Author Topic: New tinkerer  (Read 2759 times)

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Offline wjrii

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  • Location: Texas
New tinkerer
« on: Fri, 06 October 2023, 12:17:26 »
Hey y'all.  Glad to be here.  I'm firmly a budget guy for my regular stuff, though I like ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the pretty shiny things.  I have made a couple of custom RP2040 handwired ortho boards, one a Planck with an extra column and the other a hard-wired split.  They're perfectly functional but clearly the work of a newbie. Looking forward to upping my game here.  Next project is a set of aluminum plates from KLE and swill's plate generator that are on their way from the Xometry (hoping that I didn't cheap out too much... we'll see).  I tweaked the TKL layout to have just a bit more of a retro vibe without making it too alien to use.  Plan is to hand-wire and make a simple sandwich case with the sides made from walnut out of my woodshop scrap bin.

For my (SUPERBUDGET!!!!!) pre-builts, in addition to switching out stock cheap switches and keycaps for aftermarket cheap switches and keycaps that I like better, I've also re-soldered the hotswaps on one budget board (LTC Neon 75... MF'ers kept popping loose when I was changing switches) and added foam and weight to the single cheapest hotswap 1800 that I could find on Amazon.  I have another (FL-Esports 980) where a pad lifted, and I just cannot get it to work reliably, so I'm going to leverage the steel plate and convert the whole thing into a handwired.  Got a matrix done up that is pretty wonky, but should be physically possible to wire and get onto an MCU with 20 GPIO pins.

Offline Rhienfo

  • Posts: 586
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Why is everything I want here so expensive :(
Re: New tinkerer
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 07 October 2023, 22:01:25 »
Welcome to geekhack :)

DIY stuff is pretty cool, do you have any pics of those ortho boards that you handwired, would love to see them.

Also if you like doing that sort of stuff than go check out the making stuff together section, tons of great stuff in there.

Offline wjrii

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  • Location: Texas
Re: New tinkerer
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 09 October 2023, 19:22:14 »
Definitely planning to spend some time in the "making stuff together" forum.  I'm getting antsy to see if either I or the lowest bidder vendor on Xometry messed up my plates to the point where they're unusable, but this first go was a pretty conservative design, so I'm optimistic.  If it works out, it'll be a TKL, less about three keys, but with a few nods to 8- and 16-bit computers. Stuff like a compressed and centered F row reminiscent of BBC Micro's, most of the modifiers moved off the bottom row (it turns out I very nearly copied the HHKB layout, but that at least leaves me confident it'll be usable) so the spacebar is sort of hanging out there like many retro keyboards, and I nudged the arrow cluster up half a unit to work with that look without messing up the potential to use sculpted keycaps.  It's meant to be vaguely reminiscent of the Japanese MSX computers, but I need my inverted-T and I couldn't quite bring myself to commit to vertical 2U keys for Left and Right (which was a rare but not unheard-of layout on MSX machines). Last thing I did was omit PS, SL, and PB, mostly for looks, exiling them to an Fn layer that actually won't have much to do.

I posted my orthos on federated social media:

50-key Planck variation.

56-key split, ortho but with a couple of "winglets" that could accomodate a 1u pinky stagger.
« Last Edit: Mon, 09 October 2023, 19:24:45 by wjrii »

Offline Rhienfo

  • Posts: 586
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Why is everything I want here so expensive :(
Re: New tinkerer
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 10 October 2023, 19:40:06 »
that ortho stuff is pretty cool, wanted to do one of those split ergos based on my hands one day, think that wwould be a sick project.

also um can you show me a photo of this new layout (in like keyboard-layout-editor or something) I'm not visualizing this layout lol.

Offline wjrii

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Re: New tinkerer
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 11 October 2023, 16:33:16 »
Sure.  There's nothing groundbreaking here.  Like I said, it's basically (though not exactly) a HHKB with an F-Row and most of a nav cluster.  It just scratches an itch I had while browsing through old-computers.com.  I went through several variations, but settled on having this one cut because it could accommodate most "hundred and whatever" discount keycap sets, including sculpted profiles, without mismatched legends or anything.