Author Topic: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)  (Read 6037 times)

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Offline Jampu

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This is an interest check for a programmable PCB for Realforce TKL boards that uses the CommonSense controller developed by DMA on DT.  Work is still ongoing but is nearing completion.


>> NEW SURVEY HERE <<


LATEST UPDATES:

3/7: I've obtained a supplier for the plates - the added processes necessary for production should not add significantly to the final cost.  There is bad news though: Due to the need for pressed-in standoffs (and the utter lack of options for such) stainless will likely not be an option for plate material.  If anyone can find a steel 6mm long M2-0.4 self-clinching or broaching standoff please let me know, otherwise the plates will be galvannealed steel which should match the OE spec and provides a modicum of rust resistance.  I will look into whether additional finishes/coatings are possible but it will be a challenge due to the many threaded holes.

In lighter news, the plate options are nailed down - Fixed WKL and Universal.  I will try to ensure as many options as possible with the Universal plate, but given that there are no soldered mounting points to locate the slider housings (a la every other type of switch) only two options per switch hole are possible.  My goal will be to support both 6.25u and 6u space as well as split space options.  The stabilizer spacing for the spacebar on the 7u plate will be standard MX spacing, which coincidentally is the same as the standard 87U 6u spacebar stab spacing.  My guess is that the 6.25u spacebar on the R2 Realforces also uses the same stab wire - I will try to confirm.  If ISO cannot be done on the universal plate I will break it out into its own plate, but due to the lower anticipated order quantity it may be slightly more expensive than the other two.

2/5: A second prototype has been made that incorporates both the CommonSense controller and an ATmega32U4 for easy QMK integration.  The capsense side is working and I am starting work on the QMK side now.  Plates are still WIP.



One of the things I wanted to do with this board was to eliminate the 'forehead' on the PCB to better enable custom case design.  While I was (and still am) optimistic about this, it seems most TKL cases use 0.25u (A87) spacing between blocks instead of the 0.5u on the Realforce (B87).  Perhaps I'll have to make another version that is A87 compatible...


CURRENT PCB FEATURES:
  • Compatible with all existing Realforce TKL plates, for the most part (final PCB should be fully compatible)
  • Connects directly to stock USB cable OR micro USB
  • Onboard Cypress PSoC for CommonSense capacitive sensing connected to an ATmega32U4 for easy QMK configuration and advanced keymapping options
  • Support for ANSI and parts of ISO - final PCB will support ANSI, ISO and JIS layouts including 7U space (WKL) variants
  • LEDs in stock locations only
  • I2C header for expandability
  • Separate USB connector for CommonSense controller tuning
  • Silkscreen with those jokes the kids like


TODO:
  • Determine preferences
  • Spin prototype
  • Get up to speed on CommonSense
  • Redesign PCB with MCU/PSoC onboard
  • Get QMK up and running
  • Draw up plates
  • Finalize PCB


Previous updates: 
More
UPDATE 8/26: Prototype up and running - now looking into plates and starting to redesign PCB.  Imgur album here
« Last Edit: Thu, 07 March 2019, 17:26:55 by Jampu »

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB (survey)
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 15 July 2018, 11:09:09 »
Filled. Will keep an eye on this as it develops :thumb:
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Offline neon_tom

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB (survey)
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 15 July 2018, 11:22:50 »
YES

Offline Myoth

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB (survey)
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 10 August 2018, 11:23:35 »
any news ?

Offline switchnollie

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB (survey)
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 10 August 2018, 17:11:46 »
This would be cool, it's the only reason I don't use a Realforce at the moment.

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB (survey)
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 10 August 2018, 17:41:36 »
any news ?

I've ordered the prototype matrix PCB (ETA Monday) which will use the CY8CKIT-059 soldered to the bottom.  It should fit inside the case, but if not that's okay - I intend to design the chip onto the board for the final revision.  DMA has wired the same kit up to the matrix of a 91U with positive results, so I hope to get it working next week.

Oh, and the final PCB will probably have Bluetooth support - if I can get rid of the 'forehead' then there will be plenty of room for batteries  :thumb:

Offline thelaughingman

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB (survey)
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 11 August 2018, 23:08:08 »
Wow, this is exciting! I filled in the form and here are my questions:
  • what kind of split of the split spacebar? like 3u+3u or 2.75u+1u+1.25u or whatever?
  • and the total units of the spacebars would still be 6u right?


Oh, and the final PCB will probably have Bluetooth support - if I can get rid of the 'forehead' then there will be plenty of room for batteries  :thumb:

Bluetooth wouldn't work with metal cases right? For the enthusiasts who will buy this I would expect the majority of them already bought the Norbaforce like myself and so BT functionality would be moot :(

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB (survey)
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 12 August 2018, 07:54:49 »
Wow, this is exciting! I filled in the form and here are my questions:
  • what kind of split of the split spacebar? like 3u+3u or 2.75u+1u+1.25u or whatever?
  • and the total units of the spacebars would still be 6u right?

Right now I've got 2.25/1/2.75 OR 6u for the spacebar, as well as a split right shift option.  This requires some unique pad design that I want to test before going further.  In addition, splitting more keys (Lshift, BS, ISO Enter) would conflict with the existing screw holes on the 87U plate - next prototype will probably be using custom plates so that will no longer be an issue.  If combo pads work (and they should) it should be possible to have one PCB+plate combo that covers all layouts, including more split space and bottom row mods options.  However, I will put the all-purpose layout idea to a vote before committing, as some people would probably prefer to not have a swiss-cheese plate.


Oh, and the final PCB will probably have Bluetooth support - if I can get rid of the 'forehead' then there will be plenty of room for batteries  :thumb:

Bluetooth wouldn't work with metal cases right? For the enthusiasts who will buy this I would expect the majority of them already bought the Norbaforce like myself and so BT functionality would be moot :(

Yeah, metal cases will be a problem.  Once this initial prototype is tested I intend to reach out to a few people to see what options there might be going forward.

Offline Kallus

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 14 August 2018, 05:45:23 »
I think that this product is going to be awesome but I also want to keep the chin on the top of the board. I feel like its quite iconic to the realforce board, and on top of that the noxary case and the norbaforce dont work without the top chin or forehead. You also need to be mindful of those screw holes in those cases, if possible.

Offline DALExSNAIL

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 14 August 2018, 06:25:04 »
Really excited to see how this turns out. Good luck!  :thumb:

Offline Findecanor

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 14 August 2018, 07:28:56 »
Are you really sure that the CommonSense controller will work with Topre?
While beam springs and Model F flippers actuate with capacitance changes in exponential curves that can be detected as discrete events, the capacitance in the Topre switch changes more linearly as the key is pressed and actuation is therefore triggered when capacitance measurements go over threshold values. The same is done for sensing the up-stroke, and sensing needs hysteresis. You could say that Topre is an analogue switch whereas Model F is a digital switch.
I am not familiar with the CommonSense controller but I find little mention of Topre at all in the linked thread over on DT.
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Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 14 August 2018, 16:43:47 »
I think that this product is going to be awesome but I also want to keep the chin on the top of the board. I feel like its quite iconic to the realforce board, and on top of that the noxary case and the norbaforce dont work without the top chin or forehead. You also need to be mindful of those screw holes in those cases, if possible.

Luckily, as far as the stock plate is concerned there are no mount points on the forehead.  It can be eliminated without any impact to case or plate design - that much can be left entirely up to the designer.

Are you really sure that the CommonSense controller will work with Topre?
While beam springs and Model F flippers actuate with capacitance changes in exponential curves that can be detected as discrete events, the capacitance in the Topre switch changes more linearly as the key is pressed and actuation is therefore triggered when capacitance measurements go over threshold values. The same is done for sensing the up-stroke, and sensing needs hysteresis. You could say that Topre is an analogue switch whereas Model F is a digital switch.
I am not familiar with the CommonSense controller but I find little mention of Topre at all in the linked thread over on DT.

In a separate thread (here) DMA hooked CS up to a 91U PCB with positive results.  Since it uses fast ADCs instead of a simple comparator, some rudimentary level of actuation point adjustment should already be possible.

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 26 August 2018, 08:24:44 »
Prototype up and running (typing on it now):

202534-0

More pictures here: Imgur Album
« Last Edit: Sun, 26 August 2018, 08:26:47 by Jampu »

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 26 August 2018, 08:34:12 »
Really neat!! I love seeing progress pics :)
Prototype up and running (typing on it now):

(Attachment Link)

More pictures here: Imgur Album

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Offline Darknight00z

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 04 February 2019, 15:09:14 »
Hot damn! How is there not more interest! Perfect addition to the Norbaforce!!

Offline moh18one

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 04 February 2019, 17:12:56 »
F*ck yeeesss!!!

Offline keyhacker

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Re: [IC] Programmable Realforce TKL PCB
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 04 February 2019, 20:28:10 »
This looks amazing, good work! :thumb:

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 05 February 2019, 19:43:24 »
Sorry for the lack of updates - things have been moving pretty slowly.  However, the PCB is about 95% done at this point and a second prototype has been run - check the main post for pictures.

I have posted a new survey to finalize a few things - please fill it out and let me know your preferences.

Plates are still a WIP, but should not be too complicated despite the additional processes needed for the Realforce; as soon as the final PCB revision is on its way I will start drawing them up.  At my current rate of progress this puts the GB two or three months out.  If the plates prove to be a bottleneck I may do a small run of just the PCB until I can get the rest locked down.

Offline child

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 06 February 2019, 01:46:15 »
Great to hear stuff is moving forward. I just recently had to unearth my Realforce due to my main keyboard acting weirdly and - after using it for a while - I thought: it's really quite nice, but I'm missing QMK and SpaceFN a lot. Your work gives me hope one day I won't miss it anymore  :thumb:

Offline moh18one

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 06 February 2019, 04:37:14 »
You should post this on Reddit /r/mechanicalkeyboards for more visibility

Offline feralfoo

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 06 February 2019, 04:52:30 »
Excite! If this happens am down for two PCB's for my RF87U's.

Seriously interested in a 60% pcb and plate if it can be made compatible with standard 60% cases :thumb:
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Offline child

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 06 February 2019, 10:51:26 »
60% PCB and plate would mean completely custom Topre keyboard  :cool: Am I correct it would be first one ever?

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 06 February 2019, 15:54:31 »
You should post this on Reddit /r/mechanicalkeyboards for more visibility

Will be posting there and DT soon.

60% PCB and plate would mean completely custom Topre keyboard  :cool: Am I correct it would be first one ever?

As far as I am aware, yes.  The only real hurdle in truly custom Topre is the housings and capsense springs/coils, neither of which are currently publicly available.  There are a few avenues available there, but for now I'm just sticking to plates and PCBs.

Offline moh18one

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 06 February 2019, 19:58:37 »
I am indefinitely waiting for my 75% Topre keyboard. :-X

Offline Puddsy

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 06 February 2019, 21:41:20 »
another dead topre pcb project

one of these will stick eventually
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Offline kiwi99

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #25 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 00:07:01 »
another dead topre pcb project

one of these will stick eventually

How is it dead? OP just posted yesterday that its coming along well.

Do you even read the threads you post in?

Offline switchnollie

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #26 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 00:10:21 »
another dead topre pcb project

one of these will stick eventually

How is it dead? OP just posted yesterday that its coming along well.

Do you even read the threads you post in?

doesn't matter 10k :cool:

Online Rumblehotep

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #27 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 00:50:48 »
Anything called Fancydome TKL is a must buy

Offline Iredeus

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #28 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 11:01:20 »
Looking forward to picking one of these up. Any chance there will be an option for a regular 87U replacement plate? While I like having the option to change my layout to 86U or R2 style, a replacement for my current plate would be cool if there are different materials/finishes being offered for the plate.

Offline Puddsy

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #29 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 11:15:56 »
another dead topre pcb project

one of these will stick eventually

How is it dead? OP just posted yesterday that its coming along well.

Do you even read the threads you post in?

doesn't matter 10k :cool:

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Offline elDuderino

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #30 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 12:02:24 »
Will almost certainly be in for one of these, this is awesome. Any chance youd consider making a PCB for the numpad? Would love to be able to program layouts for that guy too.

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 12:34:06 »
Well wow, this is looking very promising especially with the multiple layouts. I'll be in for a few if this indeed works well.
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Offline Darknight00z

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #32 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 13:57:00 »
Honestly if the TKL gb goes smoothly and its tested by the community. The flood gates are opened, ortho, split, 2%, numpad, hyper 7... whatever you want. The sky is the limit.

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 07 February 2019, 16:08:24 »
Looking forward to picking one of these up. Any chance there will be an option for a regular 87U replacement plate? While I like having the option to change my layout to 86U or R2 style, a replacement for my current plate would be cool if there are different materials/finishes being offered for the plate.

To be honest, I didn't anticipate there being demand for a replacement 87U plate.  Despite this, it's currently in second place on the survey...  I can't say for sure yet, but it stands a good chance of being an option.

Will almost certainly be in for one of these, this is awesome. Any chance youd consider making a PCB for the numpad? Would love to be able to program layouts for that guy too.

This would make a good side project for sure!  That said, I'd like to finish this GB before starting on anything else in earnest.  If Norbauer decides to make a 23U case it'll be top priority though, for sure.

Offline alisonica

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 12 February 2019, 15:15:58 »
Oh yes I've been waiting to experience oneness with the cup rubber :thumb:

Offline Darknight00z

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #35 on: Fri, 01 March 2019, 17:04:51 »
Does the C87D fit the novatouch plate? Would really like a programmable Norbatouch without using the hasu converter.

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #36 on: Sat, 02 March 2019, 13:55:39 »
Does the C87D fit the novatouch plate? Would really like a programmable Norbatouch without using the hasu converter.

After seeing some comments on the survey I decided to look into this - unfortunately the Novatouch has 0.25u spacing between the nav cluster and alpha block.  Due to the form factor needed for tight fitment in the stock Realforce case compatibility for the Novatouch is off the table for this GB.  While it would not be terribly difficult to modify the spacing, there are some improvements to the mechanical design that I would like to develop first as existing Topre plates are much more complicated to produce than standard flat Cherry/Alps ones.


Offline Ensaum

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #37 on: Mon, 04 March 2019, 00:23:03 »
I'b be very interested in a Novatouch version if you where to do another run after this.

Online Wetherbee

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #38 on: Mon, 04 March 2019, 02:37:34 »
Brilliant.

Full Tsangan is a must - 7u bottom row is awesome but please include an option for a stepped capslock.

This is genius.

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 07 March 2019, 02:43:32 »
Brilliant.

Full Tsangan is a must - 7u bottom row is awesome but please include an option for a stepped capslock.

This is genius.
There are now Topre keys with centered slider but Stepped Caps Lock form being made by artisan keycap makers too!
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Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 07 March 2019, 17:24:41 »
Brilliant.

Full Tsangan is a must - 7u bottom row is awesome but please include an option for a stepped capslock.

This is genius.
There are now Topre keys with centered slider but Stepped Caps Lock form being made by artisan keycap makers too!

Either way, supporting stepped caps should be pretty easy.  I'll add it to the to-do list for the next PCB rev.


UPDATE:

I've obtained a supplier for the plates - the added processes necessary for production should not add significantly to the final cost.  There is bad news though: Due to the need for pressed-in standoffs (and the utter lack of options for such) stainless will likely not be an option for plate material.  If anyone can find a steel 6mm long M2-0.4 self-clinching or broaching standoff please let me know, otherwise the plates will be galvannealed steel which should match the OE spec and provides a modicum of rust resistance.  I will look into whether additional finishes/coatings are possible but it will be a challenge due to the many threaded holes.

In lighter news, the plate options are nailed down - Fixed WKL and Universal.  I will try to ensure as many options as possible with the Universal plate, but given that there are no soldered mounting points to locate the slider housings (a la every other type of switch) only two options per switch hole are possible.  My goal will be to support both 6.25u and 6u space as well as split space options.  The stabilizer spacing for the spacebar on the 7u plate will be standard MX spacing, which coincidentally is the same as the standard 87U 6u spacebar stab spacing.  My guess is that the 6.25u spacebar on the R2 Realforces also uses the same stab wire - I will try to confirm.  If ISO cannot be done on the universal plate I will break it out into its own plate, but due to the lower anticipated order quantity it may be slightly more expensive than the other two.

Online tex_live_utility

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #41 on: Thu, 21 March 2019, 12:10:12 »
Not sure if it helps, but it looks like Niz is now selling housing+slider units on their website, as well as dome sheets in a variety of weights.

https://www.nizkeyboard.com/product/2019-new-niz-ec-switch/

Offline Darknight00z

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 22 March 2019, 07:52:40 »
Not sure if it helps, but it looks like Niz is now selling housing+slider units on their website, as well as dome sheets in a variety of weights.

https://www.nizkeyboard.com/product/2019-new-niz-ec-switch/

Interesting, does the housing and slide fit in realforce?

Or the slider at least?

Online senter

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #43 on: Fri, 22 March 2019, 20:20:16 »
Not sure if it helps, but it looks like Niz is now selling housing+slider units on their website, as well as dome sheets in a variety of weights.

https://www.nizkeyboard.com/product/2019-new-niz-ec-switch/

Interesting, does the housing and slide fit in realforce?

Or the slider at least?

The Niz sliders fit Niz housings best. The cutout of Niz housing is 14.070.02mm.

Online tex_live_utility

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #44 on: Sat, 23 March 2019, 01:51:04 »
Not sure if it helps, but it looks like Niz is now selling housing+slider units on their website, as well as dome sheets in a variety of weights.

https://www.nizkeyboard.com/product/2019-new-niz-ec-switch/

Interesting, does the housing and slide fit in realforce?

Or the slider at least?

The Niz sliders fit Niz housings best. The cutout of Niz housing is 14.070.02mm.

I think they were asking about the plate.

I honestly have no idea, but if you make an aftermarket plate literally all you need from a realforce is the case and cone springs -- everything else is covered by Niz parts and the Auric PCB.

Offline equalunique

  • Posts: 169
Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #45 on: Wed, 27 March 2019, 14:32:23 »
I'll buy

Hoping for an ortholinear topre one day

Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk


Offline Darknight00z

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #46 on: Sun, 21 April 2019, 19:03:27 »
Hows are things coming along?

Offline Jampu

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #47 on: Mon, 22 April 2019, 21:19:50 »
Hows are things coming along?

The bad news is, due to a myriad of positive and negative life events I've not been able to make much progress on this.  The good news is that I'm almost back in the clear.  In the coming month I hope to get the QMK side of things working which will enable turning a final PCB prototype and having a small run of prototype plates fabricated.  If that goes well I will then open the group buy.

Offline phinix

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #48 on: Fri, 26 April 2019, 07:45:50 »
Awesome project! ISO and standard bottom row is all I wish for:)

Just did a survey.

So as far as I understand, if I want ISO and standard bottom row (6.25u space and 1.25u mods) I will get pcb and plate, then will only need a case, like good old Realforce TKL?
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Offline Darknight00z

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Re: [IC] Auric C87D TKL PCB (programmable Topre Realforce PCB - NEW SURVEY)
« Reply #49 on: Sat, 27 April 2019, 14:52:01 »
No worries, thanks for the update