Author Topic: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice  (Read 3133 times)

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Offline coarse

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Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« on: Sat, 08 August 2020, 13:31:53 »
Hello, GK!

I present to all of you my project for this weekend and probably for the whole month, Cordillera - an open PCB design for the Alice layout.

It started out with one person looking for the files for the Alice on a Discord server. He was looking for them because he wanted to design an Alice PCB so he could get one manufactured and assembled. I, also actually wanting to own an Alice as well, told the guy that I'd make it instead. And since there are no open source Alice layout PCBs that I know of (the wunderland is not Alice layout, okay), I told him I'd make it openly available too.

The PCB doesn't really have that much fancy features. This is because the PCB was honestly just meant as a reference for the Alice layout.



Cordillera - open source Alice layout PCB




Features
  • STM32F072 controller
  • USB C connector mounted at the bottom
  • ESD, over voltage, and over current protection circuits
  • Dual common cathode diodes instead of single ones
  • Backlight, single color
  • Fancy "press to reset, hold for bootloader" reset circuit
  • Unused pins are broken out
Notes
  • The original Alice actually a front mounted mini USB connector and not a bottom mounted USB C connector.
  • Because of that, it is ill-advised to try out the PCB on most alice clone cases and the TGR Alice case. However, for acrylic Alice cases, you could probably just swap the layers around to have ample space for the USB C connector.

Future Plans

I'll be making a prototype of the PCB once I'm happy with the design. I lost my access to our university's fablab's laser cutter due to the pandemic so I will be prototyping with an FR4 case and 3D printed middles. Once I get access to a laser cutter, I'll try and test out the design on the Lubrigante case. Afterwards, I will possibly try my luck and design a PC case for this PCB.

Links

Github repository: Cordillera repository
Project page: Soon on keyboard.coarse.tech
« Last Edit: Sun, 09 August 2020, 06:20:38 by coarse »

Offline coarse

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 09 August 2020, 07:08:43 »
finally done with laying out all the components for the switches! found out about a nifty trick for rotating everything at an angle that isnt 90 degrees which made things much faster. its a shame i wasnt able to finish the project this weekend, so my next update will be later this week.

some pictures of my progress:



Offline logo4poop

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 09 August 2020, 20:04:39 »
Good project, https://github.com/xyzz/poverty-alice does have an alice layout btw
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Offline coarse

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 09 August 2020, 20:53:15 »
Good project, https://github.com/xyzz/poverty-alice does have an alice layout btw

great find! comes with fr4 plates too which i could use to test this pcb. however, it doesnt come with switch leds nor the indicator leds since it seems to be for a budget build.

another thing i've been looking for, that i've only found on the sesame pcb, is the "properly" angled routing. ive attached pictures of how the cordillera looks like with the angled routing. looks great on the front side but ill have to redo the ones at the back.



Offline audrentis

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 10 August 2020, 13:42:54 »
Looks great! I've been working on an alice pcb too, took me forever to get all the switches aligned properly, and I'm not even sure if I got them all right haha. Thanks for making this open!
,

Offline coarse

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 15 August 2020, 08:19:21 »
its been a while since my last update but ive finished routing all the necessary stuff! i kind of regret using dual diodes for this since it made the routing a bit weird, especially with the 2nd row. but im still happy with the result of the board.




i decided to put the usb connector on top instead of the bottom, that way i wouldnt have to design any new cases for this. that means i can push through with using a lubrigante case for this

more pictures below of the routing below




all thats left is to breakout the unused pins and the board should be complete. im also waiting for an email from a pcb manufacturing company to see if they can sponsor some prototypes of the board.

Offline coarse

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 25 August 2020, 11:51:50 »
first things first, renders!




finally added the missing holes for compatibility the TGR cases and breakout pads for pads A2 to A8. i also fixed the indicator leds to hookup to 5v instead of being sourced 3.3v from the controller. no breakout pads for isp or debugging since the controller is an f072. no logic level shifter for rgb strips as well to keep things simple. however, it would be possible to hook a pull up on F0 (not broken out) to 5V and use that pin for the rgb strips.

for the prototypes, 5 assembled pcbs with a basic configuration (1.6mm thickness, black solder mask, hasl finish) cost 98 usd shipped over at pcbway. that's roughly 20 usd per pcb which is half of the average price for pcbs, pretty good.

i will be going with pcbway with the prototypes since i was offered a coupon for them. in another post, ill be reviewing the quality of their boards and their assembly for this design. while ill be reviewing their work on the design, i will still be posting the pictures on this thread.

finally, ive actually updated the files on github lol. next will be making the gerber files for the switch and bottom plate.
« Last Edit: Wed, 09 September 2020, 09:12:34 by coarse »

Offline argcargv

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 11 October 2020, 11:17:32 »
hi, how difficult would it be to provide a bottom usb c version of the pcb ? thanks for your work!

I'm also researching about open source alice, came across this website:
https://store.projectkeyboard.com/products/alice-pcb-rev2-red?variant=31752480194673

it seems they are using top mount usb mini and bottom mount usb c, I've came across a few variants of case design, it seems that bottom mount usb c is very popular for alice cases (correct me if I'm wrong)

anyways, I really enjoyed your renders  :thumb:

the cutout design is awesome! much better than just a punch hole, putting screws through is going to be much easier!
« Last Edit: Sun, 11 October 2020, 11:21:19 by argcargv »

Offline coarse

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 11 October 2020, 13:07:57 »
hi, how difficult would it be to provide a bottom usb c version of the pcb ? thanks for your work!

if you follow the renders, the design started out with a bottom connector then moved to a top connector. moving it back to the bottom wouldnt be too hard

as for usb c mounting, projectkeyboard's design is the only one i can find that offers only bottom connector. sneakbox's design offers both top and bottom connector, the poverty alice has a top mount, and i think homerow's wonderland usb c is top mount as well.

Offline coarse

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 19 October 2020, 09:39:50 »
hello, geekhack! it's been a while since my latest update with regarding this project.

let's start off with the pcb. ive decided to send an order to PCBWay and the prototypes are finally on its way to me. eta is either wednesday or thursday. PCBWay was kind enough to sponsor some of the costs for the prototype and i will be sharing a review of the prototypes pcbs from them in another thread to be linked here soon.

now, i was forced to design an alice case since i dont have one. i only have experience with stacked acrylic cases so i decided to make my own design from yuktsi's files. to test the compatibility with other cases, i already struck a deal with someone planning on making their own alice case. for now, the plan is to have a clear case (gotta flex that black pcb) and brass plate made to test the pcb. here's a quick render:



the case is already in production. acrylic pieces coming in a few days and the brass plates coming in next week. i also got a 4.5mm acrylic plate made while the brass plates havent arrived yet.

unlike the pcb, the case files wont be publicly available.

that's all the updates i have for now related to the cordillera. beyond cordillera, i have some ideas but im involved in a lot of projects right now. i probably wont be back with a new keyboard project until 2021.

stay tuned for the next update!

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 27 October 2020, 22:28:58 »
possibility of flex cuts in the pcb?

Offline coarse

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Re: Cordillera an open PCB design for Alice
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 27 October 2020, 22:57:40 »
possibility of flex cuts in the pcb?
the source files are available so someone should be able to make a fork of this design with flex cuts  :thumb: