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geekhack Projects => Making Stuff Together! => Topic started by: AcidFire on Wed, 19 June 2013, 11:25:40

Title: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 19 June 2013, 11:25:40
Current Status:
I've assembled & tested the first revisions of the boards and am midway through updating the second revisions of the PCBs, bringing them in line to be the production design.

Latest Media:
Testing the LED arrays:

Playing with the layout:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14290.jpg)


****************************************************************************
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So I came to geekhack purely because I happened to stumble across the Ergodox while searching for a keyboard solution to my pain in my wrists. And because Dox and Litster were awesome enough to open source their designs, I was able to use the laser cutters we have at work to take the design for a test drive. What I found just laying my hands on the boards echoed what I've read from a few people, mainly that the thumb cluster wasn't entirely comfortable for me at the same height as the other keys. A couple of test cuts later and I've landed at this:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14173.jpg)

Comparison w/ Ergodox:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14176.jpg)

I made some minor modifications to the key layout, dropped the thumb pad 9mm, and everything felt a bit better in terms of fit. I still want to offset the pinkie keys down a bit more, but for now I'm happy to test my new layout. So before I lay out and order PCBs, I set up a test the old fashioned way:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14185.jpg)
Installing diodes made it super simple to connect my columns. The best part is, it takes minimal effort to remove the hot glue & solder, so when I do finally get PCBs made it won't take me long to recover my keys for the new board.

And because the black & clear acrylic sandwich looks so slick:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14178.jpg)

I'm also a bit proud of the way I've designed the thumb area, as it allows for a variety of different layouts to be used/customized, and then connected to the mainboard:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/thumbpads.png)

More to come!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: fohat.digs on Wed, 19 June 2013, 11:33:16
Beautiful work.

One day I might look into these.

Check out the jailhouse blue mod.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: llovro on Wed, 19 June 2013, 11:34:12
Wow. Good job at doing this. Case looks really classy. Can't wait to see more :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: PixelScript on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:06:28
Wow, this looks brilliant! Awesome job!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:15:49
Yeah, if you could start selling these that would be great.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: linziyi on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:19:28
It looks like a grand piano ;D
would be awesome if the case works with ergodox, I would definitely want one!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:22:43
It looks like a grand piano ;D
would be awesome if the case works with ergodox, I would definitely want one!
The thumb pad is lower than the rest of the board. It needs a different pcb.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:24:28
Thanks for the positive responses so far everyone, it's very encouraging :D

Yeah, if you could start selling these that would be great.
The thought crossed my mind, since I have direct access to the tools (including a Pick & Place machine) I would hopefully be able to keep it on the affordable side too. I'll keep this thread updated if I decide to go down that path.

It looks like a grand piano ;D
would be awesome if the case works with ergodox, I would definitely want one!

Unfortunately due to the staggered nature it wouldn't work directly w/ the Ergodox, however if you're interested in having a case for the Ergodox cut in those colors PM me and I'll see what I can do for ya ;)

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: Larken on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:24:39
woah. that is beautiful. the curves and legs remind me of a grand piano.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:34:35
woah. that is beautiful. the curves and legs remind me of a grand piano.

I'm starting to think I'm going to have to do a mixed white&black keyset lol. I also updated the thread title, considering now that you guys have said it all I can see when I look at it is grand piano  ;)

Also, while these are a bit big, I'm sure I could find similar to look like piano legs heh:
http://www.mbs-standoffs.com/Aluminum-Standoffs-Diameter-12-Standoff-12-Aluminum-Black-Anodized-Finish_p_3001.html (http://www.mbs-standoffs.com/Aluminum-Standoffs-Diameter-12-Standoff-12-Aluminum-Black-Anodized-Finish_p_3001.html)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: ITzNybble on Wed, 19 June 2013, 12:45:57
Wonderful work, such a beauty
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: Glod on Wed, 19 June 2013, 13:13:57
i think you can guess what i think of this. freaking awesome

not sure i like the legs though, i know it goes with the piano theme but they just seem like out of place with the design

maybe if you had a chunk of acrylic cut just like i have on my ergodox in wood.

edit. btw i love the solid color acrylic case for the ergodox, you could get those cut and sell them easily, i would buy one.

edit2: oh snap thats not an ergodox is it on the right? win!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: Larken on Wed, 19 June 2013, 13:31:56
Now that I took a closer look at it, I have to say that this was more impressive than I thought it was. That's 10 layers of acrylic in the design, isn't it? And just a thought for your consideration - a fullhand design with integrated wrist rests are better for tenting. It's very tiring to float your hands all the time with a classic case when its so high up all the time.

By the way, the cuts you made are so much cleaner than the default ergodox cases. I bet you could sell those to people if the costs of your cutting isn't too high.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 19 June 2013, 13:35:00
Just noticed the book in op.
I like your choice in literature. Read most of the series myself.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: Photekq on Wed, 19 June 2013, 13:39:24
Looks great. Good job, man.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: Jagriff on Wed, 19 June 2013, 13:48:25
Please start selling that black acrylic ErgoDox case!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 19 June 2013, 14:15:47
Now that I took a closer look at it, I have to say that this was more impressive than I thought it was. That's 10 layers of acrylic in the design, isn't it? And just a thought for your consideration - a fullhand design with integrated wrist rests are better for tenting. It's very tiring to float your hands all the time with a classic case when its so high up all the time.

By the way, the cuts you made are so much cleaner than the default ergodox cases. I bet you could sell those to people if the costs of your cutting isn't too high.

Nope, it's 7 layers, 3 layers of 6mm acrylic & 4 layers of 3mm. It would be 10 if i was cutting the 6mm layers out of 3mm tho.

I will have to look into selling the black cases, please keep in mind that I don't have 1/16" black acrylic, just 3mm (1/8"), so it would change the thicknesses a bit,  if someone felt like volunteering to try out a case, PM me and we'll go from there.

As for the full hand, thats the first thing I noticed, so I'll be updating the design when I get the chance to provide proper support. The great thing about it being multilayered is that it's easy to make tweaks like that without having to cut the whole thing again.

i think you can guess what i think of this. freaking awesome

not sure i like the legs though, i know it goes with the piano theme but they just seem like out of place with the design

maybe if you had a chunk of acrylic cut just like i have on my ergodox in wood.

edit. btw i love the solid color acrylic case for the ergodox, you could get those cut and sell them easily, i would buy one.

edit2: oh snap thats not an ergodox is it on the right? win!

The legs are quite temporary, and are mostly there to help me figure out what height/angle works for me without having to continually recut an acrylic stand for it. However, it's also possible to find much nicer looking legs that would still allow for the adjustment, so we'll have to see what the future brings.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: Rayne on Wed, 19 June 2013, 14:23:37
wow, this really is a beautiful piece of art work. Great job sir, i would love to try typing on one of these.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard - The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 20 June 2013, 02:25:06
Now that I took a closer look at it, I have to say that this was more impressive than I thought it was. That's 10 layers of acrylic in the design, isn't it? And just a thought for your consideration - a fullhand design with integrated wrist rests are better for tenting. It's very tiring to float your hands all the time with a classic case when its so high up all the time.

By the way, the cuts you made are so much cleaner than the default ergodox cases. I bet you could sell those to people if the costs of your cutting isn't too high.

I completely agree about the floating, so tonight I did a new design:

(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14190.jpg)

I widened the edges a bit, and extended the palm rest, updating the design of the curve as I did. I also moved the pinkie keys down a few millimeters, which feels more comfortable to reach with. The result is far more comfortable than the previous iteration, so now I may just have to cut some pretty 6mm clear spacer pieces and peel off all that protective paper. I'll be able to test better when my new keycaps come in, but I think this is pretty damn close to where I want to be with it design wise.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Thu, 20 June 2013, 15:52:22
Now that I took a closer look at it, I have to say that this was more impressive than I thought it was. That's 10 layers of acrylic in the design, isn't it? And just a thought for your consideration - a fullhand design with integrated wrist rests are better for tenting. It's very tiring to float your hands all the time with a classic case when its so high up all the time.

By the way, the cuts you made are so much cleaner than the default ergodox cases. I bet you could sell those to people if the costs of your cutting isn't too high.

I completely agree about the floating, so tonight I did a new design:

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14190.jpg)


I widened the edges a bit, and extended the palm rest, updating the design of the curve as I did. I also moved the pinkie keys down a few millimeters, which feels more comfortable to reach with. The result is far more comfortable than the previous iteration, so now I may just have to cut some pretty 6mm clear spacer pieces and peel off all that protective paper. I'll be able to test better when my new keycaps come in, but I think this is pretty damn close to where I want to be with it design wise.

Looks great, lookin forward to it hitin production.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Thu, 20 June 2013, 16:38:35
Nice, good job!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: lkey144 on Thu, 20 June 2013, 17:00:02
AcidFire, Are you done with the modification of the PCB? Are you planning on uploading them to the ergodox website?
Is it essentially just a Quadradox, with the thumb cluster split out of each of the main boards? If so, are you planning on using Ben's firmware?
 
Needless to say, you have piqued my interest.
Great work
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 00:06:53
AcidFire, Are you done with the modification of the PCB? Are you planning on uploading them to the ergodox website?
Is it essentially just a Quadradox, with the thumb cluster split out of each of the main boards? If so, are you planning on using Ben's firmware?
 
Needless to say, you have piqued my interest.
Great work

I haven't begun to work on the PCB yet as I've been trying to settle out on my layout first, but while it'll be similar to the ergodox layout there is definitely going to be a few changes:

- Each half will have a ATMEGA32u4 w/ an open source bootloader. I had considered just using the Teensy 2.0's, however open source & open hardware is very much a part of what I do for work that I don't feel right using something close sourced when I have other options. The ironic thing is, I'm using a full controller in each because I plan to use a Bluegiga WT12 bluetooth radio (which is closed source) in each half (eventually) to set the whole thing up as wireless and compatible w/ my mobile devices. If I produce a kit for this, the bluetooth would be an optional add on. If someone knows of a more open module that would allow me to actively switch between bluetooth connections (without having to cycle through them), i'd love to take a look at it.

- The keys themselves will most likely be a 7x5/8x5 matrix layout connected to a MCP23018, keeping it from eating all the I/O on the 32u4 as I have a few other things in mind and leaves more of it open to be hacked/used for other things down the road.

- The thumbpad will most likely be connected on an MCP23008 so that its simple to address/change, move, etc w/o needing large connectors.

Using an I2C bus for the keys allows for simple modifications & tweaks, especially w/ customizing the layout as the MCU will be laid out on a seperate board, and additional peripherals/keypads/foot switches could be added w/ minimal effort.

So basically, there will only need to be 4 pin connectors between each board and each half will have three boards for now (not including the bluetooth.)

There a few more additions/plans I have for the board that I'll be keeping a surprise for now, but I think they'll add an interesting touch to the project ;)

The other reason as well that I'm not planning to use existing firmware is that I plan to produce a proper configuration tool that would allow myself & others to configure/set keys w/o having to mess around with the firmware. I have it laid out right now to support 8+ layers, possibly more, all stored on the boards so that you can take your setup with you and not need the software.

As I've already had a few people inquire to a kit both here and in my office, the rough number I have for the base setup w/o keycaps is between 200-250, and probably another 50-100 for the wireless addon. Also, since I don't think I had made it clear at the start, everything I produce for this project will be released open source/open hardware, either when the project is complete or after I've made a kit available for sale.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Sniping on Fri, 21 June 2013, 00:31:19
Flawless!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Photoelectric on Fri, 21 June 2013, 01:36:40
That is awesome!! The grand piano look is unmistakable!!  Piano-Dox  ;D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Larken on Fri, 21 June 2013, 03:07:12
Amazing job, though I'm not convinced of the new position of the thumb cluster.

Would it be possible for you to post top down pictures of your new design juxtaposed with the ergodox plate beside? It's hard to tell the exact positions from angled shots.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 04:05:50
Keep in mind when you see this, the drop of the thumb area makes a big difference in whats reachable:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14193.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 21 June 2013, 06:09:34


As I've already had a few people inquire to a kit both here and in my office, the rough number I have for the base setup w/o keycaps is between 200-250, and probably another 50-100 for the wireless addon. Also, since I don't think I had made it clear at the start, everything I produce for this project will be released open source/open hardware, either when the project is complete or after I've made a kit available for sale.

Is that with or without switches? I'd love to order one without, saving my whites for it.

Also, if the wireless also supports wired I'm totally in for (at least) one, if it doesn't I'm totally in for a wired.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 09:22:01


As I've already had a few people inquire to a kit both here and in my office, the rough number I have for the base setup w/o keycaps is between 200-250, and probably another 50-100 for the wireless addon. Also, since I don't think I had made it clear at the start, everything I produce for this project will be released open source/open hardware, either when the project is complete or after I've made a kit available for sale.

Is that with or without switches? I'd love to order one without, saving my whites for it.

Also, if the wireless also supports wired I'm totally in for (at least) one, if it doesn't I'm totally in for a wired.

I'm sure I'll be able to make a kit available without switches given how many people on here already have their preferences ;) How much that'll change price I'm not sure yet, probably 40-50.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 21 June 2013, 09:28:15
I'm sure I'll be able to make a kit available without switches given how many people on here already have their preferences ;) How much that'll change price I'm not sure yet, probably 40-50.

Yeah, sounds right. It's 44 on massdrop. It can be more or less depending on where you get your switches and how many you get.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 09:43:57
Oh and since I forgot to address it, with the wireless, yes it'll work while it's plugged in and charging. Nothing's worse that having your wireless keyboard go dead in the middle of a coding marathon ;)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 21 June 2013, 09:57:27
Any price range in mind?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 21 June 2013, 10:01:14
Oh and since I forgot to address it, with the wireless, yes it'll work while it's plugged in and charging. Nothing's worse that having your wireless keyboard go dead in the middle of a coding marathon ;)

Nice. I like wireless boards, but not buying batteries and not being able to plug in. You have officially designed my ideal (plausible) keyboard.

Will the data be over usb or bluetooth when it's in charging mode? Mostly ask since I'd like to be able to use it at the bios phase (or on others computers without bluetooth) when necessary.


Any price range in mind?
He said 200-250 plus 50-100 for wireless in an earlier post.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 21 June 2013, 10:24:30
hmm... the whole keyboard for 200~250 or just the case?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 21 June 2013, 10:26:58
hmm... the whole keyboard for 200~250 or just the case?
Since he said he would offer kits with the switches removed for 40-50 less, and the fact there's a seperate price for wireless, I'd venture to say it's the whole kit.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 21 June 2013, 10:38:14
hmm... the whole keyboard for 200~250 or just the case?
Since he said he would offer kits with the switches removed for 40-50 less, and the fact there's a seperate price for wireless, I'd venture to say it's the whole kit.

;D I would love a green switch one, looking forward for it!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 10:55:10
Oh and since I forgot to address it, with the wireless, yes it'll work while it's plugged in and charging. Nothing's worse that having your wireless keyboard go dead in the middle of a coding marathon ;)

Nice. I like wireless boards, but not buying batteries and not being able to plug in. You have officially designed my ideal (plausible) keyboard.

Will the data be over usb or bluetooth when it's in charging mode? Mostly ask since I'd like to be able to use it at the bios phase (or on others computers without bluetooth) when necessary.


Any price range in mind?
He said 200-250 plus 50-100 for wireless in an earlier post.

Yes, the USB will be prioritized when plugged in, but only when there's a data connection present. If it's only a power connection the bluetooth will stay connected.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: lkey144 on Fri, 21 June 2013, 13:31:20
Quote
- Each half will have a ATMEGA32u4 w/ an open source bootloader. I had considered just using the Teensy 2.0's, however open source & open hardware is very much a part of what I do for work that I don't feel right using something close sourced when I have other options. The ironic thing is, I'm using a full controller in each because I plan to use a Bluegiga WT12 bluetooth radio (which is closed source) in each half (eventually) to set the whole thing up as wireless and compatible w/ my mobile devices.

Hopefully portions of Ben's work, written in C and MIT licensed, will be useful when programming the ATMEGA. Specifically the macros, sticky keys, and the unicode string output. He put a lot of work into branch 2 https://github.com/benblazak/ergodox-firmware/tree/partial-rewrite/firmware (https://github.com/benblazak/ergodox-firmware/tree/partial-rewrite/firmware). He also lists all the literature that he read when writing things up in the main branch

Quote
Using an I2C bus for the keys allows for simple modifications & tweaks, especially w/ customizing the layout as the MCU will be laid out on a separate board, and additional peripherals/keypads/foot switches could be added w/ minimal effort.

Ah foot switches for layer/mode switching, something that has been tumbling around in my head for some time, exciting.

Quote
So basically, there will only need to be 4 pin connectors between each board and each half will have three boards for now (not including the bluetooth.)

So the envsioned "full stack" would be:

Quote
There a few more additions/plans I have for the board that I'll be keeping a surprise for now, but I think they'll add an interesting touch to the project ;)

mutters impatiently

Quote
The other reason as well that I'm not planning to use existing firmware is that I plan to produce a proper configuration tool that would allow myself & others to configure/set keys w/o having to mess around with the firmware. I have it laid out right now to support 8+ layers, possibly more, all stored on the boards so that you can take your setup with you and not need the software.

Ambitious, I knew that ergodox had started something special but this has now reached the next level.

Quote
As I've already had a few people inquire to a kit both here and in my office, the rough number I have for the base setup w/o keycaps is between 200-250, and probably another 50-100 for the wireless addon. Also, since I don't think I had made it clear at the start, everything I produce for this project will be released open source/open hardware, either when the project is complete or after I've made a kit available for sale.

Are you prepared to handle the level of demand that you are likely to get? I believe that the initial massdrop generated 400+ sales, and many of those had additional constraints, both by region and order details(+/- various parts).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:03:29
Quote
Hopefully portions of Ben's work, written in C and MIT licensed, will be useful when programming the ATMEGA. Specifically the macros, sticky keys, and the unicode string output. He put a lot of work into branch 2 https://github.com/benblazak/ergodox-firmware/tree/partial-rewrite/firmware (https://github.com/benblazak/ergodox-firmware/tree/partial-rewrite/firmware). He also lists all the literature that he read when writing things up in the main branch

Most likely, I wasn't looking to start completely from scratch so I imagine I'll find it quite useful. Thanks for the link :)

Quote
Ah foot switches for layer/mode switching, something that has been tumbling around in my head for some time, exciting.

Once I finish my board layouts you'll see I am slightly OCD/Obsessed w/ modularity, I hate being locked into someone else's design, I wouldn't want to do that to someone else. So I try to make it as easy as possible to add to what I produce.

Quote
So the envsioned "full stack" would be:
  • ATmega32U4 * 2
  • ({7,8}x5) digit cluster * 2
  • variable thumb cluster via MCP230008 * 2
  • 1? BlueGiga WT12 Bluetooth (optional)
Pretty much, w/ a lipo charging & monitoring circuit for each board. Depending on how truely wireless I want to go, each half would have a bluetooth module, with one slaved to the other. The other option would be a pair of wireless radios in each talking to a base station that connects either via bluetooth or USB, which could also open the possibility of wireless footswitches, keypads, etc etc. Either would work in theory, remains to be seen how well it works in practice. I have access to both setups at work so there will be thorough testing for both.

Quote
mutters impatiently
I promise it'll all become clear once I get my PCBs done ;)

Quote
Ambitious, I knew that ergodox had started something special but this has now reached the next level.
I agree, the biggest issue I'm concerned with now is the best way to write something that's cross platform with as little work/modification needed for each as possible. Right now I'm leaning towards something in Java (I feel dirty just saying it.)

Quote
Are you prepared to handle the level of demand that you are likely to get? I believe that the initial massdrop generated 400+ sales, and many of those had additional constraints, both by region and order details(+/- various parts).
So far I don't see a problem. I work for a company that has a fair bit of experience producing electronics & robotics kits en masse, and they've already shown an interest in helping me to produce kits if that's the road I take.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:06:18
How would you deal with keycaps? not including them in the "retail" package?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:11:09
How would you deal with keycaps? not including them in the "retail" package?

Most likely would talk to someone like SP and offer a DCS or DSA set, all comes down to interest. Either way it would most likely be an optional cost since I would expect most here would be purchasing or would have their own keycaps anyways.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: lkey144 on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:34:31
Quote
Right now I'm leaning towards something in Java (I feel dirty just saying it.)

Surely Python could handle the cross-platform config tool + gui with similar ease? AFAIK, at least one version comes standard on all 3 major operating systems, though I am not sure about Android or iOS.

Neither is my primary language but my blech! factor is much higher with Java.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:37:29
Quote
Right now I'm leaning towards something in Java (I feel dirty just saying it.)

Surely Python could handle the cross-platform config tool + gui with similar ease? AFAIK, at least one version comes standard on all 3 major operating systems, though I am not sure about Android or iOS.

Neither is my primary language but my blech! factor is much higher with Java.

I agree, but I've always had to do python installs on both linux & windows so I think I'm out of luck there. Believe me, the thought of using Java definitely leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. We'll see how things go with it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:43:46
If the program is free software and uses the right libraries cross compilation shouldn't be too bad. It wouldn't be a single binary, but making three or four from the same source code is totally possible.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: lkey144 on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:53:31
After a brief search I discovered that Python does not come standard in windows, but this exists http://www.py2exe.org/ (http://www.py2exe.org/). Which solves the windows problem, Most Linux distros and OSX come with python, Though I suppose that making an OSX binary would be fine too, given the homogeneity of the platform. I would be willing to do some leg work on figuring out the cross compilation situation with ARM and the phone OSes to avoid Java.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Binge on Fri, 21 June 2013, 14:57:34
Wanted to say that even though the response is a bit late your case is a really neat project.  Awesome job.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 21 June 2013, 15:17:50
After a brief search I discovered that Python does not come standard in windows, but this exists http://www.py2exe.org/ (http://www.py2exe.org/). Which solves the windows problem, Most Linux distros and OSX come with python, Though I suppose that making an OSX binary would be fine too, given the homogeneity of the platform. I would be willing to do some leg work on figuring out the cross compilation situation with ARM and the phone OSes to avoid Java.

I'm not worried about iOS development as that's something I'm spooling up for a side project for a client. The issues becomes  that you can't get Serial/SPP access from apple without going through their stupid MFi program. We can however get around that by using a Bluetooth 4 module instead of the Bluetooth 2 I have in mind since iOS doesn't seem to restrict SPP.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 21 June 2013, 17:53:16
This is pretty awsome. MAD PROPZ!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 22 June 2013, 18:44:36
Couple of quick ones for posture, I'll add new ones once I get proper keycaps in.
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_0659.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_0661.jpg)

On a seperate note, after soldering one side I'm going full tilt on the pcb layout, I forgot how much I hate having to dead bug designs.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 22 June 2013, 23:25:04
I'm curious how interested people might be in an add on that would give you addressable RGB LEDs for each key? With what I have in mind, it could be added later (with a bit of work) or the easier method which would be to add it while you're building the kit. The add on would probably cost 60-80 unless I can find cheaper versions of the LEDs I have in mind.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sat, 22 June 2013, 23:27:46
I'm curious how interested people might be in an add on that would give you addressable RGB LEDs for each key? With what I have in mind, it could be added later (with a bit of work) or the easier method which would be to add it while you're building the kit. The add on would probably cost 60-80 unless I can find cheaper versions of the LEDs I have in mind.

If you did this it would no longer almost be my ideal board. There would be no need for the almost.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 22 June 2013, 23:32:09
I'm curious how interested people might be in an add on that would give you addressable RGB LEDs for each key? With what I have in mind, it could be added later (with a bit of work) or the easier method which would be to add it while you're building the kit. The add on would probably cost 60-80 unless I can find cheaper versions of the LEDs I have in mind.

If you did this it would no longer almost be my ideal board. There would be no need for the almost.

Lol, glad to hear it. I've put out a number of inquiries for the LEDs I need to see if I can get them lower than the price I've found. It'll be the last thing I develop, but I definitely would like to know if its something I need to keep in mind design wise.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sat, 22 June 2013, 23:35:33
I'm curious how interested people might be in an add on that would give you addressable RGB LEDs for each key? With what I have in mind, it could be added later (with a bit of work) or the easier method which would be to add it while you're building the kit. The add on would probably cost 60-80 unless I can find cheaper versions of the LEDs I have in mind.

What LED do you have in mind. I did lots of research on this and I was only able to do this by using a surface mount RGB LED and dremeling out the LED spot (which isn't hard at all). If you could find on that does fit (3mm) each keyswitch only has two bottom holes (It looks like it is a full bar but the bottom half isn't) so you still have to dremel them out. I mention it because most people won't want to do it IMO. I love the idea of an RGB keyboard and wanted to do it with the Ergodox but it has to be built into the board because I just did a wired mod and it was insane with the wiring and that was just for one color. If you are interested the best and simpliest controller for the LEDs is the Colordunio. It can control 64 RGB leds and does white balance, etc. It can be controlled via I2C and you can chain them as they have I2C in and out, plus you slap an FTDI controller and you just plug and power it all via USB. It is a full arduino too and easy to program plus their is a c library so you can write you own code. For example you can do neat things like have the 1-9 keys show CPU usage or go from green to red to show it. I have tested this out and it is pretty neat. Also note if you get a surface mount part it has to be very bright, much brighter than you think in my tests because even with it drilled out you are just projecting a cone of light surrounded by very solid black opaque material and a little hole.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sat, 22 June 2013, 23:36:21
I'm curious how interested people might be in an add on that would give you addressable RGB LEDs for each key? With what I have in mind, it could be added later (with a bit of work) or the easier method which would be to add it while you're building the kit. The add on would probably cost 60-80 unless I can find cheaper versions of the LEDs I have in mind.

If you did this it would no longer almost be my ideal board. There would be no need for the almost.

Lol, glad to hear it. I've put out a number of inquiries for the LEDs I need to see if I can get them lower than the price I've found. It'll be the last thing I develop, but I definitely would like to know if its something I need to keep in mind design wise.
I mean it's definitely the least necessary thing compared to everything else, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want rainbows as I type if it's not too hard between having to make room for more traces on the pcb and firmware.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 22 June 2013, 23:51:44
I'm curious how interested people might be in an add on that would give you addressable RGB LEDs for each key? With what I have in mind, it could be added later (with a bit of work) or the easier method which would be to add it while you're building the kit. The add on would probably cost 60-80 unless I can find cheaper versions of the LEDs I have in mind.

What LED do you have in mind. I did lots of research on this and I was only able to do this by using a surface mount RGB LED and dremeling out the LED spot (which isn't hard at all). If you could find on that does fit (3mm) each keyswitch only has two bottom holes (It looks like it is a full bar but the bottom half isn't) so you still have to dremel them out. I mention it because most people won't want to do it IMO. I love the idea of an RGB keyboard and wanted to do it with the Ergodox but it has to be built into the board because I just did a wired mod and it was insane with the wiring and that was just for one color. If you are interested the best and simpliest controller for the LEDs is the Colordunio. It can control 64 RGB leds and does white balance, etc. It can be controlled via I2C and you can chain them as they have I2C in and out, plus you slap an FTDI controller and you just plug and power it all via USB. It is a full arduino too and easy to program plus their is a c library so you can write you own code. For example you can do neat things like have the 1-9 keys show CPU usage or go from green to red to show it. I have tested this out and it is pretty neat. Also note if you get a surface mount part it has to be very bright, much brighter than you think in my tests because even with it drilled out you are just projecting a cone of light surrounded by very solid black opaque material and a little hole.

The LEDs I have in mind are SMD, are roughly 2x1.5mm and RGB. I'd be using them in an array similar to the keys, using a set of 74HC595s & something along the lines of a ATMEGA8/168/328 on an I2C bus. We've already got libraries written for this at work so I can reduce the size of everything as much as possible. This board would come preassembled as it would be far simplier for me to troubleshoot and for you guys to put together if you don't have to solder 360 tiny leds. This would be the arrangement of the LEDs under the switch:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/rgb-leds.png)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 22 June 2013, 23:55:51
I mean it's definitely the least necessary thing compared to everything else, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want rainbows as I type if it's not too hard between having to make room for more traces on the pcb and firmware.

It should be fairly simple to add to the firmware if the control of the LEDs are offloaded to a second controller. As for room on the board, this would be a second PCB so that it can be done as a reversible design just like the main board and not have to worry about how crowded the PCB is, and would be cheaper to produce since I'd only need one design for both sides.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: bazemk1979 on Sun, 23 June 2013, 00:07:44
amazing work OP
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sun, 23 June 2013, 00:13:23
I'm curious how interested people might be in an add on that would give you addressable RGB LEDs for each key? With what I have in mind, it could be added later (with a bit of work) or the easier method which would be to add it while you're building the kit. The add on would probably cost 60-80 unless I can find cheaper versions of the LEDs I have in mind.

What LED do you have in mind. I did lots of research on this and I was only able to do this by using a surface mount RGB LED and dremeling out the LED spot (which isn't hard at all). If you could find on that does fit (3mm) each keyswitch only has two bottom holes (It looks like it is a full bar but the bottom half isn't) so you still have to dremel them out. I mention it because most people won't want to do it IMO. I love the idea of an RGB keyboard and wanted to do it with the Ergodox but it has to be built into the board because I just did a wired mod and it was insane with the wiring and that was just for one color. If you are interested the best and simpliest controller for the LEDs is the Colordunio. It can control 64 RGB leds and does white balance, etc. It can be controlled via I2C and you can chain them as they have I2C in and out, plus you slap an FTDI controller and you just plug and power it all via USB. It is a full arduino too and easy to program plus their is a c library so you can write you own code. For example you can do neat things like have the 1-9 keys show CPU usage or go from green to red to show it. I have tested this out and it is pretty neat. Also note if you get a surface mount part it has to be very bright, much brighter than you think in my tests because even with it drilled out you are just projecting a cone of light surrounded by very solid black opaque material and a little hole.

The LEDs I have in mind are SMD, are roughly 2x1.5mm and RGB. I'd be using them in an array similar to the keys, using a set of 74HC595s & something along the lines of a ATMEGA8/168/328 on an I2C bus. We've already got libraries written for this at work so I can reduce the size of everything as much as possible. This board would come preassembled as it would be far simplier for me to troubleshoot and for you guys to put together if you don't have to solder 360 tiny leds. This would be the arrangement of the LEDs under the switch:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/rgb-leds.png)


So is your idea to have all of them fully addressable or in sets of 4? I would assume as sets of 4 but I could do some really neat things if I could light different sections of a key up.

As for placement, in my test it was better to offset the LEDs so they are not right in the center. The reason being is that you are projecting the light in the thickest part of the key not in the wells of the key. This can be both good and bad but if you are using small LEDs. I would recommend setting them just off center a bit so you can avoid wasting light projecting it into the plus sign supports of the key and actually into the four wells of the key instead.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 23 June 2013, 00:23:04
So is your idea to have all of them fully addressable or in sets of 4? I would assume as sets of 4 but I could do some really neat things if I could light different sections of a key up.

As for placement, in my test it was better to offset the LEDs so they are not right in the center. The reason being is that you are projecting the light in the thickest part of the key not in the wells of the key. This can be both good and bad but if you are using small LEDs. I would recommend setting them just off center a bit so you can avoid wasting light projecting it into the plus sign supports of the key and actually into the four wells of the key instead.

Yes, the 4 LEDs would act as one for the first revision as doing independent control of each would be a fair bit more complicated, but I like the idea :) I've added it to my list of features to explore in a future revision.

As for the placement of the LEDs, I'm going to do a test board with each switch having the LEDs in a different position so I can do a visual test to see what would work.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: TD22057 on Sun, 23 June 2013, 18:39:15
OK - that is crazy cool.  I'll be following this with a lot of interest.  It will be really nice to see a custom wireless keyboard - I haven't been able to find any good examples on how to go about that.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sun, 23 June 2013, 19:58:35
So is your idea to have all of them fully addressable or in sets of 4? I would assume as sets of 4 but I could do some really neat things if I could light different sections of a key up.

As for placement, in my test it was better to offset the LEDs so they are not right in the center. The reason being is that you are projecting the light in the thickest part of the key not in the wells of the key. This can be both good and bad but if you are using small LEDs. I would recommend setting them just off center a bit so you can avoid wasting light projecting it into the plus sign supports of the key and actually into the four wells of the key instead.

Yes, the 4 LEDs would act as one for the first revision as doing independent control of each would be a fair bit more complicated, but I like the idea :) I've added it to my list of features to explore in a future revision.

As for the placement of the LEDs, I'm going to do a test board with each switch having the LEDs in a different position so I can do a visual test to see what would work.

First revision as in software only or hardware too?
Would be nice if the traces were set up so it could be changed later in firmware, but I understand why that might not be plausible.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 24 June 2013, 02:20:01
First revision as in software only or hardware too?
Would be nice if the traces were set up so it could be changed later in firmware, but I understand why that might not be plausible.

Both, though it's mainly a hardware issue as it would be very complicated to wire 360 LEDs for individual control on a board that for the most part will be about 5mm wide between most of the holes. I won't say it's impossible yet, particularly w/ a 4 layer board, but the cost of something like that in order to recoup for the more expensive boards, design time, etc. would be fairly cost prohibitive for many that it may not be worth doing.


Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 24 June 2013, 14:10:09
So after doing a bit more research after some notes I had seen ic07 make on deskthority (http://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/split-ergonomic-keyboard-project-t1753-960.html), I've started looking at other controller options to allow for what i want to do down the road. Right now I'm looking at a couple different controllers which are either cortex M3 or M4, USB capable AND right around the same price as the 32U4. The major advantage I get is a ton of programming room & plenty of ram, which should make it far more simpler to implement things like multiple layer management & macro recording/management.

Edit: I seem to be asleep at the wheel today, as I've completely spaced to the fact that the modularity of the design would allow for a processor upgrade w/ minimal effort down the road if I found the need to actually do it. Consider me back on the 32u4 wagon lol.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Mon, 24 June 2013, 21:32:14
So will I be able to talk to this via software/api over USB so I can do custom lighting which changes at runtime?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 25 June 2013, 14:19:43
So will I be able to talk to this via software/api over USB so I can do custom lighting which changes at runtime?

Thats the plan. The board will have some functionality that will require control over the LEDs for indication like battery life, which bluetooth device youre connected to, etc etc. but otherwise I'd like to make it available over software so people can set up patterns and other fun stuff :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 28 June 2013, 07:38:00
The led indicators sound pretty useful.

The battery one reminded me, what are you doing battery wise? Small rechargeable lithium battery? Really anything that lasts a good while (and can be replaced without soldering) is good.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 28 June 2013, 11:08:56
The led indicators sound pretty useful.

The battery one reminded me, what are you doing battery wise? Small rechargeable lithium battery? Really anything that lasts a good while (and can be replaced without soldering) is good.

I have a lipo battery in mind that is 3.7v & 2000mah, so I'll need a boost converter for it but the battery will be easily replaceable and require no soldering. Should last a week (I'm hoping) without needing a recharge, but we'll see how everything works out in reality.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 28 June 2013, 11:27:36

Should last a week (I'm hoping) without needing a recharge, but we'll see how everything works out in reality.

Sounds like plentiy, seeing as recharging is simple. Will probably be a lot less on average though, due to unexplainable desire to keep 300something leds on full brightness.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 28 June 2013, 17:57:23
Sounds like plentiy, seeing as recharging is simple. Will probably be a lot less on average though, due to unexplainable desire to keep 300something leds on full brightness.

Sometimes sacrifices need to made in the name of bling. However, it should be possible to add a secondary pack for those who need their LED fix while working wirelessly, it'll probably just take a little longer to charge ;)

Also, since I haven't posted any pics in a couple of days, I thought I would put up a couple more:
This is why I'm putting a lot of time into proper PCBs -_-
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/deadbug.jpg)

And some of my keycaps arrived, I had ordered these to flesh out a set I had bought in the Classified section that haven't arrived yet (tho fingers crossed for tuesday!)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/keycaps-temp.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: ShallowMoon on Sun, 30 June 2013, 10:43:57
Really nice work. Following this thread closely.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 30 June 2013, 17:31:26
Quick update to share, first spin of the main boards is nearly done, just need to run the I2C lines:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/boardside03.png)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/boardside04.png)

And a bit more detail around the microcontroller:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/boardside01.png)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/boardside02.png)

For those of you who are wondering, I'm going to try using one of the new AtTiny828 chips from Atmel for handling scanning the board and control of the LEDs in each key. The pair of 0805 pads you see to either side of the controller determine which side they are (right or left) and which address to use, meaning you could actually have 4 main boards connected at once  :eek: the same controller will be used for the thumbboards as well, because while it will be over kill, it'll also help keep pricing low and the code base similar.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: ShallowMoon on Mon, 01 July 2013, 03:03:52
This may be quite a subjective question, but what incline (degrees) seems to be the most comfortable when using 'The Grand Piano'?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 01 July 2013, 10:33:15
This may be quite a subjective question, but what incline (degrees) seems to be the most comfortable when using 'The Grand Piano'?

To be honest I haven't measured it yet, however I believe its 15-20 degrees. It's enough to force your hands to lift & tent without being overly uncomfortable and is actually pretty supportive. I'm still working on finding the best angle for it though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Mon, 01 July 2013, 11:10:19
So you are planning to design/make the PCB at this point correct?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Mon, 01 July 2013, 13:48:48
PCB Looks great. So based on your PCB it looks like this version is for single channel through hole LEDs correct? Still interested in grabbing a board just curious.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 02 July 2013, 11:08:35
So you are planning to design/make the PCB at this point correct?
Yes, I expect I will be doing atleast one more PCB revision before settling on something I'd feel comfortable producing in volume. Right now these layouts are more of a testing set up than anything else, hence the two sets of 12 pin headers for the LEDs & switches. I'll be designing the thumbs and breakout boards for both the main 32u4 controllers, as well as a breakout for the 828 micros as well. I'm hoping to get my order in by Friday.


PCB Looks great. So based on your PCB it looks like this version is for single channel through hole LEDs correct? Still interested in grabbing a board just curious.
The single channel will always be a built in option. The RGB board I mentioned would be paired w/ a 1.5mm piece of acrylic or similar and would replace the switch mounting plate. Effectively, each key would have a central LED or ring of LEDs (or both if you so chose), but it gives the end user more options for customization, or not, depending on what they want to spend. If you were to choose to have both the central LED -and- the secondary ring, they would live on separate addresses in the API, allowing for total control for each key.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 02 July 2013, 16:26:10
Sounds great. Let me know where to throw my money if you are looking to get boards already
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Tue, 02 July 2013, 16:31:35
Sounds great. Let me know where to throw my money if you are looking to get boards already
Hey, I was offering to throw money first!

But seriously, this is sounding great, you're making amazingly fast progress. One of the fastest idea->prototype->production cycles for something of this scale I've seen if your pcb time estimates are correct.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 02 July 2013, 17:00:19
I'm just eager to start doing some programming for the lights after I finished my backlit Kinesis project
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 02 July 2013, 17:06:10
Sounds great. Let me know where to throw my money if you are looking to get boards already
Hey, I was offering to throw money first!

But seriously, this is sounding great, you're making amazingly fast progress. One of the fastest idea->prototype->production cycles for something of this scale I've seen if your pcb time estimates are correct.
Well the encouragement on this forum and elsewhere has been a big driving factor to the development time ;) I'm also now pushing to get it done sooner than later, since Kickstarter will be opening it's doors to Canada by the end of the summer. This would allow me to reach a broader audience quickly, meaning far less waiting for funding to do some of the stuff that's been earmarked as down the road, not to mention hopefully putting the kind of funds I need together to do proper backlit keys.

I'm just eager to start doing some programming for the lights after I finished my backlit Kinesis project

I have to warn you that I have no idea how long it'll take me to get the lighting API together as it definitely won't be the first priority on my list. I will see what I can do though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 02 July 2013, 17:41:49
If there's any dev gel you need on the lighting let me know if I can help.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 03 July 2013, 10:55:00
If there's any dev gel you need on the lighting let me know if I can help.

Very much appreciated :)

Also, since I've got my first board prepped for prototyping, I thought I'd share:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/Mainboard-Rev1-Left.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/Mainboard-Rev1-Right.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CPTBadAss on Wed, 03 July 2013, 10:57:07
That's awesome that you're taking this to a Kickstarter. I really like the concept and I'm eager to see where this is going in the future.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Wed, 03 July 2013, 11:15:22
:O it's on kickstarter?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 03 July 2013, 11:21:02
That's awesome that you're taking this to a Kickstarter. I really like the concept and I'm eager to see where this is going in the future.
:O it's on kickstarter?
It isn't up yet as I've still got a ways to go to a working prototype & Kickstarter isn't available directly to Canadians yet. They've announced that it'll be available to us by the end of the summer, so I've got lots of time to develop and put together a good project. I'll be sure to let everyone know when it's available.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Glod on Wed, 03 July 2013, 11:36:58
i like where this is going except i am still not thrilled about the feet if you are still going that direction of the poles.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 03 July 2013, 11:47:52
i like where this is going except i am still not thrilled about the feet if you are still going that direction of the poles.

Not at all, the feet haven't changed because I haven't had the time to design a better system for adjustable tenting, I'm not a fan of them myself either :P
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 03 July 2013, 11:50:07
Say, is the final case going to be layered acrylic or something else? If it's something else, look at the feet on the apple adjustable II. I couldn't see it working well not built into the case though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 03 July 2013, 12:11:56
Say, is the final case going to be layered acrylic or something else? If it's something else, look at the feet on the apple adjustable II. I couldn't see it working well not built into the case though.

I've been debating on this, and what I think will end up happening is to offer the Acrylic as the "budget" case as machining or injection molding something will take a bit more investment to get set up. What I will probably do is offer other case options down the road that can replace the acrylic without costing an arm and a leg on their own, but again, it'll all come down to cost.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 03 July 2013, 19:59:58
More progress tonight, got two versions of the thumb boards done:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/Thumbboard-Rev1-S01.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/Thumbboard-Rev1-S02.jpg)
I also did the ATTINY828 Breakout that I wanted, so the only thing left before the boards go in for manufacture is the main controller :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Sai on Wed, 03 July 2013, 21:03:02
subscribed to the thread so that i can keep track of the progress of this one and the kickstarter.  :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 04 July 2013, 13:21:44
Looks great!

One thought while handling the layout for LEDs it would be great if there were the ability to handle extra LEDs other than just the ones for the keys. Maybe 10 extra (or what ever works out) so I could add custom things like which layer is on, etc
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 04 July 2013, 13:31:39
Looks great!

One thought while handling the layout for LEDs it would be great if there were the ability to handle extra LEDs other than just the ones for the keys. Maybe 10 extra (or what ever works out) so I could add custom things like which layer is on, etc
I have something else in mind for that ;) It won't be a part of the initial project, but I've already built in the capacity to add it quickly.

I do have a question for those of you who are following this project. Do you prefer the Mini-B usb or Micro-B usb connection? I personally lean towards Mini-B for applications like this where you don't really need the Micro, but I'm curious to see what you guys prefer.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 04 July 2013, 13:54:01
Mini.

I find it "sticks" better.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Thu, 04 July 2013, 14:02:24
I dont know why but I always fear of easily breaking the micro usb :S
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 04 July 2013, 14:32:23
Probably mini just because I always seem to have extra mini cables lying around
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 04 July 2013, 15:25:21
I dont know why but I always fear of easily breaking the micro usb :S
I've actually broken the connector off a couple of breakout boards before while fighting the locking connectors, hence my hesitation to use it for this.
Mini.

I find it "sticks" better.
Probably mini just because I always seem to have extra mini cables lying around

I'm glad to see I wasn't crazy in sticking with the older style. Finished the last board I need to get my PCB order in:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/CPUboard-Rev1.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 04 July 2013, 16:12:24
Are u open to us sending you money to get an extra board with your order?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 04 July 2013, 16:32:59
Are u open to us sending you money to get an extra board with your order?

I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about that as these are very much prototype boards, it's something I would have to give some thought to. If anything I'll order a few spares and if I decide I don't need them I'll look at making them available to a few people.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 04 July 2013, 16:47:32
Are u open to us sending you money to get an extra board with your order?

No problem. :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 04 July 2013, 17:26:20
Are u open to us sending you money to get an extra board with your order?

No problem. :)

Sorry, though I do appreciate all the enthusiasm :) Once I've got them up and running I'll be open to taking applications for a closed beta, will probably do 10-20 beta sets to get some proper feedback. This will all come down to timing, as producing beta testing units will be expensive for me and I really hate the idea of asking for cash to participate in the testing. Hopefully it'll work out timewise that a successful run on kickstarter would pay for beta units as part of the development process, so we'll see.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: bbl on Thu, 04 July 2013, 22:53:38
What is the timeline for mass-production and shipment?  Based on your progress, it looks we can see the final product by the end of this year. 

Also, a few suggestions:
1. Have legend keycaps to ensure there is a higher level of acceptance at Kickstarter.
2. Offer a choice of cases.  As you know, acrylic has a number of drawbacks.  Aluminium will probably have problem with wireless.  Have you considered carbon fiber?  It will be the coolest KB in the market.
3. If you can put a trackpoint/trackball on the right-hand side (in your future development), it will be my ideal KB.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: ShallowMoon on Fri, 05 July 2013, 07:19:11
You should compare Kickstarter to a website called Indiegogo, I heard they take less commission compared to Kickstarter.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 05 July 2013, 10:15:42
What is the timeline for mass-production and shipment?  Based on your progress, it looks we can see the final product by the end of this year. 

Also, a few suggestions:
1. Have legend keycaps to ensure there is a higher level of acceptance at Kickstarter.
2. Offer a choice of cases.  As you know, acrylic has a number of drawbacks.  Aluminium will probably have problem with wireless.  Have you considered carbon fiber?  It will be the coolest KB in the market.
3. If you can put a trackpoint/trackball on the right-hand side (in your future development), it will be my ideal KB.
1. I absolutely agree, and once I've got a better idea of what I need I'll be talking to someone like SP to make this happen.
2. That's the plan, though not initially. While the acrylic definitely has its drawbacks, it's the cheapest medium for me to produce cases at the start. I do however plan to offer additional styles/materials as overage goals on the kickstarter.
3. Thats definitely on the list, as a programmer I would prefer not to move my hands off my keyboard just to highlight a snippet of text. What I'm hoping to do is offer one as part of the modular thumb system in the near future.
 
You should compare Kickstarter to a website called Indiegogo, I heard they take less commission compared to Kickstarter.
I have, and while Indiegogo is nice for fees and the fact that you can do flex funding, they don't attract nearly the traffic or attention that projects on kickstarter do. We know several people who have campaigned on both platforms and we've been told time and again that kickstarter was the much bigger draw/success.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 05 July 2013, 20:32:49
So, since my first revision board layouts have gone in, control electronics have been ordered, and quote requests sent for keys & caps, I did a quick test layout for the RGB board:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/LEDConcept-Rev1.jpg)
Unfortunately, the default footprint for the led I have in mind is a bit too big. I'm not yet deterred, I have a couple ideas on how to reduce them to fit.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Fri, 05 July 2013, 20:37:01
What about a diagonal layout at the corners? Should give you more rooms as the switches are rounded and pins can hang out on both sides
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 07 July 2013, 17:40:13
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/LEDConcept-Rev2.jpg)
It definitely works out better, however I'd have to do some real world testing to see how well they light a key evenly.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sun, 07 July 2013, 19:06:13
It definitely works out better, however I'd have to do some real world testing to see how well they light a key evenly.

Don't know if you remember but I mentioned I did testing like this with the offset layout like you did here with surface mount parts and it actually works out much much better because when they are centered you are splitting one of the bars of the plus sign with each led. This way it works out much much better because you fill the well of the keys and results in much more even coloring. Also it helps shin through the keys because the bars of the plus sign are much much thicker.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 07 July 2013, 23:01:46
It definitely works out better, however I'd have to do some real world testing to see how well they light a key evenly.

Don't know if you remember but I mentioned I did testing like this with the offset layout like you did here with surface mount parts and it actually works out much much better because when they are centered you are splitting one of the bars of the plus sign with each led. This way it works out much much better because you fill the well of the keys and results in much more even coloring. Also it helps shin through the keys because the bars of the plus sign are much much thicker.

Very true, do you remember what viewing angle the LEDs you tested were?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sun, 07 July 2013, 23:25:55
Hmmm. That is a great question and I remember making spreedsheets but I need to find them but it is one of those loss of hard drive things. I remember looking at a number of them. The only one I can think of right of the bat was the first one I did a quick test on. It is obviously WAY too big but it is what I had on hand because it is very common in arduino work. That one is the 5050 https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10866

Not really too helpful but I know most of them looked very good that were much smaller viewing angles (don't remember how small) as long as you used two. I didn't do as many tests with four LEDs because I didn't know I could wire four. I would imagine you could get pretty narrow unless you have completely transparent keycaps as they will serve as a diffuser.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 08 July 2013, 00:26:31
Hmmm. That is a great question and I remember making spreedsheets but I need to find them but it is one of those loss of hard drive things. I remember looking at a number of them. The only one I can think of right of the bat was the first one I did a quick test on. It is obviously WAY too big but it is what I had on hand because it is very common in arduino work. That one is the 5050 https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10866

Not really too helpful but I know most of them looked very good that were much smaller viewing angles (don't remember how small) as long as you used two. I didn't do as many tests with four LEDs because I didn't know I could wire four. I would imagine you could get pretty narrow unless you have completely transparent keycaps as they will serve as a diffuser.

Actually thats perfect as that answers my question, the LEDs I put the pads down have the same viewing angle. Your right though, the ones I have are a fair bit narrower @ 1.6mm. I've got it marked higher on my list, possibly as an overage goal for kickstarter.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 08 July 2013, 19:00:23
So, a quick update for those of you who might be interested in a kit. I've got my first round of quotes back, and for PCBs:
Each kit is 2x Main, 2x Thumb, 1x CPU
50   - $34.00
125 - $19.80
250 - $15.12
Keep in mind, this doesn't include the setup costs which is roughly $175/board for the main & thumb. I've also asked them to quote me for 500 kits.

Also, SP got back to me with some numbers as well. The kit as I requested it:
- 58x Size 1 DSA
- 14x Size 1.5 DSA
- 6x Size 2 DSA

Kit 1 - Clear ABS - Blank
100 sets                 $28.28 per set
150 sets                 $27.77 per set
200 sets                 $27.51 per set
250 sets                 $27.36 per set
500 sets                 $27.05 per set

Kit 2 - Clear ABS, Vinyl Coating (Black) to allow for etching
100 sets                 $50.59 per set
150 sets                 $50.10 per set
200 sets                 $49.85 per set
250 sets                 $49.71 per set
500 sets                 $49.41 per set

I haven't asked them for the regular caps yet as these were the prices I was more interested in. The clear ABS is pretty reasonable. The coated black seem a bit pricy, but I've also never seen the finish on them either. Melissa @ SP is sending me a couple of the coated keys to try out in the laser and see if they're worth getting, in the meantime I'm going to do a bit more reading and see if I can come up with a better solution.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Mon, 08 July 2013, 23:09:21
So, a quick update for those of you who might be interested in a kit. I've got my first round of quotes back, and for PCBs:
Each kit is 2x Main, 2x Thumb, 1x CPU
50   - $34.00
125 - $19.80
250 - $15.12
Keep in mind, this doesn't include the setup costs which is roughly $175/board for the main & thumb. I've also asked them to quote me for 500 kits.

Also, SP got back to me with some numbers as well. The kit as I requested it:
- 58x Size 1 DSA
- 14x Size 1.5 DSA
- 6x Size 2 DSA

Kit 1 - Clear ABS - Blank
100 sets                 $28.28 per set
150 sets                 $27.77 per set
200 sets                 $27.51 per set
250 sets                 $27.36 per set
500 sets                 $27.05 per set

Kit 2 - Clear ABS, Vinyl Coating (Black) to allow for etching
100 sets                 $50.59 per set
150 sets                 $50.10 per set
200 sets                 $49.85 per set
250 sets                 $49.71 per set
500 sets                 $49.41 per set

I haven't asked them for the regular caps yet as these were the prices I was more interested in. The clear ABS is pretty reasonable. The coated black seem a bit pricy, but I've also never seen the finish on them either. Melissa @ SP is sending me a couple of the coated keys to try out in the laser and see if they're worth getting, in the meantime I'm going to do a bit more reading and see if I can come up with a better solution.

There is a clear pbt/polycarb blend that may be interesting as a premium set.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 10 July 2013, 17:17:39
There is a clear pbt/polycarb blend that may be interesting as a premium set.

Good to know, I'll have to look into it. I've also messaged GMK to see if I can get pricing for a full set of keys w/ LED windows.

Also, I found a bit of time to sit down and better outline what I have planned for the initial stage of this project.

*** Revision 1 Features ***
- 80-102 Keys (varies depending on choosen thumbpad layout)
- 80-102 Individually addressable LEDs, one for each key, single color, brightness adjustable including fades
- Interchangable thumb pads, large variety to choose from
- Thumb pads sit 9mm lower than main keys for a more natural position
- Each half can operate individually (2 USB ports) or together (1 USB port + connecting cable)
- Customizable Layout - 8 Layers to start, expandable w/ add on
- Programmable macros for every key on each layer
- Layouts & macros stored on board, take them with the board
- GUI interface for programming layouts & macros
- Simple API for controlling keyboard LEDs over serial
- 6KRO+modifiers w/ USB, NKRO w/ PS/2 Option
- Breakout headers - keys, LEDs, I2C bus, ISP headers for everything on the board for easy hackability
- Mini-B USB connector
- Accepts Cherry MX switches (may look into an Alps version)
- Slick black PCBs w/ white silkscreening
- Laser cut acrylic case

** Optional **
- Laser cut acrylic tenting add on, including pieces for 5, 10, 15 & 20 degrees
- PS/2 connector (Need to find the connectors for making cables)

** Main Board **
- ATTINY828 controller
- Doubled sided, reversible PCB design
- 4 i2c addresses available - 2 for left, 2 for right
- Simple i2c commands for scanning keys or setting LEDs
- 32 Keys Per Side
 - 25 Size 1x
 - 7  Size 1.5x
- Using the middle finger as a reference:
 - Pinkie Add. - 5x size 1.5 - 8mm lower
 - Pinkie - 5x size 1 - 8mm lower
 - Ring - 5x size 1 - 2mm lower
 - Index - 5x size 1 - 4mm lower
 - Index Add. - 4x size 1 - 6mm lower
 - Index Add. - 1x size 1, 2x size 1.5 - 6mm lower

** Thumb Board **
- ATTINY828 controller
- Doubled sided, reversible PCB design
- 4 i2c addresses available - 2 for left, 2 for right (different from main board)
- Simple i2c commands for scanning keys or setting LEDs
- 8-11 Keys per side, depending on layout
- 9mm drop, 25 degree angle from main layout
- Variety of layouts possible, 5 minutes to switch/change

** CPU Board **
- ATMEGA 32U4 controller
- Double ended design, allowing for use in left or right half
- MiniB-USB port
- header for optional PS/2 cable
- 2-4 i2c addresses for daisy chaining

*** Licensing ***
- Hardware & Software will be released CC BY-SA, most likely after the first revision is made available commercially (aka successful kickstarter.)

*** Future Revisions/Addons ***
- 10 Key Pad Addon
 - Can be added to left or right
 - Reversible PCB
 - Addressable LEDs

- Base Station Addon
 - 16 key matrix assignable by layer
 - 16 Addressable LEDs for keys
 - 4 Additional RGB status LEDs
 - Possible bluetooth hub for computers without bluetooth radio
 - Additional power, providing a faster recharge rate for bluetooth addons

- Keyless Base Station Addon
  - Possible bluetooth hub for computers without bluetooth radio
 - Additional power, providing a faster recharge rate for bluetooth addons

- Bluetooth Wireless Addon
 - Independent radio & battery for each half, completely wireless
 - User replaceable 3.7v 2000mah LIPO battery
 - Recharge via USB cables
 - Board switches to USB automatically when plugged in
 - Windows/Linux/OSX/iOS/Android compatible
 - Switch between 8-16 bluetooth devices at the touch of a button

- Memory Addon
 - Expandable memory allows for more layers & macros to be stored

- Trackpoint Addon
 - Adds a trackpoint mouse to either thumb, with mouse buttons assignable to any key or a second set of buttons on the opposite half

- Footswitch Addon
 - Assignable for each layer
 - Multiple switches supported

- Bling Addon
 - Plate replacement board, with 4 RGB leds per key, each key retains its addressability
 - Additional RGB LEDs for the clear 6mm pieces, letting you turn your board into something out of Tron

Hopefully that covers everything for now and clarifies the direction I plan to take this in.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 10 July 2013, 17:35:52
So let me get this straight, it's modular. Damn, now I'm going to have to spend a fortune buying keyboard modules.
Not that I'm complaining  :D.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 10 July 2013, 17:49:19
So let me get this straight, it's modular. Damn, now I'm going to have to spend a fortune buying keyboard modules.
Not that I'm complaining  :D.

Modular and then some ;) This is what happens when you grow up with a minor Lego obsession, you develop this desire to not be tied to just one design.

As for the modules, with maybe the exception of the bluetooth addon, everything I'll make available seperately, thumb pads, addons, etc. will not face a ridiculous mark up. To give you an example, I plan to release thumb pad modules w/ everything included (PCB, plate, switches, caps) at around the $20-25 dollar mark. This whole project started because I wanted something smarter, more comfortable at a rate that I could afford myself. I'd be very hypocritical to turn around and make it super expensive.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Wed, 10 July 2013, 18:22:57
You probably don't want completely (or near completely transparent/clear keycaps). The LEDs will not diffuse and it looks fairly poor. I would recommend asking SP about a semi transparent set not clear. Have you seen my video of the led lighting I did for my Kinesis a few weeks back? Those are semi transparent and the diffuse fairly well but not completely I would image anything less and it would be difficult to look at even with wide angle LEDs
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 10 July 2013, 18:32:29
You probably don't want completely (or near completely transparent/clear keycaps). The LEDs will not diffuse and it looks fairly poor. I would recommend asking SP about a semi transparent set not clear. Have you seen my video of the led lighting I did for my Kinesis a few weeks back? Those are semi transparent and the diffuse fairly well but not completely I would image anything less and it would be difficult to look at even with wide angle LEDs

I asked but unfortunately was told that they don't have anything semi transparent, so I'd probably have to look elsewhere. Perhaps something I need to ask GMK about.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 10 July 2013, 20:54:06
You probably don't want completely (or near completely transparent/clear keycaps). The LEDs will not diffuse and it looks fairly poor. I would recommend asking SP about a semi transparent set not clear. Have you seen my video of the led lighting I did for my Kinesis a few weeks back? Those are semi transparent and the diffuse fairly well but not completely I would image anything less and it would be difficult to look at even with wide angle LEDs

I asked but unfortunately was told that they don't have anything semi transparent, so I'd probably have to look elsewhere. Perhaps something I need to ask GMK about.
They do, the frosted pbt/poly caps. They just don't have full sets yet.

And those module prices sound great. Especially if they're offered without switches too (I have a bunch of extra whites to use for everything).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Wed, 10 July 2013, 23:30:00
So, a quick update for those of you who might be interested in a kit. I've got my first round of quotes back, and for PCBs:
Each kit is 2x Main, 2x Thumb, 1x CPU
50   - $34.00
125 - $19.80
250 - $15.12
Keep in mind, this doesn't include the setup costs which is roughly $175/board for the main & thumb. I've also asked them to quote me for 500 kits.

Also, SP got back to me with some numbers as well. The kit as I requested it:
- 58x Size 1 DSA
- 14x Size 1.5 DSA
- 6x Size 2 DSA

Kit 1 - Clear ABS - Blank
100 sets                 $28.28 per set
150 sets                 $27.77 per set
200 sets                 $27.51 per set
250 sets                 $27.36 per set
500 sets                 $27.05 per set

Kit 2 - Clear ABS, Vinyl Coating (Black) to allow for etching
100 sets                 $50.59 per set
150 sets                 $50.10 per set
200 sets                 $49.85 per set
250 sets                 $49.71 per set
500 sets                 $49.41 per set

I haven't asked them for the regular caps yet as these were the prices I was more interested in. The clear ABS is pretty reasonable. The coated black seem a bit pricy, but I've also never seen the finish on them either. Melissa @ SP is sending me a couple of the coated keys to try out in the laser and see if they're worth getting, in the meantime I'm going to do a bit more reading and see if I can come up with a better solution.


So about $250+switches for a fully functional board? That's very nice!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 10 July 2013, 23:40:45
Because I can't leave well enough alone while I wait (impatiently) for my PCBs, I think I've nailed it for the case design. I've eliminated the need for nuts, and the design only uses 20mm M3 screws now. I also designed a stand to tent them properly:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14204.jpg)

While designing the stand, I had an epiphany, made a design tweak and...
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14209.jpg)
should make it quite comfortable to use with a laptop without using a ton of extra desk space.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 10 July 2013, 23:41:59
So about $250+switches for a fully functional board? That's very nice!

Actually, if I get the numbers back that I'm hoping for for the switches, it should be more like $200 including caps & switches.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Glod on Thu, 11 July 2013, 00:04:27
i like updated tenting/feet

very much interested in joining in on this kit.

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: nubbinator on Thu, 11 July 2013, 00:23:26
I love it, it looks amazing.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Larken on Thu, 11 July 2013, 00:29:35
So about $250+switches for a fully functional board? That's very nice!

Actually, if I get the numbers back that I'm hoping for for the switches, it should be more like $200 including caps & switches.

definitely interested in getting one if that's the range the price will be at. looking great.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 11 July 2013, 04:25:58
Can you post more pictures of the tenting system. Interested, I might use something like this for my upcoming Ergodox.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 03:08:27
Can you post more pictures of the tenting system. Interested, I might use something like this for my upcoming Ergodox.

Hopefully these are helpful to you:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14223.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14224.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14230.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Tarzan on Fri, 12 July 2013, 08:07:16
Can you post more pictures of the tenting system. Interested, I might use something like this for my upcoming Ergodox.

Hopefully these are helpful to you:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14223.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14224.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14230.jpg)


Goodness gracious!  That is a beautiful prototype!

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 12 July 2013, 09:15:13
Ooo! Me want!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 12 July 2013, 09:19:20
Thanks, those should help
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: tgujay on Fri, 12 July 2013, 09:56:50
My god, this project is beautiful.  Sexiest keyboard.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 12 July 2013, 10:33:04
I agree. You have a great sense for design, AcidFire.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 10:41:47
Can you post more pictures of the tenting system. Interested, I might use something like this for my upcoming Ergodox.

Hopefully these are helpful to you:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14223.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14224.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14230.jpg)


Goodness gracious!  That is a beautiful prototype!



I agree. You have a great sense for design, AcidFire.

My god, this project is beautiful.  Sexiest keyboard.

I love it, it looks amazing.

Thanks folks, the encouragement is much appreciated and very gratifying considering this is my first kick at the can with custom mech keyboards :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: tgujay on Fri, 12 July 2013, 11:12:37
Can you post more pictures of the tenting system. Interested, I might use something like this for my upcoming Ergodox.

Hopefully these are helpful to you:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14223.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14224.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14230.jpg)


Goodness gracious!  That is a beautiful prototype!



I agree. You have a great sense for design, AcidFire.

My god, this project is beautiful.  Sexiest keyboard.

I love it, it looks amazing.

Thanks folks, the encouragement is much appreciated and very gratifying considering this is my first kick at the can with custom mech keyboards :)

Wat.  Impossible.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 12 July 2013, 11:21:04
this is my first kick at the can with custom mech keyboards :)

I don't believe you one bit.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 11:35:47
Wat.  Impossible.

I don't believe you one bit.

Haha, seriously. With the exception of my Amiga 500 w/ NMB Hi-Tek switches, I've never owned a proper mech keyboard, nor was properly aware of their existence until early June. I was down in Seattle for the Mini Maker Faire, was visiting the Metrix Create Space and one of the fellows there was working on a custom wired board using browns I think wired to a Teensy 3.0. This peaked my interest as I love this kind of customization (or customization of any kind, I like making things my own) and a bit of research led me from the Kinesis boards to the ErgoDox to here. I have to give credit to Litster for his original design, without his I think mine would be quite different (and not in a good way.)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 12 July 2013, 11:40:22
Wat.  Impossible.

I don't believe you one bit.

Haha, seriously. With the exception of my Amiga 500 w/ NMB Hi-Tek switches, I've never owned a proper mech keyboard, nor was properly aware of their existence until early June. I was down in Seattle for the Mini Maker Faire, was visiting the Metrix Create Space and one of the fellows there was working on a custom wired board using browns I think wired to a Teensy 3.0. This peaked my interest as I love this kind of customization (or customization of any kind, I like making things my own) and a bit of research led me from the Kinesis boards to the ErgoDox to here. I have to give credit to Litster for his original design, without his I think mine would be quite different (and not in a good way.)

Sweet. So you built your fist real keyboard?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 12:01:00
Pretty much. I have a tendency to jump in with both feet whenever I get into something new :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: thadood on Fri, 12 July 2013, 13:38:08
Any chance of that those stands being compatible with the regular Ergodox case? =p
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: SeriouSSpotS on Fri, 12 July 2013, 13:41:03
It all looks really well made, nice work. PS: You could sell this.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 14:24:41
Any chance of that those stands being compatible with the regular Ergodox case? =p
I could probably design a similar stand for the ergodox, depending on how much interest there is.

It all looks really well made, nice work. PS: You could sell this.
Thank you! I've had such positive & encouraging feedback that I'm moving towards making these available for sale. I'm currently looking at:
Case+Electronics = $120.00
Case+Electronics+Switches -or- Caps = $160.00
Case+Electronics+Switches+Caps = $200.00
Completely Assembled+Tested = $250.00

Depending on what kind of funding I get, I'm also looking to offer injection molded & anodized aluminum cases.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Glod on Fri, 12 July 2013, 14:41:27
How hard would the kits be to put together? i guess im not worried about the amount of time more im more worried about the SMD stuff, would the SMD components be presoldered? $160 not bad though case i already have switches.

any case that doesn't attract fingerprints would be nice, maybe even a matte surface acrylic, i dislike shiny acrylic on keyboards, specially clear and especially one that my sweaty greasy hands palms would rest on.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 14:50:19
All the components, with the exception of the switches, will be SMD placed, so assembly will entail mounting and soldering your switches and assembling the case.

I agree about the acrylic, tho the shiny black does look pretty slick, even with some fingerprints.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Tarzan on Fri, 12 July 2013, 15:04:21
Any chance of that those stands being compatible with the regular Ergodox case? =p
I could probably design a similar stand for the ergodox, depending on how much interest there is.

It all looks really well made, nice work. PS: You could sell this.
Thank you! I've had such positive & encouraging feedback that I'm moving towards making these available for sale. I'm currently looking at:
Case+Electronics = $120.00
Case+Electronics+Switches -or- Caps = $160.00
Case+Electronics+Switches+Caps = $200.00
Completely Assembled+Tested = $250.00

Depending on what kind of funding I get, I'm also looking to offer injection molded & anodized aluminum cases.

Let me know when I can throw money at you.

Seriously.

 ;D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 15:10:00
Any chance of that those stands being compatible with the regular Ergodox case? =p
I could probably design a similar stand for the ergodox, depending on how much interest there is.

It all looks really well made, nice work. PS: You could sell this.
Thank you! I've had such positive & encouraging feedback that I'm moving towards making these available for sale. I'm currently looking at:
Case+Electronics = $120.00
Case+Electronics+Switches -or- Caps = $160.00
Case+Electronics+Switches+Caps = $200.00
Completely Assembled+Tested = $250.00

Depending on what kind of funding I get, I'm also looking to offer injection molded & anodized aluminum cases.

Let me know when I can throw money at you.

Seriously.

 ;D

Keep watching this space, hopefully the first details for the kickstarter will go up in august :D

Out of curiousity, what types of switches would everyone be looking for? I've got a quote request out to a few places for pretty much all the common colors, but it would be helpful to have a bit more of a solid idea.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 12 July 2013, 15:13:30
I think clear and green would be very nice.

Or maybe other rarer switches would be nice (I am looking forward to super-black lol)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 12 July 2013, 15:13:36
White.

I ran a gb and still get PMs from people wanting some of them. You could buy every white switch cherry ever made and sell out.


Clear/green is popular too.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Tarzan on Fri, 12 July 2013, 15:16:17
Keep watching this space, hopefully the first details for the kickstarter will go up in august :D

Out of curiousity, what types of switches would everyone be looking for? I've got a quote request out to a few places for pretty much all the common colors, but it would be helpful to have a bit more of a solid idea.

For myself, I've already got the switches I want to use.  Judging from expressed interest in other threads, I would suggest MX Clear, White, and Greens.  But I've also seen people lately looking for MX Brown, so I may be off base.

Maybe see what you can get, let people choose from those options? 
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: xman on Fri, 12 July 2013, 15:34:30

Also, I found a bit of time to sit down and better outline what I have planned for the initial stage of this project.

*** Revision 1 Features ***
- 6KRO+modifiers w/ USB, NKRO w/ PS/2 Option


Is full NKRO over PS2 just a possibility?
Or has it actually been functionally tested?

What I'm asking is if you know if the KB controller
that you have in mind has a history of actually being
capable of doing full NKRO over PS2.

Having that capability, plus using Soarer's converter,
will result in full NKRO over USB.
And that will be 100% working on everything, including Macs.

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 15:39:28
For myself, I've already got the switches I want to use.  Judging from expressed interest in other threads, I would suggest MX Clear, White, and Greens.  But I've also seen people lately looking for MX Brown, so I may be off base.

Maybe see what you can get, let people choose from those options? 


I should be able to get anything thats currently in production, the biggest thing is ordering in numbers large enough to get a solid discount on so I can make the kits cheaper. On that note, is a small premium ($10-20) for the less commonly found, like the greens or reds, a reasonable thing?


Is full NKRO over PS2 just a possibility?
Or has it actually been functionally tested?

What I'm asking is if you know if the KB controller
that you have in mind has a history of actually being
capable of doing full NKRO over PS2.

Having that capability, plus using Soarer's converter,
will result in full NKRO over USB.
And that will be 100% working on everything, including Macs.

The library I'm working from is set up for it, and I know the controller can handle it, but at this point I don't have my boards yet on hand to test it for myself, but I plan to make it happen one way or the other. Would you mind linking me to Soarer's converter?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Fri, 12 July 2013, 16:25:08
Out of curiousity, what types of switches would everyone be looking for? I've got a quote request out to a few places for pretty much all the common colors, but it would be helpful to have a bit more of a solid idea.

I use blues for keyboards like this as I use them for typing. I also like browns because I use a kinesis and might choose those too.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 16:39:49
Out of curiousity, what types of switches would everyone be looking for? I've got a quote request out to a few places for pretty much all the common colors, but it would be helpful to have a bit more of a solid idea.

I use blues for keyboards like this as I use them for typing. I also like browns because I use a kinesis and might choose those too.

Yeah I've been interested to try browns myself. I plan with the next revision of the PCBs & mount plates to include the patterning so that they can be switched out without being desoldered.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Glod on Fri, 12 July 2013, 16:59:55
man if i one day am able to grab this keyboard, i should probably get rid of one or two of my 3 ErgoDox lolol
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 12 July 2013, 17:29:02

Out of curiousity, what types of switches would everyone be looking for? I've got a quote request out to a few places for pretty much all the common colors, but it would be helpful to have a bit more of a solid idea.

Capacitive BS.

Realistically, clears or greens.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 12 July 2013, 17:31:34
How is it helping with your wrist pain issue?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 17:50:53
How is it helping with your wrist pain issue?
I can't comment on that yet as I don't yet have my boards in hand to test with, however they do sit on either side of my keyboard right now. Typically when I take a break from typing and rest my hands on them, there is definitely a noticeable reduction in the strain. I'm very much looking forward to making them my daily driver :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 12 July 2013, 19:01:56
How is it helping with your wrist pain issue?
I can't comment on that yet as I don't yet have my boards in hand to test with, however they do sit on either side of my keyboard right now. Typically when I take a break from typing and rest my hands on them, there is definitely a noticeable reduction in the strain. I'm very much looking forward to making them my daily driver :D

That's good to hear. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of this! Hopefully, an amazing keyboard.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: xman on Fri, 12 July 2013, 19:31:16

Is full NKRO over PS2 just a possibility?
Or has it actually been functionally tested?

What I'm asking is if you know if the KB controller
that you have in mind has a history of actually being
capable of doing full NKRO over PS2.

Having that capability, plus using Soarer's converter,
will result in full NKRO over USB.
And that will be 100% working on everything, including Macs.

The library I'm working from is set up for it, and I know the controller can handle it, but at this point I don't have my boards yet on hand to test it for myself, but I plan to make it happen one way or the other. Would you mind linking me to Soarer's converter?

Great answer!  Thanks!

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=17458.msg335414#msg335414
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: xman on Fri, 12 July 2013, 21:55:00
Out of curiousity, what types of switches would everyone be looking for? I've got a quote request out to a few places for pretty much all the common colors, but it would be helpful to have a bit more of a solid idea.

Short answer:  I'd order Cherry MX Red switches.

Long answer:
The most important mandatory thing for me about switches
is that I have to be able to open them up, take off the covers,
so that I can change/modify the stems and springs.

Since you are dealing with hand and wrist pain,
you may have looked into low-force switch activation, so
you may already know about Tim Tyler's stem & spring surgery
on Cherry MX switches, where he achieved an activation force
of 20 grams. I duplicated the 20 grams, and so can anyone.
Pcb-mounting is best if you want to do that easily.

If you cut down Korean 45g springs, you can
get an activation force of 15 grams.  I've done it.
That is helpful for hand & wrist pain.

If you cut down Korean 35g springs
(I can't find them anywhere) I'd bet money that
you will be able to get an activation force of 10 grams.
That will be even better for hand and wrist pain.

When going for low activation force, the linear
Black or Red stems work best.  Since Reds have
springs with lower activation force than Blacks,
I'd order Reds.

But it's not a deal breaker, because
changing stems & springs is easy with pcb-mounting.

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 12 July 2013, 23:05:42
Great answer!  Thanks!

Thanks for the link, If he's using the Teensy as a converter, theres no reason I couldn't do the same thing considering the ATMEGA32u4 I'm using for the controller is the same at the heart of the Teensy. I'll have to look into this :)

Short answer:  I'd order Cherry MX Red switches.

Long answer:
The most important mandatory thing for me about switches
is that I have to be able to open them up, take off the covers,
so that I can change/modify the stems and springs.

Since you are dealing with hand and wrist pain,
you may have looked into low-force switch activation, so
you may already know about Tim Tyler's stem & spring surgery
on Cherry MX switches, where he achieved an activation force
of 20 grams. I duplicated the 20 grams, and so can anyone.
Pcb-mounting is best if you want to do that easily.

If you cut down Korean 45g springs, you can
get an activation force of 15 grams.  I've done it.
That is helpful for hand & wrist pain.

If you cut down Korean 35g springs
(I can't find them anywhere) I'd bet money that
you will be able to get an activation force of 10 grams.
That will be even better for hand and wrist pain.

When going for low activation force, the linear
Black or Red stems work best.  Since Reds have
springs with lower activation force than Blacks,
I'd order Reds.

But it's not a deal breaker, because
changing stems & springs is easy with pcb-mounting.
That sir, is an absolutely fantastic answer! I'll definitely up the numbers for the reds I'm looking for in the quotes I've put out. If the numbers are right for the kickstarter campaign, it may be entirely possible to do a completely custom solution, either through cherry directly or modifying the switches ordered.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 00:20:35
Unfortunately it doesn't look like Soarer's firmware is open source, however Hasu's released his code that while it technically isn't NKRO (120+8 modifiers), for all intents and purposes it is, so I'll look to get something like that integrated for the USB side.
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=14618.0
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sat, 13 July 2013, 07:48:50
PCB mounting is wholly unnecessary for any use case. A properly designed plate will allow the switch to be opened, even while mounted.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 10:19:10
PCB mounting is wholly unnecessary for any use case. A properly designed plate will allow the switch to be opened, even while mounted.

That's the plan. The PCBs & plates will be designed so that no modifications will be required to switches, regardless of whether they're PCB or plate mount.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sat, 13 July 2013, 10:46:27
Sounds good, I notice you implied that both pcb and plate will be possible, will there be an option to have a second acrylic spacer in place of a plate for those who just like the feel of pcb mount?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 10:48:41
I don't see why not, because this clear version uses a pair of 1.5mm sheets one for a plate, the other for a spacer, it's already been designed, so inclusion or as an available option is quite trivial.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sat, 13 July 2013, 13:03:23
I don't see why not, because this clear version uses a pair of 1.5mm sheets one for a plate, the other for a spacer, it's already been designed, so inclusion or as an available option is quite trivial.

You have to be careful with lots of options on kickstarter. I know some who have realized huge costs for any additional item as it becomes a nightmare to fulfill. I've heard fulfillment companies charge so much more after you get more than like 10 items
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 13:17:53
I'm not looking to offer it as part of the kickstarter, but as a spare part that'll be available through a webstore, along with a number of other things.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 13 July 2013, 15:13:35
I don't see why not, because this clear version uses a pair of 1.5mm sheets one for a plate, the other for a spacer, it's already been designed, so inclusion or as an available option is quite trivial.

You have to be careful with lots of options on kickstarter. I know some who have realized huge costs for any additional item as it becomes a nightmare to fulfill. I've heard fulfillment companies charge so much more after you get more than like 10 items

I agree. Don't fall for the engineers curse. Don't make a lot of versions. No product is perfect. If people want this option or that option so bad, they can mod it themselves.

I'm not you're boss, but I say that you take the current design, make some prototypes, and iron out the flaws. I would LOVE to see this as product, but I don't want you to feel like you need to do a zillion(10^23) things or people will be mad. They won't. They will love you for you're work.

"If you try to please everypony, you oftentimes end up pleasing nopony, especially yourself." -Twilight Sparkle
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 15:35:11
I absolutely agree. I've already outlined what I have planned for the first revision, and Im not going to deviate from it unless it becomes an impossible task/feature.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 13 July 2013, 15:35:20
I don't see why not, because this clear version uses a pair of 1.5mm sheets one for a plate, the other for a spacer, it's already been designed, so inclusion or as an available option is quite trivial.

You have to be careful with lots of options on kickstarter. I know some who have realized huge costs for any additional item as it becomes a nightmare to fulfill. I've heard fulfillment companies charge so much more after you get more than like 10 items

I agree. Don't fall for the engineers curse. Don't make a lot of versions. No product is perfect. If people want this option or that option so bad, they can mod it themselves.

I'm not you're boss, but I say that you take the current design, make some prototypes, and iron out the flaws. I would LOVE to see this as product, but I don't want you to feel like you need to do a zillion(10^23) things or people will be mad. They won't. They will love you for you're work.

"If you try to please everypony, you oftentimes end up pleasing nopony, especially yourself." -Twilight Sparkle

That's the beauty of a CUSTOM keyboard, you can do whatever you like with the component  :))
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 13 July 2013, 15:37:36
I absolutely agree. I've already outlined what I have planned for the first revision, and Im not going to deviate from it unless it becomes an impossible task/feature.

I apologize if I came across as harsh.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 16:09:03
I apologize if I came across as harsh.

Not at all :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 13 July 2013, 16:18:05
How much longer do you think it will take for your PCBs to arrive?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 16:21:12
Fingers crossed for sometime this week, the earlier the better.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 13 July 2013, 16:27:46
I'll cross mine too.
:fingers-crossed:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: xman on Sat, 13 July 2013, 18:45:17
Hi AcidFire,

In my mind's eye I'm visualizing possible layouts for your keyboard...
while I'm thinking about some of the ways I use any keyboard...

Specifically thinking about the keying actions required when F1-F12 are on a layer...
because there are programs/shortcuts that use of F1-F12 directly and
also in combination with modifiers,
and that also use the number row with modifiers, such as...
ctrl-F11, alt-F2, shift-F4, ctrl-1 ctrl-10, alt-2, that kind of thing.

If F1-F12 is assigned to a layer that uses the number row of keys...
then when F1-F12 needs to be used in combination with modifiers...
and when the number row characters keys with modifiers are also needed...
it seems like it is going to be more keystrokes/complicated/cumbersome,
and much less efficient than just having the F1-F12 row of keys.

Maybe I'm also remembering posts from some people
 who are using layouts without F1-F12
(like the Poker, Pure, ErgoDox, and others)
who may have indicated that they miss those keys.

Is there any possibility of adding 1 additional top row of keys for F1-F12?

Thanks for considering, and for everything you've done!
xman

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 13 July 2013, 19:34:05
Hi AcidFire,

In my mind's eye I'm visualizing possible layouts for your keyboard...
while I'm thinking about some of the ways I use any keyboard...

Specifically thinking about the keying actions required when F1-F12 are on a layer...
because there are programs/shortcuts that use of F1-F12 directly and
also in combination with modifiers,
and that also use the number row with modifiers, such as...
ctrl-F11, alt-F2, shift-F4, ctrl-1 ctrl-10, alt-2, that kind of thing.

If F1-F12 is assigned to a layer that uses the number row of keys...
then when F1-F12 needs to be used in combination with modifiers...
and when the number row characters keys with modifiers are also needed...
it seems like it is going to be more keystrokes/complicated/cumbersome,
and much less efficient than just having the F1-F12 row of keys.

Maybe I'm also remembering posts from some people
 who are using layouts without F1-F12
(like the Poker, Pure, ErgoDox, and others)
who may have indicated that they miss those keys.

Is there any possibility of adding 1 additional top row of keys for F1-F12?

Thanks for considering, and for everything you've done!
xman

I think that it would be more efficient to make a layer that is the same as the other/default one, and just make the top row of keys be the F1-F12 keys.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sat, 13 July 2013, 19:38:47
I assign one of my thumb keys to fn on my edox and can easily reach the function keys, even with mods on top of that. Much easier than on poker/pure. Wouldn't mind having extra keys though so I'm pretty much indifferent.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 13 July 2013, 19:58:21
Yip. If there were more keys, I wouldn't use them for F keys.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: xman on Sat, 13 July 2013, 20:12:27
Hi AcidFire,

In my mind's eye I'm visualizing possible layouts for your keyboard...
while I'm thinking about some of the ways I use any keyboard...

Specifically thinking about the keying actions required when F1-F12 are on a layer...
because there are programs/shortcuts that use of F1-F12 directly and
also in combination with modifiers,
and that also use the number row with modifiers, such as...
ctrl-F11, alt-F2, shift-F4, ctrl-1 ctrl-10, alt-2, that kind of thing.

If F1-F12 is assigned to a layer that uses the number row of keys...
then when F1-F12 needs to be used in combination with modifiers...
and when the number row characters keys with modifiers are also needed...
it seems like it is going to be more keystrokes/complicated/cumbersome,
and much less efficient than just having the F1-F12 row of keys.

Maybe I'm also remembering posts from some people
 who are using layouts without F1-F12
(like the Poker, Pure, ErgoDox, and others)
who may have indicated that they miss those keys.

Is there any possibility of adding 1 additional top row of keys for F1-F12?

Thanks for considering, and for everything you've done!
xman

I think that it would be more efficient to make a layer that is the same as the other/default one, and just make the top row of keys be the F1-F12 keys.

Then you would still have the same situation, except now not for F1-F12,
but now for the number row keys...
so you still need to use FN + modifiers + whatever...
Still cumbersome.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 13 July 2013, 21:49:55
I've had similar feedback from others, and one idea that comes to mind is to do a row of keys like the kinesis boards, sitting 90 degrees with 6-7 switches, mechanical of course.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: xman on Sun, 14 July 2013, 00:00:10
I've had similar feedback from others, and one idea that comes to mind is to do a row of keys like the kinesis boards, sitting 90 degrees with 6-7 switches, mechanical of course.

On the Kinesis web site they now show the
Contoured, Maxim, and Freestyle,
but I know there are other models.
Which one of the Kinesis boards
comes closest to what you mean?

What I'm guessing what you mean is the Contoured,
but with the top row moved to the side,
to the outer edge nearest the little fingers.
but I could be wrong.

If that's what you mean, I like it.
Is that what you mean?

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 14 July 2013, 00:08:44
I was thinking more along the top row, like the contoured, however it's entirely possible to mount it to the side as well with how I have it mapped out in my head. I'll mark it down to try both with the next revision of the housing, it's a fairly simple change to make it modular. It's definitely something I need to decide whether I want to include it with the first revision of the hardware that'll be available for purchase.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: xman on Sun, 14 July 2013, 00:31:28
I was thinking more along the top row, like the contoured, however it's entirely possible to mount it to the side as well with how I have it mapped out in my head. I'll mark it down to try both with the next revision of the housing, it's a fairly simple change to make it modular. It's definitely something I need to decide whether I want to include it with the first revision of the hardware that'll be available for purchase.

The top row would have the narrower footprint advantage.
Plus it is where people would expect to see the F1-F12 keys.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 15 July 2013, 14:10:07
I've marked it down for a second revision of the case/hardware as I can see their use as either function keys or additional macro keys, but for now I'm going to focus on my original outline, lest my project sneak away from me.

In the meantime, I've nearly finished the libraries & serial commands for controlling the LEDs, as well as reading the key array. Next up will be mapping & layer storage/recall :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: linziyi on Mon, 15 July 2013, 14:28:18
Are you planning to make the connection between the two halves of the keyboard wireless also?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 15 July 2013, 14:49:25
I think that might drive up the cost by quite a bit.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 15 July 2013, 15:04:15
I'm looking into it, the biggest thing is that the radios that give you the ability to select the device your connected to on the fly are a bit more expensive. Personally, with this type of set up if it's going to be wireless, I want it to be completely wireless, so that's what I'll be shooting for first.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 16 July 2013, 12:13:22
Warning! Off topic:

It's good to see that there's another How to Train your dragon fan here!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 16 July 2013, 12:38:45
Warning! Off topic:

It's good to see that there's another How to Train your dragon fan here!

Hell yes, how can you not love Toothless ;) On a more on topic note, I've nearly finished the next revisions of my boards which should be pretty close to what the production PCBs will be. I'm waiting to test with my prototypes first to see if there's anything I've missed, sizes & spacing, etc etc. I've also updated my design files as well for the case, and I'm proud to say that the entire thing will support the hotswapping of CherryMX switches :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: oTurtlez on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:01:36
Warning! Off topic:

It's good to see that there's another How to Train your dragon fan here!

Hell yes, how can you not love Toothless ;) On a more on topic note, I've nearly finished the next revisions of my boards which should be pretty close to what the production PCBs will be. I'm waiting to test with my prototypes first to see if there's anything I've missed, sizes & spacing, etc etc. I've also updated my design files as well for the case, and I'm proud to say that the entire thing will support the hotswapping of CherryMX switches :D

Hotswapping switches? Do go on....

EDIT: Unless of course you mean removal of tops w/o desoldering, in which case, sweet!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:18:57
Warning! Off topic:

It's good to see that there's another How to Train your dragon fan here!

Hell yes, how can you not love Toothless ;) On a more on topic note, I've nearly finished the next revisions of my boards which should be pretty close to what the production PCBs will be. I'm waiting to test with my prototypes first to see if there's anything I've missed, sizes & spacing, etc etc. I've also updated my design files as well for the case, and I'm proud to say that the entire thing will support the hotswapping of CherryMX switches :D

Hotswapping switches? Do go on....

EDIT: Unless of course you mean removal of tops w/o desoldering, in which case, sweet!

^^

Yeah, which do you mean?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:23:56
Warning! Off topic:

It's good to see that there's another How to Train your dragon fan here!

Hell yes, how can you not love Toothless ;) On a more on topic note, I've nearly finished the next revisions of my boards which should be pretty close to what the production PCBs will be. I'm waiting to test with my prototypes first to see if there's anything I've missed, sizes & spacing, etc etc. I've also updated my design files as well for the case, and I'm proud to say that the entire thing will support the hotswapping of CherryMX switches :D

If hotswapping isn't just top removal and you've figured out snap in solderless switches then you are the next keyboard god. If not, well you're still a demigod or something.

And "how can you not love toothless" is a silly question, it is not possible. Toothless is simply too lovable.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:26:33
Warning! Off topic:

It's good to see that there's another How to Train your dragon fan here!

Hell yes, how can you not love Toothless ;) On a more on topic note, I've nearly finished the next revisions of my boards which should be pretty close to what the production PCBs will be. I'm waiting to test with my prototypes first to see if there's anything I've missed, sizes & spacing, etc etc. I've also updated my design files as well for the case, and I'm proud to say that the entire thing will support the hotswapping of CherryMX switches :D

If hotswapping isn't just top removal and you've figured out snap in solderless switches then you are the next keyboard god. If not, well you're still a demigod or something.

And "how can you not love toothless" is a silly question, it is not possible. Toothless is simply too lovable.

I agree. I think that he means top removal. If it is true hotswapping, then he shall outshine Ripster as the #1 Keyboard Expert on the Planet.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:29:01
Ughh! I can"t refresh the page fast enough!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:33:11
Sorry, should have been more clear, yes, I meant that the tops will be swappable. While I have some ideas in mind for swapping the entire switch... those will come later ;) Baby steps after all.

(and by ideas, I mean I have a design for something, need to look into getting it manufactured for testing...)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:35:29
You sir are on the path to eternal glory.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:38:07
Sorry, should have been more clear, yes, I meant that the tops will be swappable. While I have some ideas in mind for swapping the entire switch... those will come later ;) Baby steps after all.

That's still great! Easy modding :cool:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:39:03
Sorry, should have been more clear, yes, I meant that the tops will be swappable. While I have some ideas in mind for swapping the entire switch... those will come later ;) Baby steps after all.

(and by ideas, I mean I have a design for something, need to look into getting it manufactured for testing...)

Tell us more!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 16 July 2013, 15:27:26
I can't give it all away yet! right now it's all living in my head, I'll have to sketch it out first and pass it along to someone who can render it out properly for me. Right now the way I have it in my head, it would only work with plate mount, as you'd need something to stabilize/lock it in.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: oTurtlez on Tue, 16 July 2013, 15:33:10
I can't give it all away yet! right now it's all living in my head, I'll have to sketch it out first and pass it along to someone who can render it out properly for me. Right now the way I have it in my head, it would only work with plate mount, as you'd need something to stabilize/lock it in.

Why not make the PCB accept pin inputs as the connection for the switch, like the controller on Filco's and such whereas it just pushes in, why not do something along the lines of that? Sure it'll make the profile of the entire board a bit larger, but it'd be sweet to just pop a switch off and throw another one on.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 16 July 2013, 16:05:21
I can't give it all away yet! right now it's all living in my head, I'll have to sketch it out first and pass it along to someone who can render it out properly for me. Right now the way I have it in my head, it would only work with plate mount, as you'd need something to stabilize/lock it in.

Why not make the PCB accept pin inputs as the connection for the switch, like the controller on Filco's and such whereas it just pushes in, why not do something along the lines of that? Sure it'll make the profile of the entire board a bit larger, but it'd be sweet to just pop a switch off and throw another one on.

That's pretty much what I had in mind, only the design floating around in my head shouldn't increase the board thickness anymore than what the pins currently stick out for. Once I've got my first batch up on kickstarter I plan to put more time into this.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Tue, 16 July 2013, 21:02:44
Liking the idea.

BTW, another big HTTYD fan here :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 18 July 2013, 03:28:38
So while I check the tracking on my PCBs every 5 minutes, the samples from SP came in, and I got a couple of caps into the laser for testing:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14256.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14262.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14254.jpg)
After playing with my improvised rig, I'm definitely wanting to be able to do independent control of each side of the set up:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/backlit-sample.jpg)

Next I'm gonna order some of the frosted keys from SP and see if I can do the vinyl dye at home w/ the same results. I also think I may have found a more affordable solution for the RGB LEDs, so there may be a surprise or two in the future ;)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 18 July 2013, 06:36:15
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/backlit-sample.jpg)


These from the actual prototype or PS?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 18 July 2013, 09:42:30
These are from the actual key, with the color tweaked a bit since the photos were slightly washed out when I took them. But those are (with maybe a slight exception to the red) color accurate to the LEDs.

Also, a bit more details from the key caps:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14273.jpg)
The one on the left was my second attempt with aligning to the center of the key. On the right was my first attempt, as well as my first (the circles) and second attempt (the patterning) at lasering the sides with a rig I designed to do it.
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14281.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14277.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 18 July 2013, 10:06:09
Nice! You should make a Toothless keycap.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Thu, 18 July 2013, 10:15:57
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/backlit-sample.jpg)


Those look amazing. If this can be done with dyesub pbt (well, pbt/poly blend for the frosteds) then that would be even more amazing, mostly because it wouldn't just degrade with use like the laser ones will.

I wonder what a totally blank (or just non letter patterned) frosted would look like with that setup, seeing as that's what I would want to install personally.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 18 July 2013, 13:41:13
Nice! You should make a Toothless keycap.

Get out of my head.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 18 July 2013, 15:33:23
Nice! You should make a Toothless keycap.

Get out of my head.

NIGHT FURY! GET DOWN!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 18 July 2013, 16:01:22
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/backlit-sample.jpg)


Those look amazing. If this can be done with dyesub pbt (well, pbt/poly blend for the frosteds) then that would be even more amazing, mostly because it wouldn't just degrade with use like the laser ones will.

I wonder what a totally blank (or just non letter patterned) frosted would look like with that setup, seeing as that's what I would want to install personally.

Do you mean etched, or just 4 controllable RGB LEDs?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Thu, 18 July 2013, 16:04:27
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/backlit-sample.jpg)


Those look amazing. If this can be done with dyesub pbt (well, pbt/poly blend for the frosteds) then that would be even more amazing, mostly because it wouldn't just degrade with use like the laser ones will.

I wonder what a totally blank (or just non letter patterned) frosted would look like with that setup, seeing as that's what I would want to install personally.

Do you mean etched, or just 4 controllable RGB LEDs?

I just mean a blank frosted or frosted with like that hexagon pattern dyesubed over the whole cap in the 4 rgb led assembly.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 18 July 2013, 16:15:47
It's entirely possible, biggest issue right now is alignment between the sides but I have some plans to handle that, mostly with a jig w/ tighter tolerances.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Merloobi on Fri, 19 July 2013, 07:59:13
Wow what an incredible project. I'm extremely interested in buying one of these if/once you begin selling  ;D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 19 July 2013, 12:50:24
Wow what an incredible project. I'm extremely interested in buying one of these if/once you begin selling  ;D

Awesome, glad to hear it :)

On a side note, I'm putting a website together for this and I'll be posting a survey & first round beta sign up later today or tomorrow. There are a couple of you who I've already marked for first round if you decide to sign up :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Fri, 19 July 2013, 13:09:14
I'm definitely a go
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 19 July 2013, 18:46:42
Ok, I still need to finish the survey, but for those of you looking to apply for the first round of beta, you can do so here:
ErgoGP Beta v1.0 Application (http://multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta).

I'm currently looking for 10-20 people to participate in the beta on the first round.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 19 July 2013, 18:50:03
Ok, I still need to finish the survey, but for those of you looking to apply for the first round of beta, you can do so here:
ErgoGP Beta v1.0 Application (http://"http://multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta").

I'm currently looking for 10-20 people to participate in the beta on the first round.

Link broken :S need a little fix :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 19 July 2013, 18:51:43
bah, fixed it. I blame friday :P
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 19 July 2013, 19:10:01
bah, fixed it. I blame friday :P

It's still broken...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 19 July 2013, 19:10:53
http://www.multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta

I think that this is what he means.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 19 July 2013, 19:24:59
http://www.multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta

I think that this is what he means.

Ok, it's officially time to go home. yes thats the right one, I also fixed my own link.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 19 July 2013, 19:40:33
I should go home or you? I'm confused.

BTW, great looking site.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 19 July 2013, 19:46:59
I should go home or you? I'm confused.

BTW, great looking site.

I should, it's obviously been a long week >_<
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 19 July 2013, 19:52:29
I should go home or you? I'm confused.

BTW, great looking site.

I should, it's obviously been a long week >_<

By the way, what exactly does "at cost" mean? If I signed up, how much would I be paying?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 19 July 2013, 19:58:07
that you'd be paying whatever it costs me to produce production units if I get that far. You aren't paying anything to participate in the beta.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: xman on Fri, 19 July 2013, 21:39:28
Would it be possible to give a very rough ballpark
estimate as to the cost of a production unit?
You will not be held to it.

Also... a very rough time frame as to how soon
a production unit can maybe possibly
be in a beta tester's hands?
You will not be held to it.

Just very rough estimates.
Thanks!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 19 July 2013, 21:48:49
Would it be possible to give a very rough ballpark
estimate as to the cost of a production unit?
You will not be held to it.

Also... a very rough time frame as to how soon
a production unit can maybe possibly
be in a beta tester's hands?
You will not be held to it.

Just very rough estimates.
Thanks!

I'm currently looking at:
Case+Electronics = $120.00
Case+Electronics+Switches -or- Caps = $160.00
Case+Electronics+Switches+Caps = $200.00
Completely Assembled+Tested = $250.00

Depending on what kind of funding I get, I'm also looking to offer injection molded & anodized aluminum cases.


And a chance of being lower due to buying at cost.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Fri, 19 July 2013, 23:02:35
Of course i filled out that beta signup form............lol

I am sorry i can't help with firmware/software but hopefully you would take someone that uses a keyboard 12-14 hours a day into consideration. just saying....
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 19 July 2013, 23:16:33
Of course i filled out that beta signup form............lol

I am sorry i can't help with firmware/software but hopefully you would take someone that uses a keyboard 12-14 hours a day into consideration. just saying....

Absolutely! At the end of the day I'm looking for better comfort and support for those of us who spend way too much time on a keyboard.

On a side note, did you hit submit after you filled it in? Your application hasn't shown up.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Fri, 19 July 2013, 23:27:47
yeah i hit submit for sure, hmmmm
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Sat, 20 July 2013, 00:32:36
submitted. definitely interested in how this works out in typical usage.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 20 July 2013, 10:19:26
Of course i filled out that beta signup form............lol

I am sorry i can't help with firmware/software but hopefully you would take someone that uses a keyboard 12-14 hours a day into consideration. just saying....

Absolutely! At the end of the day I'm looking for better comfort and support for those of us who spend way too much time on a keyboard.

On a side note, did you hit submit after you filled it in? Your application hasn't shown up.

I submitted... has mine shown up yet?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 20 July 2013, 10:23:50
 :) I think I am the first one, had mine show up?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Sat, 20 July 2013, 11:16:30
Of course i filled out that beta signup form............lol

I am sorry i can't help with firmware/software but hopefully you would take someone that uses a keyboard 12-14 hours a day into consideration. just saying....

Absolutely! At the end of the day I'm looking for better comfort and support for those of us who spend way too much time on a keyboard.

On a side note, did you hit submit after you filled it in? Your application hasn't shown up.

i refilled out the form, hopefully you got it this time

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Kozu on Sat, 20 July 2013, 11:31:24
I also filled out the form yesterday. Hope it went through.

I'm a software engineer, so yeah. So keyboards are essentially my money maker.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 20 July 2013, 12:45:23
Nice! You should make a Toothless keycap.

Terrible keycap design is terrible. I made this in about 30 seconds:
(http://i.imgur.com/9A6HHwd.png)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 20 July 2013, 13:06:08
I also filled out the form yesterday. Hope it went through.

I'm a software engineer, so yeah. So keyboards are essentially my money maker.
i refilled out the form, hopefully you got it this time
:) I think I am the first one, had mine show up?
Yup, everyone's made it through now.

Nice! You should make a Toothless keycap.

Terrible keycap design is terrible. I made this in about 30 seconds:
Show Image
(http://i.imgur.com/9A6HHwd.png)


You sir owe me a new keyboard & LCD cleaning supplies lol
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 20 July 2013, 13:10:52
You sir owe me a new keyboard & LCD cleaning supplies lol

Moral of the story: Don't drink anything while looking at my um... "artwork."
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sat, 20 July 2013, 13:11:13
Acidfire,

Can u tell me if my application went through? I'm in a place with horrible Internet for several days and the form was acting funny?

Thanks!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 20 July 2013, 13:18:39
Acidfire,

Can u tell me if my application went through? I'm in a place with horrible Internet for several days and the form was acting funny?

Thanks!
I've only got one application without a username and that was a day or two ago, so you may need to try again.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sat, 20 July 2013, 14:51:28
Acidfire,

Can u tell me if my application went through? I'm in a place with horrible Internet for several days and the form was acting funny?

Thanks!
I've only got one application without a username and that was a day or two ago, so you may need to try again.

Hmm, maybe the form doesn't work on an iphone. I just tried again and when I agree and click complete it loads a screen where you can tell something is missing and the three text links, update, something and beta signup. Will try when I get to the real world.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 20 July 2013, 15:17:40
Ok now he's just scary.

(http://i.imgur.com/j7rkAxw.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MattDarling on Sat, 20 July 2013, 17:10:06
I've been lurking and watching this thread since last week, and just submitted my beta application. I was sold on the idea of making the thumb clusters more comfortable to use (I had to stop using my Kinesis Advantage because of that), but then you posted the thing with the laptop (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44940.msg957781#msg957781), and I was sold twice over.

Anyway, it's awesome to see another ergonomic keyboard project starting in Canada - now I won't have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping, lol. Regardless of whether I get a prototype model or a Kickstarter unit :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 20 July 2013, 18:08:52
I've been lurking and watching this thread since last week, and just submitted my beta application. I was sold on the idea of making the thumb clusters more comfortable to use (I had to stop using my Kinesis Advantage because of that), but then you posted the thing with the laptop (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44940.msg957781#msg957781), and I was sold twice over.

Anyway, it's awesome to see another ergonomic keyboard project starting in Canada - now I won't have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping, lol. Regardless of whether I get a prototype model or a Kickstarter unit :)

Canada FTW! Where in canada are you? NVM, its on your application -derp-
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sun, 21 July 2013, 10:53:12
Acidfire,

Can u tell me if my application went through? I'm in a place with horrible Internet for several days and the form was acting funny?

Thanks!
I've only got one application without a username and that was a day or two ago, so you may need to try again.

Should we get a confirmation email? I just tired it from a computer and it seemed to work but no email. Thanks!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MattDarling on Sun, 21 July 2013, 19:14:18
Canada FTW! Where in canada are you? NVM, its on your application -derp-

Haha, yeah - at least I know you got the application :D I'm amazed at how quickly this is moving forward. Perhaps those lean startup (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_Startup) folks were right after all...

Should we get a confirmation email? I just tired it from a computer and it seemed to work but no email. Thanks!

I didn't get a confirmation for mine, either, fwiw :) And, apparently, mine did go through.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 21 July 2013, 21:11:15
Sorry, yes blue yours made it in, and thats a good point, I'll have to add in a confirmation email for extra clarity.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 11:04:07
Haha, yeah - at least I know you got the application :D I'm amazed at how quickly this is moving forward. Perhaps those lean startup (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_Startup) folks were right after all...

I've never heard of this concept before, but I like it. Definitely along the same track I'm working on, it's cool that theres a name for it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 12:20:13
Ok, a suggestion was made to me at work that I'd like to hear opinions about. Right now, this beta test is looking to cost me a fair bit of money to get the first units produced. I'm happy to shell out the cash because I think it's vital to the development to get user experience and see what needs to be changed, if anything. However, this will stretch my own finances a bit when I should be paying bills. Some of you have already offered to preorder the kits to help support the development, something that was extremely gratifying, but I didn't feel comfortable taking anyone's money until I had made it a bit farther. I've said in the beta applications that the boards would need to be returned at some point, mainly due to the cost for me, however I would like to do at this point is offer a compromise.

What I'd like to do is put up a small indiegogo campaign to cover the cost of production for 20 beta kits. These kits will be offered with & without switches, and each kit would come with frosted keycaps for the backlighting. Basically, I'm looking at roughly $100 without switches, and $150 w/ blue, clear or black switches. This means that the prototype is yours to keep, and you'll still be able to buy a kickstarter/retail kit @ cost when they become available. I'm also looking at offering 20-30 sets of the clear frosted keys (in DSA) as well for $40 to help with funding as well. Would anyone be interested in this option?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: tgujay on Mon, 22 July 2013, 12:28:14
Ok, a suggestion was made to me at work that I'd like to hear opinions about. Right now, this beta test is looking to cost me a fair bit of money to get the first units produced. I'm happy to shell out the cash because I think it's vital to the development to get user experience and see what needs to be changed, if anything. However, this will stretch my own finances a bit when I should be paying bills. Some of you have already offered to preorder the kits to help support the development, something that was extremely gratifying, but I didn't feel comfortable taking anyone's money until I had made it a bit farther. I've said in the beta applications that the boards would need to be returned at some point, mainly due to the cost for me, however I would like to do at this point is offer a compromise.

What I'd like to do is put up a small indiegogo campaign to cover the cost of production for 20 beta kits. These kits will be offered with & without switches, and each kit would come with frosted keycaps for the backlighting. Basically, I'm looking at roughly $100 without switches, and $150 w/ blue, clear or black switches. This means that the prototype is yours to keep, and you'll still be able to buy a kickstarter/retail kit @ cost when they become available. I'm also looking at offering 20-30 sets of the clear frosted keys (in DSA) as well for $40 to help with funding as well. Would anyone be interested in this option?

Sorry if it's posted elsewhere in the thread but what all is there required for assembly of the kit?  Diodes, resistors, switches?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Mon, 22 July 2013, 12:32:34
I think that is an excellent idea. As someone who is not getting a beta (Exhausted all money on Ergodox), I obviously don't really get a say, but if I were signing up, I would certainly be OK with this idea.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 12:36:41
Sorry if it's posted elsewhere in the thread but what all is there required for assembly of the kit?  Diodes, resistors, switches?
Case assembly & switches, everything else is surface mount or will be presoldered for you to aid in the simplicity of putting it together.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: tgujay on Mon, 22 July 2013, 12:38:32
Sorry if it's posted elsewhere in the thread but what all is there required for assembly of the kit?  Diodes, resistors, switches?
Case assembly & switches, everything else is surface mount or will be presoldered for you to aid in the simplicity of putting it together.

For $100?  Are you trying to go broke?  Haha depending on when you want to start the beta I am VERY interested.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 12:42:10
For $100?  Are you trying to go broke?  Haha depending on when you want to start the beta I am VERY interested.

Remember that this is for the unit @ cost for a beta, I'm not looking to make any money at this point, just fund the development so I can still afford to eat. The actual retail kit will price higher so that I'm not just giving them away lol. Timing wise, I'll probably start it at the beginning of August for 2-4 weeks depending on the response.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Mon, 22 July 2013, 12:53:06
Ok, a suggestion was made to me at work that I'd like to hear opinions about. Right now, this beta test is looking to cost me a fair bit of money to get the first units produced. I'm happy to shell out the cash because I think it's vital to the development to get user experience and see what needs to be changed, if anything. However, this will stretch my own finances a bit when I should be paying bills. Some of you have already offered to preorder the kits to help support the development, something that was extremely gratifying, but I didn't feel comfortable taking anyone's money until I had made it a bit farther. I've said in the beta applications that the boards would need to be returned at some point, mainly due to the cost for me, however I would like to do at this point is offer a compromise.

What I'd like to do is put up a small indiegogo campaign to cover the cost of production for 20 beta kits. These kits will be offered with & without switches, and each kit would come with frosted keycaps for the backlighting. Basically, I'm looking at roughly $100 without switches, and $150 w/ blue, clear or black switches. This means that the prototype is yours to keep, and you'll still be able to buy a kickstarter/retail kit @ cost when they become available. I'm also looking at offering 20-30 sets of the clear frosted keys (in DSA) as well for $40 to help with funding as well. Would anyone be interested in this option?

I would actually prefer to be able to keep the prototype by funding it directly actually - since shipping back and forth isn't particularly convenient in my case (not to mention the shipping is pretty much half the cost of one board). But it all depends on how far along the keyboard is - is it ready in your opinion? how functional would the beta kits be in comparison to the final kits in your vision of the product?

a feature list that's already been tested so far would be reassuring -
ie.
- wireless working?
- battery life/charging methods?
- reprogrammability - how will it be handled? Is there going to be a downloadable application/web interface?

Or for that matter, are there any major features that's still omitted in the current boards?

If the keyboard is at a stage where you find your original feature list satisfied, ie. a completed production model, and simply require end user testing for comments/further modifications, I'd be more than happy to pay for a beta unit and give feedback where relevant, rather than having you come out of pocket to provide the kits and pay for shipping two ways (after all, stuff costs money :D).

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:03:56
Would anyone be interested in this option?

I'd be up for that.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:04:50
I would actually prefer to be able to keep the prototype by funding it directly actually - since shipping back and forth isn't particularly convenient in my case (not to mention the shipping is pretty much half the cost of one board). But it all depends on how far along the keyboard is - is it ready in your opinion? how functional would the beta kits be in comparison to the final kits in your vision of the product?

a feature list that's already been tested so far would be reassuring -
ie.
- wireless working?
- battery life/charging methods?
- reprogrammability - how will it be handled? Is there going to be a downloadable application/web interface?

Or for that matter, are there any major features that's still omitted in the current boards?

If the keyboard is at a stage where you find your original feature list satisfied, ie. a completed production model, and simply require end user testing for comments/further modifications, I'd be more than happy to pay for a beta unit and give feedback where relevant, rather than having you come out of pocket to provide the kits and pay for shipping two ways (after all, stuff costs money :D).

Right now unless there's a good reason to make a major board revision, the PCBs I have designed right now are what I would consider my production design. Same goes for the case.

As for the firmware, the main controllers will run a bootloader enabling easy updates over USB. I'm also looking at whether I can build the main controller to also act as an ISP for the sub boards since the ATTINY isn't wired to the USB in any form. If for some reason it doesn't work out, I'll be including a usbtinyisp w/ each kit so that testers can update to the latest firmware as it's updated.

For the updating & layout software, I've been working on an app to facilitate making updates easy and for programming layouts, as with the firmware these will be in flux, a big part of that is working it out so that it's cross platform compatible.

In other words, I believe I can nail down just about all the base functionality by the time I have everything ready for the beta kits to go out.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:07:04
Would anyone be interested in this option?

I'd be up for that.

Same here.

As an alternate approach; why don't we just give you money to reserve one of the first production units?  I don't mind if I'm not on the list of beta testers, but I'd be willing to send you funds in order to reserve one once they go to production. 
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:10:53

Right now unless there's a good reason to make a major board revision, the PCBs I have designed right now are what I would consider my production design. Same goes for the case.

As for the firmware, the main controllers will run a bootloader enabling easy updates over USB. I'm also looking at whether I can build the main controller to also act as an ISP for the sub boards since the ATTINY isn't wired to the USB in any form. If for some reason it doesn't work out, I'll be including a usbtinyisp w/ each kit so that testers can update to the latest firmware as it's updated.

For the updating & layout software, I've been working on an app to facilitate making updates easy and for programming layouts, as with the firmware these will be in flux, a big part of that is working it out so that it's cross platform compatible.

In other words, I believe I can nail down just about all the base functionality by the time I have everything ready for the beta kits to go out.

sounds more than fair. I'll be down for one if I'm manage to get into the beta :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:17:37
As an alternate approach; why don't we just give you money to reserve one of the first production units?  I don't mind if I'm not on the list of beta testers, but I'd be willing to send you funds in order to reserve one once they go to production.

Thats pretty much what you'd be doing w/ the indiegogo proto units, because the protos I have designed are pretty much the production run, the only difference will be the firmware. Also, buying a beta unit puts you on the list of testers automatically. The application process for beta was meant to help me reduce the risk with the cash involved with producing prototypes, however by purchasing a prototype unit you've negated that concern, and really you wouldn't even have to provide feedback if you choose not to (though it would be very appreciated).

As for the future expansions, unless the boards require an overhaul for some reason, the prototypes will also be compatible with the bluetooth & other expansions. If it's a matter of it not fitting your case, I will make sure to include a replacement part to make sure that it does :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:22:14
The way I see it, unless there is an extreme overhaul (And I mean extreme), you should pretty much be alright with a prototype, because if anything does change, it will be easily replaceable as the design is as such that anyone can mod it easily. Props to AcidFire for such a design.

And I say this based on my experience of building the Ergodox by sourcing all the items myself rather than MassDrop.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:22:18
As an alternate approach; why don't we just give you money to reserve one of the first production units?  I don't mind if I'm not on the list of beta testers, but I'd be willing to send you funds in order to reserve one once they go to production.

Thats pretty much what you'd be doing w/ the indiegogo proto units, because the protos I have designed are pretty much the production run, the only difference will be the firmware. Also, buying a beta unit puts you on the list of testers automatically. The application process for beta was meant to help me reduce the risk with the cash involved with producing prototypes, however by purchasing a prototype unit you've negated that concern, and really you wouldn't even have to provide feedback if you choose not to (though it would be very appreciated).

As for the future expansions, unless the boards require an overhaul for some reason, the prototypes will also be compatible with the bluetooth & other expansions. If it's a matter of it not fitting your case, I will make sure to include a replacement part to make sure that it does :)

Sounds like a plan. 

Can I send you a bag of switches to install in my beta?   :p

(Only partly joking about that, actually.  I really like MX White switches, and have set aside some for this keyboard already.) 
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: thadood on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:32:29
I can get behind a beta of this!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Mon, 22 July 2013, 13:41:15
Definitely in for a prototype and a final unit. Only thing I'm unsure of is what switches to put in the proto, can't be havin two boards with the same switches. Perhaps greens or blacks.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 14:09:45
So for the actual campaign, I expect to launch it August first provided my boards show up some time this week. I plan to run it until the 15th, and offer 25 kits to start, along with a few other bits :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 22 July 2013, 14:19:22
Will it just be first come first serve to get the boards?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 14:47:12
Will it just be first come first serve to get the boards?

From what I understand of indiegogo, yes, however I'll make sure that those of you on the boards are set up to get one, regardless of how indiegogo... goes.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 22 July 2013, 14:59:35
Will it just be first come first serve to get the boards?

From what I understand of indiegogo, yes, however I'll make sure that those of you on the boards are set up to get one, regardless of how indiegogo... goes.

Wouldn't it just be easier to have everypony who is interested send you money directly?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 22 July 2013, 15:17:16
Wouldn't it just be easier to have everypony who is interested send you money directly?

Honestly, using something like Indiegogo gives me a layer of organization that would take time away from development if I were to handle it all myself. However, if someone misses out, I will make sure you still get the opportunity to get a beta.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 22 July 2013, 15:25:56
Wouldn't it just be easier to have everypony who is interested send you money directly?

Honestly, using something like Indiegogo gives me a layer of organization that would take time away from development if I were to handle it all myself. However, if someone misses out, I will make sure you still get the opportunity to get a beta.

Ok! That's just fine.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Lastpilot on Mon, 22 July 2013, 16:56:10
Just incase my PM gets buried in your inbox, I just want to post it here.

I am also in for a prototype :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Mon, 22 July 2013, 17:38:22
In for a prototype!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 22 July 2013, 21:37:06
Wouldn't it just be easier to have everypony who is interested send you money directly?

Honestly, using something like Indiegogo gives me a layer of organization that would take time away from development if I were to handle it all myself. However, if someone misses out, I will make sure you still get the opportunity to get a beta.

Ok! That's just fine.

Though... how will you keep the public out? Or does it not matter?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Wildcard on Mon, 22 July 2013, 21:50:45
hmmm.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 22 July 2013, 21:54:58
hmmm.
Me agrees
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Mon, 22 July 2013, 23:12:04
Would anyone be interested in this option?

i am interested in this option. I have just set aside money specifically for this project so just let us know what you decide :) I have both pcb-mount and plate mount switches so im good on switches.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Merloobi on Tue, 23 July 2013, 01:54:44
I'm interested in a prototype too! :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Tue, 23 July 2013, 07:12:52
Would you include a bluetooth "receiver" for devices that don't come with one?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Tue, 23 July 2013, 08:46:21
Would you include a bluetooth "receiver" for devices that don't come with one?
You can find one cheap online. Just look up bluetooth dongle on amazon or something. Seriously, you can get a cheap (in both senses of the word) one for under five bucks, or a halfway decent one for around twenty. No need to include it with the keyboard.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 23 July 2013, 09:19:50
Woah woah wait... The protos will come with bluetooth?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 23 July 2013, 09:20:47
I'm in for one.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Tue, 23 July 2013, 10:45:28
Woah woah wait... The protos will come with bluetooth?
I don't think it was ever explicitly stated either way, but it would make a lot of sense for testing. Bluetooth and leds are where I can forsee the most problems arising that could need hardware fixes.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 23 July 2013, 11:16:52
Woah woah wait... The protos will come with bluetooth?
I don't think it was ever explicitly stated either way, but it would make a lot of sense for testing. Bluetooth and leds are where I can forsee the most problems arising that could need hardware fixes.

That is very true. But at that price point, I'd be surprised...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 23 July 2013, 12:27:37
Unfortunately no, the bluetooth will not be included with these protos as there is a ton of work managing those connections alone, not to mention that the radios I'm looking at using are still fairly expensive in small lot quantities. There's also stuff to worry about charging & battery management as well.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 23 July 2013, 12:32:02
Unfortunately no, the bluetooth will not be included with these protos as there is a ton of work managing those connections alone, not to mention that the radios I'm looking at using are still fairly expensive in small lot quantities. There's also stuff to worry about charging & battery management as well.

That's fine. I don't even have a computer with bluetooth...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 23 July 2013, 12:40:37
To answer the other question though, when I do make the add-on available, there will be an optional bluetooth dongle for PCs that don't otherwise have it. I'm also designing a base station that would allow both sides to be charged faster as well as include a bluetooth radio for them to connect to.

Also, to elaborate a bit more on the bluetooth complications, to make the boards truely wireless (no cable joining them), each has to have a bluetooth radio. While Windows/OSX/Linux have no problem talking to multiple keyboards, mobile devices aren't as friendly. I know that iOS will only connect with one device type at a time, which means one half of the setup needs to slave to the other and still relay at a reasonable speed.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 23 July 2013, 12:47:59
To answer the other question though, when I do make the add-on available, there will be an optional bluetooth dongle for PCs that don't otherwise have it. I'm also designing a base station that would allow both sides to be charged faster as well as include a bluetooth radio for them to connect to.

Also, to elaborate a bit more on the bluetooth complications, to make the boards truely wireless (no cable joining them), each has to have a bluetooth radio. While Windows/OSX/Linux have no problem talking to multiple keyboards, mobile devices aren't as friendly. I know that iOS will only connect with one device type at a time, which means one half of the setup needs to slave to the other and still relay at a reasonable speed.
I think that it might be a better solution to have just one side use bluetooth, and use something like a pair of RFM22 modules to let the two sides communicate.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 23 July 2013, 13:03:35
Thing is, unless I buy in massive quantities, a pair of RFM22 modules end up costing more than a single bluetooth radio, but that is an option I'm still looking at. I'm also looking at other alternatives for wireless as well, outside of bluetooth, however they wouldn't be as universal, especially with mobile devices.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Tue, 23 July 2013, 13:20:34
Thing is, unless I buy in massive quantities, a pair of RFM22 modules end up costing more than a single bluetooth radio, but that is an option I'm still looking at. I'm also looking at other alternatives for wireless as well, outside of bluetooth, however they wouldn't be as universal, especially with mobile devices.

Honestly, lack of Bluetooth connectivity is hardly a deal-breaker for me.  All of my current mechanical keyboards are wired, having a wired ErgoGP is fine.  I'm more interested in the design and layout, can't wait to try it out for myself!

Just thinking; maybe use a connecting cable for the L/R boards, and a single Bluetooth module for the PC connection?  I know it wouldn't appeal to folks who want to mount these boards on the armrests of their gaming chairs, but it would make for a nice clean desk-top.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 23 July 2013, 13:27:16
Thing is, unless I buy in massive quantities, a pair of RFM22 modules end up costing more than a single bluetooth radio, but that is an option I'm still looking at. I'm also looking at other alternatives for wireless as well, outside of bluetooth, however they wouldn't be as universal, especially with mobile devices.

Honestly, lack of Bluetooth connectivity is hardly a deal-breaker for me.  All of my current mechanical keyboards are wired, having a wired ErgoGP is fine.  I'm more interested in the design and layout, can't wait to try it out for myself!

Just thinking; maybe use a connecting cable for the L/R boards, and a single Bluetooth module for the PC connection?  I know it wouldn't appeal to folks who want to mount these boards on the armrests of their gaming chairs, but it would make for a nice clean desk-top.

I agree about the bluetooth. As for the cable, will it just be a standard TRRS cable like on the OG edox? If so, then for mounting it on chair arms for less movement('murica!), you could just get a longer cable.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 23 July 2013, 14:15:51
Honestly, lack of Bluetooth connectivity is hardly a deal-breaker for me.  All of my current mechanical keyboards are wired, having a wired ErgoGP is fine.  I'm more interested in the design and layout, can't wait to try it out for myself!

Just thinking; maybe use a connecting cable for the L/R boards, and a single Bluetooth module for the PC connection?  I know it wouldn't appeal to folks who want to mount these boards on the armrests of their gaming chairs, but it would make for a nice clean desk-top.
I agree about the bluetooth. As for the cable, will it just be a standard TRRS cable like on the OG edox? If so, then for mounting it on chair arms for less movement('murica!), you could just get a longer cable.

This is entirely possible, and from a firmware point is a bit simpler to manage, since your just changing how your transmitting the information, directing it over BT instead of USB. This is where I was planning to start from and work from there.

So I'm clear about it, I want to do the bluetooth option so that it's available for the Kickstarter campaign, so what I'm planning to do is start the development on it when the prototypes go out the door to you guys. Just like these boards, once I've got a working prototype that I'm satisfied with, I'll probably do something similar to what I have planned, and do a quick indiegogo campaign for the BT modules, again providing them at cost.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Tue, 23 July 2013, 15:08:40
honestly the wireless option on the ErgoGP sounds very attractive. eliminating the wires except for charging or just have AA's would be cool. though since you started bringing up this as being wireless i have wondered about the LEDs. i know without LEDs you could probably get a good amount of battery life. I think the bluetooth CherryMX KBTalking Pro gets 1000 hours of battery life on 2 AA's

wires is one of the things i freaking hate about my ergodox. i have been meaning to find a retractable TRRS cable.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3739/9354408086_0ac53a41b3_n.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/panicfx/9354408086/)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 23 July 2013, 18:56:58
honestly the wireless option on the ErgoGP sounds very attractive. eliminating the wires except for charging or just have AA's would be cool. though since you started bringing up this as being wireless i have wondered about the LEDs. i know without LEDs you could probably get a good amount of battery life. I think the bluetooth CherryMX KBTalking Pro gets 1000 hours of battery life on 2 AA's

wires is one of the things i freaking hate about my ergodox. i have been meaning to find a retractable TRRS cable.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3739/9354408086_0ac53a41b3_n.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/panicfx/9354408086/)

wow. You can get shorter cables...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: bazemk1979 on Tue, 23 July 2013, 21:42:22
These are from the actual key, with the color tweaked a bit since the photos were slightly washed out when I took them. But those are (with maybe a slight exception to the red) color accurate to the LEDs.

Also, a bit more details from the key caps:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14273.jpg)

The one on the left was my second attempt with aligning to the center of the key. On the right was my first attempt, as well as my first (the circles) and second attempt (the patterning) at lasering the sides with a rig I designed to do it.
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14281.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14277.jpg)


New Conglomerate!!! I stopped playing PS2 :(
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 24 July 2013, 03:12:51
After a conversation with CommunistWitchDr on IRC, I ended up getting a little carried away:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14284.jpg)
the two top boards are just thumb clusters, so little to no development would be needed to add them to the mix :D And the pad at the bottom is a proper 10 key pad, however it's wide enough to fit a smartphone quite easily.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 05:55:14
After a conversation with CommunistWitchDr on IRC, I ended up getting a little carried away:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14284.jpg)

the two top boards are just thumb clusters, so little to no development would be needed to add them to the mix :D And the pad at the bottom is a proper 10 key pad, however it's wide enough to fit a smartphone quite easily.

Wow... that is one nice mountain of acrylic!


Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Wed, 24 July 2013, 07:07:34
After a conversation with CommunistWitchDr on IRC, I ended up getting a little carried away:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14284.jpg)

the two top boards are just thumb clusters, so little to no development would be needed to add them to the mix :D And the pad at the bottom is a proper 10 key pad, however it's wide enough to fit a smartphone quite easily.

Whoah, man!   :eek:  Step away from the fabricator, nice and slow...  You're going off the deep end, there!

 :p
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: hoggy on Wed, 24 July 2013, 07:52:02
I'm so in for a prototype - if there's still space.  Happy to pay to help out.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 08:10:11
I'm so in for a prototype - if there's still space.  Happy to pay to help out.

Yeah me too. Is there a way to know if we got on the list? Is there a list?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 24 July 2013, 08:12:29
That ain't a keyboard, that is a keystation
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Wed, 24 July 2013, 08:33:13
I think the numpad would be quite amazing, but the two thumb clusters don't seem quite useful...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 08:47:03
That ain't a keyboard, that is a keystation

Nice one.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Wed, 24 July 2013, 10:05:02
After a conversation with CommunistWitchDr on IRC, I ended up getting a little carried away:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14284.jpg)

the two top boards are just thumb clusters, so little to no development would be needed to add them to the mix :D And the pad at the bottom is a proper 10 key pad, however it's wide enough to fit a smartphone quite easily.

Loving this! As a Kinesis Countoured owner I would love this. Is the angle still adjustable? I also would love to be able to move the hands farther apart as I have really broad sholders. This was something I was looking at building or the ergodox (a method to rotate them and put them in the right spot then lock them into place. I like the additional buttons better and would love to get my hands on this. (the additional buttons would be great for function keys and other macros.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Wed, 24 July 2013, 10:08:03
Make it all in gloss black polycarbonate, it would look at home on Darth Vader's desk. 
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Wed, 24 July 2013, 10:17:30
Can I get a Mech-Warrior to go with that keyboard?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Lastpilot on Wed, 24 July 2013, 10:43:00
Make it all in gloss black polycarbonate, it would look at home on Darth Vader's desk.
Really? I think the black and clear in OP look realllllllyyyy good. Super classy.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Wed, 24 July 2013, 10:50:46
Make it all in gloss black polycarbonate, it would look at home on Darth Vader's desk.
Really? I think the black and clear in OP look realllllllyyyy good. Super classy.

My comment was about the keystation, not the original version.   ;D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Wed, 24 July 2013, 10:59:32
After a conversation with CommunistWitchDr on IRC, I ended up getting a little carried away:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14284.jpg)

the two top boards are just thumb clusters, so little to no development would be needed to add them to the mix :D And the pad at the bottom is a proper 10 key pad, however it's wide enough to fit a smartphone quite easily.

wayyyy too much going on, im sure some would like that though
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 24 July 2013, 11:30:13
Make it all in gloss black polycarbonate, it would look at home on Darth Vader's desk.
Really? I think the black and clear in OP look realllllllyyyy good. Super classy.

My comment was about the keystation, not the original version.   ;D

I lolled at the "keystation", I just coined a new term. LOL. ErgoGP just became ErgoKS :P
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 24 July 2013, 11:38:27
It's interesting how polarizing this has been. It's most definitely not for everyone, however it's for people like BlueByLiquid who prefer things like the Kinesis or Maltron boards, or who want the extra keys for even more shortcuts/macros/etc. Thats the great thing about how I've designed the base/stands, you can use the ErgoGP in a set up as crazy as this, or simpler like the laptop stands I showed earlier.

I'm also stealing that name mohitgarg :D

Can I get a Mech-Warrior to go with that keyboard?

Clan or Inner Sphere? I've always been partial to the Timber Wolf or Mad Dog personally.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 11:55:53
It's interesting how polarizing this has been. It's most definitely not for everyone, however it's for people like BlueByLiquid who prefer things like the Kinesis or Maltron boards, or who want the extra keys for even more shortcuts/macros/etc. Thats the great thing about how I've designed the base/stands, you can use the ErgoGP in a set up as crazy as this, or simpler like the laptop stands I showed earlier.

I'm also stealing that name mohitgarg :D

Can I get a Mech-Warrior to go with that keyboard?

Clan or Inner Sphere? I've always been partial to the Timber Wolf or Mad Dog personally.


I prefer Nova Cat.

Yes, I still play Mechwarrior 4.

BTW, am I on the beta test list yet? Did I get on? If I didn't. then there's no more point in life.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 24 July 2013, 12:28:39
Yes, I still play Mechwarrior 4.

BTW, am I on the beta test list yet? Did I get on? If I didn't. then there's no more point in life.

MW4 FTW!

As for the beta test list, everyone who's applied so far will get a unit, regardless of whether the payment comes through the indiegogo campaign, or independently.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 12:38:10
Yes, I still play Mechwarrior 4.

BTW, am I on the beta test list yet? Did I get on? If I didn't. then there's no more point in life.

MW4 FTW!

As for the beta test list, everyone who's applied so far will get a unit, regardless of whether the payment comes through the indiegogo campaign, or independently.

YES! MW44LIFE! It's funny, almost all of my favorite PC games are at least 10 years old. It's been great to hear that some older games, like the OG Jed Academy are going open source.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: hoggy on Wed, 24 July 2013, 12:38:58
If I'm on that list, then, AcidFire, I love you.  Thanks!


Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 12:43:37
He was already awesome.

As for the 'keystation', I wonder how hard it would be to stuff a Mini-ITX motherboard and PSU under that thing... Me likes.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 24 July 2013, 12:48:16
AcidFire, go ahead.

Your project came into 6th gear right about when I ordered all the things for my ErgoDox.

So I am unable to buy one at the stage no matter how much I want to get this, maybe in some months.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 24 July 2013, 13:19:30
He was already awesome.

As for the 'keystation', I wonder how hard it would be to stuff a Mini-ITX motherboard and PSU under that thing... Me likes.
I've just checked, a mini-itx board would actually fit quite nicely in the area between the main halves. A power supply would be another question entirely, as that would depend on what type of set up you were going for.

May just have to build myself a revival of my old amiga 500 lol.

AcidFire, go ahead.

Your project came into 6th gear right about when I ordered all the things for my ErgoDox.

So I am unable to buy one at the stage no matter how much I want to get this, maybe in some months.
No worries at all, I know timing doesn't always work out for people on this sort of thing, I've missed a number of kickstarter projects that I would have loved to jump in on. I know that you sourced everything for your ergodox yourself, and if you like I can let you know when the design is available and just the completed PCBs are available.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 24 July 2013, 13:24:42
He was already awesome.

As for the 'keystation', I wonder how hard it would be to stuff a Mini-ITX motherboard and PSU under that thing... Me likes.
I've just checked, a mini-itx board would actually fit quite nicely in the area between the main halves. A power supply would be another question entirely, as that would depend on what type of set up you were going for.

May just have to build myself a revival of my old amiga 500 lol.

AcidFire, go ahead.

Your project came into 6th gear right about when I ordered all the things for my ErgoDox.

So I am unable to buy one at the stage no matter how much I want to get this, maybe in some months.
No worries at all, I know timing doesn't always work out for people on this sort of thing, I've missed a number of kickstarter projects that I would have loved to jump in on. I know that you sourced everything for your ergodox yourself, and if you like I can let you know when the design is available and just the completed PCBs are available.

Thank you kind sir, that would be most excellent. Once the design is finalised, I may just get the PCB and the electronics, as I have the rest, the case if designs are available I can get cut here in India myself.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 13:33:57
He was already awesome.

As for the 'keystation', I wonder how hard it would be to stuff a Mini-ITX motherboard and PSU under that thing... Me likes.
I've just checked, a mini-itx board would actually fit quite nicely in the area between the main halves. A power supply would be another question entirely, as that would depend on what type of set up you were going for.

May just have to build myself a revival of my old amiga 500 lol.

Though it would have to run some linux distro with ratpoison so that you wouldn't need to take your hands off of the keystation too often. It looks very comfortable.

I really wish that I had access to a laser cutter. Then I could make a bunch of cool prototypes of stuff. I was thinking that it would be cool to get one of the Full Spectrum cutters, but I don't have the $$$ even for those.  :(

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 24 July 2013, 13:42:53
Though it would have to run some linux distro with ratpoison so that you wouldn't need to take your hands off of the keystation too often. It looks very comfortable.

I really wish that I had access to a laser cutter. Then I could make a bunch of cool prototypes of stuff. I was thinking that it would be cool to get one of the Full Spectrum cutters, but I don't have the $$$ even for those.  :(
I was thinking it would be pretty easy to bury a RasPi in it, I may have to explore that down the road.

We have a full spectrum in the shop, they're great for production cutting, however setting up test cuts and what not on it is... a pain in the ass. They also don't engrave/etch nearly as well as the Epilogs we have.

As for the prototyping, I find I need to be careful as I can get carried away at times if I find a mistake or addition to make, it's easy to throw it in the laser or just to make a new part. Thankfully we buy acrylic in bulk so my costs per sheet are pretty low, but it still adds up pretty quick if your OCD like me.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 13:55:05
Though it would have to run some linux distro with ratpoison so that you wouldn't need to take your hands off of the keystation too often. It looks very comfortable.

I really wish that I had access to a laser cutter. Then I could make a bunch of cool prototypes of stuff. I was thinking that it would be cool to get one of the Full Spectrum cutters, but I don't have the $$$ even for those.  :(
I was thinking it would be pretty easy to bury a RasPi in it, I may have to explore that down the road.

We have a full spectrum in the shop, they're great for production cutting, however setting up test cuts and what not on it is... a pain in the ass. They also don't engrave/etch nearly as well as the Epilogs we have.

As for the prototyping, I find I need to be careful as I can get carried away at times if I find a mistake or addition to make, it's easy to throw it in the laser or just to make a new part. Thankfully we buy acrylic in bulk so my costs per sheet are pretty low, but it still adds up pretty quick if your OCD like me.

Ahh.. the raspi is a good idea!

Thanks for the info on the lasers. Random other optional question, what industry do you work in?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 24 July 2013, 14:02:12
I'm the IT/Web guy for a company called Solarbotics (https://solarbotics.com/), we make hobbyist robotic & electronic kits. We also make these kits (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ef0b/).

I don't have any formal training for electronics, however I've picked up a ton of stuff working here, including PCB design, coding in C, etc etc. I also designed this:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 17:39:39
I'm the IT/Web guy for a company called Solarbotics (https://solarbotics.com/), we make hobbyist robotic & electronic kits. We also make these kits (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ef0b/).

I don't have any formal training for electronics, however I've picked up a ton of stuff working here, including PCB design, coding in C, etc etc. I also designed this:

Cool!

As for the youtube link, it was a valiant effort, but it needs to be http, not https.

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 24 July 2013, 17:42:22
Cool!
As for the youtube link, it was a valiant effort, but it needs to be http, not https.

I have no idea what your talking about (quietly fixes original post)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 24 July 2013, 21:09:02
I don't have any formal training for electronics, however I've picked up a ton of stuff working here, including PCB design, coding in C, etc etc. I also designed this:

I don't have formal training in anything, but I've learned a LOT from helpful people on the web.

Do you use Mr. Bitey in production? He looks very useful.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Wed, 24 July 2013, 23:02:38
After a conversation with CommunistWitchDr on IRC, I ended up getting a little carried away:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14284.jpg)

the two top boards are just thumb clusters, so little to no development would be needed to add them to the mix :D And the pad at the bottom is a proper 10 key pad, however it's wide enough to fit a smartphone quite easily.

I need this design for my Ergodox! Any chance it would fit? If so can you send me the code for laser printing? I have access to a laser cutter.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 25 July 2013, 00:44:17
I don't have formal training in anything, but I've learned a LOT from helpful people on the web.

Do you use Mr. Bitey in production? He looks very useful.
Not currently. It uses a photogate to count parts, but if they end up bent to where it can't count properly it messes up the counts. I'm looking at either using a stepper which can reliably move the spool forward for the 5.5mm distance between components, or a photogate with a narrow enough beam that I could use the legs of the components at the edges of the reel to count accurately. I'll probably end up working on it some time in september when a ton of our web work is done.


I need this design for my Ergodox! Any chance it would fit? If so can you send me the code for laser printing? I have access to a laser cutter.
Unfortunately I don't think it will. While they share the same basic shape, the size of the units and and & position of the thumb are different.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 25 July 2013, 09:39:01
Unfortunately I don't think it will. While they share the same basic shape, the size of the units and and & position of the thumb are different.
[/quote]

Ok thanks. I just really think this type of thing would make the ergodox usable for me so maybe I will do something similar when I get some free time (Probablly never :) )
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 25 July 2013, 10:26:24
He was already awesome.

As for the 'keystation', I wonder how hard it would be to stuff a Mini-ITX motherboard and PSU under that thing... Me likes.
I've just checked, a mini-itx board would actually fit quite nicely in the area between the main halves. A power supply would be another question entirely, as that would depend on what type of set up you were going for.

Hmm... PicoPSU? Cooling would be another issue. You would probably need to use one of the new 55W i3 CPUs, or one of the newer AMD ones. For the GPU, it would be best to use one of the mini-graphics-card variations of the 640/650...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: OldDataHands on Thu, 25 July 2013, 11:27:54
The tenting angle on your keystation looks nice to me. The apparent lack of rotation about the Z axis looks like something to be fixed. Is the yaw adjustable? Why have you chosen no rotation?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 25 July 2013, 18:58:31
The tenting angle on your keystation looks nice to me. The apparent lack of rotation about the Z axis looks like something to be fixed. Is the yaw adjustable? Why have you chosen no rotation?

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by Z axis.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: OldDataHands on Thu, 25 July 2013, 20:46:31
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by Z axis.
hmm... how to better express myself... One of the great things about the split hands is that you can orient them such that your wrists can be in a neutral position even when your hands are close together. It appears that this flexibility might be lost in the keystation setup, and to me that would be a shame, and a loss of ergo.  Spinning on the desk surface === rotate on Z axis === yaw.  I would like to see this degree of freedom maintained...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 25 July 2013, 20:58:54
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by Z axis.
hmm... how to better express myself... One of the great things about the split hands is that you can orient them such that your wrists can be in a neutral position even when your hands are close together. It appears that this flexibility might be lost in the keystation setup, and to me that would be a shame, and a loss of ergo.  Spinning on the desk surface === rotate on Z axis === yaw.  I would like to see this degree of freedom maintained...

Ah... ok.  That is what I've always thought of the Z axis as being. I can definitely see where you're coming from. I think that the keystaition was just an experimental thing. I'd be surprised if AcidFire plans to continue much more on it's development.

That said, it's a great idea.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 25 July 2013, 21:18:02
I hoped that there was a bit of rotation in a finalized product like that also I would love to have it be able to widen or narrow if you have really broad sholders like me. I don't think that is something that will be soon but I know I would love it. I also hope the tenting in that design is adjustable because to play games I like to have the keys flat but angled when typing.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 26 July 2013, 00:41:48
It was mostly experimental, and while yes I wasn't originally intending to offer it, I think I may just put a bit more time and offer it as a higher up reward for the kickstarter.

As for the angles, I have an idea swimming in my head on how to do user adjustable Z. And the tilt will be adjustable through removable peices. If I get enough cash for injection molding I should be able to do something a little bit more flexible.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 09:51:28
It was mostly experimental, and while yes I wasn't originally intending to offer it, I think I may just put a bit more time and offer it as a higher up reward for the kickstarter.

As for the angles, I have an idea swimming in my head on how to do user adjustable Z. And the tilt will be adjustable through removable peices. If I get enough cash for injection molding I should be able to do something a little bit more flexible.

Yeah...

It is intriguing, if nothing else.

With all that space, it would be tempting to try to mod it into a computer case, using a PicoPSU.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 26 July 2013, 11:38:12
Definitely, would like to see what's managable, tho building the PC would either make it bigger to accomodate the ability to pivot the inputs, or a fixed angle to keep it all the same size.

On a different note, will I have complete faith that the boards from Seeed studio will be quality, however, will never pick the EMS option again when I want them at a reasonable time >_< here's hoping they'll atleast hit canada over the weekend. In the meantime I've gotten most of the firmware prepped, very eager to test it.

I've also been looking at LEDs, and was wondering what colors people would be interested in for their proto kits?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 12:01:28
Definitely, would like to see what's managable, tho building the PC would either make it bigger to accomodate the ability to pivot the inputs, or a fixed angle to keep it all the same size.

On a different note, will I have complete faith that the boards from Seeed studio will be quality, however, will never pick the EMS option again when I want them at a reasonable time >_< here's hoping they'll atleast hit canada over the weekend. In the meantime I've gotten most of the firmware prepped, very eager to test it.

I've also been looking at LEDs, and was wondering what colors people would be interested in for their proto kits?

Seeed has a reputation for good quality. I say good choice.

For LEDs, I don't understand how you could include them in the proto kits at that price. If that does come through, I would love green.  :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 26 July 2013, 12:23:27
Purple or slow fade rainbow is the best led color
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 26 July 2013, 12:55:44
Seeed has a reputation for good quality. I say good choice.

For LEDs, I don't understand how you could include them in the proto kits at that price. If that does come through, I would love green.  :D

Buying in bulk makes it cheaper for sure. Only issue w/ 3mm leds is that it limits your choices a bit for brightness/color/manfacturer/price, but I have Green, Blue, Red & Yellow on my list and I'm looking for white as well.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 13:03:56
Seeed has a reputation for good quality. I say good choice.

For LEDs, I don't understand how you could include them in the proto kits at that price. If that does come through, I would love green.  :D

Buying in bulk makes it cheaper for sure. Only issue w/ 3mm leds is that it limits your choices a bit for brightness/color/manfacturer/price, but I have Green, Blue, Red & Yellow on my list and I'm looking for white as well.

Hmm... white will be tricky.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: hoggy on Fri, 26 July 2013, 14:12:01
Purple or slow fade rainbow is the best led color
I like purple too.

... However, I'm more than happy to take what's easiest.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Fri, 26 July 2013, 15:11:37
Purple is great but it is VERY hard to find superbright purple LEDs. I couldn't find them the only ones I found we either not bright or that ugly pinkish color like the Ducky shine 2. Not sure where they got the ones for the Ducky shine 3 but they look great
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 15:14:16
It would look insanely awesome if the home row had different leds than the rest of the board.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Fri, 26 July 2013, 15:17:09
It would look insanely awesome if the home row had different leds than the rest of the board.

I disagree unless you use the RGB ones and do it programmatically. people are picky about lighting and you wouldn't get something everyone would be happy with
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 15:26:31
It would look insanely awesome if the home row had different leds than the rest of the board.

I disagree unless you use the RGB ones and do it programmatically. people are picky about lighting and you wouldn't get something everyone would be happy with

It was just a random thought.

Your opinion, however, remains valid.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 26 July 2013, 16:39:06
It was just a random thought.

Your opinion, however, remains valid.

I'd go even further and say that both opinions are valid for different crowds. Not everyone will be able to afford the RGB add-ons, and it's fairly simple to offer a customization option for those who don't. Nothing wrong with putting yourself in the position to cater to everyone without having to compromise :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 19:36:21
Nothing wrong with putting yourself in the position to cater to everyone without having to compromise :)

You're like bunny in that way.

Except bunny would give away a bunch of units, and require everyone who enters to post a picture of themselves playing piano with a piece of paper stuck to their face that says "bunnylake this is my favorite keyboard"  :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 26 July 2013, 19:44:29
Nothing wrong with putting yourself in the position to cater to everyone without having to compromise :)

You're like bunny in that way.

Except bunny would give away a bunch of units, and require everyone who enters to post a picture of themselves playing piano with a piece of paper stuck to their face that says "bunnylake this is my favorite keyboard"  :D

No kidding I can actually play a piano
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 20:01:46
Nothing wrong with putting yourself in the position to cater to everyone without having to compromise :)

You're like bunny in that way.

Except bunny would give away a bunch of units, and require everyone who enters to post a picture of themselves playing piano with a piece of paper stuck to their face that says "bunnylake this is my favorite keyboard"  :D

No kidding I can actually play a piano

Me too...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 26 July 2013, 20:02:22
nice
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 26 July 2013, 20:03:58
nice

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=42967.0

It's too bad that everypony just plays guitar and stuff like that...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Fri, 26 July 2013, 23:11:05
Definitely, would like to see what's managable, tho building the PC would either make it bigger to accomodate the ability to pivot the inputs, or a fixed angle to keep it all the same size.

On a different note, will I have complete faith that the boards from Seeed studio will be quality, however, will never pick the EMS option again when I want them at a reasonable time >_< here's hoping they'll atleast hit canada over the weekend. In the meantime I've gotten most of the firmware prepped, very eager to test it.

I've also been looking at LEDs, and was wondering what colors people would be interested in for their proto kits?

At the prices you've been offering your prototype units at, I'd say any color of LEDs you decide/have would be fine. If it came down to preference, I guess UV/aquamarine blue would be sweet (mostly due to the rarity), though I definitely am not expecting you to be providing them for the protos.

For that matter, I wouldn't mind taking it led-less, then source and solder my own later. (In fact, I'll prefer it, as there are some mods to be done to the switches before adding leds, so as to maintain the ez-open switch capability after leds are added in).

edit: p.s. the timber wolf is definitely one of my favorites. However, I didn't get that much into the politics of the game, so no real preference between the two factions.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 12:40:41
Definitely, would like to see what's managable, tho building the PC would either make it bigger to accomodate the ability to pivot the inputs, or a fixed angle to keep it all the same size.

On a different note, will I have complete faith that the boards from Seeed studio will be quality, however, will never pick the EMS option again when I want them at a reasonable time >_< here's hoping they'll atleast hit canada over the weekend. In the meantime I've gotten most of the firmware prepped, very eager to test it.

I've also been looking at LEDs, and was wondering what colors people would be interested in for their proto kits?

At the prices you've been offering your prototype units at, I'd say any color of LEDs you decide/have would be fine. If it came down to preference, I guess UV/aquamarine blue would be sweet (mostly due to the rarity), though I definitely am not expecting you to be providing them for the protos.

For that matter, I wouldn't mind taking it led-less, then source and solder my own later. (In fact, I'll prefer it, as there are some mods to be done to the switches before adding leds, so as to maintain the ez-open switch capability after leds are added in).

edit: p.s. the timber wolf is definitely one of my favorites. However, I didn't get that much into the politics of the game, so no real preference between the two factions.

Clan FTW! Though I don't know much about the new Mechwarrior. I've only played MW4.

AcidFire: ETA on the indiegogo prototype campaign? If you already told us, then I probably missed it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 27 July 2013, 13:18:06
The plan is to do it about a week or so after I get the first set of boards I'm waiting on. I'm hoping to get up and running as close to the beginning of the month as I can, and I'll be posting my proposed perks later today.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 13:19:27
The plan is to do it about a week or so after I get the first set of boards I'm waiting on. I'm hoping to get up and running as close to the beginning of the month as I can, and I'll be posting my proposed perks later today.

Thanks!


I hope you get your boards soon...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:17:49
Am I the only one here who constantly checks this thread for new developments?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:30:42
Me as well
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:43:55
Me three
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:46:36
1) Goes to geekhack
2) Clicks on the updated posts
3) Looks to see if this one has anything new
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:47:50
1) Goes to geekhack
2) Clicks on the updated posts
3) Looks to see if this one has anything new

/me Just subscribes to this with tapatalk and never even needs to check
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:49:24
1) Goes to geekhack
2) Clicks on the updated posts
3) Looks to see if this one has anything new

/me Just subscribes to this with tapatalk and never even needs to check

*Doesn't have smartphone.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:50:19
*Doesn't have smartphone
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:51:36
So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?  :confused:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:54:04
So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?  :confused:

To make it look cool!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:55:46
AcidFire: Will the EgroGP have similar customization for layouts as the OG ErgoDox?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sat, 27 July 2013, 18:57:00
So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?  :confused:

To make it look cool!

Which is the only reason for backlighting on a board like this anyway, an ergo board has no purpose if you don't touchtype.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 19:07:18
So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?  :confused:

To make it look cool!

Which is the only reason for backlighting on a board like this anyway, an ergo board has no purpose if you don't touchtype.

Very true.

It is odd though.

I once decided to see if I could REALLY touch type, so I put a brown cloth over my hands and took a WPM test.

I could type just fine, but over the years of not touch typing, I had made a habit of looking at my hands while I type.

So, I was constantly glancing down at and sometimes staring at...

A brown cloth!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 27 July 2013, 19:10:12
By the way...

What kind of switches is everypony planning on getting with their unit?

I'd like to get clears.

I've tried blues, and found them MUCH too light.

But...

I loved the tactility.

Sooooo...

I'll try some clears!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 27 July 2013, 19:12:19
Would be amazing if there is an option to have black/white alternative keycaps, would look like a "real" piano!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Merloobi on Sat, 27 July 2013, 20:10:08
Ive been constantly checking rhe progress of this keyboard, but mostly lurking :)

Hope everything goes smoothly!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ShallowMoon on Sun, 28 July 2013, 03:11:26
I've been checking here a lot too. I have a question though, will the key caps be staggered? Seems it would be a bit more ergonomical that way. Apologies if this question was already asked/answered.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 28 July 2013, 12:24:59
I have the thread on my notify list, so I get an email every time someone replies to the thread :D I love talking about this project.

To answer your questions:
1) So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?
Communist nailed it partially, but the blanks I'm ordering are clear so that I can potentially vinyl paint them and then laser etch markings into them. While this will be time consuming for me, I think it'll help to determine how well this will hold up over time to see what will wear away.

2) Will the EgroGP have similar customization for layouts as the OG ErgoDox?
What I have in mind will be better I think. Instead of having to reupload a new firmware to the device w/ your new layout, the software will be able to push the layout to your board without affecting the core firmware. The software will also have the ability to both share & download new layouts from a community site with ease. Creating layouts will also be a bit more simple/intuitive.

3) will the key caps be staggered? Seems it would be a bit more ergonomical that way. Apologies if this question was already asked/answered.
If your talking about staggering like a standard Qwerty board, no. If your talking about staggering the columns to better match the difference in fingers, yes. I've also staggered them a bit more than previous solutions, the index finger is a 6mm offset from the middle finger, while the pinkie keys are an 8mm offset from the middle finger.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Sciurid89 on Sun, 28 July 2013, 15:09:42
This think looks absolutely stunning. I am about to return my Kinesis because the thumb pads on it are way up in the sky relative to the fingers (ow.jpg). Recessing the thumb cluster is quite smart.

What is the measurement from the index homerow key to the center of the nearest possible 2x1 thumb key?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 28 July 2013, 15:42:33
This think looks absolutely stunning. I am about to return my Kinesis because the thumb pads on it are way up in the sky relative to the fingers (ow.jpg). Recessing the thumb cluster is quite smart.

What is the measurement from the index homerow key to the center of the nearest possible 2x1 thumb key?

Currently It comes in at 80mm, but that doesn't include the drop between the levels. If you take the drop as well, it's 80.5mm.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Sun, 28 July 2013, 22:39:52
I have the thread on my notify list, so I get an email every time someone replies to the thread :D I love talking about this project.

To answer your questions:
1) So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?
Communist nailed it partially, but the blanks I'm ordering are clear so that I can potentially vinyl paint them and then laser etch markings into them. While this will be time consuming for me, I think it'll help to determine how well this will hold up over time to see what will wear away.

2) Will the EgroGP have similar customization for layouts as the OG ErgoDox?
What I have in mind will be better I think. Instead of having to reupload a new firmware to the device w/ your new layout, the software will be able to push the layout to your board without affecting the core firmware. The software will also have the ability to both share & download new layouts from a community site with ease. Creating layouts will also be a bit more simple/intuitive.

3) will the key caps be staggered? Seems it would be a bit more ergonomical that way. Apologies if this question was already asked/answered.
If your talking about staggering like a standard Qwerty board, no. If your talking about staggering the columns to better match the difference in fingers, yes. I've also staggered them a bit more than previous solutions, the index finger is a 6mm offset from the middle finger, while the pinkie keys are an 8mm offset from the middle finger.

I don't like the idea of the layouts being software based and not pushed to the keyboard's firmware like the ergodox.

I  use multiple computers at the same desk. My work computer i cannot install any not-approved software and drivers due to the nature of my work, basically if it doesn't work plug and play i cant use it and the computer my keyboard gets action with the most is my work computer.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Sun, 28 July 2013, 23:11:44
I have the thread on my notify list, so I get an email every time someone replies to the thread :D I love talking about this project.

To answer your questions:
1) So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?
Communist nailed it partially, but the blanks I'm ordering are clear so that I can potentially vinyl paint them and then laser etch markings into them. While this will be time consuming for me, I think it'll help to determine how well this will hold up over time to see what will wear away.

2) Will the EgroGP have similar customization for layouts as the OG ErgoDox?
What I have in mind will be better I think. Instead of having to reupload a new firmware to the device w/ your new layout, the software will be able to push the layout to your board without affecting the core firmware. The software will also have the ability to both share & download new layouts from a community site with ease. Creating layouts will also be a bit more simple/intuitive.

3) will the key caps be staggered? Seems it would be a bit more ergonomical that way. Apologies if this question was already asked/answered.
If your talking about staggering like a standard Qwerty board, no. If your talking about staggering the columns to better match the difference in fingers, yes. I've also staggered them a bit more than previous solutions, the index finger is a 6mm offset from the middle finger, while the pinkie keys are an 8mm offset from the middle finger.

I don't like the idea of the layouts being software based and not pushed to the keyboard's firmware like the ergodox.

I  use multiple computers at the same desk. My work computer i cannot install any not-approved software and drivers due to the nature of my work, basically if it doesn't work plug and play i cant use it and the computer my keyboard gets action with the most is my work computer.

The software on the computer pushes the layout to a fancy part of the board where the layout is stored without having to flash firmware. The firmware just reads the layout you push. It's still totally portable.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Sun, 28 July 2013, 23:35:01
I have the thread on my notify list, so I get an email every time someone replies to the thread :D I love talking about this project.

To answer your questions:
1) So the keycaps would be blank, so what's the point of back-lighting?
Communist nailed it partially, but the blanks I'm ordering are clear so that I can potentially vinyl paint them and then laser etch markings into them. While this will be time consuming for me, I think it'll help to determine how well this will hold up over time to see what will wear away.

2) Will the EgroGP have similar customization for layouts as the OG ErgoDox?
What I have in mind will be better I think. Instead of having to reupload a new firmware to the device w/ your new layout, the software will be able to push the layout to your board without affecting the core firmware. The software will also have the ability to both share & download new layouts from a community site with ease. Creating layouts will also be a bit more simple/intuitive.

3) will the key caps be staggered? Seems it would be a bit more ergonomical that way. Apologies if this question was already asked/answered.
If your talking about staggering like a standard Qwerty board, no. If your talking about staggering the columns to better match the difference in fingers, yes. I've also staggered them a bit more than previous solutions, the index finger is a 6mm offset from the middle finger, while the pinkie keys are an 8mm offset from the middle finger.

I don't like the idea of the layouts being software based and not pushed to the keyboard's firmware like the ergodox.

I  use multiple computers at the same desk. My work computer i cannot install any not-approved software and drivers due to the nature of my work, basically if it doesn't work plug and play i cant use it and the computer my keyboard gets action with the most is my work computer.

The software on the computer pushes the layout to a fancy part of the board where the layout is stored without having to flash firmware. The firmware just reads the layout you push. It's still totally portable.

if that is the case then ok
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 00:57:28
My apologies for the confusion (and thanks to Communist for explaining it), allow me to elaborate for those of you who are a bit more technical. The plan is to store the layouts in external EEPROM instead of as part of the firmware, making it simpler and safer (botching an EEPROM write isn't nearly as bad as a firmware issue) for the less technical crowd to update their boards. This will also be expandable as well.

As I was at work today and running something else through the laser, I decided to follow through on the pivoting idea:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14289.jpg)
20 Degree Z rotation
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14290.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14292.jpg)
The current design allows up to a 45 degree rotation
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14294.jpg)
This design has a  support that slides out with the main plate to help support the controllers

I've got a number of notes as to what I'm going to do differently with the next one, but so far I'm happy with how much more flexible this makes the current set up.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: hoggy on Mon, 29 July 2013, 01:18:35
I'm impressed.

The attention to detail is just fascinating.

Don't you sleep?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: hoggy on Mon, 29 July 2013, 01:22:27
Would it be possible to split the base plate between the two controllers and then couple them in a way that could be adjusted?  I'm thinking of those with broad or narrow shoulders? 
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Mon, 29 July 2013, 01:24:28
Tenting. Check.
Z-Axis rotation. Check
Movement along X-Axis?
Movement along Y-Axis?

:P
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 01:55:18
Would it be possible to split the base plate between the two controllers and then couple them in a way that could be adjusted?  I'm thinking of those with broad or narrow shoulders? 
I hadn't given any thought to it, but after you brought it up an idea is forming for the next revision, so we'll see how this goes in the next round.

I'm impressed.

The attention to detail is just fascinating.

Don't you sleep?
A lot of this stuff comes to me as I work out the basic design, and I get a bit OCD with getting measurements just right.

You know, I get asked the sleep question a lot lol.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 29 July 2013, 07:15:28
My apologies for the confusion (and thanks to Communist for explaining it), allow me to elaborate for those of you who are a bit more technical. The plan is to store the layouts in external EEPROM instead of as part of the firmware, making it simpler and safer (botching an EEPROM write isn't nearly as bad as a firmware issue) for the less technical crowd to update their boards. This will also be expandable as well.

As I was at work today and running something else through the laser, I decided to follow through on the pivoting idea:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14289.jpg)

20 Degree Z rotation
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14290.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14292.jpg)

The current design allows up to a 45 degree rotation
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14294.jpg)

This design has a  support that slides out with the main plate to help support the controllers

I've got a number of notes as to what I'm going to do differently with the next one, but so far I'm happy with how much more flexible this makes the current set up.

Wow... that's amazing!


I'm curoius, how much eep are you using?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Mon, 29 July 2013, 07:49:21
This is an amazing keyboard. Would be even greater if you could add a trackball to the equation, somewhere in the middle most likely?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Mon, 29 July 2013, 08:21:23
Love the new design. Great work! I would second the ability to make the device wider as I have extremely broad solders.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Mon, 29 July 2013, 08:31:58
looking more and more badass with each update. Honestly can't wait for beta to start.

are you planning to offer the numpad for sale in the future too? Would be nice to finally have a numpad that matches the acrylic aesthetic of both the ErgoGP and the Ergodox.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 10:33:46
looking more and more badass with each update. Honestly can't wait for beta to start.

are you planning to offer the numpad for sale in the future too? Would be nice to finally have a numpad that matches the acrylic aesthetic of both the ErgoGP and the Ergodox.
That's the plan. I doubt it will be a part of the Kickstarter campaign, however I do plan to make it available after the kickstarter units have been shipped and I open up web sales.

Wow... that's amazing!


I'm curoius, how much eep are you using?
Thank you :) Whats eep?


Love the new design. Great work! I would second the ability to make the device wider as I have extremely broad solders.
Will keep that in mind. As I said, I have an idea on how to do it, so it'll come down to how it works out in practice.

This is an amazing keyboard. Would be even greater if you could add a trackball to the equation, somewhere in the middle most likely?
I've been giving this some thought as well, with a trackpad being another option as well. A big part of the question is whether to use something existing and mod it to fit, or to design a completely new add on for it. Time will tell what the best option will be.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Mon, 29 July 2013, 10:49:01
You can add some gears to make the two parts of the keyboard move/rotate symmetrically... Not sure if you understand what I mean
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 10:51:16
That's a possibility, however I've never been a fan of that type of setup as it locks you into a certain position on both sides instead of being more flexible. Also, that type of system would increase the difficulty/cost of being able to allow the user to spread them out to better suit themselves.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ephson on Mon, 29 July 2013, 12:37:01
I have been a lurker for a couple of days now. I would love to join your beta when you get it up on Indiegogo. I am new to Keyboard modding, However I'm a programmer by day (Android developer) and I am not new to soldering and Arduino hacking. I would love to help out in anyway I can.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 29 July 2013, 12:59:27
Wow... that's amazing!


I'm curoius, how much eep are you using?
Thank you :) Whats eep?

eep[rom]

1k
2k
4k
8k
16k
32k
64k
128k
256k
512k
1024k?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 13:10:13
Ah gotcha, never heard it referred to as such before. I'm embedding a 1mbit module, so 128kb. The addon module would add another 384k (3x 1mbit), making for a total of 512kb, should be more than ample space to store just about anything the layouts + macros will ever need.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 29 July 2013, 13:16:20
Ah gotcha, never heard it referred to as such before. I'm embedding a 1mbit module, so 128kb. The addon module would add another 384k (3x 1mbit), making for a total of 512kb, should be more than ample space to store just about anything the layouts + macros will ever need.

Not bad...

It depends on how efficiently you format your resources, but 128k should be plenty.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ephson on Mon, 29 July 2013, 16:50:43
FYI: there is an Ergodox set in this groupbuy:
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44912.0
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 16:55:04
FYI: there is an Ergodox set in this groupbuy:
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44912.0
I was originally going to grab a set or two, but with the new sets SP is making available for DSA base & modifier, I'm able to order exactly what I need and cheaper than the Dolch kit.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ephson on Mon, 29 July 2013, 17:24:23
FYI: there is an Ergodox set in this groupbuy:
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44912.0
I was originally going to grab a set or two, but with the new sets SP is making available for DSA base & modifier, I'm able to order exactly what I need and cheaper than the Dolch kit.

Are these sets available to all? If so, anyway I can get a link?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 17:32:46
It's just the DSA PBT blank kits they're currently offering. (http://www.keycapsdirect.com/marketplace.php)

In other news, look what just walked through the front door :D
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_1962.jpg)
I will be cutting up the first couple after work today and I'll start populating them later tonight :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 29 July 2013, 17:34:48
In other news, look what just walked through the front door :D
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_1962.jpg)

I will be cutting up the first couple after work today and I'll start populating them later tonight :D

SCORE!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ephson on Mon, 29 July 2013, 17:43:01
It's just the DSA PBT blank kits they're currently offering. (http://www.keycapsdirect.com/marketplace.php)

Thanks! I will be getting a set or 2.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 29 July 2013, 18:44:36
In other news, look what just walked through the front door :D
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_1962.jpg)

I will be cutting up the first couple after work today and I'll start populating them later tonight :D

How many boards worth is that?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Mon, 29 July 2013, 19:28:33
5 I believe
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 29 July 2013, 19:32:44
5 I believe


I count 10 main boards and 20 thumb clusters.

2 main and 2 thumb each so 5.

But what about the other 10 thumb clusters?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 29 July 2013, 22:04:21
While it should be enough to do 5 sets w/ some extras, in practice the yields are much lower because I unfortunately packed the boards a bit too tight on the panelization. Getting a good cut on one board is leaving another somewhat ruined. I should however end up with atleast enough to build two with a few spares.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 30 July 2013, 10:23:52
While it should be enough to do 5 sets w/ some extras, in practice the yields are much lower because I unfortunately packed the boards a bit too tight on the panelization. Getting a good cut on one board is leaving another somewhat ruined. I should however end up with atleast enough to build two with a few spares.


How are you cutting them?

Laser cutter?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Tue, 30 July 2013, 10:28:02
I want in on this.

I NEED in on this.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 30 July 2013, 11:35:32
I'm currently cutting them w/ a bandsaw. I got the soldering done last night for the first test units, I'll be wiring them up to a controller later and taking them for a spin to see how the multiplexing works out. If the board works out to be solid the next step is to order a small batch of the boards you guys would be getting for further testing & verification (w/ MUCH faster shipping.) Because everything will be in place and just waiting on the boards, it should only take me a day or two to verify everything works before offering up the beta batch.

Now, on the ordering process, I have the ability to put up a private site instead of indiegogo to allow you guys to purchase beta kits without fear of someone taking your spot (verifying by beta sign up), would this be preferable to you? Everything is still done through paypal (ew I know) but locked down to those of you who are actually interested in helping out. This would also allow me to gather data faster as to what type of configuration you guys would be interested in, LED color, thumb layout, etc etc. without a lot of back and forth. What do you guys think?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: hoggy on Tue, 30 July 2013, 11:42:16
For all the work you've put in, I'm more than happy to go with whatever would be easiest for you.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Tue, 30 July 2013, 12:09:35
I want in on this.

I NEED in on this.

did you sign up?

I'm currently cutting them w/ a bandsaw. I got the soldering done last night for the first test units, I'll be wiring them up to a controller later and taking them for a spin to see how the multiplexing works out. If the board works out to be solid the next step is to order a small batch of the boards you guys would be getting for further testing & verification (w/ MUCH faster shipping.) Because everything will be in place and just waiting on the boards, it should only take me a day or two to verify everything works before offering up the beta batch.

Now, on the ordering process, I have the ability to put up a private site instead of indiegogo to allow you guys to purchase beta kits without fear of someone taking your spot (verifying by beta sign up), would this be preferable to you? Everything is still done through paypal (ew I know) but locked down to those of you who are actually interested in helping out. This would also allow me to gather data faster as to what type of configuration you guys would be interested in, LED color, thumb layout, etc etc. without a lot of back and forth. What do you guys think?

sounds good

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ephson on Tue, 30 July 2013, 12:13:05
Now, on the ordering process, I have the ability to put up a private site instead of indiegogo to allow you guys to purchase beta kits without fear of someone taking your spot (verifying by beta sign up), would this be preferable to you? Everything is still done through paypal (ew I know) but locked down to those of you who are actually interested in helping out. This would also allow me to gather data faster as to what type of configuration you guys would be interested in, LED color, thumb layout, etc etc. without a lot of back and forth. What do you guys think?


This sounds great to me. I'm in.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Tue, 30 July 2013, 12:17:20
For all the work you've put in, I'm more than happy to go with whatever would be easiest for you.

+1

Just let us know where to go to sign up, although I think you already have my info on the beta tester signup sheet.   ;D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Tue, 30 July 2013, 12:30:34
so how does this beta test work again exactly? do we need to send the kit back afterwards?

and what kind of feedback do you need from beta testers? is this limited to US only?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 30 July 2013, 12:39:52
acidfire, that sounds good. Paypal is fine with me. I'm ready today if you need to test the process. :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 30 July 2013, 15:03:58
As an insteresting note. It seems Razer has starting using small mechnical switches for the large number of buttons on their new version of the Naga Mouse. I wonder if these would make for a great way to add small Function keys without increasing the size much.
http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-mice/razer-naga
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 30 July 2013, 16:52:12
As an insteresting note. It seems Razer has starting using small mechnical switches for the large number of buttons on their new version of the Naga Mouse. I wonder if these would make for a great way to add small Function keys without increasing the size much.
http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-mice/razer-naga

I'm not sure what Razer means by "mechanical switches".
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ephson on Tue, 30 July 2013, 17:05:17

I'm not sure what Razer means by "mechanical switches".

I'm, not convinced that they know either...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 30 July 2013, 17:33:57

I'm not sure what Razer means by "mechanical switches".

I'm, not convinced that they know either...

It is absolutely impossible for them to use Cherry MX switches.

It may be, that they are using some kind of RD switch.

I like my 2012 Naga, but the buttons are much too stiff.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 30 July 2013, 17:39:25
Hrmm...

How to do paypal...

I will be gone from tomorrow until next week.

I'll try to do something then.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 30 July 2013, 17:49:03
Hrmm...

How to do paypal...

I will be gone from tomorrow until next week.

I'll try to do something then.

wait are we already supposed to send money?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 30 July 2013, 18:02:48
Hrmm...

How to do paypal...

I will be gone from tomorrow until next week.

I'll try to do something then.

wait are we already supposed to send money?

No, not yet I think.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 30 July 2013, 18:12:07
Hrmm...

How to do paypal...

I will be gone from tomorrow until next week.

I'll try to do something then.

wait are we already supposed to send money?

No, not yet I think.


I got confused by your statement about doing it tomorrow.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 30 July 2013, 21:21:37
Hrmm...

How to do paypal...

I will be gone from tomorrow until next week.

I'll try to do something then.

wait are we already supposed to send money?

No, not yet I think.


I got confused by your statement about doing it tomorrow.

Oh.

I meant when I get back next week.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wiredPANDA on Wed, 31 July 2013, 16:04:39
How have I overlooked this thread for so long.   Nice work on this AcidFire!

To add fuel to the fire --- where do we sign up/throw our money?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 31 July 2013, 17:41:36
I'll be putting the site together over the weekend for where you guys can order, as I'll be testing my boards over the next couple of days and should hopefully be readying the next batch for order by tuesday. After that it'll come down to whether I feel I need to do another board revision before ordering the prototype batch, or if I should just go for it. Either way, I'll have a firm timeline for Tuesday (yay long weekend!).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Thu, 01 August 2013, 16:42:40
one thing if you ever get around to it is update the original post of the topic with the current status of the project and it is looking with the design. Some people may not get where this project is at unless they go through every page

on the other hand, it has become a nice little elite ErgoGP fan club going on in here, I haven't seen TP4Tissue show up yet in here :O
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 02 August 2013, 02:36:24
one thing if you ever get around to it is update the original post of the topic with the current status of the project and it is looking with the design. Some people may not get where this project is at unless they go through every page

on the other hand, it has become a nice little elite ErgoGP fan club going on in here, I haven't seen TP4Tissue show up yet in here :O

I'll definitely update the front over the weekend, I've got a fair amount of time slotted for working on development and whatnot.

Speaking of updates, I was able to test the boards tonight and everything looks pretty good so far. Next is to test the micros which I'm expecting to be a bit more involved, but I feel confident w/ the design to order the next revision of the boards for testing before I offer it up to you guys.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: audukent on Fri, 02 August 2013, 09:03:16
I am very interested in your ErgoGP.  The work you have done on it is magnificent
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 02 August 2013, 14:22:54
I am very interested in your ErgoGP.  The work you have done on it is magnificent

Thank you :)

While it isn't much in the way of further progress, I've created a twitter account for those interested in following: @multiplxd. I'm also setting up accounts on YouTube, google+, etc etc. to better share what I'm working outside of the forum.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Fri, 02 August 2013, 14:33:30
I am very interested in your ErgoGP.  The work you have done on it is magnificent

Thank you :)

While it isn't much in the way of further progress, I've created a twitter account for those interested in following: @multiplxd. I'm also setting up accounts on YouTube, google+, etc etc. to better share what I'm working outside of the forum.

Is that the right Twitter handle?  I couldn't find it via a quick search.  I'm on Twitter as well, @Greystoke.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 02 August 2013, 14:38:02
I am very interested in your ErgoGP.  The work you have done on it is magnificent

Thank you :)

While it isn't much in the way of further progress, I've created a twitter account for those interested in following: @multiplxd. I'm also setting up accounts on YouTube, google+, etc etc. to better share what I'm working outside of the forum.

Is that the right Twitter handle?  I couldn't find it via a quick search.  I'm on Twitter as well, @Greystoke.

Thats odd, it may not come up right away since it's a fairly new account and I'm sure theres some caching involved somewhere. I followed you so you should be able to see my account, let me know if it comes up as something different.

Also, just a very quick demo of the backlight LEDs running an animation:

Edit: When you search on twitter, make sure you set the filter on the left to people. The account doesn't come up on the main search because it hasn't been mentioned in any tweets yet.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Fri, 02 August 2013, 14:49:17
Got it.  I was using the wrong search box, thanks for the pointer!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 02 August 2013, 15:13:15
amazing
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wiredPANDA on Fri, 02 August 2013, 21:59:33
Just retweeted your link --- so you're mentioned in tweets now.  =]
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: fisofo on Sat, 03 August 2013, 02:27:40
Sa-weet.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Mon, 05 August 2013, 06:50:35
Very nice work Sir!

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to assembling one of these :D.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Loligagger on Mon, 05 August 2013, 17:01:27
Pretty interested in the final board. However, would black DSA PBTs be possible as a keyset (with enough extras for the different thumb variations)? What about stabilizers for 2x keys?

On the software side, layers being active only while a switch is pressed & layer indicators are possible right?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 05 August 2013, 17:48:33
Do you mean blank or labeled sets? I'm definitely going to make a full blank black set of DSA PBT caps available, along with a couple other options.

As for the layers, you will be able to either toggle (stays on that layer) or shift (only active while holding a key). You can also set the toggle and shift keys to target specific layers, and any key can be set to shift or toggle.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Loligagger on Mon, 05 August 2013, 19:06:46
Yea, I did mean blank sets. Sounds pretty good so far. Can the software do LED layer indicators?

Either way I'm most likely in when the final board rolls around.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 05 August 2013, 20:33:03
Yea, I did mean blank sets. Sounds pretty good so far. Can the software do LED layer indicators?

Either way I'm most likely in when the final board rolls around.

That's the plan. You'll be able to set which LED the layer toggles, and when I make the RGB add on, the color too.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Mon, 05 August 2013, 20:38:20
what addons are you planning to made available for the beta kits?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: do_Og@n on Mon, 05 August 2013, 20:50:52
That ErgoDox reminds me of a really nice Steinway and Sons Grand Piano.

Awesome work....I wish these were cheaper so I could afford one.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: agodinhost on Mon, 05 August 2013, 21:28:31
Again, Awesome work acid!

I'm really interested to see how you are going to manage this amount of leds (the required power and general wiring circuitry).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 05 August 2013, 21:39:52
Again, Awesome work acid!

I'm really interested to see how you are going to manage this amount of leds (the required power and general wiring circuitry).

Thank you :D

The wiring is fairly simple, being a straight forward matrix layout. For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, it's pretty much exactly like the switch array on a keyboard, providing power one row and a time and cycling through the columns to give the power a route through the LED. This is strobed very quickly, faster than your eye can pick up, and ends up using very little power.

what addons are you planning to made available for the beta kits?

The standard kit will be all that will be available at the start, as well as some of the options for the stands. I may offer more when the Bluetooth modules are made available as well.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 06 August 2013, 04:06:15
Just thought I'd share a quick update. I've been making some minor tweaks to the PCBs and sorted out a couple of issues and made some improvements:
1) beefed up the power traces. All the traces on the board the first time round were 10mil, I've sinced uped the 5v & gnd rails to 15mil, including bulking up the vias.
2) added a crystal to both sides of the main & thumb boards. I still have a ways to go w/ pwm control, and the crystals give me the option to bump up to 16mhz if I need to.
3) caught a routing problem on the main board, right side. Missed some I/O >_<
4) added an additional pair of address jumpers. You can now add up to 16 (8 per side) thumb pads.
5) added a 3.5mm connection point to thumb pads for external use.
6) sorted out connectors between main & thumb boards. There are options for permanent & modular connections.
7) shifted over & optimized main boards ISP header. This allows for a pass through connector to be used on the RGB add on, simplifying the connection without using something difficult like ZIF cables.
8) added inline spi header to CPU module for future bluetooth addon.
9) added indicator LEDs to CPU board for power & USB tx/rx (mostly troubleshooting). Can be disabled via a jumper.
10) designed external number pad.
11) designed external 4x5 button array.
12) updated case designs to accommodate pcb changes. Also moved and added case screws for better stability. I have button head & counter sunk screws on order for testing.
13) outlined the addressing table for all boards.
13) outlined the i2c commands for switch polling & LEDs on the sub boards.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Tue, 06 August 2013, 04:11:08
I don't understand what half of the updates mean, but nevertheless thank you for your hard work! Can you post some new pictures if anything physical changed?

Does this also mean a trackball will not be included in the design?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: agodinhost on Tue, 06 August 2013, 06:41:36
The wiring is fairly simple, being a straight forward matrix layout. For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, it's pretty much exactly like the switch array on a keyboard, providing power one row and a time and cycling through the columns to give the power a route through the LED. This is strobed very quickly, faster than your eye can pick up, and ends up using very little power.
I saw one arduino mega in one of your pictures and I think I saw it in the video too - are you planning to use it into the final version? I don't know any avr usb capable IC with this number of available ports ...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Tue, 06 August 2013, 06:46:28
Just thought I'd share a quick update. I've been making some minor tweaks to the PCBs and sorted out a couple of issues and made some improvements:
1) beefed up the power traces. All the traces on the board the first time round were 10mil, I've sinced uped the 5v & gnd rails to 15mil, including bulking up the vias.
2) added a crystal to both sides of the main & thumb boards. I still have a ways to go w/ pwm control, and the crystals give me the option to bump up to 16mhz if I need to.
3) caught a routing problem on the main board, right side. Missed some I/O >_<
4) added an additional pair of address jumpers. You can now add up to 16 (8 per side) thumb pads.
5) added a 3.5mm connection point to thumb pads for external use.
6) sorted out connectors between main & thumb boards. There are options for permanent & modular connections.
7) shifted over & optimized main boards ISP header. This allows for a pass through connector to be used on the RGB add on, simplifying the connection without using something difficult like ZIF cables.
8) added inline spi header to CPU module for future bluetooth addon.
9) added indicator LEDs to CPU board for power & USB tx/rx (mostly troubleshooting). Can be disabled via a jumper.
10) designed external number pad.
11) designed external 4x5 button array.
12) updated case designs to accommodate pcb changes. Also moved and added case screws for better stability. I have button head & counter sunk screws on order for testing.
13) outlined the addressing table for all boards.
13) outlined the i2c commands for switch polling & LEDs on the sub boards.

Wow!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: vatin on Tue, 06 August 2013, 07:08:34
I may have missed something, but will this be open source like ergodox?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Tue, 06 August 2013, 07:13:11
I may have missed something, but will this be open source like ergodox?

Once everything is finalised, yes, OP has mentioned he is a supporter of open source and open hardware and would like the same for the ErgoGP.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: hoggy on Tue, 06 August 2013, 07:31:29
I like the sound of

5) added a 3.5mm connection point to thumb pads for external use.

Does this mean I can add a standard switch and map it to a key?  If so, I'll be tempted to get my smiley face button out again.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Batmann on Tue, 06 August 2013, 08:06:02
That project is amazing  :eek:
I don't know how I missed it,
I can't wait to see the final version
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 06 August 2013, 10:25:27
I saw one arduino mega in one of your pictures and I think I saw it in the video too - are you planning to use it into the final version? I don't know any avr usb capable IC with this number of available ports ...
The mega was used for the simplicity of testing. The final control has a ATMEGA32u4 (used in the Teensy & Leonardo) as the main controller & interface to the PC side. Each keypad sub board has an ATTINY828 controlling the switches & LEDs (they have 28 usable I/O ports.) They're all connected over the i2c bus.

I may have missed something, but will this be open source like ergodox?

Once everything is finalised, yes, OP has mentioned he is a supporter of open source and open hardware and would like the same for the ErgoGP.
I'll clarify this too since I've been give some advice since I first started this project. At the end of everything, when the first production batch is ready, everything will be released, hardware and software. Up until that point, things like the case, PCBs, BOM, and anything else will production related will be held back. There would be nothing more frustrating than to go through all this work designing & testing and to have someone take advantage of that work while I'm raising funds.

What I will release before them will be the schematics, firmware, and source for the desktop software, once it's ready to be shared.

I like the sound of

5) added a 3.5mm connection point to thumb pads for external use.

Does this mean I can add a standard switch and map it to a key?  If so, I'll be tempted to get my smiley face button out again.
Unfortunately no, what it means is that you can use the thumb pad boards as extra keypads. I will be adding the ability to use custom buttons however, since it ties in with the ability to add a foot pedal.

That project is amazing  :eek:
I don't know how I missed it,
I can't wait to see the final version
Me too!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: anotherjunkie on Tue, 06 August 2013, 11:05:47
Just thought I'd share a quick update. I've been making some minor tweaks to the PCBs and sorted out a couple of issues and made some improvements:
1) beefed up the power traces. All the traces on the board the first time round were 10mil, I've sinced uped the 5v & gnd rails to 15mil, including bulking up the vias.
2) added a crystal to both sides of the main & thumb boards. I still have a ways to go w/ pwm control, and the crystals give me the option to bump up to 16mhz if I need to.
3) caught a routing problem on the main board, right side. Missed some I/O >_<
4) added an additional pair of address jumpers. You can now add up to 16 (8 per side) thumb pads.
5) added a 3.5mm connection point to thumb pads for external use.
6) sorted out connectors between main & thumb boards. There are options for permanent & modular connections.
7) shifted over & optimized main boards ISP header. This allows for a pass through connector to be used on the RGB add on, simplifying the connection without using something difficult like ZIF cables.
8) added inline spi header to CPU module for future bluetooth addon.
9) added indicator LEDs to CPU board for power & USB tx/rx (mostly troubleshooting). Can be disabled via a jumper.
10) designed external number pad.
11) designed external 4x5 button array.
12) updated case designs to accommodate pcb changes. Also moved and added case screws for better stability. I have button head & counter sunk screws on order for testing.
13) outlined the addressing table for all boards.
13) outlined the i2c commands for switch polling & LEDs on the sub boards.

That's an amazing amount of work, and there are some real gems in there! The option for external arrays/10keys, foot pedal as mentioned... Can't wait.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 06 August 2013, 11:09:38
Can we pay by mailing you a Cashier's Check? :thumb:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 06 August 2013, 17:13:40
Can we pay by mailing you a Cashier's Check? :thumb:

Though I've already answered this via PM, I'll reply here as well for anyone else wondering the same thing. Because of the fraud that gets pulled w/ Cashiers checks in Canada, the bank will only release the funds after 30 days. Unfortunately, I can't afford to float the funds for that long. So for now, PayPal will be the only way I can accept payment.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 06 August 2013, 18:30:43
Hey! I just noticed the OP!

Good to know that you're updating it now.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Tue, 06 August 2013, 23:07:51
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)

Cannot possibly explain the level of want
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: yasuo on Wed, 07 August 2013, 00:40:43
I hope you make video typing with this keyboard ;)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 07 August 2013, 08:06:30
I hope you make video typing with this keyboard ;)

I don't know if AcidFire will, but when I get a beta unit I sure will!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 07 August 2013, 13:04:30
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)

Cannot possibly explain the level of want


Me too, I can't wait to get my next round of boards ordered :D

I hope you make video typing with this keyboard ;)

I don't know if AcidFire will, but when I get a beta unit I sure will!
Of course! That's pretty much a requirement for a kickstarter campaign. On that front, I got an email and it officially opens to Canada on the 9th of september.

On the development side, I've designed the LED array test board, and I've also designed a set of Cherry MX break out boards for testing for the foot switch. Why a Cherry MX switch you ask? Because I came across this on kickstarter: STINKY the Gaming Footboard (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/289858283/stinky-the-gaming-footboard-step-up-your-game?ref=live). I found it particularly interesting that they went w/ the Cherry MX switches instead of why you might expect, like an Omron leaf switch, so I'd like to explore the idea. I think what they've done is fantastic, but the price ($119) for a foot switch is just a bit much for me. Also, this would be running a separate piece of software, and I'd much prefer to keep it all integrated.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 07 August 2013, 13:14:05
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)

Cannot possibly explain the level of want


Me too, I can't wait to get my next round of boards ordered :D

I hope you make video typing with this keyboard ;)

I don't know if AcidFire will, but when I get a beta unit I sure will!
Of course! That's pretty much a requirement for a kickstarter campaign. On that front, I got an email and it officially opens to Canada on the 9th of september.

On the development side, I've designed the LED array test board, and I've also designed a set of Cherry MX break out boards for testing for the foot switch. Why a Cherry MX switch you ask? Because I came across this on kickstarter: STINKY the Gaming Footboard (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/289858283/stinky-the-gaming-footboard-step-up-your-game?ref=live). I found it particularly interesting that they went w/ the Cherry MX switches instead of why you might expect, like an Omron leaf switch, so I'd like to explore the idea. I think what they've done is fantastic, but the price ($119) for a foot switch is just a bit much for me. Also, this would be running a separate piece of software, and I'd much prefer to keep it all integrated.

You would probably need a very stiff switch for the pedal.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 07 August 2013, 13:23:34
You would think, but the interesting thing about the Stinky is the the top half is supported over the bottom via 4 springs, so instead of the switch carrying your weight, the springs do. This lets you float your feet over them and then activate with very little movement, while most traditional footswitches require you to rest your foot to the side when not in use.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 07 August 2013, 15:49:17
You would think, but the interesting thing about the Stinky is the the top half is supported over the bottom via 4 springs, so instead of the switch carrying your weight, the springs do. This lets you float your feet over them and then activate with very little movement, while most traditional footswitches require you to rest your foot to the side when not in use.

Ah... ok!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wiredPANDA on Wed, 07 August 2013, 21:11:57
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)

Cannot possibly explain the level of want


+1 -- this thread continues to deliver.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Wed, 07 August 2013, 21:36:19
I want that symmetric numpad. I would give sexual favors for that thing and the acrylic risers
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Thu, 08 August 2013, 01:55:02
would love to see a video along with mouse interaction, the setup looks pretty big so it seems the arm might be skewed a bit too much to properly work with a mouse. A trackball in the middle would solve that though ;-)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Thu, 08 August 2013, 02:18:55
would love to see a video along with mouse interaction, the setup looks pretty big so it seems the arm might be skewed a bit too much to properly work with a mouse. A trackball in the middle would solve that though ;-)

With the right setup your mouse usage (when not gaming) can approach zero.

Center trackball is pretty nice though from my experience.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: TheQsanity on Thu, 08 August 2013, 04:06:47
This is cool. Seems like an improvement from the ErgoDox. I thought the Dox thumb keys are kinda far away. Does your version put them any closer?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: yasuo on Thu, 08 August 2013, 04:17:38
 ErgoDox put them any closer like Kinesis Adv. not fun
acid seemed to put some distance like maltron it's fun :thumb:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: TheQsanity on Thu, 08 August 2013, 04:20:37
I can't stand how much more sexy this looks compared to my ErgoDox. Can't stop looking at it either. I'm killing myself!!!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Thu, 08 August 2013, 04:26:52
This is cool. Seems like an improvement from the ErgoDox. I thought the Dox thumb keys are kinda far away. Does your version put them any closer?

The current case design (from what Acidfire has shared) puts it at the same distance as ErgoDox but with a lower depth/step than the main hand pcb because the ErgoGP has the thumb cluster on a separate board, it can by-design be moved around with an adjustment of the case design or something in the case design that allows it to be movable/adjustable

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 08 August 2013, 13:04:41
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)
Cannot possibly explain the level of want
+1 -- this thread continues to deliver.
Glad you guys are as excited as I am :D

I want that symmetric numpad. I would give sexual favors for that thing and the acrylic risers
I uh.. prefer cash lol. Also, like the thumb pads, the numeric add-ons now allow for up to 8 of them to be added to the system.

would love to see a video along with mouse interaction, the setup looks pretty big so it seems the arm might be skewed a bit too much to properly work with a mouse. A trackball in the middle would solve that though ;-)
With the right setup your mouse usage (when not gaming) can approach zero.
Center trackball is pretty nice though from my experience.
The current base for the full set up is 514mm. This is a bit wider than a full board, and almost on par with the Logitech G series boards with the extra macro keys. That being said, after the initial launch I'll be looking into trackball/trackpad/trackpoint options for both center mount & the thumbs.

I can't stand how much more sexy this looks compared to my ErgoDox. Can't stop looking at it either. I'm killing myself!!!
When I have some time, I'm looking at making the same colors available for the ErgoDox. the biggest issue right now is fitment, as the thicknesses of acrylic I have on hand are different from what the stock case uses.

This is cool. Seems like an improvement from the ErgoDox. I thought the Dox thumb keys are kinda far away. Does your version put them any closer?
The current case design (from what Acidfire has shared) puts it at the same distance as ErgoDox but with a lower depth/step than the main hand pcb because the ErgoGP has the thumb cluster on a separate board, it can by-design be moved around with an adjustment of the case design or something in the case design that allows it to be movable/adjustable

I checked, and it's actually slightly further away than the ErgoDox are. However, because of the drop to the thumb pads, it puts your thumb in a more natural resting point, and the only thing that I have to lift my fingers to hit is the top two keys on the thumbs. I am however tweaking this option. My biggest headache is the hesitation to switch to something like a ZIF connector + ribbon instead of the 0.1" headers I'm using now, as it removes some of the flexibility/hackability. Conversely, if I switch from a double sided PCB design, I gain a fair bit more space to do things, but this also reduces the cost benefit a double sided board offers. However, moving to a single sided board (not mirrored to the back) frees up a fair bit of space and reduces design headaches to a degree, not to mention reducing the complexity of the firmware since two different sets of pin mappings wouldn't need to be managed. A simple toggle would tell the firmware which address to answer to, and what offset to send the keypresses with. There's also the fact that if there is an error on one side, I'm not forced to replace essentially both boards to fix it. It also simplifies panelizing for PnP manufacturing.

I'm sure you guys can see which way I'm leaning with this, however I would be interested to hear if you have any reasons I should stay with the double sided designs?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 13:07:45
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14295.jpg)

Cannot possibly explain the level of want


+1 -- this thread continues to deliver.

(http://0-media-cdn.foolz.us/ffuuka/board/tg/image/1335/71/1335713252720.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Thu, 08 August 2013, 15:17:49
i like where this is going, i just dislike clear acrylic.... flat color or even better matte-texture acrylic i hope would be possible, however talking about the materials this early probably isn't a good idea--probably getting ahead of things.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 15:23:19
i like where this is going, i just dislike clear acrylic.... flat color or even better matte-texture acrylic i hope would be possible, however talking about the materials this early probably isn't a good idea--probably getting ahead of things.

Yeah lol

I do love the black of the OG design though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 08 August 2013, 18:42:17
- Progress today (so far) -
Started a new version of the main keypad, the left side. This version is not double sided, but features a number of improvements:
1) Relocated USB jack to left side of the board
2) Relocated bridge cable jack to left side of the board
3) Unified header to CPU board, making for a simplier interface
4) Moved row & column breakout headers to bottom of board
5) The LED & switch matrixes now share a common ground. I'll be testing this concept with current boards to ensure it will work consistently.
6) Added pull up resistors to input lines to simply coding & reduce chance of errors when switching from input to output on the ground lines.
7) Added 3 RGB LEDs w/ 12-bit PWM to the top right corner of the board.

Currently considering moving from the ATTINY828 to something a bit more standard, which should reduce the development time substantially as it would no longer require a firmware for the keypads. This would allow for a total of 8 boards, whether they are main, thumb, number or other (like foot switches). This would also allow for 12-bit PWM control of the back lighting as well.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Thu, 08 August 2013, 19:36:49
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 19:37:18
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Thu, 08 August 2013, 19:40:35
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 19:56:18
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.

ErgoDox is.

Plate doesn't need to be metal.

ErgoDox plate is acrylic, and ErgoGP is too I think.

AcidFire?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Thu, 08 August 2013, 19:57:36
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.
The ErgoDox is plate mount and so is this. It's just an acrylic plate instead of metal.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:00:46
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.
The ErgoDox is plate mount and so is this. It's just an acrylic plate instead of metal.

I thought so.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:04:25
Yup both ErgoGP and ErgoDox are plate mounted, where the plate is acrylic and is thus thicker than the metal plates used for mounting switches in keyboards.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:04:33
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

The ErgoDox is plate mount and so is this. It's just an acrylic plate instead of metal.

I thought so.

Yea, but I am petty sure that I read somewhere that since it's acrylic, it does not offer much support and needs pcb mount switches. But I may bee totally wrong here! But since it's acrylic plate mounted, I suppose it would be possible to replace this acrylic sheet and replace it with a metal plate with the same shape and thickness (and this option to open the switches without desoldering for sure)!
Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:12:12
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

The ErgoDox is plate mount and so is this. It's just an acrylic plate instead of metal.

I thought so.

Yea, but I am petty sure that I read somewhere that since it's acrylic, it does not offer much support and needs pcb mount switches. But I may bee totally wrong here! But since it's acrylic plate mounted, I suppose it would be possible to replace this acrylic sheet and replace it with a metal plate with the same shape and thickness (and this option to open the switches without desoldering for sure)!
Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.

A well designed acrylic plate is very sturdy.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:21:13
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

The ErgoDox is plate mount and so is this. It's just an acrylic plate instead of metal.

I thought so.

Yea, but I am petty sure that I read somewhere that since it's acrylic, it does not offer much support and needs pcb mount switches. But I may bee totally wrong here! But since it's acrylic plate mounted, I suppose it would be possible to replace this acrylic sheet and replace it with a metal plate with the same shape and thickness (and this option to open the switches without desoldering for sure)!
Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.

The plate is to align the switches properly and prevent flex. Acrylic thinner than 3/32 will flex, above that acrylic is as good as metal. Since the design of the ErgoDox is available at ergodox.org, you can get a metal plate cut and it allows you to remove switch top without desoldering the switches. At the completion of the ErgoGP, files for the plate will be made available and again can be got cut.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:23:21
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

The ErgoDox is plate mount and so is this. It's just an acrylic plate instead of metal.

I thought so.

Yea, but I am petty sure that I read somewhere that since it's acrylic, it does not offer much support and needs pcb mount switches. But I may bee totally wrong here! But since it's acrylic plate mounted, I suppose it would be possible to replace this acrylic sheet and replace it with a metal plate with the same shape and thickness (and this option to open the switches without desoldering for sure)!
Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.

The plate is to align the switches properly and prevent flex. Acrylic thinner than 3/32 will flex, above that acrylic is as good as metal. Since the design of the ErgoDox is available at ergodox.org, you can get a metal plate cut and it allows you to remove switch top without desoldering the switches. At the completion of the ErgoGP, files for the plate will be made available and again can be got cut.

Well, if the acrylic plate is strong enough, I think it would be even nicer to add the feature to be able to open the switches to it, if this kind of precision if possible with acrylic! Anyone know if it would be possible?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:27:50
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

The ErgoDox is plate mount and so is this. It's just an acrylic plate instead of metal.

I thought so.

Yea, but I am petty sure that I read somewhere that since it's acrylic, it does not offer much support and needs pcb mount switches. But I may bee totally wrong here! But since it's acrylic plate mounted, I suppose it would be possible to replace this acrylic sheet and replace it with a metal plate with the same shape and thickness (and this option to open the switches without desoldering for sure)!
Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.

The plate is to align the switches properly and prevent flex. Acrylic thinner than 3/32 will flex, above that acrylic is as good as metal. Since the design of the ErgoDox is available at ergodox.org, you can get a metal plate cut and it allows you to remove switch top without desoldering the switches. At the completion of the ErgoGP, files for the plate will be made available and again can be got cut.

Well, if the acrylic plate is strong enough, I think it would be even nicer to add the feature to be able to open the switches to it, if this kind of precision if possible with acrylic! Anyone know if it would be possible?

AcidFire has said that you can.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Thu, 08 August 2013, 20:33:13
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.

I know there has been answers to this but i wanted to say the ErgoDox PCB design allows plate and PCB mounted switches. Case designs can offer the plate or go without it.

The ErgoDox is plate mounted on the Litster case provided by MassDrop and I want to reiterate what everyone else is saying, It does not flex at all. The down side of the acrylic plate is that the acrylic has to be THICK, in fact it's so thick on the litster case you can't use through-hole diodes.

Well, if the acrylic plate is strong enough, I think it would be even nicer to add the feature to be able to open the switches to it, if this kind of precision if possible with acrylic! Anyone know if it would be possible?

The Litster case for ErgoDox does have this feature so it is very possible

- Progress today (so far) -
Started a new version of the main keypad, the left side. This version is not double sided, but features a number of improvements:
1) Relocated USB jack to left side of the board
2) Relocated bridge cable jack to left side of the board
3) Unified header to CPU board, making for a simplier interface
4) Moved row & column breakout headers to bottom of board
5) The LED & switch matrixes now share a common ground. I'll be testing this concept with current boards to ensure it will work consistently.
6) Added pull up resistors to input lines to simply coding & reduce chance of errors when switching from input to output on the ground lines.
7) Added 3 RGB LEDs w/ 12-bit PWM to the top right corner of the board.

Currently considering moving from the ATTINY828 to something a bit more standard, which should reduce the development time substantially as it would no longer require a firmware for the keypads. This would allow for a total of 8 boards, whether they are main, thumb, number or other (like foot switches). This would also allow for 12-bit PWM control of the back lighting as well.

 :thumb:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Thu, 08 August 2013, 21:42:36
My vote is for a Teensy 3.0. Micro USB FTW
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: TheQsanity on Thu, 08 August 2013, 22:02:58
Smooth clear acrylic is hard to conceal scratches.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Thu, 08 August 2013, 22:33:16
My vote is for a Teensy 3.0. Micro USB FTW
Ew. Why use a broke out controller board when you can have the main controller chip itself smd soldered directly to the pcb? So much nicer.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Thu, 08 August 2013, 23:01:05
pretty sure teensy is not used with the ergogp
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Fri, 09 August 2013, 00:07:04
Ew. Why use a broke out controller board when you can have the main controller chip itself smd soldered directly to the pcb? So much nicer.

Because I dun wanna SM solder the controller to the board. The diodes are enought thank you very much :)

I suggested the teensy because it's a popular board that a many people are familiar and comfortable with already. and the 3.0 because it's much more powerful with lots of space and a micro usb connector, which is much more durable than the mini usb.

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Fri, 09 August 2013, 00:07:43
pretty sure teensy is not used with the ergogp

Currently considering moving from the ATTINY828 to something a bit more standard, which should reduce the development time substantially as it would no longer require a firmware for the keypads. This would allow for a total of 8 boards, whether they are main, thumb, number or other (like foot switches). This would also allow for 12-bit PWM control of the back lighting as well.

That's why I suggested it :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: FiskFisk33 on Fri, 09 August 2013, 00:20:06
Is there any option to make this design plate mounted?

I think it already is.

Nice if it is, but the ergodox is not and I did't see any metal piece in the pictures.

I know there has been answers to this but i wanted to say the ErgoDox PCB design allows plate and PCB mounted switches. Case designs can offer the plate or go without it.

The ErgoDox is plate mounted on the Litster case provided by MassDrop and I want to reiterate what everyone else is saying, It does not flex at all. The down side of the acrylic plate is that the acrylic has to be THICK, in fact it's so thick on the litster case you can't use through-hole diodes.

Well, if the acrylic plate is strong enough, I think it would be even nicer to add the feature to be able to open the switches to it, if this kind of precision if possible with acrylic! Anyone know if it would be possible?

The Litster case for ErgoDox does have this feature so it is very possible

- Progress today (so far) -
Started a new version of the main keypad, the left side. This version is not double sided, but features a number of improvements:
1) Relocated USB jack to left side of the board
2) Relocated bridge cable jack to left side of the board
3) Unified header to CPU board, making for a simplier interface
4) Moved row & column breakout headers to bottom of board
5) The LED & switch matrixes now share a common ground. I'll be testing this concept with current boards to ensure it will work consistently.
6) Added pull up resistors to input lines to simply coding & reduce chance of errors when switching from input to output on the ground lines.
7) Added 3 RGB LEDs w/ 12-bit PWM to the top right corner of the board.

Currently considering moving from the ATTINY828 to something a bit more standard, which should reduce the development time substantially as it would no longer require a firmware for the keypads. This would allow for a total of 8 boards, whether they are main, thumb, number or other (like foot switches). This would also allow for 12-bit PWM control of the back lighting as well.

 :thumb:

Guys, pages 6-7 ;)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Fri, 09 August 2013, 00:33:04
Ew. Why use a broke out controller board when you can have the main controller chip itself smd soldered directly to the pcb? So much nicer.

Because I dun wanna SM solder the controller to the board. The diodes are enought thank you very much :)

I suggested the teensy because it's a popular board that a many people are familiar and comfortable with already. and the 3.0 because it's much more powerful with lots of space and a micro usb connector, which is much more durable than the mini usb.

Dude, the smd stuff is presoldered. You only have to solder the switches if you get the kit version. Perhaps using the chip the teensy 3 uses, but the whole teensy would be silly.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Fri, 09 August 2013, 00:49:00
pretty sure teensy is not used with the ergogp

Currently considering moving from the ATTINY828 to something a bit more standard, which should reduce the development time substantially as it would no longer require a firmware for the keypads. This would allow for a total of 8 boards, whether they are main, thumb, number or other (like foot switches). This would also allow for 12-bit PWM control of the back lighting as well.

That's why I suggested it :)

oh, i didn't interpret that as teensy, but i guess yeah it could mean that.

---
i really hope the ErgoGP will still have the option for just the keyboard and base, not interested in all the stuff in the center (numpad...)...at least i dont think i want it....
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 09 August 2013, 01:54:50
So while I haven't completely finished the first board yet, I'm very happy with the results so far, and unless there's a compelling reason to go back to the ATTINY828 or something similar, I'll be sticking to devices that will sit on the i2c bus.

As for the plate, I've used both 3mm & 1.5mm acrylic to test. The 3mm is nice & rigid, but obviously the switches won't snap into that. 1.5mm is fantastic because the switches snap in easily, however it can be fragile. I have a couple ideas for the case I'm going to try tomorrow that I'll post up.

For the kit, everything SMD will be presoldered for you, the only thing you'll need to solder is switches + LEDs.

On the USB port, I'm sorry, but you'll most likely never see a USB micro on one of my projects. I've had way too many issues with them pulling off, and space isn't at a premium to really require a smaller port.

And regarding the controller, I'd much prefer to design something that's meant to fit what I'm doing, then working around someone else's design. This also has the advantage on the business side for me and on the consumer side for you guys, as a custom controller is cheaper in the mark up then adding something like the Teensy.
What I have in mind at this point is an option for users.
1) Arduino compatible - This version would use a bootloader similar to the Leonardo and behave like an arduino based controller. Obviously there are some set backs and caveats, but this is basically the entry level controller for someone who wants to learn to hack their keyboard.
2) HID device (not Arduino compatible) - This bootloader would allow for the keyboard to work at start up, support nkro (hopefully), and would be for users who either have no interest in hacking their firmware, or are advanced enough to go with the straight C.
These would be the same CPU board based on the ATMEGA32u4, just like the Teensy 2.0. Because of the modular nature of the controller, I have it on my list to look at something ARM based down the road, as the processing speed & ram would make implementing the macro recording and whatnot a fair bit easier. Again, due to the nature of the design this would be an easy upgrade for just about anyone. If the kickstarter goes really well, it just end up as a stretch goal.

Regarding the keystation, I consider that to be the deluxe version, and would definitely be an addition to the base kit. The whole idea was, and will always be, modularity to allow you to customize it to your needs.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 09 August 2013, 07:35:05
Tis man knows what he's doing
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: bueller on Fri, 09 August 2013, 08:04:02
2) HID device (not Arduino compatible) - This bootloader would allow for the keyboard to work at start up, support nkro (hopefully), and would be for users who either have no interest in hacking their firmware, or are advanced enough to go with the straight C.
These would be the same CPU board based on the ATMEGA32u4, just like the Teensy 2.0.

If you're looking for a Teensy alternative I can't recommend the MattairTech (http://www.mattairtech.com/index.php/development-boards/atmega32u4-usb-development-board-arduino-compatible.html) boards highly enough. Really good quality and headers for every pin on the ATMega32u4 including USB for an external connector.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 09 August 2013, 08:32:33
Ew. Why use a broke out controller board when you can have the main controller chip itself smd soldered directly to the pcb? So much nicer.

Because I dun wanna SM solder the controller to the board. The diodes are enought thank you very much :)

I suggested the teensy because it's a popular board that a many people are familiar and comfortable with already. and the 3.0 because it's much more powerful with lots of space and a micro usb connector, which is much more durable than the mini usb.

SMDs are not that bad if you've got a good iron and lots of flux.

There are some excellent tutorials on youtube.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Fri, 09 August 2013, 08:40:16
Oh I can solder SMD easily enough. It's just tedious and time consuming.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 09 August 2013, 09:56:51
Oh I can solder SMD easily enough. It's just tedious and time consuming.

Hmm...

What method do you use?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Fri, 09 August 2013, 14:24:11
I just use a small tip on my iron. I don't have the money for a hot air solution currently :-(
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 09 August 2013, 14:59:06
I just use a small tip on my iron.

lolwat

So...

You set the part on the the pads, and solder the leads one by one?

Props to you for that kind of patience.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 09 August 2013, 19:12:39
AcidFire, what do you think of the ATmega128RFA1?

MCU and RF transceiver, all in one!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 09 August 2013, 19:57:11
You saw Sparkfun's new product post didn't you :P
I've looked at various options for wireless, and I think for the time being I'll be sticking with the bluetooth, as it is the most complete option to appeal to the largest variety of devices. I do like the idea of something like the ATmega128, but getting into antenna design is such a precise science that for now, it really isn't worth it for me.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 09 August 2013, 20:00:53
You saw Sparkfun's new product post didn't you :P
I've looked at various options for wireless, and I think for the time being I'll be sticking with the bluetooth, as it is the most complete option to appeal to the largest variety of devices. I do like the idea of something like the ATmega128, but getting into antenna design is such a precise science that for now, it really isn't worth it for me.

Good to know that I'm not the only Sparkfunian around here. I had already known about the 128RFA1, but the post reminded me  ;
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 10 August 2013, 03:34:51
Got the chance to do a new cut with the counter sunk screws that I picked up. I have to say, I definitely think it's an improvement over the socket head screws.
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14300.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14318.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Sat, 10 August 2013, 03:38:33
looks really good
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 10 August 2013, 07:14:07
Got the chance to do a new cut with the counter sunk screws that I picked up. I have to say, I definitely think it's an improvement over the socket head screws.
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14300.jpg)

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14318.jpg)


That looks pretty cool.

Where are you getting your caps from?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Sat, 10 August 2013, 12:07:07
my guess is http://www.keycapsdirect.com/key-capsinventory.php + Massdrop set
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Sat, 10 August 2013, 18:35:49
Quite simply beautiful.
Definitely interested in this as a product.

on a side note Kickstarter for canada    http://www.kickstarter.com/canada
Creators in Canada can start building projects now!
(You'll be able to launch your project starting September 9th.)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Sat, 10 August 2013, 22:18:47
I just use a small tip on my iron.

lolwat

So...

You set the part on the the pads, and solder the leads one by one?

Props to you for that kind of patience.

I use solder paste, put it down on both of the connection points (I do this for like 20 of them because it is faster)  then use electric tweezers to put the diodes down. Then just touch the solder iron to the diode pins. It will almost instantly bead up and make a solid connection. I have a pretty wide soldering iron and it works find.

My heat gun put out too much air for these diodes so I had to come up with this solution. It is ridiculously fast. On the ergodox it took almost no time once I figured this out. 
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 11 August 2013, 00:16:18
That looks pretty cool.

Where are you getting your caps from?
my guess is http://www.keycapsdirect.com/key-capsinventory.php + Massdrop set
Actually, with the exception of some blanks I bought from the classifieds, everything has come from SP so far.

I use solder paste, put it down on both of the connection points (I do this for like 20 of them because it is faster)  then use electric tweezers to put the diodes down. Then just touch the solder iron to the diode pins. It will almost instantly bead up and make a solid connection. I have a pretty wide soldering iron and it works find.

My heat gun put out too much air for these diodes so I had to come up with this solution. It is ridiculously fast. On the ergodox it took almost no time once I figured this out. 
Another way to do this is to use an electric skillet, there's lots of guides online as to how to do it.


Quite simply beautiful.
Definitely interested in this as a product.

on a side note Kickstarter for canada    http://www.kickstarter.com/canada
Creators in Canada can start building projects now!
(You'll be able to launch your project starting September 9th.)
I've been signed up since they made the announcement in June. I got an email a couple days ago that the ability to create a project was available, and I've already built the majority of it. Now I just need to get some more photo + video to fill out the story about it and it'll be good to go.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: nubbinator on Sun, 11 August 2013, 00:23:13
Another way to do this is to use an electric skillet, there's lots of guides online as to how to do it.

Ok, that's awesome.  I didn't know about that.  I just found this how to on it (http://wb9ipa.qrpradio.com/smt/smt.htm).  Makes me want to try it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Sun, 11 August 2013, 03:52:17
AcidFire, just wondering what you meant by:

"That being said, after the initial launch I'll be looking into trackball/trackpad/trackpoint options for both center mount & the thumbs."

Do you mean after the beta launch, or do you mean this will be an entirely different product? And will people who get v1 be able to upgrade to v2 (with trackball)?


Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Sun, 11 August 2013, 04:07:47
From what I understand the design is very modular, there is no v1 or v2 at this stage. Once Beta is done and the final design completed, he will work on new "modules" which can be attached later on in previous beta version as well unless there is a drastic change (Which is unlikely).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Sun, 11 August 2013, 06:11:03
Quite simply beautiful.
Definitely interested in this as a product.

on a side note Kickstarter for canada    http://www.kickstarter.com/canada
Creators in Canada can start building projects now!
(You'll be able to launch your project starting September 9th.)
I've been signed up since they made the announcement in June. I got an email a couple days ago that the ability to create a project was available, and I've already built the majority of it. Now I just need to get some more photo + video to fill out the story about it and it'll be good to go.

Thats great news, I'll be waiting with anticipation, thank you for the fast update.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: listokei on Sun, 11 August 2013, 09:35:39
Looks great!!!
 Good job!!!!!!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 11 August 2013, 12:26:32
AcidFire, just wondering what you meant by:

"That being said, after the initial launch I'll be looking into trackball/trackpad/trackpoint options for both center mount & the thumbs."

Do you mean after the beta launch, or do you mean this will be an entirely different product? And will people who get v1 be able to upgrade to v2 (with trackball)?
From what I understand the design is very modular, there is no v1 or v2 at this stage. Once Beta is done and the final design completed, he will work on new "modules" which can be attached later on in previous beta version as well unless there is a drastic change (Which is unlikely).
mohitgarg nailed it. The design is very modular, for exactly this reason. I hate having to rebuy something completely just to get a new feature, or a part that I need. I blame growing up with Lego for this addiction to getting exactly what I want lol.

Thats great news, I'll be waiting with anticipation, thank you for the fast update.
No problem, and trust me, it's killing me to be patient as posible to get everything right, instead of rushing to get it up.

Looks great!!!
 Good job!!!!!!
Thanks :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Sun, 11 August 2013, 12:30:19
Hey I got 2 questions here:

1. The ergodox and the ergogp seems to both have more keys than really necessary. The question is aimed to all of you using either of these, do you think that many keys are unnecessary or do most of you think they are either usefull or not in the way anyway?

2. I know it would be a challenge somewhat, but anyone thought about integration a small trackball (like less than an inch wide) near or part of the thumb cluster? Adding a trackball directly accessible to the thumb looks awesome in my mind! With it, it would remove all need to move the hands at all!

I don't have an ergodox and I am still not 100% sure to make the move yet, but I am more and more appealed to such a thing so I wanted some input from those using it on a regular basis about these 2 things!

Thx for your comment  :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Sun, 11 August 2013, 12:51:02
I have quite a few unused keys on my ErgoDox, but they're not in the way and I'd rather have them than not.

Just wish media keys worked in windows....
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Sun, 11 August 2013, 17:53:57
I have quite a few unused keys on my ErgoDox, but they're not in the way and I'd rather have them than not.

Just wish media keys worked in windows....

They don't? My Filco has media keys and they work, there must be a way to send the right signal/command since the keyboard is programmable.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 11 August 2013, 18:43:38
Hey I got 2 questions here:

1. The ergodox and the ergogp seems to both have more keys than really necessary. The question is aimed to all of you using either of these, do you think that many keys are unnecessary or do most of you think they are either usefull or not in the way anyway?

2. I know it would be a challenge somewhat, but anyone thought about integration a small trackball (like less than an inch wide) near or part of the thumb cluster? Adding a trackball directly accessible to the thumb looks awesome in my mind! With it, it would remove all need to move the hands at all!

I don't have an ergodox and I am still not 100% sure to make the move yet, but I am more and more appealed to such a thing so I wanted some input from those using it on a regular basis about these 2 things!

Thx for your comment  :D

1. Unfortunately, I can only speak to what I have planned, as opposed to experience with it. As a programmer, I see so much extra functionality with the extra keys, especially with the ability to expand when I need more for macros, special functions, etc etc.

2. As I've mentioned a few times already, I agree with this 100% and it'll be one of the first expansions I implement once the core project is ready.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Sun, 11 August 2013, 19:24:06
Hey I got 2 questions here:

1. The ergodox and the ergogp seems to both have more keys than really necessary. The question is aimed to all of you using either of these, do you think that many keys are unnecessary or do most of you think they are either usefull or not in the way anyway?

2. I know it would be a challenge somewhat, but anyone thought about integration a small trackball (like less than an inch wide) near or part of the thumb cluster? Adding a trackball directly accessible to the thumb looks awesome in my mind! With it, it would remove all need to move the hands at all!

I don't have an ergodox and I am still not 100% sure to make the move yet, but I am more and more appealed to such a thing so I wanted some input from those using it on a regular basis about these 2 things!

Thx for your comment  :D

1. Unfortunately, I can only speak to what I have planned, as opposed to experience with it. As a programmer, I see so much extra functionality with the extra keys, especially with the ability to expand when I need more for macros, special functions, etc etc.

2. As I've mentioned a few times already, I agree with this 100% and it'll be one of the first expansions I implement once the core project is ready.

Thx for the info, and sry, haven't read all 18 pages, but nice to hear!

 :thumb:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:08:19
So this is the design change I'm looking at for the thumb, thoughts?
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/thumbpad-change.png)
The red is the change to a 45 degree angle, and bringing it closer into the body.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:11:51
So this is the design change I'm looking at for the thumb, thoughts?
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/thumbpad-change.png)

The red is the change to a 45 degree angle, and bringing it closer into the body.

I dunno...

I don't think that that would be as comfortable.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:31:14
If you are referring to the red outlined position, I think most people would have difficulty reaching the bottom keys.....
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:33:49
If you are referring to the red outlined position, I think most people would have difficulty reaching the bottom keys.....

I agree.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:36:26
Perhaps both, using a ribbon / cable connecting to the thumb pad part to the main section, have it adjustable instead of set, just a thought.  I'm not tech minded enough to know if thats a viable solution.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:51:05
I have quite a few unused keys on my ErgoDox, but they're not in the way and I'd rather have them than not.

Just wish media keys worked in windows....

They don't? My Filco has media keys and they work, there must be a way to send the right signal/command since the keyboard is programmable.

Currently, no. Not sure why, haven't delved into the source far enough.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:55:56
I think the red would be better but I have long hands and that puts my thumbs farther down. Likely something in the middle is the best.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 12 August 2013, 16:58:57
I have quite a few unused keys on my ErgoDox, but they're not in the way and I'd rather have them than not.

Just wish media keys worked in windows....

They don't? My Filco has media keys and they work, there must be a way to send the right signal/command since the keyboard is programmable.

Currently, no. Not sure why, haven't delved into the source far enough.

I don't get it.

You send 0x80 for volume up, 0x81 for volume down, ect,.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Mon, 12 August 2013, 17:36:00
I don't get it.

You send 0x80 for volume up, 0x81 for volume down, ect,.

Neither do I. It's a mystereeeeeeee
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 12 August 2013, 17:59:19
Well I've heard the feed back, and I'm definitely going to play with it a bit more. I had been looking at an adjustable design, but (for now) I don't think it'll work without making it thicker, which is something I don't want to do.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: vatin on Mon, 12 August 2013, 21:22:07
So this is the design change I'm looking at for the thumb, thoughts?
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/thumbpad-change.png)

The red is the change to a 45 degree angle, and bringing it closer into the body.

It seemed you need to twist your wrist more to follow the pitch.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Loligagger on Mon, 12 August 2013, 22:12:46
Agreed that the original angle for the thumb cluster seems more natural.

Also, any possibility for the shorthand case (like the first case prototype) as an option for the final board?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: anotherjunkie on Tue, 13 August 2013, 14:35:39
So, I know I'm a day late, but in terms of the design change I have to agree with linziyi -- the change to the red outline seems as though it will make the red keys less reachable. I know that for me they would be  downright painful. It puts the smaller keys in a position that makes that joint probe to roll when you hit them with your thumb.

As for the additional keys, I would much rather have them than not. I love to be able to program macros to override those "extra" keys, whether those macros are OS or program specific. Again, this is largely related to my own needs and my previous inability to stretch to hit key-combos on my own, but so long as the extra keys are out of the way of my normal typing, I see having them included as a bonus feature of the keyboard -- I don't have to take away functionality from existing keys that I DO use to assign my macros, because Ithese extras were included.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 13 August 2013, 14:40:32
Just my 2 cents is people really need to look at the inset with this design and feel if they like it. It is much different than a flat design and we should probably make a paper mockup so people can see which they like. Which ever option is right I think it will surprise you how different it feels when it is angled and when the keys are inset like the ergoGP does.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 13 August 2013, 14:52:04
Just my 2 cents is people really need to look at the inset with this design and feel if they like it. It is much different than a flat design and we should probably make a paper mockup so people can see which they like. Which ever option is right I think it will surprise you how different it feels when it is angled and when the keys are inset like the ergoGP does.

Blue nailed it. The inset definitely alters how your thumb sits, hence why I've been reviewing the design. I'm working on a splinter of that design that is a balance between where it is now, and where the red box was. Unfortunately I had to deal w/ a rogue server admin last night for a group that I play online with and didn't get the chance to laser anything, but I will be doing it all tonight. What I may do is include a couple different options in the beta kit, and see how you guys like them.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 13 August 2013, 15:01:37
Also, I forgot to ask, for those of you interested in hacking the hardware side, should I keep the pin headers that break out the LED & switch matrices?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 13 August 2013, 15:15:43
Also, I forgot to ask, for those of you interested in hacking the hardware side, should I keep the pin headers that break out the LED & switch matrices?

Maybe I'm missing something but why would you remove them?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 13 August 2013, 15:31:13
Mainly because they're there from a hackibility side, they aren't required for the normal operation of the board and they require extra routing and what not. I'm not saying they're a bad thing, more just trying to gauge interest.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 13 August 2013, 15:39:43
I for one really want them as backlighting (and writing custom code for it) was one of the great interests of mine. I didn't know you were thinking about cutting it. :(

We should still be able to add the RGb board later right as it will be a separate board right?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Tue, 13 August 2013, 16:38:44
Keep them.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 13 August 2013, 20:29:35
No no no, I'm not removing the backlighting, just the breakout headers that would allow you to use external electronics to read the switches & control the LEDs.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Tue, 13 August 2013, 20:35:19
No no no, I'm not removing the backlighting, just the breakout headers that would allow you to use external electronics to read the switches & control the LEDs.

Ahhh. I figured I was missing something because I didn't think you would remove that. I didn't know you were planning on doing that. It actually might get the Arduino community on board(Which is pretty darn big these days for your KS if you could show that you could easily control the LEDs using an Ardunio. It if isn't lots of work I think it would really open up a bigger market I think. I think the Ardunio community would probably come up with some insaine ideas for what todo with it.

In fact my fully addressable LED kinses contoured board was made entirely with an ardunio (colordunio).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 13 August 2013, 20:37:32
No no no, I'm not removing the backlighting, just the breakout headers that would allow you to use external electronics to read the switches & control the LEDs.

What are the disadvantages of keeping them?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 13 August 2013, 22:22:08
Ahhh. I figured I was missing something because I didn't think you would remove that. I didn't know you were planning on doing that. It actually might get the Arduino community on board(Which is pretty darn big these days for your KS if you could show that you could easily control the LEDs using an Ardunio. It if isn't lots of work I think it would really open up a bigger market I think. I think the Ardunio community would probably come up with some insaine ideas for what todo with it.

In fact my fully addressable LED kinses contoured board was made entirely with an ardunio (colordunio).
Part of the reason I had broken them out was to work around the attiny828 I was planning to use, but now with the change to a set of standard controllers, PCA9555 for the keys, PCA9685 for the LEDs, the board can be easily accessed by an any arduino with the I2C available.

What are the disadvantages of keeping them?
Space & routing. They were convenient to use instead of just using vias, and there was space for them. Because of the density at the top of the board, and the fact that it's no longer a double sided design, it's harder to justify/work them in now.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 14 August 2013, 04:28:55
So, I thought I throw together a little something based on daerid's suggestion of a 70% style board:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14319.jpg)
Obviously since I'm still working out my controller and code, it's none functional, however it's actually comfortable to lay my hands on in a proper typing position. The best part is, the only thing that I need to add is a PCB design for the central keys. I've added it to the list to go in with my next set of proto boards. What I may do is make a limited number available as part of the Beta, as I see this being a potential offshoot/option for those already interested in what my modules will provide.

I also did a quick style test for the 5 RGB leds on the main boards:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14327.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14324.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14329.jpg)
These are by no means a final design, but more of a visual test to see how they look. Personally, I really like them, and the nature of their design means it would be quite simple to offer other styles as well.

Finally, my order from SP showed up, and among other things, included some nice frosted keycaps:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14332.jpg)
I'll be doing some tests this weekend w/ the Vinyl Dye paints, as well as some LED patterns to see how the clear ones diffuse/spread the light.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 14 August 2013, 05:32:07
Oh my good, I'm drooling at the pics.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 14 August 2013, 08:06:52
So, I thought I throw together a little something based on daerid's suggestion of a 70% style board:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14319.jpg)


I need.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: agodinhost on Wed, 14 August 2013, 08:15:35
So, I thought I throw together a little something based on daerid's suggestion of a 70% style board:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14319.jpg)

Gosh ...
I want this one!
Congrats man, awesome work!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Wed, 14 August 2013, 08:34:17
I actually love your 70% board! I was actually thinking about working on one like this to take when I need to travel. Great work!

The RGB LED panels/90% acrilic looks awesome! Can't wait to do some fun stuff with those LEDs.

I like those keycaps. I hope they diffuse better than the clear ones I tested with. I'm wondering if SP can make it so less light passes through or something else to help diffuse the light more.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 14 August 2013, 10:05:35
Need. 70%.

Need. ErgoGP.

NO.Money.:(
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Wed, 14 August 2013, 10:31:34
My god Acidfire, I want to take you out for dinner and beers. I would kill for that. Lemme get in on the beta test PRRREEEEAAAASSSEEEE
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Wed, 14 August 2013, 10:48:55
Also (forgive me if it's been brought up before), but have you seen hasu's TMK firmware (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=41989.msg841759#msg841759)? It's really, really easy to read and modify, and could possibly be a great base for your Ergo* firmwares :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 14 August 2013, 12:57:30
I need.
My god Acidfire, I want to take you out for dinner and beers. I would kill for that. Lemme get in on the beta test PRRREEEEAAAASSSEEEE
I actually love your 70% board! I was actually thinking about working on one like this to take when I need to travel. Great work!
Need. 70%.

Need. ErgoGP.

NO.Money.:(
Oh my good, I'm drooling at the pics.
Gosh ...
I want this one!
Congrats man, awesome work!
Glad you guys like it :D I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about the layout, but it actually feels very familiar when I put my hands on it, as opposed to the Full set up. I think it could make a great in between board, allowing you to adjust to the matrix layout without having to relearn your posture at the same time. Then, when you're up to speed, you can make the move to the split boards with much less frustration (I would hope.) I'll be pricing it out after I've finished the mid board PCB, but I expect it to come in 20-40 less than the split kit.

The RGB LED panels/90% acrilic looks awesome! Can't wait to do some fun stuff with those LEDs.

I like those keycaps. I hope they diffuse better than the clear ones I tested with. I'm wondering if SP can make it so less light passes through or something else to help diffuse the light more.
Me too! I'm also looking forward to seeing what other people can pull off with them. Being a 12-bit PWM, it should make for some very smooth color transitions as well.

Also (forgive me if it's been brought up before), but have you seen hasu's TMK firmware (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=41989.msg841759#msg841759)? It's really, really easy to read and modify, and could possibly be a great base for your Ergo* firmwares :)
Yup, hasu & ben's firmwares have both been sent my way. While I may end up borrowing some parts (with appropriate attribution of course), particularly the USB management, the way my board functions is a bit different than either set up, and will end up being a custom firmware.

On the note of firmware, I had a bit of inspiration on the way into work this morning. Because of the I/O expander I'm using, you can attach up to 8 devices to the main controller. I realized however, that the biggest boards that will be attached would be the main boards, which currently have 4 I/O on the expander free. What that can give me is a 4bit address, and allowing up to 16 different board types to be automatically recognized. This means that you could have up to 8 of the same board design attached without any custom rewrite of the firmware to match your layout. You plug everything in, and the device figures out automatically how to talk to them.

Now, on the main board, obviously this means that you can only have the board type address, meaning there's little you can do to vary it. However, boards like the thumb clusters have additional I/O free, meaning that not only can the controller recognize that it's a thumb board, but also what layout that thumbboard has :D So while 16 individual devices may not seem like a lot, the ability to do sub addresses greatly expands the variety I can offer while very little work on the firmware size.

Right now, this is what I have mapped out.
0000 - Left main keypad - No variation in layout, but up to 3 additional keys can be added to matrix
1000 - Right main keypad - No variation in layout, but up to 3 additional keys can be added to matrix
0001 - Left thumb keypad - Additional I/O can provide up to 32-64 variations (5 or 6bit addresses)
1001 - Right thumb keypad - Additional I/O can provide up to 32-64 variations (5 or 6bit addresses)
0010 - 4x5 keypad - Additional I/O can provide up to 32-64 variations (5 or 6bit addresses)
0011 - 70% middle cluster keypad - Additional I/O can provide up to 32-64 variations (5 or 6bit addresses)

There will of course, be some limitation do to the memory constraints of the 32u4, but I believe the upgradable CPU will let me expand into something ARM based and further improve on the capabilities & capacity.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Wed, 14 August 2013, 13:48:24
Genius. This is seriously turning out to be the One Ring of DIY keyboards.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 14 August 2013, 14:05:04
How about an XMOS MCU? That would allow for truly perfect modular-ness.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 14 August 2013, 15:47:11
Genius. This is seriously turning out to be the One Ring of DIY keyboards.
I may have to do a custom top with some Elvish scripting on it ;)
How about an XMOS MCU? That would allow for truly perfect modular-ness.
TBH I've never seen an XMOS before, I'd have to look into it. I'm angling towards something ARM based right now because like the Arduino, ARM based projects are popping up more and more, and I want for me and users of my stuff to be able to tap into that community for support.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 14 August 2013, 15:50:13
Genius. This is seriously turning out to be the One Ring of DIY keyboards.
I may have to do a custom top with some Elvish scripting on it ;)
How about an XMOS MCU? That would allow for truly perfect modular-ness.
TBH I've never seen an XMOS before, I'd have to look into it. I'm angling towards something ARM based right now because like the Arduino, ARM based projects are popping up more and more, and I want for me and users of my stuff to be able to tap into that community for support.

True. XMOS has a very small community.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: xman on Wed, 14 August 2013, 16:02:50
So this is the design change I'm looking at for the thumb, thoughts?
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/thumbpad-change.png)

The red is the change to a 45 degree angle, and bringing it closer into the body.

With the thumb clusters having their own PCBs...
 I naturally thought that any adjustments
(like rotation & depth of the thumb clusters)
 was going to be possible.

Maybe I was just hoping... because
for my wife, using her thumbs is a very painful experience.
     I was hoping that the discrete thumb cluster PCBs
would allow the adjustability to help her with that.

?Is there any chance at all of
   personalized adjustability with the thumb clusters??

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Wed, 14 August 2013, 16:10:08
So, I thought I throw together a little something based on daerid's suggestion of a 70% style board:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14319.jpg)

[...]

not to say the rest of your updates arent amazing but

i almost fell out of my chair when i saw this. it is my dream travel board, i can't imagine how daerid is feeling after seeing that.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 14 August 2013, 16:14:15
So, I thought I throw together a little something based on daerid's suggestion of a 70% style board:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14319.jpg)

[...]

not to say the rest of your updates arent amazing but

i almost fell out of my chair when i saw this. it is my dream travel board, i can't imagine how daerid is feeling after seeing that.

That's kind of mild.

I almost convinced myself to buy a plane ticket up to Canada to try it.

I had a similar reaction when I saw this:

(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14230.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 14 August 2013, 16:28:50
WOAH!

I was just looking at the source files for the keystation/bigboy...

*mind blown*

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 14 August 2013, 16:30:13
not to say the rest of your updates arent amazing but

i almost fell out of my chair when i saw this. it is my dream travel board, i can't imagine how daerid is feeling after seeing that.

That's kind of mild.

I almost convinced myself to buy a plane ticket up to Canada to try it.
Does it make it worse when I tell you that all of the features I have planned for the split board, including bluetooth (though possibly w/ reduced battery life) will all work on the travel size as well? :D

With the thumb clusters having their own PCBs...
 I naturally thought that any adjustments
(like rotation & depth of the thumb clusters)
 was going to be possible.

Maybe I was just hoping... because
for my wife, using her thumbs is a very painful experience.
     I was hoping that the discrete thumb cluster PCBs
would allow the adjustability to help her with that.

?Is there any chance at all of
   personalized adjustability with the thumb clusters??
Absolutely! I've already had several people contact me both here and externally about being able to tweak the layout to accommodate their hands or a disability. I would absolutely be happy to provide a tweaked version for someone. Because I still need to eat and those types of adjustment take time, I would probably have to charge for it, but I would do my best to make it an affordable option. the other part of this as well is that I need to figure out the best way for someone to show me how they need it adjusted, so there will have to be some R&D put into that as well. It won't be something I can offer right away, but is definitely something I hope I can follow up on quickly.

Also, since I don't want to seem like I've glossed over a point, let me show you guys what I was talking about the broken out headers:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/pcb-comparison.png)
Top
the original design w/ attiny828. Because the board was double sided, I needed to bring the matrices to both sides of the board. Normally, I would do this with vias. For those of you not familar with PCB design, vias are the same thing as headers, a hole through the board that is plated to allow connectivity between the sides. The difference between headers & vias is size, with headers needing to be large enough to allow pins or whatever to be placed inside and soldered in place. Vias however can be much smaller, as all they are doing is passing current. The headers are clearly labelled to make my life easier, and this was how I was able to test my boards without the onboard controller working yet.

Bottom
This is the current version of the PCB I'm working on. As you can see, I've made some major revisions to the layout at the top of the board, and it ends up denser than the previous versions. Switching to a non reversible board has had it's advantages, giving me room to include two TRRS jacks for expandability, move the USB to the left side of the board so it's a bit more out of the way, and of course the space to add 5 RGB LEDs. There is some space at the bottom of the board, however there may not be a way to route all the columns in a usable format. there is a way around this, where instead of a block of 7 pins being the column group for either the buttons or LEDs, I do a block of 14 pins, with switch & LED columns alternating. I'll be giving this some more thought, but as always, would love to hear from those of you interested in messing with the hardware.

Alternatively, I could also offer the PCBs without any of the routing/components at the top, and it basically becomes just a regular keypad.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 14 August 2013, 16:31:30
Please kill me already.

Can I ignore this thread so it doesn't show up anywhere? :P
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 14 August 2013, 16:57:03
By request:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_7803.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 14 August 2013, 17:01:51
By request:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_7803.jpg)


Thanks, but that's not a video.


JK.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Wed, 14 August 2013, 17:03:51

not to say the rest of your updates arent amazing but

i almost fell out of my chair when i saw this. it is my dream travel board, i can't imagine how daerid is feeling after seeing that.

Indescribable. Almost.... aroused. I can't remember the last time I lusted this hard after a piece of hardware (of any kind, not just keyboards)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 14 August 2013, 17:33:08
Thanks, but that's not a video.


JK.
Well you'd pretty much just see me doing movie style typing, since that set up doesn't have any kind of controller on board yet :P When I get the next round of boards done, I will be posting many videos when it's up and running.


not to say the rest of your updates arent amazing but

i almost fell out of my chair when i saw this. it is my dream travel board, i can't imagine how daerid is feeling after seeing that.

Indescribable. Almost.... aroused. I can't remember the last time I lusted this hard after a piece of hardware (of any kind, not just keyboards)
I uh, I'm glad you like it lol.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Wed, 14 August 2013, 17:37:02
Not trying to make things weird.... But damn that a sexy board
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: fisofo on Wed, 14 August 2013, 17:44:38
This whole project is really exciting! My first ErgoDox arrives next week (so pumped!), and I had planned to invest in getting another one once I am up to speed so I don't have to carry it back and forth from the office, but I think I'll be waiting for this one instead :D

Love all of the updates AcidFire! The PCB diagrams bring back fond memories from college labs. Well, mostly fond. ;)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: anotherjunkie on Wed, 14 August 2013, 18:22:08
Does it make it worse when I tell you that all of the features I have planned for the split board, including bluetooth (though possibly w/ reduced battery life) will all work on the travel size as well? :D

Stunner. I'd have to pick up one of these as well... I was thinking about grabbing the mouse coming off of the GP the other day, vs a 70% board, and there can't be much difference in arm movement given the fact that your fingers are already at the edge of the board. An additional rotation, sure, but not TOO much additional movement. Thats one of the reasons I decided to go for this, but you can't beat having another travel board...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Thu, 15 August 2013, 03:10:38
.... Mannn I really hope this will be ready in some shape or form before the round 4 ergodox cutoff.

:D.

The 70% board looks like a winner for me, otherwise I will bite with the split layout.

Stalking this thread with anticipation :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 15 August 2013, 09:25:00
I printed a version of the 70%, it wasn't like I hoped. Too much strain on the wrists, it needs an angle.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wiredPANDA on Thu, 15 August 2013, 09:35:55
By request:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_7803.jpg)


Thanks, Acid.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: vatin on Thu, 15 August 2013, 10:22:52
I'm taking split ergo any day over everything else.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Thu, 15 August 2013, 10:45:36
I'm taking split ergo any day over everything else.

Why not both :D.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 15 August 2013, 12:40:49
you sir have far too many atmegas lol

(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_7550.JPG)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Thu, 15 August 2013, 15:44:01
Just had to go back a few pages to drool over the ergoGP again, cant wait for the 9th and the kickstarter if everything goes to plan.
Id have both, but the wife holds the purse strings and I'd be in the doghouse.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 15 August 2013, 19:20:49
you sir have far too many atmegas lol

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_7550.JPG)

Have you been snooping? I don't remember posting that one :P

I'm taking split ergo any day over everything else.

Why not both :D.
Exactly ;)

Just had to go back a few pages to drool over the ergoGP again, cant wait for the 9th and the kickstarter if everything goes to plan.
Id have both, but the wife holds the purse strings and I'd be in the doghouse.
I'm considering offering a level on the Kickstarter that could include both for a reduced price if that helps ;)
This definitely won't be ready for September 9th unfortunately, but I'm targeting for the end of september.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 15 August 2013, 19:29:32
you sir have far too many atmegas lol

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/IMG_7550.JPG)

Have you been snooping? I don't remember posting that one :P

I have my ways.

I really like the way that you designed the bigboy case.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Fri, 16 August 2013, 01:24:03
So the timeframe of the september 9th kickstarter is for a beta kit, right?

If so, then when can we expect the actual release version?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:06:00
So the timeframe of the september 9th kickstarter is for a beta kit, right?

If so, then when can we expect the actual release version?

No, right now with the major overhaul of the controllers on the boards, I have to order a set of test boards first. I would never send out a prototype board I hadn't tested first. This time however, I'll be choosing a much faster delivery service. Right now, I'm aiming to start the Kickstarter at the beginning of October, running for 30 days. I really want to offer the first batch of 100 with a delivery date for the beginning of Christmas.
As for the beta, that will go up the second I know the next round of boards works the way I expect it to.

On a separate note, I got my slightly delayed birthday gift from my girl today:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14357.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14361.jpg)

Gotta say, LOVE the new set up:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14365.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14371.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14377.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14352.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: sordna on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:09:49
I'll be putting the site together over the weekend for where you guys can order, as I'll be testing my boards over the next couple of days and should hopefully be readying the next batch for order by tuesday. After that it'll come down to whether I feel I need to do another board revision before ordering the prototype batch, or if I should just go for it. Either way, I'll have a firm timeline for Tuesday (yay long weekend!).
AcidFire I'm VERY late to this thread, but thoroughly impressed... do you have a website already? What is it ?

BTW it would be great if your design allows for a piezo buzzer for click sounds. Used to this from Kinesis Advantage keyboards, I added one (sparkfun COM-07950) to my Ergodox and modified the firmware to drive it... The audible feedback helps prevent bottoming out with linear switches like red cherries.

Audio sample here:
http://geekhack.org/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=42231.0;attach=20386
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:10:20
Like the older pics weren't juicy enough.

So you want me to kill you?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:17:15
gotta agree with MOZ. This is torture!!!!

p.s. very nice lighting setup. :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:22:38
I'll be putting the site together over the weekend for where you guys can order, as I'll be testing my boards over the next couple of days and should hopefully be readying the next batch for order by tuesday. After that it'll come down to whether I feel I need to do another board revision before ordering the prototype batch, or if I should just go for it. Either way, I'll have a firm timeline for Tuesday (yay long weekend!).
AcidFire I'm VERY late to this thread, but thoroughly impressed... do you have a website already? What is it ?

BTW it would be great if your design allows for a piezo buzzer for click sounds. Used to this from Kinesis Advantage keyboards, I added one (sparkfun COM-07950) to my Ergodox and modified the firmware to drive it... The audible feedback helps prevent bottoming out with linear switches like red cherries.

Audio sample here:
http://geekhack.org/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=42231.0;attach=20386
Actually, that was something I marked as a standard feature to the CPU board, but forgot to add it to the last version of the board. The new version will include it :D

As for the website, I have something I've been trying to work on but I've been more focused on what I'm doing for the hardware of the project. Once I've got the parts ordered for the beta and I'm waiting for them to come in, I'm going to take a couple of days and finish the website.

Like the older pics weren't juicy enough.

So you want me to kill you?
But if you kill me now, how will I finish the project?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:24:13
Yes, but the torture would stop.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:31:23
Yes, but the torture would stop.
True, but that's a bit like having your favorite show cancelled after it ends on a cliffhanger. Sure you won't be tortured waiting for the next episode, but you'll never get any closure either ;)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 02:33:42
Yes, but the torture would stop.
True, but that's a bit like having your favorite show cancelled after it ends on a cliffhanger. Sure you won't be tortured waiting for the next episode, but you'll never get any closure either ;)

Fine you win, give me the closure ASAP!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Fri, 16 August 2013, 06:57:43
Apologies if this has been discussed already but since the project is moving at such a pace ....

Has anyone considered a keyboard cover for the ergoGP? :D

Noting extravagant, maybe just a filco style plastic cover for the 70% or two pieces for the split layout? Shouldn't add too much more to the cost :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 07:26:42
Apologies if this has been discussed already but since the project is moving at such a pace ....

Has anyone considered a keyboard cover for the ergoGP? :D

Noting extravagant, maybe just a filco style plastic cover for the 70% or two pieces for the split layout? Shouldn't add too much more to the cost :D

I made this: http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45720.0
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Fri, 16 August 2013, 07:35:05
Apologies if this has been discussed already but since the project is moving at such a pace ....

Has anyone considered a keyboard cover for the ergoGP? :D

Noting extravagant, maybe just a filco style plastic cover for the 70% or two pieces for the split layout? Shouldn't add too much more to the cost :D

I made this: http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45720.0

oooo. very nice
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 07:44:26
Apologies if this has been discussed already but since the project is moving at such a pace ....

Has anyone considered a keyboard cover for the ergoGP? :D

Noting extravagant, maybe just a filco style plastic cover for the 70% or two pieces for the split layout? Shouldn't add too much more to the cost :D

I made this: http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45720.0

oooo. very nice

Thanks. Here in India, dust is a major plague and covers are essential
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: SpAmRaY on Fri, 16 August 2013, 07:49:13
Apologies if this has been discussed already but since the project is moving at such a pace ....

Has anyone considered a keyboard cover for the ergoGP? :D

Noting extravagant, maybe just a filco style plastic cover for the 70% or two pieces for the split layout? Shouldn't add too much more to the cost :D

I made this: http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45720.0

oooo. very nice

Thanks. Here in India, dust is a major plague and covers are essential

My office is very dusty. I cover my keyboard every night.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: TheQsanity on Fri, 16 August 2013, 07:55:35
Holy Crap this is moving along so quickly!

Do you have access to a CNC or something? (if youve stated it, thread is tl;dr)(but will have to look through them all)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Fri, 16 August 2013, 08:04:04
Apologies if this has been discussed already but since the project is moving at such a pace ....

Has anyone considered a keyboard cover for the ergoGP? :D

Noting extravagant, maybe just a filco style plastic cover for the 70% or two pieces for the split layout? Shouldn't add too much more to the cost :D

I made this: http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45720.0

oooo. very nice

Thanks. Here in India, dust is a major plague and covers are essential

My office is very dusty. I cover my keyboard every night.

My office not as dusty, though I always cover my keyboards. For my Topre boards I'm coping with acetates, bent on the long edges to arch over my RF and 660C... and the Filco just came with a dust cover :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 16 August 2013, 08:17:19
Holy Crap this is moving along so quickly!

Do you have access to a CNC or something? (if youve stated it, thread is tl;dr)(but will have to look through them all)

He has several laser cutters and an unlimited supply of 1.5mm acrylic.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Fri, 16 August 2013, 08:59:39
Holy Crap this is moving along so quickly!

Do you have access to a CNC or something? (if youve stated it, thread is tl;dr)(but will have to look through them all)

He has several laser cutters and an unlimited supply of 1.5mm acrylic.

So jealous right now, I could cry  :'(   wonderfull new pictures as well, thanks for rubbing it in even more   :))
Adding a cover for the split ergo would be fantastic too, as an added extra for cost.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: thadood on Fri, 16 August 2013, 10:46:00
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14352.jpg)


Oh my glob I want this. This would be a perfect notebook kb and would pair with my forth-coming Ergodoxen!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 13:11:31
Holy Crap this is moving along so quickly!

Do you have access to a CNC or something? (if youve stated it, thread is tl;dr)(but will have to look through them all)

He has several laser cutters and an unlimited supply of 1.5mm acrylic.

So jealous right now, I could cry  :'(   wonderfull new pictures as well, thanks for rubbing it in even more   :))
Adding a cover for the split ergo would be fantastic too, as an added extra for cost.

It's more like an unlimited supply of 3mm & 6mm ;) We don't use 1.5mm all that much, and from my recent experiences with using it for a plate, I've been less than thrilled with the results. However, I have a few ideas in mind to get around it. I do also have access to a benchtop CNC lathe & mill.

I've had a design in mind for a cover, but haven't offered anything yet because I'm still working on the PCB design and layout, which can affect the design of the case. Once I've got those settled out completely, a new set of stands, keystation, & covers will be designed to match.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 13:40:08
Can't wait. Must. Have
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 16 August 2013, 13:44:11
Can't wait. Must. Have

Looks like we'll be waiting a little longer.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Fri, 16 August 2013, 14:58:20

So jealous right now, I could cry  :'(   wonderfull new pictures as well, thanks for rubbing it in even more   :))
Adding a cover for the split ergo would be fantastic too, as an added extra for cost.


I've had a design in mind for a cover, but haven't offered anything yet because I'm still working on the PCB design and layout, which can affect the design of the case. Once I've got those settled out completely, a new set of stands, keystation, & covers will be designed to match.

Thats great to hear, thank you.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 14:58:54
Can't wait. Must. Have

Looks like we'll be waiting a little longer.

Hopefully the delay should only be a week or two longer than originally planned, I'm going to put a bit of extra money in to get everything shipped faster, and I'll be sending the PCB designs in this weekend.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 16 August 2013, 15:00:15
Can't wait. Must. Have

Looks like we'll be waiting a little longer.

Hopefully the delay should only be a week or two longer than originally planned, I'm going to put a bit of extra money in to get everything shipped faster, and I'll be sending the PCB designs in this weekend.


Sorry if I missed it(as mentioned above the thread is a bit TL;DR), but when was planned?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 15:07:44
I was originally targeting for right around now to make the prototype batch available, however the switch on the controllers for the boards has required a bit of retool + test. Between having to study up on the new controllers (datasheets are so boring) and then rerouting everything at the top, it's been a bit time consuming. The good news of course is it means you guys are getting a much more reliable product by the time it reaches you.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 19:51:49
To elaborate a bit more about the types of changes I'm making and why the delays are a good thing for those wanting it, I'll talk about the thumbpads I'm currently designing. When I made the decision to change how the boards were controlled, I did so for a couple of reasons.
1) Removes the need for a second & third set of firmware to maintain & update.
2) Lowers the QA potential problems by removing complication, see 1.
3) Removes a very serious potential support problem of users not being able to update the modules in their keyboards
4) While the new parts will cost 5.00-2.00 more per board depending on volume, they simplify development, both for me and for end users. There's no chance of breaking someones custom code or application, because there is no firmware to update on the boards and potentially break someone else's code.
5) The new parts allow for a much greater expandability. Not only do they allow more devices to be added without seperate firmwares for each board, they also allow me to build a controller that can recognize what has been attached to it without users having to figure it out. It also means that if you want to build a set up using only 4x5 modules, you can do so easily without much tinkering.

As I detailed in an earlier post, due to the lack of available I/O, the main boards can't support a detectable variation in the layout. However, for the thumb board, this new system is ideal. There's just one problem however. Due to the size of the packages I'm using, and my commitment to using parts that you can actually place & solder yourself without needing to reflow (like the the tiny tiny LGA packages I've learned to hate >_<), I needed to increase the size of the board to fit the new chips & their support electronics. while it would be nicer to have smaller boards, this increase allows the electronics to be added, a pair of 3.5mm TRRS jacks for flexibility, AND where the previous boards would max out at a possible 11 buttons, moving the electronics frees up an extra spot. Now, this spot isn't usable when the boards are used in the split design, but it is available when using them as external keypads, increasing the usability.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 19:54:08
You've only been here two months AcidFire, you're still a newb, don't bother.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 16 August 2013, 19:55:20
You've only been here two months AcidFire, you're still a newb, don't bother.

He's not a newb haha.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 19:56:25
You've only been here two months AcidFire, you're still a newb, don't bother.

He's not a newb haha.

A measure of newb is my the length of time one has been on a forum, him, you and I, all three of us are newbs
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 16 August 2013, 20:01:31
You've only been here two months AcidFire, you're still a newb, don't bother.

He's not a newb haha.

A measure of newb is my the length of time one has been on a forum, him, you and I, all three of us are newbs

I would classify CPT as a newb.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 16 August 2013, 20:39:11
You've only been here two months AcidFire, you're still a newb, don't bother.

Sorry, what exactly should I not be bothering with?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 16 August 2013, 20:40:29
You've only been here two months AcidFire, you're still a newb, don't bother.

Sorry, what exactly should I not be bothering with?

Your creations.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 16 August 2013, 20:40:53
You've only been here two months AcidFire, you're still a newb, don't bother.

Sorry, what exactly should I not be bothering with?

Him. Don't feed the trolls. He's turned.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Fri, 16 August 2013, 20:42:08
He is just under a nervous breakdown, maybe some issues in real life which got ignited by some comments in IRC. I think he would be fine after some time, so don't worry about it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Sat, 17 August 2013, 12:30:22
Just posting this here in case you haven't seen it yet acidfire, some cool modifications made to the original ergodox design:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/sets/72157633538408496/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/sets/72157634289665901/

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Dynamo on Sat, 17 August 2013, 13:34:58
I am impressed by your work AcidFire.

Being new to the world of keyboard hacking I have a few questions regarding your keyboards.

1. Will your keyboards work with different keyboard layouts for other languages than English? Some layouts use more keys than standard US keyboards provide. Will your keyboard be easily programmable for non-English characters?

2. I usually rest my palms against a palm rest when I type. Will the edge between the thumb keyboard and the main keyboard feel uncomfortable if you rest your hands against the keyboard?

3. Regarding your 70% design. Have you considered putting an angle between the left and right keyboard part to avoid ulnar deviation?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 17 August 2013, 15:36:18
I am impressed by your work AcidFire.

Being new to the world of keyboard hacking I have a few questions regarding your keyboards.

1. Will your keyboards work with different keyboard layouts for other languages than English? Some layouts use more keys than standard US keyboards provide. Will your keyboard be easily programmable for non-English characters?

2. I usually rest my palms against a palm rest when I type. Will the edge between the thumb keyboard and the main keyboard feel uncomfortable if you rest your hands against the keyboard?

3. Regarding your 70% design. Have you considered putting an angle between the left and right keyboard part to avoid ulnar deviation?

Yeah you can program different layout into the keyboard firmware.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: speedkills on Sat, 17 August 2013, 21:34:24
Finally finished reading the thread.  Awesome concept, I am in to buy one, er actually at least two.  Definitely down for the prototype.  I have a few thoughts floating around in my head after reading all of these posts so I am just going to throw them all out there, if you like any of them cool, if not I won't be hurt and want to buy some of these either way.  I am an owner of many ergo keyboards including my freshly built ergodox a couple of months back as well as a programmer so let me know if I can help in any way.  Ok here goes.

1. I love that you are going bluetooth.  Personally I say don't sweat the ios compatibility, just put a bluetooth radio in each unit.  Besides making the whole thing easier to put together I would say you would be benefitting more gamers who might want to use a single board only as a gaming board than you would be harming people wanting to hook these up to their ipads.  I can't imagine that many people doing that, I rarely see anyone using a keyboard with their ipad and when I do it is either a keyboard case or an apple wireless keyboard.

2.  The increased separation on the pinkie and index fingers are great.  Personally I like even more curve between columns but I don't think many people would agree with me on that.  As you increase the separation you actually make this more piano like.  As most piano players know rsi is greatly reduced when you stop curling your fingers, but to curl less when typing you almost need a greater difference between column heights to account for finger length.  Try holding your fingers straight out and see how much easier it is to move them independently than when they are curled.  Makes a huge difference for me.

3.  Is a custom lithium ion pack needed?  Just asking, I have no idea of the power requirements but I know just having a charger with some AA eneloops in it works great for my other wireless devices.  Cheap and easy, and in a pinch AA's are easy to find.  I am not against a lithium ion pack though, just wondering if you save anything not needing the charging components.

4.  A couple of extra keys on the bottom to allow four way movement keys truly ergonomic style would be awesome.  It is the one feature I really miss when I am not using they keyboard, I never liked the Kinisis Advantage style layout as much.  I am now using my ergodox daily but never could find an ideal layout that allowed me to have something similar to the truly ergonomic's:
left up/down right               home pg up/pg dn  end

5. Someone asked about unused keys on the ergodox.  I don't use any of the furthest out thumb cluster keys, they are too hard to reach.  I don't use the extra keys that would be between 6 and 7 on a regular keyboard either, I tend to miss them and hit the larger 1.5 size keys below them.

6.  I think you have designed in some extra LEDs to show what layer I am on through some combination of lights.  Just wanted to say, awesome.  After three months of usage once every couple of weeks I still end up lost in a layer I am not sure of on my Ergodox and the quickest way to get back to good is to just unplug my keyboard and plug it back in.  Can't tell you how silly I feel rebooting my keyboard to quickly get back to work.

7.  I agree with some of the general concepts shown at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/9187587157/in/set-72157634289665901  My thumb doesn't move the same way as my other fingers, it wants to move down as it moves away from my palm, not on the same plane as the rest of my fingers. I guess the best way of saying that is that on the Z axis as I extend my thumb away from my hand it wants to move closer to the desk.  I actually end up using my thumb to hit the inner most key on the bottom row of my ergodox that is not on the thumb cluster more than anything else except space. I use that key as my main "swap to symbols" layer when programming and have found it more comfortable to keep the thumb pretty close to my hand instead of stretching it to reach the thumb cluster.

8.  If using plate mount, could the mount be somehow made small enough to fit inside of the main case instead of being a part of it. The best way I can explain this is that if you have an ergodox without palm rests and wanted to switch to a ergodox case with palm rests you could not, because the plate is doing two jobs, holding the keys in place, and two being part of the main cases structure.  Makes it hard to do cool lego like switching of cases.  Without that one feature you could pretty easily swap cases every few months as you saw fit.  The ergodox plate hasn't stopped me from opening my switches and swapping springs, just means I can never swap cases unless I want to desolder every key.

9.  Last one, I promise.  Can your design accept input from the computer that would allow me to switch layers?  I would loooooove to be able to write an app that would switch profiles based on what application has focus, I could automatically switch key layers/mappings based on whether vim, photoshop, chrome, or a video game had the focus.  How cool would that be?

Thanks for your awesome work, now please take my money!!!

-Shane
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 18 August 2013, 02:37:11
I am impressed by your work AcidFire.

Being new to the world of keyboard hacking I have a few questions regarding your keyboards.

1. Will your keyboards work with different keyboard layouts for other languages than English? Some layouts use more keys than standard US keyboards provide. Will your keyboard be easily programmable for non-English characters?

2. I usually rest my palms against a palm rest when I type. Will the edge between the thumb keyboard and the main keyboard feel uncomfortable if you rest your hands against the keyboard?

3. Regarding your 70% design. Have you considered putting an angle between the left and right keyboard part to avoid ulnar deviation?
1. Thats the plan, you'll be able to change the language on the board, and even set it depending on a layer, so you could have russian/cyrillic on one layer, and english on another.

2. It hasn't so far, but I haven't spent hours typing on it either. because of the way the top is design though, adjustments can be made easily.

3. Yup. You'll see something up about this either tomorrow or Monday.

Finally finished reading the thread.  Awesome concept, I am in to buy one, er actually at least two.  Definitely down for the prototype.  I have a few thoughts floating around in my head after reading all of these posts so I am just going to throw them all out there, if you like any of them cool, if not I won't be hurt and want to buy some of these either way.  I am an owner of many ergo keyboards including my freshly built ergodox a couple of months back as well as a programmer so let me know if I can help in any way.  Ok here goes.

1. I love that you are going bluetooth.  Personally I say don't sweat the ios compatibility, just put a bluetooth radio in each unit.  Besides making the whole thing easier to put together I would say you would be benefitting more gamers who might want to use a single board only as a gaming board than you would be harming people wanting to hook these up to their ipads.  I can't imagine that many people doing that, I rarely see anyone using a keyboard with their ipad and when I do it is either a keyboard case or an apple wireless keyboard.

2.  The increased separation on the pinkie and index fingers are great.  Personally I like even more curve between columns but I don't think many people would agree with me on that.  As you increase the separation you actually make this more piano like.  As most piano players know rsi is greatly reduced when you stop curling your fingers, but to curl less when typing you almost need a greater difference between column heights to account for finger length.  Try holding your fingers straight out and see how much easier it is to move them independently than when they are curled.  Makes a huge difference for me.

3.  Is a custom lithium ion pack needed?  Just asking, I have no idea of the power requirements but I know just having a charger with some AA eneloops in it works great for my other wireless devices.  Cheap and easy, and in a pinch AA's are easy to find.  I am not against a lithium ion pack though, just wondering if you save anything not needing the charging components.

4.  A couple of extra keys on the bottom to allow four way movement keys truly ergonomic style would be awesome.  It is the one feature I really miss when I am not using they keyboard, I never liked the Kinisis Advantage style layout as much.  I am now using my ergodox daily but never could find an ideal layout that allowed me to have something similar to the truly ergonomic's:
left up/down right               home pg up/pg dn  end

5. Someone asked about unused keys on the ergodox.  I don't use any of the furthest out thumb cluster keys, they are too hard to reach.  I don't use the extra keys that would be between 6 and 7 on a regular keyboard either, I tend to miss them and hit the larger 1.5 size keys below them.

6.  I think you have designed in some extra LEDs to show what layer I am on through some combination of lights.  Just wanted to say, awesome.  After three months of usage once every couple of weeks I still end up lost in a layer I am not sure of on my Ergodox and the quickest way to get back to good is to just unplug my keyboard and plug it back in.  Can't tell you how silly I feel rebooting my keyboard to quickly get back to work.

7.  I agree with some of the general concepts shown at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurplop/9187587157/in/set-72157634289665901  My thumb doesn't move the same way as my other fingers, it wants to move down as it moves away from my palm, not on the same plane as the rest of my fingers. I guess the best way of saying that is that on the Z axis as I extend my thumb away from my hand it wants to move closer to the desk.  I actually end up using my thumb to hit the inner most key on the bottom row of my ergodox that is not on the thumb cluster more than anything else except space. I use that key as my main "swap to symbols" layer when programming and have found it more comfortable to keep the thumb pretty close to my hand instead of stretching it to reach the thumb cluster.

8.  If using plate mount, could the mount be somehow made small enough to fit inside of the main case instead of being a part of it. The best way I can explain this is that if you have an ergodox without palm rests and wanted to switch to a ergodox case with palm rests you could not, because the plate is doing two jobs, holding the keys in place, and two being part of the main cases structure.  Makes it hard to do cool lego like switching of cases.  Without that one feature you could pretty easily swap cases every few months as you saw fit.  The ergodox plate hasn't stopped me from opening my switches and swapping springs, just means I can never swap cases unless I want to desolder every key.

9.  Last one, I promise.  Can your design accept input from the computer that would allow me to switch layers?  I would loooooove to be able to write an app that would switch profiles based on what application has focus, I could automatically switch key layers/mappings based on whether vim, photoshop, chrome, or a video game had the focus.  How cool would that be?

Thanks for your awesome work, now please take my money!!!

-Shane
Glad you managed to power through, and kudos for taking the time to actually read it all. To answer your questions:

1. I use my Apple wireless with it quite a bit, and only because there weren't a lot of options for affordable bluetooth ergo boards. I've also had a few people with disabilities tell me that they're looking forward to having a more comfortable board to use with their ipads & other devices. I mentioned the iOS limitation because it's the one I'm most familiar with, but I've heard that some other devices can have the same issue. I do know I should be able to slave one radio to the other, so that's the plan for now.

2. I'm looking forward to seeing what people who own the ergodox already have to say about the staggering I've done, I think you'll find it more pronounced than it looks.

3. It's not a custom pack per se, it is an off the shelf part. While things like AAs are convenient, there isn't enough space in the casing for them without making it thicker. Also, while there obviously needs to be some real world testing done, the pack I have in mind should last roughly as long as a set of AAs would.

4. TBH, that's what I had planned for that last row of keys, the set of 4 next to the 1.5. What do you currently use those keys for?

5. Again, interested to hear opinions on the thumb cluster, since the positioning was altered specifically to deal with the fact that they're unreachable on the ergodox.

6. Yup. Aside from the PWM controlled backlight, there are 5 RGB LEDs on each of the main boards, making for a total of 10 that can be programmed to do, well anything, including showing you what layer you're on.

7. I do as well, but for now the altered angle from the Ergodox is a bit of a compromise to reduce the amount of movement your thumb needs to make to strike the keys. Because of the modular design of the set up, something with a bit more of a curve could be switched to with minimal effort/cost for the end user.

8. Check back tomorrow for more details on this ;)

9. I believe so. TBH I haven't done anything before with talking to a device set up as an HID, but from what I'm reading, this should be entirely possible. My tablet already does this and I love it, will all come down to how I can communicate with the board.

Finally little preview of what's coming tomorrow:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14411.jpg)

I spent a bit of time with the laser today, so I've got lots to show off :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: anotherjunkie on Sun, 18 August 2013, 13:28:39
Finally little preview of what's coming tomorrow:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14411.jpg)

I spent a bit of time with the laser today, so I've got lots to show off :D

I never fail to be completely amazed every time I open up this thread. Almost every day you bring us an improvement on something that was already awesome, and the number of cool things coming from this project is just staggering.

I can't wait to start grabbing the different components that you'll be putting out, and testing these configurations on my desk!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Sun, 18 August 2013, 14:55:19
Have you considred having an angle on the thumb cluster (different angle versus the alphas)? I don't have an ergodox, so it's hard to tell, but when I look at my hand on a natural position, if I only move my thumb it is not moving exactly in the same angle than my other fingers, so I suppose that it would be nice to have the thumb cluster in that same natural angle.

But like I said, never tried a dox so it's hard to tell, but I wanted to share this idea in case someone want to discuss it!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: speedkills on Sun, 18 August 2013, 20:52:13
Regarding my currently layout, you can see it here.  I actually have my number row permanently shifted although it doesn't show in the diagram so I just press 8 for * as an example, and shift + 8 to actually get number 8, or more frequently hold down my layer shift key and use the 8 on the numpad.

I don't love how I have my direction keys but just didn't have enough keys to come up with a better layout, if there were one more key below the WSX column I would have just put my direction on the main layer and never have to shift to get to them, but as is the best I could do was hold down the function key with one hand and then access the full set of function keys as I like with my other hand.

Overall though this has been a huge improvement when programming.  I know plenty of people will say use the old vim style hjkl (which I do) but I also use plenty of other programs that make frequent use of arrow keys plus home/end/pg up/pg down. 

I also wish I could find one more place for a hyper key (for me basically command + ctrl + alt + shift) which makes it really easy to have shortcuts that aren't used by other modifier keys.  I currently do this by overloading the caps lock, if I tap the caps lock it is esc, if I hold it and press another key it is hyper.  I actually have a few unused keys because it didn't end up being a case of not having enough keys, it came down to not having enough keys in the right places.  The thumb cluster which looked so great on the ergodox ended up far less useful than planned, the only two keys I can conveniently reach are the two large keys, so in effect I have only three keys I can reach with each thumb, the two large keys on the main cluster, and the layer shift key I use which is the bottom row closest to the thumb cluster on each hand.  Sure does work out well though, especially setup to be a sticky key so I don't have to actually chord when I am programming, if I want to type an underscore for example I just tap the key directly below V with my left hand, then what would be H with my right hand.  Really helpful when programming in Ruby which loves variables_named_in_snake_case.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: kittykatmax on Mon, 19 August 2013, 01:20:24
I was thinking about joining the current MassDrop ErgoDox group buy, as I fell in love with the ErgoDox concept.  Between the unavailability of Cherry MX Browns (I need to buy it assembled) and my concerns about the thumb cluster, I'll sadly be giving it a pass.  Maybe it's the fact that it was two-dimensional, or maybe just because I'm female, but when I printed "to size" pdfs of the two halves, they felt enormous; I had a tough time with the position of the thumb clusters.  Aside from arthritis in my finger joints, I have nerve issues with my pinkies caused by neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, plus I have problems with the tendons in my thumbs.    I've been dying for a truly split, tentable (is that even a word?), mechanical keyboard, but I also need to make sure if I'm paying $250+ that it'll actually fit my small, messed up hands. 

When I saw your project (amazing job - wish I had your skills!), I was very interested in how you lowered the thumb section. 

I have a few questions:

- Is this keyboard going to be any smaller/any easier to use for people with smaller hands vs. the ErgoDox?   

- Have you ever considered seeing if you could angle the thumb section downward, as opposed to just lowering the entire cluster (but leaving it level)? Or, perhaps having the thumb cluster attached via some sort of hinge to allow the user to adjust the angle for comfort? The human thumb rests at an angle from the hand in its neutral position, yet even the so-called "ergonomic" keyboards overlook that fact.  Great info on the anatomy of the hand at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~humananatomy/part_2/chapter_11.html (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~humananatomy/part_2/chapter_11.html). 

Assuming it's even feasible from a design/fabrication standpoint, angling the thumb section would allow more natural thumb movement and reach.  I have a Key Tronic FlexPro keyboard (sitting in a box, sadly, wish it was tkl and mechanical) but I always loved the fact that you could actuate the space bar not just from the top, but also from the inner edges when tenting the two keyboard sections.  It just felt RIGHT to curl my thumb inward a bit to actuate the space bar.

For all I know, I'm insane to even ask, and I hope my questions don't come across as critical of your design (or that of the ErgoDox - they're both amazing!), but as a woman with fubar thumbs AND pinkies, I was curious.  Regardless, if I could buy one of your great keyboards (assembled) with Cherry MX Browns, I would jump on the chance...IF I thought I could (reasonably) reach everything.'

Also, for people worrying about batteries, just buy some Sanyo eneloops and a charger - problem solved.  That's what Logitech uses in their G700 mice which is great, since you can have extra charged for quick swap-outs if you hate using the USB cable.

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Dynamo on Mon, 19 August 2013, 08:22:56
AcidFire,
Thank you for your feedback. I was planning on building an Ergodox, but I think your design looks more interesting.

Today I use a traditional Swedish keyboard with the additional umlaut characters , , next to the 'L' and 'P' keys in a qwerty layout. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KB_Sweden.svg
I wish to keep a similar layout but on a more user friendly keyboard. :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Mon, 19 August 2013, 09:42:43
How about adding a trackpoint to the keyboard? I know you're going to be making a trackball addon, but it would be nice to have a trackpoint too, as  standard in the keyboard so we do not have to lift our fingers away from the keyboard for simple mousing operations. Just an idea!

I don't think this could be offered as an addon, could it? Since it has to be on the keyboard itself (left or right side).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Mon, 19 August 2013, 11:19:22
How about adding a trackpoint to the keyboard? I know you're going to be making a trackball addon, but it would be nice to have a trackpoint too, as  standard in the keyboard so we do not have to lift our fingers away from the keyboard for simple mousing operations. Just an idea!

I don't think this could be offered as an addon, could it? Since it has to be on the keyboard itself (left or right side).

Isn't there some stupid patent (s) which makes the trackpoint a no go?

Would be nice to have but not a must ;)

E.g. http://www.google.co.uk/patents/US6115030
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 19 August 2013, 13:00:33
AcidFire,
Thank you for your feedback. I was planning on building an Ergodox, but I think your design looks more interesting.

Today I use a traditional Swedish keyboard with the additional umlaut characters , , next to the 'L' and 'P' keys in a qwerty layout. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KB_Sweden.svg
I wish to keep a similar layout but on a more user friendly keyboard. :)
I'll probably need a hand testing it, but yes, the plan is to keep it multilingual friendly :)

How about adding a trackpoint to the keyboard? I know you're going to be making a trackball addon, but it would be nice to have a trackpoint too, as  standard in the keyboard so we do not have to lift our fingers away from the keyboard for simple mousing operations. Just an idea!

I don't think this could be offered as an addon, could it? Since it has to be on the keyboard itself (left or right side).

Isn't there some stupid patent (s) which makes the trackpoint a no go?

Would be nice to have but not a must ;)

E.g. http://www.google.co.uk/patents/US6115030
It's not an issue of patents, it's an issue of availability. I can't order modules, I'd have to rip them from keyboards, which presents issues of supply. I'm not only looking at trackballs, but a number of options so that you guys can pick the option that best suits you.

I was thinking about joining the current MassDrop ErgoDox group buy, as I fell in love with the ErgoDox concept.  Between the unavailability of Cherry MX Browns (I need to buy it assembled) and my concerns about the thumb cluster, I'll sadly be giving it a pass.  Maybe it's the fact that it was two-dimensional, or maybe just because I'm female, but when I printed "to size" pdfs of the two halves, they felt enormous; I had a tough time with the position of the thumb clusters.  Aside from arthritis in my finger joints, I have nerve issues with my pinkies caused by neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, plus I have problems with the tendons in my thumbs.    I've been dying for a truly split, tentable (is that even a word?), mechanical keyboard, but I also need to make sure if I'm paying $250+ that it'll actually fit my small, messed up hands. 

When I saw your project (amazing job - wish I had your skills!), I was very interested in how you lowered the thumb section. 

I have a few questions:

- Is this keyboard going to be any smaller/any easier to use for people with smaller hands vs. the ErgoDox?   

- Have you ever considered seeing if you could angle the thumb section downward, as opposed to just lowering the entire cluster (but leaving it level)? Or, perhaps having the thumb cluster attached via some sort of hinge to allow the user to adjust the angle for comfort? The human thumb rests at an angle from the hand in its neutral position, yet even the so-called "ergonomic" keyboards overlook that fact.  Great info on the anatomy of the hand at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~humananatomy/part_2/chapter_11.html (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~humananatomy/part_2/chapter_11.html). 

Assuming it's even feasible from a design/fabrication standpoint, angling the thumb section would allow more natural thumb movement and reach.  I have a Key Tronic FlexPro keyboard (sitting in a box, sadly, wish it was tkl and mechanical) but I always loved the fact that you could actuate the space bar not just from the top, but also from the inner edges when tenting the two keyboard sections.  It just felt RIGHT to curl my thumb inward a bit to actuate the space bar.

For all I know, I'm insane to even ask, and I hope my questions don't come across as critical of your design (or that of the ErgoDox - they're both amazing!), but as a woman with fubar thumbs AND pinkies, I was curious.  Regardless, if I could buy one of your great keyboards (assembled) with Cherry MX Browns, I would jump on the chance...IF I thought I could (reasonably) reach everything.'

Also, for people worrying about batteries, just buy some Sanyo eneloops and a charger - problem solved.  That's what Logitech uses in their G700 mice which is great, since you can have extra charged for quick swap-outs if you hate using the USB cable.
I don't think you're questions are critical at all! If I were in your situation I would be asking the same questions. Design wise, the thumb cluster seems to be reachable by smaller hands, as I've had my girlfriend test it. However, if there is a need to have the cluster tweaked and brought in a bit for smaller hands, I would be happy to design a case to bring the cluster closer, while still keeping the modularity of the keypads.

As for the drop vs a different angle, it basically came down to what I was able to produce with the tools I have at hand. If the initial Kickstarter campaign does well and especially if I hit over my goal, I'm definitely going to be grabbing tools for developing more 3D style cases that will still use the modular boards.

On the battery issue, as I mentioned before, there isn't enough space in the casing to allow for something the size of AA's, however, I do want to design a set of batteries that can be swapped quickly, so that you can have a pair charging while the others are in use in the board.

And yes, I do plan to offer MX browns, and as mentioned before, there will be an option to buy assembled as well ;)

Regarding my currently layout, you can see it here.  I actually have my number row permanently shifted although it doesn't show in the diagram so I just press 8 for * as an example, and shift + 8 to actually get number 8, or more frequently hold down my layer shift key and use the 8 on the numpad.

I don't love how I have my direction keys but just didn't have enough keys to come up with a better layout, if there were one more key below the WSX column I would have just put my direction on the main layer and never have to shift to get to them, but as is the best I could do was hold down the function key with one hand and then access the full set of function keys as I like with my other hand.

Overall though this has been a huge improvement when programming.  I know plenty of people will say use the old vim style hjkl (which I do) but I also use plenty of other programs that make frequent use of arrow keys plus home/end/pg up/pg down. 

I also wish I could find one more place for a hyper key (for me basically command + ctrl + alt + shift) which makes it really easy to have shortcuts that aren't used by other modifier keys.  I currently do this by overloading the caps lock, if I tap the caps lock it is esc, if I hold it and press another key it is hyper.  I actually have a few unused keys because it didn't end up being a case of not having enough keys, it came down to not having enough keys in the right places.  The thumb cluster which looked so great on the ergodox ended up far less useful than planned, the only two keys I can conveniently reach are the two large keys, so in effect I have only three keys I can reach with each thumb, the two large keys on the main cluster, and the layer shift key I use which is the bottom row closest to the thumb cluster on each hand.  Sure does work out well though, especially setup to be a sticky key so I don't have to actually chord when I am programming, if I want to type an underscore for example I just tap the key directly below V with my left hand, then what would be H with my right hand.  Really helpful when programming in Ruby which loves variables_named_in_snake_case.
I think you're missing a link or some content at the beginning of your post. As for extra buttons, I've been playing with the design but haven't been able to find somewhere comfortable under the bottom row of keys to add more. Hopefully, with the changes made to the thumb cluster, you'll find it a bit more useful. There will also be other thumb cluster layouts that will allow you to have more buttons at your disposal, and of course you can always add external pads quite easily as well.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 20 August 2013, 22:17:04
A quickish update for something I meant to post a couple days ago:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14427.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14431.jpg)
These are the mid & bottom plates, showing how the new swappable plates are styled. The one for the thumb cluster isn't finished, because I'm still tweaking the board layout on that one.
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14432.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14433.jpg)
The top there are the first variations I plan to release for the thumb clusters. The bottoms are the first two 4x5 variants, one being a number pad and the other a standard 4x5 grid.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 21 August 2013, 00:10:32
Forgot to post these as well:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14418.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14416.jpg)
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14438.jpg)
This was the first revision to the 70% straight concept, implementing the new plates, integrating the LEDs and per CommunistWitchDr's suggestion, the last two keys from the original concept have been dropped to where they can be easily reached by either thumb, particularly the 1.5 at the bottom.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: sordna on Wed, 21 August 2013, 01:10:50
gorgeous stuff mate !!!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Wed, 21 August 2013, 02:42:09
That new photo booth working its magic, Thanks for the updates as it's always nice to see things moving along
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 21 August 2013, 03:21:14
Yummy pictures, but honestly great work, I'm still not too sure about the 70%.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: SpAmRaY on Wed, 21 August 2013, 03:33:02
Did I see a separate number pad a few pages back? Or was that just a module?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 21 August 2013, 08:32:20
Did I see a separate number pad a few pages back? Or was that just a module?


That was part of the 'keystation'. So yes, a module in a way.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 21 August 2013, 09:03:06
Did I see a separate number pad a few pages back? Or was that just a module?


That was part of the 'keystation'. So yes, a module in a way.

I think it was more "the keystation has a spot for the numpad" than "the numpad is part of the keystation". I'm pretty sure it can be used with or without the keystation. I am not sure if it can be used without the main board or if it connects through it though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wiredPANDA on Wed, 21 August 2013, 10:16:43
That 70% is looking better the more I look at it.

Nice work on the plates.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 21 August 2013, 12:48:47
gorgeous stuff mate !!!
That new photo booth working its magic, Thanks for the updates as it's always nice to see things moving along
That 70% is looking better the more I look at it.

Nice work on the plates.
Thank you :D And I find posting updates, even small ones, motivational, in part because of feedback and when you start to take pride in showing what you've worked on, it drives you to put even more time and effort into making it better.


Did I see a separate number pad a few pages back? Or was that just a module?


That was part of the 'keystation'. So yes, a module in a way.

I think it was more "the keystation has a spot for the numpad" than "the numpad is part of the keystation". I'm pretty sure it can be used with or without the keystation. I am not sure if it can be used without the main board or if it connects through it though.
Yes, the number pad isn't exclusive to the keystation, or any other configuration. There are two ports on each of the split halves, one of which would be available on each side after they are connected. On the straight & split boards, you'll have 4 ports free as the keypads will be connected internally.

I've also been tossing around the idea of doing a simple pair of addon boards for the controller board to allow you to use it externally, so if all you wanted was a bunch of the 3x4 or 4x5 modules, that'll be entirely possible. The controller board is already designed to handle this, I would just have to design the addon board, which shouldn't take more than a half hour or so given it's simplicity.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Wed, 21 August 2013, 14:26:26
I am. I am 150% sure about that 70% board. It makes me drool.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: JPG on Wed, 21 August 2013, 14:29:35
People will sell their Korean custom to get this (or maybe it's already started!)

Joking, but damn it's so nice!

 :thumb:
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: vivalarevolucin on Wed, 21 August 2013, 15:11:26
Glad to see those caps I sold you being put to good use.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Loligagger on Wed, 21 August 2013, 20:52:57
If you're going for plates being separate from the case itself, any chance for stainless steel?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Thu, 22 August 2013, 07:07:58
If you're going for plates being separate from the case itself, any chance for stainless steel?

+1 for this.  As much as I like the look of the acrylic cases, the stainless steel plates from The_Beast are superb.  Maybe a kit build option, sourcing the plates from The_Beast?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wesleyh on Thu, 22 August 2013, 07:19:37
where can we see these stainless steel plates from "the_beast"? was something like this made for ergodox?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Tarzan on Thu, 22 August 2013, 07:33:26
where can we see these stainless steel plates from "the_beast"? was something like this made for ergodox?

Negative, I just mentioned these as an example of stainless steel switch plates created for other keyboard models.  [Not even sure The_Beast is interested in another round of dealing with laser fab shops, it sounds like a thankless task!]

But, IF a stainless steel plate (or plates...) were an option for the ErgoGP, I'd be even more happy with this custom keyboard.  If that's even possible.   :p
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 22 August 2013, 08:01:24
Aluminium plates would be more realistic. I don't know if he's got a laser cutter for the job, though...
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: insilica on Thu, 22 August 2013, 12:16:13
I am. I am 150% sure about that 70% board. It makes me drool.

What took you so long :)

Yea for me it's going to be both :D. One at a time though, probably starting with the 70%- though, don't know will toss a coin when time comes.

Keep up the excellent work Acid :)

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Merloobi on Thu, 22 August 2013, 13:13:26
Oh boy oh boy. I can't wait. Will there be options for custom color options? I'd love a white acrylic case to match my color scheme. Thanks!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 22 August 2013, 15:39:17
Oh boy oh boy. I can't wait. Will there be options for custom color options? I'd love a white acrylic case to match my color scheme. Thanks!
Of course :D How could I claim to have a completely customizable keyboard without the choice of custom colors for the cases ;)

where can we see these stainless steel plates from "the_beast"? was something like this made for ergodox?
Negative, I just mentioned these as an example of stainless steel switch plates created for other keyboard models.  [Not even sure The_Beast is interested in another round of dealing with laser fab shops, it sounds like a thankless task!]

But, IF a stainless steel plate (or plates...) were an option for the ErgoGP, I'd be even more happy with this custom keyboard.  If that's even possible.   :p
If you're going for plates being separate from the case itself, any chance for stainless steel?
+1 for this.  As much as I like the look of the acrylic cases, the stainless steel plates from The_Beast are superb.  Maybe a kit build option, sourcing the plates from The_Beast?
Aluminium plates would be more realistic. I don't know if he's got a laser cutter for the job, though...
If you're going for plates being separate from the case itself, any chance for stainless steel?
Aluminum & Stainless plates aren't out of the question. I currently don't have the capability to cut either, but that might change if the kickstarter goes very well. Either I acquire or lease a laser, or I find a shop to do it at a decent price.

I am. I am 150% sure about that 70% board. It makes me drool.

What took you so long :)

Yea for me it's going to be both :D. One at a time though, probably starting with the 70%- though, don't know will toss a coin when time comes.

Keep up the excellent work Acid :)
I'm thinking for the beta testers, I'm going to include all three case designs (still only enough electronics to build one) so that everyone who is testing has the opportunity to give me feedback on all three.

And when I launch the kickstarter campaign, I'm looking at doing multipacks where you can buy two sets at a bit of a discount.

Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 22 August 2013, 15:44:51
Sold on the 70% angled design. 100% sold! Since much more excited about the regular split design but that is perfect for travel.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: thadood on Thu, 22 August 2013, 16:06:56
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)



(http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6axgxYPry1robh3ho1_250.gif)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: fisofo on Thu, 22 August 2013, 16:32:22

Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)



That is pretty awesome... how does it feel on your hands?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: do_Og@n on Thu, 22 August 2013, 16:51:42

Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)



That is pretty awesome... how does it feel on your hands?

You mean besides like a orgasm?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 22 August 2013, 16:56:42
Quick question Acidfire, have you noticed an issues i have with the spherical keycaps on a flat design. For me they stick up much higher than the rest of the keys (more than I would like) to the point that I fine myself catching my hands on them. Not sure there is really an easy solution but on the Kinesis the heights of the spherial keycaps are about the same and rest of the keys. It also may be because I got the DSC keycaps.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 22 August 2013, 17:19:10
Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)

That is pretty awesome... how does it feel on your hands?
Sold on the 70% angled design. 100% sold! Since much more excited about the regular split design but that is perfect for travel.
Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)

That is pretty awesome... how does it feel on your hands?
You mean besides like a orgasm?
I love it. Like Blue said, I still prefer the proper split, but this will definitely be the board I take when I travel.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wiredPANDA on Thu, 22 August 2013, 18:24:34
Design three - yes, yes, yes.  Think that'll become my travel board.  An otherwise crappy day has been salvaged with awesome updates to this thread.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 22 August 2013, 19:01:06
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)


Now THAT's it!
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: spspencer on Thu, 22 August 2013, 22:17:08
Are you still accepting Beta testers? If so, please add me.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Thu, 22 August 2013, 22:24:16

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)



now, this, I would use. The original 70% didn't seem like a good idea to me due to the ulnar deviation. I was envisioning something like this instead (which in all honesty, is somewhat like a catboard, but with more buttons). And man, you sure do get these prototypes out fast. Can't wait for these to start selling.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Glod on Thu, 22 August 2013, 22:45:07
Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)


oh my this looks to be even better than before, this looks like something that would actually replace everything, use it for home+travel

though i do want to add my input, just throwing this out there:
1. Cosmetically all the bolts really is unappealing, looks to be 18 of them. maybe if they were countersunk and black on black then i think i would like it. I also hate this about my ergodox, i think of them as warts. You may have mentioned this is only for prototyping in your designs and sorry if i missed it if so
2. I know you are going for getting a bunch of keys on there but i just dont see the point of 2 of the keys in the top center.
(http://almightyglod.com/public_stack/BDY14440_edited.jpg)
it may look better without them and be one less 1.5 key cap i would have to acquire (i do like "bringing my own" key caps)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 22 August 2013, 22:47:14
Third design, yes!

Remove the keys in the center, and add a trackball, maybe remove the 1.5x on the sides to make it more portable.

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=47220.0
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 22 August 2013, 22:58:23
oh my this looks to be even better than before, this looks like something that would actually replace everything, use it for home+travel

though i do want to add my input, just throwing this out there:
1. Cosmetically all the bolts really is unappealing, looks to be 18 of them. maybe if they were countersunk and black on black then i think i would like it. I also hate this about my ergodox, i think of them as warts. You may have mentioned this is only for prototyping in your designs and sorry if i missed it if so
2. I know you are going for getting a bunch of keys on there but i just dont see the point of 2 of the keys in the top center.
Show Image
(http://almightyglod.com/public_stack/BDY14440_edited.jpg)

it may look better without them and be one less 1.5 key cap i would have to acquire (i do like "bringing my own" key caps)
1. I agree. I'm working to minimise them, but right now I go a little nuts because it lets me remove some and test to see which are absolutely needed, and which aren't.
2. yeah, I've been debating on this, it was mostly to match the number of keys on the straight board, but just like the thumb boards I can easily vary the number of them.
Third design, yes!

Remove the keys in the center, and add a trackball, maybe remove the 1.5x on the sides to make it more portable.

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=47220.0
It's something I've got marked down for the second batch of board designs, as it would require a heavy modification to the board design to make it work. But I'm not counting it out yet.


Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)



now, this, I would use. The original 70% didn't seem like a good idea to me due to the ulnar deviation. I was envisioning something like this instead (which in all honesty, is somewhat like a catboard, but with more buttons). And man, you sure do get these prototypes out fast. Can't wait for these to start selling.
Well the non split was put together rather quickly based on daerid's concept, and I imagine there will be some who prefer it. I however agree about the deviation, and thus this was the logical next step. I actually didn't turn this one around as quickly as I wanted, but I'm not used to working at angles like they are on this one (OCD is not my friend with this sort of thing.)

Are you still accepting Beta testers? If so, please add me.
http://multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta (http://multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta) - Fill that out, I'm still taking applications.

Design three - yes, yes, yes.  Think that'll become my travel board.  An otherwise crappy day has been salvaged with awesome updates to this thread.
Glad I could pick up your day for you :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Larken on Thu, 22 August 2013, 23:18:25

Well the non split was put together rather quickly based on daerid's concept, and I imagine there will be some who prefer it. I however agree about the deviation, and thus this was the logical next step. I actually didn't turn this one around as quickly as I wanted, but I'm not used to working at angles like they are on this one (OCD is not my friend with this sort of thing.)


don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking on the design; after all, different people have different ergo needs. But I could tell at a glance that I couldn't use the original 70% without RSI symptoms returns.

And relax, you're plenty fast as it is. Most (esp me) would take weeks or months (if ever) to turn out a prototype based on an idea like this. Its a beautifully done job. Much props to you.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 22 August 2013, 23:36:24
Larken is reiterating what I had said, I had printed a mockup of the 70% and it didn't work, in 5mins, I knew, I couldn't use it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Fri, 23 August 2013, 00:25:13
Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)


Wow... you are fast. This looks amazing. However, I must say that (at least for me), I would much prefer the straight design. I've tried tilting my ErgoDox, and it just doesn't feel right, and puts too much strain on my pinkies. I have fairly large hands and type with straight wrists as it is, so the straight 70% looks absolutely perfect for me.

But that's the beauty of your design. Completely modular. You sir, are a master.

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Demonmaker on Fri, 23 August 2013, 06:31:11
Loving the new 70% one, I'm still going for the ErgoGP split version though because it suits what I have in mind for my simpit and its just simply beautiful, but after seeing that last one.... The wife is going to kill me when you offer the discount for getting both.

Thanks again for the update, roll on kickstarter.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 23 August 2013, 08:38:29
In an orchestra, one conductor leads a large group of highly talented musicians to create a masterpiece. 

You sir, took your cues from dozens of "conductors" and using your prodigious skills are working toward a travel keyboard masterpiece. The GP is a fine design but I believe the travel version may become your magnum opus. I think it strikes a good balance between portability, ergonomic improvement, affordability(from simple construction) and appearance. I can't wait to see what's next. Built in nail clipper?

Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Dynamo on Fri, 23 August 2013, 10:00:50
Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)


Very nice! And I for one like that there are many keys on the board. :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: wiredPANDA on Fri, 23 August 2013, 10:19:42
Glad I checked - I missed the beta signup form.

And I agree with kurplop that third design may become the forerunner once things get going.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Binge on Fri, 23 August 2013, 10:20:18
Sometimes I think there are too many damn buttons.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 23 August 2013, 10:29:10
Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)


Wow... you are fast. This looks amazing. However, I must say that (at least for me), I would much prefer the straight design. I've tried tilting my ErgoDox, and it just doesn't feel right, and puts too much strain on my pinkies. I have fairly large hands and type with straight wrists as it is, so the straight 70% looks absolutely perfect for me.

But that's the beauty of your design. Completely modular. You sir, are a master.



Reducing ulnar deviation is a traditional method of improving keyboard ergonomics. I was surprised to hear that you prefer the straight design. Do you hold your ErgoDox apart at shoulder width?
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: daerid on Fri, 23 August 2013, 13:40:14
Reducing ulnar deviation is a traditional method of improving keyboard ergonomics. I was surprised to hear that you prefer the straight design. Do you hold your ErgoDox apart at shoulder width?

Not quite. Here's a pic of how my hands rest on the ErgoDox:

(http://i.imgur.com/TM60d7b.jpg)

It's hard to tell, but my wrist is pretty much totally straight. I've found that if I rotate the ergodox at all it puts much more strain on my ring and pinky fingers than I like and my wrists tent to deviate radially, which is also uncomfortable.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: ephson on Fri, 23 August 2013, 13:56:43

Oh, and since I mentioned a third design:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14440.jpg)


Want!  I love this design (especially for travel).
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 23 August 2013, 15:57:38
I'm happy everyone likes it, I've been pretty damn happy with it too, and I'm looking forward to getting my next batch of boards to finally get to take this layout for a proper test drive.

In an orchestra, one conductor leads a large group of highly talented musicians to create a masterpiece. 

You sir, took your cues from dozens of "conductors" and using your prodigious skills are working toward a travel keyboard masterpiece. The GP is a fine design but I believe the travel version may become your magnum opus. I think it strikes a good balance between portability, ergonomic improvement, affordability(from simple construction) and appearance. I can't wait to see what's next. Built in nail clipper?
Coming from you sir, that means the world :D. I'm a bit surprised at the amount of do want the 75% ergoboard is getting, but glad that the design was worth fighting through.

Sometimes I think there are too many damn buttons.
Thats the nice thing about a modular system, you can set yourself up to have only as many switches as you need. Besides, more switches means a need for more binge caps :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 23 August 2013, 16:01:08
Reducing ulnar deviation is a traditional method of improving keyboard ergonomics. I was surprised to hear that you prefer the straight design. Do you hold your ErgoDox apart at shoulder width?

Not quite. Here's a pic of how my hands rest on the ErgoDox:

Show Image
(http://i.imgur.com/TM60d7b.jpg)


It's hard to tell, but my wrist is pretty much totally straight. I've found that if I rotate the ergodox at all it puts much more strain on my ring and pinky fingers than I like and my wrists tent to deviate radially, which is also uncomfortable.

Don't your fingers travel in an unnatural manner then, at angle to the left for left hand and right for right hand rather than just curling them back and forth.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 23 August 2013, 16:01:42

It's hard to tell, but my wrist is pretty much totally straight. I've found that if I rotate the ergodox at all it puts much more strain on my ring and pinky fingers than I like and my wrists tent to deviate radially, which is also uncomfortable.

That's reinforces my belief that one person's pain is another person's  pleasure in the ergo world.

I think it's great that AcidFire is being so accommodating with his designs.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 23 August 2013, 16:55:45
I still can't wait to shove my money down acidfire's throat for a beta ergogp. I don't travel a lot, so I'm still very excited about the original GP.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Acendancy
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 23 August 2013, 17:54:46
So for the modular system itself, I've decided to call it Ascendancy. Will probably keep the GP for the split boards, will have to come up with something other than straight or ergo for the 75% boards.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: daerid on Fri, 23 August 2013, 18:21:05
Don't your fingers travel in an unnatural manner then, at angle to the left for left hand and right for right hand rather than just curling them back and forth.

Not that I can tell. Maybe I just have odd fingers. It's quite comfortable for me.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Acendancy
Post by: sm31 on Fri, 23 August 2013, 19:07:36
So for the modular system itself, I've decided to call it Ascendancy. Will probably keep the GP for the split boards, will have to come up with something other than straight or ergo for the 75% boards.

Why "ascendancy"? That's a word that doesn't immediately suggest to me what you're trying to do with the project (not that I have a better one ATM mind you).
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Acendancy
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 23 August 2013, 19:10:12
So for the modular system itself, I've decided to call it Ascendancy. Will probably keep the GP for the split boards, will have to come up with something other than straight or ergo for the 75% boards.

Why "ascendancy"? That's a word that doesn't immediately suggest to me what you're trying to do with the project (not that I have a better one ATM mind you).

I think that it sounds cool.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: sordna on Fri, 23 August 2013, 21:27:30
Don't your fingers travel in an unnatural manner then, at angle to the left for left hand and right for right hand rather than just curling them back and forth.

Not that I can tell. Maybe I just have odd fingers. It's quite comfortable for me.

my guess you keep the keyboard far away from your body. Because if like most people you keep the keyboard as low and close to your belly as possible, you have to angle it (3rd design) or significantly distance the 2 halves, otherwise the wrists become totally bent.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: Larken on Fri, 23 August 2013, 21:51:39
Reducing ulnar deviation is a traditional method of improving keyboard ergonomics. I was surprised to hear that you prefer the straight design. Do you hold your ErgoDox apart at shoulder width?

Not quite. Here's a pic of how my hands rest on the ErgoDox:

Show Image
(http://i.imgur.com/TM60d7b.jpg)


It's hard to tell, but my wrist is pretty much totally straight. I've found that if I rotate the ergodox at all it puts much more strain on my ring and pinky fingers than I like and my wrists tent to deviate radially, which is also uncomfortable.

Don't your fingers travel in an unnatural manner then, at angle to the left for left hand and right for right hand rather than just curling them back and forth.

Not that I can tell. Maybe I just have odd fingers. It's quite comfortable for me.

my guess you keep the keyboard far away from your body. Because if like most people you keep the keyboard as low and close to your belly as possible, you have to angle it (3rd design) or significantly distance the 2 halves, otherwise the wrists become totally bent.


pretty much what sordna said. I keep mine as near to my waist level as much as I can, and I require it angled quite a bit to keep my wrists totally straight. To keep it at the waist perfectly straight would require me to put the halves further apart, at shoulder width like kurplop has mentioned. Sordna's guess is probably accurate - the keyboard is probably further away than your body compared to most.

but daerid, have you considered the distance between the two halves of the ergodox? due to the design of the thumb cluster, there is a minimum distance of about 4 to 5 keys (1x size) that cannot be bridged, whereas on design 1 (for the nonsplit), the length between the two 'halves' is 2 key's width. Unless one uses the keyboard in a way that keeps their arms (yes, arms, not wrists) stretched far away from their body (in theory, further away than where your ergodox is right now), there will likely be ulnar deviation.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 24 August 2013, 01:45:59
As promised in the 40% thread, two designs:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14443.jpg)
The one at the top is based on a pair of the 4x5 modules I'm designing, the one on the bottom would be a different board entirely.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Sat, 24 August 2013, 03:45:58
The 2nd would be awesome with some sort of hinge in the middle to split it...
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: MOZ on Sat, 24 August 2013, 05:44:58
The 2nd would be awesome with some sort of hinge in the middle to split it...

Yeah, agreed, maybe at the top and BT would make ti perfect.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: Thimplum on Sat, 24 August 2013, 07:39:40
As promised in the 40% thread, two designs:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14443.jpg)

The one at the top is based on a pair of the 4x5 modules I'm designing, the one on the bottom would be a different board entirely.

I am disappoint. You were supposed to finish it by the end of yesterday. You're fired.


I kid, I kid! Really, I think that it looks quite good! I don't think that I could ever live without a dedicated number row, but I know of a number of people who would be suited to it perfectly.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Sat, 24 August 2013, 08:53:53
Is the keyless space at the top is needed for controller?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: daerid on Sat, 24 August 2013, 11:32:01
As promised in the 40% thread, two designs:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14443.jpg)

The one at the top is based on a pair of the 4x5 modules I'm designing, the one on the bottom would be a different board entirely.

Bottom one is WIN
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: daerid on Sat, 24 August 2013, 11:41:59
my guess you keep the keyboard far away from your body. Because if like most people you keep the keyboard as low and close to your belly as possible, you have to angle it (3rd design) or significantly distance the 2 halves, otherwise the wrists become totally bent.

Generally speaking, I usually keep my keyboard farther away than I should. But even when I put the keyboard at the "proper" ergonomic position I don't bend my wrist. Dunno what to tell you. My natural tendencies are to keep my wrists completely straight, and adjust with the fingers. Probably from two decades of guitar playing. Right now I'm typing this on my FC660C on my lap with my shoulders back and upper arms completely vertical, the insides of my forearms are actually resting against my belly (got a bit of a paunch). Wrists are still straight, but my fingers curl progressively outward (index is straight, pinky is most curled). It probably helps that my fingers are over 4" long.

pretty much what sordna said. I keep mine as near to my waist level as much as I can, and I require it angled quite a bit to keep my wrists totally straight. To keep it at the waist perfectly straight would require me to put the halves further apart, at shoulder width like kurplop has mentioned. Sordna's guess is probably accurate - the keyboard is probably further away than your body compared to most.

but daerid, have you considered the distance between the two halves of the ergodox? due to the design of the thumb cluster, there is a minimum distance of about 4 to 5 keys (1x size) that cannot be bridged, whereas on design 1 (for the nonsplit), the length between the two 'halves' is 2 key's width. Unless one uses the keyboard in a way that keeps their arms (yes, arms, not wrists) stretched far away from their body (in theory, further away than where your ergodox is right now), there will likely be ulnar deviation.

See above. You can't really get less distance between two sides of a keyboard than your typical staggered QWERTY layout. I am perfectly confident that the non-angled layout would pose no ergonomic problems for me.

I also realize that I am probably in the minority. As kurplop stated above, what is ergonomic is different for every individual. Yes, common patterns have emerged, but that doesn't mean they are absolute.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: TheQsanity on Sat, 24 August 2013, 12:27:45
I hope I don't miss this once it get into GB phase.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: MOZ on Sun, 25 August 2013, 08:33:41
I hope I don't miss this once it get into GB phase.
 

There is plenty of time before that phase.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: AcidFire on Sun, 25 August 2013, 16:09:17
I hope I don't miss this once it get into GB phase.
 

There is plenty of time before that phase.
When I put up the Kickstarter campaign, I plan to offer a couple of early bird reward levels that will be limited to 50-100 units that I should be able to get out by christmas. The rest will be uncapped so that as many people as possible can jump in (which benefits everyone.)

The 2nd would be awesome with some sort of hinge in the middle to split it...
Yeah, agreed, maybe at the top and BT would make ti perfect.
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Is the keyless space at the top is needed for controller?
To match the current functionality yes, as it not only is space for the main controller, but also for things like the LED backlighting.

So for the modular system itself, I've decided to call it Ascendancy. Will probably keep the GP for the split boards, will have to come up with something other than straight or ergo for the 75% boards.

Why "ascendancy"? That's a word that doesn't immediately suggest to me what you're trying to do with the project (not that I have a better one ATM mind you).

I think that it sounds cool.
TBH, this was part of the reason. It's also a bit based on some of the marketing training I've done, as well as finding a name that sounds... fancy. While names like Storm or Orb Weaver wouldn't make make a gamer or geek think twice, they tend to be less appealing to a general audience. I went with ascendancy because... well it sounds cool for one. I also think that it is a bit fitting, because a modular keyboard that allow you put something together that suits you, is the next level (trying so hard to say this without sounding conceited.)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: MOZ on Sun, 25 August 2013, 16:17:40
I would suggest a hinge  at the top, so that you can rotate the two halves about it at some angle to create an inverse v shape for ergonomics.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 26 August 2013, 04:35:38
I would suggest a hinge  at the top, so that you can rotate the two halves about it at some angle to create an inverse v shape for ergonomics.
My concern with a hinge at the top is that it would need to be either very big/thick acrylic, or something else entirely and even then it's still very much a weakpoint. A hinge splitting it right down the middle might be possible and would allow it to fold up or tent with little effort.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: MOZ on Mon, 26 August 2013, 04:38:29
I would suggest a hinge  at the top, so that you can rotate the two halves about it at some angle to create an inverse v shape for ergonomics.
My concern with a hinge at the top is that it would need to be either very big/thick acrylic, or something else entirely and even then it's still very much a weakpoint. A hinge splitting it right down the middle might be possible and would allow it  to fold up or tent with little effort.

I understand your concern, but the hing in either position have different aaplications.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: wiredPANDA on Mon, 26 August 2013, 09:34:46
This is turning into the end-all be-all for custom keyboards, for me.  75%, 40%, updated ErgoDox layout, numpad...

</slow clap>
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: do_Og@n on Mon, 26 August 2013, 12:37:16
This is turning into the end-all be-all for custom keyboards, for me.  75%, 40%, updated ErgoDox layout, numpad...

</slow clap>

I think what he means is...

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: FiskFisk33 on Mon, 26 August 2013, 23:00:00
(http://i.ytimg.com/vi/J---aiyznGQ/0.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Tue, 27 August 2013, 00:16:27
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

[attachimg=1]

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Tue, 27 August 2013, 00:28:33
Perhaps adding a "metal backing" with hinge would work...

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: sordna on Tue, 27 August 2013, 03:26:16
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?

That would be cool, like a Goldtouch or similar, so it can be tented!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 27 August 2013, 04:19:45
Perhaps adding a "metal backing" with hinge would work...

(Attachment Link)
Problem is, the boards act like a lever on the hinge, and warping it is still an easy possibility.

Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?

That would be cool, like a Goldtouch or similar, so it can be tented!
Would love to be able to do that, but would have to be something down the line since it would have to be injection molded (expensive :( )
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: FiskFisk33 on Tue, 27 August 2013, 07:51:39
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?

Why hinge at all when you could just split it?
like the original ergogp idea.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: vatin on Tue, 27 August 2013, 08:08:39
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?

Why hinge at all when you could just split it?
like the original ergogp idea.
I think the op is planning to do multiple variations, both split and non split.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 27 August 2013, 11:25:20
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?

Why hinge at all when you could just split it?
like the original ergogp idea.
I think the op is planning to do multiple variations, both split and non split.

Exactly this. With modular pads a number of options open up for different cases which can be developed quickly because the electronics don't need a redesign for different layouts or styles.

Speaking of which, I finally finished with the left thumb board design which will be my test bed for the new control ICs before I order the rest of the boards. To illustrate what changed (and why the design took so long), here's a comparison between the previous design & the new one.
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/pcb-comparison2.png)
While the new boards lose the ability to be reversible, they gain a much better control system with greater flexibility & less chance of something going wrong or failing. There are also libraries written for them already, reducing development & QA time.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 27 August 2013, 11:36:46
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?

Why hinge at all when you could just split it?
like the original ergogp idea.
I think the op is planning to do multiple variations, both split and non split.

Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?

Why hinge at all when you could just split it?
like the original ergogp idea.
I think the op is planning to do multiple variations, both split and non split.

Exactly this. With modular pads a number of options open up for different cases which can be developed quickly because the electronics don't need a redesign for different layouts or styles.

Speaking of which, I finally finished with the left thumb board design which will be my test bed for the new control ICs before I order the rest of the boards. To illustrate what changed (and why the design took so long), here's a comparison between the previous design & the new one.
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/pcb-comparison2.png)

While the new boards lose the ability to be reversible, they gain a much better control system with greater flexibility & less chance of something going wrong or failing. There are also libraries written for them already, reducing development & QA time.

Which side is the controller on?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:08:26
On those layouts blue is back, red is front.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:14:03
On those layouts blue is back, red is front.

I meant left or right half.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:15:36
On those layouts blue is back, red is front.

I meant left or right half.
The controller is still a separate board, that can be placed in either the left or right half.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:21:56
On those layouts blue is back, red is front.

I meant left or right half.
The controller is still a separate board, that can be placed in either the left or right half.

Can the half with the controller in it work without the other half?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:29:40
Yes. The system is designed to auto detect what is connected to it. Anything that hasn't been connected to it before will have defaults loaded, which can then be changed in the software. Because of the way the addressing system works, if you have a half that has the main keypad go bad and can't be fixed, you can drop in a new one with the same address & the controller will act like it was never gone.

I have some ideas for the software & firmware that would load different profiles (which contain all your layers) depending on what is connected to it. So if you had the split setup, and removed the right half, the remaining would switch to it's profile that is loaded with the layers for your favorite games. This may not be possible with the ATMEGA32u4 I'm starting with, but when I make the jump to something ARM based that should be very doable.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: wesleyh on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:37:36
Did the name change again?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:38:02
Yes. The system is designed to auto detect what is connected to it. Anything that hasn't been connected to it before will have defaults loaded, which can then be changed in the software. Because of the way the addressing system works, if you have a half that has the main keypad go bad and can't be fixed, you can drop in a new one with the same address & the controller will act like it was never gone.

I have some ideas for the software & firmware that would load different profiles (which contain all your layers) depending on what is connected to it. So if you had the split setup, and removed the right half, the remaining would switch to it's profile that is loaded with the layers for your favorite games. This may not be possible with the ATMEGA32u4 I'm starting with, but when I make the jump to something ARM based that should be very doable.

YUS!

So I could just use the left half while gaming, Orbweaver style?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:40:44
Did the name change again?

Shhh that was suppose to be sneaky ;) I thought a bit more about it, and with some feedback from others did a bit more research into a name that would actually suit what was going on with the project. TBH I've been on so many projects that have had their name changed a dozen times before release that changing it on a bit of a whim doesn't seem all that unusual to me. I will however say that I am much happier with this name and don't plan on changing it again.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 27 August 2013, 12:42:15
Did the name change again?

Shhh that was suppose to be sneaky ;) I thought a bit more about it, and with some feedback from others did a bit more research into a name that would actually suit what was going on with the project. TBH I've been on so many projects that have had their name changed a dozen times before release that changing it on a bit of a whim doesn't seem all that unusual to me. I will however say that I am much happier with this name and don't plan on changing it again.

It's a cool name, if google doesn't sue you.


Can't wait for the beta.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Demonmaker on Tue, 27 August 2013, 13:18:00
So I could just use the left half while gaming, Orbweaver style?

I'd want it like this too on many an occasion
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 27 August 2013, 13:19:28
So I could just use the left half while gaming, Orbweaver style?

I'd want it like this too on many an occasion

That would be sooooo awesome.

Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 27 August 2013, 13:43:42
Yes, this will be entirely possible and is one of the reasons the controller is separate from the keypads.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 27 August 2013, 15:03:14
YUSSS!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: wiredPANDA on Tue, 27 August 2013, 20:29:38
And here I was talking myself out of the split board, since I have two ErgoDoxes.  I WAS going to contain myself to the 75% and 40% boards, but now... Now, this.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: MOZ on Tue, 27 August 2013, 22:07:47
AcidFire, how about something like this:

(http://i.imgur.com/Yn6a3tI.png)

BLue is one hand, red is the other, green is a bot joining the two hands.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: daerid on Tue, 27 August 2013, 22:07:48
It's a cool name, if google doesn't sue you.


Can't wait for the beta.

Hate to be a party pooper, but it looks like this might be on dangerous ground here. From Google's list of trademarks: (http://www.google.com/permissions/trademark/our-trademarks.html)

Quote
Nexus family of marks for mobile devices and peripherals
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: spspencer on Tue, 27 August 2013, 22:25:56
I don't think Google will notice unless/until the keyboard went mainstream. I wouldn't want to fight the big "G" over a product name, but the publicity might be good...
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 28 August 2013, 00:20:26
For now, I'm not worried. There are other devices out there with the Nexus name, it all depends on how you use it. The only thing I find concerning is the peripherals bit, so I think as long as I skip mentioning the Nexus series in general when talking about compatibility and instead go with something like "Android Devices w/ Bluetooth 4" I should be ok. It is something I will look into a bit more however.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 28 August 2013, 08:37:34
Got a chance to look at my idea, thoughts?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Ascendancy
Post by: agodinhost on Wed, 28 August 2013, 09:55:52
Split it to fold, or split to make it ergonomic? And yes, if it was portable I think bluetooth would be a must.

Split for ergonomic...
So people can adjust it to their liking (and perhaps fix it by tightening a screw).

(Attachment Link)

Thought of a inverted V fold as in the mock-up,
but perhaps 2 axis folding could be archived with some sort of ball-joint?
Hmmmm, awesome idea ...
I'm working into one layout close to this one, however, I haven't thought about this splitting screw.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 28 August 2013, 11:35:46
Giving it some more thought, with the 6mm acrylic involved in the hinge I think it might be less prone to breakage. I'll have to put one together and toss it around a bit in a bag to be sure.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 28 August 2013, 11:38:44
I would worry about the hinge sliding around while I'm typing.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 28 August 2013, 11:40:19
I'm planning to use a nice thumbscrew so that you can position it the way you want and then lock it in. When your done and need to pack it up, you just loosen it, straighten the board out, and lock it again.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: MOZ on Wed, 28 August 2013, 12:03:15
I'm planning to use a nice thumbscrew so that you can position it the way you want and then lock it in. When your done and need to pack it up, you just loosen it, straighten the board out, and lock it again.

That was the idea.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: sordna on Thu, 29 August 2013, 01:02:28
AcidFire, you gotta see this, adjustable columns:

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45389.0
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 29 August 2013, 08:57:32
AcidFire, you gotta see this, adjustable columns:

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45389.0

I think that he has.

From the thread:

I had the same thought when I was retooling the grid spacing on my design, but couldn't get past the idea of how to work the case. It's fantastic to see the concept in action, awesome work!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kps on Thu, 29 August 2013, 17:37:19
Couple remarks/questions so far.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 29 August 2013, 17:55:38
Couple remarks/questions so far.
  • I'm not a big fan of the ErgoDox style 1.5u keys, which I assume descend from Kinesis' 1.25u outer keys. Not a big fan to the extent that I cut up my Kinesis (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=26579.msg654280#msg654280) to fix it. The wide keys have a high cost in terms of keycap layout flexibility for, as I see it, no real benefit.
  • Forgive me if I missed it, but I don't quite follow how multiple modules connect together. I see IC mentioned, and on some PCBs (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44940.msg1017002#msg1017002) what appears to be a single TRRS footprint, ErgoDox style (originally my suggestion (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=22780.msg511086#msg511086), yay for me), but not how multiple modules are connected. I assume they're not daisy-chained, since I see only one connector are they run in a star to the controller? IC is not supposed to be used that way do you find it works anyway? Has it been tried with longer cables (e.g. around the back of a chair, for armrest mounts)?

1. This is something I've been pondering as well, from both size & cost benefits. I believe it decends from keyboard design in general, where modifier keys on the left/right side of the board are a different size to help distinguish them from standard keys. Whether this is actually necessary remains to be seen, but I do know right now that the space underneath them is where I'm running the traces for power+usb+i2c for where the controller is designed to sit. I do have some ideas in mind.

2. I haven't posted the newest layout designs aside from the completed thumb board, but the thumbboards currently have a single TRRS connection point, and the main keypads have a pair of them to allow connection from a couple of positions or for additional modules to connect to them. All the boards also have multiple internal i2c 4 pin connection ports. As for running the devices in a star and issues that would arise from that, I've never heard of that and we've never seen that sort of issue at the office, and we sell a number of i2c based devices. How they connect to each other will come down to how you have them configured or rather what you're using. I'm being a bit vague because I have some really cool stuff I'm working on that I don't want to spoil just yet :)

As for cable length, there are a number of factors that play into the length you can use i2c without issue, but something like what you suggested should be well within the realm of possibility.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kps on Thu, 29 August 2013, 21:02:11
1. This is something I've been pondering as well, from both size & cost benefits. I believe it decends from keyboard design in general, where modifier keys on the left/right side of the board are a different size to help distinguish them from standard keys.

Typewriters traditionally had slightly larger shift keys,
[attach=1]
but after that wider keys seemed to be mostly used to square up a layout, and there was a mix of keyboards that did and those that didn't.
[attach=2][attach=3]
Eventually the influence of the IBM PC took over, and everyone went square…

As for running the devices in a star and issues that would arise from that, I've never heard of that and we've never seen that sort of issue at the office, and we sell a number of i2c based devices.
Good to know. I've seen dire warnings about IC busses and termination issues and such, but I'm a software guy, so your colleagues' experience is reassuring, especially since they probably have an electrically noisier environment.

I've gone for SPI for this purpose, and then, already being beyond the photo jack capacity, brought across the I/O expander interrupt pin as well, which could allow the controller to avoid polling and go to sleep, which (as I fantasize without actually measuring) might be good for battery life in a future wireless version.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 29 August 2013, 21:39:38
1. This is something I've been pondering as well, from both size & cost benefits. I believe it decends from keyboard design in general, where modifier keys on the left/right side of the board are a different size to help distinguish them from standard keys.

Typewriters traditionally had slightly larger shift keys,
(Attachment Link)
but after that wider keys seemed to be mostly used to square up a layout, and there was a mix of keyboards that did and those that didn't.
(Attachment Link) (Attachment Link)
Eventually the influence of the IBM PC took over, and everyone went square

As for running the devices in a star and issues that would arise from that, I've never heard of that and we've never seen that sort of issue at the office, and we sell a number of i2c based devices.
Good to know. I've seen dire warnings about IC busses and termination issues and such, but I'm a software guy, so your colleagues' experience is reassuring, especially since they probably have an electrically noisier environment.

I've gone for SPI for this purpose, and then, already being beyond the photo jack capacity, brought across the I/O expander interrupt pin as well, which could allow the controller to avoid polling and go to sleep, which (as I fantasize without actually measuring) might be good for battery life in a future wireless version.
I've been looking at that as well, but there are other ways around it. I'll be running tests to see what kind of draw there is both with and without the backlight, but I know that typically it's very low when the expanders are in use.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Moosecraft on Sun, 01 September 2013, 08:53:37
How is progress with this?
Reaching GB status anytime soon? :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: fisofo on Sun, 01 September 2013, 14:31:46

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14190.jpg)



AcidFire: A bit off-topic, but what are the little caps on the bottom of the screws in this picture protecting the desk? Can you link to where I can get them?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: daerid on Mon, 02 September 2013, 00:01:04
^^^^ I would like to know as well.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 03 September 2013, 12:49:39

Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/BDY14190.jpg)



AcidFire: A bit off-topic, but what are the little caps on the bottom of the screws in this picture protecting the desk? Can you link to where I can get them?
It's something we stock for some of our kits, but we don't normally sell them seperately. I'll talk to my boss later and see if I can get them to let me sell some.

How is progress with this?
Reaching GB status anytime soon? :)
Currently waiting on the new test boards to come in so I can be sure the electronics work the way they should. I ordered it friday, and it mentioned that it should be ready to be sent to me by the 10th. I went with OSHPark this time, who are based in the US so I should get it a lot faster this time. I've also got all the electronics on hand and ready to go for when it comes in. Once they've been tested and I can feel confident ordering boards, I'll notify the selected beta testing applicants that they can order their hardware. After that, the actual campaign to fund proper production will all come down to beta testing feedback.

On the note of the beta testing kits, I've updated a bit as to what I'll be including with them:

Electronics:
Casing, Choice Of:
There is a strong possibility of including all three case designs in a single kit, it will all come down to costs.

Switches & Assembly
Some of you have mentioned that you've already got switches set aside for this, as well as caps so your kits will only be charged the cost of electronics + case. For those who can't assemble your own, I will be able do so as well as provide switches & caps (limited selection unfortunately.) Pricing TBD, but should be in line with what I mentioned before. ($110-120 full kit, less without switches & caps.)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: wiredPANDA on Tue, 03 September 2013, 12:57:27
That quoted price makes me happy.  And I can't wait to start seeing beta tester posts start showing up on here once they can start reviewing.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: hoggy on Tue, 03 September 2013, 13:05:53
I don't want to appear too greedy, but I'll happily pay for all three variants.  I'd be surprised if I'm alone in that regard.

Really impressed with the work you've done - very inventive coupled with attention to feedback.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 03 September 2013, 13:07:04
Dat price...

And I thought that the previous ~$150 was a good deal for a beta kit! I'll still keep $150 set aside, just in case.

Once I get a beta kit, I'd like to make a daily updated blog on GH of my experience with it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: hoggy on Tue, 03 September 2013, 14:10:05
That sounds like a good idea. I'll have a go at the same.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 03 September 2013, 15:19:58
I don't want to appear too greedy, but I'll happily pay for all three variants.  I'd be surprised if I'm alone in that regard.

Really impressed with the work you've done - very inventive coupled with attention to feedback.
Would you be looking for three complete kits or just enough parts to try each layout? And I'm glad you like the work, I've put a fair amount of time and thought in. And to me, not listening to feedback or having proper testing done by those who want to use this sort of thing is one of the biggest mistakes I could make in this. I could not have come this far without all of the input from you guys and a few others.

Dat price...

And I thought that the previous ~$150 was a good deal for a beta kit! I'll still keep $150 set aside, just in case.

Once I get a beta kit, I'd like to make a daily updated blog on GH of my experience with it.
I've already been offered a spot in the retailer forums for the lasering service, and I'm sure I could set something up there for beta tester blogs. Barring that, I do plan to put up a forum on my site for this sort of thing, if only to provide an avenue for easy feedback/discussion.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Moosecraft on Tue, 03 September 2013, 15:31:36
In for a split and maybe a 70%, both preassembled because I'm lazy :p
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: fisofo on Tue, 03 September 2013, 18:21:36
No idea if I'm in the beta or not, but either way: At that price I'll seriously consider getting two different kits.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: daerid on Tue, 03 September 2013, 18:46:43
I'm in for the 70% (DERP)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 03 September 2013, 19:04:37
(http://i.qkme.me/3voih3.jpg)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 03 September 2013, 19:27:05
I'm in for the 70% (DERP)
To be clear, that price isn't the final, just the production cost of the beta units. I'm still targeting for $200.00 for the full kits when they're ready, and less (probably around $160-180) for the straight boards. As much as I'd love to make them cheaper, I do need to make some kind of profit so I can hopefully justify working on them and future additions full time.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: anotherjunkie on Tue, 03 September 2013, 20:00:31
This is great news! I can't wait for these to start rolling off the production line.

I'll also be one that's posting my opinions once I get the boards, beta or otherwise. I'm disabled with significant hand problems (my fingers and thumbs dislocate all the time, more frequently while typing on a standard keyboard), and these keyboards actually look like they have the potential to get me working on the computer again.

I think it's important for my impressions to be out there so that people in a similar position can find this (for themselves) and help move AcidFire's product forward in a new segment of the population. I can't wait to use the board myself, and to post a review of the boards.

Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: fisofo on Tue, 03 September 2013, 20:01:13
Roger that AcidFire, that of course makes sense!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 03 September 2013, 20:14:47
AcidFire: What do you think of the feel of the DSA frosted caps from SP? How close do they feel to standard ABS?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: MOZ on Tue, 03 September 2013, 21:37:52
AcidFire. It would be  great if you could test the hinge mechanism I posted earlier.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Larken on Tue, 03 September 2013, 21:40:11
certainly wouldn't mind testing more than one layout if I'm in the beta. the regular ergogp would be an interesting comparison to the ergodox and the ergo 70% definitely has caught my interest. from the plate cutouts posted in the thread earlier, am I right to assume that you can reuse the same, main alpha clusters in different acrylic cases to achieve the variants with a few additional modules? Certainly would be good to get just enough parts to at least test out the variants involved, and perhaps get a good gauge of how the modularity works should one want to swap the parts around.

That estimated price for a full kit is just astoundingly low, by the way.



Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: JPG on Tue, 03 September 2013, 22:21:22
Nice to see the split version will have different size, but do you have any tip to how to choose a size? Based on your hands size?

Can't wait to see this anyway!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: daerid on Tue, 03 September 2013, 22:24:19
To be clear, that price isn't the final, just the production cost of the beta units. I'm still targeting for $200.00 for the full kits when they're ready, and less (probably around $160-180) for the straight boards. As much as I'd love to make them cheaper, I do need to make some kind of profit so I can hopefully justify working on them and future additions full time.

There's absolutely ZERO reason you shouldn't make some sort of profit on this. This project is miles above most others that come up around here, and so far your quality is top-notch. You should be rewarded for your time, effort, and ingenuity. And also profits mean that you can continue to do so!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Moosecraft on Wed, 04 September 2013, 00:19:11
Quote from: AcidFire link=topic=44940.msg1027604#msg1027604 date=1378
254425
To be clear, that price isn't the final, just the production cost of the beta units. I'm still targeting for $200.00 for the full kits when they're ready, and less (probably around $160-180) for the straight boards. As much as I'd love to make them cheaper, I do need to make some kind of profit so I can hopefully justify working on them and future additions full time.

There's absolutely ZERO reason you shouldn't make some sort of profit on this. This project is miles above most others that come up around here, and so far your quality is top-notch. You should be rewarded for your time, effort, and ingenuity. And also profits mean that you can continue to do so!
This^
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 04 September 2013, 00:23:13
AcidFire: What do you think of the feel of the DSA frosted caps from SP? How close do they feel to standard ABS?
I don't have anything working yet that I can test with, but so far they feel very similar to ABS.

Nice to see the split version will have different size, but do you have any tip to how to choose a size? Based on your hands size?
Can't wait to see this anyway!
TBH it's mostly going to be trial & error, this is where I may swallow the cost a bit and anyone who orders the split for beta will get all three sizes to test. From there I can hopefully get some metrics to help people figure out what size suits them.

There's absolutely ZERO reason you shouldn't make some sort of profit on this. This project is miles above most others that come up around here, and so far your quality is top-notch. You should be rewarded for your time, effort, and ingenuity. And also profits mean that you can continue to do so!
Very much appreciate the thought. I would love to be able to do this full time, and I'm working toward that end hopefully. Right now I'm happy with the cost vs price.

AcidFire. It would be  great if you could test the hinge mechanism I posted earlier.
I will get to it, however I'm currently focused on finishing the first three designs. Once I've gotten those out of the way and am waiting for parts for the beta, I'm going to work on the bluetooth modules & 40% parts.

certainly wouldn't mind testing more than one layout if I'm in the beta. the regular ergogp would be an interesting comparison to the ergodox and the ergo 70% definitely has caught my interest. from the plate cutouts posted in the thread earlier, am I right to assume that you can reuse the same, main alpha clusters in different acrylic cases to achieve the variants with a few additional modules? Certainly would be good to get just enough parts to at least test out the variants involved, and perhaps get a good gauge of how the modularity works should one want to swap the parts around.

That estimated price for a full kit is just astoundingly low, by the way.

Do you mean the beta kit price, or the production price? I've found a couple of parts that not only reduce the size of the PCBs, but are also 20% of the existing part. My only issue is that I have to order a minimum of $1000 just in jacks, to have enough to build the beta units. Unfortunately, they'll only let me order a sample of 50, and I need 300~ to do the beta boards. I may have a way around this that I'll be investigating tomorrow.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Larken on Wed, 04 September 2013, 00:41:05
Do you mean the beta kit price, or the production price? I've found a couple of parts that not only reduce the size of the PCBs, but are also 20% of the existing part. My only issue is that I have to order a minimum of $1000 just in jacks, to have enough to build the beta units. Unfortunately, they'll only let me order a sample of 50, and I need 300~ to do the beta boards. I may have a way around this that I'll be investigating tomorrow.

I was referring to the beta kit prices. Was honestly expecting to have to pay a higher figure, especially seeing as how switches and caps alone, going by massdrop ergodox prices, would run someone between 60 - 80 bucks. A full kit for 110-120 is really.. wow, considering the cost of raw materials, screws, r&d time you spent on this. (definitely not complaining about it though)

The production price of 200 is very attractive too, compared to the current crop of competitors on the market. At 200 for a full kit, it might just be the end of ergodox group buys at massdrop.

Now I'm curious about how you're going to be reducing the pcb size... they already look pretty compact as it is.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Wed, 04 September 2013, 04:06:51
Interested! Tho I'd prefer surface mount components to be pre-installed, I suck at soldering this stuff ^^;
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: vatin on Wed, 04 September 2013, 09:22:04
I'm surely in for one pre-assembled split version.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 04 September 2013, 13:07:35
I was referring to the beta kit prices. Was honestly expecting to have to pay a higher figure, especially seeing as how switches and caps alone, going by massdrop ergodox prices, would run someone between 60 - 80 bucks. A full kit for 110-120 is really.. wow, considering the cost of raw materials, screws, r&d time you spent on this. (definitely not complaining about it though)

The production price of 200 is very attractive too, compared to the current crop of competitors on the market. At 200 for a full kit, it might just be the end of ergodox group buys at massdrop.

Now I'm curious about how you're going to be reducing the pcb size... they already look pretty compact as it is.
120 is what I'm shooting for, however the price of switches particularly will definitely have an effect on that. I sat down and did a number of revisions to my pricing sheet last night and I may end up closer to the original 150-160 than I was hoping for. Obviously for those who already have switches or caps or both, it'll be much lower (Currently hovering around the 80 mark.)

Interested! Tho I'd prefer surface mount components to be pre-installed, I suck at soldering this stuff ^^;
Both assembled & unassembled kits will come with all the SMD components pre mounted. The only soldering you'll have to do is installing the switches & backlight LEDs.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: JPG on Wed, 04 September 2013, 13:13:29
^^ means I will have to get myself a soldering station quite soon!

Where do we register?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 04 September 2013, 13:16:04
^^ means I will have to get myself a soldering station quite soon!

Where do we register?

If you haven't done so already, you can register here. (http://multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta)

On an unrelated note, I've been wondering how people would feel if I eliminated the 1.5x keys completely, including the two vertical ones?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: CommunistWitchDr on Wed, 04 September 2013, 13:40:59
^^ means I will have to get myself a soldering station quite soon!

Where do we register?

If you haven't done so already, you can register here. (http://multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta)

On an unrelated note, I've been wondering how people would feel if I eliminated the 1.5x keys completely, including the two vertical ones?

Eliminate or convert to 1x? They're nice, but 1x would probably be just as good. Being gone all together would make for quite the key shortage though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 04 September 2013, 14:02:35
On an unrelated note, I've been wondering how people would feel if I eliminated the 1.5x keys completely, including the two vertical ones?

Eliminate or convert to 1x? They're nice, but 1x would probably be just as good. Being gone all together would make for quite the key shortage though.
Sorry should have been clear, I'm looking at converting them to 1x. This would also turn the two vertical 1.5x into three 1x, making an extra key available for use.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: FiskFisk33 on Wed, 04 September 2013, 14:07:36
On an unrelated note, I've been wondering how people would feel if I eliminated the 1.5x keys completely, including the two vertical ones?

Eliminate or convert to 1x? They're nice, but 1x would probably be just as good. Being gone all together would make for quite the key shortage though.
Sorry should have been clear, I'm looking at converting them to 1x. This would also turn the two vertical 1.5x into three 1x, making an extra key available for use.

YES.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 04 September 2013, 14:29:04
Aside from lowering the cost of keys and requirements for extra sizes, this also helps to thin out the board as well, which definitely helps with reducing the width of the solid boards for travel. Of course it also reduces the width of the split boards, however there is always the option of using the same size board and offering both, but I think moving away from the 1.5x keys would be a good thing to push for across the board.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: whirm on Wed, 04 September 2013, 15:01:32
Hi everybody! (First post in this forum)

I stumbled upon this thread some weeks ago after discovering the ErgoDox. I was planning on "forking" the design to customize it with a couple of ideas I had.
But then I saw AcidFire's design and it already has everything I was planning to do and then some! Amazing work man!

So here I am, I've already signed up for the beta and I'm hoping Ill be able to help with what I can (I'm a programmer and studied electronics a long time ago).

Cheers!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Moosecraft on Wed, 04 September 2013, 15:17:13
Do you have any pictures or render of the 70% compact one?
Sry If this question has been answered multiple times but it wasn't in the OP.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: spspencer on Wed, 04 September 2013, 16:02:15
^^ means I will have to get myself a soldering station quite soon!

Where do we register?

If you haven't done so already, you can register here. (http://multiplxd.com/ergogp/beta)

On an unrelated note, I've been wondering how people would feel if I eliminated the 1.5x keys completely, including the two vertical ones?

Personally, I like the 1.5 keys. I would sacrifice them for an overall smaller sized board, though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Wed, 04 September 2013, 16:05:43
I am for eliminating the 1.5 keys. That way, we can just have 1x and 2x, making new keycap finding a lot easier. And we get a few more keys, so there's that too.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 04 September 2013, 16:08:29
Personally, I like the 1.5 keys. I would sacrifice them for an overall smaller sized board, though.
Is there something in particular you like about those keys?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 04 September 2013, 16:58:25
My experimenting with the ErgoDox has led me to the same conclusion. The 1.5 keys take up extra space unnecessarily. I'd go for more keys or a tighter package.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: spspencer on Wed, 04 September 2013, 17:43:25
Personally, I like the 1.5 keys. I would sacrifice them for an overall smaller sized board, though.
Is there something in particular you like about those keys?

Mostly I like the way they look, and they help me rember the key layout. Sorta gives me boundries, you know? I've been qwerty touch typing for 20 years, and now I'm playing with different layouts, it helps me to use the 1.5 keys as landmarks.

Don't get me wrong, given a choice, I would choose a smaller form-factor over the 1.5 keys.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: vatin on Wed, 04 September 2013, 17:50:05
Yeah 1.5 doesn't have real purpose.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: fisofo on Wed, 04 September 2013, 18:10:35
Agreed, 1.5 have not been terribly useful to me; 1's would work fine.
@spspencer: just get colored key caps! :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 04 September 2013, 18:20:19
I've got a set of plates designed to test it out, I'll post pics in a bit when I get home. I'm not lasering new cases to match yet until I know this is where I want to go with it for sure, but in all honesty it's probably what I'm going to go with.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: spspencer on Wed, 04 September 2013, 19:39:03
Agreed, 1.5 have not been terribly useful to me; 1's would work fine.
@spspencer: just get colored key caps! :)

I guess I'm the odd man out; now I gotta get colored key caps!  :p

What I really want to know is about bluetooth. I know AcidFire has it in the works (Thanks!!) I'm wondering if adding bluetooth will take a lot of changes to the circuit board, or is it more like a plug-n-play option.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kps on Wed, 04 September 2013, 19:39:09
One additional advantage of 1u keys is that someone wanting custom keycaps from a place like WASD can make use of the number and cursor areas to fill out the main board, and not have to buy a bunch of expensive individual keycaps.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: sordna on Wed, 04 September 2013, 21:16:27
I too like the 1.5 keys. Using an ergodox for some time now, my hand sometimes shifts off place as I touch type (I hardly ever look down) and I can't really tell except if a finger fall on a differently shaped key. On the Kinesis Advantage things are easier since there are fewer keys and the all have different shapes/depths/angles to help with blind placement of the hands.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: sordna on Wed, 04 September 2013, 21:17:08
delete
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Larken on Wed, 04 September 2013, 22:00:04
mm, I kinda like the 1.5 keys for the sides - for shifting. Never really tried it with 1x keys before, but I suppose it's not a big deal if we lose them. Would prefer to keep the option though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Loligagger on Wed, 04 September 2013, 22:11:28
I'd prefer 1.5x keys as well, at least on the outside edges of the board (for shift/enter/backspace/etc). It being slightly more expensive as a result would be fine with me.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: TheSoulhunter on Wed, 04 September 2013, 23:58:23
Guess I'd prefer 1.5x keys as well...
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Glod on Thu, 05 September 2013, 01:22:13
i like the 1.5x for many reasons, for one they are like the perfect size for how i use them and then there is the fact if you end up using similar ergodox cap units then i can cycle around keycaps from ergodox i have ordered--i like variety and changing around cap designs.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: agor on Thu, 05 September 2013, 03:45:40
Really interested as well, followed the progress since the beginning and want to say your doing an incredible work. I thought about signing up for the beta, but as I'm in Europe that would be too much hassle I guess.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: FiskFisk33 on Thu, 05 September 2013, 04:37:41
Personally I think the keys at the pinky end can be whatever, 1 or 1.5.
though i did like the idea of having four 1u buttons at the index finger end, it did occur to me before while fantasizing layouts and you mentioning it now is like getting my thoughts read.
Anyways I think it would both feel more natural and give more layout possibilities.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 05 September 2013, 12:18:47
After testing out the plates with the 1.5x reduced, I have to say I prefer the 1.5 on the outside edges. That being said, I'm also considering a bit of a compromise and reducing them to 1.25x. While this breaks compatibility with the ErgoDox kits, these are also sizes that seem to be more commonly found, particularly in full board kits, and allows for a bit of a size reduction still of the boards. There is also something to be said for the fact that 1.5 are more common in SP's inventory than 1.25, so I think this needs a bit more research.

Whatever I end up deciding for the sides, I am going to change the two vertical 1.5x to three 1x as I see no point to them being 1.5x and having the extra key could definitely be useful.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 05 September 2013, 12:21:25
I was just thinking, it might be a good idea to keep the edge keys bigger than the rest of the keys. I now remember how I hate tiny shift keys.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: sordna on Thu, 05 September 2013, 23:20:26
After testing out the plates with the 1.5x reduced, I have to say I prefer the 1.5 on the outside edges. That being said, I'm also considering a bit of a compromise and reducing them to 1.25x. While this breaks compatibility with the ErgoDox kits, these are also sizes that seem to be more commonly found, particularly in full board kits, and allows for a bit of a size reduction still of the boards. There is also something to be said for the fact that 1.5 are more common in SP's inventory than 1.25, so I think this needs a bit more research.

Whatever I end up deciding for the sides, I am going to change the two vertical 1.5x to three 1x as I see no point to them being 1.5x and having the extra key could definitely be useful.

Kinesis Advantage uses 1.25, that size works too.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: daerid on Thu, 05 September 2013, 23:50:26
Another +1 for keeping the 1.5 keys, on both the inside and the outside. I don't think I'd really like a completely homogeneous keyboard. Plus, I use one of the vertical 1.5x keys for enter, and having a 1x enter key just feels wrong
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 06 September 2013, 00:16:43
For now, I'm going to work with the idea of 1.5x outside, with the verticals replaced by 3 keys, but this is still subject to some testing.

On a seperate note, while evaluating package options for control ICs to reduce package size, I've figured out a few things that helps negate what was an increase in cost when I decided to change the controllers.

1) The LED controller I had selected, the PCA9685, is a 12-bit PWM controller. This is extreme overkill, especially with backlighting control of a single color. As for the onboard indicator LEDs, this is again a bit much, and so they will be replaced with a PCA9634 & PCA9635 instead. These chips offer the same functionality as the PCA9685, minus the bit depth, at a lower price. The PCA9634 is also smaller, and will be used for the thumb clusters. This will help me keep the price targets I'm aiming for.
2) The PCA9635s will also find a home in the RGB backlighting project, helping to keep the price lower than expected. There is still some development needed, to help finalize the price.
3) Unlike the PCA9685, the PCA9635 doesn't require FET drivers, again lowering the price without needing the FETs or their pullup resistors.
4) The I/O expander I'm planning to use for the keypads is the PCA9555A. As mentioned previously, I can use up to 8 devices on the same address. I had some concerns that when adding devices like external pads, LCDs, etc. that it would prevent the addition of things like foot switches. Going over the datasheet for the PCA9554A, which is an 8-bit version of the PCA9555A, the device's prefixed address is different. What this means is that there is a possibility of greater expansion past the original 8 devices, depending on what you're doing.

TL;DR Version
Lots of good R&D stuff that means the $120 beta cost & $200 retail are much more feasible.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Demonmaker on Fri, 06 September 2013, 07:16:46
TL;DR Version
Lots of good R&D stuff that means the $120 beta cost & $200 retail are much more feasible.

Smashing  ;D
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 06 September 2013, 08:04:09
That's awesome.

Will the beta testers get any access to the firmware source? I'd love to try my hand at messing around with that.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kps on Fri, 06 September 2013, 10:47:15
For now, I'm going to work with the idea of 1.5x outside, with the verticals replaced by 3 keys, but this is still subject to some testing
Though I'd prefer 1u, I do think 1.5u is preferable to 1.25u.

Would it be practical (i.e. not cost more, not be too much effort) to give the PCB extra pads in the 1u locations (similar to what Phantom has)? If you're using Eagle I think this would be most easily done with an alternate package of the switch device (and I'd be happy to create the package if it would help). Actually, that would probably satisfy the people who want 1.5u in the middle, too.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 06 September 2013, 10:55:43
For now, I'm going to work with the idea of 1.5x outside, with the verticals replaced by 3 keys, but this is still subject to some testing
Though I'd prefer 1u, I do think 1.5u is preferable to 1.25u.

Would it be practical (i.e. not cost more, not be too much effort) to give the PCB extra pads in the 1u locations (similar to what Phantom has)? If you're using Eagle I think this would be most easily done with an alternate package of the switch device (and I'd be happy to create the package if it would help). Actually, that would probably satisfy the people who want 1.5u in the middle, too.

I've already looked at this, and it doesn't work with the LEDs, their placement causes problems with doing a shift-able mount. Also, as it was already pointed out, the 1.5u keys help to make the kit compatible with the ergodox kits that are out there.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 06 September 2013, 23:57:31
I've been doing a fair bit of coding & testing the last couple of days with what I had planned to use for a controller, and after a fair bit of research today to address the concerns I had, I've decided on the following:

1) I'm switching to an ARM based controller, specifically the NXP LPC11U37FBD48/401, a Cortex M0 ARM processor running at 50mhz with 128kb flash, 10kb ram, and two SPI controllers. The main attraction is an I2C controller capable of taking advantage of the Fm+ that all the expanders & LED cpntrollers support, more than doubling the 400kbit of the ATMEGA32u4, supporting up to 1mbit. Additionally, this controller has the USB profiles for HID, MSD & CDC built in, and a fairly straight forward method of implimenting a composite USB device. This eliminates one of the major headaches I was expecting to fight with the bootloader on the ATMEGA32u4. There are countless other reasons this move benefits the project that I won't go into, except...

2) With more RAM and the ability have the device mount as a storage device, Profiles & Macros will be stored on a MicroSD card that will be included as part of the base kit. The result is two fold, you'll be able to edit profiles & macros with just a text editor, and you should also be able to take the configuration software with you as well. I don't know if it'll be fast enough to make it worth taking other files, but thats also a possibility.

3) I've selected the bluetooth radio, the Nordic nRF8001, which is a LE bluetooth 4 controller. I still have some numbers to work out, but it should be possible to bring down what was the original estimate for the kit.

Everything will still be coded in C, and the firmware will be made available once the beta test is ready to go.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: nazarie on Sat, 07 September 2013, 00:42:29
Ok, THAT was a marathon read.  All 27 pages and I was sad there weren't more. :)

I'm totally in love with this project.  If you need some firmware help, feel free to PM me.  I'm a programmer at my day job and I've programmed for Cortex M3 chips for my quadcopter hobby/obsession.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Sat, 07 September 2013, 00:52:29
Ok, THAT was a marathon read.  All 27 pages and I was sad there weren't more. :)

I'm totally in love with this project.  If you need some firmware help, feel free to PM me.  I'm a programmer at my day job and I've programmed for Cortex M3 chips for my quadcopter hobby/obsession.
I will definitely take you up on that :D I'll be designing a test board over the weekend for the M0 and hopefully before the end of the month the first complete firmware will be in testing.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: fydo on Sat, 07 September 2013, 10:44:41
Totally interested! Also super cool that you live so close to me.

If you're going to be loading profiles & macros from a file system, I think it would be a great opportunity to create a web-based layout and macro editor. Loading and exporting text files should be easy enough. I don't have a ton of spare time, but that is something I'd like to contribute.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 09 September 2013, 01:52:13
Totally interested! Also super cool that you live so close to me.

If you're going to be loading profiles & macros from a file system, I think it would be a great opportunity to create a web-based layout and macro editor. Loading and exporting text files should be easy enough. I don't have a ton of spare time, but that is something I'd like to contribute.

Funny enough, I'm a web dev and this didn't even occur to me right away lol. But I've since got most of what the site's functionality should be mapped out, should be fun to put together while I'm waiting for the parts for the beta kits to come in when the time comes.

As I previously mentioned, I've been working on a new CPU board:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/arm-in-progress.png)
While the new board is longer, it's also thinner and it also integrates the MicroSD reader. It also tightens up the connector spacing, using smaller 2mm connectors and better spacing.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: spspencer on Mon, 09 September 2013, 17:16:32

2) With more RAM and the ability have the device mount as a storage device, Profiles & Macros will be stored on a MicroSD card that will be included as part of the base kit. The result is two fold, you'll be able to edit profiles & macros with just a text editor, and you should also be able to take the configuration software with you as well. I don't know if it'll be fast enough to make it worth taking other files, but thats also a possibility.


I really like this idea, but have a few quick questions/comments/concerns about this combo-ing.

1. Concern: How will this look to the system? Will it still look like a HID (Keyboard) or will it look like an USB hybrid storage device? I know the military and some corporations do not allow ppl to plug in usb thumb drives for security reasons. Will this combo lock these users out? I personally don't care because I'm no longer in the military and hook up whatever I want to whatever I want. I'm just pointing it out for consideration for those who may be restricted.

1b. Comment: Hak5 has the USB Rubber ducky; it uses micro SD but it still looks like a standard Keyboard to the system. Maybe the your keyboard can use some of the same technology to get around restrictions?

1c. Comment: What about installing something like a keylogger on the keyboard? I'm not talking about installing anything that will affect any machine for nefarious reasons; I mean a way for the keyboard to keep track of what you (the owner) typed. I know there have been times when I've lost text before, it would be useful to have a copy right on my keyboard. Another use-case: Taking notes with no computer! Just pull out the battery powered keyboard, and start typing. Later, when at home, open up the file and tidy it up. That would really be some zen writing! No keycap legends, No screen, just brain-to-fingers distraction free writing.

2. Comment: I think it would be cool to be able to read/write files to the microSD in the keyboard, maybe even store some portable apps. Love my portable apps.

3. Question: Are you planning on having the microSD externally accessible, or will it be tucked out of the way in the case, i.e. install it when building then forget about it?

One last thing, Awesome Project!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 09 September 2013, 18:13:17

2) With more RAM and the ability have the device mount as a storage device, Profiles & Macros will be stored on a MicroSD card that will be included as part of the base kit. The result is two fold, you'll be able to edit profiles & macros with just a text editor, and you should also be able to take the configuration software with you as well. I don't know if it'll be fast enough to make it worth taking other files, but thats also a possibility.


I really like this idea, but have a few quick questions/comments/concerns about this combo-ing.

1. Concern: How will this look to the system? Will it still look like a HID (Keyboard) or will it look like an USB hybrid storage device? I know the military and some corporations do not allow ppl to plug in usb thumb drives for security reasons. Will this combo lock these users out? I personally don't care because I'm no longer in the military and hook up whatever I want to whatever I want. I'm just pointing it out for consideration for those who may be restricted.

1b. Comment: Hak5 has the USB Rubber ducky; it uses micro SD but it still looks like a standard Keyboard to the system. Maybe the your keyboard can use some of the same technology to get around restrictions?

1c. Comment: What about installing something like a keylogger on the keyboard? I'm not talking about installing anything that will affect any machine for nefarious reasons; I mean a way for the keyboard to keep track of what you (the owner) typed. I know there have been times when I've lost text before, it would be useful to have a copy right on my keyboard. Another use-case: Taking notes with no computer! Just pull out the battery powered keyboard, and start typing. Later, when at home, open up the file and tidy it up. That would really be some zen writing! No keycap legends, No screen, just brain-to-fingers distraction free writing.

2. Comment: I think it would be cool to be able to read/write files to the microSD in the keyboard, maybe even store some portable apps. Love my portable apps.

3. Question: Are you planning on having the microSD externally accessible, or will it be tucked out of the way in the case, i.e. install it when building then forget about it?

One last thing, Awesome Project!
1: As far as I understand it should show as two devices, but in all honesty I can't say entirely for sure until I've tried. I'll look at a couple of different ways to get around this issue for people, maybe even just holding down a key while plugging it in to keep it from mounting the flash portion.

1b: It looks like the ducky isn't sneaking the SD in, but rather delivering scripts based on keyboard shortcuts & scripts stored on the flash drive. This is basically the same technique as I previously mentioned, where the SD is still available to the controller, just not the PC it's plugged into.

1c: While this is entirely possible, it is not something I want to officially support for privacy & security reasons. That being said, I'm sure it's something that can be put together rather easily and would be interesting to watch someone just type to themselves without a screen.

2. I agree, and it's something I'll be investigating. I've got more than a few portable apps I use now and it would be rather useful to be able to store them onboard.

3. Currently the plan is to build it into the case, as it isn't something that should need to be changed often. That being said, it'll still be accessible, with the card facing you when you open the device.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: agodinhost on Mon, 09 September 2013, 21:14:37
Totally interested! Also super cool that you live so close to me.

If you're going to be loading profiles & macros from a file system, I think it would be a great opportunity to create a web-based layout and macro editor. Loading and exporting text files should be easy enough. I don't have a ton of spare time, but that is something I'd like to contribute.

Funny enough, I'm a web dev and this didn't even occur to me right away lol. But I've since got most of what the site's functionality should be mapped out, should be fun to put together while I'm waiting for the parts for the beta kits to come in when the time comes.

As I previously mentioned, I've been working on a new CPU board:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/arm-in-progress.png)

While the new board is longer, it's also thinner and it also integrates the MicroSD reader. It also tightens up the connector spacing, using smaller 2mm connectors and better spacing.
Don't get me wrong - I don't wanna burst your bubble ...
Why don't you use one single atmega32u4 module??? You don't need to reinvent the wheel ...
There is a lot of "arduino micro" clones out there (ebay, 9 bucks)

To make the uC to see your SD card you will need the uC code in order to be able to read fat, fat32 (dunno which one, don't remember)
But I do remember that it is HUGE! (16k for a uc with 32k is half of it's capacity - so it's huge)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: tups on Tue, 10 September 2013, 11:20:37
I read through this thread a couple of days ago. Looks awesome! AcidFire, do you still want beta testers?

1: As far as I understand it should show as two devices, but in all honesty I can't say entirely for sure until I've tried. I'll look at a couple of different ways to get around this issue for people, maybe even just holding down a key while plugging it in to keep it from mounting the flash portion.
I would suggest the opposite: only showing the flash drive when a specific key (or even any key) is held down while connecting. (This is what the Twiddler does, for what worth that comment is.)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 10 September 2013, 11:29:33
Totally interested! Also super cool that you live so close to me.

If you're going to be loading profiles & macros from a file system, I think it would be a great opportunity to create a web-based layout and macro editor. Loading and exporting text files should be easy enough. I don't have a ton of spare time, but that is something I'd like to contribute.

Funny enough, I'm a web dev and this didn't even occur to me right away lol. But I've since got most of what the site's functionality should be mapped out, should be fun to put together while I'm waiting for the parts for the beta kits to come in when the time comes.

As I previously mentioned, I've been working on a new CPU board:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/arm-in-progress.png)

While the new board is longer, it's also thinner and it also integrates the MicroSD reader. It also tightens up the connector spacing, using smaller 2mm connectors and better spacing.
Don't get me wrong - I don't wanna burst your bubble ...
Why don't you use one single atmega32u4 module??? You don't need to reinvent the wheel ...
There is a lot of "arduino micro" clones out there (ebay, 9 bucks)

To make the uC to see your SD card you will need the uC code in order to be able to read fat, fat32 (dunno which one, don't remember)
But I do remember that it is HUGE! (16k for a uc with 32k is half of it's capacity - so it's huge)
I finished the initial pricing for the new controller last night. Even with the addition of a voltage regulator & microSD slot, it still comes in cheaper than a "$9.00 arduino micro", and thats at 1 lot quantity. At higher lots it becomes even cheaper, because the ARM has lower lot quantities than the Arduino.

And your right, the file system can take up a fair amount of space, so why wouldn't I choose a cheaper microcontroller with 4 times (atmega32u4: 32kb, ARM: 128kb) the storage space, at a cheaper price no less?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kps on Tue, 10 September 2013, 12:55:28
I would suggest the opposite: only showing the flash drive when a specific key (or even any key) is held down while connecting.
That assumes there is a key attached to hold down at the time you're programming the controller.

I agree with your point though; I'd prefer not to have a keyboard present a file system by default.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Tue, 10 September 2013, 13:22:16
I would suggest the opposite: only showing the flash drive when a specific key (or even any key) is held down while connecting.
That assumes there is a key attached to hold down at the time you're programming the controller.

I agree with your point though; I'd prefer not to have a keyboard present a file system by default.

It's a fair point. What I'll test is whether a key can be used to toggle visibility of the file system, so essentially press a key and it mounts, press the key again and it dismounts.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AndyCapets on Tue, 10 September 2013, 14:41:43
The acrylic is looking so clean and well made, good job mate!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: tups on Wed, 11 September 2013, 11:22:37
Hmm, this could be of interest if you want to use a higher-level language (Mozilla's Rust) on bare-metal ARM: https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/rust-dev/2013-July/004841.html

Still somewhat in flux though.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Wed, 11 September 2013, 12:50:59
The acrylic is looking so clean and well made, good job mate!
Thank you :) I'm currently working on a new revision of the design that should hide all the screws, it just takes a bit more work to manufacture.

Hmm, this could be of interest if you want to use a higher-level language (Mozilla's Rust) on bare-metal ARM: https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/rust-dev/2013-July/004841.html

Still somewhat in flux though.
Thanks for the link. I've been looking at a couple different options including mbed, however from what I've seen I should have some luck porting over the existing code from the atmega to the ARM. I've found a couple of good guides for it and have started in on it while I wait for my development board to come in.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: reh on Thu, 12 September 2013, 11:26:17
Hallo, i am new here, because i want to register for the beta test, but it doesnt work :-(

Here are my thoughts i want to write you in the beta form:
Please, can you make a pdf to printout the keyboard design (maybe with a stripe in the right width between the thumb pad and the other to fold it to the correct hight difference) so one can test if its comfortable for the hands?

You mentioned a mouse stick - a must have idea (the one of my ergo-touch keyboard is useless now because the old driver not works anymore - its to insensitive without it).
You wrote, they are not to buy without entire keyboards attached. Remembering i had seen such sticks on lookin for a new driver, i done some search and found some, but no idea about the prices.
http://www.fujitsu.com/emea/services/components/input/mice/tmpl_parts_fid-828-100-20.html
http://www.hellotrade.com/parex-electronics-computer/gyro-stick.html
http://www.interlinkelectronics.com/products.php
I used wikipedia to find search words: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointing_stick#Naming_and_brands

I once had a maltron but i dont really liked it. I had no idea about cherry switches (black) and how to work with it, so i found the key travel too much. And I dont always type - on surfing/researching/programming i need a lot of shortcuts, which was awkward on the 3D shape. Further i use the neo layout, which puts the shortcuts in unusual places, what makes the entire thing more worse.
I hope i like the nexus better, but wouly like to have the proposed pdf.
Urgently need some one key macros for cut copy, paste, maybe things like strg+shift too. And the neo modifiers for layer 3 and 4 (5/6 are combinations).

I remember anywhere in the thread (yes, i read all pages) anything about shift/capslock - in neo pressing both shift or layer keys simultaneous acts like caps-lock. Very nice, but you need two mods for each layer (i prefer this anyway).

It not really belongs to this thread, but i mention it since i searched very long for such a program (win):
If you use more then one mouse you need different settings (one left, one right - cant understand why there is no way to have prefs for each mouse separate in Win). The logitech driver let me switch the buttons, but there was several other issues with it. Finally i found this little tool which does exactly what i want: http://www.eithermouse.com/
Not only adjusts the mouse buttons but can also adapt the cursor speed.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Nico_h on Fri, 13 September 2013, 17:30:42
This looks impressive! Congratulation on the impressive work done so far! I can't wait to join the kickstarter! (I think I would go for cherry clear switches).

As I understand it, you have an easy supply of acrylic, which is why you use this material and its constraints in your design.

I am unfamiliar with the material, but I am wondering if it would be possible to have the thumb pads inclined from the main plane, by having them rest diagonally across a layer thickness? Maybe using a larger hole in the layers above and bellow the big spacer to hold the thumb pcb in these holes?

Looking at the palm rest between the digits and thumb boards:

Is there a way to have layers not have a vertical edge during fabrication, like a knife, chamfered or rounded edge?

Otherwise, would it be possible for the end-user to file/sand away the angles without damaging / breaking the layer?

Also, if you're going to make transparent cases available, I'd be interested in getting the PCB in blue or purple.

Any chance of an update on your schedule?

Keep up the good work and best of luck!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: yakitysax on Sun, 15 September 2013, 14:40:46
AcidFire, amazing job with the keyboard.  I can't wait to get my hands on one as it looks like it improves on even the ErgoDox, which I consider the most intelligently designed keyboard for ergonomics on the planet atm, so that is no easy feat.  I am incredibly impressed with how quickly you iterate on the designs.  I am curious as to what your workflow looks like and what tools you are using go achieve such an amazingly quick turnaround time.  Can you talk about that some? Thanks, you rock!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 16 September 2013, 09:20:14
AcidFire, amazing job with the keyboard.  I can't wait to get my hands on one as it looks like it improves on even the ErgoDox, which I consider the most intelligently designed keyboard for ergonomics on the planet atm, so that is no easy feat.  I am incredibly impressed with how quickly you iterate on the designs.  I am curious as to what your workflow looks like and what tools you are using go achieve such an amazingly quick turnaround time.  Can you talk about that some? Thanks, you rock!

He uses Adobe Illustrator and a laser cutter. What else do you need? :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 16 September 2013, 10:19:43
Hallo, i am new here, because i want to register for the beta test, but it doesnt work :-(

Here are my thoughts i want to write you in the beta form:
Please, can you make a pdf to printout the keyboard design (maybe with a stripe in the right width between the thumb pad and the other to fold it to the correct hight difference) so one can test if its comfortable for the hands?

You mentioned a mouse stick - a must have idea (the one of my ergo-touch keyboard is useless now because the old driver not works anymore - its to insensitive without it).
You wrote, they are not to buy without entire keyboards attached. Remembering i had seen such sticks on lookin for a new driver, i done some search and found some, but no idea about the prices.
http://www.fujitsu.com/emea/services/components/input/mice/tmpl_parts_fid-828-100-20.html
http://www.hellotrade.com/parex-electronics-computer/gyro-stick.html
http://www.interlinkelectronics.com/products.php
I used wikipedia to find search words: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointing_stick#Naming_and_brands

I once had a maltron but i dont really liked it. I had no idea about cherry switches (black) and how to work with it, so i found the key travel too much. And I dont always type - on surfing/researching/programming i need a lot of shortcuts, which was awkward on the 3D shape. Further i use the neo layout, which puts the shortcuts in unusual places, what makes the entire thing more worse.
I hope i like the nexus better, but wouly like to have the proposed pdf.
Urgently need some one key macros for cut copy, paste, maybe things like strg+shift too. And the neo modifiers for layer 3 and 4 (5/6 are combinations).

I remember anywhere in the thread (yes, i read all pages) anything about shift/capslock - in neo pressing both shift or layer keys simultaneous acts like caps-lock. Very nice, but you need two mods for each layer (i prefer this anyway).

It not really belongs to this thread, but i mention it since i searched very long for such a program (win):
If you use more then one mouse you need different settings (one left, one right - cant understand why there is no way to have prefs for each mouse separate in Win). The logitech driver let me switch the buttons, but there was several other issues with it. Finally i found this little tool which does exactly what i want: http://www.eithermouse.com/
Not only adjusts the mouse buttons but can also adapt the cursor speed.
Thanks for the links to the pointing sticks. I've actually come accross most of those already, the problem is the price. What sources I could find for those, were either expensive, or had a high MOQ, or both. Because I'm sticking with the guideline that Open Source projects should follow a 2.6x markup, and a pointing device costing me $15.00 to ad to a project, not including supporting electronics or development cost, ends up being a $39.00 add on. That being said, I haven't given up on the idea and will keep looking for a source for the parts at a more affordable price.

Software wise, I will take a look at what you linked for the mice, it's definitely a good point about how windows allows you to set functionality. Definitely something to consider for the drivers as well.

This looks impressive! Congratulation on the impressive work done so far! I can't wait to join the kickstarter! (I think I would go for cherry clear switches).

As I understand it, you have an easy supply of acrylic, which is why you use this material and its constraints in your design.

I am unfamiliar with the material, but I am wondering if it would be possible to have the thumb pads inclined from the main plane, by having them rest diagonally across a layer thickness? Maybe using a larger hole in the layers above and bellow the big spacer to hold the thumb pcb in these holes?

Looking at the palm rest between the digits and thumb boards:

Is there a way to have layers not have a vertical edge during fabrication, like a knife, chamfered or rounded edge?

Otherwise, would it be possible for the end-user to file/sand away the angles without damaging / breaking the layer?

Also, if you're going to make transparent cases available, I'd be interested in getting the PCB in blue or purple.

Any chance of an update on your schedule?

Keep up the good work and best of luck!

I have a couple of options to explore with angling the thumb cluster. I could heat & bend the acrylic, but mass production would make this a bit of a nightmare. There's the possibility of doing the thumb as a completely separate piece that could rest on a stand designed to be angled from the main unit, but that means extra cables and I'm not sure how messy it will end up being. However, this is much easier to design for mass production, so its something I'll look at a bit more. I have a few more ideas I'm trying to find some time to explore a bit more in depth.

I've been looking at different ways to chamfer the edges, the biggest problem with working with the acrylic is finishing the edge, particularly getting the flame polished glass like finish. Easy in singles, not so much en masse, however the edge hasn't actually been as potentially uncomfortable as I was expecting. If I end up doing aluminum or injection molded parts (or both) this won't be nearly as much of an issue.

I'm not sure what color I'd get the PCBs done, but I'm leaning towards black w/ a white silkscreen. Other colors may be a possibility down the road, and of course the files will be released open source so you'd be able to have the PCBs made in the color of your choice, the only difference is that you'd have to do all the SMD assembly yourself.

AcidFire, amazing job with the keyboard.  I can't wait to get my hands on one as it looks like it improves on even the ErgoDox, which I consider the most intelligently designed keyboard for ergonomics on the planet atm, so that is no easy feat.  I am incredibly impressed with how quickly you iterate on the designs.  I am curious as to what your workflow looks like and what tools you are using go achieve such an amazingly quick turnaround time.  Can you talk about that some? Thanks, you rock!

As Thinplum mentioned, I do all my designs in Illustrator, which are then cut on a 60w Epliog Helix. I don't use anything for a 3D CAD package, I do all the solid geometry in my head, which admittedly doesn't always work quite the way I want. As for the PCBs, everything is done in Altium Designer, which has a bit of a steeper learning curve but I find far more flexible to use than Eagle. I've been testing a couple of different PCB protyping houses to figure out the best ratio between cost & quality, as well as delivery time.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: arcsign on Mon, 16 September 2013, 12:50:47
Hiya. I'm sort of new here, and found your thread recently while looking for an ergonomic keyboard; wrists have been giving me a bit of trouble and it seems like a good idea to head things off at the pass...

So, first of all, awesome work (extremely awesome). Favorites are:

- the keystation version with the extra buttons (or space for a trackball, perhaps) in the middle... but I'm constrained to finding something relatively portable
- the V-shaped 70% version... which is just gorgeous, but I think I would like to keep the split halves for tenting and adjustability reasons
- the version wrapped around the laptop, which very well could be the best thing ever.

A couple of questions/suggestions (for split versions mostly, but they sort of apply to anything):

1) If I understand correctly, you are planning on offering LEDs under each key for backlighting/etc. Will it be possible to have the keys change color so that all keys on a particular layer are lit the same color? As in: For layer 0, all keys are backlit white. For layer 1, keys that are unchanged from layer 0 (or unassigned) remain white, layer 1 mappings are changed to red. Layer 2 keys might be blue, but holdovers from layer 0 or unassigned will again remain white, etc.

Granted, the idea is not to be looking at the keyboard, but the monitor does not fill one's entire field of view, and the glow from the keyboard can serve as a cue (especially while learning) for what layer we are on and what features we have access to... this becomes more important when considering options for dynamic changes to the layout based on context information fed back from the computer... I would love to experiment with the keyboard as a sort of I/O device.


2) Is there any chance you could add a scroll wheel to each half (either near the index finger or the thumb, not sure which would be better)? I'd like to use a pair of scroll wheels (in combination with remapping scroll wheel functions based on currently selected layer, and a nearby LED for each wheel) to replace a subset of actions that are usually handled by the mouse and/or the arrow keys. These actions seem to fall into a few categories, roughly delimited as follows:

The first is area/pane selection. A lot of what the mouse ends up doing is clicking within some bound region of the screen; this can be file panes like in an ftp client, subsections of application interfaces, etc. I can see this as a type of action that could be replaced with the cursor controlled by either a scroll wheel (or two, one each for quick jogs in x, y), or a numpad-like arrangement of keys on a separate layer, with sections of the numpad corresponding to screen regions; hitting a key jumps the cursor to the desired region... faster than tab, and then minor adjustments can be made by moving the cursor with the scroll wheel.

The second is within-pane navigation. In some applications the arrows keys or pgup/pgdn/home/end are pretty good for getting around, but in others, they lack both the speed and precision of a scroll wheel. Moving the cursor around with the arrows keys is acceptable sometimes, but kind of a pain most of the time; especially if you are using the cursor or highlighted section of text as a bookmark while referencing something else. This could be set as another scroll wheel layer.

The third is text selection. Like many of you, I spend a lot of time in text editors. Some actions, like shift+home/end or shift+arrows are great for grabbing lines or blocks of text, but they leave something to be desired when navigating and selecting from single lines; too much tapping, and/or waiting for key repeats. Mapping scroll wheels to arrows, and/or shift+arrows on an alternate layer gives a much faster way of moving through text.

The fourth, and last one for the moment, is selecting fields within a document or page. Tab and shift tab are nice, but again, that ends up being a lot of tapping... bind them to scroll, and get around faster...

I think the addition of scroll wheels would eliminate some of the use cases that tend to force a switch to the mouse and break up the mostly-keyboard workflow that I (and probably others) are looking for. They are probably less expensive than trackballs, pointing sticks, or touchpads (and definitely less frustration-inducing than the third option), so they might be worth looking in to...


3) Are you planning to offer tent stands, (ideally with the degree markings that were on the single-unit adjustable angle/tent board) with the split version?

(Random suggestion, though kind of useless to me on account of "too big to travel with:" mount each half inside a partial sphere, then put that into a partial box (three faces, xy, yz, xz) with a spherical mounting, then you have a very adjustable glove thing... doesn't really have a huge advantage over more reasonable ways of adjusting the boards, but it would probably look neat...)

Anyway, keep up the amazing work and best regards!

(I've already signed up for the beta.)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 16 September 2013, 12:59:25
Hiya. I'm sort of new here, and found your thread recently while looking for an ergonomic keyboard; wrists have been giving me a bit of trouble and it seems like a good idea to head things off at the pass...

So, first of all, awesome work (extremely awesome). Favorites are:

- the keystation version with the extra buttons (or space for a trackball, perhaps) in the middle... but I'm constrained to finding something relatively portable
- the V-shaped 70% version... which is just gorgeous, but I think I would like to keep the split halves for tenting and adjustability reasons
- the version wrapped around the laptop, which very well could be the best thing ever.

A couple of questions/suggestions (for split versions mostly, but they sort of apply to anything):

1) If I understand correctly, you are planning on offering LEDs under each key for backlighting/etc. Will it be possible to have the keys change color so that all keys on a particular layer are lit the same color? As in: For layer 0, all keys are backlit white. For layer 1, keys that are unchanged from layer 0 (or unassigned) remain white, layer 1 mappings are changed to red. Layer 2 keys might be blue, but holdovers from layer 0 or unassigned will again remain white, etc.

Granted, the idea is not to be looking at the keyboard, but the monitor does not fill one's entire field of view, and the glow from the keyboard can serve as a cue (especially while learning) for what layer we are on and what features we have access to... this becomes more important when considering options for dynamic changes to the layout based on context information fed back from the computer... I would love to experiment with the keyboard as a sort of I/O device.


2) Is there any chance you could add a scroll wheel to each half (either near the index finger or the thumb, not sure which would be better)? I'd like to use a pair of scroll wheels (in combination with remapping scroll wheel functions based on currently selected layer, and a nearby LED for each wheel) to replace a subset of actions that are usually handled by the mouse and/or the arrow keys. These actions seem to fall into a few categories, roughly delimited as follows:

The first is area/pane selection. A lot of what the mouse ends up doing is clicking within some bound region of the screen; this can be file panes like in an ftp client, subsections of application interfaces, etc. I can see this as a type of action that could be replaced with the cursor controlled by either a scroll wheel (or two, one each for quick jogs in x, y), or a numpad-like arrangement of keys on a separate layer, with sections of the numpad corresponding to screen regions; hitting a key jumps the cursor to the desired region... faster than tab, and then minor adjustments can be made by moving the cursor with the scroll wheel.

The second is within-pane navigation. In some applications the arrows keys or pgup/pgdn/home/end are pretty good for getting around, but in others, they lack both the speed and precision of a scroll wheel. Moving the cursor around with the arrows keys is acceptable sometimes, but kind of a pain most of the time; especially if you are using the cursor or highlighted section of text as a bookmark while referencing something else. This could be set as another scroll wheel layer.

The third is text selection. Like many of you, I spend a lot of time in text editors. Some actions, like shift+home/end or shift+arrows are great for grabbing lines or blocks of text, but they leave something to be desired when navigating and selecting from single lines; too much tapping, and/or waiting for key repeats. Mapping scroll wheels to arrows, and/or shift+arrows on an alternate layer gives a much faster way of moving through text.

The fourth, and last one for the moment, is selecting fields within a document or page. Tab and shift tab are nice, but again, that ends up being a lot of tapping... bind them to scroll, and get around faster...

I think the addition of scroll wheels would eliminate some of the use cases that tend to force a switch to the mouse and break up the mostly-keyboard workflow that I (and probably others) are looking for. They are probably less expensive than trackballs, pointing sticks, or touchpads (and definitely less frustration-inducing than the third option), so they might be worth looking in to...


3) Are you planning to offer tent stands, (ideally with the degree markings that were on the single-unit adjustable angle/tent board) with the split version?

(Random suggestion, though kind of useless to me on account of "too big to travel with:" mount each half inside a partial sphere, then put that into a partial box (three faces, xy, yz, xz) with a spherical mounting, then you have a very adjustable glove thing... doesn't really have a huge advantage over more reasonable ways of adjusting the boards, but it would probably look neat...)

Anyway, keep up the amazing work and best regards!

(I've already signed up for the beta.)
1) AcidFire has hinted that he's working on an RGB LED controller to accomplish this, but for the beta units, it will probably just be one color.

2) That's a really good idea. I don't know if AcidFire is planning on doing this, though.

3) The adjustable version of the keystation had degree markings, and it's designed in such a way that It can accept the two split boards, if that's what you meant.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: arcsign on Mon, 16 September 2013, 13:42:49
1) Ah, okay. That's what I thought, but I just wanted to check.

3) The keystation had them for rotation, and maybe tent, but I meant more for adjustable tent on each half without a structure linking them.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom keyboard aka The Grand Piano
Post by: Piotr Dobrogost on Mon, 16 September 2013, 14:32:29
You probably don't want completely (or near completely transparent/clear keycaps). The LEDs will not diffuse and it looks fairly poor.

I'm not going to use any key leds and would love to have clear caps.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: xman on Mon, 16 September 2013, 21:44:10
I have a couple of options to explore with angling the thumb cluster. I could heat & bend the acrylic, but mass production would make this a bit of a nightmare. There's the possibility of doing the thumb as a completely separate piece that could rest on a stand designed to be angled from the main unit, but that means extra cables and I'm not sure how messy it will end up being. However, this is much easier to design for mass production, so its something I'll look at a bit more.

That's a really good idea!
The thumb cluster as a separate piece seems like it might allow the most user-configurability,
which would be the best option for people with hand pain.



Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: agodinhost on Tue, 17 September 2013, 02:04:09
Totally interested! Also super cool that you live so close to me.

If you're going to be loading profiles & macros from a file system, I think it would be a great opportunity to create a web-based layout and macro editor. Loading and exporting text files should be easy enough. I don't have a ton of spare time, but that is something I'd like to contribute.

Funny enough, I'm a web dev and this didn't even occur to me right away lol. But I've since got most of what the site's functionality should be mapped out, should be fun to put together while I'm waiting for the parts for the beta kits to come in when the time comes.

As I previously mentioned, I've been working on a new CPU board:
Show Image
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/arm-in-progress.png)

While the new board is longer, it's also thinner and it also integrates the MicroSD reader. It also tightens up the connector spacing, using smaller 2mm connectors and better spacing.
Don't get me wrong - I don't wanna burst your bubble ...
Why don't you use one single atmega32u4 module??? You don't need to reinvent the wheel ...
There is a lot of "arduino micro" clones out there (ebay, 9 bucks)

To make the uC to see your SD card you will need the uC code in order to be able to read fat, fat32 (dunno which one, don't remember)
But I do remember that it is HUGE! (16k for a uc with 32k is half of it's capacity - so it's huge)
I finished the initial pricing for the new controller last night. Even with the addition of a voltage regulator & microSD slot, it still comes in cheaper than a "$9.00 arduino micro", and thats at 1 lot quantity. At higher lots it becomes even cheaper, because the ARM has lower lot quantities than the Arduino.

And your right, the file system can take up a fair amount of space, so why wouldn't I choose a cheaper microcontroller with 4 times (atmega32u4: 32kb, ARM: 128kb) the storage space, at a cheaper price no less?
cheaper than 9 bucks? seems an awesome deal man - don't know how you did this magic but if is cheaper for 1 it will be cheaper for more boards.
Have you tried any other "development" board? Sometime ago I saw a few arduino clones using arm9 or 11. I'll try to get a look into it just to show you some alternatives (for later, whom knows?)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Piotr Dobrogost on Tue, 17 September 2013, 14:24:44
I'd like to start by saying it's a fantastic project - I'm happy AcidFire started this and puts so much effort into it. Thank you very much!!!

I'm very curious to hear what you think about idea of extra, thin keys stuck in-between normal keys which I described here - http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=48615.0 Granted you like this idea, how difficult would it be to incorporate such keys in the Nexus? In one of the earlier posts you asked what we think of getting rid of side buttons; these micro keys could replace side keys increasing ergonomy of the keyboard at the same time. Also, as nice as center keys may seem to work, in practice I find them equally awkward to reach as other "normal" keys placed far from home positions. Trying different keyboards I came to the conclusion that a good key is the one which is nearby home positions and thus reducing the number of keys goes a long way towards increasing keyboard's ergonomy.

Would love to see Nexus using the idea of micro keys...
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 17 September 2013, 15:35:17
I'd like to start by saying it's a fantastic project - I'm happy AcidFire started this and puts so much effort into it. Thank you very much!!!

I'm very curious to hear what you think about idea of extra, thin keys stuck in-between normal keys which I described here - http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=48615.0 Granted you like this idea, how difficult would it be to incorporate such keys in the Nexus? In one of the earlier posts you asked what we think of getting rid of side buttons; these micro keys could replace side keys increasing ergonomy of the keyboard at the same time. Also, as nice as center keys may seem to work, in practice I find them equally awkward to reach as other "normal" keys placed far from home positions. Trying different keyboards I came to the conclusion that a good key is the one which is nearby home positions and thus reducing the number of keys goes a long way towards increasing keyboard's ergonomy.

Would love to see Nexus using the idea of micro keys...

honestly, I'm not a big fan of small keys like that.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Piotr Dobrogost on Tue, 17 September 2013, 16:17:55
honestly, I'm not a big fan of small keys like that.

What are your objections exactly?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Tue, 17 September 2013, 16:24:22
honestly, I'm not a big fan of small keys like that.

What are your objections exactly?

I just plain can't hit 'em. Especially the shift keys. My fingers are too fat LOL.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Piotr Dobrogost on Tue, 17 September 2013, 16:42:28
I just plain can't hit 'em. Especially the shift keys. My fingers are too fat LOL.

Do you refer to specific product using this solution? I'm asking because I'm not aware of any but would like to try it out if you know one. I think the easy of use depends on how it's done. I could image these micro keys being 1-2mm taller than normal ones; this way it wouldn't make it harder to reach for other normal keys and at the same time it should make it fairly easy to firmly actuate them.
Title: Re: AcidFire's custom split keyboard - ErgoGP
Post by: Piotr Dobrogost on Thu, 19 September 2013, 15:05:15
It's hard to tell, but my wrist is pretty much totally straight.

I observed interesting thing. After I've been typing for some time on angled keyboard (Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000) my hands prefer angled position (with regard to forearms) even with straight keyboard thus allowing my wrists to be straight. Maybe there's something similar going on here?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: hoggy on Thu, 19 September 2013, 15:15:37
I noticed the same thing a few years ago, it's still the case, but not quite as prounced as it was. Sadly, it cuts down the space available for all that biological stuff that makes your hands useful...
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: eviltobz on Fri, 20 September 2013, 08:28:56
I just found this thread the other day, have blasted through it, and feel that I should add my voice to those expressing their admiration of how awesome it seems to be shaping up to be. I'm certainly interested in the possibility of buying in on the beta. I've done some hacking on my Ergodox firmware, so may have something to add on that front.

If we buy the beta kits, will it then be easy enough for us to get the fancy bling backlighting stuff to add when that is ready?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Fri, 20 September 2013, 08:39:49
I just plain can't hit 'em. Especially the shift keys. My fingers are too fat LOL.

Do you refer to specific product using this solution? I'm asking because I'm not aware of any but would like to try it out if you know one. I think the easy of use depends on how it's done. I could image these micro keys being 1-2mm taller than normal ones; this way it wouldn't make it harder to reach for other normal keys and at the same time it should make it fairly easy to firmly actuate them.

ooooh! I didn't mean micro keys like what you mean. I meant like some split boards that use itty-bitty shift keys.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 20 September 2013, 12:10:01
I just found this thread the other day, have blasted through it, and feel that I should add my voice to those expressing their admiration of how awesome it seems to be shaping up to be. I'm certainly interested in the possibility of buying in on the beta. I've done some hacking on my Ergodox firmware, so may have something to add on that front.

If we buy the beta kits, will it then be easy enough for us to get the fancy bling backlighting stuff to add when that is ready?

Yup, the beta kits will be basically pre production kits, meaning all the connectors for the bling backlighting stuff will be there so you can add it to the beta set just like a regular production kit.

I'd like to start by saying it's a fantastic project - I'm happy AcidFire started this and puts so much effort into it. Thank you very much!!!

I'm very curious to hear what you think about idea of extra, thin keys stuck in-between normal keys which I described here - http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=48615.0 Granted you like this idea, how difficult would it be to incorporate such keys in the Nexus? In one of the earlier posts you asked what we think of getting rid of side buttons; these micro keys could replace side keys increasing ergonomy of the keyboard at the same time. Also, as nice as center keys may seem to work, in practice I find them equally awkward to reach as other "normal" keys placed far from home positions. Trying different keyboards I came to the conclusion that a good key is the one which is nearby home positions and thus reducing the number of keys goes a long way towards increasing keyboard's ergonomy.

Would love to see Nexus using the idea of micro keys...
I'd like to see a visual example as I'm having a hard time picturing it. I wasn't looking to get rid of the side buttons, but to reduce their size to the standard 1u keys.

Hiya. I'm sort of new here, and found your thread recently while looking for an ergonomic keyboard; wrists have been giving me a bit of trouble and it seems like a good idea to head things off at the pass...

So, first of all, awesome work (extremely awesome). Favorites are:

- the keystation version with the extra buttons (or space for a trackball, perhaps) in the middle... but I'm constrained to finding something relatively portable
- the V-shaped 70% version... which is just gorgeous, but I think I would like to keep the split halves for tenting and adjustability reasons
- the version wrapped around the laptop, which very well could be the best thing ever.

A couple of questions/suggestions (for split versions mostly, but they sort of apply to anything):

1) If I understand correctly, you are planning on offering LEDs under each key for backlighting/etc. Will it be possible to have the keys change color so that all keys on a particular layer are lit the same color? As in: For layer 0, all keys are backlit white. For layer 1, keys that are unchanged from layer 0 (or unassigned) remain white, layer 1 mappings are changed to red. Layer 2 keys might be blue, but holdovers from layer 0 or unassigned will again remain white, etc.

Granted, the idea is not to be looking at the keyboard, but the monitor does not fill one's entire field of view, and the glow from the keyboard can serve as a cue (especially while learning) for what layer we are on and what features we have access to... this becomes more important when considering options for dynamic changes to the layout based on context information fed back from the computer... I would love to experiment with the keyboard as a sort of I/O device.


2) Is there any chance you could add a scroll wheel to each half (either near the index finger or the thumb, not sure which would be better)? I'd like to use a pair of scroll wheels (in combination with remapping scroll wheel functions based on currently selected layer, and a nearby LED for each wheel) to replace a subset of actions that are usually handled by the mouse and/or the arrow keys. These actions seem to fall into a few categories, roughly delimited as follows:

The first is area/pane selection. A lot of what the mouse ends up doing is clicking within some bound region of the screen; this can be file panes like in an ftp client, subsections of application interfaces, etc. I can see this as a type of action that could be replaced with the cursor controlled by either a scroll wheel (or two, one each for quick jogs in x, y), or a numpad-like arrangement of keys on a separate layer, with sections of the numpad corresponding to screen regions; hitting a key jumps the cursor to the desired region... faster than tab, and then minor adjustments can be made by moving the cursor with the scroll wheel.

The second is within-pane navigation. In some applications the arrows keys or pgup/pgdn/home/end are pretty good for getting around, but in others, they lack both the speed and precision of a scroll wheel. Moving the cursor around with the arrows keys is acceptable sometimes, but kind of a pain most of the time; especially if you are using the cursor or highlighted section of text as a bookmark while referencing something else. This could be set as another scroll wheel layer.

The third is text selection. Like many of you, I spend a lot of time in text editors. Some actions, like shift+home/end or shift+arrows are great for grabbing lines or blocks of text, but they leave something to be desired when navigating and selecting from single lines; too much tapping, and/or waiting for key repeats. Mapping scroll wheels to arrows, and/or shift+arrows on an alternate layer gives a much faster way of moving through text.

The fourth, and last one for the moment, is selecting fields within a document or page. Tab and shift tab are nice, but again, that ends up being a lot of tapping... bind them to scroll, and get around faster...

I think the addition of scroll wheels would eliminate some of the use cases that tend to force a switch to the mouse and break up the mostly-keyboard workflow that I (and probably others) are looking for. They are probably less expensive than trackballs, pointing sticks, or touchpads (and definitely less frustration-inducing than the third option), so they might be worth looking in to...


3) Are you planning to offer tent stands, (ideally with the degree markings that were on the single-unit adjustable angle/tent board) with the split version?

(Random suggestion, though kind of useless to me on account of "too big to travel with:" mount each half inside a partial sphere, then put that into a partial box (three faces, xy, yz, xz) with a spherical mounting, then you have a very adjustable glove thing... doesn't really have a huge advantage over more reasonable ways of adjusting the boards, but it would probably look neat...)

Anyway, keep up the amazing work and best regards!

(I've already signed up for the beta.)

1) This will be one of the standard LED modes, where the only ones that light up are the active on the layer. As for the multi color issue, the current boards only have the ability to display one color, however there may be a way to get two colors into each key, which I will be investigating before I do the next spin of the boards. Full RGB control will be available through a somewhat expensive add on (RGB LED's ain't cheap!) that will allow you to set a huge variety of colors & effects for each layer. I'm still working on making it cheaper, but right now it isn't a priority either. Once the beta kits go out I'll be putting more time into the Bluetooth & RGB add-ons.

2) It may be possible, but I won't be investigating it at this point, simply because it's additional R&D to make it both work in software & to impliment it in hardware. A good scroll wheel is surprisingly difficult to get going functionally, but I'm not going to rule out the possibility at this point. Thats the beauty of this modular set up, it's something that be added down the road for those who want it.

3) TBH it doesn't really make sense to offer it with the split set up since they can just be turned, and don't really require the markings. Because of the way the materials need to be set up mechanically, the height of the tenting is adjusted by different sets of fins. If I get to do some injection molding, I have a few ideas for an adjustable height set up, as well as travel friendly versions of the tenting stands.

The spherical set up sounds interesting, it's something I'll have to play with when the first revision has been completed and is out in the wild.


Speaking of development, I've been relatively quiet this week with updates because I've received all my electronics including my ARM development boards and I've been deep into development mode getting it all working together. I've already been able to get it to recognize as a composite device with HID & MSD, or as a straight HID device which my bios had no issues picking up. I'm currently modifying the existing libraries for the control chips for the arduino to get them to work on the platform, hopefully before the end of the weekend I should have some demo videos done of the new controllers at work.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Demonmaker on Fri, 20 September 2013, 14:17:58
Speaking of development, I've been relatively quiet this week with updates because I've received all my electronics including my ARM development boards and I've been deep into development mode getting it all working together. I've already been able to get it to recognize as a composite device with HID & MSD, or as a straight HID device which my bios had no issues picking up. I'm currently modifying the existing libraries for the control chips for the arduino to get them to work on the platform, hopefully before the end of the weekend I should have some demo videos done of the new controllers at work.

Fantastic, cant wait.
Hows the kickstarter side coming along.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 20 September 2013, 14:47:28
The campaign is just about ready, I've outlined the first set of rewards, I'm just waiting to get the beta kits done and get input back before I put it online. Unfortunately delays for getting things like PCBs are slowly pushing back my deadlines, but I'm still pushing to try and get the kickstarter running by the end of October. It's all going to come down to how quickly I can get everything developed for it, not being able to work on it full time is definitely hurting my timetables.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: hoggy on Sat, 21 September 2013, 16:17:24
The campaign is just about ready, I've outlined the first set of rewards, I'm just waiting to get the beta kits done and get input back before I put it online. Unfortunately delays for getting things like PCBs are slowly pushing back my deadlines, but I'm still pushing to try and get the kickstarter running by the end of October. It's all going to come down to how quickly I can get everything developed for it, not being able to work on it full time is definitely hurting my timetables.

Don't worry about the timetable.  If you're waiting for stuff, that just means you've got time to iron your cape.

Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: dorkvader on Sun, 22 September 2013, 14:09:05
Agreed. real keyboarders are willing to wait years if necessary.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: insilica on Sun, 22 September 2013, 14:16:33
I hope PayPal doesn't throw a spanner in the works  :rolleyes:
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: linziyi on Sun, 22 September 2013, 14:22:42
I can't use paypal :(. It would be ideal if we are able to give the payment using credit/debit cards.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Nico_h on Sun, 22 September 2013, 15:09:06
Kickstarter (US) edition use credit cards via amazon (at least it did last year). Paypal is too painful to use for me too.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Nico_h on Sun, 22 September 2013, 15:17:01
I though real keyboarder made their own keyboards? Like AcidFire, Dox, the guy with the 3d printed keyboards(suka on deskthority) the guy with the 40% keyboard, the guy behind the key64 ;-) there are so many inspiring keyboard makers on this forum I almost want to make my own.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: spspencer on Sun, 22 September 2013, 15:30:34
What I love about my Ergodox is the ability to have so many layers. I could have all the layouts on different layers! What I hate about my Ergodox is never knowing what layer I'm on, so I end up using the default.

I noticed on your 70% you have 10 LEDs, 5 per side. Is the current plan to use those to denote which layer is active? I think having some way to see which layer you are on would be great to include at the base level. I also love backlihgting/color changing LEDs, but that is more "bling" then functional, so I would expect to pay more for that functionality.

Will you be beta testing only the split, or one of the 70% flavors?

Awesome work, Thanks!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: wesleyh on Mon, 23 September 2013, 03:18:46
An interesting tweeet by Carmack (who now works on occulus VR):

If a keyboard had a one bit touch sensor on each key, you could make an effective display and use it in VR.

https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/375328478603653121

Imagine using this keyboard in Virtual Reality.

Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: bobkare on Mon, 23 September 2013, 12:51:52
I've been lurking on this thread for a while now, and have to add my voice to the mob of fans: sooo much awesomeness!

What I love about my Ergodox is the ability to have so many layers. I could have all the layouts on different layers! What I hate about my Ergodox is never knowing what layer I'm on, so I end up using the default.

I noticed on your 70% you have 10 LEDs, 5 per side. Is the current plan to use those to denote which layer is active? I think having some way to see which layer you are on would be great to include at the base level. I also love backlihgting/color changing LEDs, but that is more "bling" then functional, so I would expect to pay more for that functionality.

I've also got enough layers I sometimes forget which are active, and am trying out a possible solution: an RGB LED. Got it soldered yesterday (a bit of a pain since it's really an SMD part and I hand-soldered it to wires), but haven't got the firmware changes done yet. I'm thinking of using it in something like several axes, with base layers giving different hues while overlays control saturation or something like it. Could of course just be an unworkable idea, but at minimum I've definitely got three very different colors.

Oh, and AcidFire: I've been playing with the TMK firmware this weekend, and the debug channel it has is pretty neat, have you considered adding something like it?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 23 September 2013, 13:32:45
I hope PayPal doesn't throw a spanner in the works  :rolleyes:
It shouldn't, since I've gotten my Multiplxd paypal account approved as a business account now, and this would be straight up payment for product.

I can't use paypal :(. It would be ideal if we are able to give the payment using credit/debit cards.
Kickstarter (US) edition use credit cards via amazon (at least it did last year). Paypal is too painful to use for me too.
Unfortunately Paypal will probably be the only option to pay for the beta kits, but you should be able to use your credit/debit card for the kickstarter just like any other account. Remember as well that you can pay through paypal without needing an account, there is usually an option to pay without signing into an account, they just don't make it big & flashy.

Agreed. real keyboarders are willing to wait years if necessary.
Good to know :D I definitely want to get this right, and for a good price. That means I can't rush it, as much as I'm tempted to.

An interesting tweeet by Carmack (who now works on occulus VR):

If a keyboard had a one bit touch sensor on each key, you could make an effective display and use it in VR.

https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/375328478603653121

Imagine using this keyboard in Virtual Reality.
Technically, I could do this as an option down the road with an add-on board. I can only imagine the kind of attention I could get to something like the kickstarter or the boards in general if I were able to show Carmack a working add-on to give touch feedback from the keys.

What I love about my Ergodox is the ability to have so many layers. I could have all the layouts on different layers! What I hate about my Ergodox is never knowing what layer I'm on, so I end up using the default.

I noticed on your 70% you have 10 LEDs, 5 per side. Is the current plan to use those to denote which layer is active? I think having some way to see which layer you are on would be great to include at the base level. I also love backlihgting/color changing LEDs, but that is more "bling" then functional, so I would expect to pay more for that functionality.

Will you be beta testing only the split, or one of the 70% flavors?
Awesome work, Thanks!
I've been lurking on this thread for a while now, and have to add my voice to the mob of fans: sooo much awesomeness!

What I love about my Ergodox is the ability to have so many layers. I could have all the layouts on different layers! What I hate about my Ergodox is never knowing what layer I'm on, so I end up using the default.

I noticed on your 70% you have 10 LEDs, 5 per side. Is the current plan to use those to denote which layer is active? I think having some way to see which layer you are on would be great to include at the base level. I also love backlihgting/color changing LEDs, but that is more "bling" then functional, so I would expect to pay more for that functionality.

I've also got enough layers I sometimes forget which are active, and am trying out a possible solution: an RGB LED. Got it soldered yesterday (a bit of a pain since it's really an SMD part and I hand-soldered it to wires), but haven't got the firmware changes done yet. I'm thinking of using it in something like several axes, with base layers giving different hues while overlays control saturation or something like it. Could of course just be an unworkable idea, but at minimum I've definitely got three very different colors.

Oh, and AcidFire: I've been playing with the TMK firmware this weekend, and the debug channel it has is pretty neat, have you considered adding something like it?

Yes, that's one of the configurable options for the LEDs. I'm also looking at a small display module that would do something similar without being a stupidly expensive add-on.

As for the beta testing, I will only be building enough electronics for around 25 kits, and beta testers will be able to choose which casing they want to test. Beta testers will also be able to opt to pay (cost) for additional cases if they wish, to which they will be able to purchase & add electronics to later when the kickstarter is made available.

Unfortunately I haven't had much time to check out the TMK firmware in depth, but I do want to figure out some way of providing a debug channel for the processor. The major difference right now is still learning the ins & outs of the ARM to ensure I can get it working the way it needs to to provide this sort of functionality.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: BlueByLiquid on Thu, 26 September 2013, 00:21:43
Been gone for a while and just thought I would check in. Can't wait for the beta! Looks like your making great progress! Hope you get the PCBs in soon. Also can't wait to start programming the single color keyboard as I had tons of fun working with my kinesis backlit one. LEDs and hoping you continue working on the RGB add on. :)
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Piotr Dobrogost on Thu, 26 September 2013, 16:21:14
@AcidFire
Is beta program still open?
Can people from Europe participate?
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Lumune on Thu, 26 September 2013, 17:40:15
I wish I knew about this project before I dropped my money on Ergodox round3 on MassDrop.... :(
spending too much money on keyboard already....
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: linziyi on Sat, 28 September 2013, 23:20:41
Don't know if anyone mentioned this before. Using the changeable LED to indicate different layer of the keyboard would be a great idea IMHO
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kaltar on Sun, 29 September 2013, 15:15:52
We are like kids in a road trip: "are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 30 September 2013, 08:08:15
We are like kids in a road trip: "are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Haha! I agree.

Everyday I wait for that PM asking for the money...
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 30 September 2013, 12:11:21
We are like kids in a road trip: "are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Haha! I agree.

Everyday I wait for that PM asking for the money...
Working on it, learning the ins & outs of the ARM is taking time, but will be well worth it, especially speed wise. I know other input devices I've seen using the same processor family boast some amazingly fast response times, I want to ensure I can offer the same.

@AcidFire
Is beta program still open?
Can people from Europe participate?
Yes the beta is still open to applications, and is not region limited, as long as you understand that with being in Europe the shipping costs do end up being a bit higher.

Don't know if anyone mentioned this before. Using the changeable LED to indicate different layer of the keyboard would be a great idea IMHO
Already on the main set of features to be included by default in the first firmware.

Been gone for a while and just thought I would check in. Can't wait for the beta! Looks like your making great progress! Hope you get the PCBs in soon. Also can't wait to start programming the single color keyboard as I had tons of fun working with my kinesis backlit one. LEDs and hoping you continue working on the RGB add on. :)
I've gotten the PCBs for the breakout chips in and assembled. Right now as previously mentioned I'm working on getting the ARM firmware running solidly, while trying to spec out a simple communications protocol to allow control of the LEDs from apps running PC side.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Piotr Dobrogost on Mon, 30 September 2013, 14:22:28
@AcidFire
Is beta program still open?
Can people from Europe participate?
Yes the beta is still open to applications, and is not region limited, as long as you understand that with being in Europe the shipping costs do end up being a bit higher.

Then please count me in or tell me where to sign up.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Thimplum on Mon, 30 September 2013, 15:54:45
I love how this project has inspired at least 5 people to register on GH so they can join the beta.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: spspencer on Mon, 30 September 2013, 16:55:29
I love how this project has inspired at least 5 people to register on GH so they can join the beta.

Lol, I was one of those five. Been lurking two-ish years; I love my ergodox, but I need this one.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: do_Og@n on Mon, 30 September 2013, 17:00:37
I love the look and idea of the ergodox but I don't think I could switch to one. Maybe if someone came out with a single sided one that I could use as a gaming pad...
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: kaltar on Tue, 01 October 2013, 00:12:48
Will it be possible to add more keys later on? I'm thinking about the palm buttons that sordna added http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=26579 (http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=26579) those are really usefull!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Demonmaker on Tue, 01 October 2013, 07:21:07
I love the look and idea of the ergodox but I don't think I could switch to one. Maybe if someone came out with a single sided one that I could use as a gaming pad...

This particular Ego is already like that, the two parts are completely separate, so you could in effect use just one part as a gamepad, like the razer products you see, but this being obviously better and much more customizable.  ;D
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: yakitysax on Wed, 02 October 2013, 19:29:31
Quote from: AcidFire
As Thinplum mentioned, I do all my designs in Illustrator, which are then cut on a 60w Epliog Helix. I don't use anything for a 3D CAD package, I do all the solid geometry in my head, which admittedly doesn't always work quite the way I want. As for the PCBs, everything is done in Altium Designer, which has a bit of a steeper learning curve but I find far more flexible to use than Eagle. I've been testing a couple of different PCB protyping houses to figure out the best ratio between cost & quality, as well as delivery time.
Dang, that is even more impressive. You are on a different level, up there with Andrew (bunnie) Huang even. <bow> Hopefully I am on your level some day!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: router.exe on Thu, 03 October 2013, 16:44:40
subscribed.  very interesting in this keyboard.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Thu, 03 October 2013, 16:52:13
I completely forgot to share something as well. Taking inspiration from another design on the forums (I believe it was the GHpad), I retooled the thumb board with some happy results:
(http://acidfire.ca/keyboard/new-thumbboard.png)
The new design is on the left, the old on the right. There are a number of advantages of the new design:
- 21 Cherry MX mount points, maximum usable is 12. The midway spaced spots allow a mix of 1u & 2u keys.
- Ambidextrous, reducing the cost of board production as I only need one PCB stencil, and I would be doubling the number of PCBs to be ordered, bringing down the cost per board.
- Various combinations can be done with a single board. The layout is determined using 6 jumpers to allow the board to identify itself to the controller.
- LEDs are oriented toward the user in a split board configuration, and towards the user when used as a standalone module.

I'm considering doing the same with the main boards, allowing for a couple of different configuration options, however they will still need be two seperate designs. Also, this obviously can affect the RGB addons, but thats something I'll deal with when the time comes.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: MOZ on Thu, 03 October 2013, 18:59:31
Regarding the RGB addon and lesser room for traces, considered making more layered PCB? Not just 2, maybe 3, 4? So you actually minimse the number of PCBS actually needed. This means less sorting as well.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: FiskFisk33 on Fri, 04 October 2013, 02:04:58
I completely forgot to share something as well. Taking inspiration from another design on the forums (I believe it was the GHpad), I retooled the thumb board with some happy

are those rotated 90 degrees?
as far as I understand caps doesn't fit well on switches rotated 90 degrees. :/
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Neebio on Fri, 04 October 2013, 12:54:26
I completely forgot to share something as well. Taking inspiration from another design on the forums (I believe it was the GHpad), I retooled the thumb board with some happy

are those rotated 90 degrees?
as far as I understand caps doesn't fit well on switches rotated 90 degrees. :/

MX switch stems are symmetrical.  There should be no difference at all to the key cap if the switch is rotated.

Edit: I stand corrected, see MOZ below.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: MOZ on Fri, 04 October 2013, 13:41:58
Actually they are not, the arms on the + are thinner on the top and bottom ones as  compared to the ones on the left and right.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 04 October 2013, 14:36:40
True, but typically (at least with the keysets I have here) the + is molded symetrically, and I haven't had any problems with fitment yet, but i will definitely make a note of it.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: hoggy on Fri, 04 October 2013, 14:42:51
I've mounted caps at 90 and 180 degrees.  Certainly feels a bit different when they go on, but haven't had any problems with them not staying on or not coming off, they feel stable enough.

Perhaps I've been lucky.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Loligagger on Fri, 04 October 2013, 18:13:11
Could probably just slap DSA caps on there so rotating it would be no problem.

Are steel/aluminum plate mounts still a possibility? Not sure how layering for the case would work if you had the plates the right thickness so switches could 'snap in'.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Mon, 07 October 2013, 14:03:50
Could probably just slap DSA caps on there so rotating it would be no problem.

Are steel/aluminum plate mounts still a possibility? Not sure how layering for the case would work if you had the plates the right thickness so switches could 'snap in'.

what I would most likely do with an aluminum or steel plate is go with 3mm, just like the acrylic, and mill the portion around the keys down to 1.5mm. The acrylic case may end up a bit obsolete as the new tech who just started at work has experience designing injection molded cases and is interested in helping me with it, but it's a bit of wait and see as IM is still more expensive to get spun up than laser cut acrylic.

On the development front, I spent the weekend with my new dev boards, and I have a few answers for some of the things we've been discussing.

- Yes, I can have the microSD connect & disconnect with a keypress/macro/command
- The current libraries available for the chip don't seem to support SDXC cards (yet.) I'm sure something could be ported, but it's not currently a priority.
- From what I can tell, theres nothing stopping proper NKRO over USB -but- this still needs to be explored.
- Because of the way the clock works on the chip, I keep catching myself making little errors with timing. In the next revision or two I'll be putting together a small library to make this easier on myself and those of you wishing to hack/modify the firmware.

Progress has been steady, despite the development environment being less than intuitive. I'm currently porting & updating libraries for talking to the control chips to take advantage of the faster I2C bus on the ARM. The other good news to share is that the Bluetooth Dev kit I ordered came in today, so I'll have that on hand ready to test when the firmware is done :D
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Loligagger on Mon, 07 October 2013, 14:33:20
Could probably just slap DSA caps on there so rotating it would be no problem.

Are steel/aluminum plate mounts still a possibility? Not sure how layering for the case would work if you had the plates the right thickness so switches could 'snap in'.

what I would most likely do with an aluminum or steel plate is go with 3mm, just like the acrylic, and mill the portion around the keys down to 1.5mm. The acrylic case may end up a bit obsolete as the new tech who just started at work has experience designing injection molded cases and is interested in helping me with it, but it's a bit of wait and see as IM is still more expensive to get spun up than laser cut acrylic.

Sounds like a good plan, 3mm thick aluminum plates would be lovely. May as well go all the way and get a full anodized aluminum case with matching anodized countersunk screws.  :cool:
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: elllit on Wed, 09 October 2013, 10:37:21
I am new... and count me in!

I was looking for a new keyboard and came across the ergodox... and a couple of days later I found this thread.
I really like what you did. :thumb:

Separating the thumb cluster from the other part of the keyboard is a good idea and will facilitate further modding, imho. For instance changing distance and angle between the boards to adopt for different hand sizes - I for, one, don't have very long fingers ;)

What's the progress on the project?

-- elllit
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: insilica on Wed, 09 October 2013, 10:42:02
Could probably just slap DSA caps on there so rotating it would be no problem.

Are steel/aluminum plate mounts still a possibility? Not sure how layering for the case would work if you had the plates the right thickness so switches could 'snap in'.

what I would most likely do with an aluminum or steel plate is go with 3mm, just like the acrylic, and mill the portion around the keys down to 1.5mm. The acrylic case may end up a bit obsolete as the new tech who just started at work has experience designing injection molded cases and is interested in helping me with it, but it's a bit of wait and see as IM is still more expensive to get spun up than laser cut acrylic.

Sounds like a good plan, 3mm thick aluminum plates would be lovely. May as well go all the way and get a full anodized aluminum case with matching anodized countersunk screws.  :cool:

Sounds like an expensive addon  :'(
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 11 October 2013, 13:08:57
I am new... and count me in!

I was looking for a new keyboard and came across the ergodox... and a couple of days later I found this thread.
I really like what you did. :thumb:

Separating the thumb cluster from the other part of the keyboard is a good idea and will facilitate further modding, imho. For instance changing distance and angle between the boards to adopt for different hand sizes - I for, one, don't have very long fingers ;)

What's the progress on the project?

-- elllit
Glad to have you aboard. Right now, the prototype cases are designed, the board designs have been updated, and I'm currently working to finish the first edition of the firmware. I may or may not be typing this post on the latest version of the firmware  :rolleyes:. Once the firmware is done, I'll be ordering the next spin of the boards, and once I get the first set of the new boards assembled and tested, I'll be emailing those people I've selected for the first round of beta.

Could probably just slap DSA caps on there so rotating it would be no problem.

Are steel/aluminum plate mounts still a possibility? Not sure how layering for the case would work if you had the plates the right thickness so switches could 'snap in'.

what I would most likely do with an aluminum or steel plate is go with 3mm, just like the acrylic, and mill the portion around the keys down to 1.5mm. The acrylic case may end up a bit obsolete as the new tech who just started at work has experience designing injection molded cases and is interested in helping me with it, but it's a bit of wait and see as IM is still more expensive to get spun up than laser cut acrylic.

Sounds like a good plan, 3mm thick aluminum plates would be lovely. May as well go all the way and get a full anodized aluminum case with matching anodized countersunk screws.  :cool:

Sounds like an expensive addon  :'(

I'm working on making the aluminum stuff as affordable as possible. As mentioned before, it'll all come down to volume. Speaking of which, I'm not sure if I mentioned this already but I've spoken with a rep from Cherry who has given me a rough estimate of what kind of numbers I would need to order from them to deal with them on an ongoing basis, but still haven't received a price. I was told I'd be looking at a 300K switch order if I want to deal with them right away and get better pricing, otherwise I'd have to spend 6-12months establishing a baseline number of orders before they'd consider it.

So, in order to get you guys the lowest price possible, I'm working out a plan to be able to afford such a large order. Most of that will include making harder to find switch colors available on a regular basis, as well as value packs that I will first offer through the kickstarter campaign, and then later through the web store I'm currently developing. The plan is to price these switches lower than they typically can be obtained for, while not shooting myself in the foot either.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Loligagger on Fri, 11 October 2013, 15:28:35
Does that 300k mean of one switch type, or total with all the switch types cherry can offer? Either way that's still quite a high MOQ.

Maybe check around for how many can provide their own switches? Unless you want to offer the board in the long run and not just a single group buy or something.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: JPG on Fri, 11 October 2013, 15:40:47
Woa, 300k is a lot of switches, but that's to be expected from Cherry since they are supplying big companies. Maybe you could try to find some suppliers if you intend to go for big numbers while not going for that big a number. You would not get that good of a price, but still maybe get a decent discount. Or maybe contact 7bit, he might be able to help you (or even team up with you). Just giving ideas, but who knows, maybe one could work!
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: hoggy on Fri, 11 October 2013, 15:43:35
Just be careful of over extending. I'm hoping to buy plenty of increasingly interesting  stuff from you over the next few years...
Please don't think I'm trying to put you off.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: AcidFire on Fri, 11 October 2013, 15:52:51
Woa, 300k is a lot of switches, but that's to be expected from Cherry since they are supplying big companies. Maybe you could try to find some suppliers if you intend to go for big numbers while not going for that big a number. You would not get that good of a price, but still maybe get a decent discount. Or maybe contact 7bit, he might be able to help you (or even team up with you). Just giving ideas, but who knows, maybe one could work!
I haven't talked to 7bit, but the quotes I've gotten back from other suppliers.... Suck. they leave me no room for mark up, not even enough to make it worth my time just to count them out for kits.

Does that 300k mean of one switch type, or total with all the switch types cherry can offer? Either way that's still quite a high MOQ.

Maybe check around for how many can provide their own switches? Unless you want to offer the board in the long run and not just a single group buy or something.
I'm not sure, I believe thats just a number for total number of parts ordered from them. I've already emailed the rep I've been talking to asking for clarification. The MOQ is high, but not unattainable. The biggest thing is to have a plan on how to move them at a reasonable rate, which I think I have.

And yes, thats the other half of the equation. I'm looking to be in it for the long haul with this if it does well, so having a reasonable supply on hand is a good thing. It'll all come down to numbers and what kind of pricing i can get per switch.

Just be careful of over extending. I'm hoping to buy plenty of increasingly interesting  stuff from you over the next few years...
Please don't think I'm trying to put you off.
Not at all. The advantages of working where I do includes such advice. I believe in what I'm working on, and I've had such a solid response both here and externally that the switches are one of the few things I'm willing to take an extra risk on, in part because I know I wouldn't have trouble selling them even at a price to recoup my costs. One of the harder things I've had to deal with, and I've seen be a problem for others, is getting ahold of switches in reasonable lot sizes at what should be lot pricing. I aim to change that, to make it easier for people like myself to worry more about innovation than being able to source parts.
Title: Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Nexus [In Development]
Post by: Loligagger on Fri, 11 October 2013, 16:19:30
Have you looked into sourcing keycaps? Black/blank PBT DSA sets from SP are probably the way to go (maybe with blue deep dishes for the home row :cool:).