Author Topic: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived - Color & Kit Forms up!  (Read 16193 times)

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Offline jouz

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    • bemeier.com
1. Introduction & Motivation

This is an IC for an HHKB-Alice-like case & PCB. The name BMEK stands for Bemeier Ergonomic Keyboard. Iíve documented the progress of this design in the Making Stuff Together forums since October 2019.
The entire project (case design, PCB, etc) is published under an open source license (GitHub). Me and others in that thread have machined copies of the design from different plastic materials using small CNCs and 3D Printing services.

Now we want to ascend to a metal (aluminum) version and share the joy with others. The best way to make this also economically feasible is in the form of a group buy.

The design is pretty mature at this point, and the first first prototypes have arrived (for review of the prototypes, see here):



There are still a number of things to be figured out & discussed before heading straight to a GB:

  • An estimate of how many people are interested
  • Final set of color options
  • Kit options and addons
  • Group buy procedure

IC FORMS
1 General Interest Check / ďKeep me updatedĒ form

2 Colors Form

3 Kits / Options Form

The last two forms might require you to sign into your google account (to prevent vote manipulation).
Please let me know if that's a problem for you, and I'll provide you with an alternative link later!

Join the Discord Sever






2. Design

The BMEK design is unique in a number of ways. First and foremost it sports an HHKB-style layout combined with the ergonomically rotated center clusters similar to the EM7/Alice-likes. We also keep (a version of) the macro-keys on the left from the EM7 layout. The key-placement was redone from scratch, changing some of the (to my mind) awkward key placements of the EM7 layout, such as the stepped bottom row modifiers. Another design principle was symmetry. The case is symmetric along itís vertical center axis, and the key layout conforms to this symmetry: The opposing homing keys and opposing outer-most keys have the same distance to the center of the case. BMEK further differs from your typical Alice-like with itís more aggressive looking outline. The top and side edges follow the key layout instead of being square.



3. Assembly

Itís a high profile case with top-mounted assembly. There is an option to fasten the PCB to the top case when using the hot-swap PCB (a solder-only PCB will also be available).
The typing angle is 6 degrees, the center clusters are rotated inwards by 10 degrees.
The distance from the plate/switches from the ground is kept as low as possible.
The bottom case can house a non-cosmetic weight (i.e., itís not visible from the outside).
The alu case will weigh in at ~700 grams (without PCB & switches), and extra bottom weight adds another 700 grams.
A fully assembled case (with weight, PCB, Plate Switches and Keycaps) comes in at 1855g.





4. Layout Options & Plate

There are four layout options (keyboard layout editor), all supported with the same plate:
  • 2U backspace VS Split backspace
  • 2.75u right shift VS split right shift
  • 2.75u spacebar VS 2.25u spacebar (both left and right half)
  • 2.25u left shift vs ISO-style split left-shift



(TODO: the plate image above doesn't show the split left-shift yet)

Note that all layout options will be available both on the hotswap and the solder PCB.
However, when assembling the hotswap PCB, you'll have to decide for which layout to configure the hotswap sockets.
(i.e. just like with layout options for the switches, the socket footprints overlap with some offset).


Blocker
The original concept for the BMEK was to use 2x2.75u spacebars (for the symmetry). While I wanted to keep this option, the reality is that spacebar kits often just include 1x2.75u and 1x2.25u.
The blocker fills the gap when using a 2.25u spacebar instead of a 2.75u spacebar. It can be used on either side.
The blocker is designed to go just up to the chamfer of the inner edge of the top case.
This leaves the original symmetric lines of the high profile case in tact while filling the missing gap nicely:



Personally, I've started to like the look quite a bit. If this works out to look this good and tight in reality, I feel this is a feature more than it is a compromise.
What is more, alternative blocker designs are certainly possible.  A polished brass blocker design with some logo engraved could add a unique accent. If any artisans want to take this up, Iíd be happy to lend support!


5. PCB

  • QMK / VIA Support!
  • USB-C (full usb-c to usb-c support)
  • ESD Protection (thanks to help from ai03!)
  • 2 Versions: Hotswap & Solder
  • Color: good-old green soldermask
  • 6 optional LEDs for various indicators & cosmetic effects
  • Depending on the layout options, you will require 4-6 2U PCB mounted stabilizers.




6. Manufacturing

Weíre very likely using 3DHubs for the of machining case, plates and bottom weights. Turns out they are not much more expensive than quotes Iíve gotten from manufacturers in China (at least for someone like me without deep connections into the manufacturing scene there). They are also a good fit for me as a single person running this group buy: They will source and QC all the parts before shipping them to me bundled up, also all other costs are know upfront (there will be no surprises with import taxes for me, etc). 3DHubs also really fits with the spirit of the ďMaking Stuff TogetherĒ & Open Source heritage of this project. It is really easy for individuals to use their service to produce copies of BMEK parts (or derivatives). Of course, single parts are expensive (in particular CNC parts), but I guess itís nice to know that you have that option :).

The same is true for the PCBs. All files and instructions will be made available, so you could just order the PCB yourself from JLCPCB or similar suppliers.


7. Colors & Materials

Case & Plate in this group buy will only be made in Aluminum (see FAQ for why no other materials will be part of this GB)
I have proposed a number of colors, and in the color poll you can vote on an extra color to add.

These colors will definitely be available:
Case
  • Black
  • Dark Blue (Pantone 533 C, see ďHammerhead ColorwayĒ)
  • Dark Violet (Pantone 5115 C)
  • (untreated/silver)

Note: I know this will disappoint some people, but I cannot offer e-coatings such as e-white or e-yellow. I donít have that option at my current manufacturer.
To keep the work manageable for me, and the price low, I do not want to involve another (overseas) party.
However, note that both plate and case can always be ordered without any anodization done, so you can do something custom to it.


Plate
  • Black
  • Teal (Pantone 3258C, see ďHammerhead ColorwayĒ)
  • (untreated/silver)


8. Renders

Disclaimer: As usual, these renders are for illustration. Details, especially the colors of case & keycap sets in the renders may not reflect the final outcome.
Also, the renders in this thread may not accurately reflect the available layout options for a given keycap set (exact labels of the Sys/Code modfier etc).
I'll be updating & fixing these mistakes wherever we spot them.



GMK Laser (Cyberdeck) + Dark Blue + Teal (Renders of other combinations here!)


GMK Striker + Dark Blue + Black


GMK Nautilus + Dark Blue + Teal


GMK 9009 + Dark Violet + Black


GMK Bingsu (now with fixed mod/alpha colors :cool:) + Dark Violet + Black


GMK Olivia + Black + Black


GMK Dracula + Black + Teal


GMK Dracula with VIM keys from ERR kit + Black + Black


EPBT White on Black + Black + Black


EPBT Neon colors + Black + Teal


EPBT Neon colors + Dark Violet + Teal


Hammerhead Colorway
The Dark Blue Case and Teal Plate colors were picked to go along with GMK Hammerhead.
Thanks to @KeyLabs for providing me with their design files for these renders.
The fact that the BMEK looks like a the head of a hammerhead shark is pure coincidence, but once I discovered that, I had to commit:










9. Kit Options

The base kit will at least include the following items:
  • 1x Top Case
  • 1x Bottom Case
  • 1x Plate
  • 1x PCB (hot swap or solder)
  • Screws & Hex-keys
  • Rubber feet


I cannot offer to ship the hotswap PCBs pre-soldered with the hotswap sockets. I will have to solder all the USB connectors & LEDs by hand, and thatís already plenty of work :)
Plus, since some of the socket position depend on the layout option you prefer, there will be some soldering on your end either way.
Best I could do is to offer to buy the sockets in bulk and ship them along for you to solder (soldering the hotswap sockets is just as easy as soldering switches).


The bottom weight might be in the base kit or an extra. Since it is a simple, non-cosmetic part, it will be comparatively cheap to include (if enough people are interested), my one concern is that the cost of including it by default might also increase the shipping cost for some that might not even want it, due to the added weight.

Extra plates & PCBs will be available at reasonable cost.

DIY Kits
Iíve been thinking about offering DIY kits, for those that donít want to buy a full case but want to make their own cases ďat homeĒ. These would just include the PCB, Plate & Screws.
These kits would be available & shipped as in-stock items after the GB is completed.

Experimental: Dampening Kits
I have laser cut a variety of dampening material from foam and silicone:


These were evaluated with the prototypes, but they had too little effect and will likely not be available as extras.
But ofc I'll publish all templates/files so you can experiment with this stuff yourself!


10. Group Buy / Procedure
 
This is my first group buy as a host, so Iíd appreciate suggestions on the preferred procedure (raffle, fcfs, Ö), duration, payment, etc. of the group buy.
Given that I'm doing this alone, there will be an upper limit on orders/cases that I can sell (in the order of 50).
This is what I can manage while ensuring that everything goes at a good pace and smoothness..

Price
There are still some small unknowns (exact extra costs for extra color options, costs for getting the packaging made, etc)., so no promises, but I know people want to have some ballpark number:
Iím aiming for 300-340Ä for a full kit (Case, Plate, PCB, Fasteners, maybe including the weight), and In the very worst case 360Ä.
This will get easier to keep low the closer we get to ~50 kits. This does not include shipping and likely not include fees.

Progress and Timeline
Hotswap PCB design completed & verified working, solder version in progress (it's just a matter of swapping out the footprints at this point).
The case design is almost final. The prototypes have arrived and are currently under review.
Unless there are big issues with the quality or design, we could potentially move forward with the actual group buy in mid August. Better time estimates can be made in ~2 weeks.


11. FAQ

More


Why do you publish the files? Arenít you concerned that people will just build their own instead of joining the GB?
This is a hobby for me, not a business. I get a kick out of sharing the design with people that want to make their own versions.
Also, I see "open source" as an added value to the product: If you really want to change something about your copy, be it the color/style or even something functional such as the PCB or plate, you can just go ahead and modify every single part of the keyboard and have it manufactured for you (or manufacture it yourself).
This will certainly remain the cheapest option to get an ALU case, so "open sourcing" doesn't really cannibalize the GB in my mind.

Why no brass/carbon fibre/... plates? Why No POM/PC Case?
To keep the costs low.  All case & plate files are open source, if you want something specific, you can either make it yourself or even run your own group-buy with my files and blessing.
This is especially true for the plate options, which can be made cheaply even in lower numbers.

Why isnít the bottom weight cosmetic/visible from the outside?
The weight is designed to maximize its function (add heft & feel to the case, change the sound profile due to the different material), without adding to the cost: it can be cheaply produced from sheet metal.
For those that prefer a lighter case, they can leave the weight out without it affecting the outer appearance.

Why 1u+1.25u modifiers in the bottom row instead of Tsangan or regular ANSI?
The 1.25u alt key allows that cluster to fit without needing to step the key like it has to be done with the EM7 layout that uses a tsangan/1.5u alt.
I think the 1u gui looks best on hhkb-like layouts (Iíve tried with the 2x 1.25u modifiers instead and I didnít like the looks).
I donít think itís a huge deal keycap-compatibility wise, as most sets come with the right 1u and 1.25u modifiers.

Why keep the macro-key-cluster on the left if you're going for HHKB?
I was mostly referring to the "HHKB" to describe the bottom row/modifiers (as this is arguably the most distinctive feature, and a go/no-go for most). I find the macro-key-cluster is useful. When designing I tried both, and I preferred the looks when keeping the macro-key-cluster, as it keeps the case symmetric.
Both of these points are reason enough to keep the cluster over removing it just for the sake of being puristic about what an HHKB-like is supposed to be.

So, can I use any keycap set?
You should pay attention to a couple of things when picking a keycap set. Any GMK GB keyset + spacebar/obscure kit comes with all keys, no worries here. Only a few of the cheaper sets come with proper 2.25u / 2.75u convex spacebar keys. However, most come with an extra 2.25u shift key (and the 1.75u rshift key, that frees up the the 2.75u rshift when using the split rshift layout), which makes many of these sets fully compatible with the extra shift keys as spacebars.  The next thing to look out for would be if the keycaps also ship extra keys with proper hhkb-labels (if thatís what you want, i.e. the backspace above enter or the control key to replace caps lock). A second ďBĒ key is also not a common inclusion, but Iíd suggest to just use an interesting other key from that row (i.e. an arrow key, the 1u ď00Ē key, or a 1u modifier).
Iíve set up a little spreadsheet with (cheap) options for supported keycap sets.



12. IC Log


Code: [Select]
V0 (29.06.2020) - Official IC opening
V1 (01.07.2020) - Fixed some render colors & legends
V2 (28.07.2020) - Prototypes arrived
V3 (01.08.2020) - Prototype Pictures, Review & Design changes ([url=https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=107203.msg2940952#msg2940952]see here[/url])
V4 (02.08.2020) - Color & Kit vote opened

« Last Edit: Mon, 10 August 2020, 12:55:02 by jouz »

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 16:48:58 »
< reserved >

Offline OtherAndrew

  • Posts: 201
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 16:51:25 »
v nice

Online Tyson

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 16:56:21 »
I think the colors in your Bingsu render are backwards. The set is Dark Mods, Light Alphas.

Offline ilikerustoo

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️ | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 16:57:03 »
I think the colors in your Bingsu render are backwards. The set is Dark Mods, Light Alphas.

No. He rendered GMK Bingus!

Offline nu_types

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 16:57:23 »
I like it :)

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:08:15 »
Thanks everybody

I think the colors in your Bingsu render are backwards. The set is Dark Mods, Light Alphas.
Oh wow this is embarassing. I'll take it down until I can fix it! Thanks for noticing!

Offline bard

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:16:44 »
I'm IN! :)

Offline bthezebra

  • Posts: 436
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:22:01 »
I think you have a GMK Dracula render instead of Nord. Board looks good

Offline Neroctel

  • Posts: 4
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:24:58 »
me likey

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:25:30 »
I think you have a GMK Dracula render instead of Nord. Board looks good

Thank you and well spotted! fixed!

Offline proelio

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:36:19 »
Looks really nice.


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Offline 7osh

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 18:15:51 »
Ou wow. This is sexy. :-* I want it.

Offline ycanales

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 19:25:38 »
I wish there was a way to secure a place in the GB based on participation. Iíve been following this for a while and Iíd hate to miss the sale!

Anyway, congratulations on the IC and good luck with everything!


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Offline 3ambutter

  • Posts: 32
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 19:33:22 »
YOOOO that dark violet is nutty.
Reborn60 | Keycult No.1 Rev.1 | SKB60 | TGR x SINGA UNIKORN | GSKT-00

Offline knoxprairie

  • Posts: 4
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 20:04:04 »
Well now I know what board I'll be using the hammerhead keycaps on. Looks awesome!

Offline izroll

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 22:08:55 »
definitely interested. Love my HHKB layout but feel like my hands are tilted unnaturally

Offline gorbachev

  • Posts: 47
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 22:37:40 »
Alright, now we talking! :)

Dark violet looks hot. My vote is on that color choice.

Offline Starston3

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 22:52:49 »
This is one of the best ICs Iíve seen in a long time. Meticulous but not superfluous. I do appreciate the link to the log of how this came to be.

Iím along for the ride and hope to be able to get one or a variation down the line.

Offline fabijolo

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 23:50:07 »
Looking very clean.
Although I'm personally not a big hhkb fan, I'd say I'm definitely interested for sure, great job on the IC and keep up the good work :thumb:

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 01:08:52 »
Thanks everybody for the kind words!

I wish there was a way to secure a place in the GB based on participation. Iíve been following this for a while and Iíd hate to miss the sale!

I haven't mentioned this in the IC as the exact procedure for the GB isn't definite yet, but I thought I had that mentioned in the previous thread: You and the other ~5 early supporters on the old thread & on discord definitely get spots reserved. No brainer!

For those of you that like the Dark Violet: One of the two prototypes I've ordered will be in that color, so we get to see it in real life soon! Tthe other prototype is unanodized/silver.
« Last Edit: Wed, 01 July 2020, 02:02:55 by jouz »

Offline adammb86

  • Posts: 1
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 01:51:53 »
This looks really nice!

Offline Ja3_420

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 03:32:55 »
yes

Offline Llamakob

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 04:43:28 »
Love it, I've bennlurking around this without posting since around November last year and finally seeing it in IC is so nice. Love the design and definetly in for one if I can get one. Good luck with the IC.
PC: 3900x, 2070super, ASUS Viii impact, 16 GB Trident z, NZXT h210

Offline voelzmo

  • Posts: 8
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 07:17:07 »
This looks great, thanks! Love the HHKB style modifications to the alice-style layout. Indicator LED placement fits nicely in the blocker space.

I'm assuming your incoming prototype already has the cutout for the flexible spacebar size? I'd really like to see this in person on a real thing. Definitely an interesting idea!

Offline ycanales

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 08:50:02 »
I haven't mentioned this in the IC as the exact procedure for the GB isn't definite yet, but I thought I had that mentioned in the previous thread: You and the other ~5 early supporters on the old thread & on discord definitely get spots reserved. No brainer!

That's very kind of you, thanks!  :D

Online Rob27shred

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 09:12:14 »
Wow, while it kinda seems like a no brainer after you've seen it (although credit where it's due, you are the first to make this happen!), the HHKB bottom row really makes an Alice like board look great! I'm definitely interested in getting one of these bad boys! As far as how the sales of the spots go, personally I'd like to see a raffle given the low number of boards to be produced. Anyways GL with everything moving forward on this OP!

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 09:54:41 »
I'm assuming your incoming prototype already has the cutout for the flexible spacebar size? I'd really like to see this in person on a real thing. Definitely an interesting idea!

yes the blocker & spacebar design is part of the plate & case prototypes!

Offline Abhorrent Cell

  • Posts: 54
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #28 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 10:01:41 »
First Alice style board I'm interested in. Still not sure about that extra B though.

Also what up with that EPBT Neon Colors. That an actual set or you just playing around? Would love a set like that but don't see any info on it.

Offline beekey

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #29 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 10:04:59 »
Want one!

Offline KingOfMemes

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #30 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 10:25:03 »
First Alice style board I'm interested in. Still not sure about that extra B though.

Also what up with that EPBT Neon Colors. That an actual set or you just playing around? Would love a set like that but don't see any info on it.

You are going to fall in love with that extra B. It's a game changer

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #31 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 11:08:28 »
First Alice style board I'm interested in. Still not sure about that extra B though.

Also what up with that EPBT Neon Colors. That an actual set or you just playing around? Would love a set like that but don't see any info on it.

I second KingOfMemes, total game changer :P. Otherwise, you can always make it a modifier, function key, ...

That neon set is real. It's one of the EPBT ABS doubleshot set you can get from kbdfans! I have the white on black one (also shown above), and they have a couple of more colors in stock!

Offline ycanales

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 11:12:31 »
First Alice style board I'm interested in. Still not sure about that extra B though.

I second KingOfMemes, total game changer :P. Otherwise, you can always make it a modifier, function key, ...

For me it's a must! I have a couple of split keyboards and I noticed I always type the B with the right hand  :))

Offline sctang

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #33 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 11:43:27 »
I remember seeing the files posted for this board and liking it so much I almost paid for a one-off to be made (was just too expensive lol). Definitely in if this goes to GB. Good luck with the process, hope it turns out well!

Offline Abhorrent Cell

  • Posts: 54
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #34 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 13:49:08 »
Well damn. Maybe I really should try this.

If we could get a black bottom/white top or vice versa I'd be <3<3<3

That neon set is real.

You've just made me extremely happy.

Offline Puddsy

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 14:06:10 »
First Alice style board I'm interested in. Still not sure about that extra B though.

Also what up with that EPBT Neon Colors. That an actual set or you just playing around? Would love a set like that but don't see any info on it.

it's miami nights
QFR | MJ2 TKL | "Bulgogiboard" (Keycon 104) | TGR Alice | Qlavier Ti/Acryl Alice (lost in mail T_T) | Revo One | z

if you're actually reading other people's posts on geekhack in 2020 you're doing something wrong

"Everything is worse, but in a barely perceptible and indefinable way" -dollartacos | "Is Linkshine our Nixon?" -NAV (fk u) | "Puddsy is the puddsy of keebs" -ns90

Offline nathanchere

  • Posts: 423
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 17:46:51 »
Exciting to see this coming one step closer to reality. I'm not a fan of the extra B but then again it's not exact it a deal breaker either.

Offline knitandcode

  • Posts: 3
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 18:10:42 »
This board is absolutely beautiful. I cannot wait! I do hope that the gb is not just fcfs... with how crazy this community has gotten recently i'd rather take my chances with a raffle.

Offline KingOfMemes

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 19:18:30 »
This board is absolutely beautiful. I cannot wait! I do hope that the gb is not just fcfs... with how crazy this community has gotten recently i'd rather take my chances with a raffle.
What do you mean with how crazy the community has gotten?

Offline Zurg Eon

  • Posts: 91
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #39 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 20:00:52 »
Very cool, my eyes are peeled!

"Personally, I think that the ISO split left-shift is not very ergonomic."
As an ISO user I agree with this. I use a full left shift with ISO enter, and sometimes ANSI enter if I go HHKB style.

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 02 July 2020, 04:59:45 »
Wow I just saw GMK Laser R2. Both Cyberdeck and Synthwave M170 colorways go well with literally every single case color that I've proposed.
For $99 you get a GMK keycap set with full support (they even packaged split spacebars in the base kits!), and with the "Bars" kit you can even do the 2x2.75u layout!

Cyberdeck:




Synthwave M170:


« Last Edit: Thu, 02 July 2020, 05:27:26 by jouz »

Offline xanderman1014

  • Posts: 2
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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #41 on: Thu, 02 July 2020, 12:27:05 »
I have a feeling this could be my first mech Group Buy.

Also - GMK Olive vs GMK Olivia (pretty sure it's just a typo)

Offline Kirihuna

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #42 on: Thu, 02 July 2020, 16:56:26 »
I would love an e-white edition, I'd prefer that over an aluminum that I have to go get powder coated myself (not because I'm lazy but because it's usually a better job)

Offline GhostEther

  • Posts: 34
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #43 on: Thu, 02 July 2020, 18:27:42 »
I need this in purple for the GMK Mecha-01!

Offline Kirihuna

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #44 on: Thu, 02 July 2020, 21:29:09 »
I just noticed you have no renders of a full sized right shift.

Now, maybe no one uses that in the HHKB layout, which is fine, but it's offered. But the plate does not appear to have a stabilizer cutout for the full sized right shift?

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #45 on: Fri, 03 July 2020, 02:51:39 »
I have a feeling this could be my first mech Group Buy.

Also - GMK Olive vs GMK Olivia (pretty sure it's just a typo)

Thanks, fixed!

I just noticed you have no renders of a full sized right shift.

Now, maybe no one uses that in the HHKB layout, which is fine, but it's offered. But the plate does not appear to have a stabilizer cutout for the full sized right shift?

The stabilizer cutouts are right there:


(maybe you were referring to the picture with the foam cutouts for dampening: correct, that layout option wasn't part of the design yet when I made those!)

But I agree that if I'm offering the option, I should show it in the renders! Here are two, I'll add them to the main post:



Offline ronnie_gogs

  • Posts: 8
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #46 on: Fri, 03 July 2020, 11:49:46 »
Yes so much yes..

Offline keylabskeycaps

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #47 on: Fri, 03 July 2020, 12:07:22 »
Count us in  :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

Online gnho

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #48 on: Mon, 06 July 2020, 01:43:39 »
Sweeeeet!

Offline obosob

  • Posts: 6
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #49 on: Mon, 06 July 2020, 02:39:46 »
Add support for split left shift so that people can make this more ergo if they want.

Offline Paragon

  • Posts: 10
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #50 on: Mon, 06 July 2020, 16:20:29 »
The more I stare at the board the better it looks compared to all the different Alice-like layouts. I hope I can be one of the lucky few who get to buy one!

Offline asmashedpumpkin

  • Posts: 3
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #51 on: Wed, 08 July 2020, 05:30:24 »
May I ask why you decided to go with an internal weight plate?  IMO, this board looks like it could be a collectorís show piece.  It just seems like a shame/missed opportunity not to have a beautifully designed outer weight plate go with it.

Offline JCraftCables

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #52 on: Wed, 08 July 2020, 06:54:18 »
I agree that this is the better looking of the Alice-like boards! Very nice and elegant!

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #53 on: Wed, 08 July 2020, 09:12:24 »
Again, thanks everybody for the kind words! Looking forward to some big updates next week when the prototypes arrive!

May I ask why you decided to go with an internal weight plate?  IMO, this board looks like it could be a collectorís show piece.  It just seems like a shame/missed opportunity not to have a beautifully designed outer weight plate go with it.

See the FAQ!

Offline mizuwolf

  • Posts: 2
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #54 on: Fri, 10 July 2020, 15:45:39 »
Ohh man I made an account to reply on this! It's so gorgeous; I wish alice layout had arrow keys, but honestly I'm soooo tempted just because of how gorgeous the design with hammerhead is!

Offline stoffelduss

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #55 on: Fri, 10 July 2020, 16:55:08 »
ooh I like this!

Offline Asbrodeus

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #56 on: Fri, 10 July 2020, 17:05:03 »
i'm in just for the 2.75 left space.  :-*

Offline Madrai

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #57 on: Fri, 10 July 2020, 18:22:25 »
This looks super interesting. My favorite HHKB layout on an alice style board. Hmmm..

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #58 on: Mon, 13 July 2020, 06:11:16 »
Ohh looks like with most things these days, this project is a little bit affected by the COVID as well:
The prototypes are having ~12 days delay due to an outbreak in the factory. Oh well 💁‍♂️

Offline nathanchere

  • Posts: 423
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #59 on: Mon, 13 July 2020, 06:41:24 »
You're doing pretty much everything right here :D

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #60 on: Wed, 22 July 2020, 11:02:24 »
Still waiting for the rest of the case prototypes to get finished and shipped to me...

In the meantime, here some pics of the PCB (hotswap version) & Plate prototype assembly (you might notice, I've ordered these before I added the non-split rshift option).

Top side with stabs (bad hand soldering on those LEDs, I've ordered solderpaste & hot air gun since which makes soldering these a lot easier and cleaner):


Bottom side with hotswaps sockets. I'm pretty happy how the layout options worked out with the hotswap footprints.


Top side again, with the experimental EVA foam dampening material I've mentioned in the main post.


Added the plate & some switches on top. The brushed texture looks pretty rough/noticable under this light, but it's not so noticeable in person. Still might opt for bead-blasted finish for the plate instead, though. Any thoughts?


Closeup with a way too wide open aperture :) (gotta get some better lighting):


All the tolerances & measurements are just perfect so far - both on the PCB and Plate. The foam cutouts that I made myself are not quite as perfect (they warped a bit during the laser cutting), but it's pretty forgiving and will move itself into place well enough for testing.

My plan is to deck out both prototypes with the same switches & keycaps (I still have ~120 Gateron Milky Tops, so I'll likely try those).
I want the same setup twice so we can test & compare them side by side with different combinations of the different dampening inlays I've mentioned in the main post.
That's the combination of 1) foam in between and/or 2) below the PCB and/or 3) a silicone gasket between plate and top case (similar to the options num was playing around with for his arisu case).
Ofc I'll post the audio recordings here for a blind test :)

Offline ycanales

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #61 on: Wed, 22 July 2020, 11:25:04 »
The eva foam looks very nice!

What are the differences between brushed plate and beadblasted?

Offline NathanCVII

  • Posts: 28
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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #62 on: Wed, 22 July 2020, 12:37:49 »
How did I not notice an Alice HHKB till now, take my money good sir

Offline konstantin

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #63 on: Wed, 22 July 2020, 18:11:41 »
Some really nice design choices here. Interested.

Offline Paragon

  • Posts: 10
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #64 on: Wed, 22 July 2020, 19:28:57 »
My plan is to deck out both prototypes with the same switches & keycaps (I still have ~120 Gateron Milky Tops, so I'll likely try those).
I want the same setup twice so we can test & compare them side by side with different combinations of the different dampening inlays I've mentioned in the main post.
That's the combination of 1) foam in between and/or 2) below the PCB and/or 3) a silicone gasket between plate and top case (similar to the options num was playing around with for his arisu case).
Ofc I'll post the audio recordings here for a blind test :)

I would love to hear the sound of those different permutations, the one I am most interested in is the gasket mount and the impact it has with dampening the case resonance.

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #65 on: Thu, 23 July 2020, 03:01:43 »
What are the differences between brushed plate and beadblasted?

Mostly cosmetic - bead blasted makes for a matte surface. However it could also mess a bit with the dimensions (especially the switch cutouts) by rounding off the edges if done too aggressively. I have seen it done on brass plates before so I think it would be fine.

I would love to hear the sound of those different permutations, the one I am most interested in is the gasket mount and the impact it has with dampening the case resonance.

Yes that's the plan, and another variable to add to the mix is to try it with or without the extra weight in the bottom case!

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️ | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #66 on: Tue, 28 July 2020, 07:02:55 »
Just a quick update: the two prototypes arrived today. Couldn't wait to try it out and share, so I've quickly assembled one and took some pics with bad lighting (sorry).
First impression:
Overall assembly went really easy (I had already prepared the pcb + plate assembly before), and everything fits great (especially happy how the blockers turned out).
There are only small things I want to check with the manufacturer, and some tiny changes that I might still do to the v3 PCB (i.e. move the USB connector a bit back into the case) but it really doesn't look like there need to be major changes to the design!

Stay tuned for many more updates reviewing the prototypes this week/coming the weekend.

Prototypes side by side (original PC case on the bottom):


Purple one. Pretty happy with the color.


Blocker shot 1: The fit is great, the crease/black line is a small shadow, which makes it look like a gap in this shot (especially due to the contrast with the silver), but in person it looks great:


This pic is a bit more representative. Note that I've assembled this one with the silicone gasket in between plate & top case, which positions the plate+blocker assembly down by 0.5mm (which is why the edge looks a little different).
« Last Edit: Tue, 28 July 2020, 09:24:14 by jouz »

Offline beekey

  • Posts: 386
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️ | Prototypes arriving soon
« Reply #67 on: Tue, 28 July 2020, 10:20:34 »
Just a quick update: the two prototypes arrived today. Couldn't wait to try it out and share, so I've quickly assembled one and took some pics with bad lighting (sorry).
First impression:
Overall assembly went really easy (I had already prepared the pcb + plate assembly before), and everything fits great (especially happy how the blockers turned out).
There are only small things I want to check with the manufacturer, and some tiny changes that I might still do to the v3 PCB (i.e. move the USB connector a bit back into the case) but it really doesn't look like there need to be major changes to the design!

Stay tuned for many more updates reviewing the prototypes this week/coming the weekend.

Prototypes side by side (original PC case on the bottom):
Show Image


Purple one. Pretty happy with the color.
Show Image


Blocker shot 1: The fit is great, the crease/black line is a small shadow, which makes it look like a gap in this shot (especially due to the contrast with the silver), but in person it looks great:
Show Image


This pic is a bit more representative. Note that I've assembled this one with the silicone gasket in between plate & top case, which positions the plate+blocker assembly down by 0.5mm (which is why the edge looks a little different).
Show Image

Looks nice, good job  :thumb: I want one!

Offline KingOfMemes

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #68 on: Tue, 28 July 2020, 13:00:37 »
Damn... That purple is amazing

Offline DaddyPhill

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #69 on: Tue, 28 July 2020, 13:07:06 »
Nice! interested

Offline nathanchere

  • Posts: 423
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #70 on: Tue, 28 July 2020, 15:16:45 »
The sunken blocker on the purple one looks more like a feature instead of a workaround like it does on the silver one.

Offline gorbachev

  • Posts: 47
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #71 on: Tue, 28 July 2020, 15:48:28 »
Looks like the purple case is slightly lighter shade of purple on the prototype than on the renders, but it looks amazing. All in!

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #72 on: Wed, 29 July 2020, 02:54:08 »
The sunken blocker on the purple one looks more like a feature instead of a workaround like it does on the silver one.

I agree! I'll likely reduce the blocker height accordingly to get this look reliably!

Looks like the purple case is slightly lighter shade of purple on the prototype than on the renders, but it looks amazing. All in!

Yup, I'd say in reality it looks slightly more saturated and slightly darker than in these pictures. Anyway, more photos will come soon with better lighting!

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #73 on: Wed, 29 July 2020, 05:20:29 »
Striker + silver (i.e. the unanodized case) :)



Plus a shot from inside the top-mount assembly:
« Last Edit: Wed, 29 July 2020, 05:24:32 by jouz »

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #74 on: Thu, 30 July 2020, 11:06:30 »


Via support!

Offline ycanales

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #75 on: Thu, 30 July 2020, 11:10:25 »
Via support!

Great! VIA definitely spoiled me with its instant changes, a must-have for a 40% newbie like me!

Offline Puddsy

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #76 on: Thu, 30 July 2020, 22:11:25 »
Via support!

Great! VIA definitely spoiled me with its instant changes, a must-have for a 40% newbie like me!

im not sure if you meant this as a joke but i ****ing love you
QFR | MJ2 TKL | "Bulgogiboard" (Keycon 104) | TGR Alice | Qlavier Ti/Acryl Alice (lost in mail T_T) | Revo One | z

if you're actually reading other people's posts on geekhack in 2020 you're doing something wrong

"Everything is worse, but in a barely perceptible and indefinable way" -dollartacos | "Is Linkshine our Nixon?" -NAV (fk u) | "Puddsy is the puddsy of keebs" -ns90

Offline ycanales

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #77 on: Fri, 31 July 2020, 07:34:00 »
im not sure if you meant this as a joke but i ****ing love you

not really but now iím curious is it because you wouldnít need it in a 60% board?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline jouz

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #78 on: Sat, 01 August 2020, 09:02:49 »
Keeping the spirit of the ďmaking stuff togetherĒ origins of the project, I thought Iíd share some things that Iíve learned from the prototypes in a little review.
At the end, Iíll also describe a couple of the small changes that Iíll be doing to improve it for the final version.

Lets start with some better pictures though (sorry, white balance got a bit off for some pics):




Quality of the machining:
There were some minor issues with one of the two prototypes (the violet one). It had some dents around the edges (looks like they clamped it too strong) and some scratches where visible.
Whatís more, it was smoothed instead of bead-blasted, and the tapped holes were countersunk for some reason.
Iíve shown the vendor the pictures and they agreed that itís unacceptable, and made no fuzz about it resolving the issue with me quickly and to my satisfaction.
You can see the dents bottom left and right edges in the pictures below - I would definitely not ship a case with these marks to you guys:



The silver/unanodized one has no marks, it has the desired surface finish, and overall has the quality that I would feel comfortable shipping.
Given their response and the quality of the silver one, Iím pretty confident that they are the right manufacturer.
I also am confident that such issues will not occur with the bigger order (and if they do, Iím confident they will be resolved easily).

One thing that I wasnít sure on what to expect was how the seam would look between the two halves.
Itís not a seamless design, so the seam will always be visible, but if they are poorly machined they can look ugly.
For these prototypes, Iím pretty happy with how it looks overall - the seams are pretty uniform (which is the most important part imo).
The exception of course are the areas on the purple one where there are the dents.
For both, there are no overhangs or anything like that, the outer dimensions are machined nicely within the tolerances.
Although, since there is a little play in the clearance holes for the screws, one should pay a little attention that they are perfectly aligned when tightening the screws!




Look and feel:
The purple one with the ďsmoothedĒ surface actually also feels really really nice to the touch.
However, the smooth surface also reflects the light differently than a matte surface would.
This is why the purple also looks a bit brighter in the pictures than it does in the renders.
I think the picture below gives a pretty decent idea of how it looks IRL:



The silver one, with the bead-blasted surface, feels a bit different to the touch.
One thing that I realized is that anodization also increases the hardness of the surface.
Since the silver one is only bead-blasted and not anodized, it feels a bit warmer, ďgrabbierĒ (but I wouldnít call it ďroughĒ/sandpapery).
Another observation here is that we can expect the un-anodized version to be a little less scratch resistant than an anodized one (due to the lack of hardening).
Thatís absolutely no problem if you plan to get it for adding your own treatment later (painting/powdercoating/cerakote), but you should be aware of this in case you plan to keep it as is.




Assembly:
The assembly went exactly as I had expected, so Iím pretty happy with that.
Itís a little easier if you first mount the plate and then the PCB, compared to assembling plate+PCB+switches separately and mounting them in,
as youíll have to thread those socket screws through the holes of the PCB, but itís by no means complicated.
I only have prototypes of the hot-swap PCB here, but it holds so rigidly, Iíd almost say that the PCB-to-top-case screw are also optional even for the hot-swap PCB.
Iím also really happy with all the tolerances & dimensions i.e. in the top case.
I have really no concern that any binding will occur between keycaps and case (something that Iíve had to do some hands-on fixes in the past with my plastic prototypes).




Blocker:
The blocker fits just as intended and to me, it looks just as great as it already did in the renders.
Iíve tried using blockers before on the KBDfans 5į 60% case (to get the HHKB look) but those are really crap compared to how it looks here, because on the 5į case, the blockers attempt to sit flush with the top-surface (but they never really do just quite), plus they have these ridiculous chamfers.

Iíve noticed (and some people also commented on this already on the pictures I posted it above) that it looked a little better when it was a bit more sunken into the case (due to the silicone gasket Iíve evaluated inbetween plate and top case).
Iíll definitely update the design to just make them 0.5mm shallower so we get this look consistently.
Below is a shot of how it looks now, without the gasket:




LED Indicators:
Iím really glad I made the change to these more subtle pinhole indicators. They absolutely donít disturb the look at all even when not using the LEDs.
I usually have them on and configured to show a nice accent color complementary to the case.
I personally also really find using the LEDs to indicate some states of the keyboard quite useful (different layer indicators, indicator when putting the keyboard into reset, macro-recording mode, ...).
The default firmware that Iím writing (and that will be pre-flashed on each PCB Iím shipping through the group buy) will make full use of these LEDs in a way thatís more powerful than what you usually get from stock QMK firmwares.


(TODO: make a better pic with the LEDs on).


Ergonomics:
Iíve been using the BMEK for almost a year now as my daily driver and obviously still love it.
The only major change I can report on with the prototype in regard to ergonomics is the increased typing angle (used to be 3 degree, is now 6).
Trying both side by side, Iím equally happy with both. I guess other people have stronger feelings about typing angle than me :).

Sound & Experimental Dampening Inserts:
Disclaimer: this stuff is still voodoo science to me, but I think Iíve taken a reasonably rigorous approach to evaluating this very subjective topic.

As mentioned, Iíve prepared a number of foam and silicone inserts for different places on the keyboard, and of course we have the variable of using the keyboard with or without weight.
In total, Iíve prepared three plate + pcb assemblies.
  • Two with Gateron Milky top linears - completely stock/unlubed/unfilmed etc (the only switch I had enough of to deck out two whole keyboards - recordings 1-10),
  • one with Lubed Sakurios (Silent Linear, recordings 12 & 13). One of the two Gateron assemblies is with the foam insert between plate and PCB (recordings 1-5).
  • As a plus, I also have made some recordings of the Gateron Milky Top linears on my (previously daily driver) POM BMEK prototype (recording #11), to get an idea how the sound differs on a completely different material (but very similar case in terms of shape).

All assemblies are decked out with Cherry profile ABS keycaps. Here is a list of recordings of me typing on the different configurations (1 means yes, 0 means no):

caseswitchesBottom FoamBottom WeightPCB FoamPlate GasketRECORDING
alugateron milky top11111
alugateron milky top01112
alugateron milky top10113
alugateron milky top00114
alugateron milky top00105
alugateron milky top11006
alugateron milky top01007
alugateron milky top00008
alugateron milky top10009
alugateron milky top000110
pomgateron milky top000011
alulubed sakurios000012
alulubed sakurios010013

You can make up your own mind, but I feel that all the dampening options I've evaluated had very minor effect.
95% of the differences I hear are explained by the combination of switches and bottom weight. The next more noticeable effect comes from adding the bottom foam.
Since the bottom foam is also something that is trivially made in a DIY fashion, I'm inclined to not offer extra dampening options in the GB - but ofc I will publish the patterns/laser cut files for people to experiment with for themselves!

Other ďExperimentalĒ configurations (Flex!)
I never particularly cared for ďflexĒ, and Iíve been using BMEK with a thick integrated plate (which almost offer almost the least amount of flex conceivable) on the PC and POM prototypes and am just happy with it.
And clearly, using all of the 8 screws of the plate in this design with the alu plate also results in a stiff and crisp setup.
However, there is nothing holding you back just using fewer screws on the plate to increase the flex. Iíve tried two combinations, with just 4 screws (red marks below) and 2 screws (blue marks below):



First off, I was pretty surprised how well everything sat together even with just two screws.
Second, both setups allow for a reasonable amount of flex, although you really get the most with the two screw setup:

https://i.imgur.com/4qfif4b.mp4

Of course, if people really want a flex setup, instead of (just) using fewer screws, one would add some flex cuts into the plate.
Weíve had some talk about that on the DIY channel on the discord in regards to this, which lead to this experimental plate design ripped of from hiney's "Alice Three-Quarter" plate:

(note: I'm not sure if we can offer this as an option, but you can vote on this in the "KIT" IC Form)

However, Iím still glad that I played around with it this way, as I have discovered a first real ďcase-design-problemĒ this way: In the video above, Iím showing the flex without mounting the top case to the bottom case.
With the prototype, itís not possible to flex the board when fully assembled, as the standoff for the center case mounting screw in the bottom case is bigger than the clearance hole on the PCB, thus holding back any downwards motion!

This is an easy thing to fix though for the final version, Iíve just made it a little slimmer, and additionally increase the hole in the PCB slightly, to also make sure that - if it is desired to be flexible - there can also be no rubbing.
Even though a flexible setup is not the ďoriginal designĒ, this fix is important to me to make, as it will allow more room for experimentation down the road.

Changes to the design post-prototypes:

  • Lower the blocker height just slightly
  • Raise the upper surface of the top case slightly to cover keycaps & switches better.
  • Fix center mounting hole standoff diameter in bottom case to allow for flexible plate configurations.
  • Kinda unrelated, but I've decided to add a iso-split-left-shift to the layout options (so I've updated plate & PCB for this). I know it might be an edge case, and I've stated before that I don't like it... But I've contemplated a bit, and since it was just 20 minutes of work to add it, I thought I might as well do it.
  • Since I really am happy with how the blocker looks, I'm looking into the costs & design of an extra polished brass blocker.

You might wonder if there are any risks attached to adding these changes. With the big order, I will get review units and a couple of days to fix things in case I messed up. So I feel pretty confident these changes won't break anything/add delay.
 
Updates to the timeline
First and foremost, I'll post the final two IC Forms tomorrow for the Color options and Kit configurations.
I think with these pictures and information, you guys can fill those out much more informed.
Wwith the responses from these IC Forms, I should be able to get final quotes from the manufacturers, and I can finally decide on the price (I think everybody will be happy with what it's going to be!).
I'm also close to ordering the packaging material / boxes next week, as well as the final set of pre-production prototypes of the PCB (I want to have some samples of the solder PCB as well and validate that it works before producing the big batch).
Meanwhile, there is also some "legal stuff" to figure out, as this is technically a business operation.
I prefer to do things according to the books, and it looks like I need to apply for being a small business before I'm officially able to write invoices for the GB.
« Last Edit: Sun, 02 August 2020, 08:41:51 by jouz »

Offline nathanchere

  • Posts: 423
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #79 on: Sat, 01 August 2020, 14:28:55 »
Very satisfying update  :D

Regarding the LED indicators, as much as I like the idea of them, I can't imagine them being that useful when they're positioned obscured by one's hands. Speaking strictly aesthetically I wouldn't put them anywhere else though, and it's much nicer to have them there than not at all.

It's almost certainly too late in the game now for this kind of suggestion but since I've been designing my own layout and paying more attention than usual to how I actually use the HHKB layout, I would have gone for 1.25u mods on the ends of the bottom row. Aside from 1.25u mods being easier to find (which is still less of a concern than 2x 2.75u shifts :D). I don't know if it's something others do as well but I find myself fairly often using a single finger to press ALT + Shift on the left side of the keyboard. Tthat's something I'd lose with this layout.

Offline gorbachev

  • Posts: 47
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #80 on: Sat, 01 August 2020, 15:14:08 »
Good stuff as always jouz!

Offline KingOfMemes

  • Posts: 722
  • Location: Murica, the best country in the world
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #81 on: Sat, 01 August 2020, 15:20:31 »
What a god tier update.

Offline zoo

  • Posts: 33
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #82 on: Sat, 01 August 2020, 22:55:10 »
The update is really cool to see! Personally like the sound of recording #4 (0,0,1,1) the most.

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #83 on: Sun, 02 August 2020, 10:11:08 »
Thanks everyone!

I've also just opened the Color & Kit votes (you may have gotten a mail or pm just now :) )

Regarding the LED indicators, as much as I like the idea of them, I can't imagine them being that useful when they're positioned obscured by one's hands. Speaking strictly aesthetically I wouldn't put them anywhere else though, and it's much nicer to have them there than not at all.

I agree they are obscured by the hand, but still, sometimes I keep going back to check if I really went into a certain layer or mode, or if I have sucessfully moved to DFU mode (I've added it so that the leds turn all red just before that).

It's almost certainly too late in the game now for this kind of suggestion but since I've been designing my own layout and paying more attention than usual to how I actually use the HHKB layout, I would have gone for 1.25u mods on the ends of the bottom row. Aside from 1.25u mods being easier to find (which is still less of a concern than 2x 2.75u shifts :D). I don't know if it's something others do as well but I find myself fairly often using a single finger to press ALT + Shift on the left side of the keyboard. Tthat's something I'd lose with this layout.

Your comment regarding how you use the alt key on the HHKB is interesting. I am always using the  "win - alt - space"  bottom row (ie.e HHKB DIP switch 5 on) and hit alt (and win) with the thumb.
So functionally, the BMEK layout is certainly a bit biased for thumb use for both of the bottom row modifiers (but this functionality wouldn't have been harmed from using 2x1.25).

While I'm all for the ergonomics, I'm afraid I can't really change the bottom row at this point (not even with more blockers, lol) but thank you for raising this!
Compared to how you use shift+alt in your case, how do you then do control+alt? Do you then switch to pinky + thumb for those combinations?
I wonder if many other current HHKB users use your technique, though?

As an aside, I have seriously toyed around with using all-1.25u modifiers before. But then I was mostly concerned with keycap compatibility rather than with user-scenarios like you describe (I guess I was mostly biased by the way I'm using it).
The reason I stuck to the 1u modifiers in the end was that I did (and still do) much prefer the looks of that (i.e. the "increasing size" look from outside to center, like on the original hhkb).
As you also suggest, I didn't weigh 1u modifier availability that heavily in the end, especially since there are always the left & right arrow keys that fit there perfectly, and can look really cool :).


Offline AdrianMan

  • Posts: 80
I completed the IC forms and would be happy to join if I could get a flexy plate in the kit.

Thanks for all the great work !

Offline mchanneh

  • Posts: 54
  • Location: United Kingdom
  • trying to reset terrible typing habits!
Another great update jouz, I quite like the sound of #6! I've filled in the IC form :)

As a side note, I don't think LEDs are essential at all and I've been using my PC BMEK without just fine. :thumb:
Kailh Box Royals | Cherry Reds | Knockoff Blues

Offline vurtomatic

  • Posts: 18
Been looking out for an Alice-like layout as it's closes to the old MS Natural keyboard.

But I'm using a Mac.

Can someone share with me how you might use this layout for Mac?

Offline whitemamba

  • Posts: 21
Been looking out for an Alice-like layout as it's closes to the old MS Natural keyboard.

But I'm using a Mac.

Can someone share with me how you might use this layout for Mac?

Maybe this can help - https://deskthority.net/wiki/File:Apple_M0110_top_view.jpg

Offline vurtomatic

  • Posts: 18
Been looking out for an Alice-like layout as it's closes to the old MS Natural keyboard.

But I'm using a Mac.

Can someone share with me how you might use this layout for Mac?

Maybe this can help - https://deskthority.net/wiki/File:Apple_M0110_top_view.jpg

Thank you!

Hmm I guess it's not that much different, the bottom row is just more spread out ...

It's too bad we can't fit a knob onto this   ;D

Offline whitemamba

  • Posts: 21
Been looking out for an Alice-like layout as it's closes to the old MS Natural keyboard.

But I'm using a Mac.

Can someone share with me how you might use this layout for Mac?

Maybe this can help - https://deskthority.net/wiki/File:Apple_M0110_top_view.jpg

Thank you!

Hmm I guess it's not that much different, the bottom row is just more spread out ...

It's too bad we can't fit a knob onto this   ;D

personally i do not like that design with arrows and knob. I can see the point why knob can be an attractive option. But it is not necessary and with knob the design looks ugly to me. For arrows, it is a functional piece but once you get used to using hhkb arrows, you will amazed. Without arrows, this BMEK alice is symmetrical and looks so nice. Real catcher on the eyes.

If you really want arrows, you can look into arisu layout which is open sourced too. Disclaimer- I have a weak spot for any open source project.

Offline vurtomatic

  • Posts: 18


personally i do not like that design with arrows and knob. I can see the point why knob can be an attractive option. But it is not necessary and with knob the design looks ugly to me. For arrows, it is a functional piece but once you get used to using hhkb arrows, you will amazed. Without arrows, this BMEK alice is symmetrical and looks so nice. Real catcher on the eyes.

If you really want arrows, you can look into arisu layout which is open sourced too. Disclaimer- I have a weak spot for any open source project.

You're right, I'm conflicted between the simple look of this and the over-the-top functionality of the Trifecta.

Although I rely on the arrow keys heavily, I've been wanting to try a keeb without arrow keys for a while and map them under the alphabets.


Offline KeebOnMe

  • Posts: 22
This keyboard looks really clean, love the navy and violet. Just spent my yearly allotment but you make it hard to say no!

Offline MisterKnife

  • Posts: 54
FYI, jlcpcb stopped doing pcb assembly for pcb that are larger than 200x200mm. Ive tried to order some last week and theyíve adjusted their policies

Offline VXQN

  • Posts: 134
That last update was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The keyboard is looking absolutely fantastic, you should be very proud!

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
FYI, jlcpcb stopped doing pcb assembly for pcb that are larger than 200x200mm. Ive tried to order some last week and they’ve adjusted their policies

:-[ really? I just tried but it looked like it still works for me? At least can get through to the configuration... didn't end up trying to order though.
« Last Edit: Wed, 05 August 2020, 02:35:19 by jouz »

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
Hi, just a quick update, I've created a "Bemeier" logo, featuring the B M R letters:


I'll definitely add it to the Plate and PCB, but I'm also thinking about adding it to the bottom of the case:


How do you guys feel about this?

Offline gorbachev

  • Posts: 47
Looks good to me.

Offline EMC Labs

  • Posts: 439
What material is the weight made of? Brass?

Offline mgh112

  • Posts: 3
Hi, just a quick update, I've created a "Bemeier" logo, featuring the B M R letters:
Show Image


I'll definitely add it to the Plate and PCB, but I'm also thinking about adding it to the bottom of the case:
Show Image


How do you guys feel about this?
i like it, that logo should be on the brass blocker too

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
Hi, just a quick update, I've created a "Bemeier" logo, featuring the B M R letters:
Show Image


I'll definitely add it to the Plate and PCB, but I'm also thinking about adding it to the bottom of the case:
Show Image


How do you guys feel about this?
i like it, that logo should be on the brass blocker too

Yup thats the plan!

What material is the weight made of? Brass?

Copper!

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
Just a couple of quick updates - even though it looks like we're not moving forward, I'm doing all things I can to prevent any delays down the line while other things are blocking me from moving forward right now (I'm still working out the final quotes from the manufacturer & working on setting up the business properly). Hope you gals & guys aren't loosing patience :-[
  • PCB design is updated for both the solder version and the hotswap version (gerbers and kicad projects are both on github, see render below).
  • I've ordered a final "test-batch" of PCBs to verify the last changes to the layouts are working as planned (added the split left and split right shift since the first prototypes).
  • This time it also includes samples of the solder version (as I haven't tested that one before).
  • I've ordered a small test batch of the Flex PCBs (files also on github now) - this time in the teal color instead of black, and bead-blasted instead of smoothed - this will give us some nice preview of the color and a way to decide on the final surface finish for the plates. And of course we can test out how well the flex works :)
  • Case/plate design updated on github (almost certain that there will be no changes after this, but obviously we'll wait for those last Plate & PCB prototypes for another verification)
  • Two whole bag of hex-keys arrived for the GB :) /li]
So the whole JLC not doing boards anymore above 200x200 seems to be false alarm, they were happy to take my order :).



Finally, here is also an image of the brass blocker with the new logo engraved (you might also notice that the logo changed slightly from the first draft, thanks to some feedback I got on discord :) ).
Still debating on whether to keep the "1" on there or not (to signify the first Bemeier "production" keyboard :) )


Offline vurtomatic

  • Posts: 18
If you do keep the 1, maybe write it as 01 or 001 to balance the logo?

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
If you do keep the 1, maybe write it as 01 or 001 to balance the logo?

brilliant idea! will try it out tomorrow, thanks!

Offline mgh112

  • Posts: 3
itf it's 01 or 001, maybe rotate it 90 deg clockwise leading away from the logo; might help avoid it feeling cramped, and it will make the blocker look longer.  my .02

Offline gorbachev

  • Posts: 47
Any chance you could offer PCBs in different colors than just green?

It doesn't matter all that much really, but the black and red color ones do look a little nicer IMHO. JLCPCB doesn't charge extra for the non-green color choices.

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
Any chance you could offer PCBs in different colors than just green?

It doesn't matter all that much really, but the black and red color ones do look a little nicer IMHO. JLCPCB doesn't charge extra for the non-green color choices.

JLC only offers assembly for the green solder mask. There is no way I'm hand-soldering 50+ SMT PCBs :). I'd have to switch manufacturer (to someone who likely is much more expensive) - just for an invisible cosmetic detail? Hope you can understand my reasoning here.

Offline xanderman1014

  • Posts: 2
  • Location: North Carolina
  • I've ordered a small test batch of the Flex PCBs (files also on github now) - this time in the teal color instead of black, and bead-blasted instead of smoothed - this will give us some nice preview of the color and a way to decide on the final surface finish for the plates. And of course we can test out how well the flex works :)

I think this was a typo and jouz means the flex plate was ordered. Not PCB (if I'm wrong, please correct me, jouz)

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 63
    • bemeier.com
  • I've ordered a small test batch of the Flex PCBs (files also on github now) - this time in the teal color instead of black, and bead-blasted instead of smoothed - this will give us some nice preview of the color and a way to decide on the final surface finish for the plates. And of course we can test out how well the flex works :)

I think this was a typo and jouz means the flex plate was ordered. Not PCB (if I'm wrong, please correct me, jouz)

Oh that makes sense. Sorry, the flex plate (which I also ordered!) was ordered from 3DHubs and from aluminum. Sorry for the confusion @gorbachev!
It's true, we've talked about making it from FR4 before, but I didn't get around to turning the flex plate design into gerbers yet (and I'm actually hopeful for the alu ones to be flexible enough, we'll see!).