geekhack Community => Keyboard Keycaps => Topic started by: snagy on Fri, 08 May 2020, 12:56:10

Title: Making matched encoder knobs
Post by: snagy on Fri, 08 May 2020, 12:56:10
Something I've been thinking about lately: rotary encoder knobs are hot right now.  The Satisfaction 75 has one, Preonics can have them, tons of ergo-like boards have them (the Iris, the Kyria), there's boards folks are prototyping that have them (the Trifecta, one I'm cooking up), and they're popular on a ton of macro pads.

One of the things I've done as I prototype my board is order a ton of encoders and a bunch of knobs to see the differences.  There's a ton of great knobs out there with a big problem: they all feel like audio equipment, not keyboard knobs.

I'd love to be able to get knobs that match the color, surface finish & texture, and (in a dream world) profile of the keycaps I'm using on my board.

What are the odds we could see some common knob designs become standard and get keycap manufacturers to make molds to produce them along with keysets?  Is anyone else interested in trying to figure out how to make this happen?

All of the boards I've listed use EC11 encoders, which have a bunch of options for tactility, accuracy, and switch size.  It seems like we can assume the Alps EC11 encoders are standard, and the high end (ones with the most pulses, etc) EC11s all use a flat knob.
Title: Re: Making matched encoder knobs
Post by: abstractkb on Fri, 08 May 2020, 20:07:22
This sounds like a really good idea.  I'm not the one who would be able to make it happen, but I'll show my support.  When I created my first product which used encoders, I realized how much better the Alps branded ones are compared to all the others, so def stick with ALPS if you want it to feel good when rotating/clicking.  I like the ones that have the longer, softer travel when pressed.
Title: Re: Making matched encoder knobs
Post by: snagy on Fri, 08 May 2020, 22:05:24
I tested a bunch of encoders and largely agree with you about Alps.  Some of the bourns encoders have a really pronounced tactility to the detants that some people will love, but their switch action is all garbage click with no travel.

My wife doesn't like the scratchiness to the detant-free Alps, but im gonna try to lube them at some point to improve that.

I'm having some PCBs built to take mill max sockets for the encoders so I can hot swap them and test them against each other for extended use.
Title: Re: Making matched encoder knobs
Post by: just-mike on Sat, 09 May 2020, 00:02:40
Registered on geekhack so I could follow and get notifications.