Author Topic: [IC] Conundrum - 40% ortho, QMK, EC (UPDATE + GB POSTPONED)  (Read 19529 times)

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Offline mewa

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Hi GH,

I'm thrilled to finally present to you the project I've been working on for the past two years.

Namely, world's first 40% ortholinear, programmable, electro-capacitive keyboard!

Meet the Conundrum






Having been mesmerised by both 40% ortholinear and EC keyboards I've since wished there existed a keyboard that combined them. That's how Conundrum was born.

Conundrum is a 4-piece construction:
  • aluminum top, electrophoretic coating
  • brass plate, polished, PVD-coated
  • aluminum bottom, electrophoretic coating
  • brass weight, polished PVD-coated

Inside the 5-angled case sits a PCB which hosts a powerful ARM Cortex M4F unit, together with rubber domes, custom-made capacitive conic springs, switch housings and sliders (MX-compatible). Last but not least, everything is connected to your PC via a USB-C connector.

Apart from being programmable (and based on QMK firmware), one big point for me when building it was the ability to CUSTOMIZE it - which brings us to the next point.

COLORS:
The GB will certainly have the following colors:

aluminum:
  • white
  • black
  • yellow
brass:
  • gold

If there is enough demand I also plan to do a run of Black PVD brass!


Let me know what other color combos you would like to see!


I would love to hear your feedback before the group buy starts (which is SOON!).

More details and photos available at thock.co!


=================
EDIT:

I created a form where you can express your interest regarding 2x 2u support + a couple more questions regarding the implementation. You can find it here.

I also encourage people not interested in 2x 2u support to fill it in if the 4u cutout required to make it happen is something you'd not like to see.


=================
UPDATE 16/06/2020:

I added a crude typing test which you can find here.



=================
UPDATE 21/06/2020:

Thanks everyone for filling the IC form for 2x2u support. Unfortunately, there were too many people opposing the changes required to make it work on the same plate and PCB. This means bringing 2x2u support is only possible as a separate add-on and at this moment there are too few people willing to go for it, so the costs would go through the roof.
« Last Edit: Fri, 26 June 2020, 21:39:21 by mewa »

Offline DALExSNAIL

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Hoping for another layout down the line, but good luck here  :thumb:

Offline The_Royal

  • Posts: 371
  • Location: 40% Embassy
  • That's what I call, a Sunday.
Do you have any pics of the PCB or the design of the pcb or anything?

Offline nasp

  • Posts: 992
  • Location: USA - Texas
Can you post a typing test please?

Offline equalunique

  • Posts: 532
This is an amazing feat of engineering AND it's got a beautiful construction.

Wish it had 2x2u space as an option tho.

Also, with the 2u spacebar have stabilizers?
« Last Edit: Fri, 29 May 2020, 15:13:53 by equalunique »

Offline mewa

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Hoping for another layout down the line, but good luck here  :thumb:

If this GB is successful I definitely see more layout configurations down the road!

Do you have any pics of the PCB or the design of the pcb or anything?

I will take some and update the post.

Can you post a typing test please?

I'm waiting for the final prototypes and I'll be making one once I get them (and proper gear to record it).

This is an amazing feat of engineering AND it's got a beautiful construction.

Cheers!

Also, with the 2u spacebar have stabilizers?

No, but you can mount one on 2x 1u. I also envisaged it more in grid layout and 2u cutout was an experiment (a successful one).

Offline The_Royal

  • Posts: 371
  • Location: 40% Embassy
  • That's what I call, a Sunday.
Excited to see this in action and to GB.   Been waiting for a 40% EC board for far too long lol
« Last Edit: Fri, 29 May 2020, 15:41:07 by The_Royal »

Offline dklein

  • Posts: 58
    • Dededecline
will you be sending a proto to anyone for review before group buy begins?

Offline ycanales

  • Posts: 27
  • Location: Chile
    • keybordist
Looks awesome! Good luck with the GB and I will join if I can.

Do you have more EC projects planned after this?

Offline scoopbb

  • Posts: 207
wtf. im buying this 100%

Offline BoofyMoon

  • Posts: 7
Oh my God!  My dream board!  The yellow looks fantastic!

Offline mewa

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Thank you guys for all the positive feedback! :)

Offline phat schlong

  • Posts: 24
Not the biggest fan of ortholinear, but I like the design aesthetic

Offline mewa

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Do you have more EC projects planned after this?

I have a couple ideas but it's too early to say anything just yet. For now, I just want to make sure this GB runs smoothly.

will you be sending a proto to anyone for review before group buy begins?

I definitely have something like this in mind. I'm not sure if I'll make it before the group buy begins, but I'll be recording a typing test for sure.

Offline Pyk_

  • Posts: 47
Wow that photo of just the case with the plate installed is beautiful.

I really would love a really high end 40% ortho, but unfortunately I think this will be out of my price range. My only request would be support for 2x2u.

Offline Hokabuki

  • Posts: 170
The board looks great! Interesting layout choice for one of the first EC customs.

Offline mewa

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Thanks folks!

As for the layout, I'm not going lie - that decision was purely a result of me wanting such a keyboard for my own :D

Offline noorejji

  • Posts: 168
  • Location: yurop
This looks very nice, and a huge boon for the EC community. Not personally looking for a 40% atm, but I'm cheering on you! Will be waiting warmly for other form factors.

Offline iSamurai

  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Italy
It looks amazing but I have a doubt, keycaps there is a planned set or we must go for mx sliders? As of now I can't think of an EC set with ortho support.

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Offline Applet

  • Posts: 343
  • Location: Sweden
Very exciting with custom Topre! ;D Good luck with IC and GB!

Offline Applet

  • Posts: 343
  • Location: Sweden
It looks amazing but I have a doubt, keycaps there is a planned set or we must go for mx sliders? As of now I can't think of an EC set with ortho support.

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Check website, MX-sliders in pics. Don't think there is a Topre-mount 40's keycap kit in the making.

Offline iSamurai

  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Italy
Oh yes I had seen them in the renders but I hadn't found a written description so I was hoping for a little clarification.

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Offline Vireca

  • Posts: 174
Who will make the sliders? Niz?

Offline mewa

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  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
It looks amazing but I have a doubt, keycaps there is a planned set or we must go for mx sliders? As of now I can't think of an EC set with ortho support.
Check website, MX-sliders in pics. Don't think there is a Topre-mount 40's keycap kit in the making.

Thanks, and yes, that's correct.

Oh yes I had seen them in the renders but I hadn't found a written description so I was hoping for a little clarification.

So, just to confirm, the kit will come with MX-compatible sliders - and by the way, apart from the bottom of the page, the pictures on the website are all real photos :)

Who will make the sliders? Niz?

Yes, the sliders and the housings are currently being sourced from NiZ.


Offline Bonsa

  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Belgium
Absolutely beautiful! black top on white bottom is a dream combination. I guess this will unfortunately be out of my price range, but I'm keeping my eyes out for updates.
EC, ortho and 40%... you sure know how to pick the most niche part of this hobby.
How big are the bezels on this?
Also, I can't really read the name on the case, is the name supposed to stay in a backwards upside down position?

Offline i luv chuletas

  • Posts: 186
This is absolutely sick.
Any chance for a 2x2u layout option?

Offline mewa

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Cheers!

Any chance for a 2x2u layout option?

Depends on how many people sign up for this. Would you be looking for plate compatibility (cutout) or the PCB as well (centered stem)?

EC, ortho and 40%... you sure know how to pick the most niche part of this hobby.

Believe it or not, but I had this thought on numerous occasions! (and the original idea was also a split)

How big are the bezels on this?

Approximately 12mm on the sides, 9mm at the bottom and 19mm at the front.

Also, I can't really read the name on the case, is the name supposed to stay in a backwards upside down position?

Yes, that's the conundrum ;)


Offline kissingyou

  • Posts: 6
Run fast GB  :D

Offline i luv chuletas

  • Posts: 186
Cheers!

Any chance for a 2x2u layout option?

Depends on how many people sign up for this. Would you be looking for plate compatibility (cutout) or the PCB as well (centered stem)

Yeah, asking about full on support (plate/pcb) You'd be surprised of how many of us are into that, super nice for layering  ;D

Offline mewa

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  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
I'm wondering if this would prove problematic for other people not wanting a 2x 2u layout. An open question: would a wider (4u) cutout in the plate bother you?

Offline mewa

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
I created a form where you can express your interest regarding 2x 2u support. You can find it here.

I also encourage people not interested in 2x 2u support to fill it in if the 4u cutout required to make it happen is something you'd not like to see.
« Last Edit: Sat, 06 June 2020, 13:55:45 by mewa »

Offline econeuler

  • Posts: 68
  • Location: Sweden
This looks awesome! I think it's very nice with some more premium 40% options, thank you for this:) Interesting with ec switches (which I understand is planned to be included in the gb?)

Offline glazeds0n

  • Posts: 11
Design looks great, thanks for the IC on the 2 x 2u

Offline Devilminder

  • Posts: 1
This is definite end game. Adding another voice for 2x2u support which would make it perfect.

Offline mewa

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  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Thanks!

This looks awesome! I think it's very nice with some more premium 40% options, thank you for this:) Interesting with ec switches (which I understand is planned to be included in the gb?)

Yes, that's right. So, just to confirm, the GB kit will consist of:
  • an assembled PCB
  • aluminum top
  • brass plate
  • aluminum bottom
  • brass weight
  • rubber feet
  • screws
  • rubber domes
  • EC housings
  • EC sliders (with O-rings)
  • EC springs
« Last Edit: Fri, 19 June 2020, 12:07:26 by mewa »

Offline iSamurai

  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Italy
EC sliders with orings? Are they similar to the purple sliders or they are just standard sliders?

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Offline walletburner

  • Formerly wokechill
  • Posts: 151
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wow, exciting project! do you have a working prototype? i would love to see the PCB too, since getting around the technical challenges of creating a custom EC board has been a tough problem in the community and i think we are all starving for novel and useful solutions to those problems. looking forward to a typing test. good luck!

Offline equalunique

  • Posts: 532
I wonder if these sitches could work with costar stabilizers. Maybe I should try to make a custom plate for mine & test it out.

Offline i luv chuletas

  • Posts: 186
Filled out the 2x2u form, hopefully it makes it through. Eager to hear any updates on it whenever the time comes.

This is a super exciting project man, might be yet another ortho addition to the collection haha!

Offline D3LTA

  • Posts: 69
Thanks!

This looks awesome! I think it's very nice with some more premium 40% options, thank you for this:) Interesting with ec switches (which I understand is planned to be included in the gb?)

Yes, that's right. So, just to confirm, the GB kit will consist of:
  • an assembled PCB
  • aluminum top
  • brass plate
  • aluminum bottom
  • brass weight
  • rubber feet
  • screws
  • BKE rubber domes
  • EC housings
  • EC sliders (with O-rings)
  • EC springs

I am very new to EC keyboards. With everything that's included in this kit, what remaining parts need to be sourced separately?

Offline mewa

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  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
I am very new to EC keyboards. With everything that's included in this kit, what remaining parts need to be sourced separately?

You'll also need your favourite set of keycaps and a USB-C cable ;)

I wonder if these sitches could work with costar stabilizers. Maybe I should try to make a custom plate for mine & test it out.
Personally, I'm going to support Jack Humbert's statement, as from my personal experience there's not much use of them on the 2u key. However, it should be fairly easy to mod the plate in its existing form to fit them. I may actually sacrifice one plate and try doing that, but I don't have spare costar stabs at the moment.

EC sliders with orings? Are they similar to the purple sliders or they are just standard sliders?

Not an exact match, but they are not the same as the standard ones. They have a small groove near the base of the cylinder in which the O-ring should recess a bit. Also they have a slight recess under the slider base that fits the top of the rubber dome.

That being said, I've never seen the purple sliders first-hand so I'm definitely not an expert.

wow, exciting project! do you have a working prototype? i would love to see the PCB too, since getting around the technical challenges of creating a custom EC board has been a tough problem in the community and i think we are all starving for novel and useful solutions to those problems. looking forward to a typing test. good luck!

Cheers! The first picture is actually the world's first such keyboard ever typed on ;) I'm going to show a bit more along with the typing test. Currently, I'm just cleaning up the code so I can merge it to QMK master.

Offline Cha0

  • Posts: 1
Signed up for GH just for this. im in 100%

Offline infinite.osiris

  • Posts: 2
> Personally, I'm going to support Jack Humbert's statement, as from my personal experience there's not much use of them on the 2u key.

Jack Humbert is an absolute visionary and innovator, buut I think there can be something very satisfying about a nicely stabilised 2u that you miss out on without stabs. 

this is my dream keeb!! - please give options for 2u stabilisation, especially if it is a regular 1u EC switch, ie. not stabilised internally as per HHKB / Realforce mods (which it looks like it is on the thock.co page)

alternatively, a grid (48 key) layout would circumvent the whole issue

ok!  very excited for this!  (and for the prospect of a EC 40% split ortho down the line!!)




Offline Pyk_

  • Posts: 47
Jack Humbert is an absolute visionary and innovator, buut I think there can be something very satisfying about a nicely stabilised 2u that you miss out on without stabs. 
Agreed. Just like many features on high end keyboards, the stabs are not _necessary_, but it would certainly be my preference to include them.

Offline D3LTA

  • Posts: 69
What is the downside to offering 1x 2u stab cutouts?

Offline mewa

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  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Thanks for feedback!

I'm not fundamentally opposed to including stab cutouts, it's just I haven't included them in the design yet. I'm going to investigate whether they fit nicely, although to see the results we'll have to wait for another round of prototypes later on.

alternatively, a grid (48 key) layout would circumvent the whole issue

Grid is the primary layout around which I've designed Conundrum. MIT-compatibility is an add-on I managed to get through - although not without complications on the PCB-side.
« Last Edit: Fri, 12 June 2020, 16:20:48 by mewa »

Offline mewa

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  • Posts: 32
    • Thock.co
Finally, I was able to shoot a short typing test! You can find it here.

I admit it might not be the best typing test and unfortunately I couldn't get rid of the white noise - but most importantly it shows that the keyboard works :)

Hopefully we'll get some better typing tests soon!
« Last Edit: Tue, 16 June 2020, 18:37:39 by mewa »

Offline tacahiroy

  • Posts: 27
Re: [IC] Conundrum - 40% ortho, QMK, EC (UPDATE: TYPING TEST)
« Reply #47 on: Wed, 17 June 2020, 08:28:09 »
Great stuff! I haven't decided in or not in for this yet.
But as a big fan of Preonic I'll definitely in if the 5x12 Ortho version available in the future:))

Offline konstantin

  • Formerly constexpr
  • Posts: 1318
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Finally, I was able to shoot a short typing test! You can find it here.

I admit it might not be the best typing test and unfortunately I couldn't get rid of the white noise - but most importantly it shows that the keyboard works :)

Hopefully we'll get some better typing tests soon!

Nice! Definitely has the distinctive Topre thock.

Offline FlitzDeelman

  • Posts: 87
Re: [IC] Conundrum - 40% ortho, QMK, EC (UPDATE: TYPING TEST)
« Reply #49 on: Wed, 17 June 2020, 14:45:56 »
Finally, I was able to shoot a short typing test! You can find it here.

I admit it might not be the best typing test and unfortunately I couldn't get rid of the white noise - but most importantly it shows that the keyboard works :)

Hopefully we'll get some better typing tests soon!

Nice! Definitely has the distinctive Topre thock.
Agreed!


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