Author Topic: building a keyboard  (Read 1279 times)

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Offline roddy

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building a keyboard
« on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 04:39:15 »
Hi all. I'm new to the forum and I hope I am posting this in the right place.

I've spent the last weeks trying to figure out what keyboard to get and I realised that this has to be one of the hardest things to do if you don't want a regular sized mechanic keyboard. I've found a few keyboards around that could do the trick but they don't really cut it for me.

I'm out on the hunt of a simple 75-tkl wireless, low profile keyboard with silent switches, windows Spanish layout and iso enter key. Now, I expected this to be fairly easy but it is not. I've only come across a few that could do it (logitech g915 tkl, keychron k1) but man, do I need the rgb? I know I can just disable it but still.

While collecting info about everything some lad suggested I could just build my own and it kind of took me off-guard since that thought didn't even cross my mind, so I started to look for parts for it... That's where the hell began.

Aside from the cherry mx red silent / cherry mx red low profile (which I have no idea how noisy they are) I couldn't find anything that was actually low profile and silent
Wireless pcb I got told about adafruit feather
... and that's it.

I tried to find for a case (just a simple black aluminium case) but then I started to wonder:
1. can I fit the wireless pcb in a regular case after placing the keyboard pcb in?
2. how rare are the layouts with the iso enter key? I noticed that the ansi is the most common one but I just can't go with that size)
3. can every case house both low profile and regular sized switches? I just don't want anything taller than 235mm

Basically, is there any website where I can just buy every single bit I need to build my own custom keyboard? I really don't wanna go and get the logitech but at this stage I think that's the only one that gives me what I need.

Help!

Offline yui

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Re: building a keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 05:19:16 »
well if you want a tailor made board you will need to go custom for sure, the thing is yes iso is rather hard to find because merica and most of all parts are made by merican for merican.
The LP red do not look silenced from Cherry's website but being linear are not going to be as noisy as blues, although they seem to use the same pin layout as other MX (unlike chocs from kailh) so PCB compatibility would be more open. given that silencing a switch reduces its travel and that LP switches already have a very small travel i would not hold my breath to have both

1 - to fit both PCB in a case is not likely a problem, the battery may not even be, but the aluminum may as metal cases and wireless communications do not mix well
2 - pure iso is really rare, but pcb with both are less so, the XD84 Pro for example have both, but not wireless
3 - most cases will but some may have a lip a bit too high and so make pressing the space bar a bit more difficult than needs be

and GMMK has announced their Pro keyboard, that will be hot-swap, aluminium and 75% and they have had iso support on all their keyboard so far so hopefully this one too.
to be honest with you the hardest part to find with your needs may be the Spanish key caps, and wireless not being compatible with the alu case

edit: to me your question either fits here or in the building thing together section i do not think you would have been wrong with either
vi vi vi - the roman number of the beast (Plan9 fortune)

Offline roddy

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Re: building a keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 06:53:42 »
thanks for your reply!

just to clarify, this is the enter key I am looking for:


thanks for the heads up regarding the switches, I guess that's one worry off the list :)

This is granted but it doesn't hurt to double check: assuming I find a plate with iso enter, the rest of the keys will match my language layout, right?

Regarding to my first (answered) question, this is the pcb I was talking about. the battery and all doesn't seem too big.
https://www.adafruit.com/feather

I googled a bit about aluminum and wireless being a problem but I couldn't find anything about it.

As for the second question: I just need it to have one, there is no need for both iso and ansi. Just iso will do.

I've checked out the gmmk pro but it doesn't seem to have the iso enter key nor be low profile. thanks though!

I have also been wondering about the input lag on wireless keyboards. Is logitech g915 lightspeed's pure marketing? How much of an edge they can actually have?

Offline yui

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Re: building a keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 07:25:59 »
yeah i have the same enter key on my keyboards :)
for the aluminum problem it is not one by itself, it will just form a Faraday cage if you use a metal plate and really greatly reduce range, if not completely prevent transmission if the transmitter is too low power.
when i say it support both, you can't have both at once you either solder the iso switch or the ansi one.
iso is 2 things you need to pay attention to on the plates, the vertical enter key and the shorter left shift or split left shift.
the GMMK Pro is not out yet so it may or may not have it and yeah it will not be low profile out of the box, but i do not know if it would or not support LP switches.
And at last the input lag, Logitech are pretty much the undisputed kings on that, they use a proprietary protocol optimized for latency while pretty much everyone else uses plain old Bluetooth, and well Bluetooth is not optimized for anything,
vi vi vi - the roman number of the beast (Plan9 fortune)

Offline ideus

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Re: building a keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 08:16:08 »
thanks for your reply!

just to clarify, this is the enter key I am looking for:
Show Image


thanks for the heads up regarding the switches, I guess that's one worry off the list :)

This is granted but it doesn't hurt to double check: assuming I find a plate with iso enter, the rest of the keys will match my language layout, right?

Regarding to my first (answered) question, this is the pcb I was talking about. the battery and all doesn't seem too big.
https://www.adafruit.com/feather

I googled a bit about aluminum and wireless being a problem but I couldn't find anything about it.

As for the second question: I just need it to have one, there is no need for both iso and ansi. Just iso will do.

I've checked out the gmmk pro but it doesn't seem to have the iso enter key nor be low profile. thanks though!

I have also been wondering about the input lag on wireless keyboards. Is logitech g915 lightspeed's pure marketing? How much of an edge they can actually have?




What set is that in the picture?

Offline roddy

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Re: building a keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 12:10:30 »
yeah i have the same enter key on my keyboards :)
for the aluminum problem it is not one by itself, it will just form a Faraday cage if you use a metal plate and really greatly reduce range, if not completely prevent transmission if the transmitter is too low power.
when i say it support both, you can't have both at once you either solder the iso switch or the ansi one.
iso is 2 things you need to pay attention to on the plates, the vertical enter key and the shorter left shift or split left shift.
the GMMK Pro is not out yet so it may or may not have it and yeah it will not be low profile out of the box, but i do not know if it would or not support LP switches.
And at last the input lag, Logitech are pretty much the undisputed kings on that, they use a proprietary protocol optimized for latency while pretty much everyone else uses plain old Bluetooth, and well Bluetooth is not optimized for anything,

today I learnt about the faraday cage. what you are saying makes sense but I guess I can just send them an e-mail asking if their device can get caught in that or not.

I was meant to talk about the pcb for the keyboard. so what I take is that you just solder the switches into it but what defines the keyboard shape is the plate on itself, rather than the pcb. good to know!

I will try to learn about the bluetooth a little bit more!

do you know if the plates / pcbs / cases / from ali express reliable? are the low profile keycaps common?

thanks a lot for your help, now I feel like I am getting closer to find out what I want!


@ideus no idea I just googled iso key

edit/
just to clarify, all pcb keyboards are the same?
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 November 2020, 12:14:29 by roddy »

Offline yui

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Re: building a keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 13:44:22 »
today I learnt about the faraday cage. what you are saying makes sense but I guess I can just send them an e-mail asking if their device can get caught in that or not.
well if you really want to go aluminum just try to not go for a metal plate but either way if your antenna is inside it will not have a great reception
I was meant to talk about the pcb for the keyboard. so what I take is that you just solder the switches into it but what defines the keyboard shape is the plate on itself, rather than the pcb. good to know!
well both do you need to have both compatible, although pcb have more often more options, and plates are pretty cheap to get done custom
I will try to learn about the bluetooth a little bit more!

do you know if the plates / pcbs / cases / from ali express reliable? are the low profile keycaps common?
plates and cases are pretty safe, pcbs are too but not many seems to support qmk, and DSA keycaps are pretty low profile and fairly common
thanks a lot for your help, now I feel like I am getting closer to find out what I want!


@ideus no idea I just googled iso key

edit/
just to clarify, all pcb keyboards are the same?
no, some are programmable, some are not, some use QMK/TMK (opensource firmware) some use their own, some are more flexible, there are a lot of options, and some may not support the layout you want too you need to pay close attention, if there is a switch position in between 2 rows it is compatible with iso if there is not it is not
vi vi vi - the roman number of the beast (Plan9 fortune)

Offline ideus

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Re: building a keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 05 November 2020, 16:44:42 »
yeah i have the same enter key on my keyboards :)
for the aluminum problem it is not one by itself, it will just form a Faraday cage if you use a metal plate and really greatly reduce range, if not completely prevent transmission if the transmitter is too low power.
when i say it support both, you can't have both at once you either solder the iso switch or the ansi one.
iso is 2 things you need to pay attention to on the plates, the vertical enter key and the shorter left shift or split left shift.
the GMMK Pro is not out yet so it may or may not have it and yeah it will not be low profile out of the box, but i do not know if it would or not support LP switches.
And at last the input lag, Logitech are pretty much the undisputed kings on that, they use a proprietary protocol optimized for latency while pretty much everyone else uses plain old Bluetooth, and well Bluetooth is not optimized for anything,

today I learnt about the faraday cage. what you are saying makes sense but I guess I can just send them an e-mail asking if their device can get caught in that or not.

I was meant to talk about the pcb for the keyboard. so what I take is that you just solder the switches into it but what defines the keyboard shape is the plate on itself, rather than the pcb. good to know!

I will try to learn about the bluetooth a little bit more!

do you know if the plates / pcbs / cases / from ali express reliable? are the low profile keycaps common?

thanks a lot for your help, now I feel like I am getting closer to find out what I want!


@ideus no idea I just googled iso key

edit/
just to clarify, all pcb keyboards are the same?


Thank you for the answer. It is an interesting example for a Danish layout.