Author Topic: Customisable keyboard  (Read 1704 times)

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Offline Anon44

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Customisable keyboard
« on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 05:52:36 »
Hello,

I am new to this forum, I am not sure that I post at the right place. Also, I am french, so I apologized in advance for my english.

What I want is a totally customisable keyboard. I don't want a great design, I want to design it myself, and place everything where I want.

I know about ergodex, and I think this is great. I also heard of "puzzle keyboard" but the date at which it will be released is not even known yet.

Furthermore, the best would be to place everything in the space position that I choose. For example, with an ergodex, everything has to be flat. But on a Matron for example, the key are not flat, they are in "3D". I would like to do this too with a customisable keyboard (Yes, I know I am asking a lot of stuff).

Thus, which keyboard do you advice me for a customisable keyboard in 3D?

And second question, apart from the ergodex, do you know any other completely personalisable keyboard where I can put the key where I want? (even if everything is flat like the ergodex)

Thank you everyone!

Ps : what's important is that I need to change the position of every key, so solution like "Create your own keyboard" does not work. I want something that I can change regularly to find the best configuration possible.
« Last Edit: Fri, 20 June 2014, 06:24:15 by Anon44 »

Offline Zekromtor

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 06:44:37 »
The only product that exists the way you are describing isn't a keyboard, it's play-doh. If it did exist, this forum would be nothing more than people taking pictures of the way they configured said keyboard.

Offline davkol

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 07:34:14 »
Axios

...or build your own from scratch.

Offline hanya

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 07:40:49 »
Like DX1 input system but its only 2D.
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Offline Anon44

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 09:02:29 »
Indeed.

So the question is: why it doesn't exist?

This, is the closest thing of what I need: http://www.zillamag.com/technology/puzzle-keyboard-by-wan-fu-chun/

However, the date (1st April) could be an April joke, and secondly this has been posted in 2012 and there is still nothing about it.

But I mean, it is not near the best keyboard possible, don't you think? (There still need some enhancement however, but I would say this is at 90% perfect.)

I can't understand why it doesn't exist yet, since as you just said, if something like this would exist, everybody (at least on this forum...) would use it.

There is also the solution of virtual keyboard (using a tablet as a keyboard) or holographic keyboard. But in both situtation the typing experience would be awful I guess.

Quote
...or build your own from scratch.

If I do this, I will not be able to change the position of it after. I want to constantly change the key in order to test the best configuration possible.

Quote
Like DX1 input system but its only 2D.

Yes. Do you know if some people use the DX1 to type, or this is only for gaming?

Offline davkol

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 09:05:12 »
Do you know how prototypes are made?

Offline Zekromtor

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 09:15:15 »
The placement of the keys is only one factor. The switch is arguably even more important, and holographic, tablet, etc keyboards will never produce the proper physical feedback that a typist's finger requires for maximum efficiency. That modular keyboard you linked is not likely to have very nice switches in it given how low profile it is.

This is why some of us go through so much to build our own keyboards, or at least hack up and modify existing designs. That is the heart and soul of this ergo subforum :)

Offline JPG

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 09:24:24 »
If you want a 3D design, you will need to build yourself a custom plate/case to house the switches. Then, depending on the switches themselves you will need to put them on the plate and wire them manually to a controller (look for lowpolly or whatever the exact name of the technique).


If you are going for a cherry switches board, I am pretty sure someone has a group buy ongoing for single switch pcb,  and it could be useful for this project, but not needed if you want to wire manually. But with the 3D shape, it would probably help to manage the mess of cables at different angles.


It can be a very nice project, but it's for sure a very complex one because of the 3D aspect of it. If you are new to keyboards, soldering or DIY projects, that's definitely a "hard" project to start with. You could start with a flat design for your first project, but if all you want is a 3D design, go for it but be ready to spend a lot of time, effort and probably money to make it happen!


Still if that's your goal, you are at the right place. You will be able to find a lot of help from many knowledgeable persons on GH!


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Offline Anon44

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 09:59:52 »
Do you know how prototypes are made?

No. Would knowing that be useful? How are they made?

Quote
The placement of the keys is only one factor.

Yes but holographic or tablet keyboard would be perfect to test layout before creating the physical keyboard.

Quote
but if all you want is a 3D design, go for it but be ready to spend a lot of time, effort and probably money to make it happen!

I can't. My first purpose was to find something that I could constantly customized. If I knew exactly what I wanted, I could do it. But I don't know what I want exactly, I just want to test. And for this goal, I guess than searching the "perfect layout" (at least for me) by using an holographic or a tactile keyboard is the best solution.

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 10:10:39 »
I think first you should make a model in clay of what you think it should be like. Then try "typing" on it. Your fingers know where they want to go, and you know the key layout. Then use that to refine things like key placement and layout. Once you have something in your hands that feels good, you can try recreating that with pieces of plastic or something, glued together, which can hold actual switches (Cherry MX would be my suggestion). Then use direct wiring (lowpoly's technique) to create a matrix, and wire that to a Teensy 2.0. You can program the Teensy using TMK firmware, and Matt3o has an excellent guide on Deskthority for how to build your firmware.

Once you have what you want, you can stop there, or try to get something fabricated from metal, plastic, wood, etc.
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Offline davkol

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 10:17:04 »
Do you know how prototypes are made?

No. Would knowing that be useful? How are they made?
Please, browse the "making stuff together" subforum or Deskthority's workshop first. It ought to give you some idea about how people make their custom (ergonomic) keyboards.

First, use plasticine, wood, cardboard, 3D printing, laser-cut acrylic or anything like that to get the shape, physical layout you want.

Offline Anon44

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 11:39:47 »
OK, I did some research (I have read stuff here and on Deskthority), but this is in the same time more easy but also more complicated than predicted to build my own keyboard.

The main problem is that I don't have that much time. I could spend more time in a few month, but not now.

Do you know if some people use the DX1 to type, or this is only for gaming? Is there review on this forum of people who tried to use DX1 to write and/or to code?
« Last Edit: Fri, 20 June 2014, 11:43:54 by Anon44 »

Offline Lanx

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 23 June 2014, 02:58:08 »
yea if you think you don't have enough time b/c you're really pissy about what type of ergo keyboard you want to use, don't make one.

not insult you, i was pissy about my ergo keyboard, so i did build one, then i built another one that was prettier. and trust me, if you "think" you don't have enough time, then you surely cannot built an ergo keyboard ever.

of course i'm speaking from experience, with zero skillsets, i had to youtube how to solder, i learned that i should wear full sleeve shirts when i dremel plastic b/c it WILL spin out in every which way and manage to somehow burn you.

look, i'm not bull****ting you, if you "think" you don't have time to pre-make and pre-build your own self imagined ergo keyboard, then you truly do not have the time, STOP wasting your time now trying to build your imaginary ergo keyboard and just buy a pre-made one that comes "close" to what you want.

in the end i got used to the kinesis, so the custom keyboards i spent probably 50 man hours creating are boxed in my basement... actually i just opened the box 5 minutes ago b/c i had to salvage a new cherry mx switch, one was failing on me so i did a quick solder swap.

so either stop being a dreamer and just buy a pre-built solution

keep dreaming and never building ****

do something.

again, i don't bull****, just trying to be a realist.

click links in my sig if you want to see my entire worklog for the second one.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 23 June 2014, 04:07:53 »
Iím highly skeptical that the DX1 is actually pleasant to type on, but I havenít tried one, so I canít say for sure.

Lanx is definitely right that making your own ergonomic keyboard is going to take many hours (and it will also require hundreds of dollars of equipment and materials). But thatís no reason not to try! Youíll have fun and learn a lot in the process.

Check out Obraís OSCON talk for inspiration: http://www.slideshare.net/obrajesse/building-a-keyboard-from-scratch

Or if you donít have the time and patience, you could definitely pay someone to build your design, and get the output faster and cheaper. (But it wonít be as satisfying or educational an experience.)
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 June 2014, 04:10:01 by jacobolus »

Offline Oobly

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 23 June 2014, 06:34:22 »
It's fun to make your own. I started from flat plates from an existing keyboard, but if you really want to try 3D stuff, you can use plasticine with loose Cherry MX switches with keycaps on pushed into place. It can give an idea of actual key switch layout and feel. If you are feeling brave you can solder enameled copper wire and diodes to the switches before adding them to the plasticine shape (carefully routing the wires as you add the switches) and then solder them up in a matrix to a Teensy2.0 to get a functional "keyboard".

Not sure how you'd actually make it permanent, though. I have found flat plates with a curved thumb cluster to be a good compromise and a lot easier to make than curved plates.

It's a lot of work to build a new keyboard design.....
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Customisable keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 23 June 2014, 07:41:12 »
Do look to see if there is a "maker space"/"hacker space" in your area. There is one close to me that has a couple of 3D printers, a laser-cutter and soldering equipment. Not only would it be cheaper to make prints there, but you would also get a chance to meet more like-minded people who might have more experience with 3D modelling/CAD and electronics.

First, use plasticine, wood, cardboard, 3D printing, laser-cut acrylic or anything like that to get the shape, physical layout you want.
Since I became an enthusiast, I have bought a few Cherry MY keyboards just to scavenge Cherry MX-compatible keycaps from them. However, the MY switches can be used for prototyping different layouts.
I snapped off the MY switches, cut off their snaps and removed the leaf spring at the bottom to get switch modules.  The base is square and almost the same size as a key, and the height with a keycap is the same as Cherry MX switch from its PCB.

... i learned that i should wear full sleeve shirts when i dremel plastic b/c it WILL spin out in every which way and manage to somehow burn you.
Low speed when cutting plastics, dude!
Anyway, I use a scoring knife, hacksaw and razor saw more often than dremel.
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 June 2014, 07:44:47 by Findecanor »
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