoDox? Let me know and I'll give you a ballpark figure.

I would also be interested in some further documentation on the slimblade mod as I am considering doing a similar thing on my Kinesis, apologies if this information exists somewhere and I missed it.

The only place I posted about the Slimblade mod was the Flickr link above. I have another Slimblade and will crack it open soon. I'll be sure to more fully document the procedure. Feel free to ask any specific questions about it. I will say that the Slimblade mod went very quick except for desoldering the switches. I don't know if the solder used had a higher melting point or the pins were too big for the holes but I had to drill out several that I couldn't fully desolder. Keep in mind that my soldering experience until last month  was limited to sweating together copper plumbing.

Having worked on both the Expert Mouse and the Slimblade  I can say that the Slimblade's newer design is apparent from an internal glance. The smaller components and advanced electronics are evidence of that. Having said that I'm not sure I prefer it to the E.M.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: brainT on Tue, 21 May 2013, 14:51:35
That is, quite simply, stunning. Amazing work.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 21 May 2013, 19:46:16
That is, quite simply, stunning. Amazing work.

Thanks, and welcome to geekhack.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: guilleguillaume on Wed, 22 May 2013, 18:47:38
That's one of the best mods I've ever seen.

The woodwork looks amazing!  ;D
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: hoggy on Sat, 25 May 2013, 11:12:16
I am flattered and humbled by the responses.  Several people have asked on the forum and through PM's if I'd make more to sell. I've hesitated responding because,  although I'd love to make more, there are compelling reasons why I probably shouldn't.


Whatever you do, don't turn an interest/hobby into a 'drudge'.  I'd rather drool over your designs than see you get fed up making them.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: grips on Sat, 25 May 2013, 11:43:36
Absolutely amazing. You are very talented.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: daerid on Sat, 25 May 2013, 11:52:45
I might have a go at making my own, now that my new place is going to have a garage finally.

What kind of wood/finish did you use for the top?
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 25 May 2013, 18:22:34
I might have a go at making my own, now that my new place is going to have a garage finally.

What kind of wood/finish did you use for the top?

The wood is genuine mahogany, not to be confused with luann(Philippine) or African mahogany. It runs 7-10 dollars per bd.ft. here, comparable to walnut. The piece I used was different than most of the boards in the stack I inspected. Most of them were less dramatically figured than the one I used. It's always a risk because until it's planed and finished you can never be sure you made the right choice. I used 6/4 stock which is 1 5/16 " finished size. I was so happy with the look, I went back and found his book-matched brother and bought it for the next project.

The finish is a long story. Being in California, where we are subject to stringent environmental regulations, I have switched to water-borne finishes for most of my work. I had originally used a shellac based sanding sealer, to give it intensity, followed with about four coats of Varathane water borne floor finish. Unfortunately, I was impatient and didn't wait long enough for the sealer to out gas fully and the finish blushed a little. The earlier pictures with the black trackball have that finish on it. When I refitted the tray with the Slimblade, I scratched the top up a little which gave me an excuse to fully strip and refinish the wood. This time I used a rattle can of Minwax Helmsman spar urethane I had in the shop. Four coats later, sanding as needed between coats, followed with a 600 grit sanding and rubbing out with a clay bar and then a paste waxing. Ironic how I have over six grand in spraying equipment and I get more complements on my spray finish from a can. Anyways, an astute observer will notice the more brilliant colors from the second finish. I wish you the best on yours and let me know if I can help.

I was wondering if anybody close to So. California would be interested in a weekend workshop this summer, where I could help you build your dream case, tray or whatever. PM me if interested.

On another topic, it's a joy to hear from all of you but I'm overwhelmed to get responses from far away places like New Zealand and Spain. Suddenly this world has gotten smaller and friendlier. Thanks all.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: daerid on Sat, 25 May 2013, 18:35:50
When you say genuine, you mean Honduras, right?

Man if I still lived in LA I'd totally be down for a workshop. Alas, I have to make do out here in mile high.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 25 May 2013, 19:10:33
Yes, Honduras mahogany. I think it may include several regional species under the genuine title but doesn't include the African or Asian woods.  I saw some really nice looking African mahogany but wasn't sure of it's characteristics so I went with a known commodity. You will like working with it. It cutting, planing sanding and finishing characteristics are superb. Unfortunately, after working with it you don't want to go back to the lesser woods. One caution. many of the tropical woods have a high oil content so as a precaution you may consider wiping down the applicable surfaces with lacquer thinner, acetone or denatured alcohol immediately before glueing or finishing for better adhesion.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: daerid on Sat, 25 May 2013, 21:39:06
I've used Honduras in making guitars, it was a joy to work with.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Nakkor on Sun, 04 August 2013, 13:51:56
Fantastic work! d(^_^ ) *thumb up*

Question:
You don't happen to have a worklog thread or a blog for your other Ergodox mod that you have on flickr (this one (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/sets/72157634289665901/))? I would love to subscribe to such a thread/blog to follow your progress! As it is now, I keep an open tab in my browser with that page, and check it now and then. An e-mail subscription would be more convenient. Also, it would be nice to read any comments you've made about your work.

/Nakkor
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 August 2013, 17:37:17
Fantastic work! d(^_^ ) *thumb up*

Question:
You don't happen to have a worklog thread or a blog for your other Ergodox mod that you have on flickr (this one (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/sets/72157634289665901/))? I would love to subscribe to such a thread/blog to follow your progress! As it is now, I keep an open tab in my browser with that page, and check it now and then. An e-mail subscription would be more convenient. Also, it would be nice to read any comments you've made about your work.

/Nakkor

Thanks for your interest. I have been busy improving the design of my next keyboard/tray but have hesitated boring everyone with rough mockups that don't do justice to the feel of the new design. My plan was to return to the right side trackball design but have since gotten use to the center design and almost decided to just tweak it slightly by improving the thumb clusters. I'm actually very happy with the existing ergonomics of its present form and its symmetry contributes to an aesthetic that will be hard to match with the asymmetrical design.

Here are some rather primitive shots so you can see the direction I'm going with it.    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/9437179555/in/set-72157634289665901     http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/9437181823/in/set-72157634289665901

Some points to note:
- The seven thumb key section slopes down 17 from the main boards and will likely be in plane with its reverse twin on the left side. Allowing for the tenting and negative sloping of the main board halves, they will likely be very close to level in their operating position.
- I replaced a 1.5 cap with an offset center 1.25 cap to go over the thumb cluster to allow closer placement of upper thumb keys
- The thumb keys fan out radially from a point corresponding with the natural pivot point of my thumb and the smaller upper keys are raised enough to depress them without touching the larger keys. They are all very easy, even for my arthritic thumbs, to reach. Any keyboard designs using thumb clusters should seriously consider this design.
- I decided to remove the far right column to keep the trackball as close as possible to home position. Moving the right hand 2.25"to the right centers the hand for trackball use. The keys above the ball make up for the missing keys and the larger caps on the right are for the trackball. The sloped 1.25 key on the left of the ball and the 2 arcade buttons are also for the trackball.
- I think I will use part of the ErgoDox pcb's for many of the main keys but will likely make a remote board between the halves for teensy and other parts to minimize front to back depth.
- I bought a mill and hope to machine the aluminum in three sections. The left and right sides, and a single piece for the thumb keys. I plan to set this into another mahogany tray.
- I learned a lot trying to cast some keys and hope to do better when it's time to do the real ones.

Thanks for letting me bend your ear. As you know, nobody outside this community cares. :'(
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: jfb on Mon, 05 August 2013, 07:00:31
Very interesting design.

Keep going, you are doing a great job.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: agodinhost on Mon, 05 August 2013, 07:41:54
No words, awesome case man!
Congrats ...
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Sciurid89 on Tue, 06 August 2013, 01:58:07
RE: tray 2 - I like this! I anticipate eventually building something of that sort... my attempt at drafting a desk design indicated that the keyboard-to-mouse switching is a tricky element, and having the pointing device on the right seems like a good way to go, since it allows the arm to remain straight while using it.

Radial thumb keys seem awesome, and a logical step in the evolution of the thumb cluster concept.

Putting the apostrophe key in that position means that the sequence n' (isn't, etc.) is same-finger... it's an easy same finger combo, but perhaps not as ideal as placing that key on a different finger or even the other hand...
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 06 August 2013, 06:56:49
I've been using that placement of the '" key for several months and really like it. I use it a lot for foot/inch input in CAD. I agree that it could be better on the other side, in fact I do have a second '"key on the left half in the same place but haven't gotten into the habit of using it.

The radial thumb keys are a huge improvement. Anyone trying it wouldn't want to go back to the Ergodox cluster. The keys are so easily accessible.

The side trackball is a better placement but after using the center trackball for several months it is better than I anticipated when I first started using it.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Quardah on Wed, 07 August 2013, 13:24:29
I think it's been more difficult for me to post this topic than to actually build my ErgoDox and tray.

(Attachment Link)

I hope this link works.    http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFazJhh    I'm new to all of this you know.

This is the most beautiful thing i have seen in my entire lifetime. I really hope it stays in good shape for very long, this wonder of ergonomic electronic is everything a sysadmin can wish for.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 07 August 2013, 15:43:11
Thank you I appreciate your comments.. So far no problems. It looks as good today as the day I installed it. I was worried about the vulnerability of the un-anodized aluminum but it is well protected snuggled in the mahogany tray.  The wood finish appears to be holding up very well also but I'll probably wax it every few months for additional protection.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Nakkor on Wed, 14 August 2013, 04:03:39
Oh, but in the journey is where most of the fun is. I love seeing the line of thought, how things where made, what ideas got scrapped/changed/tweaked along the way, and what worked and what didn't. You always learn something or get ideas from that kind of stuff.

Cool! That could easily be a WIP of a prop for some input console to be used in some sci-fi movie. It also looks really comfortable. Just for fun I scaled it ~1:1 on the screen and put my hand over it, and I can tell that we have about the same ring finger to pinky ratio. (^_^) I really like the button config around the trackball, it not only looks fantastic, but probably will work splendidly as well. That trackball thumb key seems perfect too, as do the thumb cluster.
Hehe, hot glue FTW! Fantastic stuff. I've used up a whole bunch of sticks on my custom keyboard project (a complete rebuild of a Logitech G13 keypad, with a more ergonomic layout and mechanical switches).

I was already envious of your workshop (all I have is a hobby desk), and now you've got a mill too! *turning green* ;)

What do you use for casting keys? (and what didn't work well?) I'm planning to buy some proper RTV-2 platinum-catalyzed silicone rubber and either polyurethane or epoxy resin, depending on availability, price and performance/price. Found some interesting reading on the subject here (http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/gcnc/ch4/)

Bend it all you want. I'll happily read anything you post, in fact, I wish you updated more often. d(^_^ ) Hehe, know what it's like, my friends and family only show limited interest in my current keyboard project, at best. <=)
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 14 August 2013, 05:06:49
It has taken me half a lifetime to build up my shop to where it is now. In a way that's good. I've bought tools before that I forgot I bought because I didn't need them at the time. It's best to buy when you have an immediate need. Of course a great deal shouldn't be ignored either.

I'm glad you scaled my layout. The trackball buttons as well as the thumb keys really feel right where I put them. Much better than the OEM design. I go back and forth almost daily trying to decide whether to go center ball or back to the right. I just had surgery on my  right hand and may need another more major one in the near future. A center trackball has a versatility factor built in. I'm use to it now but the buttons on my current working ergodox  are a bit higher than perfect because the ergodox thumb clusters are in plane with the main ergodox body. The tenting of course elevates the center more and leaves the trackball buttons slightly high relative to the ball and keyboard. The new thumb cluster would solve that problem.

I may not be the best to give advise on the key cap casting. I, too, used the Guerrilla Guide for direction. It is a great resource. I used Quantum Solutions QM 262 for the mold. My first attempts had many bubbles on the surface. I ended up making a vacuum chamber which is probably essential with that product. I tried getting Innovative polymers urethane but they never responded to my inquiries so I got something on Ebay  that is very thin bodied and seemed to work fine. I'll look it up and report later. I tried tinting with mixed results.

I'd like to see pictures of your Logitech rebuild.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Input Nirvana on Fri, 16 August 2013, 00:54:11
Not to derail...but back to the comments about posting/blogging intricate and formative details that may be nothing more than false starts at best.

I'd venture to suggest that even if Kurplop considered it nothing more than journaling, that having the diary of the works in progress has a little if not tremendous value to others and even to himself (possibly). The evolution of ideas/projects can be fascinating, and yes, often fascinatingly boring. But there's still value in the process. I would like to strongly suggest that Kurplop reconsider to take the moments (ok, lots of moments) to at the very least pop a few pics and captions here and there for those that would choose to follow (yes, me). At the end of the journey (not really, it never really ends till they plant you in the ground) there are points at which the body of work becomes more than what you may have intended.

I say this because of my experience with the Split Kinesis Project (which I still haven't fixed). I started it only as a resource for myself to have links, pics, thoughts, ideas, lists in one place. It almost got great. Almost. I came to find out the collection of info, some on the web easily found, some deep web, and of course all the work I had done became extremely helpful and inspired others in ways I couldn't have imagined. I should let you read some of the emails! And, I should let someone fix the damn info :(

Kurplops work has many merits, obviously of form and function, but also a testament of quality, standards, detail, and it's damn original. He should realize that most of these points are mostly embodied by most of the geek-a-lopes that spend endless hours on this site (not me of course, I'm the exception). Perhaps if Kurplop considers that the compliments posted are generally more than just a simple compliment, he will consider investing (it's asking a lot) a little time to just make a quick jot of info, train of thought, pic of mock up made of brownies, etc. I mean really, isn't that how the flux-capacitor came into being?

The info doesn't have to be particularly well presented or sorted in any particular way. Just showing various aspects is educational and entertaining. There are people to this day that have no idea how electricity gets to their computer, all they know is that there are "power plants". I don't want to be one of those people that believes there are "Kurplop plants".

I'm done.

Oh, wait. One more insanely great thing....

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 August 2013, 01:00:21
Great sculpture IN, your very flexible but how did you stay still long enough for someone to make that?

On another note I posted a new flicker set about using a Marble Mouse in a compact ergo keyboard.

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjHBFAWp
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Larken on Tue, 20 August 2013, 01:10:11
that looks very comfortable to type on, kurplop.

just curious, have you ever considered integrating a touch pad instead of a trackball for your creations?
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 August 2013, 07:31:51
Larken, it's always a pleasure hearing from you.

Yes, I have considered it. It makes a lot of sense for travel use because it's flat and there is nothing to fall out. Also the gestures open up a lot of convenient options. However, because my hands have little sensitivity left after 60 years of abuse I struggle to use one; I can't tell if I'm even touching the screen. I need greater tactility and noise.  Because I use a Mac for most things and Windows for architectural drawings I thought about mounting a Magic Mouse on the left side and a Slimblade on the right of my proposed desktop keyboard tray (the ErgoPlop). Being fixed, it would lose some functionality but still be useful and in a small package.

My design priority is that form follows function. The Ergo-to-go is close to perfect for my ergonomic needs and it follows that it's very comfortable to use. I still have to tweak the placement and height of the upper thumb keys and trackball and design the wood palm rests and body  but I'm about ready to start milling some aluminum on my new (used) knee mill.

A picture of my Carpel Tunnel Release scar.   [attachmini=1]   View at your own risk!
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: thisMoment on Tue, 20 August 2013, 08:07:04
While looking at your picture I accidentally hit "make wallpaper" and now my computer looks like this!

(http://i.imgur.com/wpH5Gzw.jpg)

Gave me a laugh  :))
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Larken on Tue, 20 August 2013, 08:18:59
You pretty much read my mind - the main thing I was thinking about was how the trackball would be falling out for a mobile platform, which was why I was thinking about a trackpad. I do understand the preference for a trackball though, having tried the logitech t650 touchpad and the kensington expert mouse, the expert mouse is the one I go to when I want to get work done speedily.

I've just looked up the magic mouse (haven't really been following Apple products since my college days). Very interesting ideas that could be tried with that, even if it wasn't being used as a mouse - especially with Apple's gestures support. Just a random thought, maybe you could consider putting a magic mouse where the bottom arcade button is, and shift the button up, nearer to the trackball? That way, you could have the best of both worlds, much like your desktop version. (The amount of cables and charging of devices while in use however, might be a slight issue).

I can tell that it is really comfortable, because the position of the keyboard is pretty much how I use my unmodified ergodox sometimes; I take a spare wooden board and place it across my lap to act as a desk, then incline my ergodox at almost the same angle as you did. Then I simply sit back, let my arms rest on the chair's arm rests, and let my fingers type while my arms dangle comfortably above the keyboard (the downside of this is that I don't have mouse access when I do this - which your design have thorough addressed). It's pretty much how I envisioned how I would want to mod it (sans the custom radial thumb cluster), especially on the point on breaking off on the thumbcluster to have it rest flat while the rest of the board is inclined.

Also, after staring at the prototype for more than a few times, I only just realized you cut off the modifiers on the outer edges for a total of 66 keys. Interesting choice - a leaner version would mean an increased need for an optimized layout - which really lends itself to what the ergodox was about in the first place, at least to me. I wish I could take the time to do some mods of my own (I have a spare set of pcbs I gotten for this purpose), but real life commitments beckon at the moment.

Definitely looking forward to your progress on this, but do take care and get ample rest. That scar looks... ouch. Wishing you a speedy recovery from the surgery.


Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 August 2013, 08:52:37
thisMoment- I hope you left it up.

Larken- Interesting idea about the MM placement. If I like using it that much I would seriously consider it, but the extra depth it would add to the travel version would add more size to something that is as big as I'd want. Maybe for the desktop version.

It will be critical to get the clearance just right on the trackball top housing so it can be removed for cleaning but stay put when flipped or tossed about.

Actually the modifiers keys are there, or will be. I shifted the placement of the left keys over to use 1x caps and I never cut the squares for the right side because it was a template for the desktop version which will eliminate the row for closer trackball placement. I think I'll retain them because the extra width is less critical to me than the depth. I did think 1x caps would be adequate because I will use them for lesser used keys, probably not modifiers.

The surgery went well as is the recovery. I just can't use a jackhammer for a while. The doctor laughed when He read in my report that I've had this problem since 1970. I just don't like to rush things.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: CPTBadAss on Tue, 20 August 2013, 09:10:26
I'm a lot of bit mad at myself for not seeing this before. This looks amazing; the functionality, craftsmanship, and attention to detail look awesome.

Could you explain to me your layout and what the Sanwa switches do?

And you do CAD work with a trackball??
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Larken on Tue, 20 August 2013, 09:36:19

Larken- Interesting idea about the MM placement. If I like using it that much I would seriously consider it, but the extra depth it would add to the travel version would add more size to something that is as big as I'd want. Maybe for the desktop version.

It will be critical to get the clearance just right on the trackball top housing so it can be removed for cleaning but stay put when flipped or tossed about.

Actually the modifiers keys are there, or will be. I shifted the placement of the left keys over to use 1x caps and I never cut the squares for the right side because it was a template for the desktop version which will eliminate the row for closer trackball placement. I think I'll retain them because the extra width is less critical to me than the depth. I did think 1x caps would be adequate because I will use them for lesser used keys, probably not modifiers.


I definitely understand about the MM. The trackball by itself would be sufficient in most cases. For the desktop version it would probably be better served to keep it as a standard mouse though, heh. I can imagine the looks on people's faces when you whip out the ergo-to-go and start working on it.

As for the modifiers, I did take out a measuring tape to compare against your picture with the steel ruler in it - and was thinking that even with modifiers included, it was another inch or a half, give or take. But I did do some thinking about the layouts - and realised that with some tweaking, I could probably still use my ergodox without those modifier keys. Its doable, but of course, not preferable as one would have to relearn a slightly tweaked layout again. I was thinking that you shrunk it down to the 60% convention without actually meaning to.

I imagine that the elevated height would be the main cause of the bulk - and was wondering if it was going to be flat underneath, or if you plan to have the bottom sculpted in a way that conforms to the shape of your legs, while retain freedom of movement, to a certain degree.

p.s. the depth itself could lend itself to actually holding a mini-computer inside. or one could stick a raspberry pi in there and have a operational linux box within a keyboard tray, granted, one couldn't do much without a screen. (I'm just thinking about the possibility, and definitely not suggesting that it be done. As a utilitarian ergonomic solution for on-the-go situations, your current design is near perfect. Anything else would be extraneous, though fun to think about :D)

Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 August 2013, 10:17:34
CPTBadAss-  I have intentionally hidden my projects in the ergonomics section because I think it's the most important area in all of geekhackdom. Because of that I probably hasn't gotten the exposure it might get mainstreaming it more.

Thanks for your kind words. It's always a thrill hearing from a geekhack luminary such as you.

I'm almost embarrassed to say I do CAD work. I'm a remodeling contractor and I draw construction doc's for my business but I think I was faster with a pencil. I didn't touch a computer until I was in my 50's so I'm a bit digitally challenged.

The trackball works well with my hand issues though I'm sure it's not as fast as a mouse. I just can't use one for an extended period of time.

I'd be happy to answer any questions but am not quite sure whether you are asking about the finished "Executive" or one of the current projects. Clockwise from noon the Sanwa Switches on the Mahogany Executive unit activate click,forward,back and right click on my Mac which I use for general use and click, back, middle click and right click in Windows where I use an architectural program.

It really is close to being perfect for my needs.

Larken-  A lot of good ideas. I've wondered too about what to do with the space under the tent. The problem is I don't have the skills to do anything beyond "hot wiring " together existing components. If you or anyone else can help fill in the gaps I could repay you with a completed unit. Until then maybe I'll make a compartment under there and store my lunch in it.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: CPTBadAss on Tue, 20 August 2013, 10:40:32
Ah ok. I was going to say, if you were doing 3D modeling as well as CAD, I was going to really pick your brain. I can't grasp the concept of using the trackball for 3D modeling. Just seems too hard.

I was referring to the keyboard you posted in your OP because I can't really browse your flickr at work. I like the setup though, it's very clever. I will probably bug you again later of course; once I look through everything.

Where did you get those Sanwa switches by the way? Is Sanwa just what the switches are called or is that the site you get them from?

As for the compartment underneath your tent, maybe like a USB hub or something functional like that? I know you proposed a RPi compartment which I think would be really awesome. Or maybe just a compartment for like a keycap puller and USB cable?
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Larken on Tue, 20 August 2013, 12:08:53
I'd love to be able to help, but my main concern is that it'll be adding extra, unneeded functions to an already perfect design, especially if those functions aren't anything you need in your normal usage.

Plus, I realised I haven't thought things out very well yet. While it might be possible to add a mini-itx pc under the tray - there isn't anything one can do without a power source, or for that matter, a screen. Not exactly something that you can use on the go, which eliminates a lot of the functionality, unless you do indeed intend to plug into a power socket and have a random monitor you can plug into at the places where you use your ergo-to-go. This applies for the raspberry pi idea, which also requires a power source - something that detracts from having a mobile solution. Upon reflection, this makes me feel rather silly for suggesting it for the ergo-to-go.
 
It reminded me of how an old Chinese saying goes - "adding legs to a drawing of a snake" - do that, and it's no longer a snake anymore, but a lizard instead. As it is, I think you're already on the right path, and my suggestions are distractions you should ignore.

I guess the only thing that I would actually want to do with a something like this, would mostly reside in the case design - in particular, a way to mount and hold a tablet. Like CPTBadass suggested, a usb hub is a good idea, especially for connecting the trackball and keyboard, so that you only need to plug in one cable from the hub to your pc and be good to go.

It's a little very embarrassing to show my doodling, but I couldn't resist making a rough drawing of what I thought it should look like, internals, and perhaps a groove to seat the screen in (the one I have in mind is actually a surface pro, but I realise that you're a mac user, so options would be more limited). Its always been something I wanted to do in the past when the surface pro was first announced, even with a normal TKL board - to use a tablet in conjunction with a normal mechanical keyboard (but of course, I never really considered the mouse aspect then; I thought the touch screen capability would suffice.) With the ergo-to-go, it seems like a more complete solution - although the surface pro's battery life have been rather disappointing, a large enough deterrent for me not to get it.

Excuse the rough drawing, I haven't drawn technical stuff for years.  :-[

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7306/9554433225_07ee28b3b8_b.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/89364707@N02/9554433225/)

Basically, a laptop replacement using a tablet. A usb hub hidden inside the tray to connect to the tablet, serving as a intermediate connection to the trackball and the keyboard. There would probably be weight balancing issues with the tablet, and I'm sure you have much better ways to do it if you did intend to go this way.

edit: I like that lunchbox idea! :))
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 August 2013, 21:15:53
CPTBadAss-  Sanwa is the brand name. I got mine from Focus Attack,   http://www.focusattack.com/  they are an online arcade parts supplier. By the way, I got the 24mm buttons as opposed to Input Nirvana's and Sordna's 30mm palm buttons.

Larken-   I think some kind of provisions for securing a tablet is great. Some kind of outrigger that folds/extends from underneath could provide stability. I agree about hubbing the usb's within as well. There may even be room for a supplemental battery under there to extend the tablets run time. The important thing is to not defeat its main purpose; a lightweight, compact travel  ergonomic keyboard.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Input Nirvana on Wed, 21 August 2013, 00:28:18
Great sculpture IN, your very flexible but how did you stay still long enough for someone to make that?....

SO RUDE!
Good thing I know about your benching capabilities or I'd come over there and tear up your other, non-stitched hand (with my other, non-stiched hand, of course). What a pair we are, Stitch and Stitchy-er.

I sure like where this thread and associated links to Flickr are going/developing.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 21 August 2013, 05:50:32
Former feats of strength.
I'm feeling pretty wimpy these days. Besides, bench pressing only makes you good at pushing things and 40 years later you end up with man-boobs. :-[

Thanks, I've always appreciated your sense of humor.

On a more serious topic. The only compromise I anticipate with the Marble Mouse is the loss of the Kensington scrolling feature, something I really like. MM has scrolling but at the cost of 2 buttons. Anybody have experience with the Marble Mouse?

Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Larken on Wed, 21 August 2013, 06:19:11
have you considered the kensington orbit instead? it uses a 1.5" ball like the marble mouse, and retains the scrolling wheel feature. The downside is that there's only 2 mouse buttons as opposed to 4, but you do get to keep the scrolling ring (which I'm a big fan of too). I'm not a huge fan of scrolling with buttons - as I could already do that with keyboard pgup or pgdn buttons.

there's also this thread in geekhack that compared the two briefly http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=30131.0

The important thing is to not defeat its main purpose; a lightweight, compact travel  ergonomic keyboard.

I agree very much with this sentiment - which is why I'm reluctant to detrack you too much from your original design (although I think I still ended up doing that a little). in my opinion, the core design you already have is already perfect for your needs. A usb hub/battery pack would be pretty cool, although it'll end up adding to the total weight a little (those benchpresses would probably make this negligible though, eh :D). 

 
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: davkol on Wed, 21 August 2013, 06:57:05
What about Mighty Mouse's trackball (http://www.plastibots.com/?p=37)?
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 21 August 2013, 07:12:44
Great review in that link. Your input is always helpful.  You got me curious now. My only concern is the size the Orbit would add to the keyboard. The scroll rings I've used do require additional space to fit them in and the beauty of the Marble is everything besides the ball socket can be tilted down out of the way. With the Marble I can fit buttons very close to the ball.

Overall, I think the Marble will adapt great. In its unaltered form, the monocular sea slug's greatest weakness seems to be the premature miscarriages they call switches that control scrolling. They will be replaced with easy to reach arcade switches.

As far as weight is concerned, I'm not. A battery would add weight but would likely be removable.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 21 August 2013, 07:28:40
davkol-   That's another great option. Talk about compact. The problem I have is the damaged sensory nerves in my hands keep me from feeling something that small. The size would allow it to be placed anywhere however, even replacing a thumb key or shifting the 6,7,8 keys to the left and fitting it in the 8 position. It would be a good supplemental mouse for less precise moves.

You guys are a great resource. Thanks.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: CPTBadAss on Mon, 02 September 2013, 18:03:08
Finally got the chance to look through the photos. I LOVE that there's a proper aluminum case and that amazing wood case with the fighting stick switches. Incredible work! Take more pictures now :D
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: metalliqaz on Tue, 10 September 2013, 18:28:54
Nicest kehberb I've ever seen.  I want.
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: Oobly on Wed, 11 September 2013, 05:38:43
I just found the Flickr link and... OMAHGERD!

Beautiful work, kerplop! I love that there's a bit of everything put into this, wiring skills, woodwork, metalwork, layout design, etc.. looking forward to the new one ;)
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 11 September 2013, 07:07:23
Thanks for your comments.

It has been a rewarding experience having the opportunity to glean ideas from many of you as we work toward a very similar goal; that of trying to develop keyboards that really address our ergonomic challenges. Of course it helps if they look nice too.

Possibility the greatest challenge we face is convincing the general public of the importance of ergonomically designed equipment. Until young people are initially taught typing skills on ergonomically enhanced keyboards, I think the effort of adapting to something new will be an obstacle keeping most from converting.
 
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Sat, 17 May 2014, 07:05:09
Just saw that beauty in another thread, awesome work dude! :)
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: gcb on Thu, 22 May 2014, 22:07:26
That keyboard is awesome (though i hate that particular kinesis red trackball... love the black one tho)

I miss access to my uni workshop since i moved to socal :( ...i miss it too much. specially now that i see this!

You should do another one for a museum. congrats!
Title: Re: ErgoDox and Trackball Tray
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 22 May 2014, 22:47:34
Just saw that beauty in another thread, awesome work dude! :)

Thanks. I was impressed with your computer center as well. Very clean and tasteful.


That keyboard is awesome (though i hate that particular kinesis red trackball... love the black one tho)

I miss access to my uni workshop since i moved to socal :( ...i miss it too much. specially now that i see this!

You should do another one for a museum. congrats!

The red ball looks a lot better in person but I agree that the black one is better looking. In fact, in the year I've been using it, the red ball was only on for those pictures then I replaced it with an Expert Mouse ball.