Author Topic: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard  (Read 5653 times)

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Offline snurrebassen

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Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« on: Tue, 09 July 2019, 06:10:30 »
The Arrow40

Hello, I'm Seb, a first time keyboard designer and two year enthusiast!

I wanted to make a post here about a project me and some fellas are working on. It's primarily a hobby project based on a long time desire to build and have a 40% keyboard.

I started sketching out what kind of layout I'd love to have in a 40% and ended up with what resembles a tenkeyless layout, only without the f-row and the number row.
It might sound like a contradicting layout, having it very compact but still expanding it to the right side, but I ended up really liking the look of it.



(Featuring GMK Pulse by MiTo, used with permission!)

I got a friend (w3bb0 https://geekhack.org/index.php?action=profile;u=77006 ) designing the PCB
and another friend planning to do the milling and production of the case.

We started out with an integrated plate design, but ended up doing a top mount design on it, for the purpose of helping the milling process as well as allowing for more layout options. After some feedback from some 40% guys we're gonna do an alternative top supporting a non-blocked layout and the PCB will offer the possibility of a split spacebar layout!




Here's a look at the drawings and plans for this, not very professional but I just wanted to try and explain and make the different parts clear:



As you can see there are three parts that needs to be screwed together.
  • Flat top M2 screws for the plate onto the top part.
  • M4 screws (counterbore) for the bottom part to the top part.
  • Flat top M3 screws for the legs onto the bottom part. They will fit in the milled holes in the bottom part, being exposed there, and with possibilities for logos to be carved into them, making it nice
    and premium.

Hoping to cut the holes in the plate a little bit bigger than the M2 screws so that the plate will be flush with the top part, and the bottom part can line up perfectly and seal everything neatly without having to make any cuts in the bottom parts for any screws sticking out.

The legs will have some sort of silicone/rubber material with an adhesive layer which can be attached to the bottom side of the leg, covering the holes for the screws (if they go through all the way that is).

As of right now I'm pretty much done with the model and I'm looking over things and I need to double check the measurements against the PCB model, we're soon starting to work on the prototype. Since this is my first ever case design and modeling something that's gonna be made to a physical model I'm quite nervous about having made any rookie mistakes when it comes to this kind of stuff.

I plan on doing more renders very soon, with different keycap sets on. Will also be posting pics and renders of the PCB eventually!

I'm also gladly accepting any tips/feedback or ideas, since this is my first design!
« Last Edit: Sat, 13 July 2019, 18:47:43 by snurrebassen »

Offline Moridin

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 09 July 2019, 07:29:36 »
Basically, I always looked at 40% users with awe, trying to figure out how they were using those tiny keyboards effectively. This is the first layout that I've seen that is actually making me think that even I could use that layout!

Offline Mechboards

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 09 July 2019, 09:26:20 »
I think it looks great!

Offline Cameron831

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 10 July 2019, 01:26:35 »
Wow, what a great idea. I think it looks amazing  :thumb:
« Last Edit: Wed, 10 July 2019, 01:29:25 by Cameron831 »

Offline Nightcrawler

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 10 July 2019, 02:34:37 »
Looks amazing! I will try to follow this and wishing it will make GB someday. Fond of the layout.

Offline snurrebassen

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 10 July 2019, 06:58:10 »
Looks amazing! I will try to follow this and wishing it will make GB someday. Fond of the layout.
Thank you! glad to hear it's appealing  :D
Planning on doing a limited GB for sure!

Offline Hueeeeeeeee

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 10 July 2019, 08:32:05 »
I would love to see encoder support for the three top right keys. :thumb:

Offline Nightcrawler

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 10 July 2019, 08:57:18 »
Looks amazing! I will try to follow this and wishing it will make GB someday. Fond of the layout.
Thank you! glad to hear it's appealing  :D
Planning on doing a limited GB for sure!

Can't wait!

Offline snurrebassen

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 11 July 2019, 01:32:34 »
I would love to see encoder support for the three top right keys. :thumb:
We are working on achieving this!  :thumb:

Offline osamine

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 11 July 2019, 17:01:53 »
Im definitely in on this


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Offline snurrebassen

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 18:07:17 »
A few more renders featuring Moridin's GMK Phosphorous!



Adusted the case thickness to fit M4 screws and PCB design is nearly done!




Renders of alternative layouts coming soon!

Offline aslejoh

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 18:47:12 »
Looks awesome! :)
Collection: Salamander PC, Keycult No1(OG) Salamander TKL, M60A, THE60, Jane V2, LZ MP, LZ GH V2, KC 1/60, OTD 456GT. Kepler, Think 6.5 Brass, Think 6.5 PC, T60, The Raine, F77, E7-V1 SE

Offline PJE

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 16 July 2019, 14:41:22 »
Love the design, but given the space being used I would implement a 3x4 array on the right hand side which could be remapped into a number pad.

I'd use different color keys to highlight the cursor keys.

Online funderburker

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 16 July 2019, 18:00:58 »
Love the design, but given the space being used I would implement a 3x4 array on the right hand side which could be remapped into a number pad.

I'd use different color keys to highlight the cursor keys.

From the OP:
Code: [Select]
I started sketching out what kind of layout I'd love to have in a 40% and ended up with what resembles a tenkeyless layout, only without the f-row and the number row.
It might sound like a contradicting layout, having it very compact but still expanding it to the right side, but I ended up really liking the look of it.

Don't want to be rude but OP mentions it quite clearly what's his vision for the board is that he's designing. But there is a board with your mentioned layout.
LAGOM 🐸-T | 2x TMO50 FE | Untitled TKL in the works

Offline snurrebassen

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 17 July 2019, 15:48:38 »
All right! Update on this one. Our guy w3bb0 has pretty much finished the design of the PCB. I'm a designer and art-guy so I don't know much about circuit boards and all that but from my point of view it's looking pretty neat!





We're still deciding on the color scheme and additional art for the PCBs!

I'm off on a few week's vacation, in the meantime, stay tuned!
« Last Edit: Wed, 17 July 2019, 15:51:23 by snurrebassen »

Offline Sycomore

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 18 July 2019, 06:14:10 »
Oh man, oh jeez, i never thought i'd actually consider a 40% but... I guess i'm wrong. Looking forward to further updates!

Offline audiosl4ve

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 18 July 2019, 06:39:57 »
looking really awesome! 40% needs more love  ;D

Offline hottrout

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 18 July 2019, 07:32:28 »
I love your design but I can't work without numbers.  Would you not consider adding a matching numpad, that would make this design just superb.  Great work by the way.
I started with a Sinclair human flesh keyboard in 1980 and it has never stopped.

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Offline chuckdee

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 18 July 2019, 13:03:46 »
I'll be watching this one with interest!  Out of curiosity, did you look at other 40s in designing the 40 part of this layout?  Just wondering without going over anything if there are any non-standard keys there.

Love the design, but given the space being used I would implement a 3x4 array on the right hand side which could be remapped into a number pad.

I'd use different color keys to highlight the cursor keys.

From the OP:
Code: [Select]
I started sketching out what kind of layout I'd love to have in a 40% and ended up with what resembles a tenkeyless layout, only without the f-row and the number row.
It might sound like a contradicting layout, having it very compact but still expanding it to the right side, but I ended up really liking the look of it.

Don't want to be rude but OP mentions it quite clearly what's his vision for the board is that he's designing. But there is a board with your mentioned layout.

This.  Also there's the TKC Candybar, which he should have extras of when it ships.
« Last Edit: Thu, 18 July 2019, 13:05:34 by chuckdee »

Offline hottrout

  • Posts: 238
Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 18 July 2019, 13:39:07 »
I'll be watching this one with interest!  Out of curiosity, did you look at other 40s in designing the 40 part of this layout?  Just wondering without going over anything if there are any non-standard keys there.

Love the design, but given the space being used I would implement a 3x4 array on the right hand side which could be remapped into a number pad.

I'd use different color keys to highlight the cursor keys.

From the OP:
Code: [Select]
I started sketching out what kind of layout I'd love to have in a 40% and ended up with what resembles a tenkeyless layout, only without the f-row and the number row.
It might sound like a contradicting layout, having it very compact but still expanding it to the right side, but I ended up really liking the look of it.

Don't want to be rude but OP mentions it quite clearly what's his vision for the board is that he's designing. But there is a board with your mentioned layout.

This.  Also there's the TKC Candybar, which he should have extras of when it ships.


Thank you for posting the link.  Much appreciated.
I started with a Sinclair human flesh keyboard in 1980 and it has never stopped.

Rig1 |i9-7940x@4.8ghz|32GB(3600)|RTX 2080Ti|Bespoke Water, 360m Rad|X299 Prime Deluxe|EK x299 Monoblock|Optane 900p|2x1TB 960 Pro|2x10TB Helium|Dell U3415W + Dell UP2116Q
Rig2 |i9-9900k@5GHz|16GB(3200)|STRIX1080Ti|EK Closed Water Loop|Z390-F|1TB 960 Pro|Dell AW3418DW
Rig3 |i5-7500|16GB(2400)|H110 Pro BTC+|8x1080Ti|2x1200Watt PSU

Offline snurrebassen

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 28 July 2019, 06:15:28 »
I'll be watching this one with interest!  Out of curiosity, did you look at other 40s in designing the 40 part of this layout?  Just wondering without going over anything if there are any non-standard keys there.

Thanks for your comment! I based the layout on the JD40 actually, so most standard sets should be good for this. I think the most non-standard keys is the R3 small Tab. The smaller Shift keys should be pretty standard in most kits that come with alternative shift keys  :)

Offline PvtSkittles

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 29 July 2019, 17:40:14 »
OH man! That thing is heckin' cute. Love the design.

Offline snurrebassen

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 06 September 2019, 07:20:32 »
All right! Slight update here. Been a little bit off this project, due to some revisions having to be made to the case design to make it more efficient and cost friendly for CNC milling.

I unfortunately had to get rid of the leg design (for now) and doing a Tofu style 5 degree angle to the case with rubber bumpers on the bottom. If the angle is too shallow in the proto, i'll increase it to 7 degrees like the tofu.

I also changed the solution to the plate, it's now a full rectangle (cutouts in the corner), no tabs, and now sits on a small little ledge, with 4 screws to tighten it up. I added a little 4mm circular cutout in the bottom part, to prevent the top of the plate screws to intersect. I hope there will be no extra space to cause rattling.
Here are some quick Fusion renders of the updated design:








Gonna prototype this in 3D along with w3bb0's awesome PCBs and see how it feels before moving over to alu cnc'ing and opening an actual IC thread.

Thanks for checking in!


Online dingusxmcgee

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Re: Arrow40 - A 40% "TKL-style" keyboard
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 06 September 2019, 07:27:48 »
This is awesome. Love the look!