Author Topic: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.  (Read 6179 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline SamuraiKek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Romania
  • Dang ol' keyboards
Hey guys, I'd like to take you on my journey of how I got into making keyboards and my findings and conclusions I've come to after experimenting with different layouts. This will be quite a long post and it could be just the ramblings of a mad Romanian that nobody will read but I felt the need to make this post so here it goes...

About five years ago I was in my first year of university studying CS and while trying to learn how to code I realized that I absolutely sucked at typing. All my life I have used a computer but I've mainly used it for gaming. WASD was embedded in my DNA but the less I played on my PC and the more I needed to do actual work, it became increasingly frustrating to have to move my focus from the monitor to the keyboard and back in order to type. Something needed to change. So I started to learn touch typing. Over the course of a year I had managed to get to about 80 WPM through various tutorials and exercises online. I had grown to love typing and I started to do it as a relaxing activity in my past time. In this time,  my interest for mechanical keyboards had grown as well. I bought my first cnc'd aluminum keyboard, started experimenting with new switches and had gotten into lubing, soldering/desoldering.
Over the course of a year I had started to grow a collection of various shaped keyboards, switches, keycaps and keyboard parafernalia that would ultimately lead me to designing and building my own keyboards.

You see, after learning to touch type and mainly getting used to the home row, I had started to get more and more annoyed by the placement of some keys on the board. A lot of the keys that I was using while coding were away from the home row and I had to do finger gymnastics that I wasn't fond of. That's when I started to look into ergonomic keyboards. I very much agree that the thumbs should be used for pressing more keys than just space and I was a fan of the split design that lets you position the keyboard after how your hands naturally sit and not awkwardly placing you hands after how the keyboard sits.

Having a 3D printer, a few switch sets and the confidence of soldering some wires, I first started my journey by building myself a handwired Ergodox keyboard with ProMicros. I liked the staggered ortholinear layout it had and I quickly got used to it. Some of the issues I had with typing while coding were gone and at first I was just excited to have a split keyboard, but I quickly started to question some design decisions the Ergodox had. I felt the need for some wrist rests and the original ones are terrible. The thumb cluster felt weird and I could not understand the position of the smaller keys in the thumb cluster which are quite hard to access. Learning to type on the Ergodox was quite easy for me since I had learned to correctly touch type using all of my 10 fingers but my position always felt somewhat awkward when typing.

The Dactyl Manuform got my attention next, so I built one of those as well. I really like the concave placement of the switches but again I felt like I couldn't get comfortable enough, I was still missing some sort of wrist rest and I never really got used to typing on it.

That's when I started playing with the idea of designing and building my own split keyboard and maybe even sell it in a group buy in the future.

I wanted to base my design on the Iris keyboard but with some keys placed differently. Another thing I really wanted and couldn't find on other split keyboards was an aluminum case. I know there are some keyboards, Iris included that can be built up with layers of laser cut aluminum to form a case but I wanted the real deal cnc'd block of aluminum look with high margins that surround the keys.

So I went to work on what would be a two and a half year journey of learning how to design pcb's, 3D modelling and prototyping.

At first I started the Ergodox way by handwiring my prototypes. My designing experience was almost 0. I made a lot of mistakes and unnecessary complications as you can probably see from the next images.
257318-0
257320-1

I was happy enough with the feel of the keyboard so I went on with creating my first PCBs with KiCad. I had a lot of fun learning PCB design and I got working PCBs from my first try. In the beginning I kept it simple by using only through hole components and still relying on ProMicros for the brains of the boards. I never thought I'd reach this point when I first started and this was the moment I knew I would actually finish my project.
257322-2
257324-3
257326-4
I had managed to implement a complete split keyboard with magnetic wrist rests. Now was time for polishing the case design.
257328-5
I liked the design so far and was looking for cnc companies that would take on my project but I was getting really expensive offers for aluminum milling, mainly because my design was pretty complicated on the inside with lots of small radius corners and tolerances that were expensive to achieve. I gave up on the idea of an aluminum keyboard for a while and started looking at wood as an alternative. I came very close to building a wooden keyboard which turned out pretty good, although since the design was unchanged, there were a few defects with the wooden prototype that ultimately made the assembly impossible.
257330-6
257332-7
I realised that I needed to adjust my design for the case and the best solution I could come up with at the time was making the case out of two parts instead of one. At first, I didn't want to have a sandwich design. I wanted each half to be sculpted from a single piece of aluminum, but in order to finish my dream, I was willing to make this compromise. I had created a chunkier keyboard which imo looked worse but at least it was easy enough to produce without completely obliterating my budget.
257334-8
After more than a year of prototyping I was finally holding my first finished split keyboard made out of aluminum.
257336-9
257338-10
257340-11
257342-12
257344-13
This thing is absolutely massive. I had it 3D printed in the beginning but I wasn't expecting this outcome. Each half weighs roughly 2kg, without the tenting feet or the wrist rests (which I ultimately made out of wood but never got to use).
I wanted it powder coated and while I didn't get the color right, I loved it. I was about to start a group buy for it but something else always came up and I never got the chance to actually do it.
In the meantime, I got to use it for quite a bit and started noticing some design issues that weren't so apparent at first.

First was the tenting of the board. While it's cool, I didn't quite get it right. I think the tenting shouldn't just go over one axis but actually multiple ones. While some keys were easier to reach, others became harder specifically the ones actuated by the pinkies.
Second was the placement of the thumb keys. I've chosen this design because I thought it was tried and tested but I never felt fully comfortable with it. Not on my Ergodox, nor this crazy aluminum behemoth I was wielding. I never thought of even doing the thumb cluster any other way.

Over the time I've spent typing exclusively on split keyboards, I have come to understand more and more what it means to have a truly comfortable and ergonomic typing experience.

Here are my findings:
1. The most important part of a split ergonomic keyboard - the position of the thumb cluster. While it looks cool, I believe the thumb cluster on most Ergodox style keyboards is counter-intuitive for a split board. Hear me out. This layout with the thumb keys off to the side and angled makes sense from a normal keyboard perspective. If you keep both of the halves straight you have the tendency to move your thumb away from the rest of the fingers.
257346-14
However, what's the point of having a split keyboard if not to be able to rotate the halves inwards for a more natural position. Look what happens to the thumb when doing so.
257348-15
You don't even need to have a split keyboard to come to this conclusion. You just need to look at what your thumbs tend to do when rotating your wrists.
This missplacement of the thumb cluster was keeping me from being fully contempt with my keyboard.

2. Tenting is nice but I prefer a good wrist rest much more. Also, tenting takes a lot more fine adjustment to get it right and you're basically stuck in one position for it to feel comfortable (usually sitting upright, looking forward). While it's true, that position is the recommended position at the desk, sooner or later we all tend to slouch while siting in front of the computer, especially after long hours. You're changing your posture many times. A wrist rest is easier to design and implement and it will suit more people without any additional adjustments. It also works in multiple positions at the desk.

3. A split keyboard should stay in place when you want it to but also move easily when you need it to. After typing on 4kg of pure metal that feel welded to my desk I have noticed just how many positions I actually have when typing. Throughout the day I'm constantly making minor adjustments to the two halves of my keyboard. Maybe I'm leaning back a bit more and I'm dragging the halves toward me. Maybe I just need to rotate the halves a bit more to get that angle to feel perfect.
Every time I wanted to do the slightest adjustment, I had to lift up my 2kg per side keyboard, move it and then test if it was in the right position. If it wasn't, I had to do it again. This got to be pretty annoying.

I believe if you get these 3 points right, you are going to get an amazing result.
So that's what I set out to do.

I knew I had to solve these issues somehow, and definitely make the keyboard smaller, lighter and cheaper to manufacture. So here comes my final iteration of my split keyboard. I've completely redesigned it, incorporating the 3 points I was talking about and this is the almost final outcome:
257350-16
I've ditched the Pro Micros and used SMD components this time.
257352-17
The thumb cluster is no longer isolated from the rest of the switches and contrary to many people's first impressions, the outer most thumb key is not the main thumb key. The 1.25U key is where your thumb naturally falls in place when placing your fingers on the home row. In fact, I've designed this layout so that you almost never have to leave the home row for any key or key combination you're trying to access.
257354-18
The wrist rests have a natural curvature that comfortably support your wrists when typing and again, include magnets. An unexpected but welcome benefit this curvature adds is the ability to easily grab onto the keyboard and move it without the need to lift your hands off the keys. I have found that a good weight combined with believe it or not, some mouse skates, keeps the keyboard from moving when you don't want it to, but also lets you quickly and effortlessly adjust the position of the halves without needing to lift your hands off the board. I know this sounds crazy, a keyboard should feel planted in the desk if possible, but it's much better for a split keyboard to be movable when needed imo.
257356-19
257360-20
257362-21

This is the final design for the new keyboard before I build it out of aluminum. I've decided to ditch the tenting as it would just get too complicated and costly to design a tenting solution that would work with the wrist rests too. What I have included though, are some m2 screw holes on the bottom of the keyboard in each corner where people could insert m2 screws of various lengths to give the halves an angle if they so desired.
I have greatly reduced the amount of material needed to machine the keyboard. I have returned to a single piece design instead of the sandwich design of my previous keyboard and the thickness of the case has also reduced by a lot to just 22mm. I'm hoping these changes fill also cut the production cost by quite a lot, making the final product more accessible.

I know this was quite long so thank you to whoever read the whole thing! I might have left out some important details from this post, but I'll be here to answer any questions. I'll also do an interest check for the keyboard once I get my prototypes.
« Last Edit: Mon, 07 December 2020, 16:06:04 by SamuraiKek »

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
very nice.

for splits... i started with the keeb.io viterbi, tried an ergodash, came to similar conclusion about the thumbkeys. don't think anybody's perfected them yet. though i do like being able to chord cmd+shift or cmd+opt on the ergodash (a 2nd shift key in the upper thumb position, for chording only. upper thumb keys are pretty much useless)

i'm also a mac guy, so i'm used to the main mods being towards the center (cmd, opt) vs. pc/other with "control" on the outer edges of a keyboard. i never understood that either.

i'm still on the fence if i can go down to 6 columns. the viterbi is 7 and i do more shortcuts/key combinations than actual tying on a daily basis. (designer, in adobe apps all day)
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline textmode

  • Posts: 15
Quote from: SamuraiKek
I gave up on the idea of an aluminum keyboard for a while and started looking at wood as an alternative. I came very close to building a wooden keyboard which turned out pretty good, although since the design was unchanged, there were a few defects with the wooden prototype that ultimately made the assembly impossible.
That's a pity. The wooden case looks very nice. But if it doesn't fit your needs, that admittedly won't help much.

Quote from: SamuraiKek
After typing on 4kg of pure metal that feel welded to my desk I have noticed just how many positions I actually have when typing. Throughout the day I'm constantly making minor adjustments to the two halves of my keyboard. Maybe I'm leaning back a bit more and I'm dragging the halves toward me. Maybe I just need to rotate the halves a bit more to get that angle to feel perfect.
Every time I wanted to do the slightest adjustment, I had to lift up my 2kg per side keyboard, move it and then test if it was in the right position. If it wasn't, I had to do it again. This got to be pretty annoying.
I've also noticed that I move my keyboard around a lot during the day like you do. It definitely ought not feel glued to the desk. Another keyboard which I'm currently using for experiments is very lightweight and cheap. It feels very good to move around when needed, and I love it because it's not heavy. Therefore I'm a bit confused why people use metal for their keyboard cases.

Offline SamuraiKek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Romania
  • Dang ol' keyboards
very nice.

for splits... i started with the keeb.io viterbi, tried an ergodash, came to similar conclusion about the thumbkeys. don't think anybody's perfected them yet. though i do like being able to chord cmd+shift or cmd+opt on the ergodash (a 2nd shift key in the upper thumb position, for chording only. upper thumb keys are pretty much useless)

i'm also a mac guy, so i'm used to the main mods being towards the center (cmd, opt) vs. pc/other with "control" on the outer edges of a keyboard. i never understood that either.

i'm still on the fence if i can go down to 6 columns. the viterbi is 7 and i do more shortcuts/key combinations than actual tying on a daily basis. (designer, in adobe apps all day)

I've started using qmk's mod-tap feature on some of the keys. I've got space under my left thumb when tapping and shift when holding it and I found it to be almost perfect. It also completely eliminated the need of a capslock key.

In the end it comes down to what you're more comfortable with. Do you prefer to move out of place to reach some keys or is remembering more key combinations to get to said keys a better option.

Offline SamuraiKek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Romania
  • Dang ol' keyboards
Quote from: SamuraiKek
I gave up on the idea of an aluminum keyboard for a while and started looking at wood as an alternative. I came very close to building a wooden keyboard which turned out pretty good, although since the design was unchanged, there were a few defects with the wooden prototype that ultimately made the assembly impossible.
That's a pity. The wooden case looks very nice. But if it doesn't fit your needs, that admittedly won't help much.

Quote from: SamuraiKek
After typing on 4kg of pure metal that feel welded to my desk I have noticed just how many positions I actually have when typing. Throughout the day I'm constantly making minor adjustments to the two halves of my keyboard. Maybe I'm leaning back a bit more and I'm dragging the halves toward me. Maybe I just need to rotate the halves a bit more to get that angle to feel perfect.
Every time I wanted to do the slightest adjustment, I had to lift up my 2kg per side keyboard, move it and then test if it was in the right position. If it wasn't, I had to do it again. This got to be pretty annoying.
I've also noticed that I move my keyboard around a lot during the day like you do. It definitely ought not feel glued to the desk. Another keyboard which I'm currently using for experiments is very lightweight and cheap. It feels very good to move around when needed, and I love it because it's not heavy. Therefore I'm a bit confused why people use metal for their keyboard cases.

I agree, the keyboard looked beautiful with the wooden case. Who knows, I might give it another try some time. There's too few wooden keyboard cases, let alone split ones.

A metal case feels really premium. I guess it conveys a sense of high quality and the weight of it adds to that.
I'm hoping the weight of the aluminum halves will anchor the keyboards down enough to not move accidentally, while putting mouse skates instead of rubber feet will let you easily adjust the position of the halves.

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
reason... 90% muscle memory from last 25+ years. 10% already have commands that are up to 3 keys, but there is one that's 4 keys that i use pretty frequently.

i don't know... think i'd be better off chording key combinations (holding 2 or more keys with one finger/thumb) or setting some keys as key combinations.... (command + shift), (command + shift + option), (command + option), (option + shift)

in design programs:
i use dedicated arrow keys, as well as holding shift with the arrows
i hold the spacebar & hold a mouse button and drag around when navigating a design
command + ]
command + [
command + +
command + -
command + shift + s
command + Fn + 2  ( which is... command + F2)
and many, many others....
« Last Edit: Mon, 07 December 2020, 18:41:47 by nevin »
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline jamster

  • Posts: 1079
  • Location: Asia
Hey, great post. It was interesting to read about the evolution of your findings over time. The boards you've created also look fantastic (much nicer than most, including the bulk of production Ergodoxes, imo).

Your comments on multi-axis tenting made sense, I have the same issue with my existing angles making it harder for my pinkies to reach some keys (my current tenting arrangement is just to lean the keyboard halves against a stack of books, it's extremely ghetto).

At the same, your post made me realise how lucky I've been to stumble onto the Dumang (a highly modular board). It's not perfect because it's not a customised product like yours (the boards are fixed sizes), but at the same time, I have been able to try markedly different layout options (including standard stagger, ortho, staggered ortho) without having to start from scratch each time. Your comments about thumb clusters and natural thumb positioning made me rearrange the way my own cluster works (just a couple of key swaps).

[edited because I forgot to finish a sentence!]
« Last Edit: Tue, 08 December 2020, 04:01:22 by jamster »

Offline SamuraiKek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Romania
  • Dang ol' keyboards
Hey, great post. It was interesting to read about the evolution of your findings over time. The boards you've created also look fantastic (much nicer than most, including the bulk of production Ergodoxes, imo).
Thank you! I can't wait to see the finished version :D

(my current tenting arrangement is just to lean the keyboard halves against a stack of books, it's extremely ghetto).
Haha, I was doing the same thing at first.

At the same, your post made me realise how lucky I've been to stumble onto the Dumang (a highly modular board).
I've looked up the keyboard and wow, that concept is really nice. I wish I would have found it sooner. It would make layout prototyping a breeze.

Offline Rayndalf

  • Posts: 471
Actually modelling and building a "dished" keyboard like the Dactyl is pretty challenging. I tried to design my own, but stopped after a prototype. I got my Kinesis Advantage fixed up and just use that instead.


Offline jamster

  • Posts: 1079
  • Location: Asia
I'd been planning a Dactyl build prior my current split board... dishing the one thing that Dumang cannot do. But with the  benefit of hindsight and layout prototyping, I now realise that those small split boards would just never work for me. I dislike the reliance on layers, and I really like a dedicated numpad.

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 08 December 2020, 21:56:09 »
this is how i've been using a numberpad in my split board. i love it, so easy to transition back & forth.
257433-0

i've played with a couple ergo boards, and 5x7 is the smallest you can go with keeping a "normal" number row as well as only relocating... what 1 or 2 keys (from regular qwerty)
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline jamster

  • Posts: 1079
  • Location: Asia
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 08 December 2020, 22:06:44 »
I just try to avoid layers completely, so I ended up doing this:



I was entering a load of timestamps just now, so I added that solitary key below the numberpad and mapped it to ":"

I have similar dedicated clusters for on the other half of the board for arrows and nav keys... not entirely happy with the location of the arrow cluster yet so am continuing to tweak.

The board is certainly nowhere near as polished looking as the OP's products, I guess that's just a tradeoff with this kind of modular design (and also my refusal to buy decent caps!)
« Last Edit: Tue, 08 December 2020, 22:08:17 by jamster »

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 08 December 2020, 22:08:49 »
interesting
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline SamuraiKek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Romania
  • Dang ol' keyboards
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 09 December 2020, 10:50:59 »
Actually modelling and building a "dished" keyboard like the Dactyl is pretty challenging. I tried to design my own, but stopped after a prototype. I got my Kinesis Advantage fixed up and just use that instead.

Yep, the main thing that put me away from designing a dished keyboard is not the shape itself but trying to design the PCB for it. I'm not sure how I'd go about it or the limitations and cost of producing flexible PCBs.

Offline SamuraiKek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Romania
  • Dang ol' keyboards
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 09 December 2020, 10:53:30 »
I was entering a load of timestamps just now, so I added that solitary key below the numberpad and mapped it to ":"

I'm curious how that sideways switch from you picture is actually working.  :eek: I can see it light up.

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #15 on: Wed, 09 December 2020, 11:25:04 »
most all of them are handwired

adereth made traces on Pyralux™
https://github.com/adereth/dactyl-keyboard/tree/master/guide
scroll down to "making the pcb"

i've also seen hot swap sockets used with handwire for a removable circuit.

the kinesis advantage uses a flexible type (not sure what it's made of. i don't have one)
https://abarry.org/how-to-fix-a-sticky-kinesis-advantage-keyboard/
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=26579.0

the fiberglass used in pcbs should be flexible if made thin enough, not sure how well the traces would hold if it flexed too much. might lift/crinkle on the inside and break/separate on the outside of the curve if curvature is too much.... who knows.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline untitled-goose

  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Europe
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 09 December 2020, 16:22:03 »
Really like the final design.

I however would like to ask 2 small questions:
- Why no stagger for the inner columns? (I mean the 2nd index finger column)
  Your first design had it.
- Are you happy with the thumb buttons, as is? Or do you think some rotation of the keys might be good?

Anyhow, your rationale is very similar to the one for my WIP design.
Nice to see other people coming to similiar conclusions.

Offline gorbachev

  • Posts: 89
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 09 December 2020, 23:35:23 »
What a fantastic post.

I am 100% with you on the Ergodox thumb cluster. It's good on paper, but the usability is actually not good at all. I much prefer simpler ones, like Ergodash. Or the more sweeping design like on the Kyria or Iris.

As for PCBs for the Dactyl-Manuform or alike, check out hidtech.ca and their flexible PCBs:

https://www.hidtech.ca/?product=flexyl#tab-description
https://www.hidtech.ca/?product=flexyl-univ#page-content

Flexyl is for their custom Dactyl variant called Bastyl and the Flexyl-Univ is for various Dactyl boards. My understanding is that the Flexyl-univ is still in the prototyping stage, however.

Offline jamster

  • Posts: 1079
  • Location: Asia
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 09 December 2020, 23:40:45 »
I was entering a load of timestamps just now, so I added that solitary key below the numberpad and mapped it to ":"

I'm curious how that sideways switch from you picture is actually working.  :eek: I can see it light up.

It's a 2-in-1 module from the manufacturer. It shares the contacts with the vertical switch that it's attached to.



This is the only keyboard I've ever used LEDs on... generally I really dislike LEDs  but because my modifiers are not labelled, and because they are in non-standard positions, I found that for learning purposes the LED colours have been useful (e.g. red is enter, purple is control).
« Last Edit: Wed, 09 December 2020, 23:46:37 by jamster »

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 10 December 2020, 00:03:45 »
What a fantastic post.

I am 100% with you on the Ergodox thumb cluster. It's good on paper, but the usability is actually not good at all. I much prefer simpler ones, like Ergodash. Or the more sweeping design like on the Kyria or Iris.

As for PCBs for the Dactyl-Manuform or alike, check out hidtech.ca and their flexible PCBs:

https://www.hidtech.ca/?product=flexyl#tab-description
https://www.hidtech.ca/?product=flexyl-univ#page-content

Flexyl is for their custom Dactyl variant called Bastyl and the Flexyl-Univ is for various Dactyl boards. My understanding is that the Flexyl-univ is still in the prototyping stage, however.

nice find. thanks.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline AKmalamute

  • HHKB Scrub
  • Posts: 837
  • Location: Western WA, USA
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 10 December 2020, 17:05:00 »
I agree with OPs points ... to a point.
I'm typing on an ergodox set in stainless steel, now, and by and large I don't have problems with the thumb cluster, but I also studied to play the piano for a time so I find stretching for that last key isn't hard, but scrunching my thumb under my hand, as seen in the "final form" would require, is uncomfortable.

On the topic of wrist rests, I have nearly no use for them. I find they lock my hands into position, preventing me from typing well. Since SamuraiKek's point about rests/tenting was around the topic of free arm/wrist movement, I suspect we are fundamentally in agreement but somehow interact with rest differently.

My answer has been dependent on the circumstances. If the ergodox in on the desk, then a thick (one-inch? Inch-and-change? Isn't here, can't look at it) wrist-rest, the width of a 60% keyboard, becomes the tent, and I set the halves just to each side, probably resulting in a 15d tent, maybe 20. Not much, but it works very well. BUT I don't usually like typing that way. I have the halves on a board, on my lap, and often rotated out a bit so I can rest my elbows on the chair arms. No tenting is the best angle, and likewise because my forearms are held on their own rest high above the keyboard, no wrist rest is used either.

I have delusions of granduer over making a buckling-spring-erdodox, and I would probably change the thumb cluster thusly:
no stabilizers for the three used keys; they would become 1.25 and be arrayed in a bit of a star pattern, radiating away from my thumb's main joint. Above them, would be one flat, 2.0 keycap intended to be smacked not with the thumb but the forefinger. I'd lose two keys doing that, but maybe I would add another stabilized key just past the upper 1.25 keys and I'd only be one key per-hand down.

 Someone above said they put a space bar under their left thumb. That is SO unnatural. I had the same keyboard at work, for about ten years. Then when it came time to program my ergodox, I looked at common layouts, which had two space bars, then I looked at the wear patterns of my work keyboard. Under the right thumb, the spacebar's factory texture was still discernible. But the right thumb had worn not just smooth, but there was a decided groove worn into the keycap. I only have one spacebar, now.

HHKB-lite2, Dvorak user

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 10 December 2020, 18:32:02 »
i hold space with my left when in design programs (mouse in other hand), but use right space when actually writing/typing.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline fpazos

  • Posts: 146
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 11 December 2020, 10:01:49 »
Finally I found some time to read the post and thread. Everything has been very interesting.

The keyboard looks interesting but somehow I feel very attracted by having a 4kg keyboard as your first one hahahaha.

I only have a Viterbi and I'll buy a Lily which I find very interesting.

I think the problem with ergonomics is that, for being the perfect ergonomic keyboards it should fit your needs flawlessly at 100% and the problem with this, is that everyone has its own needs. For example for me your design lacks one more thumb key. So it's impossible to create the perfect ergonomic keyboard for everyone unless you create your own, as you made.

Enviado desde mi BAH-W09 mediante Tapatalk

 

Offline nevin

  • Posts: 1627
  • Location: US
Re: Ergonomic keyboards - my conclusions so far with designing and building them.
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 11 December 2020, 11:02:04 »
i wanted to try thumb keys, so i picked up an ergodash. but, because the innermost colums are only 3 keys it pushes the alpha block out by one column and makes shortcuts a wider stretch. plus the thumb keys (mods) are a little farther away too. so i ended up going back to my trusty viterbi. it's not fancy, but it's hands down my favorite of the boards i've had. it's also a rev.1 (that's how i had 1.25 mods on the left half, now all 1u as of last evening)

Lily looks like a good choice. :thumb:
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68