geekhack Marketplace > Interest Checks

[IC]Axolstudio Yeti: Gasket alice-layout (Updated 7/13/21, Sound test, demo)

(1/19) > >>

AxolStudio:
Update: Jul 13 2021
More details about the board:

Sound test: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1082942721


Update: May 12 2021
Hi! The final details for the group buy of the board are now out.

Starting Price: 399 USD
GB Dates: July 15 - August 15
Vendor: KBDFans
You can find the IC on their page here:https://kbdfans.com/collections/interest-checks/products/axol-studio-yeti-mechanical-keyboard-kit

Please consider joining the Discord server for the most up to date information, which you can do here: https://discord.gg/5vmwxu5uUR

Update: Mar 16 2021

Hi! Its been a while since this project was last updated. We are now in the final stretch before the GB! This is just a first look at one of the options for the board, the full details of the GB for this board will be announced soon.

Discord:
We have created a small discord server to allow those to keep up with the status of this project, which can be found here: https://discord.gg/5vmwxu5uUR

Colours & Vendors:
The final colours and vendor have been decided. The final decision was to partner with KBDFans. They are constantly committed to delivering a quality product at an affordable price. We are greatly looking forwards to working with them for this group buy.

With that being said, the final colours available have been decided. While the Ewhite and Eblack versions do not require colour matching, we are currently in the process of finalizing the production units and the colourmatching. I will be posting updates on the colour matching process whenever I receive samples and a final production sample unit. For those that are asking, the yeti has been added to the bottom.

Available colours
E-White,    E-Black
Amethyst (dyed purple polycarbonate)
Sapphire (dyed blue polycarbonate)
Morganite (dyed pink polycarbonate)

Updated Renders

More






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hello everyone! This is AxolStudio, a small design studio based in Toronto, Canada. This project initially started as a personal project as I wanted this board to be my personal endgame. As this project came together, I started receiving interest from other peers in this board. I personally love clean round objects and wanted to bring that style to keyboards. This keyboard is currently the embodiment of everything that I want out of a keyboard, my current personal endgame.
TLDR: Long IC, has a decent amount of personal thoughts and design choice explanations. Just check gallery for renders and proto images and read the following specs if you want a shortened form of the IC.

Feedback Form
https://forms.gle/3qiGi9kMw9mzD4PP9

Render Gallery
https://imgur.com/a/xTIuDqv

Proto Gallery
https://imgur.com/a/ccaizQR
Prototype Sound Test
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LwmtFWOIVatPpQc2oDDBuHDZPOef5aDh/view?usp=sharing
*disclaimer* this was recorded on a really bad mic, keep that in mind as you listen to it. This file has not been edited in any way shape or form. Treat this more like a preview rather than a definitive sound test of the board.
Built with Lubed and Filmed OA switches, Brass Plate, Durock Stabs, Pbt Islander

Specs:
-   6 degree typing angle
-   Gasket mount at 16 points
-   QMK and VIA support
-   3.2 kg weight unbuilt
-   JST daughterboard (unified daughterboard spec)
-   19mm front profile from the bottom of the case to start of R4 keys
-   Soldered PCB with USB-C connection
-   Full plates, half plates in the works for materials FR4, PC, Aluminum, and Brass
-   Colours: E-white, E-Black, PC version and other anodization colours in the works
-   Pricing TBD, depends on how big this IC gets. Estimated at around 400 USD. I will do my best to push the price down where possible. Keep in mind that this board is larger than a standard TKL in size and the curves arent easy to machine. This price estimate is for low MOQ

Supported layouts:
-   Split backspace
-   Split right shift
-   2u, 1.25 u/2.25u 1u left side R4
-       Stepped Caps


Eventual To Do list & priorities
1)   Gather feedback from community & interact/keep post & design updated (main priority is to finish plate optimization (currently running situations))
2)   Add more renders & pictures (higher quality) of prototypes
3)   Figure out what configurations and what to be offered for GB if there is enough interest
4)   Figure out pricing
5)   Find vendors

If you don't want to read a breakdown of my thoughts and choices, then stop here! The short version of the IC ends here. Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer
A couple things, this IC will be relatively long, full of text and hopefully an informative read. I will be going over some design choices, personal explanations and some other tidbits on this project. Again, as a disclaimer, these are my personal design choices, they may not be the ďcorrect oneĒ but this is personally what I want and like and my personal thoughts. If you have any other ideas or think something that Iíve chosen is not the best, please let me know in the feedback form!

To read more about the project, click on show more.

MoreNamesake and logo engraving and overall weight

The board is named Yeti as a suggestion through a friend, and thus the logo of this board evolved to a chonky axolotl wearing a yeti suit.



This chonky boi was included on the keyboard, however due to personally thinking that branding the keyboard with this logo on the back would be rather tacky and ruin the clean aesthetic, it was moved to be engraved only onto the weight. This, however, is something that I am willing to change, to add the logo onto the back of the board or some other way, as it is currently quite plain. Please let me know how you feel about this in the feedback form.



The board focuses on a clean and smooth exterior with thick bezels and fillets, allowing for a very rounded and smoothed out design. Having the prototypes in hand, it is extremely smooth and pleasing to touch while not having the usual harsh look and feel that we are so accustomed to with keyboards. The unbuilt board weighs around 3.3 kg, or 7.25 pounds. The prototypes that I have are a bit on the heavier side, weighing in at 3.5kg. Honestly not sure why there is this weight difference however expect the board to weigh around 3.3kg

Case Colours

In terms of colours and materials, e-white and e-black are going to be available for sure as I am happy with how they look and how well the light reflects off of them in person. E coatings are relatively faster than anodization, which means faster turnaround time. Initially these two colours were chosen as they are always available and personally believing that they fit the design the best. That being said, I am still exploring different colours and am thinking of a pastel blue and pink to go along with the black and white. Additionally, a frosted polycarbonate version is also on the table for discussion. Let me know what other colour suggestions and material suggestions you have in the feedback form.

Plate designs and materials

One other subject that I want to touch on is the plate design and the plate material. For the prototypes, a brass plate was manufactured however due to the lack of flex cuts and how stiff the gaskets that were chosen are, the typing experience is extremely stiff. From what Iíve read and what Iíve experimented with over the years, I believe that linear switches should have a stiff plate and typing experience to prevent mushiness, and tactile switches should be used with a more flexible plate to allow for a almost softer bump and a less harsh bottom out after the tactile bump.



This current version of the board is designed to have linear switches as those are my current preference. I am a big fan of having a stiff typing experience with linears, however, I do understand that the current trend is to have a slightly softer and flexier typing experience regardless of switch type. The final plate material for the product is still undetermined and I will be collecting information on what plate material to use in the feedback form.

The other thing that I want to discuss is the lack of flex cuts in the design. I only see the point in adding flex cuts in a plate material that is already very stiff or inflexible to begin with. However, I prefer a stiff typing experience so it was not added to the design. In the case that the final material of the plate is a more flexible material, (FR4 or PC or something along those lines), I believe that flex cuts are not necessary, but I will test how they feel if I do end up testing those materials. I most likely will be releasing the step file and other files for the plate (with non-profit clause licensing) in the future so that people can make their own. I highly suggest people to experiment with flex cuts and different materials for the plate and try to figure out what works best for them.

Current typing feel & build experience

The current prototype that I have is built with OA switches (JWK recolour), PBT keycaps (islander) on a brass plate with Poron gaskets of a compression rate of 25%. The current gaskets that are being used isnít exactly a perfect solution, however it works. The gaskets arenít custom cut and it comes in a long strip and itís just cut to size. Not going to lie, it looks kind of janky right now due to not everything being cut perfectly but it does its job fine. The typing experience on the board is stiff, there is some give to it however not too much. The gaskets are something Iíd like to explore and experiment more with, and Iím happy to provide the files for this in the future so that you can all experiment with it yourself. So far, the building experience is fine, with nothing special. The parts all come together really easily, and all the screws are the same diameter thus no need to change bits throughout the build. There are alignment tabs on the interior for the top and bottom case, however there isnít for the plate. Apart from the plate drifting if youíre not careful turning the case around, there really isnít anything tricky about the build process.




I have included the following as a typing/sound test, please check it out. Keep in mind that this was recorded on a really cheap mic and is without any editing whatsoever. The board is definitely on the clacky side, which is expected from a gasket mounted board. This board may potentially be sent to a trusted content creator down the line so please treat this sound test as a preview/sneak peak rather than as what the board should sound like.

Sound Test:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LwmtFWOIVatPpQc2oDDBuHDZPOef5aDh/view?usp=sharing

Case design, price and packaging

Having a round design aesthetic is just a personal like. I wanted this board to clean and try to get it so that it could fit into any desk and not look out of place. The other thing that I disliked with a conventional keyboard is how stiff it looked on my desk. I wanted something that appeared to be softer, almost more organic. One very good observation from a discord server where I posted the images of the prototype describing the board as ďthe softness felt from the appearance that does not seem to be from a blunt instrumentĒ originally: 鈍器とは思えない外見から感じる柔らかさ). That one gave me quite the chuckle and Iím glad that the intent of the design was conveyed.

One other aspect that I was really focused on is how it would feel when you have it in person. Does touching the case by itself want you to hold it more? Does it fit will into my hand when Iím holding the board? Do the curves of the board match and not feel awkward to feel when youíre typing on it? Luckily the board turned out to hold and handle way better than I expected and itís quite satisfying to hold the board from the north facing side and the bottom facing side. The matte E-white finish does add a lot to the feel, it has a smooth feeling that is quite pleasant to the touch. It feels like holding a smooth metal ball and itís quite satisfying.

One particular aspect that I was quite fixated was how could I integrate the seam into the board without it standing out. One of the easiest ways to make the side profile seem seamless is move the seam to the bottom of the board. This however increases the machining costs and overall cost of the board. That was considered however required a massive redesign of the side profile that I was quite content with so that option wasnít really explored further. The solution that I came up with was to make the seam right where the fillet of the top case meets the side. This allows for the seam to blend into the board and just seem like the transition of the fillet to the side of the case. This image shown below should give you a good idea of whatís going on with the seam.



Having nice packaging is a newer trend thatís starting to become more popular as keyboard GB runners are providing. I would like to talk a bit briefly about this. Nice packaging is always nice and adds a lot to the initial experience and the impression of the board, however it comes at a cost. Currently I am considering one of two things. 1) to have extremely simple and barebones packaging to try and push the price down or 2) have a nicer packaging at the expense of pushing the costs up. One other thought to keep in mind is that when producing small volume batches, it doesnít make sense to order custom packaging economically. I would like to hear your thoughts on this topic as this would have a direct impact on the price for the final product. That being said, I would like to have nice packaging however it might not be justifiable considering how I donít have too much experience in this field but is something that I am willing to learn and work on.

In terms of pricing, I honestly have no idea how I would price this reasonably for smaller batches. This board is naturally already on the expensive side due to its size (its longer and wider than a standard TKL) and the design that requires a long machining time. Unfortunately, due to the curves of the board, this adds to the machining costs. Itís not particularly absurd, however it is very high compared to more traditional rectangular board without curves. In small batches (think sub 50 units), the board will be priced absurdly high at more than 400 USD, however that is simply due to economies of scale and having a factory with high quality. Keep in mind that this is just a rough estimate, and this number will be updated as I gather more information and finalize the design and figure out other necessary information for the project. I will do my best to push this number down to the best of my ability.

Hotswap? Hotswap? Hotswap? Hotswap? Hotswap?

One of the questions that I can already anticipate is will this board be available in hotswap? The short answer is maybe if youíre willing to learn how to solder. This board has quite a bit of space on the inside and after checking the spec sheets will have no problems with hot swap compatibility with 7305 millmax sockets. With 0305, it may be close, I have not tested it yet. I personally am not a fan of hotswap, as I believe that it takes away from the sound and the aesthetic. I canít stand to see crooked caps on a board and using hotswap sockets/millmax/holtie may result in crooked keys. There are additional problems with hotswap boards such as more points of failure for a pcb, and other additional problems that I wonít go into. As of right now I canít see myself designing a hotswap PCB for the foreseeable future, as this hobby is in the DIY category and in this category itís important to learn different skills. For those that donít know how to solder, I highly suggest you learn how to solder. Itís honestly not too difficult and itís a very useful skill to learn. This entire hobby is about the experience so why not learn to solder to enhance your experience?

Potential deskmats & other stuff branded with the yeti logo

Iíve had a few people ask me about the potential of doing a deskmat with the yeti logo on it. It is something Iím considering however am not quite sure on what to do about it since I havenít put too much thought into it. This is one of those if there is enough interest, Iíll seriously consider it and put in the work for it. Let me know what you think about this in the feedback form.

Wrist rest

One of the things that people may consider is a wrist rest for the board. After using this board for a bit now, I noticed that without a wrist rest my wrists are slightly pointed out if they are resting on the desk while typing which is bad for ergonomics. A simple wrist rest will sort this problem out. Due to the shape of the board, I believe a conventional wrist rest might not work for it, nor will a standard wrist rest for an Alice layout. This is due to the modified placement of the triangular protrusion of the board. I donít believe that I will be designing a wrist rest for this board however if there is enough interest, I can release the dimensions of the board from the source file so that people can make their own.

Founders edition (Ooooo shiny! Ver.)

I have been getting this question a lot and different people asking me about this. A founders edition may exist and is currently in the works. The plan is to have the entire body of the board to be made out of polished stainless steel for that shiny shiny mirror finish. Honestly this is more of a premium product thing that might not even come to fruition as the cost to machine SS for this board design seems quite absurd in terms of pricing. That being said, the idea of a founderís edition is not off the table.

Closing remarks

If you actually read the entire post to this point, congrats! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read all of this. Overall, I am quite pleased with the prototype of this board and the design. There are a few minor things to fix, however it all isnít major and just quality of life stuff such as adding divots to where the gaskets will go, finalizing the shape and design for the gaskets, and widening screw holes so that standard screw-drivers can fit. Again, if you have any thoughts or would like to provide feedback on this project, please feel free to do so!

Special thanks

Thanks to all those that helped me out on this super long journey from start to finish! Along the way there were many roadblocks and to those that helped me out, you know who you are, and thank you so much!

Demagine:
I like the look! FYI the sound test link doesn't work.

The weight design is super cute and I'm all for that! Good luck with IC - excited to see where this goes!

AxolStudio:
Sorry about that, i just posted it and geekhack kinda messed up all my links and stuff and I'm currently trying to fix it all. Thanks for the kind words!

Ireris:
Is there a render of the bottom of the board ?

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

GraffitiDecos:
The chonk!
GLWIC

Sent from my SM-G973W using Tapatalk

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version