Author Topic: [IC] Atom68 Alu | preorder page is online  (Read 12814 times)

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Offline Nizkeyboard

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[IC] Atom68 Alu | preorder page is online
« on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 12:24:52 »
Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68 Electro-Capacitive keyboard







Atom68 is an Electro-Capacitive keyboard developed by Niz (formally Plum).
It's using the latest Niz firmware, the 2019 new versions of sliders and switch housings, and the popular 65% form factor.
The versions available include EC-S (wired non-backlit), EC-Ble (wired and Bluetooth dual-mode, non-backlit), and EC-Ble RGB (wired and Bluetooth dual-mode, RGB backlit).





Atom68 Alu is a keyboard housing designed by Niz in collaboration with several keyboard enthusiasts. The minimalist design originated from two basic features: 1) seamless and 2) vertical front&back. In order to implement these two features, we've met many challenges in both designing and manufacturing. Now the design is almost finished and we are very proud of how it turns out.



Specs:
  • Typing angle: 7
  • Colors: TBD
  • Mounting method: sandwich mounting with thin rubber pads
  • Weight: 1.5kg fully built without keycaps
  • Price: TBD









Sliders and switch housings

Niz is improving the sliders and switches housings continuously. The sliders and switch housings on Atom68 are made from Polyplastics's POM material imported from Japan. The newest 2019 versions are much smoother than before. The sliders come with silencing rings by default. As a side note, the sliders can also benefit a lot from lubing in terms of sound.




Stabilizers

The original Atom68 uses Costar stabs. It's not possible to add regular PCB-mount Cherry stabs on it because there's no room.
We designed new plate-mount Cherry-style stabilizers that can fit the plate perfectly. The sound and feel of the stabs are on-par with PCB-mount stabs.





Dome compatibility
  • Niz domes: Best for compatibility. There are 35g, 45g, and 50g versions. For the 50g version, you need to cut an 80% sheet to fit the 65% layout.
  • BKE Redux domes: Good for compatibility. You may need to adjust the positioning of the domes several times to make them work perfectly. The RGB backlit won't go through the domes.
  • Topre domes: Compatible but not really good. You may need to adjust the positioning of the domes MANY times to make them work perfectly. The RGB backlit won't go through the domes.
  • Topre domes + housing + springs: Compatible with the Atom68 PCB but you need to make a custom plate.

Bluetooth

In order to make the full aluminum case compatible with the BLE version controller, we added an external antenna on the controller and led it to the rubber feet. The Bluetooth signals can pass the case through the rubber feet holes at the bottom of the case. This solution has been tested to be very well.
In the Bluetooth+business mode, the battery life of Atom68 is around 126 hours with continuous use. In the Bluetooth+gaming mode, the battery life of Atom68 is around 78 hours with continuous use.


Firmware

Atom68 is fully programmable with a Windows OS software.
The actuation travel can be changed. We developed this function before Topre's APC.



Front Badge

The prototype badge is engraved and bead-blasted brass. It doesn't look as good as we expected.
We plan to make it PVD coated with laser-engraved legends in the final products.
The legends are TBD.



MX version

We really like the design of the case so we plan to provide an MX PCB for this case as well.
Even the switch cutouts are almost the same, a separate MX plate will also be provided to support PCB-mount stabs.

Shoutouts
Thanks to Fox-lab for providing general guidance on the design.
Thanks to Ramiel for providing feedback.
Thanks to Pitta key for designing the MX PCB and the daughterboard.



The preorder page is online now. https://www.nizkeyboard.com/collections/groups-1
« Last Edit: Thu, 26 December 2019, 20:29:48 by Nizkeyboard »

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 12:25:18 »
Q&A

Q: Is it possible to use other layouts?
A: No.

Q: I don't have an Atom68 but I want to buy this case. Can I purchase all the separate parts needed for this case from you?
A: Yes, we can provide domes,  sliders, switch housings, and PCBs.

Q: Atom68's English manual sucks. Can you compile a better version?
A: Yes.

Q: Can it support QMK?
A: No

Q: What's your experiences on CNC milling and anodizing?
A: We outsourced the CNC milling and anodizing service from two other companies. They are both professional large companies. We had collaboration with them for some drone products before so we know their abilities well.

Q: What's the quality we can expect?
A: Top notch.


List of decisions to make
  • Plate material options
  • Case and plate finishes/colors
  • Changes based on other feedback

TODO list

  • Typing video in comparison with other EC keyboards.
  • Prototyping the MX PCB

Offline KeebsAndTrees

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 12:31:26 »
Woah, I was not expecting this. Very interesting work you've done and I look forward to hearing more about it.

Colorado Mech Meets


Offline piit79

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 12:37:29 »
Looks great! But no QMK? That's just lazy.

Offline myyrddraal

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 13:15:55 »
Are you serious or just joking? This is capacitive keyboard! An integration into qmk would be a heroic feat. Anyone doing this, would get money from me directly.

Offline myyrddraal

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 13:20:54 »
This is very interesting project with one big no go for me. 68 is just not what I am looking for. What an irony that the vast majority of other case ICs are either TKL or 60%. I would throw money on you for 66 version.

Offline tunadesu

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 13:29:41 »
This looks sweet. I miss my old Plum board

Offline equalunique

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 13:41:04 »
This looks great. QMK would make it better, but I'm still interested.

Sent from my Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 using Tapatalk


Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 14:05:00 »
The current logic of the firmware/software on Atom68 is highly dependent on the hardware, which is totally different from QMK. We've been using this solution for many years and been improving it for many years. It's technically not possible to just port the firmware to QMK. The only way to use QMK is to write the codes from scratch. Implementing EC firmware in QMK is not the purpose of this IC. We hope there can be more constructive suggestions other than this one.

Online Rob27shred

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 14:06:04 »
This is awesome, stepping up where Topre won't! Count me as highly interested in this project, gonna be keeping an eye on this thread for sure. QMK or TMK compatibility would be a big plus, but I think I'll be down either way. We can always grab a Hasu USB to USB convertor for programmability.

Offline pixelpusher

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 14:06:38 »
Absolutely interested. 

Offline pixelpusher

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 14:16:52 »
Also interested in seeing comparison of Bluetooth in this vs. the plastic case.  Does the aluminum case cause issues with the bluetooth signal?  Is it the same hardware implementation?  Meaning, can we expect the same battery life?

Offline Tekilashot

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 14:30:52 »
Interested.
I also love my niz plum micro 82 and I would totally buy a custom case for it.

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 14:52:19 »
Also interested in seeing comparison of Bluetooth in this vs. the plastic case.  Does the aluminum case cause issues with the bluetooth signal?  Is it the same hardware implementation?  Meaning, can we expect the same battery life?

As mentioned in OP, there's an external antenna reaching out the case inside the rubber feet. The rubber feet go in to the case from the bottom, and the antenna sticks in the rubber feet. The Bluetooth signals are not affected by the aluminum case at all. Yes, you can expect the same battery life.

The external antenna can be soldered on existing Atom68-Ble controllers. It requires skill of course. You can also buy a pre-modified controller as well.

Offline cekagekh

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 04 December 2019, 22:29:39 »
Nice

Offline kmfmppl

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 01:10:59 »
nice

Offline sozo

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 01:19:08 »
i dig this, i'm in! What size is the spacebar?
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 December 2019, 01:24:06 by sozo »

Online exitfire401

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 03:47:04 »
I'd probably come out of board purchasing retirement for one of these. Looks pretty good and sounds like you guys really want to provide a quality board on this one!
Boards: Kingsaver Complicated Blue Alps |Sprit 60% Transparent MX Clears in Gateron housings with 62g gold Sprit springs lubed and RGB color shifting LEDs | Ducky Shine Zone MX Black with Blue LEDs | Realforce 10AE Variable Silenced

B/S/T thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55351.0

Past projects: KBT Race 2 L.E.
Past Boards: Ducky Shine 2 | KBT Pure | LZ Aluminum Skin| HHKB | Realforce 23u |

Offline .rgaindwal

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 08:57:25 »
Looks great! Definitely interested.

Try experimenting with the badge? Maybe use "ATOM" instead of NIZ.
It'll make it more striking in my opinion.

Offline DasGnome

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 09:05:26 »
Definitely want to support this. I hope it's easier to get BKE domes right than other Niz boards lol.

Offline suparnemo

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 10:32:31 »
If we can buy all the parts from you I'd definitely be interested. I also have some spare topre domes, I wonder if they would work with this.

Offline online

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Re: Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 10:44:19 »
Q&A

Q: I don't have an Atom68 but I want to buy this case. Can I purchase all the separate parts needed for this case from you?
A: Yes, we can provide domes,  sliders, switch housings, and PCBs.


How does it work? I want a split spacebar capacitive keyboard, would you able to provide the PCB with custom layout?

I'm very interested, not sure about the badge tho, prefer not to have branding in easy to see places.

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 12:43:43 »
i dig this, i'm in! What size is the spacebar?

It's a regular 6.25u spacebar.

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 12:44:44 »
Looks great! Definitely interested.

Try experimenting with the badge? Maybe use "ATOM" instead of NIZ.
It'll make it more striking in my opinion.

Yes, "ATOM" might be a better option!

Offline suparnemo

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 14:38:37 »
Looks great! Definitely interested.

Try experimenting with the badge? Maybe use "ATOM" instead of NIZ.
It'll make it more striking in my opinion.

Yes, "ATOM" might be a better option!

+1 for ATOM

Offline Oni74

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #25 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 21:23:25 »
+1 Very interested!

A few questions and suggestions:
- Thanks for replacing the stabilizers. Is the new plate mount stabilizers compatible with Micro 82? If so, can you make it available to purchase separately? I love my Micro 82, but hate the costar stabilizers!!!  :mad:
- The little round hole covered by black rubber on the left side - why is it needed? When i was replacing domes on my Micro 82, I did not know why it's there as it does not seem to serve a function
- Does the Atom68 use standard layout for full compatibility with 3rd party keycap sets?
- Badge - no branding please; consider something meaningful such as what we see on Leopold fc660c instead
- It would be great if this can be sold with Micro68 PCB and optimize the cost - how much will it be in USD?
- When will it be made available to purchase?

Offline CF73

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 06 December 2019, 02:58:36 »
Nice. Will you guys provide the plate files?

Also interested in seeing comparison of Bluetooth in this vs. the plastic case.  Does the aluminum case cause issues with the bluetooth signal?  Is it the same hardware implementation?  Meaning, can we expect the same battery life?

+1 for a comparison.

Offline thelaughingman

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 06 December 2019, 11:01:29 »
very nice! I'm interested  :thumb:

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 06 December 2019, 13:53:34 »
Q&A

Q: I don't have an Atom68 but I want to buy this case. Can I purchase all the separate parts needed for this case from you?
A: Yes, we can provide domes,  sliders, switch housings, and PCBs.


How does it work? I want a split spacebar capacitive keyboard, would you able to provide the PCB with custom layout?

I'm very interested, not sure about the badge tho, prefer not to have branding in easy to see places.

Sure, we're able to. I don't think the interests are high enough to make a new EC PCB though. The current plan is to use the Atom68 PCB or a MX PCB for this case.

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 06 December 2019, 14:01:01 »
+1 Very interested!

A few questions and suggestions:
- Thanks for replacing the stabilizers. Is the new plate mount stabilizers compatible with Micro 82? If so, can you make it available to purchase separately? I love my Micro 82, but hate the costar stabilizers!!!  :mad:
- The little round hole covered by black rubber on the left side - why is it needed? When i was replacing domes on my Micro 82, I did not know why it's there as it does not seem to serve a function
- Does the Atom68 use standard layout for full compatibility with 3rd party keycap sets?
- Badge - no branding please; consider something meaningful such as what we see on Leopold fc660c instead
- It would be great if this can be sold with Micro68 PCB and optimize the cost - how much will it be in USD?
- When will it be made available to purchase?

- The stabs are not compatible with Micro82's plate.
- Yes, the spacebar is 6.25u. All the stems are in the correct positions you expect them to be.
- We can change the legends on the badge so it's not intrusive. PVD + Laser engraving instead of CNC engraving will make it look better. The legends will be changed to "Atom".
- That's our plan. We don't have the estimation for the price now. It's still under development.
- TBD

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #30 on: Fri, 06 December 2019, 14:02:25 »
Nice. Will you guys provide the plate files?

Also interested in seeing comparison of Bluetooth in this vs. the plastic case.  Does the aluminum case cause issues with the bluetooth signal?  Is it the same hardware implementation?  Meaning, can we expect the same battery life?

+1 for a comparison.

Yes, we can share the plate file.
I've already answered this question here https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=103669.msg2840704#msg2840704

Offline Sup

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #31 on: Fri, 06 December 2019, 19:20:25 »
Very interested in this! Also nice move with the standard sized spacebar :thumb:
Https://Supkbd.nl

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Coming soon Rukia.

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Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 10 December 2019, 13:14:50 »


The MX PCB prototype has been finished. The case supports MX switches now.
The final version MX PCB will support PCB mount stabilizers.

Offline regionfree

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 10 December 2019, 20:00:53 »
Wow, so Niz is going all out with this. Standard spacebar size (finally), and MX pcb availability.

Wait, if you'll be launching a new PCB for MX support, can't you create an EC pcb that has plate mount stabs?

Offline ray160

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 10 December 2019, 20:53:39 »
Not a huge fan of the badge placement. Very interested in this though

Offline pixelpusher

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 10 December 2019, 22:31:51 »
Show Image


The MX PCB prototype has been finished. The case supports MX switches now.
The final version MX PCB will support PCB mount stabilizers.

This is really cool.  I understand the EC board has totally different firmware, but any chance that the MX version will be QMK compatible?  Again, really exciting to see this project and have you here on Geekhack
« Last Edit: Tue, 10 December 2019, 22:37:03 by pixelpusher »

Offline MatthewPham

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 11 December 2019, 00:31:07 »
I'll probably buy this, but a WKL tkl would be pog too

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #37 on: Fri, 13 December 2019, 15:50:15 »
Wow, so Niz is going all out with this. Standard spacebar size (finally), and MX pcb availability.

Wait, if you'll be launching a new PCB for MX support, can't you create an EC pcb that has plate mount stabs?

It's not the problem of the EC PCB. The switch housings are too large and occupy the space of regular PCB mount stabs. That's why we made the special plate mount stabs that can fit in the position perfectly.

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #38 on: Fri, 13 December 2019, 15:52:31 »
Show Image


The MX PCB prototype has been finished. The case supports MX switches now.
The final version MX PCB will support PCB mount stabilizers.

This is really cool.  I understand the EC board has totally different firmware, but any chance that the MX version will be QMK compatible?  Again, really exciting to see this project and have you here on Geekhack

Yes, the MX PCB will be QMK compatible. If you don't care about EC and only want to use this case, it's fine to choose the MX version.

Offline anatworkaccount

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #39 on: Sat, 14 December 2019, 00:16:53 »
Super interested in this. Looking forward to watching this come to fruition.

Offline The Equals D

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #40 on: Mon, 16 December 2019, 06:26:57 »
This is a pretty neat. Assuming the price is right, I'm definitely looking to pick one of these up. I miss having an ec board.

Offline asdds22

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #41 on: Thu, 19 December 2019, 16:24:49 »
Awesome, fan of niz keyboard.
Is it provided with pre-built?(pre-built without keycaps)
Don't want to custom my own cause I love ec of Niz.
Even though, want to see several color rendering and changeable Legend logo kits

Offline swedishpiehole

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 20 December 2019, 10:01:50 »
Count me in! I love my Atom68 and this case would take it to the next level.

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #43 on: Fri, 20 December 2019, 13:18:05 »



The prototype PVD MX plate has been finished. The factory is also able to offer the real gold plated finish.

Offline Rayndalf

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #44 on: Fri, 20 December 2019, 15:06:48 »
Good call with the MX support in addition to the Niz support, it would be really funny if it let people rebuild their old Niz case as a Cherry board.

Offline equalunique

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #45 on: Fri, 20 December 2019, 20:26:02 »
I don't have any Niz EC keyboard yet, but with this IC here, I know I have to get this one!

Sent from my Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 using Tapatalk


Offline cicy1030

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #46 on: Tue, 24 December 2019, 22:52:34 »
Can you add version in PC material to keep the keyboard light-weighted


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline kungpaogao

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #47 on: Wed, 25 December 2019, 00:52:39 »

- The stabs are not compatible with Micro82's plate.
- Yes, the spacebar is 6.25u. All the stems are in the correct positions you expect them to be.
- We can change the legends on the badge so it's not intrusive. PVD + Laser engraving instead of CNC engraving will make it look better. The legends will be changed to "Atom".
- That's our plan. We don't have the estimation for the price now. It's still under development.
- TBD

Are the stabs compatible with any of the other EC keyboard plates, more specifically the 87-key keyboards?

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #48 on: Wed, 25 December 2019, 14:53:00 »
Can you add version in PC material to keep the keyboard light-weighted


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


No, unfortunately the structure of the case is not suitable for PC material.

Offline Nizkeyboard

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Re: [IC] Atom68 Alu: A custom housing for Niz Atom68
« Reply #49 on: Wed, 25 December 2019, 14:54:07 »

- The stabs are not compatible with Micro82's plate.
- Yes, the spacebar is 6.25u. All the stems are in the correct positions you expect them to be.
- We can change the legends on the badge so it's not intrusive. PVD + Laser engraving instead of CNC engraving will make it look better. The legends will be changed to "Atom".
- That's our plan. We don't have the estimation for the price now. It's still under development.
- TBD

Are the stabs compatible with any of the other EC keyboard plates, more specifically the 87-key keyboards?

No, most NIZ EC keyboard plates support only costar stabs.