Author Topic: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived - Color & Kit Forms up!  (Read 14283 times)

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Offline Paragon

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?


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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

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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

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

Offline KingOfMemes

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Re: [IC] BMEK - Alice + HHKB = ❤️🦈 | Prototypes Arrived!
« Reply #81 on: Sat, 01 August 2020, 15:20:31 »
What a god tier update.

Offline zoo

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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

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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: 17
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: 19
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: 17
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: 19
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: 17


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.


Online KeebOnMe

  • Posts: 20
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: 132
That last update was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The keyboard is looking absolutely fantastic, you should be very proud!

Offline jouz

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 56
    • 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 »