Author Topic: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard  (Read 10771 times)

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Offline TheloniousDrunk

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Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« on: Sat, 21 March 2020, 16:46:04 »
I'm looking to build a custom split ergo keyboard that is 100% or 75% (must have function row) and ortholinear. I haven't seen many posts or pictures of these out there, so I was wondering if anyone a little more versed in these split keyboards has some resources or projects they could point me to.

The ergodox is pretty much exactly what I want, but I need that 6th row of function keys (I do not want to do a 5th row that has a modifier for an extra row of functionality). Are these out there? Are there GBs starting for something like this?


Offline TheloniousDrunk

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 21 March 2020, 17:02:29 »
That's extremely close. Pretty much that but not a full grid, just ortholinear columns a la the ergodox

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 21 March 2020, 18:13:44 »
I haven't seen anything like that with a F-row.

Offline vvp

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 22 March 2020, 05:16:55 »
I believe that is because it does not make sense to require the F-row keys when there is enough thumb/palm modifiers. It is easier to press a thumb-key modifier and key in the main keywell area than move your hand to reach a key in the F-row. Many people put arrow keys in the home row through a function key for the same reason. You can put even chords with function keys in the main keywell like e.g. this:
Code: [Select]
Win-F11 Win-F1 Win-F2 Win-F3 Win-F4 Win-F5 ScrlLck  NumLck Win-F6 Win-F7 Win-F8 Win-F9 Win-F10 Win-F12
Alt-F11 Alt-F1 Alt-F2 Alt-F3 Alt F4 Alt F5 CapsLck  Applic Alt-F6 Alt-F7 Alt-F8 Alt-F9 Alt F10 Alt F12
Shf-F11 Shf-F1 Shf-F2 Shf-F3 Shf-F4 Shf-F5 VolUp    Insert Shf-F6 Shf-F7 Shf-F8 Shf-F9 Shf-F10 Shf-F12
Ctr-F11 Ctr-F1 Ctr-F2 Ctr-F3 Ctr-F4 Ctr-F5                 Ctr-F6 Ctr-F7 Ctr-F8 Ctr-F9 Ctr-F10 Ctr-F12
E.g. to get Ctrl-Shift-F4 press FnX-Ctrl-F xor FnX-Shift-V (when QUERTY is used in the base layer). Don't bother with F-row keys. Ergodox designers knew why they did not bother with the function keys. They are useless with a good firmware and good thumb clusters.

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 22 March 2020, 06:31:07 »
yes, the removal of the F-row began with the 60% and from someone that uses Fkeys in shortcuts all day, everyday, it's very quick and easy to learn/transition to. and for the most part, almost all custom keyboards employ this method of accessing the Fkeys.

the BFO is probably the largest ortho you'll be able to find. trying to find any otrho with more than 6 columns are far & few between, they do exist but not nearly as common as 6 columns or less.

the requirements that are my make or break are:
- must have 7 columns (to keep a "normal" number row, and in turn, keeping a full Frow)
- have enough keys to have a dedicated arrow keys (preferably in the bottom right).
- if you go with 7 columns, it is an easy transition to ortho as your layout can be very close to typical qwerty.

hope this helps.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline theKM

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 24 March 2020, 07:22:27 »
Must have function row?... I concur with others, it's cruft that you will be much better with layering magic. Hitting function keys has never been easier for me than with a 50% board and QMK. With something like the Iris, I can hit ctl+alt with my thumb, hole a layer shift with my pinkie which puts the function keys on the number row or even under my right hand like a number pad. Putting function keys where regular keys are, I've never hit them as quick and easy as I can now.

The whole "I can't possibly live without the (whatever) keys"... is only heard by people that haven't given layering an honest shot. Usually it's the arrow keys... set up tap/mod with your pinkie that puts the arrow keys literally under your fingers on the home row, it makes moving your hand to dedicated arrow keys really quite silly in comparison.
« Last Edit: Tue, 24 March 2020, 07:24:37 by theKM »

Offline ergonaut

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 24 March 2020, 17:24:56 »
While I generally agree with those of you who say that F-Keys can be replaced with an additional layer, this doesn’t always work that well for gaming.

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 24 March 2020, 19:30:23 »
....BFO or a super-sized dactyl-manuform then.
... or if you have access to a 3d printer and can model somewhat you could do a variation on iso's MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard and just scale up the left & right consoles to larger grids.
« Last Edit: Wed, 25 March 2020, 05:48:40 by nevin »
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Offline theKM

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 25 March 2020, 08:25:57 »
While I generally agree with those of you who say that F-Keys can be replaced with an additional layer, this doesn’t always work that well for gaming.

Ergo keyboards are about efficiently reaching everything you could ever want to type. Never, in the history of keyboards, has anyone ever hit top row F keys as quickly and efficiently as keys on or near the home row... it's just impossible to do, and that's exactly what you can do with modern firmware like QMK. Put a mod/tap on a thumb or pinkie key, and drop all your function keys right under your hand without moving, ready to go, faster than anyone that needs to literally pick their hand up to get to an F key... and most people need to look at the keyboard to get an F key, or they're slower as they have to feel for the key in the grouped F clusters. nasty.

Gamers seem to have more hang-ups to trying new things than anyone else I chat with :)

Offline iso

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 26 March 2020, 08:51:48 »
Not a pro-gamer but I`ll rant on favour of having more rows than layers.
Switch, cap and hand size dictate how easy is gonna be to work with 4 rows or 7, obviously tiny hands will work better with 4 rows, if up/down and left/right movement on a 7 row device takes another 30 ms, thats enough to lose a game. Network latency proven that over and over again, you cant pro-game on a slow network, same with keyboard/other devices, if is slowing you down because you need to hit an additional key, thats not the right device to be winning on
Not sure about anyone else but I found that for me was easier to move my hand and hit the right key than minimize movement and hit a series of keys to get same result, learning the path to a key with a finger was faster/easier than learning to switch layers

Offline TheloniousDrunk

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 26 March 2020, 10:58:25 »
I'm building this keyboard as a gift to my brother, who is a senior engineer and has his own preferences. While I agree with all of you that it's probably easier and more efficient to layer the function row, he's particularly intransigent on this aspect. We have large hands, so he would be able to reach easy, but he's not concerned with the 30 ms differences as he's not a big gamer. It seems to be for convenience, aesthetic, and personal preference

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 26 March 2020, 11:29:00 »
Quote
It seems to be for convenience, aesthetic, and personal preference
... all extremely valid points.

if you can't find the layout you're looking for you can always jump in the deep end of the pool and do a one off hand wired board with custom plates (sandwich style) with any layout you want using some of the online tools.

online tools:
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/
http://builder.swillkb.com/
https://kbfirmware.com/

handwire guides:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=87689.0
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=103108.0
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline theKM

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 26 March 2020, 19:12:27 »
No practiced typist is slowed down to hold shift to uppercase a letter...no piano player is slowed down in striking multiple keys for a single chord note. Having to move your hand however, is another story. No F keys on a regular keyboard are being hit as fast as someone shifting on the home row.

What makes the whole thing even more absurd is that some games even make an exercise out of chording commands! jump performance different from walking and running, so competitively playing the game required you to just about instantly get the run and trigger the jump.

...the only thing that changes this is if they keys are in dished key-wells so that there's literally no hand movement to strike them, but not even Kinesis does this for function keys.
« Last Edit: Thu, 26 March 2020, 19:17:44 by theKM »

Offline theKM

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 26 March 2020, 19:20:09 »
I'm building this keyboard as a gift to my brother, who is a senior engineer and has his own preferences. While I agree with all of you that it's probably easier and more efficient to layer the function row, he's particularly intransigent on this aspect. We have large hands, so he would be able to reach easy, but he's not concerned with the 30 ms differences as he's not a big gamer. It seems to be for convenience, aesthetic, and personal preference

Fair enough. the one rock solid argument to me is; "I don't want to try/change", it's immutable :)

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 26 March 2020, 20:28:58 »
Not sure if you've seen it but Dox (who designed the ErgoDox) recently posted this which sounds a lot like you're looking for.  I guess there will be a GB sometime but given the state of the world and that he's not even got the prototype case yet I don't think it will be anytime soon.
120/100g linear Zealio R1  
GMK Hyperfuse
'Split everything' perfection  
MX Clear
SA Hack'd by Geeks     
EasyAVR mod
MX Brown 30g, HHKBish
Vortex OEM PBT
for See how the other half lives challenge!

Offline harlekein

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 09:10:52 »
The whole "I can't possibly live without the (whatever) keys"... is only heard by people that haven't given layering an honest shot. Usually it's the arrow keys... set up tap/mod with your pinkie that puts the arrow keys literally under your fingers on the home row, it makes moving your hand to dedicated arrow keys really quite silly in comparison.

100%

The argument that you use the keys that much is actually an argument for layering.

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 09:34:40 »
what about someone that uses a LOT of shortcuts (key-combos up to 3 or 4 keys) at a time? and these shortcuts are built into the app (can't be changed). .....i know you can use macros but haven't dug into that yet.

i do agee with layering and has made things a lot easier since i switched to a 60% a LONG time ago. currently running a viterbi (split 5x7s) but i really don't want to go with some of the smaller split orho boards that would increase the layering and reduce the number of physical keys. partially for using the same programs/shortcuts for decades and knowing their placement on the boards....
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline theKM

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 10:42:15 »
what about someone that uses a LOT of shortcuts (key-combos up to 3 or 4 keys) at a time? and these shortcuts are built into the app (can't be changed). .....i know you can use macros but haven't dug into that yet.

i do agee with layering and has made things a lot easier since i switched to a 60% a LONG time ago. currently running a viterbi (split 5x7s) but i really don't want to go with some of the smaller split orho boards that would increase the layering and reduce the number of physical keys. partially for using the same programs/shortcuts for decades and knowing their placement on the boards....

...depends on how you set up the mod keys and the layer keys. I put the mods like ctl, alt, on my thumb cluster and all layers above look down to use them... the layer mod-taps are on my fingers, like pinkie hitting where caps lock is. This lets me get to F keys while holding modifier keys.

I'm a shortcut junkie, and particularly on a thumb cluster where I can hold ctl+alt with just my thumb, get a pinkie into a target layer going, then I can hit whatever. Other hand can even get shift involved... but ctl+alt+F5 is a single handed affair. But after I switch to Kyria (from an Iris), I'm going to add chording the other two thumb key with thumb as being ctl+alt+shift, horizontally as ctl+alt+gui, and high horizontal as ctl+alt+shift+gui... all hit with just my thumb. Will see how it goes :)

I think 60% is a nice sized board where you get good efficient access to a nice amount of keys, a pragmatic number of layers.

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 10:52:37 »
i would love to try thumb clusters but finding one that has more than 6 columns are far & few between.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline theKM

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 11:58:09 »
i would love to try thumb clusters but finding one that has more than 6 columns are far & few between.

you want a thumb cluster with more than seven columns?

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 13:13:27 »
thumb clusters (3 or more keys) and 7 columns
...with at least 4 keys in the centermost column where the halves are closest together, this seems to be a column that gets keys taken away to make room for the thumb cluster.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline theKM

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 14:59:32 »
thumb clusters (3 or more keys) and 7 columns
...with at least 4 keys in the centermost column where the halves are closest together, this seems to be a column that gets keys taken away to make room for the thumb cluster.

7... so three columns for your index finger? I think they're left out as that's quite a stretch without having to shift your hand.

sounds like you want a hand-wire project :)

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 16 April 2020, 15:27:42 »
7.... mainly to keep a "normal" number row as this is also the F-keys (shortcuts... again...)

yes, not saying 7 and not moving your hands.

Quote
so three columns for your index finger?
no, alpha block is in the center of the split.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline rp_Neo2000

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 29 April 2020, 21:52:25 »
Keeb.io also has the Sinc 75% split staggered keyboard

https://keeb.io/collections/frontpage/products/sinc-split-staggered-75-keyboard

Offline TheloniousDrunk

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 14 October 2020, 19:34:52 »
....BFO or a super-sized dactyl-manuform then.
... or if you have access to a 3d printer and can model somewhat you could do a variation on iso's MEK - 3d printed modular ergonomic keyboard and just scale up the left & right consoles to larger grids.

Resurrecting this one. I actually do have a 3d printer now but I was hoping for a nicer build quality. If I went this way could I use the files here for machining a higher quality one (aluminum or another metal). That sounds expensive.

I was mistaken in the title and it's most properly a columnar keyboard layout not ortholinear

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 14 October 2020, 22:50:24 »
i'm sure you could. probably have to convert the files into a format that your machine shop would prefer. might have to simplify some things as well.

start playing with keyboard layout editor. at the very least you could create a spaced plate version you could handwire. or import the plate files as a starting point and build something more advanced in the 3d program.

online tools:
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/
http://builder.swillkb.com/
https://kbfirmware.com/

handwire guides:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=87689.0
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=103108.0
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 14 October 2020, 23:19:20 »
something like this? with or without numpad?
253570-0
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/a4ed5ccb002bb02e4efbcacb3243013c

and this is my viterbi layout. (has F-keys, numpad, dedicated arrows, and a few multimedia keys)
253572-1
« Last Edit: Wed, 14 October 2020, 23:23:27 by nevin »
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline fpazos

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #28 on: Thu, 15 October 2020, 15:28:19 »
Second one is quite similar to Viterbi from keeb.io
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 October 2020, 16:09:26 by fpazos »
 

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 16 October 2020, 02:36:08 »
Second one is quite similar to Viterbi from keeb.io


Yep. it's my V1 viterbi. this was one of the layout options (4x 1.25 mods) in the first version. a friend of his requested this option and was supported in the early version.

some other split boards from keeb.io (split staggered) not ortho or columnar staggered
Quefrency Rev. 2 (60%/65%)
Sinc (75%)
KBO-5000 (80%)
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline TheloniousDrunk

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #30 on: Sat, 17 October 2020, 22:04:40 »
I got more clarification and it's essentially the ergodox with a function row so I went in and edited the base from KLE. It seems like keyboard-layout-editor.com doesn't handle splits so I'll design each half on it's own. The left half gives me the photo below.

When I go to http://builder.swillkb.com/ it doesn't recognize it as an ergodox and builds a square. Is there a way to modify the case design from here so that it'll be a ergodox case? Would it be smarter to take the files from the ergodox git and then modify the case design in CAD? That seems feasible since I have some experience. The PCB part would definitely be outta my bag. I have no history of circuit work and I was browsing through https://github.com/ruiqimao/keyboard-pcb-guide but I think designing it from scratch would be daunting. If I'm adding a row would I need to significantly modify the SMD choices?


Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #31 on: Sat, 17 October 2020, 23:48:15 »
swill.... you have to specify "custom polygons" or yes, it will draw it in a square/rectangle
253831-0
http://builder-docs.swillkb.com/features/#custom-polygons

- you could do it in another program as well.
- use swill to get the plate files, then design the outer bezel in another program
- make sure you get kerf, etc. specifics from whatever vendor you end up choosing, as this usually needs adjusted in the file.

if you're adding a F-row, it won't fit in the normal ergodox case

if you're not comfortable designing a pcb, don't. either have someone else design it for you or handwire it.
handwiring is not that hard and could pretty much guarantee a working board (as long as you don't have any issues with the soldering).

it's a lot easier to mess up a pcb than it is to mess up a handwired board.

the ergodox is a unique board as the pcbs use an i/o expander instead of dual controllers like most other simple split boards. (there are way more split boards that use 2 controllers than ones that use i/o expanders). not that it can't be done. but is not as straight forward as using 2 controllers.

so, component choice.... no, shouldn't change. AS LONG AS you have extra pins to work with to add your extra rows.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline TheloniousDrunk

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #32 on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 10:44:25 »
it's a lot easier to mess up a pcb than it is to mess up a handwired board.

the ergodox is a unique board as the pcbs use an i/o expander instead of dual controllers like most other simple split boards. (there are way more split boards that use 2 controllers than ones that use i/o expanders). not that it can't be done. but is not as straight forward as using 2 controllers.

so, component choice.... no, shouldn't change. AS LONG AS you have extra pins to work with to add your extra rows.

Why is it easier to mess up a PCB? Because of having to solder the SMD?

Offline nevin

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Re: Custom split ortholinear ergo keyboard
« Reply #33 on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 13:31:31 »
- routing traces could be wrong
- usb path could be too long/off
- sourcing & soldering tiny components
- a lot more variables to follow or get wrong on a pcb
- harder to fix a pcb than a handwire
- handwire is more forgiving
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68