Author Topic: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21  (Read 13877 times)

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Offline Ustinj

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[IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:37:03 »
Slate FRL TKL



Now that I'm wrapping up on a small self-fulfilled keyboard GB for Moment, here is the very early IC for SLATE, an F-Rowless TKL keyboard that I've been working on for a while. Yes, I spend a lot of my spare time trying to make things...

The Goal

When I start a new keyboard project, I always try to do something a little bit differently. Moment had the angled chamfers and curves; Cloudline had the soft, sweeping, contrasting curve fitting closely with its theming; Derivative has a somewhat interesting side-profile and a gently-curved cherry lip. All of these boards have some form of a shelf / handle side-profile and slightly angled rears, leading to a bit of an 'aggressive' stance between all of them. After seeing so many beautiful and distinguishable boards without shelved side-profiles such as the HHKB HG, Keycult No.2, Bisoromi's Kei, various Noxary boards, etc., I really wanted to make something without the previous shelf design - it proved to be a bigger challenge than anticipated.


To my dismay, I constantly ended up with a keyboard that looked a little too much like something else. It either ended up looking like a No.2 with the gently lifted rear, a wedge with an HG chamfer, or a plain wedge. There is nothing wrong with any of these, because they all looked clean and beautiful... but I didn't feel worth putting it forward, as it didn't have that 'unique' touch that I strive to include (plus I'd probably get roasted for "looking like ______").

I've attempted to start this project dozens of times, and ended up abandoning what I had, dozens of times - it was frustrating!


TL;DR: I badly wanted to make a keyboard design without a "shelf" / handles, but my dozens of attempts were scrapped for lack of identity.

History of "Slate" (expand for more)

More

The name SLATE was initially chosen around on the basic wedge-like design I was aiming for. The wedge design is usually the very first keyboard design any keyboard designer creates - I created my first wedge on September 5th, 2020 (thank you to my partner Shannie for encouraging me) - a blank SLATE, if you will. The Tofu (the wedgiest of them all) was the first foray into custom keyboards for many enthusiasts here today. Almost every keyboard design I've made starts as a blank slate (Moment, Cloudline, Derivative, this), and is built upon into a more refined, unique, and complete product. Oh yeah, and a slate is also a flat stone that people used to write on.

However, though I've given up on the project multiple times, picked it back up, re-used the name for different designs - I think I've finally settled on a design that *doesn't* have a shelved side-profile, and something different enough that I'm happy with it. I have decided to keep the name SLATE following its annoying history..



Details

  • Layout: F-Rowless TKL (WKL / FULL)
  • Mounting: Top mount / PCB gasket mount
  • Materials: 6063 Aluminum top, [Dyed] polycarbonate bottom, stainless steel / brass weight
  • Typing Angle: 7 degrees
  • Front Height: ~17.5mm, ~22.6mm EKH
  • Plates: tbd, HALF plate by default
  • Pricing: timeline is very far away so will definitely change - target price <$5xx



The Design (finally)


A simple soft chamfer around the front and rear edges of the board transitions seamlessly to a more interesting convex left and right face. The side profile is something I'd liken to an "inverse Dolphin" - while the curves might look a bit expensive, this side profile can be milled entirely with a 3-axis CNC: a convex face, crossed with a 45-degree chamfer on the top case, creates a visual curve that seems to exceed the three linear axes.


Moving towards the bottom edge of the case - the accented bottom piece lifts gently at the edges, giving the board a subtle 'floating' effect. With the planned underglow PCB, cases with clear polycarbonate bottoms can expect a subtle spill of underglow from the sides (to be verified / tested). Also makes the board a bit easier to pick up.


The case design also aims for a fully-screwless exterior design similar to the Keycult No. 2, in which the case fasteners are hidden by a bottom weight that is secured through screws reached through the plate. While it does make assembly a bit more complex and painstaking, it allows us to avoid screw threads tapped directly into the polycarbonate bottom case, which are prone to stripping. Also, it isn't nearly as visible as having the fasteners near the plate between the keycaps. Another highlight of the bottom is the contrast of several materials - an aluminum top case accents the perimeter, while a color-coordinated dyed polycarbonate bottom curves down into the stainless steel or brass weight. The blend of these three different materials is definitely something that I hope to see more of.



The Mounting

The Slate FRL TKL is designed to have two comfortable options for mounting - a classic top mount, and a gasketed PCB-mount. A single layer of non-adhesive (removeable for top-mounting) gasket strips will be sandwiched between the bottom case and the PCB, while the top case's slight compression of the plate will secure these strips in place. If these isolation strips aren't used, the plate can instead be fastened to the top case in your traditional, tried-and-true top mount.




Project Timeline / IC things

Some of you guys may know that I tend to juggle multiple projects (but will never run more than one self-fulfilled group buy at once). I've just wrapped up fulfillment for my previous small run, Moment. The sale model I hope to follow for my projects is is that I'll do a small, self-fulfilled limited run with limited color options and engravings. If people still want the board after, then I'll pass the project to a vendor to do a larger sale, as I can only handle so much myself.

  • Prototype 0 (complete, design changes made)
  • Apr 2022: Initial IC
  • Prototype 1 + PCB prototype (in progress)
  • ...
  • Q3/4 2022: Round 0 (small run)?
  • ...


Initial IC Form: https://forms.gle/3hgH18KF895LyHak7
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jjw_kb
Discord (any small runs / news will happen here): https://discord.gg/uwBXETHrP9





Prototypes / Media

Was not a fan of prototype 0 - the side profile had large fillets which didn't look great in direct light. Prompted an external redesign (proto enroute). However, the contrasting bottom materials looked fantastic and the screwless assembly worked handily (though I've slightly tweaked the plate to allow for larger tool clearance.

More






Thank you for any feedback / support.


« Last Edit: Sat, 21 May 2022, 15:08:13 by Ustinj »

Offline sirieous

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:38:29 »
very cool mr justin

Offline ankit

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:39:13 »
that side profile :p

Offline unusuaL_

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:44:08 »
very interesting variation on the wedge, nice job
Currently typing on: imaginary tkl proto

Offline linell

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:45:23 »
I love the chamfer  :thumb:

Offline frigidisdead

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:46:44 »
Looks really cool while still being different than your previous designs. With no exaggeration, I will purchase whatever you release good sir.

Offline chat and team

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:49:06 »
pricing lol, another boring tkl
geekhack mods constantly break tos and refuse to read
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Offline Slayer77

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:52:56 »
pricing lol, another boring tkl
Wow, revolutionary feedback right here!

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Offline DuellM

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 03:54:11 »
Another Fantastic Keyboard Project 😊. Will Be Watching & Waiting For This  ^-^

Offline ylothar

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 04:01:00 »
[...] If people still want the board after [...]



Dude, go straight to unlimited GB!!!

Beautiful!!!

I'm still waiting for my Cloudline but can't wait for this project to come to fruition. Good job!!!
«How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?»

Offline whirlwind

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 04:07:22 »
Eating ramen for another month I guess, first it was the cloudline, then the cat tray and now this!

Offline Gnome

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 05:08:27 »
Been waiting for this for quite a while. FRL tkl so good.  :thumb:
Some more layout support would be nice, Like split backspace and split Rshift.
Looking foward to GB, Maybe I'll even get a chance to get in on the R0.

Offline Zyrophr

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 05:11:53 »
Alright I'm sold
French keyboard streamer

Offline Screen.jing

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 08:29:17 »
good looking Mr Justin!
Too many projects going on at once
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Offline granola bar enthusiast

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 08:52:31 »
side profile looks pretty cool, although on the "gasket"-ish mount is there not going to be something above the PCB where the lower gasket is? would this cause any issues as i have noticed this to not have been done on other boards i have looked at or built

Offline bshendy

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 09:53:54 »
this is a fkin clapper, can't wait for this one

Offline wigol2506

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 10:15:52 »
Really appreciate your dedication to the craft; will be interested in going in on this.
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Offline dantambok

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 10:38:26 »
ooo i like the curves
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Offline Ghostinn

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 10:59:47 »
Absolutely gorgeous design, will follow this as the prototypes come in. Excited to see this project come to fruition!

Offline WXYaa

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 11:22:18 »
Very very nice!

Offline darthcapn

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 11:38:34 »
Aahh I love all your designs so much!

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Offline Draxion

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 11:41:05 »
Gold

Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 12:05:42 »
So hawt

Offline ImaSpacePotato

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #23 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 12:29:46 »
Nice to see more FRL TKL, though can't say the curves are for me.

GLWIC anyways.

Offline pyrobunny

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 12:45:55 »
Absolutely beautiful board, that side profile looks fantastic! This could very well be my first FRL TKL  :)

Offline pepperfez

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 13:25:01 »
I would like for you to stop designing boards that will make me cry when I lose the lottery to buy one.

Offline BasedCoper

  • Posts: 47
Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 23 April 2022, 16:40:19 »
Love me some top mount FRLs. But why go "screwless" and force us to see every screw ALL the time... :(

Offline autumnfall

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 25 April 2022, 19:54:52 »
There's lots of FRL TKL lately, but this one is particularly good looking!

Offline pixelpusher

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 25 April 2022, 20:25:45 »
Is there a render of the entire keyboard?

Offline Nonnegaard

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #29 on: Tue, 26 April 2022, 05:17:53 »
(plus I'd probably get roasted for "looking like ______").

it looks like an Andromeda. jk
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Offline flying1911

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #30 on: Wed, 27 April 2022, 19:58:13 »
Justin never disappoints. Another great design!
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Offline yangsiyin

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #31 on: Wed, 27 April 2022, 22:54:28 »
front-face: hmmm TKL?!
side-face: Shut-up and Take my money~~~~

Offline exusiailover79

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Initial IC, Feedback Gathering
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 04 May 2022, 01:46:29 »
beautiful board that curve pulls gooch im in

Offline Ustinj

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | Prototype 2 Photos - 5/21
« Reply #33 on: Sat, 21 May 2022, 15:07:56 »
Just took delivery of the latest prototype. Now having it in person, I'm very very pleased with how it looks. I don't think I'll be exploring the option of thinner vertical bezels anymore - I think it looks really good how it is, definitely was not expecting for it to  look this good in person.






Offline less_blank

  • Posts: 69
Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« Reply #34 on: Sat, 21 May 2022, 18:35:39 »
Proto looks so good. Thick bezels is definitely the right call.

Offline Ashen_21

  • Posts: 53
Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« Reply #35 on: Sat, 21 May 2022, 22:37:42 »
The love the design and that side profile! GLWIC!

Offline prashnerd

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« Reply #36 on: Sun, 22 May 2022, 05:27:07 »
After seeing the design of the Neson 700e I have been more and more convinced of the FRL TKL layout. I think I would be very sorely tempted by this board if the timing works out and is priced well. Definitely going to be watching this with great interest. Also, is this going to be offered with a hotswap PCB option or solderable only? If the latter, I hope we see more options for layouts like split backspace etc.

Watching the thread for now!

Offline Friendship

  • Posts: 175
Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« Reply #37 on: Thu, 26 May 2022, 08:43:48 »
Dang I really like this, well done! Hopefully I can snag one ;D
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Offline hottrout

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« Reply #38 on: Fri, 27 May 2022, 09:08:41 »
Clean ... very clean.
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Offline EdgeOfInfinity

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« Reply #39 on: Wed, 22 June 2022, 23:25:23 »
nice work dude!

Offline TQuest

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Re: [IC] Slate - FRL TKL | New Prototype Photos - 5/21
« Reply #40 on: Fri, 12 August 2022, 01:21:16 »
Love the side profile and overall design. The top mount / pcb mount option is very interesting - does this mean there is a possibility to go plateless using the pcb mount option?