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geekhack Projects => Making Stuff Together! => Topic started by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 18:51:29

Title: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 18:51:29
After the last false start with a Buckling Spring keyboard. I'm back in the saddle with what I hope will be my desk keyboard.

I'm calling it Planet 6. Edit:Follow the progress here.   https://flic.kr/s/aHsknRKXxo


 Edit:  See video here
[attach=1]
After a humbling visit to the Urban Dictionary to discover what the street meaning of my name was, I decided I'd better ditch the plop moniker for the fine keyboard I'm envisioning this one to be.

This morning I milled the plates.
[attach=2]
I decided to not mill the plates directly into the keyboard body for reasons to be explained in a later entry.

I had to do a slight bit of filing to get the fit right. Probably about 15 minutes per plate.
[attach=3]
I decided to go with quiet Matias switches on the primary 48 switches.

A view from the bottom
[attach=4]
I was afraid that the aluminum might flex if I used a thin enough plate that the switches could lock into, so I used 1/8" and milled a channel along the switch path leaving a stiffening rib between columns.

More to come.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sat, 17 October 2015, 19:12:05
Looks awesome, and I love the choice of Matias Quiets! I'll be keeping an eye on this one for sure.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 19:49:07
Thanks. I think people thought I was crazy for using ML's on the Alumaplop but it kept the overall size travel friendly. They have loosened up some and because I've been using it exclusively, I don't feel like I've been missing out. Because this board will be stationary and the higher profile is no longer an issue, I thought I'd be less rebellious in my switch choice this time.

I chose the quiets because, at my age, one must behave in a dignified manner, even if one isn't.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: bcredbottle on Sat, 17 October 2015, 19:50:34
I've never seen that layout before. What's the thinking behind it? Don't you want the middle-finger keys to be higher than all of the others?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sat, 17 October 2015, 20:03:48
I've never seen that layout before. What's the thinking behind it? Don't you want the middle-finger keys to be higher than all of the others?
I am having a hard time visualizing the layout based on the photos tbh.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 20:19:14
I've never seen that layout before.
Nor will you likely ever again!

It will make a lot more sense when I show the whole layout. Because of the 15 degree 'toe in', there was room in the case for an extra key above the 2 inside columns. They are for special purpose keys and aren't part of the normal top number row.  If you ignore them the layout is more conventional.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 20:38:46
Here's a drawing of the proposed keyboard. The shaded keys are the ones that probably confused you.
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sat, 17 October 2015, 21:45:22
Are those thumb keys with odd-sized caps? And the ring around the trackball also looks like it's made of keys.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 22:19:41
Are those thumb keys with odd-sized caps? And the ring around the trackball also looks like it's made of keys.

Yes, the thumb keys will have to be custom made. The 'key ring' is made up of frequently used keys for cad work. The ring keycaps are already made.
[attach=1]    [attach=2]
I hesitate to show it in such a rough state but at least you can see where I'm going with it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sat, 17 October 2015, 22:32:14
This is really impressive work. I can't wait to see it!!! I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but please keep us posted on your progress.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 22:33:47
This picture best illustrates the reason I named it Planet 6.  Ever since I started putting trackballs in my boards, people have commented that they look like they belong on a spaceship. I never intended the design to suggest that. It has always been form follows function, including on this design.

I can't, however, avoid seeing its strong resemblance to Saturn. Or maybe a flying saucer?
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 October 2015, 22:37:37
This is really impressive work. I can't wait to see it!!! I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but please keep us posted on your progress.

 I know I'm just a metal working novice so I really appreciate that coming from a real live machinist.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sat, 17 October 2015, 22:54:19
This is really impressive work. I can't wait to see it!!! I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but please keep us posted on your progress.

 I know I'm just a metal working novice so I really appreciate that coming from a real live machinist.

It's not just the metalworking that's impressive, but the engineering and design that's gone into it as well. This is clearly very well thought out. And if there's one thing an experienced machinist can appreciate, it's solid engineering (it just makes everyone's lives easier).
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 18 October 2015, 03:45:46
Oh my god!  It's full of keys!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 October 2015, 04:06:23
Oh my god!  It's full of keys!

Who would have guessed? Of course I refer to them as moons.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: absyrd on Sun, 18 October 2015, 05:32:47
I'm gonna have to see a video after you are done on how you are using those keys in the ring around the trackball.
 
As usual, cool design. And thanks for sharing it in a "rough state"; this is the best part of MST.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 October 2015, 09:02:36
I'm gonna have to see a video after you are done on how you are using those keys in the ring around the trackball.

I hope to do just that.

Years ago when I began using a trackball centered between keyboard halves, I was concerned that it was a compromise. Formerly, I had one to the right and it was very nice, convenient and comfortable. After completing my ErgoDox tray and began using it, I discovered several benefits of the center ball design that I previously hadn't given much weight to. Being centered allows for 2 handed operation making it easy to 'switch hit' if one hand gets tired. I have better control because during precise moves the hand on the ball isn't affected by an operation made by the other hand. The center design also creates a natural separation between halves which makes conventional typing more ergo friendly

Usually when I'm drawing, both hands are hovering over the ball much of the time. By placing frequently used keys in its orbit, it should even further reduce the frequency of hand movements away from this position. I made a mockup of the design and found all of the ring keys easily reachable from the 'hover' position because of the availability of all 10 digits.
 
Early mockup. It had a damaged Slimblade mounted in it which I since removed for confirming fit in aluminum model.
[attach=1]
The mockup also shows some early thoughts on function locations. Some have changed but many are maintained.


As usual, cool design. And thanks for sharing it in a "rough state"; this is the best part of MST.

Thanks. I have a natural resistance to showing my warts but I agree that seeing the process with all its faults, is what we learn the most from.

Edit:   I confess I wasn't familiar with the acronym MST. :-[ After consulting the dictionary, which had 30+ possibilities, I found Manufacturing, Science and Technology the most likely and Material Support for Terrorism the least. :) How did I do?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 October 2015, 21:29:59
A few pictures of the keyring switches and caps.
[attach=1]  [attach=2]  [attach=3]
The caps still need some appearance enhancements before anodizing and dyeing but they fit well after the first try. :)

The switches are linear SMK's which came off of an old NEC keyboard. I chose them for the keyring and the thumb clusters because they have a very sturdy feel with little lateral give. This will be important because I don't intend to use stabilizers with one possible exception,and some of the caps are bigger than normal.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: SpAmRaY on Sun, 18 October 2015, 21:45:35
Amazing as always, this is what makes this forum great.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 18 October 2015, 21:45:55
A few pictures of the keyring switches and caps.
(Attachment Link)   (Attachment Link)   (Attachment Link)
The caps still need some appearance enhancements before anodizing and dyeing but they fit well after the first try. :)

The switches are linear SMK's which came off of an old NEC keyboard. I chose them for the keyring and the thumb clusters because they have a very sturdy feel with little lateral give. This will be important because I don't intend to use stabilizers with one possible exception,and some of the caps are bigger than normal.

Interesting switches. How heavy are they? I imagine with those big metal keys on top you wouldn't want something too light.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Sun, 18 October 2015, 22:06:23
The ring center reminds me of the portal from Stargate SG-1. Your case and design looks great! And yesssssss, mill porn <3
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 October 2015, 22:09:04
Amazing as always, this is what makes this forum great.

Thanks. As you know, diversity is our strength.

A few pictures of the keyring switches and caps.
(Attachment Link)   (Attachment Link)   (Attachment Link)
The caps still need some appearance enhancements before anodizing and dyeing but they fit well after the first try. :)

The switches are linear SMK's which came off of an old NEC keyboard. I chose them for the keyring and the thumb clusters because they have a very sturdy feel with little lateral give. This will be important because I don't intend to use stabilizers with one possible exception,and some of the caps are bigger than normal.

Interesting switches. How heavy are they? I imagine with those big metal keys on top you wouldn't want something too light.

I haven't tested them yet but I will the next time I'm in the shop. I'll weigh the caps as well.  They are definitely heavier than most I've tried and that is one of the reasons I choose them. I was originally attracted to them because of the small amount of switch body above the plate. I figured it would be easier to make undersize caps for them. I had planned to have the switches spaced 0.62" vertically and 0.75"horizontally; a spacing which I find to be a good compromise between big enough yet easier to reach than typical 0.75" spacing. Eventually I went with .65x.75 because I already have homemade Alps style caps from another project that will work and it will shorten the time to completion
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 October 2015, 22:11:45
The ring center reminds me of the portal from Stargate SG-1. Your case and design looks great! And yesssssss, mill porn <3

I've been caught! I've heard it said that originality is being able to hide your sources. As usual, thanks for the encouragement CBA.

Edit:   I think the quote was "being able to forget your sources"
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 18 October 2015, 22:15:50
The ring center reminds me of the portal from Stargate SG-1. Your case and design looks great! And yesssssss, mill porn <3

I've been caught! I've heard it said that originality is being able to hide your sources. As usual, thanks for the encouragement CBA.
Well now you're going to have to engrave Egyptian hieroglyphs onto those keycaps.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 October 2015, 22:18:27
A note about cap weight. Obviously, a heavy walled aluminum cap will weigh far more than a plastic one, but they are still pretty light; I suspect a small percentage of the typical spring resistance.
 Has anyone done an analysis on spring resistance and cap weight? Specifically, the sluggishness caused by an under sprung switch combined with a heavy cap.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 October 2015, 22:22:07

Well now you're going to have to engrave Egyptian hieroglyphs onto those keycaps.

I have some friends that are Professors of ancient middle eastern languages at Talbot Seminary that could help me out. Now all I need is someone who can engrave.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 18 October 2015, 22:41:46
A note about cap weight. Obviously, a heavy walled aluminum cap will weigh far more than a plastic one, but they are still pretty light; I suspect a small percentage of the typical spring resistance.
 Has anyone done an analysis on spring resistance and cap weight? Specifically, the sluggishness caused by an under sprung switch combined with a heavy cap.
I have long suspected that the rise in popularity of heavier switches (mx clears and blacks) versus blues and browns is due to the higher availability of thicker caps.

If you think about it, heavier caps effectively make switch actuation lighter, and they dampen tactile feedback due to shock absorption.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: blueangel2323 on Mon, 19 October 2015, 00:10:39
Wow, this looks awesome. What kind of monster CNC mill is that?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 19 October 2015, 03:40:38
Now all I need is someone who can engrave.
They're aluminium, right?  Etching should be pretty easy.  No harder than doing PCBs.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 05:39:21
Wow, this looks awesome. What kind of monster CNC mill is that?

Thanks.  It is just a manual mill. A lot of calculations, a lot of set up, a lot of indexing, a lot of guessing, and a lot of fun.

Now all I need is someone who can engrave.
They're aluminium, right?  Etching should be pretty easy.  No harder than doing PCBs.

What would the sequence be? Anodize and dye the aluminum first, reverse mask the aluminum, then etch?

Would I use the same chemicals that I use for copper?

Are there pre-cut stencils masks or is there a way to laser print them?

Any advice would be welcome.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 05:52:23

I have long suspected that the rise in popularity of heavier switches (mx clears and blacks) versus blues and browns is due to the higher availability of thicker caps.

If you think about it, heavier caps effectively make switch actuation lighter, and they dampen tactile feedback due to shock absorption.

I agree. The heavier switch should cancel out the static gravity effects of the heavier cap. I wonder about the dynamic effects. Specifically, the effects of inertia on the liveliness of the switch.
I got kicked out of physics in my senior year of high school and missed that part.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Yoe on Mon, 19 October 2015, 06:25:33
What an awesome project! I love it!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 19 October 2015, 09:23:20
What would the sequence be? Anodize and dye the aluminum first, reverse mask the aluminum, then etch?
Assuming you're anodising, yes, that's exactly it.  Use caustic soda rather than your standard etchant, should be pretty much "brush on, wash straight off".

Toner transfer works fine with caustic soda, the only difficult bit is going to be doing the actual transfer on non-planar key surfaces.

Here's someone who does stomp boxes - http://diy-guitar-effects.tumblr.com/etching
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Kad on Mon, 19 October 2015, 10:07:44
Are those thumb keys with odd-sized caps? And the ring around the trackball also looks like it's made of keys.

Yes, the thumb keys will have to be custom made. The 'key ring' is made up of frequently used keys for cad work. The ring keycaps are already made.
(Attachment Link)     (Attachment Link)
I hesitate to show it in such a rough state but at least you can see where I'm going with it.

This is incredible - I never would have thought of a layout like this! Good work so far and keep us updated  :thumb:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 10:20:28
What would the sequence be? Anodize and dye the aluminum first, reverse mask the aluminum, then etch?
Assuming you're anodising, yes, that's exactly it.  Use caustic soda rather than your standard etchant, should be pretty much "brush on, wash straight off".

Toner transfer works fine with caustic soda, the only difficult bit is going to be doing the actual transfer on non-planar key surfaces.

Here's someone who does stomp boxes - http://diy-guitar-effects.tumblr.com/etching

Thanks for the instructions, tufty. It's a great resource and his results were quite impressive.

You've just opened up for me a whole new world of possibilities.

One other question. How do I print negatives of lettering on a laser printer?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 10:30:12
This is incredible - I never would have thought of a layout like this! Good work so far and keep us updated  :thumb:

Thanks. I know that this layout is definitely not for everybody but it should suits my specific needs quite well.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Mon, 19 October 2015, 10:34:01
That's my favorite part about your builds kurplop. They're unapologetically for you and only you. Sometimes I imagine it as a figurative middle finger.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 10:36:27
That's my favorite part about your builds kurplop. They're unapologetically for you and only you. Sometimes I imagine is as a figurative middle finger

I got a big laugh out of that one. I'm probably the most egotistical, self centered guy you know.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Evo_Spec on Mon, 19 October 2015, 10:43:29
Man your boards are always so mind blowingly awesome. i can't wait to see more progress.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 19 October 2015, 13:38:52
One other question. How do I print negatives of lettering on a laser printer?
Do your lettering white on black?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 14:00:28
One other question. How do I print negatives of lettering on a laser printer?
Do your lettering white on black?


Yes. I would have to have the toner mask everything but the letters. Right?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: vivalarevolución on Mon, 19 October 2015, 21:52:58
H*** s*** that's awesome.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 22:33:29
I took some measurements of the amount of force required to activate the SMK switches that I'm using for the ring and thumb keys. I don't claim that they are accurate because I didn't calibrate my scale but they should be good enough for comparison purposes.

It turns out that they aren't as stiff as I had guessed. I was getting readings of 55g for the Cherry reds I had and about 58 for the Cherry blues. The Matias clicky's came in at 62. The SMK switches measured 62g also. I was expecting more. It was difficult to determine the actuation point so I just recorded the highest reading before bottoming out.

I then weighed several commercial single unit caps I had and they ranged from about .75g to 1.05g. My aluminum ring caps were 5.9 and 6.9g for the 2 sizes. 7x heavier than stock caps. A huge weight increase but only an 8% increase in spring stiffness necessary  to compensate for the extra load.

As I mentioned before, I don't think this tells the whole story. The extra weight makes the action feel less responsive and lightening the caps would improve performance.  Probably worth another trip to the mill. It shouldn't be to hard to remove a couple more grams since I intentionally left them fat.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 October 2015, 22:35:18
H*** s*** that's awesome.

Thanks. The Slimblade I bought from you is going in it. How about that!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Tue, 20 October 2015, 01:50:56
Yes. I would have to have the toner mask everything but the letters. Right?
Yep.  If you're going to do a dip, you want to mask all the rest (sides, bottom) of the key as well, wax should be good for this.

You can probably use wax as a secondary mask over the toner, viz:

heat the piece to "wax melting" temperature.
Touch wax to the toner-covered area - it should "float" in much the same way solder does across tracks on a PCB.  Of course, if it spreads to the non-toner-covered area, you're looking at "scrub and restart"...

Note - I have not tried the above on aluminium.

You will want to make sure your anodise is well sealed (boiled) before doing the toner transfer bit, or you'll probably end up with toner in the dyed surface that you can't get rid of.  That's about the only bit I'd be really worried about, but I'd strongly suggest getting the entire process down pat before trying it on a real key.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 04:21:25
Thanks. Even if I don't dip them, I can see the etchant spilling, dripping, or somehow migrating to areas unwanted. When you say wax, do you mean paraffin or some other kind?  I may have some left over after my last chest waxing.  :eek:  After etching, can the wax be removed by heating the part and wiping? I'll probably finish the machining first, so I'll have plenty of time to experiment and I've got plenty of scraps. Too bad I can't use the swarf. I've got a  trashcan full of that.

I am wondering though if it may make more sense to do the etching before the anodizing. The biggest obstacle would probably be getting the sealer off the surface completely, or the anodize and subsequent dyeing wouldn't be even. What do you think?

As an afterthought, what do you think if I applied self stick letters to the aluminum, applied wax over the entire surface, peel off the stickers and then etch? That would completely avoid the toner transfer stage.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 20 October 2015, 07:11:14
I took some measurements of the amount of force required to activate the SMK switches that I'm using for the ring and thumb keys. I don't claim that they are accurate because I didn't calibrate my scale but they should be good enough for comparison purposes.

It turns out that they aren't as stiff as I had guessed. I was getting readings of 55g for the Cherry reds I had and about 58 for the Cherry blues. The Matias clicky's came in at 62. The SMK switches measured 62g also. I was expecting more. It was difficult to determine the actuation point so I just recorded the highest reading before bottoming out.

I then weighed several commercial single unit caps I had and they ranged from about .75g to 1.05g. My aluminum ring caps were 5.9 and 6.9g for the 2 sizes. 7x heavier than stock caps. A huge weight increase but only an 8% increase in spring stiffness necessary  to compensate for the extra load.

As I mentioned before, I don't think this tells the whole story. The extra weight makes the action feel less responsive and lightening the caps would improve performance.  Probably worth another trip to the mill. It shouldn't be to hard to remove a couple more grams since I intentionally left them fat.
Are the switches serviceable? Maybe a spring swap is in order.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Tue, 20 October 2015, 08:43:12
Thanks. Even if I don't dip them, I can see the etchant spilling, dripping, or somehow migrating to areas unwanted. When you say wax, do you mean paraffin or some other kind?
I was thinking paraffin.  I've used ski wax before :)

After etching, can the wax be removed by heating the part and wiping?
chuck 'em in boiling water

I am wondering though if it may make more sense to do the etching before the anodizing. The biggest obstacle would probably be getting the sealer off the surface completely, or the anodize and subsequent dyeing wouldn't be even. What do you think?
Yeah, total cleaning might be an issue with that.  Depends the result you'e after, though - anodise then etch will remove the anodised colouring leaving your lettering "raw" aluminium, etch then anodise will leave you with coloured lettering in relief.

As an afterthought, what do you think if I applied self stick letters to the aluminum, applied wax over the entire surface, peel off the stickers and then etch? That would completely avoid the toner transfer stage.
I can see that working, yeah, although you might have trouble getting adhesive lettering that fine.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 19:07:15
Are the switches serviceable? Maybe a spring swap is in order.

It is easy enough to open the switches but I think that the solution has more to do with removing mass from the cap, which shouldn't be that much of a problem.

I am wondering though if it may make more sense to do the etching before the anodizing. The biggest obstacle would probably be getting the sealer off the surface completely, or the anodize and subsequent dyeing wouldn't be even. What do you think?
Yeah, total cleaning might be an issue with that.  Depends the result you'e after, though - anodise then etch will remove the anodised colouring leaving your lettering "raw" aluminium, etch then anodise will leave you with coloured lettering in relief.

Either way, I've got a lot of fun experiments before me.





Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Binge on Tue, 20 October 2015, 19:34:19
This is pretty sexy.  Thank you for the eye pron kurplop :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 20 October 2015, 19:38:27
Every time I come across this thread, I think to myself, I really need to get my mill.  Just going to be a Sherline.  But I am holding out for the new 5800 they have teaser pics of.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 20:32:31
This is pretty sexy.  Thank you for the eye pron kurplop :)

Thanks Binge.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 20:34:52
Every time I come across this thread, I think to myself, I really need to get my mill.  Just going to be a Sherline.  But I am holding out for the new 5800 they have teaser pics of.

After working with a full size mill, how do you think you'll like the Sherline? I've heard that they can be quite accurate.  Is it CNC equipped?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 20 October 2015, 20:49:16
Every time I come across this thread, I think to myself, I really need to get my mill.  Just going to be a Sherline.  But I am holding out for the new 5800 they have teaser pics of.

After working with a full size mill, how do you think you'll like the Shurline? I've heard that they can be quite accurate.  Is it CNC equipped?

I only have maybe an hour of milling experience with a full sized bridgeport.  And everything I did could have easily been done on the smallest of Sherline mills.

But no CNC for me.  Just manual version with no Sherline DRO.  I find the limitations of their implementation to restricting for my liking. 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 21:00:05
Every time I come across this thread, I think to myself, I really need to get my mill.  Just going to be a Sherline.  But I am holding out for the new 5800 they have teaser pics of.

After working with a full size mill, how do you think you'll like the Sherline? I've heard that they can be quite accurate.  Is it CNC equipped?

I only have maybe an hour of milling experience with a full sized bridgeport.  And everything I did could have easily been done on the smallest of Sherline mills.

But no CNC for me.  Just manual version with no Sherline DRO.  I find the limitations of their implementation to restricting for my liking. 

I've become quite dependent  on my DRO. At my age I just can't depend on my eyes to see those tiny graduations. I admit that I don't know how to use 90% of the DRO's functions though.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 20 October 2015, 21:18:14
Every time I come across this thread, I think to myself, I really need to get my mill.  Just going to be a Sherline.  But I am holding out for the new 5800 they have teaser pics of.

After working with a full size mill, how do you think you'll like the Sherline? I've heard that they can be quite accurate.  Is it CNC equipped?

I only have maybe an hour of milling experience with a full sized bridgeport.  And everything I did could have easily been done on the smallest of Sherline mills.

But no CNC for me.  Just manual version with no Sherline DRO.  I find the limitations of their implementation to restricting for my liking. 

I've become quite dependent  on my DRO. At my age I just can't depend on my eyes to see those tiny graduations. I admit that I don't know how to use 90% of the DRO's functions though.

I can understand, I don't have an issue with DRO, or CNC, just want to get used to some manual stuff before going further.

I will probably put DRO on it, then pick up some manual feed stuff, and finally go to DRO.  My biggest issue with Sherline DRO is how they implement it.

They have the sensor tied into the lead screw, not the table slides.  So, you see backlash as movement in the DRO.  Granted, those machines are supposed to be fairly tight out of the factory, I would rather have it in the slides instead of the leadscrew.  Plus, there is zero switching from inches to metric.  Your DRO units is tied to the leadscrew again.  If you have a metric leadscrew, you have metric DRO.  This should be able to be fairly easily fixed in the firmware.

Did you mill the switch holes in the plate yourself?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 21:43:37
Did you mill the switch holes in the plate yourself?

Yes. On past boards I painstakingly calculated all of the coordinates for every corner and left the DRO zeroed out at the same point. This led to a confusing quantity of numbers to mess me up. This time I found a starting point in the center of the first hole, zeroed out the DRO, move to a corner, in my case, up .21875", left .26875, and then moved to the next corner which would be a combination of those 2 numbers (+ and- of course). After completing a hole, Move down to the center of the next, in my case .65", zero out and start again. Much less confusing, quicker and both plates turned out without any mistakes.
[attach=1]
I put the numbers on the DRO to remember them. As you can see, the DRO's acuity only allowed me to get within 20/100,000",  so my holes ended up 5/100,000"x2 small which may explain the necessary filing to fit. I used a 1/16" bit and the rounded corners weren't a factor at that size.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 20 October 2015, 22:01:22
Writing down your dimensions? Looks like you're learning fast. I also like the center zero trick. That's a great way to do pockets.

Does that readout have a centerline function? Mine had a button where I could set a zero on the left edge, wheel over and find the right edge, and just hit the CL button to set a new zero at the halfway point. Very handy for this kind of thing.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 22:25:03
Writing down your dimensions? Looks like you're learning fast. I also like the center zero trick. That's a great way to do pockets.

Does that readout have a centerline function? Mine had a button where I could set a zero on the left edge, wheel over and find the right edge, and just hit the CL button to set a new zero at the halfway point. Very handy for this kind of thing.
I'm sure that my DRO can do that as well as many other things that I don't have a clue about. One of the problems with many tools from China is  that the instructions are incomprehensible.

I should probably buy you a plane ticket and hire you to spend a week showing me how to use the thing.

One way that I made things easier was to limit the number of vertical staggers to 2. It may appear like there are more but I intentionally did that to simplify things and I only had to shift what I thought was ideal by 10 thou. or so to line them up.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 20 October 2015, 22:35:09


I should probably buy you a plane ticket and hire you to spend a week showing me how to use the thing.

I would highly encourage you to take a class. Credit hours are cheaper than scrapped parts and you learn the same lessons from both. Do you have a local community college or trade school nearby?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 October 2015, 23:27:09


I should probably buy you a plane ticket and hire you to spend a week showing me how to use the thing.

I would highly encourage you to take a class. Credit hours are cheaper than scrapped parts and you learn the same lessons from both. Do you have a local community college or trade school nearby?

I'm sure you're right. For some unknown but probably irrational reason, I've had an aversion to formal education. I live within walking distance to a community college but never took advantage of what they provide. It may have something to do with my background. I am experienced in many trades and I would benefit more from an instructor filling in the gaps rather than beginning at square one. This is not intended to sound boastful, just honest. Most disciplines contain skills which carryover to other ones. Whether you're taking measurements with a mic, tape or scale, 1+1 still equals 2. 

Your suggestion does have merit though and I will consider it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 20 October 2015, 23:32:20


I should probably buy you a plane ticket and hire you to spend a week showing me how to use the thing.

I would highly encourage you to take a class. Credit hours are cheaper than scrapped parts and you learn the same lessons from both. Do you have a local community college or trade school nearby?

I'm sure you're right. For some unknown but probably irrational reason, I've had an aversion to formal education. I live within walking distance to a community college but never took advantage of what they provide. It may have something to do with my background. I am experienced in many trades and I would benefit more from an instructor filling in the gaps rather than beginning at square one. This is not intended to sound boastful, just honest. Most disciplines contain skills which carryover to other ones. Whether you're taking measurements with a mic, tape or scale, 1+1 still equals 2. 

Your suggestion does have merit though and I will consider it.
Sounds like you learn best by doing.

Depending on the instructor, if he or she is really passionate about what they do, you may be able to work out an informal mentor/protege relationship and just get some pointers about specific methods. It might be refreshing for an instructor who's used to dealing with disengaged college-age kids.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 20 October 2015, 23:33:02


I should probably buy you a plane ticket and hire you to spend a week showing me how to use the thing.

I would highly encourage you to take a class. Credit hours are cheaper than scrapped parts and you learn the same lessons from both. Do you have a local community college or trade school nearby?

I'm sure you're right. For some unknown but probably irrational reason, I've had an aversion to formal education. I live within walking distance to a community college but never took advantage of what they provide. It may have something to do with my background. I am experienced in many trades and I would benefit more from an instructor filling in the gaps rather than beginning at square one. This is not intended to sound boastful, just honest. Most disciplines contain skills which carryover to other ones. Whether you're taking measurements with a mic, tape or scale, 1+1 still equals 2. 

Your suggestion does have merit though and I will consider it.

But 2+2=5  For extremely large values of 2.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zustiur on Wed, 21 October 2015, 05:08:35
As usual, cool design. And thanks for sharing it in a "rough state"; this is the best part of MST.

Thanks. I have a natural resistance to showing my warts but I agree that seeing the process with all its faults, is what we learn the most from.

Edit:   I confess I wasn't familiar with the acronym MST. :-[ After consulting the dictionary, which had 30+ possibilities, I found Manufacturing, Science and Technology the most likely and Material Support for Terrorism the least. :) How did I do?
Around these parts MST usually means Making Stuff Together.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 21 October 2015, 05:27:02

Sounds like you learn best by doing.

Depending on the instructor, if he or she is really passionate about what they do, you may be able to work out an informal mentor/protege relationship and just get some pointers about specific methods. It might be refreshing for an instructor who's used to dealing with disengaged college-age kids.
I think you nailed it on all of your points. While there are inefficiencies and risks in learning by doing it does have some advantages. That shouldn't be mistaken for being self taught. Most of what I've learned has come from others. For instance, you,melvang and tufty, have taught me more in the last few days than what I learned in the shop.

Your other comment reminded me of what my daughters use to tell me when they were in college. They generally liked the older students but would be annoyed that they would mess up the grading curve."It was as if they were actually trying to learn something".


But 2+2=5  For extremely large values of 2.

That may be true in some relative post-Einsteinian sort of way but my heros were Archimedes, Euclid and Newton.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 21 October 2015, 05:30:49
As usual, cool design. And thanks for sharing it in a "rough state"; this is the best part of MST.

Thanks. I have a natural resistance to showing my warts but I agree that seeing the process with all its faults, is what we learn the most from.

Edit:   I confess I wasn't familiar with the acronym MST. :-[ After consulting the dictionary, which had 30+ possibilities, I found Manufacturing, Science and Technology the most likely and Material Support for Terrorism the least. :) How did I do?
Around these parts MST usually means Making Stuff Together.

Thanks. I appreciate the correction before I did too much damage with my misunderstanding.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:29:53
I thought I'd better update the thread. I got in a lot of milling time over the weekend. I finished up most of the precision work so now I'm beginning to slim down things.
It probably weighed about 6 pounds on Friday and now it's probably about 3. I think it I can get it down to about 1- 1.5 without components. Next comes the fun part of shaping the angular shapes into fluid contours

As you can see by the trash can, most of the block of aluminum is swarf now.  That's my mill in the background. Notice also that my metal shop is almost as messy as my office.
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:32:18
That picture makes me feel tingly and my mouth drool a little. I wish I had a metal shop and that mill :eek:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:32:28
I thought I'd better update the thread. I got in a lot of milling time over the weekend. I finished up most of the precision work so now I'm beginning to slim down things.
It probably weighed about 6 pounds on Friday and now it's probably about 3. I think it I can get it down to about 1- 1.5 without components. Next comes the fun part of shaping the angular shapes into fluid contours

As you can see by the trash can, most of the block of aluminum is swarf now.  That's my mill in the background. Notice also that my metal shop is almost as messy as my office.
(Attachment Link)

I hope you're planning to scrap all that stuff and not just throw it away!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:35:46
I hope you make a sandcasting. You should make an aluminum Pikachu statue.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:36:56
I hope you make a sandcasting. You should make an aluminum Pikachu statue.

This seems so random yet I'm having a hard time disagreeing with the idea.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:39:42
I hope you make a sandcasting. You should make an aluminum Pikachu statue.

Sandcast mold of the Planet 6 case would me amazing.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:39:52


I hope you're planning to scrap all that stuff and not just throw it away!
[/quote]

Definitely. It's worth keeping it separate so that it can be recycled. I hesitated showing the scrap for fear of someone accusing me of ruining the planet. I know this isn't the most efficient way of making a keyboard but it's a fun challenge.

That picture makes me feel tingly and my mouth drool a little. I wish I had a metal shop and that mill :eek:

It is a lot of fun. I have no regrets getting it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:42:28
What kind of mill is it? From what I can see it looks like an old Lincoln or Chevalier. Also, it's nice that you have a surface grinder in the background. You can do some cool stuff with that setup.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:44:13
I hope you make a sandcasting. You should make an aluminum Pikachu statue.

Sandcast mold of the Planet 6 case would me amazing.

I've heard that unless the chips are compressed before melting, the vast surface area reacts to the oxygen and heat, and you end up with mostly dross. It's more efficient to recycle it and let the pros deal with it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 October 2015, 21:49:51
It is an old Kent mill body with an Acra head. I bought it from a local used machine dealer 2 years ago. The dealer said that the head was only a year old. Who knows?

It has an acceptable level of backlash, but then, I don't really have anything to compare it with.

I picked up the surface grinder to use mostly for sharpening planer/jointer blades, etc.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 26 October 2015, 06:45:17
I've heard that unless the chips are compressed before melting, the vast surface area reacts to the oxygen and heat, and you end up with mostly dross. It's more efficient to recycle it and let the pros deal with it.
If you were to grind your chips down and add some rust, the recycling might become significantly more fun.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 09:49:45
I've heard that unless the chips are compressed before melting, the vast surface area reacts to the oxygen and heat, and you end up with mostly dross. It's more efficient to recycle it and let the pros deal with it.
If you were to grind your chips down and add some rust, the recycling might become significantly more fun.

I can remember recycling about 100 lbs. of  aluminum window frames a few years ago. Because there were a couple of steel screws left in the extrusions, they gave me about a third of what I'd have got otherwise.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Mon, 26 October 2015, 09:50:44
I've heard that unless the chips are compressed before melting, the vast surface area reacts to the oxygen and heat, and you end up with mostly dross. It's more efficient to recycle it and let the pros deal with it.
If you were to grind your chips down and add some rust, the recycling might become significantly more fun.

I can remember recycling about 100 lbs. of  aluminum window frames a few years ago. Because there were a couple of steel screws left in the extrusions, they gave me about a third of what I'd have got otherwise.
That's the scheister scrapyard trick. Total scumbag move.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: jdcarpe on Mon, 26 October 2015, 09:55:35
kurplop, if you want the legends laser-engraved on your anodized aluminum caps, I can do that for you. :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 10:01:14
I've heard that unless the chips are compressed before melting, the vast surface area reacts to the oxygen and heat, and you end up with mostly dross. It's more efficient to recycle it and let the pros deal with it.
If you were to grind your chips down and add some rust, the recycling might become significantly more fun.

I can remember recycling about 100 lbs. of  aluminum window frames a few years ago. Because there were a couple of steel screws left in the extrusions, they gave me about a third of what I'd have got otherwise.
That's the scheister scrapyard trick. Total scumbag move.

I know. I'm a pushover. I feel a bit out of my element there. Most of the employees are non-english speaking and sometimes I think that this may be their way of getting back at the white guys who stole California from them.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Mon, 26 October 2015, 10:02:37
I've heard that unless the chips are compressed before melting, the vast surface area reacts to the oxygen and heat, and you end up with mostly dross. It's more efficient to recycle it and let the pros deal with it.
If you were to grind your chips down and add some rust, the recycling might become significantly more fun.

I can remember recycling about 100 lbs. of  aluminum window frames a few years ago. Because there were a couple of steel screws left in the extrusions, they gave me about a third of what I'd have got otherwise.
That's the scheister scrapyard trick. Total scumbag move.

I know. I'm a pushover. I feel a bit out of my element there. Most of the employees are non-english speaking and sometimes I think that this may be their way of getting back at the white guys who stole California from them.
Then why do the Slovenian scrappers do it here in Northeast Ohio?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 10:03:17
kurplop, if you want the legends laser-engraved on your anodized aluminum caps, I can do that for you. :)

That sounds great. I'll be in touch when the time comes.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 10:05:34
I've heard that unless the chips are compressed before melting, the vast surface area reacts to the oxygen and heat, and you end up with mostly dross. It's more efficient to recycle it and let the pros deal with it.
If you were to grind your chips down and add some rust, the recycling might become significantly more fun.

I can remember recycling about 100 lbs. of  aluminum window frames a few years ago. Because there were a couple of steel screws left in the extrusions, they gave me about a third of what I'd have got otherwise.
That's the scheister scrapyard trick. Total scumbag move.

I know. I'm a pushover. I feel a bit out of my element there. Most of the employees are non-english speaking and sometimes I think that this may be their way of getting back at the white guys who stole California from them.
Then why do the Slovenian scrappers do it here in Northeast Ohio?

Maybe it's an immigrant 'us against them' mindset.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 26 October 2015, 15:05:25
I think you're missing the point (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqvQwfH_wGQ)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 18:47:50
I think you're missing the point (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqvQwfH_wGQ)

Yes I did. I should have known better too. I've got a friend who is a licensed pyro-technician who is always talking about the materials of the trade.

Pretty scary stuff. I've heard that magnesium is especially dangerous to sand.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: lucaslink on Mon, 26 October 2015, 19:57:12
hand.. hand milled? this is beyond inspiring. can't wait to see the finished product. pics so far look incredible!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 21:03:21
hand.. hand milled? this is beyond inspiring. can't wait to see the finished product. pics so far look incredible!

Thanks. It's not quite finished on the mill but I needed to get a sense of the final shape, so I pulled out the angle grinder with a 40grit wheel and began shaping the top.
[attach=2]
This part involves a certain judgement. Up until now it's all pictures, ideas and geometric angles. Making it all flow together with a priority on it feeling right when it's all done requires, if I dare say it, an artistic discretion. The fear is removing metal too hastily and later regretting it.
[attach=1]
You can see in this picture some of the compound curves necessary.

I shot some video but I don't know how to upload it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Mon, 26 October 2015, 21:06:52
Absolutely amazing! Bench work like this is a dying art, especially with 5- and 6-axis mills becoming more commonplace. I am genuinely impressed.

For video, you'll have to upload to YouTube or Vimeo. Then you can use the link buttons in the edit toolbar. Geekhack doesn't host video directly.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 21:13:44
Absolutely amazing! Bench work like this is a dying art, especially with 5- and 6-axis mills becoming more commonplace. I am genuinely impressed.

For video, you'll have to upload to YouTube or Vimeo. Then you can use the link buttons in the edit toolbar. Geekhack doesn't host video directly.

Thanks. I must say, I feel a bit like a body and fender man, grinding away on that metal.

Thanks for the direction to go with the video's. Stay tuned for the introductory episode of Kurplop in the Shop.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Mon, 26 October 2015, 21:18:31
This board is epic! I am amazed with what you are able to do with  both designing and building. I really look forward to seeing the finished product. :thumb:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 21:28:07
This board is epic! I am amazed with what you are able to do with  both designing and building. I really look forward to seeing the finished product. :thumb:

Thanks. I'm equally impressed with your ability to deadlift that much weight while being elevated. That, and your height working against you makes it even more noteworthy.
Many many years ago when I was a fanatical weight lifter. I always thought the short guys had an incredible advantage when powerlifting. The bar is already almost up to their knees when deadlifting and the shorter overall travel made all the lifts deceptively easier for them.

Sorry to derail the thread but I started it. ;)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: heroinbob on Mon, 26 October 2015, 21:45:43
Your boards are works of art. 
You never cease to amaze me.

Will be watching your thread with anticipation

Paul (HB)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 October 2015, 22:07:50
Your oards are works of art. 
You never cease to amaze me.

Will be watching your thread with anticipation

Paul (HB)

Thanks Paul. I will see you at the Meet n Chill in a couple weeks.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Mon, 26 October 2015, 22:13:52
This board is epic! I am amazed with what you are able to do with  both designing and building. I really look forward to seeing the finished product. :thumb:

Thanks. I'm equally impressed with your ability to deadlift that much weight while being elevated. That, and your height working against you makes it even more noteworthy.
Many many years ago when I was a fanatical weight lifter. I always thought the short guys had an incredible advantage when powerlifting. The bar is already almost up to their knees when deadlifting and the shorter overall travel made all the lifts deceptively easier for them.

Sorry to derail the thread but I started it. ;)

Thank you! My deadlift has stalled as of late though sadly. Typically shorter guys have the advantage, but it is really all about lever arms and proportions. Ed Coan is fairly short compared to George Leeman but they both deadlift incredible amounts of weight albeit in a different weight class.

Speaking of deadlifting though, I need to look up a new program to run.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: heroinbob on Mon, 26 October 2015, 22:47:16
Your oards are works of art. 
You never cease to amaze me.

Will be watching your thread with anticipation

Paul (HB)

Thanks Paul. I will see you at the Meet n Chill in a couple weeks.

Sweet!!! Really excited about the get together - I couldn't get so lucky it being in HB.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Tue, 27 October 2015, 02:22:10
 Thats looking really, really nice.  Good grinder work, too.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 27 October 2015, 04:34:33
Thats looking really, really nice.  Good grinder work, too.

Thanks a really, really lot!

 A little update on the etching: Jdcarpe has offered to help me with laser engraving the legends. That should eliminate one hurdle but I still want to etch part of the Planet6 logo. I was excited to get a container of drain cleaner in the mail yesterday (how's that for weird?), and hope to start some experiments soon.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 28 October 2015, 13:41:41
A little update on the etching: Jdcarpe has offered to help me with laser engraving the legends. That should eliminate one hurdle but I still want to etch part of the Planet6 logo. I was excited to get a container of drain cleaner in the mail yesterday (how's that for weird?), and hope to start some experiments soon.
That's cool, means you can play with stuff that's larger than the lettering on keys.

Also means you can invite the ladies up to "see your etchings"...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 28 October 2015, 13:54:54
A little update on the etching: Jdcarpe has offered to help me with laser engraving the legends. That should eliminate one hurdle but I still want to etch part of the Planet6 logo. I was excited to get a container of drain cleaner in the mail yesterday (how's that for weird?), and hope to start some experiments soon.
That's cool, means you can play with stuff that's larger than the lettering on keys.

Also means you can invite the ladies up to "see your etchings"...

Don't let my wife in on my ulterior motive. And here, she thinks that I just like to type. She has no clue what a chick magnet you become when you have a fine keyboard.;D
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 30 October 2015, 02:39:00
I thought that as things were progressing slowly, I'd take a few minutes to show what has gone wrong so far.

Early on in the milling I cut the 2 pockets for the switch plates too close to the key ring. When I milled the channel for the key ring switches to fit into and cut the holes for the switches, my fears were confirmed. The side switch holes overlap into the pockets. The open switch holes are plenty strong to support the switches but I should have held back the cuts. In fact, I probably should have not crowded the ring and the alpha switches so much. I wanted them close for ease of use but another 1/4" space would have been better.
[attach=1]

This is what happens when the work isn't adequately clamped the the table. Fortunately the damage was limited to these cuts which will be hidden. I could mill them out but I may leave them as a reminder to be more careful in the future.
[attach=2]

I did a bit more shaping but I'd still like to lose at least another 1/2 pound which I think I can cut out of the underside. I'm at 2.1 pounds right now.
[attach=3]

Here's where we are at now. Back view.
[attach=4]

And the front.
[attach=5]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Krytone on Fri, 30 October 2015, 04:17:47
aw my gad  :eek:

thats one stunning board. cant wait to see the final form. as everyone mentioned, great work sir!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Fri, 30 October 2015, 04:37:39
Cor!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Fri, 30 October 2015, 20:09:27
Woohoo, a new plopboard (even if we can't call it that anymore).

Lookin good. You'll be happy to know, I haven't had any major issues with my Matias switches lately. I wouldn't say I love them for gaming, but they're as good as any for typing.

How much backlash does your mill have?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 30 October 2015, 21:39:33
aw my gad  :eek:

thats one stunning board. cant wait to see the final form. as everyone mentioned, great work sir!

I can get too much sun, eat too much ice cream, sleep too much and watch too much TV, but I've yet to get tired of too many kind words. Thank you.

Cor!

Merci.

Woohoo, a new plopboard (even if we can't call it that anymore).

Lookin good. You'll be happy to know, I haven't had any major issues with my Matias switches lately. I wouldn't say I love them for gaming, but they're as good as any for typing.

How much backlash does your mill have?

Zek! I figured if I dangled the bait out there long enough, you'd eventually resurface. Good to hear from you.

That's good to hear about the Matias switches. My limited experience with them has been positive as well. 

I'll check tomorrow about the backlash. It is probably pretty loose but it hasn't been a problem. I haven't had a problem with climb cutting aluminum and the DRO lets me be unconcerned about relying on the crank readings.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 31 October 2015, 14:53:26
I ground off a couple more ounces from the underside.
[attach=1]

Slow going. I'm down to 31.5 oz. I'm not sure I'll hit my target of 1.5 pounds. I think I will wind up with about 28 oz. in the end.
[attach=2]

I still have some more rough work to do but I smoothed it out to be able to see and feel any differences between the right and left sides.
[attach=3]

I think I may take a break from the case for a while and start making the thumb keycaps next. I also want to refine the keyring keycaps; both to lighten them and to sculpt the tops. Part of the reason for the changeup in order, is to have the caps in place to determine if I need or want to refine the contours of the case top.

Also, I'm at the same point that I was on with the Alumaplop where I like the look of the shiny aluminum so much that I'm tempted not to dye it. I'd welcome any thoughts from the GH family regarding opinions, pros and cons, suggestions or any other input about the type of finish I might consider. I'm currently leaning toward a black satin anodized finish to match his little brother, the Alumaplop, but the decision is far from made. 
 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Sun, 01 November 2015, 10:46:55
Go with a Cerakote finish.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: absyrd on Sun, 01 November 2015, 11:15:41
Cerakote is what again?

I like the look of it now, so just some kind of clearcoat I hope?!?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 01 November 2015, 12:51:47
Splash anodising?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: lolpes on Sun, 01 November 2015, 12:52:57
Splash anodising?

this ^^
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 01 November 2015, 14:44:43
Totally, *totally* wildcarding here, but would it be possible to do something like swirl painting with anodise?  I guess you'd need some fairly exotic oil-based dye, don't know if it's even feasible or not.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: ramnes on Sun, 01 November 2015, 15:53:20
Just discovering that thread.  :eek:

Keep up the good work!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 01 November 2015, 20:30:02
Go with a Cerakote finish.

How do you think that compares with the durability of an anodized finish? What are the advantages?

Unless there's a compelling reason not to, I'll probably anodize it. How else can I justify having a cart full of Sulfuric acid, de-smut, dye and power supplies.

Splash anodising?

this ^^

Interesting. I checked some sites. If I did that it would probably not be a random design but something like lines, curves or template shapes.

Totally, *totally* wildcarding here, but would it be possible to do something like swirl painting with anodise?  I guess you'd need some fairly exotic oil-based dye, don't know if it's even feasible or not.

Is that something like dyeing variegated easter eggs where the item is submerged in 2 unmixed dyes?

Just discovering that thread.  :eek:

Keep up the good work!

Thanks. I'll do my best.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 01 November 2015, 23:44:29
Totally, *totally* wildcarding here, but would it be possible to do something like swirl painting with anodise?  I guess you'd need some fairly exotic oil-based dye, don't know if it's even feasible or not.

Is that something like dyeing variegated easter eggs where the item is submerged in 2 unmixed dyes?
Kinda, yeah.  You have a film of various colours of paint floating on the surface of a tank, the object is pushed through it.  Like this:


I am unsure / doubtful it would be doable with anodising dyes.  A fade anodise could be nice, though.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Mon, 02 November 2015, 08:40:43
I think it would be a shame to hide that grind job. Anodize that with no dye. Just clear so you can admire that finish.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: absyrd on Mon, 02 November 2015, 08:43:57
I think it would be a shame to hide that grind job. Anodize that with no dye. Just clear so you can admire that finish.

What he said. It should remain looking like a ufo.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 02 November 2015, 09:09:29
The problem I run into with the clear finish is the texture and sheen. If I sandblast it, it looks dull. In fact, just the process of anodizing, which is necessary for durability, dulls the finish some. I actually like the brushed look but with the contours and turns it's hard to do a consistent job of that. Another problem with the aluminum look is the chrome ring around the ball looks washed out next to the polished aluminum. When I try a high polish, I have a hard time getting that uniform as well. Also, to get the highest sheen, I have to buff with a compound which has oils and waxes in it that may compromise the anodizing process.

Don't misunderstand, I really like the aluminum look. If I do it, I'll just have to overcome those obstacles.

As always, thanks for the input.
Totally, *totally* wildcarding here, but would it be possible to do something like swirl painting with anodise?  I guess you'd need some fairly exotic oil-based dye, don't know if it's even feasible or not.

Is that something like dyeing variegated easter eggs where the item is submerged in 2 unmixed dyes?
Kinda, yeah.  You have a film of various colours of paint floating on the surface of a tank, the object is pushed through it.  Like this:


I am unsure / doubtful it would be doable with anodising dyes.  A fade anodise could be nice, though.


It's great  to see all of these options. It really got me thinking.

While the swirl painting technique is impressive, it's not the way I would want to go. Reminds me of something you see rolling down a bowling alley.
 


Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Mon, 02 November 2015, 13:17:57
Look into bright dipping before Anodizing. That's how Apple gets their clear anodized parts so shiny.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kittykatmax on Mon, 02 November 2015, 18:16:48
Another amazing project!  So very impressed, as always. :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: grav3serker on Tue, 03 November 2015, 01:08:31
This looks pretty sweet!  :thumb: How do you like the Matias switches? I've got a V60 with quiet clicks in the mail  right now that I can't wait to try!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 03 November 2015, 03:42:17
This looks pretty sweet!  :thumb: How do you like the Matias switches? I've got a V60 with quiet clicks in the mail  right now that I can't wait to try!

Thanks. I think that I will like the Matias quiet switches. I have the Matias clickys on another board and am satisfied with them. I admit however that I don't have discriminating fingers and like a wide variety of  switches. I chose them partly because their dimensions are more consistent with the nonstandard spacing of my keys and partly because my experience with Matias (the man and company) has been very good.

Look into bright dipping before Anodizing. That's how Apple gets their clear anodized parts so shiny.

Thanks for the lead. I started looking into it. Will that process give it a mirror-like finish?

Another amazing project!  So very impressed, as always. :)

Thanks kitty. It's good to hear from you...    as always. :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: OverKill on Tue, 03 November 2015, 06:00:25
Kurplop,

The only way to get a glossy finish on anodizing is to polish the hell out of it. Since anodizing is basically just dying the surface (or in the case of clear anodizing they use no dye) so when anodizing whatever is on the part before it gets anodized will be there afterwards. Nothing gets hidden. Lighter colors make blemishes more prevalent and darker colors "hide" them better. Don't worry too much about compounds (contact whoever you are going to use for anodizing though). The first step with anodizing is to give it an acid bath, then they dip it in distilled water to rinse off the acid, then they put it in a tank where they leave it in the tank of dye (or un-dyed) water for x minutes at x temperature with x volts. One thing to keep in mind with anodizing is that once you have done it, there is no going back. You can have it stripped, but the surface will be ruined and you will have to refinish it all over in order to get the color changed. You can also work with the anodizing shop you use as they will have seen hundreds of thousands of parts from sand blasted to super polished. Most places are pretty easy to work with. Also you may want to ask them if they have parts going in that are the same color if you can piggy back off that order (if there is room) to reduce your lot charge.

side note: you can do home anodizing, they sell kits if you want, google aluminum anodizing kits, tutorials, etc. Lots of info online about the subject :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 03 November 2015, 06:03:02


Look into bright dipping before Anodizing. That's how Apple gets their clear anodized parts so shiny.

Thanks for the lead. I started looking into it. Will that process give it a mirror-like finish?

On a glass bead blasted part, it will not make a true mirror finish. But it will make each tiny "facet" shiny rather than dull. If that makes sense.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 03 November 2015, 09:09:29
Kurplop,

The only way to get a glossy finish on anodizing is to polish the hell out of it. Since anodizing is basically just dying the surface (or in the case of clear anodizing they use no dye) so when anodizing whatever is on the part before it gets anodized will be there afterwards. Nothing gets hidden. Lighter colors make blemishes more prevalent and darker colors "hide" them better. Don't worry too much about compounds (contact whoever you are going to use for anodizing though). The first step with anodizing is to give it an acid bath, then they dip it in distilled water to rinse off the acid, then they put it in a tank where they leave it in the tank of dye (or un-dyed) water for x minutes at x temperature with x volts. One thing to keep in mind with anodizing is that once you have done it, there is no going back. You can have it stripped, but the surface will be ruined and you will have to refinish it all over in order to get the color changed. You can also work with the anodizing shop you use as they will have seen hundreds of thousands of parts from sand blasted to super polished. Most places are pretty easy to work with. Also you may want to ask them if they have parts going in that are the same color if you can piggy back off that order (if there is room) to reduce your lot charge.

side note: you can do home anodizing, they sell kits if you want, google aluminum anodizing kits, tutorials, etc. Lots of info online about the subject :)


Thanks for the input. I have done my own home anodizing on my last project, the Alumaplop, and it turned out very well. When I was experimenting with the type of surface texture and dye color, I tried 3 different textures and ended up with the sandblasted finish.
   1.  I really liked the fine brushed look, it showed the beauty and shine of the aluminum at its best. The problem was that was, no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get the uniformity of depth and direction I wanted.   What would be simple on a flat surface became quite a challenge with all the contours and plane breaks.
   2.  Then I tried to get a mirror finish and once again I had issues. As I worked my way up through the grits up to 12,000, the surface actually turned a dull whitish color. The only way I could get a mirror polish was using oil/wax based compounds with a buffing wheel. The best I could was still inconsistent. Overall it did have a nice shine but some places appeared a bit cloudy. I was also concerned about whether I'd be able to remove the contaminants fully before anodizing. Also, the very process of anodizing creates a slightly dull finish by growing a thin semi-transparent oxide into the surface. The surface remains smooth but where the anodize meets the virgin aluminum isn't. This is what causes the irregular refraction.
   3.  I guess I put a premium on the consistency of the finish and  I found it by sandblasting. Not as striking as a mirror finish, not as dazzling as the fine brush, but lovely in its own subdued way. The matte black finish has performed well. Not a visible scratch on it. and it doesn't show smudges. As a bonus it also matches the finish on my ThinkPad. One other thing about this finish; because I am occasionally out in public with it, I didn't want the finish to scream, "Look at me".  Afterall, I'm a show off but I don't want people to know it. ;D

Now back to the present. While my tastes don't lean towards unicorns, bubblegum, artisans, or backlighting, since this will be exclusively a home office keyboard, I don't mind trying something a bit bolder than my last finish. That's why I asked for opinions. I still like the clear finish as an option but am not quite sure how to achieve the effect I'm looking for.

Thanks again for everybody who have offered ideas. Even if I don't use some of them, they are making me aware of more options and processes which is quite helpful.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 03 November 2015, 09:15:14


Look into bright dipping before Anodizing. That's how Apple gets their clear anodized parts so shiny.

Thanks for the lead. I started looking into it. Will that process give it a mirror-like finish?

On a glass bead blasted part, it will not make a true mirror finish. But it will make each tiny "facet" shiny rather than dull. If that makes sense.

I see. So the overall effect is tiny sparkles. Is that how Apple textures their aluminum?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 03 November 2015, 09:19:43


Look into bright dipping before Anodizing. That's how Apple gets their clear anodized parts so shiny.

Thanks for the lead. I started looking into it. Will that process give it a mirror-like finish?

On a glass bead blasted part, it will not make a true mirror finish. But it will make each tiny "facet" shiny rather than dull. If that makes sense.

I see. So the overall effect is tiny sparkles. Is that how Apple textures their aluminum?

Yes, exactly. Some anodizing shops are able to do this but I've never been able to find much info on how to do it yourself (i.e., what chemicals & processes to use). But then again I've never looked that hard because I don't have any of the equipment or a project that demands it.

Regarding colors, keep it simple and classy. Flashy colors and "blinkenlights" are a good way to make one boxy keyboard stand out from the others. But your boards are already in a class all their own. Wild stuff like that would only distract from the elegance of the design.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Tue, 03 November 2015, 09:21:25
njbair you do remember that the middle of this board is the Stargate right? He's got the shiniest, blinkiest light ever.

More related to the topic, I'd love to see examples of that glass bead blast with a no-dye anodization job.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 03 November 2015, 09:42:18
njbair you do remember that the middle of this board is the Stargate right? He's got the shiniest, blinkiest light ever.

More related to the topic, I'd love to see examples of that glass bead blast with a no-dye anodization job.

Here ya go:

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 03 November 2015, 16:46:22
I'm currently leaning toward a black satin anodized finish to match his little brother, the Alumaplop, but the decision is far from made. 

How does the saying go? If it is not yet broken, why attempt a fix? Something like that :)
My vote is for black anodized via whatever method has produced the best result in the past.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 07 November 2015, 09:33:34
Well, not a whole lot got done this week but I thought I'd better give an update.

After a lot of wondering about how and what I should do about palm rests, I took he plunge and dug out some aluminum to make room for the rests.
[attachimg=1]


And here is the walnut as it is being contour sanded in place.
[attachimg=2]

One more from the side
[attachimg=3]

The trick will be attaching the wood to the walnut. I will probably use epoxy or polyurethane glue which will be fine. My concern will be to end up with the top of the walnut and aluminum perfectly even because the aluminum will already be anodized and the wood finished before glueing. Too late then for any sanding corrections.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: neverused on Sat, 07 November 2015, 11:34:31
Oh I really like the walnut inlay
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nubbinator on Sat, 07 November 2015, 11:45:15
The trick will be attaching the wood to the walnut. I will probably use epoxy or polyurethane glue which will be fine. My concern will be to end up with the top of the walnut and aluminum perfectly even because the aluminum will already be anodized and the wood finished before glueing. Too late then for any sanding corrections.

Looking really good.  If you finish the walnut with oil and paste wax, you can still make adjustments.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 07 November 2015, 12:58:06
Oh I really like the walnut inlay

Thanks. I spent a lot of time to decide on walnut. Because I'm still undecided on the finish (probably black or clear anodized), I had to consider a wood that would complement either finish.

Looking really good.  If you finish the walnut with oil and paste wax, you can still make adjustments.

Good point. I'm also concerned about accidentally scratching the anodize if I have to further sand the wood. Fortunately, the walnut does sand very easily.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 07 November 2015, 14:09:16
Good lord, that's gorgeous.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: wackottl on Sat, 07 November 2015, 14:51:32
This looks so nice! I wish I had such metal working skills.

I'm looking forward to seeing it with the keycaps on.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sat, 07 November 2015, 17:44:15
Great choice on the walnut. It'll look perfect with the black :)

In general, I just like wood as a material for skin contact... well, dry wood at least. What kind of finish do you use on the wood, and does it lose that nice soft/dry feel that it has raw?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 07 November 2015, 19:25:55
How much backlash does your mill have?
X=14 thou, Y=46 thou, Z=3 thou. I don't know why the Y axis is so disproportionately high.

Good lord, that's gorgeous.
Thanks. Every parent thinks their babies are beautiful. It's nice to hear it from the friends.

This looks so nice! I wish I had such metal working skills.

I'm looking forward to seeing it with the keycaps on.

I appreciate that. I like your custom chair as well. I think we're a couple of guys who have a hard time keeping our thinking inside the box.

Great choice on the walnut. It'll look perfect with the black :)

If I didn't know better, I'd think that you're trying to pull a Jedi mind trick on me. It may be working too.


In general, I just like wood as a material for skin contact... well, dry wood at least. What kind of finish do you use on the wood, and does it lose that nice soft/dry feel that it has raw?
I've really liked the urethane build up with a final wax finish that I've been using on my other keyboards. They have been holding up really well with no grime buildup or wear. The finish just seems to improve with time.

I know what you mean about the natural feel but I'm afraid that my often dirty and greasy hands would quickly degrade the look.

Speaking of wood. I can't think of a wood that has such wonderful working characteristics as walnut. It cuts, sands, planes, and glues up wonderfully. The only thing I don't like about it, as well as mahogany, is it leaves a heavy aftertaste in my mouth and nose after working with it..

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: neverused on Sat, 07 November 2015, 19:35:18


Speaking of wood. I can't think of a wood that has such wonderful working characteristics as walnut. It cuts, sands, planes, and glues up wonderfully. The only thing I don't like about it, as well as mahogany, is it leaves a heavy aftertaste in my mouth and nose after working with it..

Confirmed: kurplop is a beaver.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 08 November 2015, 01:26:43
That beaver comment is too funny.

I guess with that kind of backlash, you're only able to climb cut aluminum due to the high ratio of the weight of your heavy mill table to the low force of the cut. I had about 14 thou backlash on my manual mill and it drove me nuts, but that was due mainly to a lack of skill and no DRO that read off the actual table movement. That's gotta be a lifesaver. Reading off the hand cranks is awful.

Got < 1.5 thou X, Y, and Z on my CNC, thanks to those lovely ballscrews. Too bad it hardly gets used. All work and no play lately.

(https://i.imgflip.com/tt2hp.jpg)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 08 November 2015, 07:55:37
Confirmed: kurplop is a beaver.

That's an unsubstantiated remark that has absolutely no emperical evidence to support it.

All work and no play lately.

Tell me about it. I'm currently drowning in a public works project involving the blocking and redirecting of water in a nearby stream.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 08 November 2015, 08:02:56
After much consideration, It came to me last night that the clear anodize is not the finish I'm looking for.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 08 November 2015, 21:41:56
Redirecting a stream in the state of California... I don't even want to think about it. You'd need some Jedi mind tricks for that as well I'd imagine.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 08 November 2015, 21:55:44
Confirmed: kurplop is a beaver.

That's an unsubstantiated remark that has absolutely no emperical evidence to support it.

All work and no play lately.

Tell me about it. I'm currently drowning in a public works project involving the blocking and redirecting of water in a nearby stream.
Wow you busy be busy as a...hmm? Sorry, lost my train of thought.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 08 November 2015, 22:11:17
 I hoped I wasn't being too obscure. :D
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: building_an_ergo on Sun, 08 November 2015, 23:44:03
After much consideration, It came to me last night that the clear anodize is not the finish I'm looking for.

I am just poking through this thread, so I am pretty sure it isn't possible on aluminum, but what about something similar to bluing it?

>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluing_(steel)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 09 November 2015, 07:35:26
After much consideration, It came to me last night that the clear anodize is not the finish I'm looking for.

I am just poking through this thread, so I am pretty sure it isn't possible on aluminum, but what about something similar to bluing it?

>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluing_(steel)

I think you're right, bluing is a specific process for iron. Because it is an oxidizing process, it is an approximate equivalent to anodizing on aluminum.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 09 November 2015, 08:37:33

Show Image
(https://i.imgflip.com/tt2hp.jpg)


I just can't get this image out of my mind, complete with Alec Guinness accent and tonal fluctuations.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Mon, 09 November 2015, 23:53:33
lol, I'd apologize, but it would be insincere :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 10 November 2015, 00:56:13
Kurplop,

Sorry about the late reply to your question regarding Cerakote.  It is a finish that was developed for gun parts iirc.  If that was not what it was originally designed for, it sure is used there a lot.  It has an extremely high abrasion resistance, can be applied very thin (down to .006" for some color iirc), can be applied to virtually anything, and has a very low coefficient of friction.

Here is a link for some of the material properties of it.

http://www.cerakoteguncoatings.com/testing/

It is also frequently used on exhaust and turbo parts as a way of insulating the metal components from the high heat in high performance engines.  Gets the heat out of the engine bay to keep the intake temp down.  I did a mouse pad for a member here using that.  He has been using it solid for a number of months, has yet to show a single sign of any wear at all.  I feel it is more durable than anodizing and much more durable than powder coat or any other liquid based paint.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 10 November 2015, 00:56:53
*facepalm* Only now did I understand the stream redirection was in reference to your newly identified species. I was right to first believe you would not be crazy enough to undergo an actual stream redirection in the People's Republic.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 10 November 2015, 11:43:03
*facepalm* Only now did I understand the stream redirection was in reference to your newly identified species. I was right to first believe you would not be crazy enough to undergo an actual stream redirection in the People's Republic.

I'm not quite that crazy. I'm in the process of pulling a permit for a bathroom remodel and the city wants full plans complete with pictures of existing conditions, a full plot plan, literature on the windows, framing details for a header over a pocket door, etc... I'm guessing the permits will be about $500 and with all of the details I'm providing, I may even get hit up with a plan check fee. Why should they be surprised by all of the bootlegging that goes on in the construction industry.

Melvang-  I'm pretty impressed with the Ceracote specs. Do you think that it would work well for the keycaps?  Have you shot it yourself? I'm curious about the viscosity and if it could be sprayed with an airbrush.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 10 November 2015, 11:51:59
Melvang-  I'm pretty impressed with the Ceracote specs. Do you think that it would work well for the keycaps?  Have you shot it yourself? I'm curious about the viscosity and if it could be sprayed with an airbrush.

I have not sprayed it.  Though there are home brew kits for using it.  There are two varieties from the same manufacturer.  One is a room temp cure and the other is a bake cure that can be done in a home oven.    I don't know if there are different specs for the final product between room temp or baked cure.  But I do know that they do have different color capabilities between the two.

I would for one be very curious on how it would feel for caps.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 10 November 2015, 14:11:58
I'm not quite that crazy. I'm in the process of pulling a permit for a bathroom remodel and the city wants full plans complete with pictures of existing conditions, a full plot plan, literature on the windows, framing details for a header over a pocket door, etc... I'm guessing the permits will be about $500 and with all of the details I'm providing, I may even get hit up with a plan check fee. Why should they be surprised by all of the bootlegging that goes on in the construction industry.

I wonder how long it will be before they realize that these custom keyboards are as potentially dangerous as a collapsed ceiling, given the chance of the common tinkerer to create an input device that will cause tendinitis 10% faster. It sounds crazy to need a permit to build your own keyboard, but it should sound equally crazy to need permission from the government to build or modify the very structure essential for you and your family's survival. /libertarian rant

Back on topic, Ceracote is cool stuff. It would be interesting to explore the potential there. I'd be a little concerned about the thickness. The .006" thickness Melv mentioned is under ideal settings, which you will not likely be able to replicate. If you end up adding 10+ thou to both sides of an inlay, it is gonna be tough getting that perfect fit walnut back in there.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 10 November 2015, 15:12:42
Well,   I'm here waiting at City Hall waiting to submit my plans. There are about 10 people before me in line. The line is moving at a rate of one person every fifteen minutes. They close in an hour and a half. I may be back tomorrow if something doesn't change.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 10 November 2015, 16:02:30
It'll be worth it when the bureaucrat engineer finds the flaw in your design that would have decapitated you on your first mid-night trip to use the toilet.

A wise man once said that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission.

welp, I just looked it up, and apparently it wasn't a man at all, rather one of the coolest women ever:
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 10 November 2015, 16:08:54
Apparently I was wrong on thickness.
http://www.sniperforums.com/forum/diy/22799-note-cerakote-technique.html
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 10 November 2015, 17:01:20
I'm still waiting.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 10 November 2015, 17:42:04
Trust me, there are good reasons for making the average Joe get those permits.  It is because the average Joe doesn't know, care, or give a **** about building codes.  They cobble stuff together, then when they sell the house to someone, a ceiling, floor, or wall falls down, and this could be a best case scenerio.  Imagine that you now put this into electrical work with 120vac.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 10 November 2015, 18:04:02
Trust me, there are good reasons for making the average Joe get those permits.  It is because the average Joe doesn't know, care, or give a **** about building codes.  They cobble stuff together, then when they sell the house to someone, a ceiling, floor, or wall falls down, and this could be a best case scenerio.  Imagine that you now put this into electrical work with 120vac.

Good intention is a horrible justification for laws that restricts freedom. We already have a legal system which would hold said average Joe liable for such shortcomings, with punishments far more severe than the penalties that are dolled out for failing to get a permit. Thus, average Joe simply doesn't abide by the permit law, and the only people that do would have built it right regardless. The net result is wasted time, wasted money, and a needless loss of freedom.

The same argument could be made to justify extremely strict gun laws, where only "professionals" were allowed to own them. Because, I mean, trust me, you wouldn't want some average Joe shooting his guns into the air like a lunatic, raining lead down on unsuspecting innocents miles away, right?


Very cool info on cerakote. I had no idea it was so thin. Something to look into.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Tue, 10 November 2015, 18:22:52
Trust me, there are good reasons for making the average Joe get those permits.  It is because the average Joe doesn't know, care, or give a **** about building codes.  They cobble stuff together, then when they sell the house to someone, a ceiling, floor, or wall falls down, and this could be a best case scenerio.  Imagine that you now put this into electrical work with 120vac.

Good intention is a horrible justification for laws that restricts freedom. We already have a legal system which would hold said average Joe liable for such shortcomings, with punishments far more severe than the penalties that are dolled out for failing to get a permit. Thus, average Joe simply doesn't abide by the permit law, and the only people that do would have built it right regardless. The net result is wasted time, wasted money, and a needless loss of freedom.

The same argument could be made to justify extremely strict gun laws, where only "professionals" were allowed to own them. Because, I mean, trust me, you wouldn't want some average Joe shooting his guns into the air like a lunatic, raining lead down on unsuspecting innocents miles away, right?


Very cool info on cerakote. I had no idea it was so thin. Something to look into.

One thing to remember here is that in gettign those permits, the only difference between you and a contractor doing to job for someone else is insurance and bonding.  So that process protects you from **** work by shoody contractors as well.  All the law suits in the world don't mean anything if there is no company in business any more to sue.  This ends up being pretty common after natural disasters.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 10 November 2015, 18:40:30
All the law suits in the world don't mean anything if there is no company in business any more to sue.
This dissolved company scenario pertains to lawsuits no more than it does to permitting. Companies can cheat permits the same as an individual. The fact remains that a lawsuit arising from someone actually getting injured, has been and will be a greater incentive for both companies and individuals to build things correctly than permits.

This ends up being pretty common after natural disasters.
Yes, you've already identified the problem. My argument is not that the problem doesn't exist, but that your solution in permitting is arguably ineffective. And even if it were perfectly effective, it is a violation of a freedom so basic - the building of a structure to shelter yourself - that regardless of the amount of protection it offers from shoddy workmanship, it still is not justified.


...and since we're probably not going to ever be able to agree on that, we should probably get back on topic :)
Cerakote, test it out!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 11 November 2015, 00:31:10
I got to say, I enjoyed the discussion while I was away. I think you both have made some good points. I like discussing things with thoughtful and reasonable people. Good people don't always agree but they still have valid reasons to support their positions.

Many times our opinions are conceived or supported by personal experiences. Because I would never intentionally cheat or shortchange a customer, I can be a bit naive about some of the unscrupulous practices out there. I tend to see the negative side of over-regulation more than its benefits. The excessive demands by Building/Planning departments don't only hurt the contractor. For example, today I spent a half a day drawing plans for a bathroom remodel and the other half waiting for an official to tell me that I was missing a detail on how to frame a header over a doorway of a non-bearing wall. I have probably rough framed over a thousand doorways in my career and didn't think it was necessary. Now I have another trip to the city to look forward to. Ultimately, these costs get passed on to the customer. I'm guessing that this $15000 remodel will cost closer to 20, thanks to this and many other bureaucratic intrusion on this job.

On the other hand, I have seen poor workmanship that at times is unsafe. Having reasonable codes and standards is necessary. It's comforting to be fairly confident that the house you buy won't burn down or collapse, and that is a result of high building standards.

When I became licensed, I didn't suddenly become a better builder. My customers didn't start getting a better product. The best protection for the consumer is to find a competent and trustworthy tradesman that they don't have to take to court rather than one who has a measly $7500 bond and a contract that his lawyer drew up. No law will protect you from somebody that wants to cheat you.

 Building inspectors have 2 types of people to worry about. The incompetent and the unscrupulous. I've also seen people hide serious violations from inspectors. Just having an inspector show up occasionally is no guarantee that all is well. A former employee told me about another builder who forgot to  put some critical hold-down bolts in a foundation pour. When the inspector came out to inspect the hold-downs, the bolts appeared to be in place because he epoxy a small stub of the bolt to the top of the plate. It will be interesting to see how that holds up to California's next big one. On the other hand, the novice will often do substandard work, not intentional but out of incomplete knowledge of the task. An inspector can play an important role in informing and correcting all builders on current standards

Do we need regulations? Yes. Do we need oversight? Yes. Should education be available for best practices? Definitely.  But have things gotten so over-regulated that the cure is more harmful to the organism that the disease ?  In many cases I think the answer is yes. 

Thanks for indulging me. Now that this is out of my system, maybe we can get back to keyboards.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Wed, 11 November 2015, 01:36:01
All this time I thought you were doing your own bathroom :)

I'm fine with some minimum standards for people selling their services as builders, as a means to remove the ambiguity of what does or doesn't constitute negligence. The permitting system is an absolute nightmare, however, and it greatly increases the cost of hiring a competent builder.

Speaking of minimum standards, I just realized that this keyboard design only has a single row of thumb keys. That's what I use myself, so I'm a fan of it, but what were the two thumb keys (you went from 2+3 to 4 I think) that you decided you didn't need when in the standard typing position? Obviously the perimeter keys make it so you have more keys total, I'm just interested in the layout now...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 11 November 2015, 08:27:41
Good question. After using thumb keys almost exclusively for the last couple of years as well as a layered board, I realized that I rarely used the right shift or right layer shift key. I also never used the embedded ten key on the third layer. As a result, I found that having all layer keys on the right half and only 1 layer function key on the left adequate for me. No numlock. No layer locks. Because of fewer keys and closer key spacing, no right shift necessary. The radial keys are a game changer for my CAD work and those keys will sometimes replace and sometimes supplement the thumb keys.

The second thumb key row worked well and is getting axed, but only to make room for the radial ones, not because they didn't work well. On the subject of the thumb keys, I've enlarged them.  I think that a slightly larger target will be beneficial for them. That may seem strange coming from one who has gone to extreme measures to make the finger keys smaller. Trust me, I know what I'm doing. :)

I have yet to decide about arcade buttons. I have room for at least 2. The larger thumb keys distance them a bit farther from home position so the mouse clicks are going on the thumb cluster but browsing controls could work well there.

One final comment about over-regulation, and then I'll stop. I was going to begin the bath remodel next Monday. The city has a Historic district but this house is several blocks from it. In spite of that, their tentacles still have a grip on any house in the city built before 1940. My customer will not be allowed to use a vinyl window over the shower in spite of the fact that it won't be detectable from the street. The city wants wood. As a result, the job will be delayed roughly a month, two if they don't want their house torn up during the holidays. I can get a very nice vinyl window in 7 days for around $300, while the wood one will take 5 weeks for $700. That's before painting, something that will have to be repeated often on a shower window. Either window would be trimmed out with wood on the exterior and not affect the "ambiance" of the neighborhood. I struggle to make sense of it but maybe I'll figure it out this month while I'm unemployed.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Wed, 11 November 2015, 11:59:11
That's too funny. When kurplop, the wood whisperer, the man accused of being a beaver, chooses vinyl over wood...it must be for a very good reason. I wish my bathroom window near the shower was vinyl =/

Sounds good. I hope you post a pic at some point of the key mapping you end up using. I know you've been beaten up in the past for your capslock key, and you probably get cold sweats thinking about posting another layout, but do it anyways :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 11 November 2015, 12:55:36
Zek-  Your recent comments remind me of how much I have missed your presence here the last few months.

I don't mind about the caps lock controversy. Sometimes I even enjoy stirring up a little trouble. :p
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Infrared on Wed, 11 November 2015, 13:24:25
I may have to take a plunge into this
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 12 November 2015, 11:51:22
I got in some mill time this morning to cut out the recess for the left palm rest.   

I didn't want to secure it to the rotary table, so I freehand cut the arc. After getting it close I'll clean it up on a sanding drum in a drill press. It worked pretty well on the other side.
[attach=1]

I finally decided where to mount the arcade switches and indicator lights and hope to bore them out this afternoon. One step at a time.
[attach=2]  [attach=3]
I've got the weight of the shell down to about 24 ounces and I still have the holes to cut.  Success!  By the way, great honor will be bestowed upon the first person who knows where that black disc, the one holding down the work, came from.


EDIT: Yes, I was using a Four Flute end mill. Shame on me.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: cryptokey on Thu, 12 November 2015, 11:58:26
As a trackball user, I really like how you're integrating it into the board - it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie!  My only question is do you have any plans for a scroll wheel (possibly like the Kensington orbit or CST ones)? 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 12 November 2015, 12:03:11
As a trackball user, I really like how you're integrating it into the board - it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie!  My only question is do you have any plans for a scroll wheel (possibly like the Kensington orbit or CST ones)? 

Thanks and welcome to Geekhack.

It is a Kensington Slimblade. The scrolling is in the ball. The action is similar to the Expert Mouse without the scroll ring. You rotate the ball in the same motion you would use on the scroll ring.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Thu, 12 November 2015, 15:56:42
4 flute isn't ideal, but it typically is fine as long as you've got a strong compressed air stream and are only doing perimeter cuts, not slotting.

BTW, where'd you get whatever you're using for your compressed air? I've got some jerry rigged copper tubing that I bend into place (and slowly drip mineral oil onto for lubrication), but I wouldn't mind a system that would allow for easier positioning. I'm too cheap to buy the fog buster.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 12 November 2015, 18:00:11
4 flute isn't ideal, but it typically is fine as long as you've got a strong compressed air stream and are only doing perimeter cuts, not slotting.

BTW, where'd you get whatever you're using for your compressed air? I've got some jerry rigged copper tubing that I bend into place (and slowly drip mineral oil onto for lubrication), but I wouldn't mind a system that would allow for easier positioning. I'm too cheap to buy the fog buster.

The four flute was less than ideal. It kept getting aluminum stuck in the flutes. I like to test the water sometimes to see if what they say is really how it is... It is.

It is a fogger but I don't have it hooked up to anything but air. My daughter's father in law is a machinist and he scared me about that stuff floating around in the air. I think it's similar to one Grizzly sells. I'll take a picture when I'm back in the shop.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 12 November 2015, 18:29:50
Since my bathroom remodel had to be rescheduled to start on Jan. 4th, it looks like I may get this thing finished before the end of the year!

I drilled out the holes for the LED's and the arcade buttons. Not quite as easy as just drilling a couple of holes. I still have to do the final shaping of the top to try to get the buttons to lay perfectly flat. The white buttons are for fitting, that's not the final color.
[attach=1]

I had to use a boring bar to get the right diameter on the arcade switches. I didn't have a 15/16" drill and I didn't want them flopping around in a loose hole. Now their so tight I may have to burn them out. I dished out the underside of the shell so the switches would lock in.
[attach=2]

The LED indicators were easier but it did involve 3 steps. A 1/4" through hole followed with a 5/16" to recess the bezel and a 7/16" from below to provide clearance.
[attach=3]

I don't think I ever showed the 2 cutouts for the trackball sensors. They intrude into the keyring area but miss the switches.
[attach=4]

And a final picture of the walnut blank before it's contoured sanded .
[attach=5]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Thu, 12 November 2015, 18:33:02
kurplop just put some sanwas into this keyboard?? One step closer to being able to play Street Fighter on a MAME cabinet with this board. Do you think that the Goa'uld can handle my hadoukens?

Moving on from stupid references, that center part is looking might Stargate now :D. Board really looking good!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Thu, 12 November 2015, 18:36:58
This thing just keeps getting awesomer.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Thu, 12 November 2015, 20:40:35
4 flute isn't ideal, but it typically is fine as long as you've got a strong compressed air stream and are only doing perimeter cuts, not slotting.

BTW, where'd you get whatever you're using for your compressed air? I've got some jerry rigged copper tubing that I bend into place (and slowly drip mineral oil onto for lubrication), but I wouldn't mind a system that would allow for easier positioning. I'm too cheap to buy the fog buster.
It is a fogger but I don't have it hooked up to anything but air. My daughter's father in law is a machinist and he scared me about that stuff floating around in the air. I think it's similar to one Grizzly sells. I'll take a picture when I'm back in the shop.

Yeah, that's why I stick to mineral oil. I buy the pharmacy grade stuff from CVS that you could drink if you wanted to, so I don't mind breathing some of it in.

No clue what the repurposed black disc is by the way.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 12 November 2015, 21:19:52
[attach=1]

Any last minute guesses before I reveal where that disc came from?.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Thu, 12 November 2015, 21:25:31
(Attachment Link)

Any last minute guesses before I reveal where that disc came from?.
I see what you did there.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Thu, 12 November 2015, 23:40:12
I thought it was gonna be from the nose of the aircraft you flew in WW2 or something, not some scrap from your key caps :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Fri, 13 November 2015, 12:21:11
I thought it was gonna be from the nose of the aircraft you flew in WW2 or something, not some scrap from your key caps :)

How old do you think he is?!?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Fri, 13 November 2015, 12:22:09
(Attachment Link)

Any last minute guesses before I reveal where that disc came from?.

Looks like a fan for a PC case.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Fri, 13 November 2015, 12:26:47
(Attachment Link)

Any last minute guesses before I reveal where that disc came from?.

Looks like a fan for a PC case.

It is the slug from when he cut the caps for around the track ball.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Fri, 13 November 2015, 21:13:13
I thought it was gonna be from the nose of the aircraft you flew in WW2 or something, not some scrap from your key caps :)

How old do you think he is?!?

I'd guess about, oh, say, 61. But I've got to get the old jokes in while I can, accurate or not. Getting grey in the beard.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 14 November 2015, 07:50:46
kurplop just put some sanwas into this keyboard?? One step closer to being able to play Street Fighter on a MAME cabinet with this board. Do you think that the Goa'uld can handle my hadoukens?

Moving on from stupid references, that center part is looking might Stargate now :D. Board really looking good!

Thanks to you I just learned 3 new words.

[
It is a fogger but I don't have it hooked up to anything but air. My daughter's father in law is a machinist and he scared me about that stuff floating around in the air. I think it's similar to one Grizzly sells. I'll take a picture when I'm back in the shop.

Yeah, that's why I stick to mineral oil. I buy the pharmacy grade stuff from CVS that you could drink if you wanted to, so I don't mind breathing some of it in.


I drink milkshakes but I wouldn't want to inhale them. :p

UPDATE:  I started reshaping the "Stargate" key ring caps. It would have been easier to have done it while the caps were all part of the nose from the Corsair I flew in WW2 but that's another story. ;)  ( I was born a decade after they stormed Normandy)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sat, 14 November 2015, 11:15:58
kurplop just put some sanwas into this keyboard?? One step closer to being able to play Street Fighter on a MAME cabinet with this board. Do you think that the Goa'uld can handle my hadoukens?

Moving on from stupid references, that center part is looking might Stargate now :D. Board really looking good!

Thanks to you I just learned 3 new words.

[
It is a fogger but I don't have it hooked up to anything but air. My daughter's father in law is a machinist and he scared me about that stuff floating around in the air. I think it's similar to one Grizzly sells. I'll take a picture when I'm back in the shop.

Yeah, that's why I stick to mineral oil. I buy the pharmacy grade stuff from CVS that you could drink if you wanted to, so I don't mind breathing some of it in.


I drink milkshakes but I wouldn't want to inhale them. :p

UPDATE:  I started reshaping the "Stargate" key ring caps. It would have been easier to have done it while the caps were all part of the nose from the Corsair I flew in WW2 but that's another story. ;)  ( I was born a decade after they stormed Normandy)

Haha, I dunno man. If I saw Stephen Dorff advertising a cool new milkshake inhaler, I might try it out.
Normandy 1944. +10 = 1954. 2015 - 1954 = 61.

I'm in my late thirties, but I bet kurplop and I have the same haircut. i.e. not really enough to cut anymore.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 14 November 2015, 12:18:43
Based on the color of my nose hair, if I had any on my head it would be grey. It's been 40 years since I've had any use for a comb.

Your math and history skills are correct.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 14 November 2015, 18:50:54
I had a little bit of time to glue up the back of the case this morning.
[attach=1]

A couple of quick passes through the planer later.
[attach=2]

It's critical that this ends up where I want it.
[attach=3]

Marked and ready to cut. (Notice safety shoes in this photo. Nothing to see here. Move along OSHA.)
[attach=4]

Because the underside is stepped in the middle, it will be a trick getting everything fitted just right .

Next installment we'll see if I can pull the proverbial rabbit out of my hat.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 22 November 2015, 19:40:44
I decided to revise the keyring plan by increasing the number of keys from 11 to 13. Not so much because I needed them but rather to keep the size of the caps from being bigger than necessary. I also decided to go with Matias switches on the ring because the .05" savings will help the clearance issues. To make the changes I made a new plate and cut out any of the old one that was in the way. This cleansup the open switch pockets in the plate which, although it was plenty strong, it looked like a mistake.
[attach=1]

The black paint on the underside helped me to identify the areas I had to remove in the existing plate.


This required making new caps which look pretty rough here but should clean up nicely. They aren't fully seated here so the picture looks worse than it is.
[attach=2]


The new ring plate will eventually be cemented to the underside. I'm not sure if I should do that before the anodize or after.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 22 November 2015, 20:16:19
What kind of cement would you use to hold aluminum?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 22 November 2015, 20:29:09
I' m open to suggestions. I think JB has an epoxy based product especially formulated for aluminum. I will be able to supplement it with a few small screws also but thought an adhesive may offer added integrity. There are still several webs from the old integrated plate supporting the trackball but I thought making a continuous bond would guarantee trouble free results.

Are you asking with regards to the acid bath anodize or the reliability of bonding aluminum with cements?

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Sun, 22 November 2015, 20:42:31
I' m open to suggestions. I think JB has an epoxy based product especially formulated for aluminum. I will be able to supplement it with a few small screws also but thought an adhesive may offer added integrity. There are still several webs from the old integrated plate supporting the trackball but I thought making a continuous bond would guarantee trouble free results.

Are you asking with regards to the acid bath anodize or the reliability of bonding aluminum with cements?
I was mainly thinking of the weight of the trackball plus the key presses, all exerting downward force, nearly any bond except a weld is likely to fail eventually.

If you can get a few small screws on there, and then whatever cement or solid gasket material can act mainly as a dampener, I think you'll be in good shape.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 22 November 2015, 20:50:48
Good point. Thanks for the input.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 22 November 2015, 21:48:50
Start making room in the workshop. It's time to start TIG welding. Only half joking. That would be really cool.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Sun, 22 November 2015, 22:47:23
Start making room in the workshop. It's time to start TIG welding. Only half joking. That would be really cool.

Aluminum warps pretty bad when welding.  Stainless, especially 300 series is about the only ting works for the home welder.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Mon, 23 November 2015, 00:21:27
I'm not completely sold on that. Always wary when somebody starts talking about things that for some reason magically don't work in your home, but they can work quite perfectly elsewhere. But lets say TIG isn't viable due to warping issues:

But what about soldering it?

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 23 November 2015, 05:48:52
Start making room in the workshop. It's time to start TIG welding. Only half joking. That would be really cool.

Someday soon.

Start making room in the workshop. It's time to start TIG welding. Only half joking. That would be really cool.

Aluminum warps pretty bad when welding.  Stainless, especially 300 series is about the only ting works for the home welder.

Are you suggesting that I start from scratch with stainless?:)   The warping does concern me. If I did weld or braze, would preheating in an oven mitigate the potential for distortion?

I'm not completely sold on that. Always wary when somebody starts talking about things that for some reason magically don't work in your home, but they can work quite perfectly elsewhere. But lets say TIG isn't viable due to warping issues:

But what about soldering it?



You've got me curious about that.

Thanks for all the input guys. It sure helps getting different perspectives so I can make a better informed decision. Given the risks, I may try just the screws. That will make accessing things easier if ever necessary and the thought of turning Planet 6 into a big molten blob concerns me.  We'll see. I don't usually trust my 3:00 AM decisions.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Mon, 23 November 2015, 22:50:12
I'm not completely sold on that. Always wary when somebody starts talking about things that for some reason magically don't work in your home, but they can work quite perfectly elsewhere. But lets say TIG isn't viable due to warping issues:

But what about soldering it?

I just watched part of that first video.  A TON of plain wrong information.  First he was soldering, not welding or even brazing.  You simply can't get enough heat out of a single gas torch to melt aluminum for brazing or even welding.  Second, aluminum is very fussy about being clean for welding, but you never use a carbon steel brush.  Stainless steel only, and that is the only thing that brush is used for.  As soon as you run it across anything but aluminum, you can't use it for aluminum and expect the same results anymore.  Yes aluminum is that fussy.  Yes you can weld pop cans together with TIG, but it takes an incredibly steady hand to do so.  No they won't warp that bad for a few reasons.  The weld structure is a butt joint on pipe essentially, pretty strong joint for the amount of material there, and it is a continuous joint, there is no end point.

 I apologize for my comment, I don't know what I was thinking.  But aluminum and 300 series stainless steels warp when welding, both at home and in the shop.  The difference being the shop has more experience with designing the joints to minimize the warpage, and the order and direction you preform the welds in the part can have a huge impact in the outcome of the final product.  I have seen this first hand.  My welding instruction for my union apprenticeship brought in his stainless gas tank that he needed to weld in a baffle for his boat.  Before welding it was nice and flat.  He cut the top off with a 4 inch grinder.  Just that bit of heat caused the "lid" to have a bit of a bow in it.  After welding the baffle, it looked like a piece of bacon.  Granted, for this application, so long as the "lid" welds back to the rest of the tank, the bolts make up, and it doesn't leak, all is good.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Mon, 23 November 2015, 23:52:35
It would be sad indeed if Kurplop's pride and joy looked like a piece of bacon in the end. Sticking with screws is a safe bet.

Interesting stuff with the welding. His keyboard probably is a lot thicker (relative to the surface area at least) and easier to weld than a gas tank, but still, best not to experiment with something so priceless. I've got some of those 'brazing' rods (that are really soldering rods) but I had trouble getting a test piece of metal hot enough to melt them with my ****ty propane burner.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Tue, 24 November 2015, 03:22:17
My results with Aluminium brazing / soldering rods have not been good.  Not good at all.  I'd suggest using an epoxy (a structural bonding epoxy like one of 3M's ScotchWeld range or something like that if you can get your hands on it, but 24H Araldite would probably do). Drill and tap for hidden machine screws first. You'll need to remove the auto-anodise on the surface you're bonding, if you're smart you could use something like 600 grit wet & dry on a sanding block and wetted *with epoxy* (that way you never leave your freshly cleaned surface open to the air).  Then, rather than using external clamping, use your machine screws to clamp and hold it all in place.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 24 November 2015, 05:49:37
 So the anodize and oxidization both resist a good bond with an adhesive as well as by fusion welding. That's good to
know.   I was surprised to see the solder technique work, given the immediate oxidation of aluminum, but you can't deny that it can work based on all of the video examples out there.

Do you think that a coarse grit, like 100, would key in the epoxy better than 600?

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Tue, 24 November 2015, 11:17:04
I *think*, from memory, that the aluminium brazing rods I had were a high zinc content alloy.  Can't remember the exact mix.  Did some tests, worked OK on a properly cleaned joint with a lot of surface area (think "sweated" pipe fitting type joins), but were bloody awful, no matter how good the prep work, on anything that took a peel or pull off load.  "Stronger than steel" my cock.

For glueing, I wouldn't worry too much about "keying", it's more about removing the natural oxidisation beforehand.  I believe most of the heavy duty aluminium bonding solutions (aerospace, etc) use some sort of super-exotic cyanoacrylate and some super-gnarly surface treatments, but you'd need micron tolerance and a lot of money for those, I'd think.  A "structural" epoxy should do the trick.  I've got away with the "wetting with epoxy" approach, otherwise surface prep is pretty much "stainless brush, acetone or MEK surface wash, rough, rewash, clean air dry, glue"


Hell, if your surfaces are flat you might even get away with some of 3M's tapes.  They're outstanding.  I did a 9m prototype power kite with almost only tape bonding once (obviously, this was on polyester rather than aluminium, brand name "icarex", it's pretty hard stuff to bond).  Only sewed the bridle attachment points, taped the rest.  Lasted 2 years of buggy racing on beaches - salt water, sand and sudden shocks - before it started to peel in one corner after being stowed wet by a "friend".
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Oobly on Wed, 25 November 2015, 04:21:15
If you practice, you can gas weld / braze aluminium nicely:

Small torch, good filler, plenty of flux, low flame velocity and away you go. It does the stress relief as you go (although it doesn't hurt to go over "cold areas" to try to keep the temperatures more consistent) so you don't get the tensions and warping you get with TIG. Also, way more zen.

This is something I so badly want to learn, along with gas welding Chromoly.

http://airbum.com/articles/ArticleZenWelding.html

But screws sound like less potential for disaster unless you have experience with gas welding (not knocking your skills in any way).
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 25 November 2015, 05:43:02
Never thought about gas welding alu, but it makes sense.  Carburising flame would be key, I suppose.  I love gas welding.  I'm rubbish at it, of course, but I love it.  I think you'd probably end up with a certain amount of stress and warping anyway, you (well, *I*) certainly do when gas welding stainless, but less than tig.

Nice zen link, that.  And the guy in the vid is pretty damn good.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Wed, 25 November 2015, 14:19:08
Awesome vid and link Oobly.

An oxy-acetylene torch isn't something you can pick up at your local hardware store, but it's definitely a technique that can be done in your garage, provided you have the skills and the tools.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 25 November 2015, 18:28:03
But screws sound like less potential for disaster unless you have experience with gas welding (not knocking your skills in any way).

I thought I was a pretty bad welder but then I loaned my mig to the kid next door.  He showed me his work a couple days later and now my welds seem to look a lot better.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Thu, 26 November 2015, 01:56:14
I thought I was a pretty bad welder but then I loaned my mig to the kid next door.  He showed me his work a couple days later and now my welds seem to look a lot better.
You owe me a new keyboard.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 26 November 2015, 05:18:00
Oh no. You weren't eating SpaghettiOs when you read that, were you?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 26 November 2015, 13:54:56
Today is Thanksgiving. I thought I'd get in an early celebration by making some keycaps.

I spaced them so I could run a 1/4" endmill between them and then a finish pass on each side to clean them up.

[attach=2]
I made the bevel passes and the radius cuts to finish roughing in the tops.
[attach=2]

I'm hoping that I can cut in the stems on the underside ant the polish the top before I separate the individual caps. The are easier to handle and work consistently in combined units.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Thu, 26 November 2015, 19:21:27
Doesn't get any cooler than aluminum key caps, but if weight is ever an issue you can always use acrylic.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Thu, 26 November 2015, 19:31:30
Today is Thanksgiving. I thought I'd get in an early celebration by making some keycaps.

I spaced them so I could run a 1/4" endmill between them and then a finish pass on each side to clean them up.

(Attachment Link)
I made the bevel passes and the radius cuts to finish roughing in the tops.
(Attachment Link)

I'm hoping that I can cut in the stems on the underside ant the polish the top before I separate the individual caps. The are easier to handle and work consistently in combined units.

Happy Thanksgiving!

There's that round piece of scrap from the ring keycaps again!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Charger on Thu, 26 November 2015, 20:35:30
Today is Thanksgiving. I thought I'd get in an early celebration by making some keycaps.

I spaced them so I could run a 1/4" endmill between them and then a finish pass on each side to clean them up.

(Attachment Link)
I made the bevel passes and the radius cuts to finish roughing in the tops.
(Attachment Link)

I'm hoping that I can cut in the stems on the underside ant the polish the top before I separate the individual caps. The are easier to handle and work consistently in combined units.

Happy Thanksgiving!
I was just thinking how you were going to make them work with cherry switches then went to the first page and noticed you are using apls and thought to my self damn why didn't I think about using apls so it would be less work making keycaps lol
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 27 November 2015, 00:34:48

There's that round piece of scrap from the ring keycaps again!

I think I'll try to work them into pictures like Hitchcock did cameos in his movies.  Or for you kids, like Where's Waldo?.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 27 November 2015, 00:39:11

I was just thinking how you were going to make them work with cherry switches then went to the first page and noticed you are using apls and thought to my self damn why didn't I think about using apls so it would be less work making keycaps lol

The Alps (Matias) switch stems  are much easier to mill than the cross stems. You know me, if there's an easier, quicker way of doing something, I'll do it. :))
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 27 November 2015, 00:41:50
Doesn't get any cooler than aluminum key caps, but if weight is ever an issue you can always use acrylic.

I am a little concerned about them being too cool to the touch. Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Fri, 27 November 2015, 06:40:38
No clue about that. I've never actually tried aluminum for key caps.

I know from having an anodized aluminum mousepad, however, that there were issues that arose from condensation. It may have only had to do with the constant contact of a butt shaped piece of flesh (bottom of the palm of the hand) that trapped enough warm air to cause a problem with the cold aluminum, but moisture gathered there, forcing me to have to wear a wristband when I used that mousepad. Depending on if you rest your fingers on the keys or not, that could be an issue. Do you not have any issues with your smaller aluminum keyboard? I forget if you hover or rest your palms.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 27 November 2015, 07:00:00
I use the rest more for orientation than resting, so I come in contact with it but just barely. No handstands on it. I have decided to cerakote the caps to avoid the blackening possibility although I think the anodize would resist it pretty well.

If the cold hard feel of the caps don't feel right I can always make a mold out of one and resin cast them.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Fri, 27 November 2015, 08:09:40
I use the rest more for orientation than resting, so I come in contact with it but just barely. No handstands on it. I have decided to cerakote the caps to avoid the blackening possibility although I think the anodize would resist it pretty well.

If the cold hard feel of the caps don't feel right I can always make a mold out of one and resin cast them.
If the iPod is any indication, anodized aluminum can stand up to a good deal of manhandling.

I never thought about the cold. You could always pop in a socket for a 7w low-voltage halogen landscape bulb or something, just to take the edge off.

Heated, custom ergo keyboards. That definitely sounds like a solution in search of a first-world problem.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Fri, 27 November 2015, 09:38:58
I am a little concerned about them being too cool to the touch. Any thoughts?
Inductive heating.  Charge your phone and burn your fingers at the same time. :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Fri, 27 November 2015, 09:41:58
Or get one of those mug warmers and integrate it somehow.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Wed, 09 December 2015, 07:37:14
A-a-a aluminum alps-mount keycaps? I LOVE YOU KURPLOP
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Tue, 22 December 2015, 11:09:58
Any chance of an update for Christmas?

Please, Santa.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 23 December 2015, 00:30:53
Any chance of an update for Christmas?

Please, Santa.

Have you been a good little boy?

I've been pretty busy scrambling around with work and some family health issues and haven't had much time to progress on the keyboard but I did get a few things done.

I ended up not using the aluminum keycaps I displayed earlier because by profiling the tops first it became a challenge to accurately set up for the pockets and stems on the underside. I figured it would be better in the long run to start over on them.

Here's some pictures fresh off the mill.

Top view
[attach=1]

One from the bottom
[attach=2]

And one from the side
[attach=3]

I need 48 and I cut 65. I wanted to allow for some mistakes. I messed up on 4 or 5 on the underside but so far the tops came out right. I'll do some preliminary sanding and polishing before I separate them. The aluminum I left to connect them is pretty thin so I should be able to easily cut them apart and grind smooth.

Thanks tufty for asking about this. I was beginning to wonder if Planet 6 had been long forgotten. :(
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Wed, 23 December 2015, 00:41:06
Any chance of an update for Christmas?

Please, Santa.

Thanks tufty for asking about this. I was beginning to wonder if Planet 6 had been long forgotten. :(

Missing for a little while but never forgotten.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 23 December 2015, 07:34:31
I uploaded some pictures.https://flic.kr/s/aHsknRKXxo  Most have already been posted in this thread but they are all together here.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: harlw on Wed, 23 December 2015, 09:00:09
Somehow I have missed this thread entirely, subd.
Love your builds, can't wait to see this one finished.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Wed, 23 December 2015, 10:57:19
Wow! I really want to see this all together! It is gonna look ridiculous!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 23 December 2015, 11:14:23
Have you been a good little boy?
Of course not.  Why on earth did you feel the need to ask?
I was beginning to wonder if Planet 6 had been long forgotten. :(
Stuff like this is too cool to be forgotten. Hope the family health stuff gets better.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 24 December 2015, 05:50:13
Thanks everyone. I'm hoping to have some time soon to finish it up.

Hope the family health stuff gets better.
Thanks. My wife and I were t-boned by a person running a red light 4 months ago. 22 thousand dollars damage to the car. I wasn't hurt but my wife got whiplash by the side airbag deployment and has been to Physical Therapy, has been on pain killers and has had several epidurals to try to relieve the pain. If you have the option, try to avoid traffic accidents.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Thu, 24 December 2015, 06:06:57
Oh man.... I wish everything will be ok for you both from now on 👍
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 24 December 2015, 14:47:45
Thanks S1llyCOne. Is that pronounced like the chip or like the sealant?

The doctor told me to sand keycaps as physical therapy, so here they are.
[attach=1]

[attach=2]

I still have a little more sanding 'therapy' to do but they are feeling really nice. After that I'll sandblast them.

Questions about legends

If I have the legends laser engraved on them, would it be best to keep them attached?

If I anodize the caps after laser engraving, will the engraving show through?

If I anodize before engraving, will the laser burn or discolor the dyed anodize?

What other questions should I ask?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Thu, 24 December 2015, 15:02:18
It refers to the chip with a hint of wordplay in it 😄
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 24 December 2015, 15:10:19
Well I thought it was clever.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Thu, 24 December 2015, 15:14:09
Getting T-boned hurts, even at low velocity. Hope your wife recovers fully in time.

Those sanded caps look great. I'm eager to see it all come together. Key legends are for people who can't type, save yourself the trouble :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Thu, 24 December 2015, 15:15:52
Thank you, kurplop 😁
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 24 December 2015, 15:41:52

Those sanded caps look great. I'm eager to see it all come together. Key legends are for people who can't type, save yourself the trouble :)

Good point. I have considered not having them but part of the showman in me wants others to not be freaked out by their absence. I definitely will not have legends on the key ring. I want the flexibility to rearrange key assignments there.

Something I'm working through now is deciding whether I should have special shapes on some of the caps. For example, the inside columns that my index finger traverses to may benefit with a shorter side. The same with the zero 1, Q, and P, which I break form and use my ring fingers on.

I chose not to arc the columns for 2 reasons. First, I don't think it's necessary given the 5 row maximum and the shortened vertical spacing between keys keeps the keys close enough to reach comfortably without stretching . And second, I realized when designing my ErgoPlop, the staggered columns create a bit of a problem if the rows differ much in height because some keys are half way between adjacent columns and both the look and feel can seem awkward if there is much of a height difference.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: jdcarpe on Thu, 24 December 2015, 17:03:05
kurplop, really nice work on everything so far. I really love those aluminum keycaps you milled. If you want legends on them, I can do the engraving for you. You will definitely want to have them anodized first, before engraving. With the laser, the engraving process basically burns the top layer of aluminum, and leaves the legend. But it isn't engraved to any depth at all, really. It shouldn't wear off with normal use, though. On a bright surface, such as gold anodization, the laser will burn the legends a dark, almost black color. On a colorful or dark anodized surface, such as blue, red, or black, the laser will burn the legends white. Laser engraving on colorless anodized aluminum is not recommended, as the legends are very light, with little contrast.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Thu, 24 December 2015, 17:25:36
I think different shaped keycaps for different fingers/rows/columns is highly underutilized. Anything that can give you more feedback about where your fingers are is a benefit to typing confidence. It may not matter so much on a relatively compact board like yours, but one like mine with 6 rows can sometimes require a pause or type test to make sure I'm on the right row. A lot of people make great use of just a different home row set, but I think some boards could go beyond that.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 17 April 2016, 01:40:48
Any updates on this, Kurplop?

I need a fix of machining porn :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 17 April 2016, 03:41:47
Any updates on this, Kurplop?

I need a fix of machining porn :)

I wish that I could say yes. Unfortunately, I had to put the project on the shelf until I could find a block of time to finish it.

Lots of changes in the Kurplop household this year. My 88 year old mother is moving in with me and my wife soon, so I've had to do some remodeling to the house. Part of it involved moving my office into a room upstairs so she'd have a living room, bedroom and bath on the first floor for herself. I'll be flying to Pennsylvania in May to relocate her and her stuff out here. Too many things going on to indulge myself right now so I had to "forget" about Planet 6 until I get these priorities out of the way.

One positive thing is I that my new office is a little bigger than the old one. Room for a small craft corner as well as a bigger desk and bookshelves. I was able to reuse and reconfigure most of the cabinetry from the old office but had to make a new desk. I also salvaged a stainless steel countertop from a commercial kitchen and bent it around some plywood for the workbench top.

The keyboard building garage is still in progress. Note the drawer fronts missing and unpainted wood.
[attach=1]

The Stainless steel top can be slid out to 30" deep from 13".
[attach=2]

And this is the new desktop
[attach=3]

Right now it looks like I will be back to the Planet 6 project around the middle of July. I must say that I've missed interacting with you and the others that have shown interest in and have offered a lot of helpful advice on this project.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sun, 17 April 2016, 04:14:38
Not sure which is more impressive between your keyboards and house mods - that huge slide out workbench :eek:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 17 April 2016, 04:23:28
Not sure which is more impressive between your keyboards and house mods - that huge slide out workbench :eek:

In the real world, people don't seem to understand why I make keyboards. What they do understand is a nicely executed room addition or an elegant new kitchen.

Thanks for the comment. It's good to hear from you.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Sun, 17 April 2016, 06:01:23
I don't to repeat what suicidal_orange said so I will leave to this : wow !

Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 17 April 2016, 13:18:30
Unfortunately, I had to put the project on the shelf until I could find a block of time to finish it.
Priorities, priorities.  I understand entirely.  Hope it doesn't put too much stress on your own family life.

The workbench is lovely, by the way. Shows the same attention to detail and clever implementation as everything else you've shown here.  It's a simple idea, but far from obvious.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 17 April 2016, 14:45:15
Thanks guys. I hope that you will be around long enough to see the finished product someday.

Unlike smaller projects, Planet 6's complexities requires that I be in the mood and have a big block of time, maybe 2 weeks, to devote to it rather than just an hour every so often. It will probably take a day of "now where was I" to get reoriented.

My wife and I are actually looking forward to being able to take care of my mother. It is nice to be able to give back a little to someone who sacrificed so much for me. I just hope I feel this way in a few months. ;D
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 17 April 2016, 18:58:54
I just hope I feel this way in a few months. ;D

People projects make custom keyboards look easy - well, at least the flat ones :) Best of luck with both.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 17 April 2016, 20:52:21
I just hope I feel this way in a few months. ;D

People projects make custom keyboards look easy - well, at least the flat ones :) Best of luck with both.

Ain't that the truth. Not only that but you can't just stick people in the back of a drawer if you get tired of them or don't know what to do next. In spite of that, people always come first. I try my best to remember that, even when it interferes with my all important plans.

In keyboard news, I have actually made a little progress on Planet 6. I hesitate to say it though because I took a step back and rejected the aluminum caps I made. I wasn't happy with the profile because the shape was a bit broad at the top and because of the closer vertical spacing, it was less than ideal for striking a cap without touching the one below it. I could get use to it but why should I if I can improve on the profile. I've been experimenting with different cap profiles to try to get it right. The challenge is fitting everything into the Matias switch profile, give the 0.65" vertical pitch, and also having a profile that is easy to replicate 48 times with a manual mill.

I'd probably be in a bigger hurry if I didn't really like using the Alumaplop. Contentment is sometimes the enemy of progress.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 25 April 2016, 20:10:19
Not the best day in the shop. I had an incident that may make me rethink the Planet 6's layout.

[attach=1]

I took a picture of my hand but it is probably too gruesome for the general public.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Mon, 25 April 2016, 20:11:39
Not the best day in the shop. I had an incident that may make me rethink the Planet 6's layout.

(Attachment Link)

I took a picture of my hand but it is probably too gruesome for the general public.

What in the hell?

How did that happen? I want to see the picture though.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 25 April 2016, 20:25:23
Jointer accident.

I will keep this up for 2 days for the curious but, honestly, don't look if you have a weak stomach.  https://www.flickr.com/gp/kurplop/tq2A5C

It's the last picture in the album.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Mon, 25 April 2016, 20:25:31
Not the best day in the shop. I had an incident that may make me rethink the Planet 6's layout.

(Attachment Link)

I took a picture of my hand but it is probably too gruesome for the general public.
Wow, sorry, man. I lost the tip of my right index finger in high school machine shop class. My fingernail still grows in kind of funny. Fortunately I didn't hit the bone.

My dad, though, when I was younger, lost his left pinky down to the first knuckle. He was using a wood jointer, so there was no getting that one back.

And for the record, thanks for not sharing the pic. I for one don't think I could handle it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Mon, 25 April 2016, 20:35:10
Jointer accident.

I will keep this up for 2 days for the curious but, honestly, don't look if you have a weak stomach.  https://www.flickr.com/gp/kurplop/tq2A5C

It's the last picture in the album.

Wow. I am sorry man. That looks miserable.

How are you doing now?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Mon, 25 April 2016, 20:38:09
Jointer accident.

I will keep this up for 2 days for the curious but, honestly, don't look if you have a weak stomach.  https://www.flickr.com/gp/kurplop/tq2A5C

It's the last picture in the album.

Holy **** that picture is horrible. How are things looking now kurplop?! Don't worry about the keyboard, just focus on recovering.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 25 April 2016, 21:35:12
So far I haven't been in pain. Actually, I'm feeling pretty good. I guess having numb hands is finally coming in handy.

I consider myself fortunate. Except for one finger missing its last bone, I should be fully functional in a few weeks. Sure I will be horribly disfigured but having sired all the children I intend to, I don't care so much that women will turn away in abject disgust.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Mon, 25 April 2016, 21:38:10
So far I haven't been in pain. Actually, I'm feeling pretty good. I guess having numb hands is finally coming in handy.

I consider myself fortunate. Except for one finger missing its last bone, I should be fully functional in a few weeks. Sure I will be horribly disfigured but having sired all the children I intend to, I don't care so much that women will turn away in abject disgust.

Once that heals up it will be tough to tell anything is wrong at all.

My grandfather's pinky is broken at a right angle away from his other fingers. It is definitely much more gruesome.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 25 April 2016, 22:10:21
I agree. I have a friend that had a couple of fingers reattached and one never regained function. It was just there flopping around getting in the way so they ended up amputating it as well as the corresponding bones in his hand. His hand looks very natural in spite of the missing finger.

On a positive note, I should save 10% on manicures.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Mon, 25 April 2016, 22:11:46
Damn that sounds awful.

Looking on the brightside. Nice.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Melvang on Mon, 25 April 2016, 22:25:36
If you don't mind me asking kurplop, how did it happen.  If you don't want to answer at all or just not in public I understand.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: appleonama on Mon, 25 April 2016, 22:31:59
Dang kurplop :(
 This is unfortunate I hope you have a speedy recovery.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 25 April 2016, 23:59:22
Thanks everyone for your concern. Oddly enough, I have had very little pain and I'm not even down about it. Probably more of a professional embarrassment than anything. I was surfacing a too short and wide board through a jointer. The depth of cut was deeper than I thought and it grabbed, shot the board out the back, and my hand, which was pushing down over the outfeed table, curled back and down into the blades.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Tue, 26 April 2016, 00:39:51
Jointer accident.

I will keep this up for 2 days for the curious but, honestly, don't look if you have a weak stomach.  https://www.flickr.com/gp/kurplop/tq2A5C

It's the last picture in the album.
Duuuuuuuuude ! :'( So sorry for you. Wishing you heal perfectly.

Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Tue, 26 April 2016, 21:54:01
Oddly enough, I have had very little pain and I'm not even down about it.

Funny, this is how I remember feeling as well. But watching it happen to someone else makes it seem like a way bigger deal. Granted, you've got 3 injured fingers versus my one, but even so... you just kind of realize, "well there's no getting them back, so no point in dwelling on it."
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 26 April 2016, 22:42:18
Jointer accident.

I will keep this up for 2 days for the curious but, honestly, don't look if you have a weak stomach.  https://www.flickr.com/gp/kurplop/tq2A5C

It's the last picture in the album.
Duuuuuuuuude ! :'( So sorry for you. Wishing you heal perfectly.

Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk



Thanks S1llyC0ne

Oddly enough, I have had very little pain and I'm not even down about it.

Funny, this is how I remember feeling as well. But watching it happen to someone else makes it seem like a way bigger deal. Granted, you've got 3 injured fingers versus my one, but even so... you just kind of realize, "well there's no getting them back, so no point in dwelling on it."

Well said. I think that as we experience more of life we realize that things are rarely as bad, or as good, as they seem. Who knows? Maybe if I can't do my work I'll be forced to finish up the Planet 6.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 26 April 2016, 22:45:03
By the way. The graphic picture comes down tomorrow so all of you gawkers need to get your final peeps soon.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Larken on Tue, 26 April 2016, 23:43:54
Oh my. Didn't expect something like that when I decided to check up on the thread of my favorite keyboard builder. Great to see you're in good humor about it. Here's wishing you a speedy recovery.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 27 April 2016, 05:00:06
Thanks Larken. The things I have to do to get your attention. :eek:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 27 April 2016, 12:01:13
Narsty.

On the other hand, with 2 fingers down, that's 20% less keys left to machine..
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Wed, 27 April 2016, 13:07:26
Narsty.

On the other hand, with 2 fingers down, that's 20% less keys left to machine..
On the other hand he still has all five fingers.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 27 April 2016, 14:45:47
When things heal up I think that my ring finger will be the the only vestigial one. I think I'll just try to avoid words with W, S, and X and numbers with 2 in them. I guess I also use my ring finger for 1 and Q as well. This could seriously limit my vocabulary and cyphering abilities.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 27 April 2016, 14:52:36
Accident scene findings– It looks like my jointer's depth lock wasn't fully tight and it allowed the cut to go deeper as I fed the wood through. That explains why it grabbed the wood and shot it back. Still my fault for not checking.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: njbair on Wed, 27 April 2016, 15:06:46
Accident scene findings– It looks like my jointer's depth lock wasn't fully tight and it allowed the cut to go deeper as I fed the wood through. That explains why it grabbed the wood and shot it back. Still my fault for not checking.
Don't blame yourself, kurplop, this is no time for finger pointing (hahaha!)

Truly, in all my years running machines, there was only one time when a mess-up was actually the machine's fault. And I made a lot of mess-ups.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 27 April 2016, 15:10:08
Accident scene findings– It looks like my jointer's depth lock wasn't fully tight and it allowed the cut to go deeper as I fed the wood through. That explains why it grabbed the wood and shot it back. Still my fault for not checking.
Don't blame yourself, kurplop, this is no time for finger pointing (hahaha!)



Thanks for the laugh. It snuck up on me.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Fri, 29 April 2016, 19:09:47
That really sucks. Mistakes are impossible to avoid in their entirety, but it's not like you just dropped a miter saw down on your hand like a total idiot. I wish I had seen the graphic pic as a reminder to stay sharp when near rapidly spinning objects.

Hard to tell from the x-ray how bad it is, but I don't think you'll let this keep you from doing what you want to do. You coulda lost an arm and you'd still be doing circles around everybody here with your woodworking and manual milling. Just keep making stuff!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 30 April 2016, 07:30:59
That really sucks. Mistakes are impossible to avoid in their entirety, but it's not like you just dropped a miter saw down on your hand like a total idiot. I wish I had seen the graphic pic as a reminder to stay sharp when near rapidly spinning objects.

Hard to tell from the x-ray how bad it is, but I don't think you'll let this keep you from doing what you want to do. You coulda lost an arm and you'd still be doing circles around everybody here with your woodworking and manual milling. Just keep making stuff!



Thanks for your empathy and complements. I've PM'd you about the picture.

I don't know how many months like this April I can survive. Earlier this month somebody stole my $8,000 dump trailer and now this! Oddly enough, I've taken it all in stride. I honestly think that my friends are more troubled by my circumstances than I've been. I've truly been blessed. Blessed enough to not think about locking up a trailer in my driveway because I've rarely had anything stolen. Blessed that I've handled dangerous tools for over 40 years without a serious accident. Blessed that the injury wasn't on my dominant hand and it didn't affect my thumb and forefinger. The pain was so minimal that, except for the Lidocaine during the surgery, I haven't needed any pain meds.

The doctor told me that things are healing very fast and I anticipate being back to work soon.

Thanks again everyone, for your concern and good wishes.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: metalliqaz on Sat, 30 April 2016, 08:18:45
omg i'm sorry
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 01 May 2016, 01:43:09
I don't know how many months like this April I can survive.
From the rest of what you wrote, I'd say "loads".  Having stuff ripped off sucks, though.  Bah.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 01 May 2016, 08:24:27
Now would be a good time to up your foot input game, Kurp. Yesterday I put a joystick underneath my right foot, bound to my arrow keys. I'm liking it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zustiur on Sun, 08 May 2016, 09:50:34
Now would be a good time to up your foot input game, Kurp. Yesterday I put a joystick underneath my right foot, bound to my arrow keys. I'm liking it.
I. Just. Oh my God. That's such a good idea. What sort of joystick?

sent via tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Mon, 09 May 2016, 10:33:44
I went with this http://www.amazon.com/Competition-Switchable-operation-Elliptical-RetroArcade-us/dp/B00EM34ZN4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage and it's held up to my moderate abuse thus far. The first thing to fail would be the switches, which are easily replaced with higher quality ones if necessary.

It's definitely not a silver bullet. You don't have nearly the motor skills in your feet/toes as you do with fingers, making successive rapid taps very difficult. I found that having the joystick be parallel to the ground as opposed to vertical helps in that regard, allowing for me to push and pull with a gas pedal motion for up/down so I can keep my heel planted on a rest.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 11 May 2016, 11:09:06
Now would be a good time to up your foot input game, Kurp. Yesterday I put a joystick underneath my right foot, bound to my arrow keys. I'm liking it.
I. Just. Oh my God. That's such a good idea. What sort of joystick?

sent via tapatalk



It's nice to know that there are options out there if I chop off anything else. For now though, I think that a modified finger style will be adequate.

I spent the last week flying to Pennsylvania, renting a box van, picking up my mother and her stuff, and driving back to California. We had a chance to spend a couple days with my oldest daughter's family in Texas, which was a lot of fun.

 When their middle son heard of my accident he made this drawing.
[attach=1]
His drawing style is typical buggy 4 year old, but note the insight in providing me with a a mild grimace. Notice also the implied rigor mortis in the legs overhanging the table.

A picture of me and my budding young artist at The Salt Lick Co..
[attach=2]

It was a fun trip but is good to be back home. I'm not much of a traveler.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 16 July 2016, 21:36:57
Things are beginning to settle down some with my work and personal life and I hope to get back to work on this keyboard soon. I'm already allowing myself to plan and dream about the next steps. I've been experimenting with different etching techniques as well as trying to modify the key assignments to work better with my new limitations. I strongly doubt that I will ever use my ring finger and possibly also my middle finger (for typing) because of the shape of the partial amputations and the very confused sensory nerves at the fingertips.

I hope my extended hiatus hasn't caused some of you Planet 6 followers to tune out. I have greatly appreciated your past suggestions, comments and encouragement.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Sat, 16 July 2016, 21:52:41
Things are beginning to settle down some with my work and personal life and I hope to get back to work on this keyboard soon. I'm already allowing myself to plan and dream about the next steps. I've been experimenting with different etching techniques as well as trying to modify the key assignments to work better with my new limitations. I strongly doubt that I will ever to use my ring finger and possibly also my middle finger (for typing) because of the shape of the partial amputations and the very confused sensory nerves at the fingertips.

I hope my extended hiatus hasn't caused some of you Planet 6 followers to tune out. I have greatly appreciated your past suggestions, comments and encouragement.

Looking forward to seeing where this ends up! Hope the healing process is going well!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Sun, 17 July 2016, 02:10:49
Still there to see how your project progresses ! Also wishing that your doubts will be replaced by surprises.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 17 July 2016, 08:32:14
Thanks guys. The wounds are all healed visually but there is still a lot going on inside. I still have some swelling in all three fingers which slightly restrict being able to fully close the hand without some discomfort. Also, all three fingertips have a strange sensation of numbness and hyper-sensitivity which makes typing with all three injured fingers difficult.
[attach=1]
The picture is to show an unexpected problem I'm encountering while typing. The ring finger's short reach makes its use impractical but its extra width further complicates it. What I am surprised by is how the angled tips of the other 2 fingers add width to their typing "footprint", adding  further to the clumsiness of my typing experience. I'm currently using my thumb and index finger primarily and beginning to implement the little finger.

Also wishing that your doubts will be replaced by surprises.

I think that wish captures how I feel. Life was getting a little too easy and I'm looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that this turn of events will present. When one of my granddaughters was born with achondroplasia (a type of dwarfism), we were all initially shocked and, quite honestly, disappointed. It didn't take long to see how she has enriched our lives. Yes, she will have physical complications including projected surgeries and various therapies but she is a delight and her condition has opened up a whole new world to our family. One can only imagine what a few mangled fingers will lead to!

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Mon, 18 July 2016, 04:04:32
The picture is to show an unexpected problem I'm encountering while typing. The ring finger's short reach makes its use impractical but its extra width further complicates it. What I am surprised by is how the angled tips of the other 2 fingers add width to their typing "footprint", adding  further to the clumsiness of my typing experience. I'm currently using my thumb and index finger primarily and beginning to implement the little finger.

Do you think a fingertip prosthesis could make a useful difference regarding the short reach? I'm assuming it is an inconvenience not only when it comes to typing. 3D printing can do a lot for cheaps these days.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: VoteForDavid on Mon, 18 July 2016, 16:23:43
Sorry to see you've been injured, kurplop :(  but I am glad you are healing.

I wouldn't take the time to chime in on this thread, but it occurred to me to point out that your new, custom finger length might be suited to a drastically different size of keycap on a row that is offset in a way that looks odd but works well for the one hand.  Smaller (visually short/wide as seen from the top) caps might allow the switches to be fit a little closer together if you need them so.  You might also experiment with different cap heights and the angle of that one finger's worth of keys, to suit the different arc the tip of the finger will naturally make as it moves.  A bit of modeling clay on a regular keyboard might be a useful step in finding out if taller caps are useful.

Since you are making your own caps, it may also be worthwhile to cut the tops to suit your new fingertip shape a little better. 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Mon, 18 July 2016, 16:51:31
The picture is to show an unexpected problem I'm encountering while typing. The ring finger's short reach makes its use impractical but its extra width further complicates it. What I am surprised by is how the angled tips of the other 2 fingers add width to their typing "footprint", adding  further to the clumsiness of my typing experience. I'm currently using my thumb and index finger primarily and beginning to implement the little finger.

Do you think a fingertip prosthesis could make a useful difference regarding the short reach? I'm assuming it is an inconvenience not only when it comes to typing. 3D printing can do a lot for cheaps these days.
I wonder if the Tony Iommi case could be inspiring in this case.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 18 July 2016, 21:39:12
Do you think a fingertip prosthesis could make a useful difference regarding the short reach? I'm assuming it is an inconvenience not only when it comes to typing. 3D printing can do a lot for cheaps these days.

Interesting idea. I may consider that at some point. I do have an aversion to wearing anything like watches, rings, etc., for some reason they drive me nuts. Because of that I will probably exhaust other options first. Oddly enough, my abbreviated limbs haven't really affected most of my work.

VoteForDavid– I have considered different sized keys but that would pretty much take P6 back to the drawing board. Your idea for the different shaped caps is an interesting possibility. It wouldn't change the key placement and could be easily be taken back to stock if desired. I may eventually try that. Right now the lack of accurate sensory input from the affected fingers keeps me from using them much. If and when things normalize I may give it a try.

S1llyC0ne–  WOW! Not being a big rock fan, I had to look up Tony Lommi. His story is quite an inspiration. Lost the same tips on his non-dominant hand in a sheetmetal accident and didn't let it stop what he loved to do. It reminds me of a story an old customer told me about many years before when he was a shop steward for the sheet metal company. At the Union Hall 20 stewards would be sitting around the table. Between them about 140 fingers on the table.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 18 July 2016, 21:57:04
I'm going out to the shop and transfer these onto a scrap of aluminum and try some etching. I tried the other day but the mask failed in spots. I'm trying various etchants and will report back with my failures and (hopefully) at least one success.
[attach=1]

My first attempt. I wasn't expecting much because the toner was on regular bond paper. It didn't seem to transfer all of the toner onto the aluminum leaving voids which pitted. I tried to sand out the pits which proved to be as deep as the letters.
 [attach=2]
At least I can almost guarantee better results next time.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 20 July 2016, 00:32:42
Here are the results of my second test. Much better than the first but still a long way to go.
[attach=1]
[attach=2]
[attach=3]
The offset of the A and N during the second burn was unintended but creates a shadow effect that may be desirable.
I still have to work on better masking and better regulating on the etch depth. I'd like it deeper but too deep may compromise the edge quality.

More tests to come.

By the way. This exercise isn't directly speeding up the completion of the keyboard, but until I can spend some uninterrupted time in the shop I don't want to do any further milling on the keyboard itself. Just too confusing doing a half hour here and there. Should be able to take a few weeks off in August and I hope to make a lot of progress.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Wed, 20 July 2016, 02:07:25
Wow ! Great improvement indeed !

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 20 July 2016, 22:41:27
Wow ! Great improvement indeed !

Thanks. I think that the rough sanding contributed to the etchant seeping through the edges. The next step will be to try sanding up to about 1000 grit before masking. I also need to add location marks to the masking prints to properly index the mask layers.

One challenge I'll have is to transfer the toner mask to a slightly curved surface since I use a flat iron to transfer the toner from the paper to the aluminum.

Here's a little behind the scene sizzle as I etched the '6' into the aluminum. CAUTION! Do not enlarge this picture without goggles and a respirator.
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 27 July 2016, 21:50:10
A few more tests. I forgot to reverse the images and by the time I realized it I was already in the shop. I figured, it's just another experiment so why not just use them.
[attach=1]
You know that the etchant is working when it is bubbling up from the exposed aluminum.
[attach=2]
It helps to keep fresh chemicals at the place where it is doing the work. I was using this brush to do this until it ran out of bristles.
[attach=3]
I made the new image roughly half the size as the last. I sanded the surface to 320 grit but I'm still not satisfied with the edge quality and the pitting in the field. It is even more apparent with the smaller size. I may have the copies run on a better printer; my toner isn't producing a very heavy mask. The second burn which adds the 6 and creates the shadow is still a bit difficult to place right. I added some indexing marks but is still unpredictable.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Wed, 27 July 2016, 22:02:36
Sooooooo happy to see this project back and with etching porn this time <3. Glad you're healing up kurplop. Can't wait to see how you tweak your design to fit your new hand!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Thu, 28 July 2016, 01:45:20
The masks were reversed but boy does the result look good ! I am really impressed (^o^)

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Thu, 28 July 2016, 03:12:50
RIP paintbrush :))

Noticeable improvement after sanding but I get the feeling you won't be stopping until it's perfect - however long it takes it will be worth it!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 28 July 2016, 23:05:19
Thanks for the encouragement. I think that some of the unwanted pitting is from over-exposing the aluminum. I intentionally let it burn extra deep, partly to see the effect and also (because it's a negative image) to see of I can make a stamp for embossing other things.

I assume that when etching deep, it will eventually burn under the mask as the sides are exposed, making precise deep etchings more difficult.

I hope to do a few more tests, this time recording exposure times and exact blends of water and sodium hydroxide. After that, I'll anodize and dye the samples to get an idea of how the finished product will look.

I would encourage others to try etching aluminum. All it takes is a piece of aluminum, drain cleaner, and a laser print of what you want to etch. Surprisingly easy and cheap.

RIP paintbrush :))

Noticeable improvement after sanding but I get the feeling you won't be stopping until it's perfect - however long it takes it will be worth it!

I'm not that much of a perfectionist. I'll probably settle for the best technique I come up with after the next few tries. I'm actually happy with how it looks now without magnification. The close up pictures reveal every flaw; definitely won't stand up to GH scrutiny.

Next I'll try sanding to an even higher grit but I think the problems now have more to do with inferior laser prints.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 31 July 2016, 14:21:02
Love the etching progress. That is something I will have to consider since, as you say, it doesn't take much and the results look promising. Good stuff.


P.S. I'm shooting you an e-mail now. I need some advice on purchasing finger-chomping machinery.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 31 July 2016, 16:41:06
Love the etching progress. That is something I will have to consider since, as you say, it doesn't take much and the results look promising. Good stuff.

Thanks. I'm glad to see someone considering etching something. We'll have to compare notes when you get around to it.
P.S. I'm shooting you an e-mail now. I need some advice on purchasing finger-chomping machinery.


Ha. As far as the machinery goes. It really depends on whether you want any sizable souvenir keepsakes. I used a jointer which yielded about 10- 3/32" slices; by the time they dried out there wasn't much to see but it left a very clean cut as the photo showed. A tablesaw or bandsaw would have left something worth hanging from a necklace or keychain. Now that would be a conversation starter!  Seriously though, I should have time this evening to e-mail you my recommendations.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Mon, 01 August 2016, 02:04:16
The primary use would actually be for wood in my case. Leaning toward some grizzly stuff, straight out of china.

My ETA on etching is about 2 years =/
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 01 August 2016, 07:31:45
With the new fixer-upper I suspected that the keyboard projects will be put on the back-burner for a while. Grizzly is a good choice; great value for pretty good quality. The only better alternative might be used equipment from Craig's list, etc., it just depends on how quick you need it. E-mail still coming, I just have a big deadline this week
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 06 August 2016, 13:39:14
Hey, kurplop!

Nice etchings :)

Good to see the hand is healing well, if you get round to removing the tips of the other 9 digits, you'll have tiny enough hands to stand for the presidency.

Scored myself a Schaublin lathe with milling attachments and a pile of tooling last week.  Need to get the power side of things sorted out and I'll be able to rip the ends off my own fingers.  Not that I don't have the tooling to do that already, but proper spinny tools can actually pull those bones out of their sockets and beat you with them, rather than the frankly wimpy "slice, dice and splatter over the ceiling" option you went for.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 06 August 2016, 16:27:37
I'm still doing tests on the etching procedure and even tried running the paper through the printer twice to build up a thicker mask. After a few tries I got a print that tracked the first one well. To my surprise, it wasn't as durable while I was scrubbing the paper off and I ended up with more pitting than prior attempts. I'm now testing the durability of different masks to supplement the toner. I need something that won't break down from the lye but can be easily removed without residue for the anodizing.

Tufty–  I saw a safety video of a guy who was wearing gloves while operating the lathe. The glove got sucked into the work and it ripped his arm off. Just like you said, flopping around the work hitting everything in its radius. That would easily have a greater WOW factor than my measly finger incident. The real question is, "Are you man enough to do it or are you just talk?".

Congratulations on your lathe purchase. I hadn't heard of the Schaublin before but they look like a great tool. Did you get it primarily for turning or for milling?

My hand is doing great but at the hand surgeons recommendation I'm going in next week for Carpel Tunnel Release surgery. He said it just isn't normal for someone to do what I did and not  have any real pain. I had nerve studies done and the results showed an absence of sensory neuron activity; I could have told them that! The surgery will keep the same from happening to the motor nerves. The CTS I had on my right hand went well 3 years ago so I'm anticipating the same for the left.

 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 07 August 2016, 14:32:54
Congratulations on your lathe purchase. I hadn't heard of the Schaublin before but they look like a great tool. Did you get it primarily for turning or for milling?
Primarily for turning, but having the milling head is a bonus.  The guy didn't know what he was selling, all he knew was it was a 3 phase machine with its internal wiring cut (and he only had single phase power anyway), that had been hulking in his garage for 20 years since he inherited it, and he wanted it gone.  I offered him twice the scrap price and he nearly bit my arm off.  it came with a 10 kilo box of taps and dies, another 10 kilos of turning tools, about 15 kilos of milling bits, drills, etc.

Awesome score, basically.

The only downsides are that it's kinda small, milling capacity is 90x80mm at most, and it doesn't do threading.

As for wearing gloves near rotating tools, no thanks.  Seen what that does, and it's nastier than my mate's "thumb in the planer" incident.  So no, I don't fancy doing that :)

For the etching issue, you might want to consider switching etchant rather than switching mask.  http://www.nontoxicprint.com/etchzincsteelaluminum.htm might be worth a look.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 15 August 2016, 23:33:26
I had Carpel Tunnel Release surgery on my left hand today. This will actually hasten the completion of P6.
[attach=1]

I figure after another day of recovery I should be in that sweet spot where I won't be able to do any hard work but where keyboard construction will be like physical therapy. That's how I'm pitching it to my wife. I finished up a big job and have blocked out the next month or so for home improvement projects and finishing Planet6. 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 16 August 2016, 02:02:03
Be honest... was your "accident" with the jointer really just you trying to do this carpal tunnel surgery on the cheap?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 16 August 2016, 09:07:36
Be honest... was your "accident" with the jointer really just you trying to do this carpal tunnel surgery on the cheap?

I have done a few minor procedures on myself but never considered anything quite so invasive... yet.  Besides, if I had done it, I wouldn't have missed by 6 inches.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 16 August 2016, 15:53:53
Yeah probably not. A true DIYer is willing to perform minor surgeries on himself, but I guess not carpal tunnel or vasectomy type things.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 16 August 2016, 16:10:57
Good advise.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 17 August 2016, 11:52:35
If you're doing your vasectomy with a vise, it might not turn out to be reversible.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 17 August 2016, 20:31:08
After several iterations, I decided to rebuild the entire keyring. There would be too many compromises if I worked with some of the mistakes that have crept into it. By completely removing the ring structure I'll be able to better secure the new assembly. I'm making independent caps/plungers to activate the switches which will be set deeper into the body.
[attach=1]
(Anybody checking the dimensions will note that they are 10x the actual size.)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Thu, 18 August 2016, 05:49:12
Very interesting to see how things are progressing. Thanks for the updates – looking forward to reading many more.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 19 August 2016, 19:31:11
It's great to be back in the shop. Today was the first day I felt like my hand was ready to work after the surgery on Monday. I made the keyring body that will replace the center that I butchered up while experimenting with different options. I'm going to cut out the whole center and try heating up the rest of the keyboard to get it to expand enough to install the new ring.. If all goes well, the new ring will fit tightly without any fasteners but it is designed to easily bolt together if necessary.

It took very little time to make it after I finally decided on a design.
[attach=1]

This is the final cut; at least it better be. It's best to keep all critical mounting points as long as necessary.
[attach=2]

I'm making independent caps/plungers to push the switches below. This gives me more room for everything and should give the body more integrity.
I will insert brass tubes into the holes to allow for better wear and less friction. The cap will have an integrated brass stem which will slide in this one.
[attach=3]

By starting from scratch I get a second chance to get it right. The old cutouts for the Slimblade's side PCB's fit but looked pretty ill-conceived. These look like they belong.
[attach=4]

I've decided to go with round caps in the keyring and should get started on them soon. I've got more pictures which will be viewable on my flickr site in the next few days.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 20 August 2016, 17:40:17
I spent this early morning milling round caps but its execution proved more difficult that I imagined with what I had to work with. I ws unable to get the right profile on the top. I think I will try  turning them instead.

Later I did a keyringectomy on P6 and it came through better than I expected.
[attach=1][attach=2]
The ring fit snug on the first try. Not so tight that we had to expand/fit it. It will need screws, but still a nice tight fit.

Part of the flange on the outer rim all have to be cut away but most of the rest will clear. I will probably sandwich the flange between the circular PCB and the keyboard body then screw through together
[attach=3]

I'm hoping to get a little bit done each day for the next few weeks.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Sun, 21 August 2016, 05:14:30
Very neat looking! I see you make lots of use of the SlimBlade trackball; is it as good as it looks?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 21 August 2016, 08:31:42
Very neat looking! I see you make lots of use of the SlimBlade trackball; is it as good as it looks?

Thanks.

I really like them, especially after they has been modified. Unaltered, I wasn't fond of the switches. I had only used one briefly before tearing it apart so I may have gotten used to it. I remember finding that, although it has large "buttons", unless you hit them right at 3 or 9 o'clock they were hard to push compared to my former favorite trackball, the Expert Mouse. Conversely, the major complaint with the EM was solved brilliantly in the SlimBlade with their scrolling feature that's built into the ball rather than using a separate scroll ring which works great but feels a bit scratchy in use.

Using independent switches and integrating the SlimBlade into the center of the keyboard body has been a perfect marriage. It keeps the pointing device within inches of home position and allows ambidextrous control for all mousing functions.

Even after using a trackball for years, I can still use a mouse quicker and more precisely. For me, comfort, not speed, was the overriding factor. I'm also a fan of the larger trackballs. The sensory feedback in my hands is limited so the bigger the better. I did use a smaller ball, the Logitech Marble Mouse, in the ErgoPlop, an earlier board which I was disappointed in. The Marble's smaller ball worked great in its factory housing but in my design I didn't leave enough ball exposed for maximum range of motion.

I had also considered using a trackpad in lieu of a ball (come on, it's the 21st century) but its complete lack of sensory input made it unsuitable for me.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Sun, 21 August 2016, 09:44:44
That information about the SlimBlade is good to know. I was actually looking for keyboards with built-in trackballs in the center when I came across this forum – your threads more specifically. I think the AlumaPlop is gorgeous and Planet 6 even more so, from what I have seen so far. Looking forward to reading many more updates, as stated previously.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Sun, 21 August 2016, 19:51:08
I'm loving the updates!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 22 August 2016, 02:02:25
Thanks guys. I'm going to try to give a progress report at least every other day. It is refreshing to report something other than unpleasant encounters with City Hall, injuries, thefts and surgeries.

Today I cracked open another SlimBlade to reacquaint myself with its internal physical structure.
[attach=1]
 After confirming clearances, I began designing the PCB for the keyring.
[attach=2]
 I will have to trim a few areas of the keyring's body as expected but very minor.
[attach=3]

I also ordered some springs, electronics components and ribbon cable for the project. To top it off, my latest customer gave me a large cash gift in a thank you card along with the balance for the completed job.   Overall a pretty good Sunday.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 22 August 2016, 14:34:27
Lookin' good.

How's the hand feeling?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 22 August 2016, 17:35:05
My hand? That was a whole week ago. I'd almost forgotten about it.
[attach=1]
It's healing very quickly. I was able to do some yard work the next day and by Saturday I was at about 50%. Stitches don't come out for another week.

I burned the keyring PCB today. Here I'm removing the paper after letting it soak for about 5 minutes.
[attach=2]
They're not much to look at, but it looks like no shorts or open traces. I tinned them, cut them to size, and will drill out the holes this evening if all goes well.

This thing may actually be done in another month!!!!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Tue, 23 August 2016, 02:38:01
My hand? That was a whole week ago. I'd almost forgotten about it.

The cut is almost half the width of your palm and a week later you've almost forgotten about it? ;D That is tough skin.

How come you know everything from woodwork to milling to CAD to electronics?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: audax989 on Tue, 23 August 2016, 03:10:08
Amazing work sir. I am astounded at your persistence and will. Bravo sir.

Can't wait for Planet 6 to complete.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Wed, 24 August 2016, 05:46:06
What switches are you using for your keyring keys?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 24 August 2016, 06:21:08
How come you know everything from woodwork to milling to CAD to electronics?

I don't consider myself as much more than a jack of all trades and concerning electronics I'm more of a court jester, but to answer your question– I'm old. 
You can't help but pick up things if you live long enough and are curious. I'm actually more impressed by how accomplished many of our younger geek hackers are.
Amazing work sir. I am astounded at your persistence and will. Bravo sir.

Can't wait for Planet 6 to complete.

Thanks. I can't wait either!

What switches are you using for your keyring keys?

Once again, I'm resorting to the lowly ML. It just seems like a good fit. The combination of small size, easy PCB mounting, short throw, availability (I have thousands laying around), and familiarity, combined with my makeshift linkage which should help guide the push direction, swayed my decision.

I still intend to use the Matias switches for the other keys (at the moment). I'm still not happy with my keycap design and that may involve another switch to overcome clearance issues caused by my obstinate insistence on a 0.65" vertical spacing. Either way, I need to make a decision because I've decided not to go back to work until this thing is done!

By the way, no progress report today because I had to serve on jury duty. Today jury selection is finishing up and I'll know if I will be on the case. It's estimated to go for 2 weeks.



Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 26 August 2016, 18:58:07
As you may have guessed, I did get selected to serve on a trial. It is projected to last through next week. Naturally, this put quite a dent in my plan to get something done every day on P6.

I did drill out the PCB and press-fit the switches into it to check various tolerances and clearances. Tapping the holes in the keyboard body went smooth. I used a progression of 3mm taps, each one with a shorter taper, to get the threads to the bottom of the holes. I intentionally designed the PCB placement to require shims to get the right height of the switch stems. Ideally, I'd like to have about 0.5mm travel on the switch in the resting position. This should give me an activation point at 1.0mm down. If I don't like it I can easily change it. I thought I'd have to install additional springs above the keyring body but preliminary tests look like the ML spring should be able to handle the additional weight of the new cap and plunger. The round design allows me to have very thin cap walls to keep the sprung weight very light.

A view of the keyring assembly screwed in for testing.
[attach=1]
I fit a piece of 1/8" hard brass tube into the 1/8" hole. It made a very snug fit and may not require anything else to hold it in place. The 3/32" tube slides very smoothly with a little de-burring and some lube. The bottom end of the tube will get a small flat piece of brass or copper soldered on to keep the assembly in place. The top will fit into a 3/32" hole in the center of the aluminum keycap. I may add a thin sheet of rubber under the keyring body where the plunger foot will hit on the upstroke to control the sound.
[attach=2]

I have a concrete pour in the morning but then I should have the afternoon to get more done. Finally!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sat, 27 August 2016, 03:32:53
I don't really have anything to say but it seems rude looking at all the pretty pics without commenting.  It's interesting to read the explanations too - you make it all sound so simple!

Here's hoping it's an easy case so you can get back to the workshop soon :thumb:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 27 August 2016, 07:55:49
I don't really have anything to say but it seems rude looking at all the pretty pics without commenting.  It's interesting to read the explanations too - you make it all sound so simple!

Here's hoping it's an easy case so you can get back to the workshop soon :thumb:

Thanks. I appreciate your feedback. It's important for me to know that others are enjoying the process– why bother recording the steps if they weren't?

The case is a civil one and if all goes well we should be deliberating on Wednesday. Jury duty is always an inconvenience and sometimes a hardship. I'm wondering if the US is ready for professional jurors; it certainly wouldn't be any more expensive than the inefficiencies built into the conscriptive process currently used. All whining aside, I'm impressed at the gravity jurors feel, realizing that if the tables were turned, they would want the same thoughtful consideration given to their own cases.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Charger on Sat, 27 August 2016, 08:27:08
I'm not really a fan of mixing aluminum and brass since they are known to not play nice with each other but its looking good
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: OverKill on Sat, 27 August 2016, 12:07:08
I'm not really a fan of mixing aluminum and brass since they are known to not play nice with each other but its looking good

Since it isn't going to be operated under water or liquid using brass and aluminum is fine.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sat, 27 August 2016, 22:29:06
Overkill, you seem to know some stuff about metal. Would you go so far to say if dry that brass and aluminum is a good choice for moderate rubbing? I don't know squat about which metals work well together, but it's interesting stuff. If he decided to lubricate them, would that perhaps cause the problems that Charger was warning about?

Kurplop, did you do research into your selection of brass as the metal for the plunger? Or have experience with brass/aluminum being a low friction low wear configuration?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 28 August 2016, 00:11:11
Good questions guys. I was aware of problems mixing aluminum with copper so it follows that brass, which is made up of mostly copper, could have similar reactions. However, in the case of iron pipe, it reacts with copper but is compatible with brass. Honestly, I hadn't even considered it being an issue because , as overkill mentioned, it will not be subjected to water.

As for the dissimilar metals wearing against each other, they won't.  The 1/8" tube is press fit in the hole and is stationary. A smaller brass tube slides inside the larger tube; think trombone. I have had bad experiences with aluminum against aluminum friction and thought the brass to be a better option. I had considered Teflon inserts but the brass was availible and in the right sizes.  Absolutely no science went into the decision and I'd welcome any other thoughts on the subject.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 29 August 2016, 12:42:58
Shame you're in the states, I have some biggish chunks of teflon lying about, I'd have sent you some gratos.  Shipping overpond is liable to be more than buying the stuff pre-machined...

Bearing bronze and steel rods would be a good choice, otherwise.

By the way, *nasty* bit of milling going on here...

(https://s17.postimg.org/ccy9lu3sv/DSC02780.jpg)
If you're saying "that doesn't look very stable", you're right.  Very shallow cuts, I was only taking off 2mm in 1/10ths
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 29 August 2016, 19:25:42
Shame you're in the states, I have some biggish chunks of teflon lying about, I'd have sent you some gratos.  Shipping overpond is liable to be more than buying the stuff pre-machined...

Bearing bronze and steel rods would be a good choice, otherwise.

By the way, *nasty* bit of milling going on here...

Show Image
(https://s17.postimg.org/ccy9lu3sv/DSC02780.jpg)

If you're saying "that doesn't look very stable", you're right.  Very shallow cuts, I was only taking off 2mm in 1/10ths

Bronze would have been a better option, but the iron rod would have added sprung weight that I was trying to avoid. All the same– good point. Teflon would have probably worked the best but I think my brass will work fine.

I like your lathe. There's something about old iron with a history of paint on it that makes me nostalgic. I wish I had collets for my lathe. (Jealous lament)

Meanwhile , back in the shop– I roughed out  the thumb keys and fitted them in the keyboard. I still have to cut the back sides,separate them and finish contouring the top profiles. They are just laying in place; they actually fit pretty well despite their placement in the picture.
[attach=1]

 I cut the brass plungers and cleaned up the ends with a file and sandpaper.
[attach=2][attach=3]
Another step checked off the list.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Thu, 01 September 2016, 12:03:50
****in' ell, (s)he's guilty, already.  Send 'em down!  Life without parole, hard labour or solitary!

Now, where's my bloody update?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 01 September 2016, 15:56:06
****in' ell, (s)he's guilty, already.  Send 'em down!  Life without parole, hard labour or solitary!

Now, where's my bloody update?

Hey, where do you think I live? France?  Where it's no trial but straight to the guillotine. Off with their heads! Viva Robespierre! Come on now. Here in the New World we have laws.
Well the case is over and we awarded the plaintiff $347,000.00 in compensation for damages from a car accident. After legal and medical fees, he will probably see $125.000 of it.
While jury duty is a tremendous inconvenience, as we were told, "we serve so that the same right to a jury trial will be available to us". I was impressed with both the quality of the people I served with and with their insights which helped us to arrive at our decisions.

Now, back to the shop. I should have something good to share soon.



Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Fri, 02 September 2016, 01:36:20
Here in the New World we have laws.
I refer the honorable gentleman to the case of SCO vs IBM (also SCO vs DaimlerChrysler, SCO vs Autozone, SCO vs Novell), and question whether the guillotine is such a terrible thing after all.

Jury duty's a great thing.  <offtopic type="flamebait"> Government should be run the along similar lines. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athenian_democracy) </offtopic>

Anyway, get on with the pictures, man!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Fri, 02 September 2016, 02:54:43
347?  I guess there's a calculation to arrive at such a random looking figure :))

Glad to hear it's over!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 02 September 2016, 23:09:07
Here in the New World we have laws.
I refer the honorable gentleman to the case of SCO vs IBM (also SCO vs DaimlerChrysler, SCO vs Autozone, SCO vs Novell), and question whether the guillotine is such a terrible thing after all.

You may be right about the guillotine. I only said that we don't use it here in the New World.

Interesting reading about Athenian Democracy. Makes me want to get my toga from the cleaners and see if it still fits..

 
347?  I guess there's a calculation to arrive at such a random looking figure :))

Glad to hear it's over!

We had to breakdown the Plaintiff's loss based on past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future pain and suffering.

The Defense had a number about half of what we came up with and the Plaintiff was thinking about 2 million. We probably managed to disappoint everybody.


I made some progress on the thumb keys . Everything is roughed out but still need to clean things up.
[attach=1]

I ended up not turning the keyring switch caps after all. The process made a lot of chips. I had to clear them at least once mid cut to keep things from clogging up.
[attach=2]

I used an annular cutter for this. It's kind of a hole saw on steroids. It leaves super clean walls as it cuts.
[attach=3]

The boring finished and ready for separation and shaping of the top.
[attach=4]

And this is what it will look like. After many iterations, I'm happy with this one. It's unobtrusive but should be easy to use. Besides, they look more like moons this way.;D  I ended up mounting a lathe tool bit to my mill table and securing the cap in a collet to cut the bevel on the cap top. I tried cutting the profile on the lathe but found my chuck wouldn't hold it as secure as the mill's R8 collet.
[attach=5]
I didn't want to mess with stabilizers and the previous, larger caps probably would have required them. I'm not as concerned with the thumb keys because I am using a very robust switch and the switch center should be right where I would naturally strike the cap. Not so with the ring keys. The round ring offers no reference points to work with.

Next step is to finish up the thumb and ring caps while I wait for some electronic components I ordered.

Edit:  I almost forgot. For those interested in my recent surgery. I'm all healed up and ready for any four finger hand modeling gigs that might come up.[attach=6]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Sat, 03 September 2016, 01:31:43
It's been almost four decades that the french justice didn't kill innocent people because we death penalty is abolished over here. Just sayin'.
Back to keyboard asskicking, please ?

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sat, 03 September 2016, 03:06:02
/me adds an annular cutter and a collet to dream workshop shopping list

Those round buttons look perfect, will the random shaped thumb caps need manual work to finish or do you have another cool machine for them too?

Hand is looking good, doesn't look like your first scar...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 03 September 2016, 06:31:52
It's been almost four decades that the french justice didn't kill innocent people because we death penalty is abolished over here. Just sayin'.
Back to keyboard asskicking, please ?

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk



I hope that the absence of smiley faces doesn't imply that I was in any way serious with my comments about French justice. Because I'm 50% French, my father's parents were immigrants from France, I felt a freedom to joke about the subject. I was just having fun with tufty; besides, he started it!
/me adds an annular cutter and a collet to dream workshop shopping list

Those round buttons look perfect, will the random shaped thumb caps need manual work to finish or do you have another cool machine for them too?

Hand is looking good, doesn't look like your first scar...

You're right to be impressed with the annular cutters. They are pretty amazing. They cut fast and leave a clean wall on the inside and out. The cost is pretty steep, starting at $30 for the 1/2" size to over $100 for 1 1/2" and over.
My unstated concerns about the thin cap walls collapsing during the cut were unjustified. I cut 14 caps (two extra) and they all came out unscathed. I don't think the outcome would have been as favorable if I reversed the order and made the 9/16" end mill, inner hole cut after the annular one.
The caps were cut out of aluminum stock that was thicker than needed for the finished product but necessary for securing during the top beveling operation. I shortened them up later on the stationary disc sander. The thin walls sanded down quickly but had to be cooled frequently to keep from burning my fingers. After all, I need to protect the ones I have left.

The rest of the thumb key refinements will be done with various sanding operations, power and manual, and with varying grits. After that, a trip to the sandblast cabinet to get a consistent matte finish. I had lingering doubts whether I could fit the thumb keys accurately. It's nice to have that operation behind me.
I kept the four key thumb clusters together as long as possible to be able to properly index the contours and cap stem locations. Because I contoured the cap tops before milling the underside, I wondered how I'd support the outside caps which were no longer in plane with the inner caps. The caps were still attached but held together with only the thinnest bits of aluminum; definitely not strong enough to resist the milling forces. I ended up bedding the outer caps in a blob of Bondo. It supported the pieces but came off easily because the work was left oily from the earlier milling.

The CTR surgery seems to be healing quicker than the earlier one, 3 years ago on my right hand, but it may just seem that way because it's not my dominant hand.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Sat, 03 September 2016, 06:37:28


I hope that the absence of smiley faces doesn't imply that I was in any way serious with my comments about French justice. Because I'm 50% French, my father's parents were immigrants from France, I felt a freedom to joke about the subject. I was just having fun with tufty; besides, he started it!

My bad :-P

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 03 September 2016, 11:23:34
Those round caps look beautifully industrial.  Glorious.  And that annular cutter makes me drool.

What lathe do you have?  No way of getting (or making) an R8 collet adaptor for your headstock?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sat, 03 September 2016, 13:15:42
Nice job with the bondo hack. Work holding is the hardest part of milling IMO. I'd love to have a vacuum table, but even those only solve a handful of problems.

Have you posted a layout of your key mapping ideas? So many buttons to use for capslock now, I want to know which one(s) you choose :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 03 September 2016, 20:01:20
I hope that the absence of smiley faces doesn't imply that I was in any way serious with my comments about French justice. Because I'm 50% French, my father's parents were immigrants from France, I felt a freedom to joke about the subject. I was just having fun with tufty; besides, he started it!
My bad :-P

I'm glad you said it so I could clarify.


Those round caps look beautifully industrial.  Glorious.  And that annular cutter makes me drool.

What lathe do you have?  No way of getting (or making) an R8 collet adaptor for your headstock?

I have a pre WW2 Logan with a badly worn 3 jaw chuck. I don't have many hours on it and little metal lathe experience period. I might be able to get collets but I'm not sure I want to put much money into it. I may hold out for a deal like the one you got.

One of the biggest problems with the 'learn by doing' method is that if things don't work right, you don't know for sure if it's the tool or operator error.

Nice job with the bondo hack. Work holding is the hardest part of milling IMO. I'd love to have a vacuum table, but even those only solve a handful of problems.

Have you posted a layout of your key mapping ideas? So many buttons to use for capslock now, I want to know which one(s) you choose :)

The Bondo trick worked great and if anyone out there benefits from it, I'm happy.

As for key mapping, no major changes from the original plan. Because I am a somewhat new keyboard user, being twice the age of the average GHer before I even began using a computer, I'm still discovering keyboard shortcuts and tricks which affect how I want the layout.

Caps lock? Although I'll have plenty of keys, I doubt if I will have more than 4 dedicated caps lock keys. Just kidding.  I will have some duplicate modifiers on the ring though. As I wrote earlier in the thread, the primary purpose of the ring keys are to execute various CAD functions without my hands leaving the ball.   One thing that I will note is that I still really like my AlumaPlop's key mapping and physical layout and most of the features will be part of P6. The absence of outer rows beyond the Q and P columns, the omission of a function row, easy to reach thumb keys, staggered columns, 15º 'toe in' angle on the split, some tenting, the reduced row pitch, and the large center mounted trackball work very well for me. The only negative I can think of is that it, like any ergo board, doesn't work well from most positions. You have to commit yourself to it and sit down. Many people who have tried it have done so from a standing position. It just isn't as easy to use that way, even for me; the geometry is all off.

When it's complete, P6 will be tray mounted alongside the AlumaPlop at my desk. One for each computer. The AP will get out occasionally for extended laptop use but will probably spend most of its time next to his younger, but bigger brother.

One thing I haven't worked out yet is the firmware. In the past I've (or actually Ben- IC07)modified the ErgoDox firmware for my custom boards, but because the IO expander is unnecessary in a one piece design, its use is a more complicated and less elegant solution.  If anyone would like to offer assistance adapting an existing keyboard firmware to work with P6, let me know. I'd need something that I could easily remap without any special knowledge, much like the Massdrop configurator.

Thanks everybody for your comments. Your suggestions are more helpful than you probably realize.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 September 2016, 01:01:21
I found a few minutes to head out to the shop to bevel the cap tops tonight.

They were waiting for me as I left them, cut apart and trimmed with snips, ready to be turned.
[attach=1]

They fit nicely in the appropriate size collet.
[attach=2]

Mounting a lathe tool to the mill table turned the mill into a vertical lathe.
[attach=3]

Rather than retooling to clean up the small ridge remaining, I kissed it with a file while still spinning.
[attach=4]

They all turned out great. I guess I should say I should say that 12 did. One got mangled and another was damaged while bandsawing the caps apart. It turned out being a good idea making 2 extra.
[attach=5]

I still need to sand off about 1/3 of the length to properly fit in the ring. I was expecting the beveling to take a long time but I don't think it took more than 20 minutes, start to finish.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 04 September 2016, 01:54:26
I love me some vertical turning on the mill. So nice when you've got a piece that's easy to hold. Great thinking!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Sun, 04 September 2016, 02:03:17
Those tops look great !

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 04 September 2016, 02:15:31
I have a pre WW2 Logan with a badly worn 3 jaw chuck. I don't have many hours on it and little metal lathe experience period. I might be able to get collets but I'm not sure I want to put much money into it.
Logan's a lovely machine.  How big is it*?

No reason why you couldn't make your own collet chuck for it.  If your 3-jaw chuck is tired, you can improvise a certain amount of the machining on the mill, and for the screwcutting side of things it's possible, but annoying, to shim stuff in a 3-jaw to get it close enough to concentric as long as you have a comparator.  Something like this, perhaps, but adapted for the collets you already have on the mill?

http://warhammer.mcc.virginia.edu/ty/7x10/collet-chuck.pdf

* (http://www.theorangetreebaldock.com/quizzes/images/vizcha10.jpg)
(only brits will get this, I suspect)

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sun, 04 September 2016, 04:24:10
I'd be honoured to do the firmware in EasyAVR, what are you using as the controller?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 September 2016, 08:44:15
Those tops look great !

Thanks.


Logan's a lovely machine.  How big is it*?

No reason why you couldn't make your own collet chuck for it.  If your 3-jaw chuck is tired, you can improvise a certain amount of the machining on the mill, and for the screwcutting side of things it's possible, but annoying, to shim stuff in a 3-jaw to get it close enough to concentric as long as you have a comparator.  Something like this, perhaps, but adapted for the collets you already have on the mill?

http://warhammer.mcc.virginia.edu/ty/7x10/collet-chuck.pdf

*
Show Image
(http://www.theorangetreebaldock.com/quizzes/images/vizcha10.jpg)

(only brits will get this, I suspect)



You've given me direction and hope! I think it's an 11x36. I'll check when I'm back in the shop. I think a collet adapter would make a world of difference for it but  I'm not sure that the R8 collets will fit in the spindle bore. I'll check that also.

It did come with 2–4 jaw chucks of difference sizes but I'm a bit intimidated by them not being self centering. I know that they are potentially more accurate than a 3 jaw though.

BTW, where did you get that picture of me?

I'd be honoured to do the firmware in EasyAVR, what are you using as the controller?

I'm blown away and honored (US English spelling) by your willingness to help out. Thanks. I'll probably continue using a teensy 2.0 unless you have a better suggestion. I haven't burned the main PCB's yet so I'm flexible. Will you need a matrix layout from me?

Now for more pictures.

I wasn't looking forward to burning my fingers sanding the caps down so I made some simple wooden jigs out of a scrap of beech.
[attach=1]

What a difference. Perfect depth and all remaining fingers intact.
[attach=2]

I used the disc sander to clean up the 50 grit finish from the belt sander.
[attach=5]

The aluminum is stuck in the wood and too hot to touch so I ended up making another jig for the remaining caps. I had an even finer belt on the horizontal belt sander, so I further refined the cap bottoms on it.
[attach=6][attach=3]

The caps had to be pounded into the jig with a dead blow mallet so removing them was easiest done by ripping away excess wood then splitting the jigs apart with a chisel.
[attach=4]

A little deburring and some sandblasting and they should be ready for the anodize tank.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sun, 04 September 2016, 11:03:23
I'd be honoured to do the firmware in EasyAVR, what are you using as the controller?

I'm blown away and honored (US English spelling) by your willingness to help out. Thanks. I'll probably continue using a teensy 2.0 unless you have a better suggestion. I haven't burned the main PCB's yet so I'm flexible. Will you need a matrix layout from me?

Can't go wrong with a Teensy :thumb:

Were you thinking of making it a 6x12 matrix with the thumb keys and joystick buttons  on the bottom of the normal columns or 6x14 with the thumb keys attached to the buttons as their own columns?  Either way the ring looks like two columns of 6, I'll put the top switch in the column on the QWERTY side (not sure if you think from the top or bottom - could get confusing!)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sun, 04 September 2016, 12:05:00
I wouldn't mind seeing a pic of your sandblasting setup. Right now mine is a tupperware container with old sweatshirt arms in it :)

And do you have anything beyond the usual dust masks to keep that crap out of your lungs?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 04 September 2016, 12:22:29
You've given me direction and hope! I think it's an 11x36. I'll check when I'm back in the shop. I think a collet adapter would make a world of difference for it but  I'm not sure that the R8 collets will fit in the spindle bore. I'll check that also.

It did come with 2–4 jaw chucks of difference sizes but I'm a bit intimidated by them not being self centering. I know that they are potentially more accurate than a 3 jaw though.
For accuracy, apart from collets, you really can't go wrong with a 4-jaw and a comparator.  Needs a bit of practice, of course, but don't be afraid of it.

R8 collets aren't going to fit directly into your spindle bore, and the type of design I linked to earlier isn't going to work "out of the box" as it's for externally threaded collets.  You'd probably need 3 parts for an internally threaded collet.

If the intertubes fail me not, your best bet is to get (if you don't already have one) an adaptor from the proprietary taper in the spindle down to MT3 (probably still available from Logan, but if not you could make one yourself), and then a set of relatively cheap "industry standard" MT3 collets would fit.

BTW, where did you get that picture of me?
http://viz.co.uk/category/cartoons/strip-cartoons/finbarr-saunders/
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 September 2016, 16:35:44
Can't go wrong with a Teensy :thumb:

Were you thinking of making it a 6x12 matrix with the thumb keys and joystick buttons  on the bottom of the normal columns or 6x14 with the thumb keys attached to the buttons as their own columns?  Either way the ring looks like two columns of 6, I'll put the top switch in the column on the QWERTY side (not sure if you think from the top or bottom - could get confusing!)

Here's what I had in mind. What do you think?
[attach=1]
I wouldn't mind seeing a pic of your sandblasting setup. Right now mine is a tupperware container with old sweatshirt arms in it :)

And do you have anything beyond the usual dust masks to keep that crap out of your lungs?

My sandblasting cabinet is a cheap Harbor Freight style unit. I don't have it hooked to a dust collector because it puts out such a pathetic volume it doesn't seem to migrate out much. I'm looking into a upgrade kit that may necessitate something to improve air quality. I don't tend to be too paranoid about such things for myself. I was much more concerned about my crew's health than my own back before I went solo.

I think your Tupperware set up would be far more interesting to see. ;)


For accuracy, apart from collets, you really can't go wrong with a 4-jaw and a comparator.  Needs a bit of practice, of course, but don't be afraid of it.

R8 collets aren't going to fit directly into your spindle bore, and the type of design I linked to earlier isn't going to work "out of the box" as it's for externally threaded collets.  You'd probably need 3 parts for an internally threaded collet.

If the intertubes fail me not, your best bet is to get (if you don't already have one) an adaptor from the proprietary taper in the spindle down to MT3 (probably still available from Logan, but if not you could make one yourself), and then a set of relatively cheap "industry standard" MT3 collets would fit.


I think the MT3 route makes a lot of sense. I may even have a few pieces for it in the cabinet that came with the lathe. I don't know what half of the pieces are for.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Sun, 04 September 2016, 17:23:11
Love seeing the continued evolution of this board! I really want to get back into a machine shop now  :rolleyes:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sun, 04 September 2016, 19:15:41
Here's what I had in mind. What do you think?
(Attachment Link)

Looks good to me, I hadn't taken into account the mouse buttons being completely separate so that's a bonus (routing to the edge columns would have been a bit messy)

I'm missing a couple of keys but the firmware's pretty much done, hopefully the missing keys are at the bottom...

(http://i.imgur.com/IA5ZF2J.png)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 05 September 2016, 13:06:29
Love seeing the continued evolution of this board! I really want to get back into a machine shop now  :rolleyes:

There's nothing as satisfying as progress.
Here's what I had in mind. What do you think?
(Attachment Link)

Looks good to me, I hadn't taken into account the mouse buttons being completely separate so that's a bonus (routing to the edge columns would have been a bit messy)

I'm missing a couple of keys but the firmware's pretty much done, hopefully the missing keys are at the bottom...

Show Image
(http://i.imgur.com/IA5ZF2J.png)


That was quick. Many thanks for taking this on. What is the next step?



This morning I thought it was time to figure out how to make the plunger feet for the key ring switches.

Desperate for some flat, thin brass or copper stock, I cut a surplus piece of 3/4" copper pipe and flattened it. I then cut it into pieces <1/4" square. I then soldered them to the brass tube. I just used standard solder. I didn't think it would require much strength, not being under excessive stress in use.
[attach=1]

This is the idea. The plunger will push the switch but not be attached to it.
[attach=2]

The stems were mounted to a Dremel and turned to a less offensive more pleasing shape using a file and sandpaper to shape them.
[attach=3]

The stem fits snugly into the previously drilled hole in the cap. For final assembly, I will use some kind of cement to permanently attach them. Any suggestions? I was thinking something strong but able to be removed, if necessary, with heat.
[attach=4]

3 of the 12 pieces came off during the turning operation. I was concerned at first but realized that they came off during the later stage of turning. I think there was enough heat generated by then at the center to soften the solder. If the connections were weak, they would have surely come off at the beginning when the pieces were square and subject to the greatest shock and torque. They also came off on later pieces. I got more aggressive with the cuts then = more heat.
[attach=5]

The feet aren't exactly the same size, in fact some didn't end up completely round, but they should work fine. I need to trim the stems a bit to get the caps to the right height. Other than that, the entire keyring assembly is ready for sandblasting and anodizing.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 05 September 2016, 14:30:10
The stem fits snugly into the previously drilled hole in the cap. For final assembly, I will use some kind of cement to permanently attach them. Any suggestions? I was thinking something strong but able to be removed, if necessary, with heat.
If you have access, Loctite 603 bearing locker would be killer, if perhaps a little overkill.  Not sure how much heat it takes to break a bond, though.  We use a 60 tonne press, that's certainly overkill.

Probably the best / cheapest / most available bet would be standard low-viscosity superglue, which will creep into your joint via capillary action - and if you ever need to remove it, acetone, which is probably what you want to clean the surfaces with first anyway.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 05 September 2016, 17:29:09
The stem fits snugly into the previously drilled hole in the cap. For final assembly, I will use some kind of cement to permanently attach them. Any suggestions? I was thinking something strong but able to be removed, if necessary, with heat.
If you have access, Loctite 603 bearing locker would be killer, if perhaps a little overkill.  Not sure how much heat it takes to break a bond, though.  We use a 60 tonne press, that's certainly overkill.

Probably the best / cheapest / most available bet would be standard low-viscosity superglue, which will creep into your joint via capillary action - and if you ever need to remove it, acetone, which is probably what you want to clean the surfaces with first anyway.

I'll check out the spec's for the Loctite. I don't think my caps would survive anything more than 50 tons though.:p  My first thought was low viscosity super glue but I don't think the acetone will work because it will be inaccessible after installed. That's why I was thinking a heat release adhesive. My guess is that the super glue would probably release at about 350º anyways. What do you think?

You inspired me to investigate what exactly was hidden in the lathe cabinet. It actually came pretty well equipped. A steady rest, following rest, about 15 long morse taper drills from about 1/2" to 1"–all sharp, dogs, a fair amount of boring bars and other tooling, and imagine this–

A collet drawbar!
[attach=1]
It only came with a 5/8" collet but it's a start. Does that look like a MT 2 or 3 to you? I also mounted one of the 6" 4 jaw chucks, there were 2 of them plus, I think a 10" 4 jaw as well. I guess it's time to learn how to center work in them.


And now to address the thumb key mounts


I hadn't thought through exactly how to mount the thumb clusters when I was milling away at the case so I have to clean up some details with that now.
The problem is that I don't have a flat surface by the mounts to secure them to. I knew this was coming when I was cutting away many months ago but, in truth, it was too much to try to envision at that time. I didn't have the exact placement of things in stone because I wanted the flexibility to change some things to better meet my ergo concerns. That said, the first step was to make an impression of the space between the mount (plate) and the body.I had to secure the keys in place so I'd have a good reference points to work from. I used thick double sided tape and masking tape to make the caps an integrated unit. I then hot glued the assembly to the body.
[attach=2]

I used some old Bondo for the impression material, first putting a release on the body so it wouldn't bond the 2 surfaces together then forcing it under the plate, hoping it would fill in but not go too far into the keys. I then trimmed away some of the excess.
[attach=3]

When I disassembled the parts I realized that I didn't have to worry about them sticking together after all. They were dirty and oily enough without the release agent that they barely held to either piece.
[attach=4]
It is probably best that the Bondo didn't stick. It should make it easier to make more accurate measurements on the next step, which is making the new 3 dimensional plates.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Mon, 05 September 2016, 18:30:00
Love seeing the continued evolution of this board! I really want to get back into a machine shop now  :rolleyes:

There's nothing as satisfying as progress.
Here's what I had in mind. What do you think?
(Attachment Link)

Looks good to me, I hadn't taken into account the mouse buttons being completely separate so that's a bonus (routing to the edge columns would have been a bit messy)

I'm missing a couple of keys but the firmware's pretty much done, hopefully the missing keys are at the bottom...


That was quick. Many thanks for taking this on. What is the next step?

Adding the missing keys might be a good start :))  Then I'll check it thoroughly (was hungover and working on it last thing at night...) add some random pins and compile, flash and test - if all goes well I send you the config and you'll just need to change the pins and save it in the right place then it will show up in the EasyAVR gui (https://deskthority.net/wiki/Easy_AVR_USB_Keyboard_Firmware) so you can finish the keymap and configure macros etc, I'll be around if you have any questions :)

Those shiny plungers look really good, it's almost a shame to hide them!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 05 September 2016, 19:03:24

Adding the missing keys might be a good start :))  Then I'll check it thoroughly (was hungover and working on it last thing at night...) add some random pins and compile, flash and test - if all goes well I send you the config and you'll just need to change the pins and save it in the right place then it will show up in the EasyAVR gui (https://deskthority.net/wiki/Easy_AVR_USB_Keyboard_Firmware) so you can finish the keymap and configure macros etc, I'll be around if you have any questions :)

Those shiny plungers look really good, it's almost a shame to hide them!

Don't knock yourself out, It will be weeks before I need it. I can't thank you enough for your assistance. I'm completely lost in that arena. I'm thinking about etching your name somewhere on the keyboard along with some of the other contributors.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Tue, 06 September 2016, 13:53:45
My first thought was low viscosity super glue but I don't think the acetone will work because it will be inaccessible after installed. That's why I was thinking a heat release adhesive. My guess is that the super glue would probably release at about 350º anyways. What do you think?
Yah, I think superglue lets go at around that sort of temperature. Acetone is good for eating superglue, though, and once it's dissolved it, it will creep into the gaps as well, I would have thought.  Might take longer, than you'd expect, of course.  If I have time tomorrow I'll give it a test.


You inspired me to investigate what exactly was hidden in the lathe cabinet. … It only came with a 5/8" collet but it's a start. Does that look like a MT 2 or 3 to you?
No, it doesn't.  Looks too short to be morse.  The lathes.co.uk page for logan reckons a proprietary (but close to 3MT) taper for the 11" model, but in any case it shouldn't really matter for collets as long as the collet drawbar matches the spindle taper.  What you're really interested in is the collets themselves, and if you have one of them, you should be able to work out what they are.

As a hint, the answer is probably "5C", which is good news as 5C is very common, but bad news in that they don't have a very wide clamping capacity per collet, so you need a bigger set.

(http://www.metalartspress.com/sites/default/files/chapter-images/mskh-chapter3-image004.gif)

good haul, though.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Tue, 06 September 2016, 14:01:32
Yessssssssssss kurplop is feeling better and he unleashed a torrent, a deluge even, of machining porn. Absolutely loving all the pictures and the details about the progress. Really makes me wish I had a lathe/mill at home.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 06 September 2016, 22:18:13
My first thought was low viscosity super glue but I don't think the acetone will work because it will be inaccessible after installed. That's why I was thinking a heat release adhesive. My guess is that the super glue would probably release at about 350º anyways. What do you think?
Yah, I think superglue lets go at around that sort of temperature. Acetone is good for eating superglue, though, and once it's dissolved it, it will creep into the gaps as well, I would have thought.  Might take longer, than you'd expect, of course.  If I have time tomorrow I'll give it a test.


You inspired me to investigate what exactly was hidden in the lathe cabinet. … It only came with a 5/8" collet but it's a start. Does that look like a MT 2 or 3 to you?
No, it doesn't.  Looks too short to be morse.  The lathes.co.uk page for logan reckons a proprietary (but close to 3MT) taper for the 11" model, but in any case it shouldn't really matter for collets as long as the collet drawbar matches the spindle taper.  What you're really interested in is the collets themselves, and if you have one of them, you should be able to work out what they are.

As a hint, the answer is probably "5C", which is good news as 5C is very common, but bad news in that they don't have a very wide clamping capacity per collet, so you need a bigger set.

Show Image
(http://www.metalartspress.com/sites/default/files/chapter-images/mskh-chapter3-image004.gif)


good haul, though.


Well that settles it. If tufty says super glue, then super glue it is.

I hope it is a 5C but I think it's too small to be that. Another thing to check when I get back to the shop.

Yessssssssssss kurplop is feeling better and he unleashed a torrent, a deluge even, of machining porn. Absolutely loving all the pictures and the details about the progress. Really makes me wish I had a lathe/mill at home.

I've been saving up for a long time.


Thumb key mounts.

Well, it took a while to make them but I think I ended up with some respectable mounts for the thumb clusters.
[attach=1]  [attach=2]
You can tell how much of an arc there is in the underside of the shell by the curve in the mounts. Notice that I pre-milled an area out of the center of the part that actually seats into the keyboard shell. This was to simplify the fitting process by having less to have to grind off.

The switches and caps fit great after a little adjusting. I hot glued the assembly into the keyboard during fabrication to check the fit. The caps still need a little work but they are close to being done.
[attach=3]

All of the "mockup" switches will get trashed because of the abuse they've suffered through the design/fabrication process.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iFreilicht on Fri, 09 September 2016, 23:03:54
Wow, this is one heck of a build-log! You're doing amazing work, keep it up!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 10 September 2016, 11:43:53
Wow, this is one heck of a build-log! You're doing amazing work, keep it up!

Thanks and welcome to the GH family. This is a great place to get all of your keyboard questions answered.

 I sometimes wonder of I'm simply overindulging my keyboard obsession posting all of these details. I decided it's better to risk giving too many details than too few. Readers can choose to follow or not and I know from experience how helpful markers can be for anyone else following the same trail.

The Project
I haven't posted anything in a few days but I've been far from inactive on the project. I've been experimenting on alternative alpha keys and what I've come up with is looking promising but not quite ready for primetime. Hope to have something up soon, good or bad.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:42:33
I have a little project on the go that you might appreciate, mr kurplop.

I need a drilling attachment for my cross slide.  I have a milling attachment, which has a spindle with #1 morse taper for toolholding.  So I figured I'd make myself a 1MT chuck adaptor for the makita chuck I have lying about, but then started thinking more in terms of turning up a set of 1MT collets.  So I've taken a piece of rusty old steel "for shoeing donkeys", as they say around here, rigged up the compound, and have almost finished making it into a 1MT blank...

Photos tomorrow, probably.

BTW, if your collets are really short, they might be F23.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 10 September 2016, 16:01:06
I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures..

I have the original Logan owners manual somewhere. It may help to unravel the mystery of collet X.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 11 September 2016, 08:34:44
Moved to its own thread to avoid further polluting yours.

https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=84627.0
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 11 September 2016, 19:18:56
Moved to its own thread to avoid further polluting yours.

https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=84627.0

I don't mind. No, I actually enjoy it. I've managed to get off track many times on this thread. Everything from welding, Ceracote, stolen trailers, tool purchases, missing fingers,anodizing, inviting the ladies to see my etchings, surgeries, gripes with City Hall, and vacations, to actually discussing the topic. It's all relevant, one way or another.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 16 September 2016, 20:11:54
I've been secretive about what I've been up to because I didn't want to lead anyone else down a rabbit hole until I knew there was something there to show for it.

For some time I've been a real advocate for reduced vertical spacing between keys. I've made my own projects much more complicated in order to include this feature and while I in no way regret it, the hurdles probably have doubled the effort involved in building this keyboard. The most obvious complication is sourcing caps that will accommodate a .75"x.65" spacing. They don't exist.  After committing to make my own caps, the next obstacle was making a cap that will be small enough and still be able to house the top of a commercial switch. It's possible to do this with either Cherry or Matias switches but with unpredictably tight clearances. A third problem I discovered is that by tightening up the vertical spacing, the shape of the cap becomes critical to avoid accidentally hitting the cap below while striking the intended one. You may ask, "How can that be, many laptops have reduced pitches without issue.".  True but the laptop switches have a very short travel. This makes isolating strikes much easier.  After several unsatisfactory experiments, I decided to abort the plan to use Matias switches. While the cutout size for the Matias is more suitable, in practice the vertical upper switch walls make a small cap design difficult to accomplish. 

Knowing  how much I like the action of the modified ML's in the keyring, I wondered if I could do something similar with the rest of the switches. After all, the use of independent plungers eliminate the biggest complaint lodged against the ML– sticky off center presses. As a bonus, the shorter travel not only helps reduce hitting multiple keys but I actually prefer the shorter throw. I did some simple tests on the cap design I envisioned and it worked surprisingly well. So I decided to commit myself to it.

Key caps and the world's thickest keyboard plate


I began by making what looks like a a keyboard plate on steroids. It s actually a housing for the caps which will float freely within the pockets.
[attach=1]

All cleaned up and no place to go.
[attach=2]

The caps beginning to take shape.
[attach=3]

Refining the arcs on the caps
[attach=4]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 16 September 2016, 20:22:49
The top chamfers get a similar treatment on the belt sander.
[attach=4]


And here's how they work. The thick cap holders allow enough depth to let the caps move freely without any binding– believe me, I've tried. The cap stem will not fit into the switch but float above, like on the keyring. The ledges on the caps keep the caps contained in the keyboard.
[attach=1]
If they end up wearing or developing problems, I can let in the sides and add self adhesive teflon strips but why mess with that now?


The caps float in the pockets so they may not be perfectly centered. With a black finish I don't think that it will be noticeable.
[attach=2]
The home row is about a sixteenth of an inch lower than the others. about half of the caps are angled specific to the exact placement. That 's why they're labeled.

Here they are pressed into the keyboard body. A few minor gaps but after the edges are properly dressed I think they won't be too distracting.
[attach=3]



Have a nice weekend!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sat, 17 September 2016, 01:35:34
Wow. The caps floating inside deep chambers is very cool. I might just need to steal that idea for my next build whenever that comes. Opens the door to be able to use all sorts of switches. Might get a microswitch keyboard built after all.

Congrats on not compromising. This keyboard has surpassed my expectations.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 17 September 2016, 01:52:46
Ho.  Lee.  Fook.

That's awesome.  I'd be kinda worried about the mass of the caps myself, and "graunchiness" from the alu/alu sliding interface.  Still, if you don't try...  How much do your caps weigh compared to a "standard" cap?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sat, 17 September 2016, 03:41:53
Ooh, shiny!  Glad it worked, must have taken a while to cut that 'plate' :eek:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: StickyBlueJuice on Sat, 17 September 2016, 04:40:16
Ooh, shiny!
Yes it is! :D
Nice work so far man, really interesting to see your progress.

How much do your caps weigh compared to a "standard" cap?
I'd be interested in knowing this as well.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 September 2016, 07:40:06
Wow. The caps floating inside deep chambers is very cool. I might just need to steal that idea for my next build whenever that comes. Opens the door to be able to use all sorts of switches. Might get a microswitch keyboard built after all.

Congrats on not compromising. This keyboard has surpassed my expectations.

Thanks. The floating system is showing promise though I'm not sure that it will be without roadblocks. The initial tests work surprisingly well. My concerns are wear, whether the anodizing process will affect friction, dirt entering and jamming the mechanism or settling on the retaining lips and changing the return height, the clack as the cap returns to the plate...  None of these were deal breakers or I wouldn't have gone ahead. This is almost as much an exercise in keyboard design as it is an end in itself.

Ho.  Lee.  Fook.


Translation needed


That's awesome.  I'd be kinda worried about the mass of the caps myself, and "graunchiness" from the alu/alu sliding interface.  Still, if you don't try...  How much do your caps weigh compared to a "standard" cap?

Thanks and I appreciate your concerns. Preliminary testing didn't produce what I expected– a sticky, noisy, grating experience. Makes me wonder why I tried it in the first place. I first cut a set of caps out of walnut. They probably felt and sounded better but my wife didn't like the look. She's my best critic.  I was also concerned about the surface degrading quickly.


How much do your caps weigh compared to a "standard" cap?
I'd be interested in knowing this as well.


 [attach=1][attach=2][attach=3]

I weighed several caps and I found the average plastic cap is roughly 1g. I did find some in my collection that were over 2 grams.  My aluminum caps are between 3.5  and 4 grams, depending on the profile. Before I hollowed out the insides, the aluminum caps weighed 9 grams.  The keyring buttons w/brass rods came in at 2.36g and the walnut caps were 2.5g. The ML is pretty well sprung for a small switch and handles them all well. Given the springs compression resistance 45+grams, I don't think weight is the problem.

If the aluminum to aluminum proves to be an issue, casting resin caps or teflon strips would be my next step. Milling the plates out of teflon could be an option also.

Ooh, shiny!  Glad it worked, must have taken a while to cut that 'plate' :eek:

The shine is striking but impractical. It will be sandblasted to a matte finish before anodizing. After all, I must retain my respectable image.

I am guessing that I have about 6–8 hours in the "plate". If I was more proficient on the mill I think I could cut that time in half.



Your responses are much appreciated. Without them, I feel like I'm just singing to myself in the shower.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sat, 17 September 2016, 08:43:05
Ooh, shiny!  Glad it worked, must have taken a while to cut that 'plate' :eek:

The shine is striking but impractical. It will be sandblasted to a matte finish before anodizing. After all, I must retain my respectable image.

I am guessing that I have about 6–8 hours in the "plate". If I was more proficient on the mill I think I could cut that time in half.

It didn't look overly shiny in the pics - looked really good in fact.  Probably not so good when there's a monitor reflecting into your eyes though...


Inspired by the progress I've added the missing keys and tweaked the layout slightly to better match the physical layout previewed.

(http://i.imgur.com/jzu5PqR.png)

You only have one key left on the right hand for [ and ] though - hopefully you don't plan to code or browse the forum on this board as that would surely be confusing!


The more I see in this thread the more I want to get a mill and have a go but it seems like something where some knowledge and experience would be good before spending a significant amount of money on a machine I cannot use and wouldn't know if it was broken :-\
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 September 2016, 11:22:39
I read a couple of books on machining to get some of the basics down. Then it's just practice. I don't mean to suggest that machining is simple. Machinists spend a lifetime in metallurgy and feel like they are just scratching the surface. Fortunately for me, holding loose tolerances in aluminum is all I need for this kind of work and I don't have to watch the clock. Someday I'd like to try CNC milling but really enjoy this hands on stuff for now.

Thanks for following up on the firmware work. I'll be bugging you in a few weeks after I get a few more of these things out of the way.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Sat, 17 September 2016, 14:16:14
suicidal_orange: Having owned both a standard mill (with hand cranks) and a CNC mill, I can say machining aluminum is a hundred times easier on the CNC since feedrate is so important. Kurplop is an artisan whose results on a standard mill won't be replicable without a ton of practice, wasted material, and expensive tooling. I'd recommend a cheaper CNC router which will handle light aluminum cuts, wood, and acrylic just fine, rather than spending the same amount of money on a hefty mill that is needed for harder metals that you may never want to cut. There's been a few people with CNC routers on here (or that *other * KB forum, I can't remember) doing some cool keycaps with a CNC router out of wood.

Kurplop: What media do you like to use to get the matte finish on the aluminum? I can't wait to see how things turn out.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 18 September 2016, 04:41:24
Kurplop is an artisan whose results on a standard mill won't be replicable without a ton of practice, wasted material, and expensive tooling.
I'd just like to echo this.  He's enormously humble about what he's doing, but it's, quite frankly, frickin' astounding.  I've not seen *anyone* else get results like that from a hand cranked mill.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 18 September 2016, 04:47:56
Given the springs compression resistance 45+grams, I don't think weight is the problem.
It wasn't weight WRT spring compression I was worried about, more about inertia of moving the extra mass about making it hard on the hands.  Sounds like you're in the ballpark, though, "time will tell".

If the aluminum to aluminum proves to be an issue, casting resin caps or teflon strips would be my next step. Milling the plates out of teflon could be an option also.
Teflon strips would be my approach, too, but that depends how you'd be going about doing it.  Knowing you it would be 4 individually machined strips per key in custom cut slots, amirite?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sun, 18 September 2016, 08:46:16
I read a couple of books on machining to get some of the basics down. Then it's just practice. I don't mean to suggest that machining is simple. Machinists spend a lifetime in metallurgy and feel like they are just scratching the surface. Fortunately for me, holding loose tolerances in aluminum is all I need for this kind of work and I don't have to watch the clock. Someday I'd like to try CNC milling but really enjoy this hands on stuff for now.
Hmm... reading something can't hurt though it's far from my best way of learning.   Much like you I like the sound of hands on - sending a design to a CNC is just a quicker (noisier and messier...) version of sending it to a company to do it for you.  Though you can watch which is fun.  And instant prototyping...

I guess loose tolerances are relative - you may not be in the 20 micron accuracy range offered by a relatively cheap CNC but half a mm is pretty damn small in the real world and you're well below that!

Kurplop is an artisan whose results on a standard mill won't be replicable without a ton of practice, wasted material, and expensive tooling.
I'd just like to echo this.  He's enormously humble about what he's doing, but it's, quite frankly, frickin' astounding.  I've not seen *anyone* else get results like that from a hand cranked mill.
Then I read this and wonder what the chances are I'll get within a whole mm consistently :))

Even if I were to buy a CNC I'd still need something to finish the pieces made else they'd be covered in semi-random swirls, right?


Given the springs compression resistance 45+grams, I don't think weight is the problem.
It wasn't weight WRT spring compression I was worried about, more about inertia of moving the extra mass about making it hard on the hands.  Sounds like you're in the ballpark, though, "time will tell".
Wouldn't a heavier cap make it easier on the hands as gravity will help?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 18 September 2016, 17:22:43
Kurplop: What media do you like to use to get the matte finish on the aluminum? I can't wait to see how things turn out.

The short answer is "I don't know". 

 I bought a used sandblasting cabinet a couple years ago complete with media. It produced a great finish on the AlumaPlop but the performance was miserable. I had a portable unit (also bought used) that I tried when I was blasting the thumb cluster plates and that thing really put out the product. In fact, it made me realize why you asked about dust control. The result was possibly a bit too rough but I'll have to wait till anodizing and dyeing to know for sure. Again, the media came with the tool. I just bought some 70 grit aluminum oxide to experiment with. It might be too rough but we'll see.  I am also considering ground glass 80/40 if the alox doesn't work. I've been warned to avoid anything that could get stuck in the aluminum and react during the anodizing phase. I'll keep you posted.

Kurplop is an artisan whose results on a standard mill won't be replicable without a ton of practice, wasted material, and expensive tooling.
I'd just like to echo this.  He's enormously humble about what he's doing, but it's, quite frankly, frickin' astounding.  I've not seen *anyone* else get results like that from a hand cranked mill.

You guys are making me blush but I'm truly appreciative of your comments given both of your talents and knowledge. Truth is, I got the project this far because of a lot of practice, wasted material and expensive tooling. Oh yeah, patience too.

Teflon strips would be my approach, too, but that depends how you'd be going about doing it.  Knowing you it would be 4 individually machined strips per key in custom cut slots, amirite?

You gotitpal.
[attach=1]

I guess loose tolerances are relative - you may not be in the 20 micron accuracy range offered by a relatively cheap CNC but half a mm is pretty damn small in the real world and you're well below that!
Even if I were to buy a CNC I'd still need something to finish the pieces made else they'd be covered in semi-random swirls, right?

You got me looking up metric to inch conversion ratios for that one. Forgive me for being from the US, one of the 3 countries still recalcitrantly clutching on to inches.

My mill has a DRO on the X and Y axis which has an acuity of 20/100,000th of an inch which, if my conversion is correct, is roughly 4 times more accurate than 20 microns. When I'm doing critical cuts I try to hold it to that but sometimes just the process of locking down the table will want to move it. Many times it just isn't that critical. Having the spindle 90º to the table is often the culprit for mis-cuts, especially with larger bits. Another thing I found out is just how important having the work firmly clamped to the table is. My mill has some sloppiness in the cranks, called backlash, but the DRO overcomes most of the measuring issues without a lot of skill.

I think the hardest thing which only came with practice for me is which way to turn the cranks. No big deal if you're starting a cut on an outer edge but another matter if you're in the corner of a pocket. Now it's almost second nature but earlier on I made more than a few bad cuts that way.

The fun part is the process of problem solving. It often involves which step to do next that will still leave a reference point or clamping point to work from next. If you like that you will find as much satisfaction in the doing as in the finished product.

No matter which way you go, CNC or manual, don't fool yourself; things always cost more than you estimate. Bits break, ruined material, that other tool you need to complete the operation, the list goes on. I was fortunate in having a lifetime of cabinetmaking and related tools plus the space to house them before my introduction to keyboards. Even with that, I've probably spent 7–8,000 dollars on, mostly used, tools specifically bought for this hobby. I've never been attracted to tool sharing co-ops but it may be a good direction to go for someone who want to get their hands on experience without breaking the bank.

The swirl problem can be just about eliminated with careful set up and slow feed rate. A little hand sanding or sandblasting will remove a quite a bit of that. I sometimes leave more knowing I have the tools to further refine the finish.

One thing I really like about many GHers is their love for learning and trying something today which was unimaginable to them yesterday.


Given the springs compression resistance 45+grams, I don't think weight is the problem.
It wasn't weight WRT spring compression I was worried about, more about inertia of moving the extra mass about making it hard on the hands.  Sounds like you're in the ballpark, though, "time will tell".
Wouldn't a heavier cap make it easier on the hands as gravity will help?


We talked about this briefly earlier in the thread. I agree that the extra mass will slow the responsiveness of the switches, therefore lighter is better. I don't think that a gram or two will be that noticable however. I'm more concerned about the thumb caps which, I'm guessing, are closer to 9 grams and are a bit slow; but that's for another discussion.

I'm going to miss you guys when this project is finished. It reminds me of a time about 20 years ago when I was stuck under a house for a few hours, the only connection with the outside world was a voice coming through a vent hole as I lay there in the darkness. Thanks for your help and support.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Mon, 19 September 2016, 03:23:13
sending a design to a CNC is just a quicker (noisier and messier...) version of sending it to a company to do it for you.

You don't understand how it works if you think you make the design and let your CNC do the rest. This isn't the thread for it, but it's not quick or easy. CAD is typically straightforward. CAM can be hell. And no CAM does your workholding (afaik).
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Mon, 19 September 2016, 03:42:38
I also would have looked toward sandblasting to get matte finish on aluminum.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 19 September 2016, 13:29:33
Teflon strips would be my approach, too, but that depends how you'd be going about doing it.  Knowing you it would be 4 individually machined strips per key in custom cut slots, amirite?

You gotitpal.
Bah, self-adhesive strips.  Lightweight!

It reminds me of a time about 20 years ago when I was stuck under a house for a few hours, the only connection with the outside world was a voice coming through a vent hole as I lay there in the darkness.
Was that voice asking "What the bloody hell are you doing under my house, you pervert?"
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 September 2016, 13:57:35
This is my sandblasting cabinet. I bought it used but it's just a cheap Harbor Freight style unit. I replaced the hose and gun and now it really pumps out the media. I have a shop vac sucking out the fine dust.
[attach=1]

I used pliers to hold the caps while blasting. The gloves are so clumsy that I found it more convenient to remove the left one and spray gloveless. The vacuum kept the stray dust from exiting the hole.
[attach=2]
I did 24 caps and the cap retainer in about 10 minutes.

This was part experiment and part production. The texture should anodize nicely and I'm going to go with it. It should pretty much mimic the look of the AlumaPlop.  The uniformity is a major plus with sandblasting. Many of the scratches and mill marks just disappear. Sandblasting is the Karl Marx of metal surfacing. It doesn't matter if they're rough or polished; they will all end up with the same in the end. (In theory)
[attach=3]
I'm thinking about the section of the cap sides that will be both exposed and rub on the retainer sides. Will the finish eventually degrade? I've ordered some teflon products that I will experiment with tomorrow.

I still need to cut a hole for the cable in the keyboard shell, tap a few more holes and flatten an area by the arcade buttons, then some final dressing and smoothing and it's to the blasting cabinet with the rest of the aluminum parts. Hopefully, but not completely realistically, I'll be anodizing this weekend.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 19 September 2016, 14:04:36

Bah, self-adhesive strips.  Lightweight!

I'm open to suggestions as long as they are complicated and extend the finish date substantially.




Was that voice asking "What the bloody hell are you doing under my house, you pervert?"


If my memory serves me right, it was saying "Don't freak out on me now".
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 19 September 2016, 23:26:04

Bah, self-adhesive strips.  Lightweight!

I'm open to suggestions as long as they are complicated and extend the finish date substantially.
Re-cast the plate from zamak, machine spiral oil channels into each hole, and equip each key with a drip oiler.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Tue, 20 September 2016, 00:51:12


I'm open to suggestions as long as they are complicated and extend the finish date substantially.
Re-cast the plate from zamak, machine spiral oil channels into each hole, and equip each key with a drip oiler.

Efficient solution ! I like it :-D


Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Tue, 20 September 2016, 02:29:43
sending a design to a CNC is just a quicker (noisier and messier...) version of sending it to a company to do it for you.

You don't understand how it works if you think you make the design and let your CNC do the rest. This isn't the thread for it, but it's not quick or easy. CAD is typically straightforward. CAM can be hell. And no CAM does your workholding (afaik).

You're right I knew nothing when I wrote that - now I know very little instead so do please excuse my noobness :))  The first cnc I looked at (stepcraft) has a spindle that is able to change it's own cutters so in theory it is press go and wait, I've not found another with this though.  The setup may be a challenge but as a programmer I'd like to think I would get that part.

Workholding?  That must be more complicated than it sounds...

I'd make a thread if I knew what I needed to know, if the derails offend let me know and I'll split it :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 September 2016, 04:30:21
I'm open to suggestions as long as they are complicated and extend the finish date substantially.
Re-cast the plate from zamak, machine spiral oil channels into each hole, and equip each key with a drip oiler.
Efficient solution ! I like it :-D


I don't know why I didn't think of that. Not only does that meet my initial criteria, it also has the added benefit of requiring expensive and potentially dangerous casting equipment. I wonder if we could substitute the inexpensive zinc based zamak with unobtainium?



I'd make a thread if I knew what I needed to know, if the derails offend let me know and I'll split it :)

I'm good with it but I've been warned by the Moderators that we're dangerously close to being moved to Off Topics! :eek:

It's funny how our backgrounds govern what is difficult for us. Working around measuring devices and dirty environments made a manual mill a no brainer for me and CNC milling a great mystery. Those of you comfortable with programing may find the opposite to be true.


Inching my way toward completion

So I asked myself, "What are you waiting for? Why not just sandblast the rest of the parts that are ready?".  So I did. 
[attach=1][attach=2]

Some of the pieces appear darker because they are wet. Overall, I'm happy with the results. I removed the brass bushings before blasting and will re-press them in after anodizing. I sanded the thumb caps down both to remove as much sprung weight as possible and to better match the aesthetics of the other caps. The outside caps are under 4 grams each and the center caps under 6 grams. Still heavier than desired but down from 6.5 to 9 grams each.

I narrowed the color scheme down to 2 options. All black or black with grey caps on some, or all, of the switches– similar to the AlumaPlop.
[attach=3]

I invite and welcome your opinions.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Tue, 20 September 2016, 08:14:00
I invite and welcome your opinions.

I can imagine the shiny red trackball really popping out visually if the rest is all black. But then again, the unique keys and physical layout that you have created are a large part of what makes the Planet 6, so my final answer would be "accent the keys". What color is the base going to be?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 September 2016, 09:58:12
I invite and welcome your opinions.

I can imagine the shiny red trackball really popping out visually if the rest is all black. But then again, the unique keys and physical layout that you have created are a large part of what makes the Planet 6, so my final answer would be "accent the keys". What color is the base going to be?

You make some good points. Thanks for your input.  If by the base you mean the underside, it will be walnut matching the palm rests. I'm slightly concerned that the walnut may not stand out enough against the black. If not I'll use a different wood.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 20 September 2016, 13:47:07
Some time ago I started the palm rests but never finished. Today it was on the to do list. It was important to do it before anodizing because it has to be sanded in place.

I hot glued the blanks in place and chiseled, belt sanded and hand sanded to blend into the curves off the shell.
[attach=1]

The gaps (I hesitated showing them) will be filled after final assembly during the wood finishing process.
[attach=2]

I thought it best to use a heat gun to remove the wood pads to avoid accidentally damaging them.
[attach=3]

I finished off the morning by sandblasting the shell.
[attach=4]

The texturing hides a lot of inconsistencies but also reveals what will show in the finished product. I found a few things to clean up and then I'll give it a final touch up of texture.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Wed, 21 September 2016, 03:22:34
My vote is for all black. The red ball and wood should be plenty of contrast without adding in grey.

Was the sandblasting done with the mystery media or the 70 grit alu oxide? Looks good. I need to get a decent cabinet. It's very satisfying Karl Marxing all your little pieces and making them look uniform. No wonder why politicians love to do it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 21 September 2016, 08:30:14
My vote is for all black. The red ball and wood should be plenty of contrast without adding in grey.

Was the sandblasting done with the mystery media or the 70 grit alu oxide? Looks good. I need to get a decent cabinet. It's very satisfying Karl Marxing all your little pieces and making them look uniform. No wonder why politicians love to do it.

I'm guessing that the mystery media, that cut quickly and I ended up using, was silica sand. I better finish the keyboard quickly because i'll probably end up with silicosis by the end of the week. :))  I'm not making fun of lung disease, only the excessive, irrational fear promulgated by our guardians.  The pictures don't show it but the media cut very sharply and left a texture similar to Apple's aluminum; maybe just a little too gritty feeling. I am going to anodize/dye some samples to make sure I like it. If not, it is easy enough to soften it up a bit with mystery media #1. I never got around to trying the aluminum oxide.

I like both color schemes. The black/grey combo offers more contrast, probably makes P6's unique features stand our more and has the added benefit of matching the AlumaPlop, which will be mounted next to it most of the time. The red ball and chrome ring set in a background of black seems like it would have a strikingly bold look. The all black process is simpler whereas the grey may be inconsistent if the depth of anodize or time in the dye tank isn't uniform. Another advantage of the all black is in de-emphasizing any inconsistencies in gap width between the floating caps and their retainers (from now on referred to as egg crates). There's also merit in uniformity among the proletariat to better control them and remind them that they exist only to serve  me- I mean the State.

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.  George Orwell


When I sandblasted the caps, the coefficient of friction increased considerably. I'm probably going to have to dress the bottom halves of the cap  and egg crate sides with a file to restore their slipperiness.  I got the teflon yesterday and have done some quick tests with it. As well as reducing friction I think it may also make the reveals consistent. I was able to stick it on the retaining lips of the caps improving the sound quality of the clack as well.

 I pulled out my anodizing equipment. Quick measurements confirmed my fear that my acid buckets are too small for P6. I ordered 6 gallon buckets and they should arrive today. I also have to get more distilled water and another gallon of sulfuric acid to supplement my current supply. I should be able to do some anodize/dye tests today and if all goes well have everything dyed by tomorrow.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 21 September 2016, 12:32:02
I don't know why I didn't think of that. Not only does that meet my initial criteria, it also has the added benefit of requiring expensive and potentially dangerous casting equipment. I wonder if we could substitute the inexpensive zinc based zamak with unobtainium?
Well, that merely reduces it to a supply chain issue.  Magnesium might be fun.  Not, you understand, an aluminium alloy containing trace amounts of magnesium, but full on, 100% magnesium.  It's got a fairly low melting point , so melting it down should be <ahem> fairly feasible using standard aluminium techniques.  As long as there's no water or oxygen anywhere near, of course.

Black is an extremely sensible colour option ("It's the new black", after all) in terms of repeatability / consistency if nothing else.

And those palm rests look gorgeous.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 21 September 2016, 13:09:49

Black is an extremely sensible colour option ("It's the new black", after all) in terms of repeatability / consistency if nothing else.


I hope Apple doesn't sue me for stealing their color.


And those palm rests look gorgeous.

Thanks. I think the wood will warm up the look of the cold planet.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 23 September 2016, 10:37:08
Yesterday wasn't a productive day but not for lack of effort.

Kurplop's kollision with unkontrollable kaos kulminating in kataclysmic katastrophes kombined with kurious konsequences, kalls into kwestion kurplop's kredentials for kompleting keyboard.   Kapeesh?

Yesterday wasn't a productive day for Planet 6.

It began early as I tried applying the mask to etch logo onto keyboard shell. Earlier tests with thick aluminum failed, probably because of the mass absorbing too much heat which prevented the toner from melting and transfering to the aluminum. So I preheated the shell in the oven to 350º with clothes iron ready to seal the deal.

Earlier experiences with transferring toner has taught me a few valuable lessons. 
1. Thoroughly soak paper before removing or some of the toner may adhere to the paper.
2. The iron has barely enough heat to do the job, even with thinner projects, so don't scrimp on ironing time.
3. Apply generous pressure. After heating, I use the iron's edge to burnish the paper.
4. If you use tape to locate paper, keep it  far enough away from artwork to allow iron to make good contact with transfer.

So what could go wrong?

I'm not sure, but it did.
[attach=1]
Several attempts, and the results weren't much better than this one. I think that the combination of dealing with the preheated part and the compound curves multiplied the difficulty factor. Resolved to get this thing anodized that day, I choose to just not etch P6 on the shell.

Now to the shop where new 6 gallon buckets, fresh distilled water, and battery acid are waiting alongside my surplus anodizing supplies and equipment.
[attach=2]

After re-sandblasting the area I prepped for the logo earlier, I carefully cleaned, degreased, and de-smutted the parts in appropriate solutions and at the correct temperatures. I prepped the anodizing tank, hooked up the power supply and set the constant current to 5.5 amps. Being careful not to touch the parts, I dipped the parts into the tank, dividing the pieces into  4 different groups to avoid overcrowding the tank.

I was confused when after 2 hours, the voltage only rose to about 10 from approximately 5. I thought that in the past it rose a quite a bit higher to maintain the current flow as the anodizing process increased resistance. It just seemed to stop at around 10. I removed the pieces after 2.5+ hours because I've read that after a certain time the anodizing process stops but the sulfuric acid continues to corrode. According to the 720 formula, given the surface area and amperage, it should have been complete after 130 minutes.

When I finally dipped the work in the dye, I was disappointed to find that it didn't take. None of the 4 batches took the dye. But why?

So, after about 18 hours of time on it yesterday, all I have is a pile of pieces which aren't black and may or may not be anodized and a bunch of questions about what went wrong. The possible culprits may be old supplies; most of the chemicals and the dye are from when I did the AlumaPlop. Could they have gone bad? I was careful not to contaminate any of the solutions and sealed the containers. I wondered if I didn't have a good electrical connection to the pieces or that my acid solution wasn't properly conducting electricity, but the cathode was bubbling aggressively enough to suggest otherwise– this was also supported by the readings on the rectifier.  I also waited about 1 to 2 hours between de-smutting and anodizing, but I don't think that could cause the issue either. One final possibility is that the aluminum alloy I used doesn't anodize well but it was 6061 which is pretty reliable. The aluminum wire bonding the pieces wouldn't take dye either.

I welcome any thoughts on the matter. I don't want to waste a lot more time stripping and re-doing it again to end up with the same results.

On the positive side, while I'm scratching my head on the anodizing problem I may try the etching process again.

 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: CPTBadAss on Fri, 23 September 2016, 11:11:54
I wonder if that dye looks it's efficacy after a certain amount of time. Or the chemicals in general.

And for some reason that voltage issue is really sticking out to me. But I don't know enough to comment on that part of the process....or much on anodizing in general.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 23 September 2016, 12:15:45
I wonder if that dye looks it's efficacy after a certain amount of time. Or the chemicals in general.

And for some reason that voltage issue is really sticking out to me. But I don't know enough to comment on that part of the process....or much on anodizing in general.

Thanks for the thoughts. I've wondered about the dye. I ran a felt pen over the aluminum after the failed dyeing attempt to see if it would absorb the ink. It didn't but the surface was still wet so that may have affected it. I'll check again today. I was exhausted and frustrated last night.

I wish I knew how to test the quality of the chemicals. Both the degreaser and the de-smut appeared to work, based upon the water sheeting test after the degreaser and the color change after the de-smut.

Based on my observations, I've ruled out failure from the power supply because it seemed to respond properly. I know it was properly polarized, both by tracing the leads from the anode to the positive and the cathode to the negative and also the more plentiful hydrogen bubbling coming from the lead cathode. I varied the constant current from 4.5 to 6.5 amps treating approximately 1sq. ft. of area at a time for between 1.5 to almost 3 hours. The voltage began at about 4 volts and raised to roughly 10 when I removed the pieces. If the acid bath was bad I don't think I would have gotten as good continuity. I very briefly contaminated the acid when a steel clamp accidentally touched the surface for 1-2 seconds but other than that I took precautions to keep the bath pure. A weak link may be the attachments, aluminum wire tightly wound around the parts, but it's hard to believe at least some would not have worked. With the caps there were 62 pieces.

I could try the same thing again, buy new chemicals and try again, give up and Ceracote it, or really give up and use some old house paint I have laying around. I think it's green.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Fri, 23 September 2016, 14:12:10
Oh dear, it was all going so well!

I think a board this good with so many hours of labour involved in it's creation deserves better than house paint, though green would go nicely with the red ball...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 23 September 2016, 14:21:18
I've recovered from the setback. I'm going to step back and then jump back in- no compromise. I'm just waiting until a clear path is evident.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 23 September 2016, 17:15:00
I ordered some Ceracote H-146P Graphite Black and it will be here Wednesday. We have until then to figure out the anodizing problem or it goes to the paint booth and oven. Either way, I hope to spend some time getting the logo etching problem solved.

I should also have time to make the remaining PCBs by then.  Well maybe not. My wife just gave me the green light to redo 2 of our showers. That will take most of 2 weeks to tear out, reframe 2 partition walls, replace pans, new mortar beds, tile and install doors. It will be a fun diversion. 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Sun, 25 September 2016, 09:23:08
I don't know anything about anodizing, but I found a PDF for troubleshooting that might be useful: http://www.nmfrc.org/pdf/sf2005/sf051502.pdf (http://www.nmfrc.org/pdf/sf2005/sf051502.pdf). And here is a very short thread that touches on the problem of the dye not sticking: http://www.finishing.com/3600-3799/3679.shtml (http://www.finishing.com/3600-3799/3679.shtml).

Here's to hoping. :thumb:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 25 September 2016, 09:45:43
Aaargh.  ****.

Working backwards from what you've said

The dye wouldn't take.

This implies either you have no / very thin anodize, the dye is bad, or the anodize came out of the bath already sealed (not sure if this can happen but if you got the process wrong somehow...)

As you say a pen wouldn't take on the surface either, we can probably discount the "bad dye" option.  Still, test the dye on something that definitely will take dye, to be sure, maybe?

That leaves the question "are the pieces anodized at all?".  Run a multimeter over it, the anodised layer should be non-conductive, and thick enough that your probe tips pushed against the surface can't penetrate through to the raw alu below.

If it's (properly) anodised, it could be that your process fouled up and the parts came out already sealed, which means you're into "strip and dip" time.  Or cerakote, you quitter you.  My money's on "it's not anodised".  If that's the case, "why not?".

You were getting at least some current through, the bubbling shows that.  Maybe a check with the same solution would be worthwhile, a piece of planet 6 scrap, and a multimeter inline, in 10A ammeter mode (*quick* test, no more than 5/10 seconds at a time).

Otherwise, chemicals.  You say you used the same chemicals as for the alumaplop, I'll discount them "going bad", or even getting contaminated, but are you sure you haven't just diluted an already diluted acid?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 September 2016, 09:49:30
I don't know anything about anodizing, but I found a PDF for troubleshooting that might be useful: http://www.nmfrc.org/pdf/sf2005/sf051502.pdf (http://www.nmfrc.org/pdf/sf2005/sf051502.pdf). And here is a very short thread that touches on the problem of the dye not sticking: http://www.finishing.com/3600-3799/3679.shtml (http://www.finishing.com/3600-3799/3679.shtml).

Here's to hoping. :thumb:

Thanks for sharing the resources, it's good to see that you're still around. I hadn't seen either article and they were good checklists. The one article applied to architectural finishes which use a different method for coloring because of the need for protection from the sun but still offered good reminders. A few things stood out as possibilities and in the end I think it had to be either the old materials or waiting too long between steps. I think that I'm going to go ahead and Ceracote the shell and other body parts. If I'm happy with the finish, I'll do the same to the caps. My biggest concern is the potential wear on the caps. I'm amazed how well the black anodize is holding up on the AlumaPlop, although the shell doesn't get the abuse the caps would get.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:00:02
Aaargh.  ****.

Or cerakote, you quitter you.

Mmmaaahhhnnnn. You didn't have to go and hurt my feelings.


Aaargh.  ****.

Working backwards from what you've said

The dye wouldn't take.

This implies either you have no / very thin anodize, the dye is bad, or the anodize came out of the bath already sealed (not sure if this can happen but if you got the process wrong somehow...)

As you say a pen wouldn't take on the surface either, we can probably discount the "bad dye" option.  Still, test the dye on something that definitely will take dye, to be sure, maybe?

That leaves the question "are the pieces anodized at all?".  Run a multimeter over it, the anodised layer should be non-conductive, and thick enough that your probe tips pushed against the surface can't penetrate through to the raw alu below.

If it's (properly) anodised, it could be that your process fouled up and the parts came out already sealed, which means you're into "strip and dip" time.  Or cerakote, you quitter you.  My money's on "it's not anodised".  If that's the case, "why not?".

You were getting at least some current through, the bubbling shows that.  Maybe a check with the same solution would be worthwhile, a piece of planet 6 scrap, and a multimeter inline, in 10A ammeter mode (*quick* test, no more than 5/10 seconds at a time).

Otherwise, chemicals.  You say you used the same chemicals as for the alumaplop, I'll discount them "going bad", or even getting contaminated, but are you sure you haven't just diluted an already diluted acid?

I may not have got the acid concentration perfect but I suspect it was pretty close. You've got me fired up to try more tests (after your callous comments) but I don't want to do them on the actual pieces themselves. I'm concerned that the tapped holes may become compromised if I do much more.

I appreciate your logical troubleshooting sequence, I just wish you would offered them sooner.    Sleeping on the job?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:04:38
One other thing. If the concentration wasn't conducive to anodizing, I don't think I would have gotten so much bubbling. I inhaled enough hydrogen fumes to make me as high a a Graf Zeppelin.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:45:02
I inhaled enough hydrogen fumes to make me as high a a Graf Zeppelin.
If your next project isn't a 122 key contoured ergo board called "oh, the huge manatee (http://i.imgur.com/FrH2ZXS.jpg)"...

Yeah, sleeping on the job.  Sorry :)

I think you probably ought to see if it's anodised anyway.  Not sure how cerakote will stick to raw aluminium, and if it's still raw it will still be soft...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:56:42
I inhaled enough hydrogen fumes to make me as high a a Graf Zeppelin.
If your next project isn't a 122 key contoured ergo board called "oh, the huge manatee (http://i.imgur.com/FrH2ZXS.jpg)"...

Yeah, sleeping on the job.  Sorry :)

I think you probably ought to see if it's anodised anyway.  Not sure how cerakote will stick to raw aluminium, and if it's still raw it will still be soft...

I will. I'm guessing that it's slightly anodized based on the fact that it did absorb some color and that the resistance did double. If my memory serves me well, I think the voltage got to about 17 on the AlumaPlop compared to 10, given the same current. I don't mind getting new chemicals and re dipping, I just don't want to re-wire 68 caps again. That was very tedious.

The Ceracote is supposed to adhere well to raw aluminum as long as it's prepped properly.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 25 September 2016, 12:45:46
I just don't want to re-wire 68 caps again. That was very tedious.
Eeek.  I can imagine.  I figured you'd done something like "drill a bunch of holes in a sacrificial aluminium plate", rammed the key stems in that, and anodised the lot in one hit, as it were.

Also, cerakote is gun technology, and gun technology is always cool.  Speshly when you're turning swords into plowshares, as it were.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 25 September 2016, 13:50:03
I just don't want to re-wire 68 caps again. That was very tedious.
Eeek.  I can imagine.  I figured you'd done something like "drill a bunch of holes in a sacrificial aluminium plate", rammed the key stems in that, and anodised the lot in one hit, as it were.

Also, cerakote is gun technology, and gun technology is always cool.  Speshly when you're turning swords into plowshares, as it were.

Unfortunately, nothing that elegant.
[attach=1]

I twisted the aluminum wire ends around the cap stems. About half sheared off as I tightened the loop. Part of the trouble is that the process is limited to aluminum or titanium. The aluminum is easily broken when twisted and doesn't  have any spring to it, both qualities make it troublesome to get a good mechanical bond. I had to redo about half but in the end I think I got a decent bond.


The upshot of all of this is that I get a chance to try out my super cool spray gun that I bought last year for spraying Ceracote.
[attach=2]

It will be the first time spraying such small work.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 26 September 2016, 22:54:59
Just some recognition for our good friends at Ceracote. They said it would be shipped on Wednesday and tonight I get this message saying that it will be at my home Tuesday at 10:30AM.
[attach=1]

I still want to give the anodize and the logo etch one more try before moving forward, but it's always great when a company exceeds expectations. :thumb:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Tue, 27 September 2016, 04:07:36
Thanks for sharing the resources, it's good to see that you're still around.

I'm cheering you on from the sidelines. ;)

I hadn't seen either article and they were good checklists. The one article applied to architectural finishes which use a different method for coloring because of the need for protection from the sun but still offered good reminders.

Yeah, I should have figured there were some differences. It's all just anodizing to me. 'Til next time.

A few things stood out as possibilities and in the end I think it had to be either the old materials or waiting too long between steps. I think that I'm going to go ahead and Ceracote the shell and other body parts. If I'm happy with the finish, I'll do the same to the caps. My biggest concern is the potential wear on the caps. I'm amazed how well the black anodize is holding up on the AlumaPlop, although the shell doesn't get the abuse the caps would get.

That's a sound idea. I'm looking forward to the update. Also, cool spray gun!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 27 September 2016, 09:08:47

I'm cheering you on from the sidelines. ;)
I thought I heard someone out there in the bleachers. :)  Thanks.

Were you the one in the short skirt with pompoms?  :eek:


 Also, cool spray gun!

It's no secret that I'm a tool lover and aficionado and I'm really excited about trying out this gun. I've got a lot of time in with paint guns, both HVLP and airless, and cheap and expensive. It is a delight just holding this one; it has a good weight and balance. The adjusting knobs and trigger suggest quality and control. My spraying  experience has been tilted towards higher volume, shooting from quart pots or 5 gallon buckets. I'll have to remember not to have too heavy a finger on the trigger.

I've spend some time last weekend routing trace paths for the pcbs and catching up on other little behind the scene details.



Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 27 September 2016, 22:28:43
Well, I tried at least. 

I re-anodized the keyring and it did take the dye this time , but it was not perfectly consistent. I did learn a few things along the way. I used sodium hydroxide to strip the anodize and whether or not it fully stripped it, it sure did clean it up. I re-sandblasted it, degreased and de-smutted it. Before dipping it I added a little more acid for good measure fired up the DC and was getting better results. I dipped it in the dye and it partially took– kind of a very dark grey. I decided it wasn't worth it and decided to go with the Ceracote which came today. I think that  didn't fully strip the anodize and that led to the sub-par results.

Gave a final try at the logo etch. It was going well but at about half depth the mask started to dissolve.
[attach=1]

I sanded it out and discovered that the anodize did take after all. The skin was very hard and it took a lot of effort to cut through it. I may try to re-anodize the caps but I think the rest will be good without it.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 28 September 2016, 23:51:18
Yeah, go ceracote.  I wouldn't even bother with trying the anodize again on the keys, just ceracote the lot.

After doing a test piece, obviously.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Thu, 29 September 2016, 04:26:38
Were you the one in the short skirt with pompoms?  :eek:

Don't give me any wacky ideas now...

I decided it wasn't worth it and decided to go with the Ceracote which came today.

Cerakote it is then. Just a final question before we leave the land of anodization; didn't you anodize the Alumaplop? That turned out well I think.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 29 September 2016, 09:21:56

Yeah, go ceracote.  I wouldn't even bother with trying the anodize again on the keys, just ceracote the lot.

After doing a test piece, obviously.


I decided it wasn't worth it and decided to go with the Ceracote which came today.

Cerakote it is then. Just a final question before we leave the land of anodization; didn't you anodize the Alumaplop? That turned out well I think.

I did anodize the Alumaplop and it turned out incredible. That is why the decision to not continue pursuing anodization was such a hard one to make. I will probably never know for sure what went wrong and will try again on other projects but I just don't have it in me to start from scratch again, especially when I'd have to strip everything before I could even start from scratch.


I rely heavily on the comments of my friends here to help me sort through the many decisions that inherently come with a project like this. In the end, it is me that makes the decision and lives with the consequences, but in so many ways you have influenced that decision. Because of that, at the risk of sounding codependent, thanks for giving me "permission" to Cerakote rather than anodize. Without your approval I would forever wonder if I was compromising the project even though the coating may be, in some ways, superior.


Getting rigging set up for spraying. I still have to re-prep the caps– degrease, sandblast, heat to 400º to draw out latent moisture and oils, degrease, then spray.
[attach=1]

Everything is getting black, but the ring caps look kinda nice natural. Although, maybe just a little too much.
[attach=2]

You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.



Probably not much progress on P6 until the weekend, I've got a bathroom tore up and need to get the shower finished soon.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Thu, 29 September 2016, 10:26:57
I did anodize the Alumaplop and it turned out incredible. That is why the decision to not continue pursuing anodization was such a hard one to make. I will probably never know for sure what went wrong and will try again on other projects but I just don't have it in me to start from scratch again, especially when I'd have to strip everything before I could even start from scratch.

Then I am up to speed. I guess I didn't realize the amount of work it took.

I rely heavily on the comments of my friends here to help me sort through the many decisions that inherently come with a project like this. In the end, it is me that makes the decision and lives with the consequences, but in so many ways you have influenced that decision. Because of that, at the risk of sounding codependent, thanks for giving me "permission" to Cerakote rather than anodize. Without your approval I would forever wonder if I was compromising the project even though the coating may be, in some ways, superior.

Aww. :D You know what's best. Your vision, your project.


You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.

The only thing I was thinking was "WOW". If you say there's something about the texture, I believe ya. But man, that looks so cool!

Probably not much progress on P6 until the weekend, I've got a bathroom tore up and need to get the shower finished soon.

Good luck with the building. Does the wife allow you free rein?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Thu, 29 September 2016, 10:43:06
Everything is getting black, but the ring caps look kinda nice natural. Although, maybe just a little too much.
They look great like that, IMO

Maybe better if they were anodized red to match the trackball no no no no no don't say that bad simon smack.  :D

You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.
Just barely.  Not as much as the way the whole thing makes the plastic ring around the trackball look scabby and cheap...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 29 September 2016, 11:05:05
Good luck with the building. Does the wife allow you free rein?

I'm not quite sure if you're referring to the remodeling or the keyboard obsession. If it's keyboards the short answer is yes. The short but amplified answer is – she doesn't have to because I try to keep it in check.

After 40 years my wife and I have figured each other out. Years ago she looked at my interests as rivals to our other family concerns. At times she was probably right. I don't think I was ever irresponsible about it; that is to say, my priorities were generally in balance. The problem is that my mind was always somewhere else, whether I spent physical time or money on it or not.

For us, the breakthrough came when we realized how much we were really alike. She also has her interests which she is equally passionate about. She is very creative and prolific in her ability to create  things. When we each recognized this, it became easy to understand the others point of view. Now we tend to celebrate our similarities which express themselves in different ways. 

If you were referring to the remodel – she has a lot of confidence in my judgements because of my experience. That said, as with my customers, I would never make a design decision without her review and approval. She generally respect my opinions, particularly when it involves space planning and scale but is invaluable when it comes to colors and textures.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 29 September 2016, 11:28:27
Everything is getting black, but the ring caps look kinda nice natural. Although, maybe just a little too much.
They look great like that, IMO

Maybe better if they were anodized red to match the trackball no no no no no don't say that bad simon smack.  :D

You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.
Just barely.  Not as much as the way the whole thing makes the plastic ring around the trackball look scabby and cheap...

Thanks. Now you've got me thinking. I will probably wait on the ring caps until the rest is shot to see the effect. I'm torn.

I didn't see the 4 point type, red comment until I copied. Hah! I actually considered red accents but the red's value would have to be just right to work with the ball.
[attach=1]
Maybe I should use some  of my spare trackballs and mill new ring caps out of them. What do you think?

I think the new undamaged plastic chrome plated ring will look less scabby and cheap. I do want to soften the sandblast texture, at least around the trackball,  so that scrolling won't sand down my fingers. ( I already am having a hard time with finger health :-[)

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 29 September 2016, 12:00:01
For those who want to see what's keeping me from P6
[attach=1]
Got it plumbed and pretty much lathed. I'm about to scratch the mortar bed and brown either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

A rare Kurplop selfie (I think it's my first, possibly the last) outside the shower area and ready to get to work.
[attach=2]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Thu, 29 September 2016, 17:02:12
(Attachment Link)
Why you are building a chicken coop in your shower is beyond me, but who am I to judge. ;D

A rare Kurplop selfie (I think it's my first, possibly the last outside the shower area) and ready to get to work.

Lookin' great! I corrected your misplaced parenthesis, by the way. :D Does this mean we can expect more selfies inside the shower area?! Kurt! I am not sure this is the right forum for that kind of content. Not that I... would know... of a forum or something... in particular... where it would be more suitable...  Hey, don't look at me funny like that.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 29 September 2016, 17:24:41
(Attachment Link)
Why you are building a chicken coop in your shower is beyond me, but who am I to judge. ;D

It looks like we are going to have to start a new thread (for a more mature audience). I'll take some provocative Putin style pics and we'll watch the board light up.


(Attachment Link)
Why you are building a chicken coop in your shower is beyond me, but who am I to judge. ;D
What chicken wire?
[attach=1]
To be more accurate, what you saw wasn't chicken wire, it was pre-furred wire lath. Bigger hexagons and heavier gauge wire. It will still keep the weasels out.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 02 October 2016, 21:16:17
Back on Task

I have the PCB trace paths almost done and will be burning them soon. That will allow me to do a test assembly of the alpha keys before applying the Cerakote.
[attach=2]
I don't want to pre-finish everything then find I need to drill a hole or grind something that's in the way, since it can't be touched up after it has cured.
I did some further testing on the ring switches and am pleased with the feel.
[attach=1]
Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube so you can experience the sound and responsiveness, not that I'm done making adjustments. I had to put spacers between the ring plate and PCB to get the proper travel. Earlier I mentioned that I was considering various adhesives to attach the ring caps. They press fit so nicely, it won't be necessary to use anything.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Sun, 02 October 2016, 21:18:57
Back on Task

I have the PCB trace paths almost done and will be burning them soon. That will allow me to do a test assembly of the alpha keys before applying the Cerakote.
(Attachment Link)
I don't want to pre-finish everything then find I need to drill a hole or grind something that's in the way, since it can't be touched up after it has cured.

 I did some further testing on the ring switches and am pleased with the feel.
(Attachment Link)
Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube so you can experience the sound and responsiveness, not that I'm done making adjustments. I had to put spacers between the ring plate and PCB to get the proper travel. Earlier I mentioned that I was considering various adhesives to attach the ring caps. They press fit so nicely, it won't be necessary to use anything.

I am really looking forward to seeing the completed board on video!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 02 October 2016, 21:36:24

I am really looking forward to seeing the completed board on video!

Thanks. I've been doing some video recording throughout the project and am planning to upload it one day.

 I was in the Home Depot parking lot the other day and saw an old 1955 Studebaker President. I was amazed at the styling considering what the other cars of that era looked like. It didn't take long before I was making parallels between Studebaker and my own projects. In spite of a good design and execution, Studebaker went out of business a decade later while other automakers flourished. Too much thinking outside the box? Limited market appeal? Poor management or promotion? Who knows. Maybe in another 60 years, one of your grandchildren will pull my Planet 6 out of an old abandoned barn and you can say, "Let me tell you sonny boy about how it used to be in those days. I was around to see the Model M, the Atreus, and I even talked to the nutty old bald headed guy who invented that crazy thing."
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Mon, 03 October 2016, 11:03:17
Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube
Never figured out how to upload to yotube either, I tend to use vimeo.  Less arsehole comments on vimeo, too.

Lookin' good, by the way.  Are you able to shower again?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 03 October 2016, 12:51:17
Lookin' good, by the way.  Are you able to shower again?
Thanks. The shower I'm working on now is in the 2nd floor bathroom. Nothing up there but my office and a spare bedroom. We have 3 baths downstairs so no sense of urgency to get it done.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 05 October 2016, 06:05:38
I made a drawing showing the function of the ML switches, for those interested. It has 2 additional pins that can cause some confusion. The side pins act as a bridge to allow greater flexibility when mapping traces. The top and bottom, center pins are the ones directly connected to the switch mechanism itself.
[attach=1]

Many thanks to suicidal orange for helping me with the wiring and firmware on P6.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Wed, 05 October 2016, 08:26:26
What chicken wire? To be more accurate, what you saw wasn't chicken wire, it was pre-furred wire lath. Bigger hexagons and heavier gauge wire. It will still keep the weasels out.

That's a cover-up if I ever saw one. :D

I think the new undamaged plastic chrome plated ring will look less scabby and cheap. I do want to soften the sandblast texture, at least around the trackball,  so that scrolling won't sand down my fingers. ( I already am having a hard time with finger health :-[)

What about it? Is it because of the mishap we got to read about before? How is it doing?

Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube so you can experience the sound and responsiveness, not that I'm done making adjustments.

You should be able to upload videos on Flickr. Give it a go, it would be lovely to see it in action.

I was in the Home Depot parking lot the other day and saw an old 1955 Studebaker President. I was amazed at the styling considering what the other cars of that era looked like. It didn't take long before I was making parallels between Studebaker and my own projects. In spite of a good design and execution, Studebaker went out of business a decade later while other automakers flourished. Too much thinking outside the box? Limited market appeal? Poor management or promotion? Who knows. Maybe in another 60 years, one of your grandchildren will pull my Planet 6 out of an old abandoned barn and you can say, "Let me tell you sonny boy about how it used to be in those days. I was around to see the Model M, the Atreus, and I even talked to the nutty old bald headed guy who invented that crazy thing."

I encourage you to test the waters. :) If Studebaker went from one of the four largest U.S. car manufacturers to bankrupt in ten years, management must have been inattentive.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 05 October 2016, 15:11:30

What about it? Is it because of the mishap we got to read about before? How is it doing?

Thanks for asking. I wish I could say that my fingers are doing great but that wouldn't be true. The combination of the carpel tunnel release surgery and the accident has significantly reduced my left hands usefulness. The recovery on the other hand 3 years ago took almost a year to complete. This surgery left constant but hopefully not permanent severe numbness on all 4 fingers. This is odd because the median nerve typically carries the sensations of the thumb, the next 2 fingers, and part of the ring finger. I experienced a degree of this on the first surgery but about 1/3 of what I have now. The accident has visually healed but all 3 clipped fingers  feel like they have tight bandages around them except at the tips where it feels like there are needles sticking in them whenever I touch something.  Time should restore much of their function but it does make certain tasks difficult.
That's part of the reason I'm not in a big hurry to start my next job. I don't want to be seen performing at 50%.

You should be able to upload videos on Flickr. Give it a go, it would be lovely to see it in action.

I'll look into uploading to my flickr site. I didn't know I could post video's on it.

I encourage you to test the waters. :) If Studebaker went from one of the four largest U.S. car manufacturers to bankrupt in ten years, management must have been inattentive.

I've never had much of an entrepreneurial spirit, I definitely didn't start my business to be a businessman but rather to have control over what I was doing (something that endless regulations prevent you from having anyways), and provide value to my customers. I did okay and have a degree of financial security but never lost the working class mentality. I suppose my inattentive management style is what kept me from amassing a great fortune. :-[
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Fri, 07 October 2016, 01:48:18
I suppose my inattentive management style is what kept me from amassing a great fortune.

Nah, you'll probably find that what's stopped you amassing a great fortune is not starting with a great fortune in the first place.

Hope your hand gets better over time, that sounds nasty.  I'd say I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but that might be taken as "rubbing your face in it" :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Fri, 07 October 2016, 04:29:30
That's part of the reason I'm not in a big hurry to start my next job. I don't want to be seen performing at 50%.

Hopefully it will do good for the fingers to wait a while, too.

Hope your hand gets better over time, that sounds nasty.  I'd say I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but that might be taken as "rubbing your face in it" :)

Also, from kurplop himself: Losing the digital battle one digit at a time. It's that kind of awful funny...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 07 October 2016, 19:36:19
My personal favorite was a comment by njbair:

Quote from: kurplop on Wed, 27 April 2016, 12:52:36
Accident scene findings– It looks like my jointer's depth lock wasn't fully tight and it allowed the cut to go deeper as I fed the wood through. That explains why it grabbed the wood and shot it back. Still my fault for not checking.
Quote from njbair 
 Don't blame yourself, kurplop, this is no time for finger pointing (hahaha!)


I suppose my inattentive management style is what kept me from amassing a great fortune.

Nah, you'll probably find that what's stopped you amassing a great fortune is not starting with a great fortune in the first place.

Maybe, but more importantly, I don't seem to have inherited the desire to have that much money. When I paid off my house early several years ago, I increased my mortgage payment by roughly 4 times for the last 3 years. I remember thinking at the time, If I saved that same rate after I owned the deed, I'd be able to put away almost a million dollars before I retired. Instead I have saved much less (gross understatement). I reached a place of comfort and complacency. In my business, I always choose jobs based on the actual project and the customers I'd be working for; I don't think I ever choose to do one job over another based on which would be more profitable—not the best business plan.  It worked for me but I'm not sure I left a good business model for the guys that worked for me and later went on their own.

Planet 6 update

I did very little on P6 this week but expect a lot of progress this weekend.

I'm going to order some Cerakote "tungsten" to experiment with. See sample chip
[attach=1]
 I might use it on the ring caps if the tests turn out well. The ring caps in the picture are high because I didn't have the right spacers at the time. I have since then acquired them. When it's properly set, about 1/4 of the cylindrical part, now exposed, will be above the plate. Because the switches will be partially "loaded", total travel will be 2.5mm. 1mm pre-actuation and 1.5 after activation.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 08 October 2016, 03:35:40
Oooh, that should give a nice subtle contrast.  Like your thinking.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 09 October 2016, 04:36:15
Final PCB considerations

 Early in the project, I assumed I'd have a generous amount of room to fit all of the components into it. As I began whittling down the unnecessary depth in the interest of aesthetics, at times I wondered if I may have gone too far. When I changed the switches to the egg crate design, it took even more space.  In the back of my mind I wondered if I'd have trouble finding a place for the USB hub, which is necessary to avoid having 2 cables outside the case.

 I cracked open a CuteUSB mini hub to adapt it to fit into P6. I had earlier used the same hub on the AlumaPlop with success. Its small size made it a good choice but it still took up too much real estate in its stock form. It would fit but the cable ends would have been too bulky so I removed the sockets leaving only the leads.
[attach=1]

I found a good location to mount the hub by making a picture of the proposed PCBs and then placing it in the most logical place. I chose the location based on available height and cable positions.
[attach=2]
I'll add pads to mount the 8 incoming leads to the PCB, SMD style. The outgoing cable will attach directly to the hub, be clamped the body, and run through a hole in the back of P6.

I hope to print and burn the PCB's later today.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Sun, 09 October 2016, 04:49:57
What excellent Sunday reading. The second photo makes me want to do electronics work too.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 09 October 2016, 05:01:30
What excellent Sunday reading. The second photo makes me want to do electronics work too.

Sure beats watching the US Presidential election news.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sun, 09 October 2016, 05:27:40
This is going fast, I'll have another look now I get MLs - they're an interesting design that's for sure!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 09 October 2016, 10:42:54
Many of you don't know that suicidal_orange has been helping me work through some of my firmware and circuitry issues. He has bravely wandered down all of my trace paths to double-check my work and is walking   carrying me through the firmware process. Many thanks to him for his generous help.


I should take some time now to say a few things about Cherry ML switches; a switch that I have mixed feelings about and am using in spite of their drawbacks.

The good:
They are small. Great for portable designs or low profile applications. Especially good for closer spacing between switches.
They don't require a plate. Properly drilled holes in the PCB hold the switches rock solid.
Short travel. With only 3mm total travel (1.5mm to activation), the ML may be preferred in applications where reduced travel is desirable.
Built in continuity bridge (for lack of a better word).  The 2 outer, top pins connect internally to aid PCB design.

The bad:
They have a lower rated lifespan. 20,000,000 vs 50,000,000 cycles for MX switches.
They are more difficult to work on. Everything from the frail, tiny latches that hold the top and bottom together to the minuscule pieces inside make the MX a modifier's dream by comparison.
Limited available options. From caps to springs, there are few choices when you decide to go with the ML.
They are PCB only mounted. You need a PCB because there is no provision in the design for plate mounting. Yes, it is possible to glue them in place. I once tried to press them tightly into a plate but the pressure distorts the housing and can interfere with the switch operation


The worst:
Off center key presses can bind the switch. This can be a deal breaker for many. Some have had success with lubing but time seems to help the most. I've found used ML switches to be friendlier than new ones.


There are subjective qualities also like sound and feel which can't be rated:
 I really like the sound my ML's produce in my aluminum AlumaPlop. Different keyboard constructs will produce different tonal qualities. Except for the occasional sticky, off-center press, I even like the feel. The spring weight is nice as well as the shorter travel. I feel like I can type faster on it (Still slow by GH standards). One final thing is the 0.70" spacing of the switches. I like it but it may take some getting accustomed to. Yes, your custom board can be spaced the typical 0.75" but the gap between caps may not be desirable.


So why did I choose the ML for P6 when there are so many choices out there?
In the end it came down to 2 reasons—short travel and compact size.
With the tight 0.65" vertical spacing, It was difficult to make a cap that would fit over a more common switch and still fit in the reduced vertical space. I had done it successfully on an earlier keyboard but I wasn't satisfied with the top profiles that were necessary; there wasn't enough room between some of the switches, to depress one switch without accidentally touching the one below. The ML's allow the cap top to be smaller which helps this. The reduced travel helps even more with this.


Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: brizzzle on Sun, 09 October 2016, 11:19:49
Man, this has been a great thread to read. I can't wait to see more Cerakote.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 09 October 2016, 11:33:21
Man, this has been a great thread to read. I can't wait to see more Cerakote.

Thanks and welcome aboard. If all goes well I should be ready to Cerakote next weekend.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Mon, 10 October 2016, 12:02:22
I got the PCBs burned but still have to drill out for the pins and mounting screw.

I tried using magazine paper and the toner transferred pretty well. Unfortunately I have a bad spot on my printer and ended up with some holidays on several prints.
[attach=1]

I had to do a little scratching and filling but ended up with some decent traces in the end.
[attach=2]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Mon, 10 October 2016, 12:14:04
Ooh, a different shade of shiny!  Looking good :thumb:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 14 October 2016, 00:08:35
Thought I'd better check in and bring you up to speed.

I mentioned earlier that I had to do some scratching and filling. Here's what that's all about.
 
Sometimes I get the lines a little heavy and they touch other traces. I found using a scalpel and scribe are the safest way to remove unwanted toner.
[attach=1]
Because of a bad spot on my laser printer, I will get a few areas that don't print. I've also had occasions where I did a poor job transferring a good print and some of the toner was left on the paper. That is when a felt pen comes to the rescue. The Sharpie is an effective mask to keep the ferric chloride from getting to the copper.
[attach=2]
I soldered in the switches the other day. I made the pads too big. I did it intentionally because the paper tends to shrink when I press it onto the PCB. I wanted to make sure the drilled holes were within the pads. I overdid it though and filling the pads with solder probably used 4 times as much as otherwise needed. Next time smaller traces and pads!
[attach=3]
I bolted the egg crates, keyring, and PCB's to the body and after some fiddling things fit well. I did have to enlarge a few holes to get things to line up though. Notice the missing solder in one of the switches?
[attach=4]
I made a new PCB for the ring. The old one in the picture had some problems. First , I transferred it backwards so my mouse switches weren't in the originally designed location. If that were all I would have left it but as I began soldering I noticed the pads weren't taking the solder well. From sitting around oxidizing, I think. Polishing solved the issue but then I wasn't happy with the way the 8 pin connector was fitting. The traces didn't burn very well either. With each issue I became less and less excited about using it so I committed to burning another. This PCB came out almost perfect. I'm glad I redid it. I decided to run 3 jumper wires so I didn't have to burn the 2nd side of the PCB. No worries about alignment and it went very quick. It's in the mill now waiting for me to drill the holes.

With the switches and caps mounted I got a chance to try it out. I was a bit disappointed because it felt pretty scratchy. I won't be applying the teflon until I CeraKote so no joy yet. The sandblasting roughened the egg crate sides and cap sides so I'm having to file them clean and to size to allow for the teflon strips.  The ones I had done and tested had virtually no friction or binding. Tedious work though.

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to lower the keyring caps a bit. That required me milling down the stems and sanding down the cap bottoms. I just have the sanding left to do.

CeraKote this weekend? Possibly but probably not.
 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Sat, 15 October 2016, 04:52:21
The inside of the keyboard looks tidy with all the components mounted. I'm trying to find the missing solder in the photo, but I can't find it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 15 October 2016, 06:24:15
The inside of the keyboard looks tidy with all the components mounted. I'm trying to find the missing solder in the photo, but I can't find it.

Dead center on the left side. It's funny how easy it is to not see things that aren't there. :)

One thing (of the hundreds) I didn't consider, was that as the egg crate, switches, and PCBs stack up, they converge together because of the tenting. It won't pose a problem as long as I the keyring PCB isn't at the same elevation as the alpha PCBs. You can see them overlapping in the picture above.

One thing that never fails to confuse me is trying to keep straight the proper orientation of the PCBs. My blunder this time was orienting the Teensy as if it would be mounted on the backside of the PCB. Fortunately, correcting the problem just involved scratching off a small section of a trace, a jumper wire, and remapping the firmware.
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: nhopubrid on Thu, 20 October 2016, 04:05:10
Dead center on the left side. It's funny how easy it is to not see things that aren't there. :)

One thing (of the hundreds) I didn't consider, was that as the egg crate, switches, and PCBs stack up, they converge together because of the tenting. It won't pose a problem as long as I the keyring PCB isn't at the same elevation as the alpha PCBs. You can see them overlapping in the picture above.

One thing that never fails to confuse me is trying to keep straight the proper orientation of the PCBs. My blunder this time was orienting the Teensy as if it would be mounted on the backside of the PCB. Fortunately, correcting the problem just involved scratching off a small section of a trace, a jumper wire, and remapping the firmware.
(Attachment Link)

I would've checked in sooner, but I've been terribly busy. Now I see the missing solder. I don't think I would have thought something was wrong unless someone pointed it out. What's does the programming for the Teensy involve? Is it the entire controller for the keyboard or just for interfacing with the trackball?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Thu, 20 October 2016, 11:54:00
What's does the programming for the Teensy involve? Is it the entire controller for the keyboard or just for interfacing with the trackball?

Because I'm keeping all of the trackball's components intact, its firmware will operate independent of the keyboard's. Doing this necessitates having a USB hub in the keyboard so that only one cable is needed to connect to the computer. I believe the AVR firmware allows for mousing functions but it's beyond my understanding and it probably wouldn't support all of the Slimblade's functions.

Not much happening with P6 this week; mostly fitting, soldering diodes, and fiddling with the mechanics of the caps/switches to make sure everything works flawlessly. Most of the concerns that have to be addressed before spraying have been and I'm feeling pretty optimistic about how the finished product will work.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 29 October 2016, 03:27:17
I sprayed and baked some keyboard parts last night. Here they are after two hours in the oven.
[attach=1]
I was surprised by how smooth the Cerakote feels. Very low friction. Except for an unusual flaw on the left side of the keyring top, I'm very happy with the finish. If the spot doesn't rub out I'll re-sandblast and re-shoot it.

In the back of my mind I was concerned that the thickness of the Cerakote would make a snug fit between the parts even tighter. It actually almost lubricates it. The egg crates and keyring slid in perfectly.


A close up of the caps.
[attach=2]
It is a relief getting to this point. I always stress over the finish, whether it's a house, cabinets, or keyboards. There is something almost irreversible about it. What did I forget to do that needed to be done before? Was the prep adequate? Is the finish going to go on right?

Seeing and touching this gives me a renewed excitement. I can't wait to get the caps fitted, the brass bushings and push rods installed in the ring keys, the electronics and all the rest. After over a year, I can't wait to type on it.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 29 October 2016, 11:48:52
That looks glorious.  Any idea how you ended up with that flaw, and if you'll be able to get rid of it?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 29 October 2016, 14:30:41
I'm not sure why that happened. I was baking a cake at the same time and some of the frosting may have touched it. The cake has a slight benzine/ketone aftertaste.   ;D

If I can't buff it out, I'll sandblast and re shoot when I spray the other parts. The application of the cerakote was pretty easy overall.

One of my key ring caps disappeared. I may have to make another. I think I'm going to reshape the tops to have a curve instead of the bevel and flat top. It will feel better because of the various angles they will be hit from.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 30 October 2016, 04:09:54
I was baking a cake at the same time … One of my key ring caps disappeared.

Did your cake have a hard, possibly uncooked, bit?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 30 October 2016, 06:03:27
I was baking a cake at the same time … One of my key ring caps disappeared.

Did your cake have a hard, possibly uncooked, bit?


Aha!

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Sun, 30 October 2016, 06:16:39
From shiny to stealthy - still looks great!

Here's hoping the cap is not in the cake :))
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 30 October 2016, 06:58:54
 For anyone who may be uncertain about it—the cake is a myth. :)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 04 November 2016, 11:47:37
I was fitting things together before making final adjustments and decisions and thought I'd get a quick picture out to give you an idea how it will look before breaking it down for the last time (I hope). The ring caps will be changed but otherwise this is the general look.
[attach=1]
The alpha and keyring switches work better than I could have hoped. It will be a delight to use. The thumb keys seem just a little sluggish. I don't think it's the weight of the caps. More likely that they just seem that way because the others are very snappy.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Fri, 04 November 2016, 12:23:55
Just "Woah !". Truly amazing finish ! 😍

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Fri, 04 November 2016, 15:00:01
I was fitting things together before making final adjustments and decisions and thought I'd get a quick picture out to give you an idea how it will look before breaking it down for the last time (I hope). The ring caps will be changed but otherwise this is the general look.
(Attachment Link)
The alpha and keyring switches work better than I could have hoped. It will be a delight to use. The thumb keys seem just a little sluggish. I don't think it's the weight of the caps. More likely that they just seem that way because the others are very snappy.

So beautiful man!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: alienman82 on Fri, 04 November 2016, 15:06:37
removed.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 05 November 2016, 03:11:15
That looks rubbish.  For starters, it's back to front.  Send it to me and I'll dispose of it properly.  Will it blend?

I assume the scar in the cerakote came out, I don't see it in the photos.  What's with that totally flat ring cap, though?  Trying out new shapes?  To my eye they all look a bit high, I'd probably have gone for putting the start of the bevel flush with the case, but that all depends what you're going for with the new ring caps.  Something a little more "organic" might be more comfortable in the long run, maybe something like a slight dish with rounded over edges.  Would look less "industrial" though...

The palm rests look lush.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 05 November 2016, 07:49:04
Thanks everybody (except tufty, of course), for the positive reviews. I'm happy with the look but even happier with the feel of the switch action.

I spent a lot of time trying to get the effect I was after. I was shooting for a fairly light feel with a very short throw (under 3mm) and a fast response. The alpha switches meet those requirements quite well and I haven't even applied the teflon strips yet. There is a very slight metallic sound that I think I like but will probably go away with the teflon. The Cerakote seemed to make the egg crate channels slippery, making the teflon unnecessary now but will eventually wear off. The teflon will also allow me to tune in the amount of "slop" in the caps. It's not bad but I think there is still room for improvement.

The keyring switches feel buttery smooth and are quiet. I added rubber o-rings to quiet the upstroke landing and to add length to the brass pushrod assembly (pictures to follow). The lubed brass tubing eliminated any sticking common to the ML's with off-center presses.

The thumb keys action feels slow by comparison. I may raise the keys 1/16" to 1/8" to improve clearance. When my palms are touching the rests, my thumbs just touch the keyboard body below the thumb key caps at the bottom of the down stroke. I'm not sure if I will be typing that way but I don't want to limit my options.

Ideally I would have wanted them all to feel the same but so it goes.

That looks rubbish.  For starters, it's back to front.  Send it to me and I'll dispose of it properly.  Will it blend?

I assume the scar in the cerakote came out, I don't see it in the photos.  What's with that totally flat ring cap, though?  Trying out new shapes?  To my eye they all look a bit high, I'd probably have gone for putting the start of the bevel flush with the case, but that all depends what you're going for with the new ring caps.  Something a little more "organic" might be more comfortable in the long run, maybe something like a slight dish with rounded over edges.  Would look less "industrial" though...

The palm rests look lush.

Ahh! I knew something wasn't right. Next time I'll try typing with the palm rests in the front. The toe-in seemed all wrong that way.


Yes, the flaws came out but it took two more tries to do so. I think it was oil in the aluminum. The first time, I re-sandblasted then dipped in acetone for 30 minutes but neglected to bake it at 350º for 30 minutes to draw out any additional oils. I think that was the mistake because the re-spraying yielded even more blemishes. The third try (with baking) came out flawless. Any inconsistencies you see in the picture are from dust and smudges that I left on before photographing. I don't spend much time staging my pictures.

I never found the missing ring cap. I had that one laying around from earlier experiments. The caps are just slightly pushed into the rods; that explains the extra height. They hold so well I was afraid to push them down all the way yet, knowing I'd be disassembling soon for final detailing. Funny thing is, the flat cap feels better than the others in operation! I think I will make new ones with a very slight dome shape in the top. I could easily modify the existing ones but I'd have to make a new one from scratch anyways and a new set would guarantee uniformity. I agree with the industrial look; I wish I could keep the shape but it doesn't feel as good when pressed from the variety of angles and digits I intend to employ.

The palm rests: The walnut looks pretty good but I was out shopping for alternatives and came home with some bocote and cocobolo to try out. They are both interesting looking pieces. The bocote has an almost black summer growth ring pattern which would play off the black keyboard well The cocobolo more nearly resembles the walnut but has finer grain and a slightly better color. As a plus, it would be a delight to tell people "...and of course the rests are made out of cocobolo, anything less wouldn't do".

Mistakes that ended in improvements: The redesign of the alpha clusters as well as the keyring ended up not just working better but created a look that is better than the original design. The fitted egg crates and keyring give a subtle but more detailed look to the case with the slightly raised bevels.







 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 05 November 2016, 10:00:59
Thanks everybody (except tufty, of course)
:thumb:

Yes, the flaws came out but it took two more tries to do so. I think it was oil in the aluminum. The first time, I re-sandblasted then dipped in acetone for 30 minutes but neglected to bake it at 350º for 30 minutes to draw out any additional oils. I think that was the mistake because the re-spraying yielded even more blemishes. The third try (with baking) came out flawless.
I wondered if you'd re-done it.  Should have guessed it was twice.

The caps are just slightly pushed into the rods; that explains the extra height. They hold so well I was afraid to push them down all the way yet, knowing I'd be disassembling soon for final detailing. Funny thing is, the flat cap feels better than the others in operation! I think I will make new ones with a very slight dome shape in the top. I could easily modify the existing ones but I'd have to make a new one from scratch anyways and a new set would guarantee uniformity. I agree with the industrial look; I wish I could keep the shape but it doesn't feel as good when pressed from the variety of angles and digits I intend to employ.
Ah, right, that explains the fact they aren't all at the same height, too.  And don;t get me wrong, I don't think a more organic look would look wrong, just - different.  I like the industrial touch they give, but it's a functional piece above all, right?

You'll hate me for this, but *ahem* given that you're gonna remake them anyway, have you considered a hardwood for the ring caps?  Might give a pleasing symmetry with the palm rests...

I'll get my coat.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 05 November 2016, 10:20:04
There you go. Reading my mind again. I thought I might try the ring caps matching the palm rests. What do you think?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 05 November 2016, 14:43:16
I think you should probably make it "finished" at some point.

Yeah, matching the palm rests would be lovely.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: math0ne on Mon, 07 November 2016, 22:22:57
I just wanted to say how inspiring all your work is, amazing stuff man!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 18 November 2016, 22:11:25
I think you should probably make it "finished" at some point.

I know. It's probably seems as if I don't want to finish it, but that's not true. Without a deadline, my procrastinating combined with my indecisiveness tend to get the better of me.

I just wanted to say how inspiring all your work is, amazing stuff man!

Thanks and welcome to Geekhack. That means a lot to me.


A lot of the tedious stuff

The missing ring cap that never reappeared made me go back and make a whole new set so that they would all match. It probably didn't take much longer to make 12 than replicate the one. It still involves the same number of tool changes and steps. The actual cutting is only about one fourth of the time spent. Because I changed the profile to a subtle dome, I did grind a tool to the right profile. A little sanding cleaned them up and they were ready to spray.

[attach=1]
As you can see, I made them just over half the height of the earlier caps. That cut down the weight and allowed them to not have to ride as high while still allowing full travel. I also remade the brass stems and bushings to better position things.
[attach=2]
The o-rings soften the return of the switch and add length to the bushing. I thought it critical to maximize the diameter to length ratio to reduce the risk of off-center presses sticking.

Adding self adhesive teflon tape to the keycap sides was a tedious process. It required filing the sides of the caps to get just the right amount of clearance between the egg crate sides and the caps. The tape is .006" thick and should provide not only reduced friction travel but it also quiets the metallic sound and should provide enough clearance to keep the Cerakote from wearing through the cap sides.
[attach=3]

I still need to solder in the SMD diodes for the switches and run a few more cables but it is almost wired. I added solderless connectors so I could remove components as needed without to much trouble.
[attach=4]

After lubing all of the movable parts, the switches feel and sound much more similar than before. The thumb keys responded especially well to the lube.

I hope to have more to show soon.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 19 November 2016, 09:19:33
The new ring caps look the business!  Got any photos of them mounted?

Mods to the mounting all sound sensible, as expected.  Nearly there...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Photekq on Sun, 20 November 2016, 09:33:28
I can't believe I'm only seeing this now. Absolutely incredible work!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: suicidal_orange on Tue, 22 November 2016, 18:32:12
That is some thin tape - is .006" even visible?!  Sounds like it does the job.

Looks like you'll be needing some firmware - see the readme (https://github.com/dhowland/EasyAVR/blob/master/README.md#linux-and-mac-user-tutorial) for how to use EasyAVR with a Mac.  Run and close it then copy the attached to /home/username/.EasyAVR (I think it's the same on Mac? you'll find it...) and when you run it again the Planet 6 will be in the list.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this finished!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 22 November 2016, 23:47:29
I can't believe that it's almost done!

It's all wired, tapped, adjusted and now it's time to attach and finish the wrist rests.
[attach=1]

After hot glueing the walnut rests in place, I did a little sanding and then applied several coats of finish. I applied clear strapping tape to protect the Cerakote from the sanding.
[attach=2]

While the finish was drying between coats, I finished up the base. I made it out of walnut and thought it would be the bottom but when I changed the switches it became necessary to fatten it up because the PCB's were too low.
[attach=3]
I had to cut out sections for clearance, so I epoxied a piece of 1/4" aluminum to the underside. It will end up being better this way because, being mounted to a tray arm, the heavy aluminum will be more durable than wood.

I still need to cut down screws to size so I can mount the bottom but this is pretty close to the finished product. I also need
to change the resistors for the LED indicator lights; they are blinding now. I'm hoping to install the firmware soon and by the end of the week it will be mounted to my desk.
[attach=4]

I'll post more pictures after I clean up all of the lint and smudges. Funny how you don't notice them until you blow up the pictures
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Wed, 23 November 2016, 00:50:23
I can't believe that it's almost done!

It's all wired, tapped, adjusted and now it's time to attach and finish the wrist rests.
(Attachment Link)

After hot glueing the walnut rests in place, I did a little sanding and then applied several coats of finish. I applied clear strapping tape to protect the Cerakote from the sanding.
(Attachment Link)

While the finish was drying between coats, I finished up the base. I made it out of walnut and thought it would be the bottom but when I changed the switches it became necessary to fatten it up because the PCB's were too low.
(Attachment Link)
I had to cut out sections for clearance, so I epoxied a piece of 1/4" aluminum to the underside. It will end up being better this way because, being mounted to a tray arm, the heavy aluminum will be more durable than wood.

I still need to cut down screws to size so I can mount the bottom but this is pretty close to the finished product. I also need
to change the resistors for the LED indicator lights; they are blinding now. I'm hoping to install the firmware soon and by the end of the week it will be mounted to my desk.
(Attachment Link)

I'll post more pictures after I clean up all of the lint and smudges. Funny how you don't notice them until you blow up the pictures

It's absolutely gorgeous man! This is one of the few boards I'd love to see in person!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: TomBodet on Wed, 23 November 2016, 19:51:48
 :eek:

Damn that's beautiful.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 25 November 2016, 01:50:22
Tomorrow morning, one year, one month, one week, and one day after my first post in this thread, Planet 6 will be done. Ic07 is coming over to help me install the firmware that suicidal orange prepared for me. I'm sure there will be little things to deal with but I think this project is pretty much in the can. If it works as well as the AlumaPlop has, I will be quite happy.

I posted a video/slideshow on YouTube showing highlights of the process. I'd be honored to have you check it out, but go easy on me. This video/slideshow/YouTube stuff is all new to me   


I think I will wait a few months before posting it in use. I know I will like using it but it takes me a quite a bit of time to get use to anything new and I don't want to document my clumsy and awkward technique and misrepresent how well it will work one day.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: S1llyC0ne on Fri, 25 November 2016, 02:29:10
Congratulations, kurplop ! \o/

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Fri, 25 November 2016, 09:55:50
Tomorrow morning, one year, one month, one week, and one day after my first post in this thread, Planet 6 will be done. Ic07 is coming over to help me install the firmware that suicidal orange prepared for me. I'm sure there will be little things to deal with but I think this project is pretty much in the can. If it works as well as the AlumaPlop has, I will be quite happy.

I posted a video/slideshow on YouTube showing highlights of the process. I'd be honored to have you check it out, but go easy on me. This video/slideshow/YouTube stuff is all new to me   


I think I will wait a few months before posting it in use. I know I will like using it but it takes me a quite a bit of time to get use to anything new and I don't want to document my clumsy and awkward technique and misrepresent how well it will work one day.

Thanks for the build video! I've loved watching this board come to fruition.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Badwrench on Fri, 25 November 2016, 10:41:50
What a great build buddy!  Thank you for the video of the work, it really brings it all together.

How is it to use after all this time?  It looks very comfortable. 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Fri, 25 November 2016, 11:05:25
Aw, man, that looks awful!

Oh.

Hang on.

Awesome.  That's it.  All kinds of awesome.

Quite probably the best looking keyboard I've ever seen, and given the work put into the designing and redesigning and reredesigning, I'm sure it feels just as good as it looks.  Not that you should be allowed to sully it by using it to "type" on.

Well done.  Really, really, well done.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Ramage on Fri, 25 November 2016, 13:18:16
Awesome job on the build Kurplop! It's been fun following this project for the last year!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Phenix on Fri, 25 November 2016, 13:37:03
Really congrats!
you did an stunning job by creating it!!
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: davkol on Fri, 25 November 2016, 15:34:59
Amazeballs.

BTW nominated for Deskthority Awards 2016.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 25 November 2016, 22:02:24
Thanks everybody for the kind words. Half of the fun of doing this board is the joy of learning, solving problems, dreaming, and having a great keyboard at the end of it. The other half is being able to share it with others who have the same love for things like this. I'm not going to show false modesty and say something like, "Ah gosh, it's not that good". The truth is, it is that good. Maybe not for everybody or even for more than a few, but it works perfectly for this arthritic sexagenarian with worn out hands.


It's absolutely gorgeous man! This is one of the few boards I'd love to see in person!
And I'd love to show it to you. Maybe I'll fly out to the next big east coast keyboard event and you can try it out.

What a great build buddy!  Thank you for the video of the work, it really brings it all together.

How is it to use after all this time?  It looks very comfortable. 

It was fun putting the video together. It brought back a lot of memories. Remember when I brought the shell to the Huntington Beach event? Seems like ages ago.
It will take some trial and error to decide some of the final keyring switch assignments but it feels great and the switches work surprisingly well for a prototype with so many untested features.

I'm sure it feels just as good as it looks.  Not that you should be allowed to sully it by using it to "type" on.
Well done.  Really, really, well done.

Ha. You know better than that. As soon as the good pictures are taken, I'm going to have it covered with dust and grime in no time.

Awesome job on the build Kurplop! It's been fun following this project for the last year!

I was hoping people would enjoy the thread as the board took shape. Thanks.

Amazeballs.

BTW nominated for Deskthority Awards 2016.

Wow. I feel like the belle of the ball. Which is more than kind of strange for a dude! Thanks davkol.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Fri, 25 November 2016, 22:12:15
I'd love to try it out! I'll have to keep track of all the meet ups and even the odd chance that I travel to anywhere near you.

Looking forward to the typing video though, I really want to hear this in action.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: AMongoose on Sat, 26 November 2016, 07:56:16
Absolutely stunning.
This project is so inspirational, it just makes me want to build something.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: menuhin on Sat, 26 November 2016, 08:26:55
Even tailored the key mechanism, a journey towards perfection and perseverance to complete a project like this. Splendid! Hats off to you, it's a project at a totally different level.

Please post some keyboard typing, or CAD session video.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 27 November 2016, 02:55:25
As soon as the good pictures are taken, I'm going to have it covered with dust and grime in no time.
Now you've finished making the prototype, you should send it to me like I agreed, and get on with making the real one.  Slacker!

How does it work with your "modified" hand?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 27 November 2016, 09:41:44
As I said earlier, I want to wait on the demo for a little while but I may do a quick test video so you can hear it and see the action. Unfortunately, I've developed some bad habits with my left hand that I need to break. I'm not using my middle and ring finger yet, part out of habit and part because of the sensory feedback. I made molds for a silicone finger extension but haven't finished it. That could be interesting.


This project is so inspirational, it just makes me want to build something.

That's part of the reason I documented the process.

As soon as the good pictures are taken, I'm going to have it covered with dust and grime in no time.
Now you've finished making the prototype, you should send it to me like I agreed, and get on with making the real one.  Slacker!

I think I'll hang on to it until I make the "improved" model. That may take some time though. I'm ready to jump into it but I have to sell the idea to my wife first. I know I said I'd give it to you for free but I haven't received the $10,000 shipping and handling fee from you yet. (The costs for transporting goods across the Atlantic via camel are ridiculous. :eek:)

Again, thanks everybody for the cheers and encouragement.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 27 November 2016, 10:40:32
Like I said, I'll send you the cheque when Mr Soludo Charles from Nigeria manages to get my funds out of their currently blocked state. Who'd ever have thought it could be such a long and expensive process?

Still, if he can't do it, there's always Barrister David Baloyi, apparently he has EIGHT MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS for me, I could probably convince him to send them to you instead.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 27 November 2016, 10:49:35
I have a legal team that specialize in international affairs. Would it help if I give them a call?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 27 November 2016, 11:17:52
Tufty, I'm going to miss your comebacks when this thread dies. I'm going to have to start a new keyboard just to keep the relationship alive.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 27 November 2016, 11:39:39
I'll miss making them.  Nearly as much as I miss checking for updates on this thread.  But I'm sure you'll find *something* to machine.

Here's something for you to try.

(http://i.imgur.com/DAs75ze.gif)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Sun, 27 November 2016, 13:50:53
I'll miss making them.  Nearly as much as I miss checking for updates on this thread.  But I'm sure you'll find *something* to machine.

Here's something for you to try.

Show Image
(http://i.imgur.com/DAs75ze.gif)


@tufty that requires Electric Discharge Machining which is it's own machine and really expensive since it is so precise.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 27 November 2016, 14:18:00
I'll miss making them.  Nearly as much as I miss checking for updates on this thread.  But I'm sure you'll find *something* to machine.

Here's something for you to try.

Show Image
(http://i.imgur.com/DAs75ze.gif)


@tufty that requires Electric Discharge Machining which is it's own machine and really expensive since it is so precise.
I figured that's how it was done. A friend of mine owned a metal stamping company and their tool room used an edm machine to cut their dies. Pretty impressive. I wonder if they used two separate pieces to make it because I don't think the edm wire would be that fine.

When I see something like that,I realize that there's a big difference between a tinkerer like me and a real machinist. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Thu, 01 December 2016, 20:10:49
Holy crap. That thing looks great, but it sounds even better if you used the actual sound of it in the intro to that video. I didn't deserve to be named in that video after going AWOL for a month. New house = lots of work and no time.

Did you refinish the metallic ring around the trackball? I don't see any issues in the later pics. It's probably plastic and a ***** to redo though.

Are the thumb keys responding fast enough now? Would you consider thinning them to reduce their mass or is that not the issue?

Is it too soon to ask if there are any little (or big) things that are bugging you that you wish you'd changed?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 02 December 2016, 18:28:38
Holy crap. That thing looks great, but it sounds even better if you used the actual sound of it in the intro to that video.

No, the sound is a recording I made at the last minute on my AlumaPlop. I had P6 in pieces when I thought that a typing sound effect would be good to add to the intro. By the way, I type about 1/10th that speed. I was just randomly hitting keys. It's not even timed very well with the video. :-[

I didn't deserve to be named in that video after going AWOL for a month. New house = lots of work and no time.

I'm just glad you were AWOL and not missing in action. While I appreciated all of the comments and suggestions I got, yours and tufty's were the most influential in the direction P6 took.


Did you refinish the metallic ring around the trackball? I don't see any issues in the later pics. It's probably plastic and a ***** to redo though.

That ring was pretty wasted by the time I finished the build, I had another one laying around that I used.


Are the thumb keys responding fast enough now? Would you consider thinning them to reduce their mass or is that not the issue?


I got the thumb keys down to about 3-3.5grams. The weight isn't an issue. I lubed them and that made them slide very smoothly (I would occasionally get some sticking of I'd hit a far off corner before). If I could complain (though I'm not), I'd say that the full 4mm travel seems slow and excessive compared to how snappy the other switches are with a <3mm travel.

Is it too soon to ask if there are any little (or big) things that are bugging you that you wish you'd changed?

Yes, it's probably too soon but I'll answer anyways.

Appearance—   It looks great but when I take pictures it shows off flaws that are all but invisible to the naked eye. The Cerakote seems a step down from the black anodization when seen magnified.

I'm not happy with the final fit of the wood wrist rests. There were minor gaps that I thought I could fill with sawdust and finish but it just isn't quite right (again under magnification). Also, I had to do additional sanding after adding the thickness of the glue and I was afraid of scratching the Cerakote so the wood ended up a bit higher than the aluminum. 

Function— Not much to complain about that. The alpha switches feel perfect for me—fast responsive, good sound. Of course that's subjective. I'll be interested in getting other opinions. When Ic07 helped me load the firmware he seemed to really like the feel.

The ring switches are smooth but feel like I may have gone too far with the O-rings and lube because it's a lot quieter than the alphas.
For some reason, a few of the ring caps sit a little higher than the rest. I actually like the functionality of the higher ones more. I may address that at some future time.

No regrets about the 0.65" vertical pitch; the keys are very easy to reach. The thumb keys are spaced just right for my hands.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. :thumb:



 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Fri, 02 December 2016, 19:41:17
I'm taking another look at that final pic, and I think the color scheme is just perfect. The tungsten on the ring caps was an excellent choice. The alumaplop never did it for me cause I need wrist rests, but this sucker is compact and fully functional. Bravo.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 03 December 2016, 07:04:50
this sucker is compact and fully functional. Bravo.

I agree.  It's the best thing ever, and I need one.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 03 December 2016, 09:04:27
The alumaplop never did it for me cause I need wrist rests, but this sucker is compact and fully functional. Bravo.

I need the wrist rests too. I avoided the rests on the A'plop for portability but have them integrated in the tray on my desk.

this sucker is compact and fully functional. Bravo.

I agree.  It's the best thing ever, and I need one.

Thanks guys. If you weren't happy with the results I would have regretted embarrassing you by listing you in the credits.

Tufty— Good news! I sent out a letter to a Mr. Soludo Charles and he informed me that he has your money ready for transfer. He only needs an account number and a $250 "good faith" advance. All indications are that things will proceed smoothly upon receipt.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Phenix on Sat, 03 December 2016, 09:10:21
you should run an GB. seriously.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 03 December 2016, 09:11:43
you should run an GB. seriously.

I'd love to if there were a way to produce them economically.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: alienman82 on Sat, 03 December 2016, 09:40:14
removed.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 03 December 2016, 15:09:56
you should run an GB. seriously.

I'd love to if there were a way to produce them economically.

if you adapted it to use DSA you probably could

It's one thing to make a prototype of a design and another to produce it at a reasonable cost. There are several things about my design that make production expensive. Some of them could be solved, others probably not. It all depends on what features others consider important.

I think you're right alienman, about standardizing the switches/caps. Clearly, a major investment in time resulted from my decision to use unconventional spacing between switches. The whole egg crate/pushrod design is a very inefficient way to solve a problem that many people don't think exist in the first place. The closer caps may also take longer to get use to when already familiar with standard spacing. I think it makes sense but it could go in the interest of economy.

The cost of the Slimblade is a major expense. Sure, it replaces an additional pointing device but adding it to the price of the keyboard makes it appear unfairly expensive compared to a stand alone keyboard.

To have a comfortable tenting angle, and thumb key placement, multiple PCB's are necessary—another cost. Hand wiring might make sense in a kit but would be inefficient in production.

The wood rests feel great but add another material and another step to the process.

The cost of a multi angled and contoured body is unquestionably the most expensive single item. It could possibly be stamped out of sheet metal, cast out of aluminum in sand moulds, resin cast, injection molded, or made out of fiberglass. All of these options are possible but either set-up costs would be astronomical for a small run or individual pieces would be time consuming to make. On top of that, the end product would probably be lacking the elegant details and feel of a milled unit.

A cheaper alternative would be an angular shell, similar to the Estrille. It lacks the aesthetics of P6 but it would be much simpler to produce.

In the end, to make an affordable production model of P6, I think one might have to remove the elements that make it P6.


I am curious and would appreciate your responses. What do you find appealing about Planet 6? What feature(s) are unimportant to you? Can you see any advantage by having a ring of switches around the trackball? How important are ergonomics in this design? Do you like it purely for aesthetic reasons? Can you conceive of any merit in having the reduced vertical pitch between switches? Is the presence of a trackball something that would make you not give P6 a second thought? 

I welcome your feedback, positive and negative.




 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 04 December 2016, 06:05:27
From my viewpoint, it's mainly an aesthetic thing - you've created a thing of great beauty; the enormous amounts of time, care and attention to detail that you've spent in making a keyboard to your requirements is enough for it to be a success in its own right.

For my own usage, I'm not sure if it would really work.  I'm uncertain of the value of the unconventional spacing, compared to, for example, spending the time to make a fully contoured key bowl à la Maltron.  I'm almost certain that, due to cost concerns, a hypothetical mass-produced P6 would probably have to go with conventional spacing and (main board) keycaps.

The buttons around the trackball would absolutely find a use, even for a non-CAD person like myself.  And they look great.
Wooden palm rests have to stay.  As you say yorself, they feel good.  And they look great.
**** angular.  for a start, it's a hipster Javascript framework, and anyway, the curves are a part of the beauty of what you have, its a really good playoff of "organic" curves and machine porn.

For a "mass" production, I'd suggest:

- Cast the body oversize in Al, doesn't need to be particularly pretty; sand casting would do as long as the casts can be finished down, but would add an extra step.  If cast in a "hard" mould, all the "fitment" stuff can be cast direct to size. 
- If rough cast, CNC mill all the fitment parts (palm rest and key plate holes, etc) but leave unfinished.
- Stamped steel or Al plates for the main board, plate & pcb mounting for ML switches *with standard caps*.  Can be soldered up as a single unit "off board" if you're clever.  You're clever.
- Probably resin cast keyring and thumb switches.
- Keep the wooden palm rests.  Cut to shape to fit the body (pretty much a quick bandsaw job followed by some disk or belt sander work for fine fitment), temporary fit to the body, rough shaping with flap disk in hand grinder.
- CNC mill finish pass on body with its palm rests fitted.
- Disassemble, cerakote / varnish, assemble, ship.

But that sounds like work, and it would still (probably) be economically non-viable.  To cover your costs you'd probably be in the high hundreds of bucks per board.  Probably a grand or so, and you'd have a P6 with plastic keys.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 December 2016, 06:42:21
Lots of good thoughts tufty. I think that overall what people like is that it is a custom one off keyboard that is aesthetically pleasing with attention to details and that has some unique features like the integrated trackball surrounded by switches. Most of your manufacturing suggestions would streamline the process without significantly hurting the appeal. Even with that, I think that it would still be too expensive to find a big enough market to support set up costs.

I think it's time for us to move on and devote our attention to something else, tufty. How about a better mousetrap?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sun, 04 December 2016, 09:55:55
I dunno.  Better mousetrap has been done and done again, but datamancer manage to sell their crappy steampunk ergonomic atrocities for huge amounts of money.  Even the flat maltrons are the better part of 500 bucks a pop.

Personally, I don't have the cash to splurge on stuff like that, but some people obviously do.

I'd suggested CNC finish milling for "mass" production, but if you were only making a few, you could lose the cost of CNC and hand-mill instead.  It would take more time, obviously, but for a one-off at a grand or so, it might be worth your while.  Basically, it would be a question of time reduction.  Getting plates laser or water cut should be relatively cheap.

The main effort in getting your time down would be repeatably casting to relatively tight tolerances.  Investment casting could do that, but then you need access to ceramics technology.  You'd probably end up having to make a ceramic multi-shot mould (you'd likely have to pay for the oven time, but it's a once off cost).

Another option, which would make it not quite as P6, would be to machine the main block, palm rests and all, from hardwood.  Increased machine time, but I can see selling a unique "organic" ergo keyboard for ridiculous money.

You'd have to want to do it, though.  I can see why that might be a stumbling block.  After all, the journey is the interesting bit - banging out the same thing over and over again gets old pretty fast.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 December 2016, 10:12:08
Hand milling a hardwood body with flat metal inserts does make a lot of sense.  I tried milling a walnut case and the plate cut outs are too weak to be reliable.

Truth is, it would just be a labor of love. If it were about money I'd do a whole lot better at my day job.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Moistgun on Sun, 04 December 2016, 10:45:36
+1 to nominate for keyboard of the year.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 December 2016, 10:55:14
+1 to nominate for keyboard of the year.

Nice of you to say. Thanks. I think I'd have to win KOTM first though.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Moistgun on Sun, 04 December 2016, 15:35:47
+1 to nominate for keyboard of the year.

Nice of you to say. Thanks. I think I'd have to win KOTM first though.

Oh you'll see  :rolleyes:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 December 2016, 15:51:16
+1 to nominate for keyboard of the year.

Nice of you to say. Thanks. I think I'd have to win KOTM first though.

Oh you'll see  :rolleyes:

Unfortunately, I don't know who my competition is yet. I think there holding back the big guns until the end.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: davkol on Sun, 04 December 2016, 16:05:23
Well, at least Planet 6 is in the final round of Deskthority Award for best "other" input device (https://deskthority.net/final-vote-f101/best-other-input-device-t15234.html).
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Moistgun on Sun, 04 December 2016, 16:16:03
Well, at least Planet 6 is in the final round of Deskthority Award for best "other" input device (https://deskthority.net/final-vote-f101/best-other-input-device-t15234.html).

Yeah, that got my vote.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 December 2016, 16:20:54
Thanks.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: iamtootallforthis on Sun, 04 December 2016, 17:43:32
Thanks.

You deserve it man! The amount of work to make your own board is ridiculous. Especially after all the remakes of parts, test etchings and the anodizing issues.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 04 December 2016, 21:22:13
Well, if there's a prize for taking a beating, I guess I do deserve that. Thanks  IMTTFT, for the nomination. It spared me the impropriety of nominating myself. :-[
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 06 December 2016, 02:14:53
if you want to take it to market and have it appeal to the masses, you're going to have to replace the trackball with something else (even tho the trackball is probably better than everything other than a mouse or pen tablet) and reduce the number of dedicated capslock keys to below 3

in all a seriousness, it's the definition of a custom. it's not gimmicky enough to get viral support. it's not shaped like a heart, it's not a steam punk typwriter, it's a perfectly refined ergonomic split tented keyboard w/ radial buttons and a giant effing trackball in the middle, lol. For Kurplop. By Kurplop.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: echo_spartan on Tue, 06 December 2016, 13:48:13
This looks absolutely incredible. I am seriously blown away and it inspires me to want to make my own keyboard of my dreams. I only wish I had access/technical know-how for all those tools  :p
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Tue, 06 December 2016, 16:42:56
if you want to take it to market and have it appeal to the masses, you're going to have to replace the trackball with something else (even tho the trackball is probably better than everything other than a mouse or pen tablet) and reduce the number of dedicated capslock keys to below 3

in all a seriousness, it's the definition of a custom. it's not gimmicky enough to get viral support. it's not shaped like a heart, it's not a steam punk typwriter, it's a perfectly refined ergonomic split tented keyboard w/ radial buttons and a giant effing trackball in the middle, lol. For Kurplop. By Kurplop.

Yes, I agree that the trackball immediately turns off a lot of people. Some because they've tried them and didn't like them and others because they don't want to leave the familiar that they're comfortable with. If I could use a mouse for extended periods of time without discomfort, I wouldn't use a trackball. Even though I use a trackball almost exclusively, when I have to use a mouse I find I'm still quicker and more accurate with it. The trackball does have other advantages though, such as that it doesn't require as much area to function in. Regarding the crack about the capslock, I've seen the light and think I may be able to get by with just one. :'(

You nailed it when you say that it was custom designed for me. In designing it for mass appeal, I would have done something completely different. That doesn't mean that it wouldn't be a perfect solution for many others; just a much smaller group. I would equate custom building a keyboard to my custom homebuilding work. The needs, likes, and budget of my client are factors that are a key part of the design, often applicable to only them.
 
This looks absolutely incredible. I am seriously blown away and it inspires me to want to make my own keyboard of my dreams. I only wish I had access/technical know-how for all those tools  :p

Welcome to the geekhack forum. This is a great place for keyboard enthusiasts, and if you ever need answers or help with your KB related problems you won't have far to look for good people ready to assist.

Thanks for the kind words. I've been inspired by so many people's work and I'm glad if I can give back some of that motivation to others.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 07 December 2016, 00:37:53
I've seen the light and think I may be able to get by with just one sixteen

fixed that for you.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Wed, 07 December 2016, 04:44:08
I've seen the light and think I may be able to get by with just one sixteen

fixed that for you.

OBVIOUSLY A MAN WHO KNOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF YELLING. Thanks for rescuing me from a temporary lapse into insanity.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Wed, 07 December 2016, 11:28:31
YOU'RE WELCOME.  BUT YOU USED THE WRONG CAPSLOCK ON THE "E" IN "YELLING".  IT'S AN EASY MISTAKE TO MAKE BUT MEASURES WILL BE TAKEN IF IT HAPPENS AGAIN
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 09 December 2016, 11:36:02
  I'm uncertain of the value of the unconventional spacing, compared to, for example, spending the time to make a fully contoured key bowl à la Maltron.

A few thoughts about key wells like those found on the Maltron and Kinesis Advantage:

I had the opportunity to try an Advantage, in fact I own the old Kinesis Contoured keyboard which Sordna sent around the world for people to try a few years ago. While I liked the thumb positioning better than the ErgoDox, I didn't care much for the bowls. My hands felt a bit claustrophobic and I unexpectedly found the finger movement less desirable than the ErgoDox's. I have pretty bad finger dexterity and found the varied vector paths awkward. This is not a criticism at all about the bowl shape in general, only an issue I experienced because of my limitations. Interestingly enough, the curves reduce the realized vertical spacing at the cap tops to a distance pretty close to my keyboard's spacing.

To further elaborate on this, I prefer a motion that hammers down on keys that are set in a parallel path rather than a motion that more resembles a poking or stabbing effort, particularly apparent on the upper rows. Again this is due to my fine motor limitations rather than a design flaw in a bowl design targeting the general public.

The same principle holds true for me with the thumb key action. I've seen designs that rely more on the gripping or curling of the distal parts of the thumb rather than a lateral movement hinged almost exclusively in the thumbs proximal region. Again, my superior large motor control is both quicker and more accurate than the former.

Because of the above, for those desiring a sculpted or curved profile, I think it makes more sense to accomplish it with the caps rather than at the plates. I made minor height deviations between rows to provide clearance but in some ways find it less necessary with 5 or less rows, particularly with reduced travel switches. The varied height also not only looks a bit erratic on a staggered column arrangement but it also can cause operational problems when traversing fingers between columns, e.g., moving finger almost laterally from a low #3 row cap to a higher #4 cap would require a finger lift to avoid hitting the side of the higher cap.

And while I'm on the whys of design, let's talk trackballs.

On an earlier keyboard I made with an ErgoDox, I heard criticism about my incorporating a trackball. I think one comment was something like, "What is this, the 80's.".  I had several reasons and I'd like to share them here.

First is footprint. A mouse, though small, requires a fair amount of space to operate. This is not a major problem on most desks but can be on a tray. I've found several advantages in using a tray, from being able to control height and negative slope to quick adjustability and the ability to get the keyboard out of the way when unneeded. A trackball shines when used on a tray.

Second is proximity to the keyboard. My center located trackball is 3 1/4" from home position with either hand on the AlumaPlop and slightly less on P6, which is very convenient. The center positioning also allows ambidextrous use.

Third is that I simply like the operations of the Slimblade.

And finally it's tactility is better for me than a trackpad. Because of the loss of a certain amount of sensitivity in my hands, I find that running my fingers over a flat pad just doesn't offer enough feedback. To further complicate things, my work leaves my hands sometimes so heavily calloused that the capacitive sensing doesn't register my hands reliably. I have the same problem with fingerprint recognition devices.


I guess I'm just providing more evidence that, as Zekromtor noted, "It's a keyboard designed by kurplop for kurplop". (paraphrased)
 
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Fri, 09 December 2016, 12:47:57
Can't fault much of what you're saying, in terms of personal fitment and all.  I'm 100% with you in terms of trackballs vs mice and touchpads, too.  However...

for those desiring a sculpted or curved profile, I think it makes more sense to accomplish it with the caps rather than at the plates

I can't disagree with this more.  The point of a curved profile is that the desired force vector for key actuation changes to the most comfortable vector given the curvature of the finger at any one point.  Making a curved profile by using taller and shorter caps keeps the actuation vector vertical, at which point the "curve" you've made is counterproductive; it means you're hitting the keys off-axis, at best you're doing more work and at worst you'll get keystroke misses. 

I agree that a curved profile with a column staggered layout makes cross-column moves harder, but (at least for me) that implies using only 8 columns (possibly 10, if you overload the index with a second, non-staggered, column).

But yeah, diff'rnt (key)strokes for diff'rnt folks...
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 09 December 2016, 15:13:48

for those desiring a sculpted or curved profile, I think it makes more sense to accomplish it with the caps rather than at the plates

I can't disagree with this more.  The point of a curved profile is that the desired force vector for key actuation changes to the most comfortable vector given the curvature of the finger at any one point.  Making a curved profile by using taller and shorter caps keeps the actuation vector vertical, at which point the "curve" you've made is counterproductive; it means you're hitting the keys off-axis, at best you're doing more work and at worst you'll get keystroke misses. 


I get your point and agree that a force perpendicular to the cap face makes sense.The way I profiled my caps is in some way the opposite of a fluid curve. They are more stepped than ramped and their purpose has more to do with finger clearing the cap below it. It is very subtle but was necessary given the closer vertical spacing. A simplified description would show the home row flat and roughly the same height as the low side of the remaining sloped caps with the high side of the sloped caps nearer the bottom of the keyboard.

Tufty,   In spite of your strong opposition to my position, I still respect your opinions and welcome any other future but futile attempts at poking holes in my theory of keyboard design. ;)
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 09 December 2016, 15:18:29
Tufty, do you use a keyboard with key wells? If so could you further elaborate on your experience with it. I'm not trying to be critical of its design. It just didn't work for me.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 10 December 2016, 02:16:34
I don't currently use a keyboard with wells.  I've used both kinesis and maltron boards with wells, however.

I didn't find them a magic bullet, and found the "far side" keys no more comfortable than on a flat board.  The near side keys were far more comfortable, though.  There's probably room for a "half-bowl" keyboard, which is what I've been pondering.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 10 December 2016, 04:47:39
Is this what you mean? Where the curve flattens past home row?
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: tufty on Sat, 10 December 2016, 06:14:35
Yeah, pretty much that.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: sinusoid on Sun, 11 December 2016, 07:35:19
Hey guys, same feeling about well vs. half-well keyboard.

You get much more comfortable and faster keypresses on the keys in the bottom row (closer to palm). You can comfortably make the palm rest really close to the keys, so you curl up your fingers inwards to press the keys on the bottom row.
The keys outwards are really NOT comfortable, regardless of position. The most comfy thing to do was to arrange them in a staircase manner, each next outward row ascending compared to the previous one, but with minimal change to the pressing angle. This may cause wrist pains though, because you need to tension up the whole upper part of your hand to reach these, as opposed to pushing the whole hand forward with the forearm when they're laid out flat.

Source: I made several really dirty mockups of this, trying to push the idea to the extreme, like this one here (https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=74463.msg1940393#msg1940393)
Also, typing at a 20 degree inverted angle for a few months now, and never trading back for anything less (G81, spring-modded Cherry MY's, 9 centimeters raised on the front, with makeshift foam palmrests. It's really really ugly, but works like a charm)

On a final note: Kurplop, with this one, you've reached the endgame. Of the sequel. Before it was released.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: vvp on Sun, 11 December 2016, 07:59:20
Well, i like it curved both in the back and the front.  The bottom curve is obvious: one hardly could hit the 2nd row below home row without moving the hole hand if it is not curved. I like the top curve too since it makes keys nearer. No need to reach so far.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 11 December 2016, 08:53:26
Well, i like it curved both in the back and the front.  The bottom curve is obvious: one hardly could hit the 2nd row below home row without moving the hole hand if it is not curved. I like the top curve too since it makes keys nearer. No need to reach so far.

I should probably restate that my preferences should not dictate how others should think about what's best for them. My pompous bombast was in fun.

vvp, you make a good point about the lower rows. Even my fingers would likely benefit from that but I personally require more effort to use the top keys in a contoured arrangement. I do sometime use my thumbs to hit the bottom row and on those occasions the contours would work against the natural thumb path.

Another thing to consider is that almost any Ergonomic keyboard design is more difficult to use if your not in the prescribed position and the more we deviate from the standard rectangular, flat design, the harder it is to use. I've seen this in practice when others test a ergo board from a standing position. The split design, skew, tenting and staggered columns all work against them. I don't think it's just the unfamiliar layout either. No big deal as long as you alone are using it, but at those infrequent times, when someone else has to enter their password for example, it is crazy hard to use.

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sun, 11 December 2016, 09:25:21
Hey guys, same feeling about well vs. half-well keyboard.

You get much more comfortable and faster keypresses on the keys in the bottom row (closer to palm). You can comfortably make the palm rest really close to the keys, so you curl up your fingers inwards to press the keys on the bottom row.
The keys outwards are really NOT comfortable, regardless of position. The most comfy thing to do was to arrange them in a staircase manner, each next outward row ascending compared to the previous one, but with minimal change to the pressing angle. This may cause wrist pains though, because you need to tension up the whole upper part of your hand to reach these, as opposed to pushing the whole hand forward with the forearm when they're laid out flat.

Source: I made several really dirty mockups of this, trying to push the idea to the extreme, like this one here (https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=74463.msg1940393#msg1940393)
Also, typing at a 20 degree inverted angle for a few months now, and never trading back for anything less (G81, spring-modded Cherry MY's, 9 centimeters raised on the front, with makeshift foam palmrests. It's really really ugly, but works like a charm)

On a final note: Kurplop, with this one, you've reached the endgame. Of the sequel. Before it was released.

Thanks. Based on your comments, I suspect that you, like me, have a limited tolerance to wrist extension. Mine is quite severe whereas I can only bend my right hand back about 5º past straight and anything beyond straight causes some discomfort. I like your physical mock ups. They're very helpful in finding out how well theory holds up to practice.

I'm sure that all of us who have gone through this process of trying to find the best possible arrangement have discovered that some compromises are necessary. We want something as solid as a rock yet travel friendly. Personally fitted to our hands and at the same time perfect for others.  Unobtrusive yet tented, split, and skewed. In the end, our final decisions reflect our priorities. For me, I put a premium on being able to easily slide my hands a minimal distance from typing position to the pointing device.

These recent exchanges have been helpful to me and who knows, maybe Planet 6.01 will see some out of plane bottom keys.  :eek:

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Zekromtor on Tue, 13 December 2016, 19:24:16
I agree with the observations Kurplop has made about the well design. The stab motion of the finger simply cannot be performed with the same dexterity as the more typical downward hammer motion. In the end, however, it is a compromise that can either be a benefit or a detriment depending on your typing style:

-If you type with your palms firmly planted on their rests, like I do (which is typically frowned upon, but this is coming from dogma derived from flat keyboard usage), then there it is still better to have more keys within your natural range of motion, even if the stabbing motion required to get to them isn't quite as efficient. You'd typically only want rare-use keys on your top rows at any rate.

-If you float over your keyboard then the well design in arguably is undesirable, even a fake well with key caps. I don't have a strong opinion on this, however, since I don't practice this style, so I'll leave that up to those who do to comment on, but one of the main advantages of this style is the ability to use a hammer stroke on all keys. It's probably up to user preference in this case whether they'd prefer a fake curvature via keycaps or are more typical vertical step (where each row is physically higher than the previous, also which can be achieved via caps and a tilted board), but I think Kurplop's theory that curvature is disadvantageous is most applicable here.

Ultimately, I've only found benefit to the vertical curvature of the well, and though you can become comfortable typing with a full bowl design, I just don't think it's optimal. Similar to column staggering, it can throw off your ability to use the same key with different fingers which in some instances is very advantageous. For people with planted palms in particular (less so when floating because accuracy is more difficult to achieve), I think they'll all benefit from decreased vertical and horizontal spacing, only combined with with a vertical well shape if they are OK with accessing their extra top row(s) with a less than optimal stroke. I'd rather have an extra pokey row, than no row at all. There are pics of my keyboard where I've done just this somewhere on here.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: hrinfinity on Fri, 16 December 2016, 03:45:47
I'm a little late, but congrats on finishing the build! I was fortunate to catch a peek of this keyboard at the Socal meet and I'm thrilled with the end result.

Great work, hope I can see the final product in person soon :thumb:
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 16 December 2016, 04:38:36
Great to hear from you. It sure seems like a long time ago when we first got together with Badwrench, HeroinBob, and Sent in Huntington Beach then later at the meet ups.. I think that I was predicting to have it done in another month but I was off by a factor of ten.

As you can see, I made a quite a few changes in the design since then but it is still recognizable. Thanks for the kind words.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Badwrench on Fri, 16 December 2016, 07:12:21
That was a lot of fun.  We should do that again some time.  I am sure Nubbinator knows a good place to meet up somewhere in Orange county. 

Sent from my LG-H811 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Fri, 16 December 2016, 13:11:16
That was a lot of fun.  We should do that again some time.  I am sure Nubbinator knows a good place to meet up somewhere in Orange county. 

Sent from my LG-H811 using Tapatalk



Sounds great. I'd like to get together with you guys. I'm pretty busy through the end of the year. How does January sound?  Should we invite all local GHers?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Tye on Fri, 16 December 2016, 13:28:16
Just wanted to say that I come to this thread for inspiration. I'm not interested in collecting heaps of keyboards but I love watching the creative process as an individual creates their "perfect device".
Gorgeous, gorgeous work you did with the Planet 6.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: Badwrench on Fri, 16 December 2016, 14:15:51
That was a lot of fun.  We should do that again some time.  I am sure Nubbinator knows a good place to meet up somewhere in Orange county. 

Sent from my LG-H811 using Tapatalk



Sounds great. I'd like to get together with you guys. I'm pretty busy through the end of the year. How does January sound?  Should we invite all local GHers?

Some time in the new year works for me.  Pretty busy with family in town the next couple weeks. 
I am always down to meet new people that share the same hobbies.  Maybe do a good gastro pub or something that has good beer, but won't discriminate from the younger members that might want to join us?
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 December 2016, 10:20:56
Just wanted to say that I come to this thread for inspiration. I'm not interested in collecting heaps of keyboards but I love watching the creative process as an individual creates their "perfect device".
Gorgeous, gorgeous work you did with the Planet 6.

Thanks for saying that. BTW, I really like the trackpoint mod you did on your ErgoDox.
Title: Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
Post by: kurplop on Sat, 17 December 2016, 10:22:32
That was a lot of fun.  We should do that again some time.  I am sure Nubbinator knows a good place to meet up somewhere in Orange county. 

Sent from my LG-H811 using Tapatalk



Sounds great. I'd like to get together with you guys. I'm pretty busy through the end of the year. How does January sound?  Should we invite all local GHers?

Some time in the new year works for me.  Pretty busy with family in town the next couple weeks. 
I am always down to meet new people that share the same hobbies.  Maybe do a good gastro pub or something that has good beer, but won't discriminate from the younger members that might want to join us?

That sounds good. First of next month we'll post something.