Author Topic: [IC] Boston, a compact 120% (updated specs, 3D-printed version pics)  (Read 32771 times)

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Offline Pylon

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This is an interest check for a compact 120% keyboard I'm working on, with a layout inspired by the Driftmechanics Austin. This is the first custom keyboard I've designed, though I have a mechanical engineering background and have done other electronics projects before.



There will be two case options - a CNC aluminum one, and a 3D-printed/FR4 one. They both use the same PCB.


General Specifications:
  • 121-keys - full-size + 18 programmable keys
  • About 2u narrower than a regular full-size
  • Traditional 2x3 Ins/Del/Home/End/PgUp/PgDn nav block
  • Full-sized numpad with 2u "0" key
  • ISO, split-backspace, split 0, and numpad = key support (on universal plate)
  • Rotary encoder support, above the Esc key
  • USB-C
  • STM32F072 controller
  • QMK
  • Optional single-color LED backlight support (this may be dependent on the state of QMK ARM backlight support, but the hardware will be there)
  • Single RGBLED to indicate layer status
  • Electrical schematic and firmware largely derived from the Austin. Case and PCB are different.

3D-printed/FR4 version:
  • 4-piece 3D-printed case, with FR4 bottom panel. I'll publish STL files if you want to print the case yourself - you need a minimum 200 long x 150 wide x 210mm tall mm build area, which is achievable by many budget printers (e.g. Ender 3). Prototypes were printed on an Ender 3.
  • Colors depend on what color PLA/PLA+ filament I can have access to , but will probably be offering a variety of colors
  • Top mount (technically, though an unusual implementation of it)
  • FR4 plate only
  • 6.5° typing angle
  • Very tentative pricing - $130 with 3D-printed case, $95 barebones kit without 3D-printed parts (you would have to print them yourself)

Sound test of the 3D-printed/FR4 version (with Cherry MX Clears,spring ends lubed with Permatex dielectric grease, rails lubed with u/hbheroinbob's Loob-3g, and filmed with Deskey films. Stabilizers are C3Equalz. GMK Bingsu installed)

IC Form specifically for the 3D-printed version only

Prototype pics of the 3D-printed/FR4 version (with OG Cherry WoB and GMK Neon RGBY mods)





(the one on the left is an older aluminum prototype)


CNC aluminum version
  • 3-piece CNC aluminum case, with bottom brass weight (edit: due to the size of the keyboard it's more than heavy enough with everything made out of aluminum, so a brass bottom is unlikely at this point)
  • Top-mount
  • Probably $400-$600 in cost (based on current CNC machining quotes, depends on volume)
  • Knob will be underlit with an RGBLED, to indicate layer status (or whatever other purpose you want to use it for)
  • Tentatively intending to offer clear (silver) and black anodization, which were the two most requested colors. Dark gray was the third most requested color on the old IC form, and might also be offered.
  • Brass plate. This was by far the most popular requested plate material. I'll publish plate DXF files if people want to make plates using other materials.
  • 6.4° typing angle. 0° with the bottom weight removed (there will be bumpon  cutouts for 0° if so desired.

Thanks everyone for filling out the IC Form on the aluminum version. I've gotten more than enough feedback on that one, so I took down the IC Form for the aluminum version.

I apologize for not having keycaps or fasteners, and for the generally rushed nature of the renders below. I'm not great with renders, and I've been very busy lately and would prefer to spend time either working on the design or the prototypes. I'll update these with prototype pics once it's built.

250910-0
250912-1
250914-2
250916-3

With black mid and bottom pieces:

250918-4
250920-5

Pictures of the older aluminum case (this was an older design that put the controller on a separate PCB. This particular proto is also missing its RGB indicator light and its rotary encoder). I will not be running this:

245328-6
245330-7
245336-8
245332-9
245334-10


The layout for this was inspired by the Austin and also by the 7-row Thinkpad keyboard you find on Thinkpads of the T420 generation and older. The name is somewhat a pun off Austin since the layout is derived from it, and because I grew up (and currently live) in the city Boston, Massachusetts.

This project uses the open-source Acheron library from the Acheron project. KiCAD PCB files are available at my Github below. I'll publish the STL and Fusion files for the 3D-printed version to that once I am satisfied with the design. I do intend to open-source the CNC alumium case files at some point, but might do a couple rounds of GB before doing so.
https://github.com/bluepylons/Boston

Many thanks to Gondolindrim for the Acheron project and for feedback on the early PCBs, and to the designers of the Driftmechanics Austin (Driftingbunnies, PheonixStarr and Gondolindrim) from which this was derived. Also thank you to all 129 people that filled out the old IC form - your feedback was definitely appreciated. At this point I've collected more than enough data, so I took down the form.

MouserPounder made a signature graphic if people want to put these in their signatures (this has a picture of the older prototype)

Code: [Select]
[url=https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=106501.0][img width=304 height=120]https://i.imgur.com/LYOA5Fp.jpg[/img][/url]
(post revisions)
May 20, 2020 - Initial post
May 20, 2020 - Replaced renders with ones that accurately depict the seam in the middle
May 29, 2020 - Moved F-keys over rightward slightly. Bottom weight is now aluminum instead of brass as the keyboard is pretty heavy to begin with.
June 2, 2020 - Corrected some references to the Austin
June 19, 2020 - Added pictures of prototype (without LEDs or rotary encoder installed)
June 20, 2020 - Added signature link that MousePounder made 
July 4, 2020 - Updated signature link
July 12, 2020 - Reorganized feature list, added plate files to Github
August 16, 2020 - Shortened title
September 3, 2020 - Revised post significantly. Removed a lot of outdated info. Added pictures of the 3D-printed version
September 5, 2020 - Fixed required build area to 3D print the case (I overstated the necessary build area). Added some rough tentative pricing for the 3D-printed version. Added IC Form for 3D-printed version.
October 12, 2020 - Added sound test of the 3D-printed version.
« Last Edit: Mon, 12 October 2020, 00:28:47 by Pylon »

Offline pears

  • Posts: 19
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 14:09:17 »
big

Offline hali

  • Posts: 32
  • Location: zdc HQ
  • zoom zoom
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 14:15:42 »
a brass weight sounds a little overkill for this absolute unit

Offline norb

  • Posts: 163
  • Location: ger
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 14:17:56 »
will need some massive novelty packs when you wanna put a single keyset on it  :eek:

Offline IOVERCALLHISTIOCYTES

  • Posts: 1143
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 14:51:54 »
I don't usually 1800 but I've wanted a multiple f-row board for a long time.

Offline Butterbeer

  • Posts: 62
  • Location: California
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 15:12:50 »
This is really just a giant Artisan display board :-)



Offline Pylon

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Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 15:14:31 »
The case has a seam - I can't get the seam to display in the renders for some reason (will try to resolve and update the renders)

The layout and electrical schematic are derived from the Austin. The PCB and case are entirely new.

Offline Slash Emperor

  • Posts: 455
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Lust for life lost, keyboards acquired.
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 15:37:37 »
Welp, I gotta get the Boston and represent. Plus, this would be great for Skiidata and the relegendable keycaps.

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Offline Capsy

  • Posts: 293
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 15:54:12 »
Looks decent. Love the experiment with the layout. Couple of things:

1] The weight will most likely make the back of the keyboard insanely heavy and awkward when picking it up or moving around. I'd suggest a smaller weight or a centered weight to drop in at the back if you still want to keep it as heavy as this design.

2] I'd bring the LED lights closer to each other.

Offline Pylon

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Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 16:13:00 »
Thanks for the feedback Capsy - right now the case weighs about 3kg. I might just make the "weight" piece out of aluminum which would shave a kg off and lower the price a bit (brass is $$$). The piece also serves to set the angle and to cover the bottom of the controller daughterboard, so the location can't really change.

I'll consider moving the LEDs closer  together - right now they are aligned with the three keys above it.

Offline Pylon

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Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 20 May 2020, 16:51:20 »
Renders updated to better show the seam in the case (I had to edit the Fusion joint and add a 0.3mm gap to get it to show up in the renders)

Offline Evilocity

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  • Location: Ontario, Canada
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 21 May 2020, 10:14:16 »
That's a lot of artisan holders!

Offline dani_

  • Posts: 29
  • Location: Santa Barbara, California
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Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 21 May 2020, 11:46:28 »
These massive layouts usually do nothing for me but I have to say I really dig this one. Have you considered a 2u vertical key in the function row? Similar to the tall Escape and Delete in the old school Thinkpads?

Offline Pylon

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Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 21 May 2020, 11:50:49 »
Have you considered a 2u vertical key in the function row? Similar to the tall Escape and Delete in the old school Thinkpads?

I thought about doing a 2u vertical Esc key before I put the encoder in (the lone 1u Esc key looked a bit awkward), but no one makes a 2u vertical Esc key (I suppose I could get one dye subbed and that's it), or 2u vertical keys in general that aren't blanks or numpad keys (though Cherry did make a relegendable one that's shown up  in a couple of point-of-sale boards)

Offline Pylon

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Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 29 May 2020, 18:46:12 »
Hey all, some updates:

  • I reached out to three different US vendors to ask to partner with a group buy. Two have declined as they said they already had a lot of keyboard GBs in their queue and would not be able to take on more. The third has not responded for several days.
  • If no vendors agree to partner, I would fulfill the GB myself. This would likely result in:
    • A fairly low limit on the number of spots in the first round, probably between 10-25. For QC reasons I would have to order extras due to potential QC rejects, so there will probably be an extras/scratch+dent round where I sell off QC rejects at a lower price.
    • Since I haven’t run a GB before, and there are obvious trust issues with first-time GBs not run through a vendor, I might end up having to fund and stock R1 myself and just sell the kits myself. This would most likely limit R1 to <10 units.
    • Only offering raw-machined aluminum for the case, as I’ve been reading plenty of horror stories about QC issues with anodization (the Norbatouch designer states that cosmetic defects can be present on >50% of parts received, and I don’t have the resources to hound suppliers or risk losing money running a GB due to QC issues. If R1 goes well I may try to find a US-based anodization shop and try to offer anodization and colors in R2 (or offer powder-coating or Cerakote or whatever)
    • If R1 goes well I would probably do an R2 with more spots, or possibly an unrestricted R2 (ideally with a vendor partner)
  • I reworked the CAD somewhat to try to make the case narrower, and moved the F-keys over rightwards to free up more space around the rotary encoder. This also makes the gaps between key groups consistent. I also simplified the bottom piece, and changed it from brass to aluminum as the keyboard probably does not need additional weight, and aluminum is much cheaper. I updated the renders to reflect this.
  • Expecting to have a CNC prototype built in about two or three weeks. Sent out updated files today to SuNPe, and should be placing orders for PCBs and case parts shortly
  • I designed a couple of 3D-printed designs (including a sandwich case) that I got quoted with US-based 3D-printing and laser-cutting services Xometry and Sendcutsend, but it ends up not being much cheaper than Chinese CNC aluminum above volumes of 25 (though shipping costs from China right now are killer so it might still be worth it). I might attempt designing a sheet metal case and getting it quoted with a local sheet metal shop to see if it ends up being cheaper.
  • I compiled a rough BOM, and will probably price this between $400-$500 with an unanodized CNC aluminum case, though pending accurate shipping cost quotes from China.

Also thank you all for responding to the Interest Check form. So far it looks like:
  • Most people (43%) have no preference on typing angle, with 6-7° and 7-8° being about equally popular for those that have a preference. I'll shoot for 7° in that case
  • Black and dark gray are the most popular colors. Unfortunately, unless I can find a vendor to partner I'm unlikely to offer anodization on R1 so it will probably have to be silver for now.
  • 20% of people expressed interest in ISO support. I will design an ISO plate and offer it, though due to lower quantities it will probably cost slightly more.
  • Brass, POM, and aluminum are the most popular plate materials. I'm building the prototype with stainless steel (I've only used steel plates to date), but will offer those materials. I do have some concerns with POM and aluminum ending up with scratches and other surface-finish issues when arriving from the laser-cutter, and aluminum tends to have serious burrs after laser-cutting, so I will have to resolve those issues (or offer a disclaimer that plates may come with small scratches)
« Last Edit: Fri, 29 May 2020, 18:47:54 by Pylon »

Offline Aiwanei

  • Posts: 35
Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 30 May 2020, 11:30:24 »
As a local to the Boston Area, I'm in like flynn

Offline Pylon

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Re: [IC] Boston, an open-source Austin-derived compact 120%
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 19 June 2020, 18:36:44 »
Sorry for the lack of updates. Not too many:

  • Still working on the vendor situation. Honestly I haven't put a ton of effort into vendor communication, but going to try to find a vendor to run this with. There is one vendor that's interested, but we're on opposite coasts and trying to figure out how to deal with QC inspections. I'm still not sure when I can run the GB as a result, but it can be anywhere as soon as a month from now to much longer than that. I intend to get the prototype working and finalized before starting a GB
  • I found a US machine shop to make cases for future prototypes and for an initial GB run
  • Raw-machined aluminum is much more prone to scratches than I was hoping, so I may have to do anodization. I need to find a good anodization shop, as QC issues in anodization seem to be a major source of GB issues and delays. A lot of anodization issues also have to do with the underlying aluminum and may be outside the control of the anodization shop.
  • Parts for the prototype came in! I assembled these together and posted photos of the assembled prototype (minus the rotary encoder, which I forgot to order in my Mouser order. I'm making some minor mechanical changes as a result of learnings from assembly.) I haven't gotten around to working on the firmware yet so it's not yet a functional keyboard. Some assembly pictures are in the thread in Making Stuff Together
  • I added pictures of the prototype, with an old OG Cherry WoB set and with GMK Neon RGBY Mods
  • My goal for the next couple weeks is to work on the firmware and get everything working, and then probably doing another prototype.

Offline MousePounder

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  • Full Size Mechs Need Love Too!
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oh man, I hope this works out with the purple and everything. I have been searching for a while for a layout with more buttons not less buttons

I answered the IC so I wish you luck in getting this GB sorted. I am going to set aside 1k in the hopes this project comes together and I can buy this and GMK Houhai 后海 !

GMK Houhai 后海 on this keyboard will look sick https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=107034.0;all


Watch Out! Wide Mechs Comin' Thru!

Offline MousePounder

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pcb screw in stabilizers? I suppose my noobness is showing but I cant tell just from looking at the renders.


Watch Out! Wide Mechs Comin' Thru!

Offline Pylon

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Thanks for answering the IC! Yes it does use screw-in PCB stabs.

Offline MousePounder

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This is SUPER basic but i set up one of those code things for people to put in there signatures.

I wanted a link for this project to put next to the keycaps I am going to get.


Code: [Select]
[/url][url=https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=106501.0][img width=168 height=120]https://i.imgur.com/fkFBETF.png?1[/img][/url]

Watch Out! Wide Mechs Comin' Thru!

Offline hottrout

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Nice, ISO is required for me.  Don't rush into it, give it time and refine your design.
I started typing on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 'human flesh' keyboard in 1980 and I never stopped.

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Offline UggNot

  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
Really looking forward to this one. Pretty much the only staggered board I’m looking forward to honestly.


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Offline Pylon

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This is SUPER basic but i set up one of those code things for people to put in there signatures.

I wanted a link for this project to put next to the keycaps I am going to get.


Code: [Select]
[/url][url=https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=106501.0][img width=168 height=120]https://i.imgur.com/fkFBETF.png?1[/img][/url]

Thanks so much! My graphics design skills are nonexistent so definitely appreciated. I'll put it up on the main post.

Offline MousePounder

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Sweet. I am glad I could help in some tiny way.

I am super stoked about this project.  :thumb:  ;D

 

Watch Out! Wide Mechs Comin' Thru!

Offline funkmon

  • Posts: 294
Oh this is good. I like the real life pictures. Looks awesome! I'm interested. I need to learn to solder one of these days.

Offline jawoo

  • Posts: 7
Would you make a version 2.0 with no numpad for your next project?  I would be all over it. 

Offline VXQN

  • Posts: 174
Not my usual style but wow, this looks incredible!

Offline jawoo

  • Posts: 7
Would you have color on them in R1?  color is a must for me, I am in.  Otherwise, I go for R2.

Offline Pylon

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Would you make a version 2.0 with no numpad for your next project?  I would be all over it. 

Probably not, as I'm a numpad user. If I get more involved with designing keyboards I could look into doing say, a 65% with additional keys on top, but for personal use I need a numpad.

Would you have color on them in R1?  color is a must for me, I am in.  Otherwise, I go for R2.


I'm still trying to get R1 sorted out, and it's a maybe on color. The original plan was to have SuNPe machine and anodize them in China, but I've been getting reports that their anodization work hasn't been great in the past. I also looked into just offering a raw as-machined aluminum case without any finishing, but raw aluminum is pretty soft and prone to scratches, and my prototype has gotten pretty scratched up, so I'm not comfortable offering that as it won't hold up. So I'm going to have to find a good anodizer now, probably within the US. From what I've read, clear anodization is generally less prone to QC issues than having colors (since it doesn't require dying) so that's most likely the only finish I'll offer on R1. The other option would be to find a supplier to powder-coat or Cerakote the case for colors.

I'm also trying to work out the vendor situation . Pretty much all vendors I've reached out to except one have either not responded,  or had their hands full with other keyboard GBs, and the one that's willing to run it is on the West Coast, and I'm still trying to sort out how QC would work (as I may also have to inspect all arriving parts, which may mean having to do a Boston->West Coast shipment of the parts, which would probably add $30-$40 per keyboard to the cost).
« Last Edit: Sat, 27 June 2020, 04:33:12 by Pylon »

Offline vhwatgoes

  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Canada
There aren't enough Full-Size kits out there, and even the Austin was very limited, but this one is pretty special. I'll be eagerly watching this project!

Offline megaforce

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i love tatte bakery and cafe baby

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Offline Pylon

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Sorry for the lack of updates. Still working on the vendor situation.

After some thought I'm also adding an RGBLED indicator light next to the escape key to indicate QMK layer status (so people who assign multiple functions to the P-keys can be aware of what function the P-keys are set to). As a result I'm building up another prototype in the few next week and implementing those features in QMK.

Offline hottrout

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Keep refining, I like the concept.
I started typing on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 'human flesh' keyboard in 1980 and I never stopped.

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Offline Starius

  • Posts: 541
Just found this project.  Totally on board!  :thumb:

Offline esc

  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Canada / USA
Really like the layout! More keys > less keys, for me at least.

The aesthetics don't really speak to me.  If this were my design, I would rework the 'foot' to be a wedge, with bottom plane parallel to the desk.  I'd add a big chamfer to the front too, like the Cherry G80-3000.  I would either eliminate the seam on the sides or embrace it and offer independent anodization of the top and bottom pieces.  Personally I'd go for a light grey top with a cream bottom, or perhaps dark grey top and black bottom.  Finally, I'd explore a design with the numpad on the left.  These are all just my own preferences, of course, so probably worth less than the electrons which brought these characters to your eyes.

Offline Pylon

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I guess responding to that:

I intentionally didn't go for a typical wedge shape on either the bottom piece or the case overall because wedges are relatively expensive to machine. To machine a wedge well, you either need to do machine it on a 5-axis CNC, or a 3-axis with custom angled fixturing, which for a keyboard of this size is not cheap (and would have resulted in significantly more expensive prototypes). If you have holes going in at only one angle you could do 3D-profiling on a 3-axis (which takes a lots of machine time if you want an okay finish), but as soon as you have holes or pockets coming in at 2 different angles (e.g. a pocket for your bumpons parallel to the desk and a set of holes parallel to the plate to attach the plate) you need to do either the 5-axis or the custom fixturing. Both cost quite a bit more than typical 3-axis CNC machining.

if there's interest in a wedge-shaped case I could design one (possibly without a seam), with the caveat that it would cost more.

The more I think about the seam is potentially problematic alignment wise, but it does allow for stronger and thinner bezels than if I had done a one-piece seamless and then do the bottom piece as a flat plate, as it keeps the wall height/thickness ratios on the bezels lower, which results in stronger walls.

Offline cirrus82

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This looks fantastic. Very interested.

Offline stoffelduss

  • Posts: 182
  • Location: Örebro, Sweden
Hey! I just filled out the form but there's another form of feedback I want to give: I don't like how the bottom row looks with all 1.25u keys on one side and all 1u keys on the other. Instead of 125/125/125/625/100/100/100 I'd prefer something like 125/100/125/625/100/100/125.
Just having that one slightly bigger key in the mods next to the arrow keys would be a big improvement, imo :)

I ordered a bunch of kits in the last dev/tty run on drop so I'll have enough sensibly labelled keys for the top area of the board  ;D

Offline Pylon

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Hey all,

I'm considering spending a week or two significantly redesigning the keyboard, after thoughts on the last prototype:

1.) The prototype has the controller on a socketed daughterboard separate from the keyboard PCB. The plan for the GB was to deliver the keyboard PCB unpopulated and the controller PCB (with all the SMD parts) populated. The advantages of this are:
  • PCBs would be slightly cheaper, as the large main PCB would be unpopulated.
  • It makes QCing the controllers easier on my end as I could pop them into a populated keyboard to test them before shipping them out.
  • The controller is replaceable. This could mean future upgrades, or being able to replace a dead controller in the future without having to desolder the whole keyboard.
Unfortunately, it has downsides:
  • This requires the user to solder 120+ through-hole 1N4148 diodes, which is pretty tedious (it takes me, an experienced solderer, about an hour to solder and trim all the diodes)
  • The 2mm headers required to put the controllers on the daughterboard are not cheap, and not the easiest to solder for beginners as it takes some tricks to solder a 40-pin header on straight and flat.

SMD PCB assembly services are also cheaper than I expected. It might make a lot more sense to have everything onto a single board, like most other custom keyboards, and have SMD diodes that are pre-soldered. It would probably not add that much to the cost, and make soldering the PCB easier for beginners and less tedious even for more experienced users. This would also make the PCB more similar  to other custom keyboards out there, which have one-piece PCBs where the user is only expected to solder switches and maybe some LEDs.

2.) Having the seam down the middle of the case results in a stronger and slightly narrower case comparing to one where the seam is hidden below the keyboard, and allows for a much smaller gap between the two pieces, but it adds a couple issues:
  • For colors other than silver and black, matching anodization  between two different pieces of aluminum is difficult, and it is likely the top and bottom halves would end up as slightly different shades. If I remove the middle seam and just have a cover plate on the bottom, the anodization doesn't have to match as well as the bottom is normally not visible during use.
  • There might be very slight (<0.13mm) misalignment between the top half and the bottom half. This is present on the prototype, which was manufactured by SuNPe with their standard tolerances (+/-0.13mm) This isn't very visible, and doesn't cause any functional issues, but can be easily felt if you run your fingernail across the seam, and might be bothersome. I can eliminate this by tightening tolerances, but that would raise the price of the case significantly.

I'm debating spending some time designing a seamless case. The aesthetics would be similar to the current prototype (basic rectangle with rounded corner, and 45° chamfers) minus the seam down the middle.

Ultimately this keyboard is unlikely to cost less than $400 during GB due to its size and likely small run on R1, and I'm not sure how acceptable the above caveats of the current design are on a keyboard of that price. Hence it will probably have to go through another redesign.

Also I did some work on a 3D-printed/laser-cut sandwich case for the same PCB and can probably hit <$180 total cost if I make the middle layer out of several smaller 3D-printed pieces. I'm going to do some more work on that design, but if it goes well I'll post more details of that and maybe a render.

« Last Edit: Sat, 18 July 2020, 04:12:30 by Pylon »

Offline MousePounder

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Response for point #1

I would be fine with a bit extra cost upfront to make the board easier to assemble.

Response for point #2

I do think seamless would look better in the end if you don't need to worry about color matching the top and bottom parts.

On a personal note, I am for sure the type that would find it bothersome to feel the seem.

I was already on board for this project at 600 so no worries about the pricing from me.

I am fine with waiting if it makes the end product closer to perfect.

Thanks for the update. :thumb:

Watch Out! Wide Mechs Comin' Thru!

Offline nikron

  • Posts: 17
I think you should absolutely make the price higher for an easier to solder experience. Putting on that controller sounds awful to me. Diodes seems fairly tedious, but doable I guess...

I think you should consider the seamless design if you aren't willing to raise the tolerances. But generally it sounds like you should be shooting for a higher price in order to make a better board. Given that there's not much competition for a 120%, what's the difference between $400 and $600?

Offline asmashedpumpkin

  • Posts: 7
I agree with Mousepounder and Nikron. 

Offline Pylon

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 722
Hey! I just filled out the form but there's another form of feedback I want to give: I don't like how the bottom row looks with all 1.25u keys on one side and all 1u keys on the other. Instead of 125/125/125/625/100/100/100 I'd prefer something like 125/100/125/625/100/100/125.
Just having that one slightly bigger key in the mods next to the arrow keys would be a big improvement, imo :)

I ordered a bunch of kits in the last dev/tty run on drop so I'll have enough sensibly labelled keys for the top area of the board  ;D

Sorry for not responding to this for a while. I'm not sure how much alternative bottom row support I want to provide at this point, especially for less common bottom rows like the one you suggested, as it makes soldering/assembly and firmware trickier. I guess I could slot the PCB and just publish different plate files for different bottom row layouts if people really wanted alternate bottom row support, but it would be a fairly low priority right now. Sorry.


Offline Pylon

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  • Posts: 722
Thanks for the feedback MousePounder, Nikron, and Asmashedpumpkin. I've been messing around with a case redesign in Fusion, and this is what I have so far. Here's some quick dirty renders of what I've been working with:

247732-0
247734-1
247736-2
247740-3

It still has a seam, but I moved it lower and added an overhang, to reduce the temptation of running your fingernail across the seam. In addition, the bottom weight is now optional if you want to run the keyboard at a 0° angle if you so chose:
247738-4

I also moved the RGBLED layer indicator light to above the right arrow key, to take up the awkward gap in the keys here. I'll be slotting in a diffused plastic lightpipe in here.
« Last Edit: Wed, 22 July 2020, 16:23:19 by Pylon »

Offline MousePounder

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Thanks for the update.

First, The black bottom and silvertop in the renders looks awesome and I would be fine if that was the only option.

Or I can always do up the bottom in black myself if you end up not being able to do colors at first.

Second, I like the changes to the seam and the added overhang. In my mind that will make it far less of a standout contact point to get annoyed by.

Does this also hide where the two halves meet together? so if the seam is not flawless you wont really see it?

Lastly, The change to use up the space by the arrow keys sounds cool as long as the light is not distracting.

Overall very happy with these new renders and look forward to your future updates on the project.

Thanks for doing this and good luck to you.


Watch Out! Wide Mechs Comin' Thru!

Offline switchnollie

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These types of boards I love seeing pictures of.

I would never figure out what to do with all those keys tho :p


Keyboards: OTD 356CL Dark Greyhat Edition, baybee!

Offline -Jerry-

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I was just saying the other day that there aren’t enough full size customs about. I love the extra function buttons; one can never have enough options for MMOs, haha.
     
     Hub16           HS60 + Tofu                  Melody96

Offline Pylon

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  • Posts: 722
Thanks for the update.

Second, I like the changes to the seam and the added overhang. In my mind that will make it far less of a standout contact point to get annoyed by.

Does this also hide where the two halves meet together? so if the seam is not flawless you wont really see it?


Thanks for the comments! Yes the point of contact between the two halves is hidden by a small lip on the top piece.

Offline nikron

  • Posts: 17
I like this a lot better.  I would do the 0 degree version.