Author Topic: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]  (Read 450346 times)

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Offline user888

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1550 on: Wed, 26 November 2014, 00:07:05 »
@AcidFire, I like your work (and with me a lot of people: 120K times read already!). For what it's worth, I especially like the V-shaped model, the one that's called model-05-03 on this page. I think this keyboard is unique for two main reasons:

  • It closes the gap between traditional keyboards and ergonomic keyboards. It looks less alien and allows persuading newcomers.
  • The form factor of the keyboard allows for easy traveling, great for existing users of say Ergodox

The fact that left and right parts are fixed in one case should not be a problem. Just Google for images of Ergodox' on peoples desktop. Most of the people use their Ergodox in an angle of around 10~15ish degrees (a little wider than the model-05-03 proto). One size could fit all in this case. It may not be the most ergonomic solution (I can see that you are striving for the best solution), but hey, as long as 99% is using QWERTY on a traditional keyboard it sure improves things a lot!

Just my 5 cents. I know with 120K reads there are 120K opinions ;)

Offline AcidFire

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    • Axios - The Open Source Modular Ergonomic Keyboard
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1551 on: Wed, 26 November 2014, 18:22:53 »
I think this is the thread I have watched the most in my life. Okay, okay, compared to a lot on here I haven't watched many, but I am very much enjoying the development of this project. Great work AcidFire! And I am only a little biased because I live in Calgary too :D. It was pretty funny how excited I was when I found that out; you know, hometown pride and all. And don't worry, no stalking inclinations here ;).

I would just like to say that I have gone through a decent number of pointing devices for my RSI symptoms, and the best option I have found is to use a trackpad with one hand in conjunction with performing mouse clicks/shortcuts on the keyboard with the other hand. I am currently trying to figure out how to mount the trackpad vertically above my Kinesis Advantage. Here is a link to the related GH post: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=65895.0

Maybe an option down the road for the Axios is to offer a mount that would position a trackpad vertically above the keyboard ;).

No worries about the stalking, technically I don't live in Calgary so I won't be that easy to stalk ;) That being said there are a few users who are local and once I've gotten the prototype to a level I feel confident having other people put their hands on we'll definitely do a sit down on a weekend.

The trackpad mounting is interesting, I hadn't seen that done before but due to the nature of the design I'm sure we could look at rigging something up down the road. Maybe when the hands on gathering happens you can bring your kinesis and show me how it works for you, I'd love to check out the concept.

Personally I'm not interested in mouse emulators on a keyboard (I have a rather odd method of putting the mouse between the halves of my ErgoDox at the moment), but those scrolling hats could be nice for editing (emulating left/right key presses on scroll, for example). Much more interested in seeing the current keyboard prototype in production, however ;)
@tups I'm with you, no mouse emulators (or an option to order without or disable it). Nothing can beat my Apple Magic Mouse.
And that's why it'll be an optional addon instead of included with the kit. Everyone has their preference, hence  Axios was designed to be adaptable ;)

Though the one pictured is not at the proper height relative to the armrest; the wrist in that picture is bent upward in a way that will put a lot of strain on the finger extensor muscles/tendons.

I think AcidFire addresses this himself by saying this is not the best example. But as a principle it is a very neat feature to have and it is not offered by similar devices. And although you are correct about the positioning, that still will be a personal preference about comfort. Even with all the features to make it ergonomic as possible, people will have setup that can be far from ideal because they think it feel better.
In hindsight I really should have taken a less awkward looking photo, but as I mentioned previously the flex arm wasn't nearly ridged enough; everytime I bumped it the positioning would move. At some point I'll try and get better photos with a more solid setup.

It is amusing/interesting that you have arrived at this same solution that I have been working on with a custom keyboard of my own that uses hall effect microjoysticks in it, motivated by recurring friction caused by how incompetently designed keyboards are and OS side key chording limitations. I am not surprised though with how creative and ambitious that you have been already in this design. I'm working on it at present when I have some time, and I'll report back to you once I have it implemented sanely. Surprisingly, out of the joysticks which are suitable for the embedded design arrived at, there is not a great deal of supply for them; additionally, the ones which incorporate a default joystick cap is not that comfortable, and there are a lot that I have tried which require too much force or are too insensitive for this purpose. It is definitely much trial and error finding ones that work here. This is so obviously the solution and logical conclusion of the trackpoints that IBM has utilized and such an effective solution to the problems of keyboarding design that it is shocking that none have done so in a manner which implements this logical conclusion.
That'd be great, I'm always looking at different ways of implementing this sort of thing and how others do it as well. I spotted somewhere else on the forum (will have to dig up the thread) where they're using strain gauges to do something similar but my issue with the ibm trackpoint and the lack of give they have would probably stop me from using that sort of setup.

but those scrolling hats could be nice for editing (emulating left/right key presses on scroll, for example).
If you can get spares and they are easy to replace...

Because all products I have with those wheels have had problems with them. After some moderate use, there's plently of issues (including left rotations that produce sometimes right movements). I'm curious if AcidFire's ones are of a higher quality.
I've seen that on a few as well. Sometimes it's mechanical, others it's a lack of proper debounce/state tracking. When we're ready to get a feature like this going we'll be running them through jigs to ensure that whatever ships will at the very least perform like they should for what the part is rated for.

@AcidFire, I like your work (and with me a lot of people: 120K times read already!). For what it's worth, I especially like the V-shaped model, the one that's called model-05-03 on this page. I think this keyboard is unique for two main reasons:

  • It closes the gap between traditional keyboards and ergonomic keyboards. It looks less alien and allows persuading newcomers.
  • The form factor of the keyboard allows for easy traveling, great for existing users of say Ergodox

The fact that left and right parts are fixed in one case should not be a problem. Just Google for images of Ergodox' on peoples desktop. Most of the people use their Ergodox in an angle of around 10~15ish degrees (a little wider than the model-05-03 proto). One size could fit all in this case. It may not be the most ergonomic solution (I can see that you are striving for the best solution), but hey, as long as 99% is using QWERTY on a traditional keyboard it sure improves things a lot!

Just my 5 cents. I know with 120K reads there are 120K opinions ;)
The v design is actually 15 degrees for each side, which I found to be a happy medium in terms of angles. For the initial run I'm trying to include parts that would allow you to join both halves and retain the adjustability. The only thing I'm currently having a hard time nailing down is adjustability in the angle between the halves. As for the single case design it hasn't been taken off the table yet, but I was advised (and rightly so I think) to focus on the current design first, get it out the door and then look at additional case options. That being said if the campaign does well enough backers may find an extra casing option included with their kits.

Speaking of keycaps, I'm currently looking at swapping the 2x/1x/1x on the big thumb clusters to 1.5x/1.5x/1x to make the secondary row more functional/easier to strike.
This change seems good. After working on the ergodox, I keep complaining about the 1u/2u configuration. I want either 1/1/1 or 1.5/1.5.
I wasn't a fan of the 1/1/1(/1?) configuration, hence settling on the 1.5/1.5/1, though there's the potential to release the other designs as swap in modules down the road if there's enough interest in them.

Offline Nico_h

  • Posts: 8
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1552 on: Sat, 29 November 2014, 17:45:48 »
This is the thread I got an account on GeekHack for, and I can't wait for the ErgoGP/Axios to become real. Good hunting to AcidFire to make it happen.

Offline sheeap

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1553 on: Sat, 29 November 2014, 23:35:59 »
...there are a few users who are local and once I've gotten the prototype to a level I feel confident having other people put their hands on we'll definitely do a sit down on a weekend.

The trackpad mounting is interesting, I hadn't seen that done before but due to the nature of the design I'm sure we could look at rigging something up down the road. Maybe when the hands on gathering happens you can bring your kinesis and show me how it works for you, I'd love to check out the concept.

A-w-e-s-o-m-e. I would definitely be up for both! :D

Offline berserkfan

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1554 on: Sun, 30 November 2014, 07:18:52 »
Acidfire, I made a

https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=66202.msg1548805#msg1548805
Made a second Tipro casings photolog.
Hope that helps. The second is a more modern design, lighter and plastic. I think the casing might wind up being more expensive due to molding needs, but the PCB and cable connectors may give you good ideas.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline AcidFire

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    • Axios - The Open Source Modular Ergonomic Keyboard
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1555 on: Mon, 08 December 2014, 23:25:26 »
Berserk that's an awesome thread, it's always really cool to see how these sorts of things get put together by other people. The cable bus between the parts is of particular interest. While we've looked at those cables, the issue of size became a major concern, since the lines that have to be run to both the thumb cluster and the f row cluster number up to 20. This could be reduced by adding either processors or io expanders, but of course this adds cost and in the case of the f-row there isn't enough space. Hence the FPC cables; they're more flexible, require less finishing (connector install) and they're smaller. The only down side is strain relief, but we should be able to tackle that.

I've also been working on the wrist rest since aside from niceties on the case, it's the only major outstanding issue. I'm going to be trying a version of the case with the wrist rest built in since the tented stand without it just isn't stable. It's taller at the back end of the main unit than a typical keyboard and without the wrist rest causes a more severe deviation than a typical keyboard. For those of you who are wanting a more streamlined version, I've also got a design for something that should be as thin or thinner than the ergodox that allows the rest to be removed. This design still allows for the distance of the thumb cluster to be adjusted, but only on a flat plane.

On the development timeline side, we had a bit of an unfortunate incident last weekend:

While it's been a rather painful week for all of us, my fiancee is suffering the worst and currently is home from work. Between physio and work around the house that she's unable to help with my development time is becoming severely limited, so if the updates are lacking in the next couple of weeks I apologize in advance. I'll keep trying to sneak in time wherever I can.

Offline hoggy

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1556 on: Tue, 09 December 2014, 00:54:55 »
Eek. Hope you both recover soon.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline jeep

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1557 on: Tue, 09 December 2014, 01:15:18 »
On the development timeline side, we had a bit of an unfortunate incident last weekend:

 Hope your family gets better soon.

Offline berserkfan

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1558 on: Tue, 09 December 2014, 01:33:45 »
Is that your kid looking out of the seat?

Yes, do get well soon. And watch your health/ watch out for any unexpected changes in your weight or diet. Sometimes these crashes cause internal injuries (eg to intestines and stomach wall, when your body is thrown hard against some seat belts) that affect your digestion and show up as bleeding in the toilet. As adults you and your fiancťe should be able to take action, but children sometimes don't understand.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline MOZ

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1559 on: Tue, 09 December 2014, 07:06:47 »
Berserk that's an awesome thread, it's always really cool to see how these sorts of things get put together by other people. The cable bus between the parts is of particular interest. While we've looked at those cables, the issue of size became a major concern, since the lines that have to be run to both the thumb cluster and the f row cluster number up to 20. This could be reduced by adding either processors or io expanders, but of course this adds cost and in the case of the f-row there isn't enough space. Hence the FPC cables; they're more flexible, require less finishing (connector install) and they're smaller. The only down side is strain relief, but we should be able to tackle that.

I've also been working on the wrist rest since aside from niceties on the case, it's the only major outstanding issue. I'm going to be trying a version of the case with the wrist rest built in since the tented stand without it just isn't stable. It's taller at the back end of the main unit than a typical keyboard and without the wrist rest causes a more severe deviation than a typical keyboard. For those of you who are wanting a more streamlined version, I've also got a design for something that should be as thin or thinner than the ergodox that allows the rest to be removed. This design still allows for the distance of the thumb cluster to be adjusted, but only on a flat plane.

On the development timeline side, we had a bit of an unfortunate incident last weekend:
Show Image

While it's been a rather painful week for all of us, my fiancee is suffering the worst and currently is home from work. Between physio and work around the house that she's unable to help with my development time is becoming severely limited, so if the updates are lacking in the next couple of weeks I apologize in advance. I'll keep trying to sneak in time wherever I can.

Forget the keyboards, real life and real problems are much more important then keyboards irrespective of how much we love them.

Offline JackMills

  • Posts: 153
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1560 on: Wed, 10 December 2014, 05:12:55 »
Ow man, get well soon. Take time to recover, with car accidents not all injuries are obvious right away, as described in detail by Berserkfan. Take your time to get used to driving again, it would be normal to feel scared when going on the road again.

Offline berserkfan

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1561 on: Wed, 10 December 2014, 05:33:31 »
Ow man, get well soon. Take time to recover, with car accidents not all injuries are obvious right away, as described in detail by Berserkfan. Take your time to get used to driving again, it would be normal to feel scared when going on the road again.

Ya, generally for internal injuries your diet, digestion, appetite and excretion are affected. Since the internal organs are soft, it's more about bruising, internal clots, etc. The danger is not with adults who generally will recognize that something is wrong, but with kids who might not report the changes.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline thadood

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1562 on: Wed, 10 December 2014, 12:13:05 »
I wish you both a speedy recovery! I went through a bad wreck back in 2012 that I still have issues with. My right side (right hand was on steering wheel, which I bent on impact) has a fair amount of arthritis, my right hand has occasional weird nerve issues that cause pain, and I had to have surgery on my left middle finger because a piece of glass severed the tendon that's responsible for bringing your fingers straight.

If I were a litigious person, I'd have gone after the doctor that said everything is fine and sent me home without any medication / therapy recommendations. Didn't find out about the tendon until almost two weeks later, after being told "Just give it some time, sometimes the muscles are in shock", I went to a specialist and he was pretty shocked about the situation.

Offline EvillePanda

  • Posts: 113
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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1563 on: Sun, 14 December 2014, 00:29:22 »
Ouch, hope both of you feel better soon.
Visit the Typing Test and try!

Offline Scoox

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1564 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 08:42:43 »
Take care man, get well soon!!

Offline kittykatmax

  • Posts: 157
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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1565 on: Wed, 21 January 2015, 17:26:07 »
We haven't heard from you in a while.  I hope you and your fiancee are doing better!
Visit the Typing Test and try!

Offline AcidFire

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    • Axios - The Open Source Modular Ergonomic Keyboard
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1566 on: Fri, 23 January 2015, 18:26:07 »
Hey guys, thought I'd pop on quick and say thank you for the well wishes, we're both getting better (though slower than we'd like) and hopefully my fiancee will be back at work next week, part time. In the meantime I've been slowly spinning back up into finishing off development.

I've been working on the design for the last couple of weeks, and there are a couple of things I think the latest design addresses that I plan to post photos of over the weekend as I print more parts.

1) Plate material
After long comparisons, I find far more preference for metal mount plates vs plastic, so I'm working with the pricing to squeeze aluminum plates into the design without a massive change in value. I've also been working on design for these plates that is compatible with both Cherry MX & Matias switches.

2) Cherry MX & Matias compatible PCBs
I'm also working on upgrading the existing PCB designs for Matias support as well. The upshot of this is the boards require little to no modification to include it. Unfortunately however a doubled sided footprint for the Matias ends up being a slot instead of holes and would do a terrible job of keeping the switch aligned. If I end up having to go with separate designs for each side, it definitely helps to free up some of the frustrations that the double sided boards introduce. I'll be evaluating how this would affect the bottomline of the price of the kits.

3) Thumb cluster switch changes
The more I look at the design, the top three 1u switches on each side seem to be counter intuitive to the end goal of reducing strain by reducing travel, so I'm experimenting with dropping them. In their place, I'm looking at using the space for a set of 5 RGB LEDs on each side for indicators, since dropping the switches & caps helps to balance out the cost while putting them in a nice visible position. For those of you asking for some kind of display, this would also make for a very handy mounting point.

4) Open top/sides (Similar to Corsair K70) vs Closed (like most boards)
I've had requests for both and in what seems to be a continual pattern for this project, opinion has been split down the middle. The current iteration of the design now will accommodate both and even allow you to switch between them fairly easily.

5) Getting under the hood
The current iteration harkens back to my earlier acrylic designs, with the assembly screws being inserted from the top. Not only does this allow the new design to work the way it does (pics coming I promise) but it also gives the tinkerers a chance to get under the hood while it's set up, also making troubleshooting easier for those who'll be building their own kits.

6) RGB
For those of you interested in RGB, I had an idea for an add-on for the Matias switches that I think is pretty clever in the way it can be installed without the removal of the Matias switches. Unfortunately I don't have the same type of option for the Cherry MX yet, but I'll keep it going on the back burner.

Check back over the weekend, I have a lot I plan to share over the next couple of days.

Offline conandy

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1567 on: Fri, 23 January 2015, 23:16:09 »
Glad to see you back in action, Acidfire.  Hope the fiancee and yourself are doing well and recovering back to 100%. 

Looking forward to the updated pics and design alterations. 

Some thoughts on keyswitches. It may have been addressed earlier in the thread, but have you considered the Kailh cherry MX-compatible switches as an alternative to genuine cherry MX?  I haven't used them (only felt them in the store), but they seem to be gaining popularity in some of the major brands of keyboards like Razer.  I was just thinking maybe they'd be a more reasonable and reliable supplier than Cherry.  Also: I'd be fine if you committed 100% to Mattias switches for the first version of the Axios, too.  Rather than re-iterating the design to accomodate either/or MX or Mattias.  I'd focus on one or the other (whomever can supply you the switches most reliably and cost effectively), but maybe you'll end up with one version of the boards for Mattias, and another for Cherry, when all is said and done.  I do respect the drive to design for all possibilities and to make everyone happy.  I am an engineer and also struggle with the "paralysis by analysis" but sometimes you just have to say "this is good enough". 

Personally, I think most of us here will buy the keyboard regardless of the switch choice, even though there are a lot of strong opinions on switches here.     

Also: what happened to the potential "Mattias designed and built Cherry MX-compatible switch" you had going on earlier?  Did that fall through or is that still potentially on the table?  That seemed like a tall order, but I was intrigued. 

If you REALLY want a following, you should design your own new improved buckling spring switches!   ;D




Offline Loligagger

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1568 on: Sat, 24 January 2015, 00:03:44 »
What about keycaps for a matias switch version? Scrounging alps compatible caps from old boards would surely be a hassle.

Offline AcidFire

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1569 on: Sat, 24 January 2015, 02:10:48 »
Glad to see you back in action, Acidfire.  Hope the fiancee and yourself are doing well and recovering back to 100%. 

Looking forward to the updated pics and design alterations. 

Some thoughts on keyswitches. It may have been addressed earlier in the thread, but have you considered the Kailh cherry MX-compatible switches as an alternative to genuine cherry MX?  I haven't used them (only felt them in the store), but they seem to be gaining popularity in some of the major brands of keyboards like Razer.  I was just thinking maybe they'd be a more reasonable and reliable supplier than Cherry.  Also: I'd be fine if you committed 100% to Mattias switches for the first version of the Axios, too.  Rather than re-iterating the design to accomodate either/or MX or Mattias.  I'd focus on one or the other (whomever can supply you the switches most reliably and cost effectively), but maybe you'll end up with one version of the boards for Mattias, and another for Cherry, when all is said and done.  I do respect the drive to design for all possibilities and to make everyone happy.  I am an engineer and also struggle with the "paralysis by analysis" but sometimes you just have to say "this is good enough". 

Personally, I think most of us here will buy the keyboard regardless of the switch choice, even though there are a lot of strong opinions on switches here.     

Also: what happened to the potential "Mattias designed and built Cherry MX-compatible switch" you had going on earlier?  Did that fall through or is that still potentially on the table?  That seemed like a tall order, but I was intrigued. 

If you REALLY want a following, you should design your own new improved buckling spring switches!   ;D
I think I may end up with plates specifically for the difference switch types, however the PBS are actually a bit simpler to keep flexible.

As for switch type, I too agree that I need to focus on one type and I'm leaning more and more towards for the Matias for a substantial cost savings and a much more even lighting profile since they come in clear by default. to compensate for those set on cherry, we'd offer a version in the campaign with everything but switches so people can still get theirs up and running how they'd like.

On the topic of the hybrid switches, I'd still like to do them however they require a substantial financial commitment that I am not nearly in the place to take on right now (we're currently down to just my income) but time as well since I'm told we're looking at a 6 month time minimum production time frame.

I do find myself more open now to evaluating the switches from Kailh since from what I understand they're supposedly the manufacturer for Matias as well, plus the same complaints that have been pointed at them I've managed to do with legit Cherry switches here.


What about keycaps for a matias switch version? Scrounging alps compatible caps from old boards would surely be a hassle.
Key caps I already have a source for, no need to scrounge ;)

Offline Koren

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1570 on: Sat, 24 January 2015, 06:02:45 »
First and foremost, I must say it's great to get some decent news about your recovering. I only learned about the accident very recently, because I had some "problems" at work that prevented me from visiting this forum, and I felt strange to offer wishes so late. I hope your family and you will fully recover quickly now.


And since you offer some new interesting things about your project...

3) Thumb cluster switch changes
The more I look at the design, the top three 1u switches on each side seem to be counter intuitive to the end goal of reducing strain by reducing travel, so I'm experimenting with dropping them. In their place, I'm looking at using the space for a set of 5 RGB LEDs on each side for indicators
I think those 1u switches are indeed pretty much useless for typing, but I find them useful to toggle the keyboard behavior (The kind of thing a 'numlock' key can do on a normal keyboard). Maybe I wouldn't switch the 1u keys on both sides (especially since 10 leds seems a bit much when keys act as led themselves) but anything you'll do will be great, I'm sure!

Key caps I already have a source for, no need to scrounge ;)
If there's a change from MX-compatible to Matthias switches, I'm happy I haven't ordered a keycaps set in advance ^_^

I was very close to do so (with WASD) a couple months ago, mostly because I was interested in a DCS or similar shape, and IIRC, the default keycaps will probably be flatter to keep costs down (?) Custom printed keys for Matthias switchs will probably be higher...

The thing that prevented me to make the order is that I wasn't able to find proper 1.5u keys for the sides.

Offline Nico_h

  • Posts: 8
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1571 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 04:21:58 »
First, welcome back AcidFire, and it's good everything seems to be getting better for yours and you.

As to the keyboard, I understand giving us a release date would be an exercise in futility, but I am sure a ballpark (e.g. First half of 2015 / summer/fall 2015...) would be appreciated by all. Otherwise an estimate on the scope of the remaining work to be done on your side would be awesome.

On paper, I am sold on the Matias Quiet click switches so i can't wait to get my hands on your board.

Offline AcidFire

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1572 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 05:34:49 »
Unfortunately my prints have been going a bit slow over the weekend, so I'll share some quick renders until I can get them finished up.


(The thumb plates don't have the cherry mod slots for the sake of speed)
These are the same kit, with a minor difference in parts. These parts will let you pick whether you want open or closed sides (or switch between them), with the added benefit that the caps can be removed easily for cleaning with a can of duster gas (also makes it easy to service without flipping it over). While the top 1u switches can be used reasonably while the unit sits flat, they're exceptionally uncomfortable to use while tented. As for the uses of the LEDs, there are a number of uses for them including layer indicator, caps/num/scroll lock, battery level, connection strength, email/message notification, etc etc. that I think the 10 are pretty useful without tying up use of the backlight.

As for keycaps, I'm still looking at offering DSA and DCS sets out of the gate. I've been reassured that since the molds already exist, there is no difference in the cost vs the Cherry MX stem especially since they'll still be laser etched.

The last hurdle before putting the campaign out has been finalizing the design, since the revisions of the electronics and firmware can be finished while the campaign is up and running. And really, the only thing holding up the design is printing the parts and making sure it all looks good together. We had another bit of good news this weekend as well when were talking to wedding photographers over the weekend. My fiancee was telling them what I've been working on and after the photog and his wife were done geeking out they told me they could help with the video, something I've been dreading putting together. So I suppose the short answer is: First half of 2015.

Offline kittykatmax

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1573 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 16:50:51 »
Welcome Back! :)  I'm glad things are finally starting to get somewhat back to normal for you and your fiancee.

I can only speak for myself, but:

- I'm beyond THRILLED about the option for an open (Corsair K70-style) keyboard design - SOOOO much easier to clean without necessarily having to pull keycaps (with three cats, that's a big plus!).  I also just love the look - visually cleaner and (imho) more modern/attractive.

- As for the thumb cluster, my biggest hopes are/were that it has enough buttons within easy reach so that I can: Space with the left and Backspace with the right, plus program Ctrl, Alt & Shift keys in order to give my pinkies a break. Six buttons is plenty!  That said, I had a thought; would a single, long key work for the third row, if the goal was to hit it with the heel of your thumb/edge of your palm, and not the end of your thumb?  If so, they'd work great as Space/Backspace, or potentially even mod, function or layer keys depending upon user preference.

- My personal switch preference is: Backlit Cherry MX > Backlit Matias > Cherry MX > Matias > Backlit Kailh > Kailh.  I tend to use my PC in a dim room, and while I touch type, I don't exclusively touch type, so I want/need to be able to see what is what! 

I love Cherry switches, but I'm open to trying Matias switches.  Being limited for custom keycaps (I forget, would they have cherry stems?) would be a concern, but that's a pain for any backlit keyboard, realistically.  As for the suggestion to check out Kailh by another member, I personally hope you don't.  I haven't read many good things, just a few people with brand new boards that claim they don't have issues yet (whoopie!).  I acknowledge that it's impossible to say whether many or all the negative comments are based more out of snobbery over a "made in China imitation" than truth. 

TLDR: Only time will tell if Kailh switches are true switch contenders, or just a cheap (price/quality) knock-off.

More
It might make me a bad person, but I can't help but feel more confident about Cherry, with their proven track record for quality and their German manufacturing, over some newcomer out of China (I know the company might have been around for a while, but not their Kailh switch).  "Made in China" doesn't mean a product can't be good or even great.  But, it's also true that I've personally had just enough bad experiences with various Chinese-manufactured "bargain-priced" or knock-off products, in conjunction with enough bad experiences with (poor quality) knock-offs regardless of WHERE they're made, that I lack out-of-the-gate faith. 

Regardless of any current user claims that their keyboard is fine, it's early days yet, and it doesn't mean the switches will hold up over time.  To truly know that will take...time.  Numbers based off of tests using a machine (which methodically presses a key over and over in precisely the same way each time) is imho NOT the same as the wear-and-tear a keyboard's switches will experience in the hands of an actual human being (hitting keys with varying force, at varying angles).  I've also heard, among other issues, that Kailh switches don't feel the same as Cherry switches, that Kailh switches have looser tolerances, and that they're made with cheaper plastics - all of which are of concern.  Just my two cents - well, as windy as I was (sorry), it's probably more like a couple dollars. lol
Visit the Typing Test and try!

Offline jacobolus

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1574 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 18:36:09 »
So I suppose the short answer is: First half of 2015.
Does that mean first half of 2015 for the crowd-funding campaign to go live, plus like 6Ė12 months to finish production?

In any event, while some design features arenít my personal cup of tea, Iím looking forward to seeing what these look like. The more alternative keyboard designs available, the better. All the best luck, I hope it goes smoothly!

Offline AbuBakr

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1575 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 20:16:36 »
I understand that anything such as Buckling Springs would be out of the question, but are you planning on offering this in a Topre variation? Considering that this is one of (if not THE) most modular, customizable, and ergonomic keyboard design I've ever seen, it would be quite a shame if it didn't come in Topre's.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1576 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 21:10:10 »
I understand that anything such as Buckling Springs would be out of the question, but are you planning on offering this in a Topre variation? Considering that this is one of (if not THE) most modular, customizable, and ergonomic keyboard design I've ever seen, it would be quite a shame if it didn't come in Topre's.
Itís way way harder to make a custom Topre keyboard, because it requires substantial support directly from the Topre Corporation to make custom parts in the new layout. You canít just buy separate switches and then build whatever you want. So my guess is that none of the new alternative keyboard projects is going to use Topre switches any time soon, and if you want to make it happen, you might want to go talk to Topre directly about how to make it work, since for the people designing new keyboards, itís way too big a commitment of time/effort to be worth it, considering the high chance that theyíll just say ďnope, sorryĒ or ďcome back when you have an order for 50000 unitsĒ.

Offline Nico_h

  • Posts: 8
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1577 on: Wed, 28 January 2015, 01:02:22 »

. So I suppose the short answer is: First half of 2015.

Awesome! Thanks a lot for the update!

Offline AcidFire

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    • Axios - The Open Source Modular Ergonomic Keyboard
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1578 on: Wed, 28 January 2015, 15:29:36 »
Welcome Back! :)  I'm glad things are finally starting to get somewhat back to normal for you and your fiancee.

I can only speak for myself, but:

- I'm beyond THRILLED about the option for an open (Corsair K70-style) keyboard design - SOOOO much easier to clean without necessarily having to pull keycaps (with three cats, that's a big plus!).  I also just love the look - visually cleaner and (imho) more modern/attractive.
I'm glad you like it. I've been flipping back and forth about the design and closed vs open, and was happy when I came up with a design that I think gives enough flexibility to let users pick what works for them. It's also handy that if you do go with the closed design, you can still remove the caps for easy cleaning.

- As for the thumb cluster, my biggest hopes are/were that it has enough buttons within easy reach so that I can: Space with the left and Backspace with the right, plus program Ctrl, Alt & Shift keys in order to give my pinkies a break. Six buttons is plenty!  That said, I had a thought; would a single, long key work for the third row, if the goal was to hit it with the heel of your thumb/edge of your palm, and not the end of your thumb?  If so, they'd work great as Space/Backspace, or potentially even mod, function or layer keys depending upon user preference.
I've tried using a long bar on the bottom row, and found I was striking it unintentionally when hitting the keys above it. The same rang true for the top row of 1u keys as well, I kept bumping the 1.5u below them unless I was specifically remembering not to.

- My personal switch preference is: Backlit Cherry MX > Backlit Matias > Cherry MX > Matias > Backlit Kailh > Kailh.  I tend to use my PC in a dim room, and while I touch type, I don't exclusively touch type, so I want/need to be able to see what is what! 

I love Cherry switches, but I'm open to trying Matias switches.  Being limited for custom keycaps (I forget, would they have cherry stems?) would be a concern, but that's a pain for any backlit keyboard, realistically.  As for the suggestion to check out Kailh by another member, I personally hope you don't.  I haven't read many good things, just a few people with brand new boards that claim they don't have issues yet (whoopie!).  I acknowledge that it's impossible to say whether many or all the negative comments are based more out of snobbery over a "made in China imitation" than truth. 

TLDR: Only time will tell if Kailh switches are true switch contenders, or just a cheap (price/quality) knock-off.
I used to be a fan of Cherry as well, but the attitude of their sales staff has seriously soured me on them, especially in contrast to the folks at Matias who have been nothing short of amazing. From what I've seen from Jesse(obra) and the Keyboardio the Matias also seem to have a fantastic evenness to their backlighting since you can centralize the light source, while the RGB from Corsair still have the characteristic fade from one side to the other. And as you mentioned, because it's a full backlit board you'll have very few custom options anyways. As I mentioned previously however, I will be doing a Cherry MX kit as well for those who absolutely have to have them, I just can't do preassembled Cherry without an $80~ premium to account for the difference in the pricing of switches.

So I suppose the short answer is: First half of 2015.
Does that mean first half of 2015 for the crowd-funding campaign to go live, plus like 6Ė12 months to finish production?

In any event, while some design features arenít my personal cup of tea, Iím looking forward to seeing what these look like. The more alternative keyboard designs available, the better. All the best luck, I hope it goes smoothly!
That would mean first quarter 2015 for funding, with a production time no longer than 6 months (barring major supply obstacles). Keeping basically all the production local will let us keep a much tighter set of reigns on the timeline.

I'm curious, what design features aren't appealing to you? I'm happy with the design myself and with the exception of minor tweaks for the sake of robustness & manufacturability have no plans to change it, but I always love the feedback.

I understand that anything such as Buckling Springs would be out of the question, but are you planning on offering this in a Topre variation? Considering that this is one of (if not THE) most modular, customizable, and ergonomic keyboard design I've ever seen, it would be quite a shame if it didn't come in Topre's.
Itís way way harder to make a custom Topre keyboard, because it requires substantial support directly from the Topre Corporation to make custom parts in the new layout. You canít just buy separate switches and then build whatever you want. So my guess is that none of the new alternative keyboard projects is going to use Topre switches any time soon, and if you want to make it happen, you might want to go talk to Topre directly about how to make it work, since for the people designing new keyboards, itís way too big a commitment of time/effort to be worth it, considering the high chance that theyíll just say ďnope, sorryĒ or ďcome back when you have an order for 50000 unitsĒ.
To be honest I'd hadn't given it any thought, but as jacobolus pointed out Topre's are a bit more of a time/funding sink than I currently have the capacity for. That being said, as long as the dimensions work (and the CM Novatouch hints that they may) I definitely wouldn't rule it out.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1579 on: Wed, 28 January 2015, 16:34:28 »
That would mean first quarter 2015 for funding, with a production time no longer than 6 months (barring major supply obstacles). Keeping basically all the production local will let us keep a much tighter set of reigns on the timeline.
Well, I wish you all the best.

Quote from: AcidFire
I'm curious, what design features aren't appealing to you?
I really donít want to sound like Iím bashing you, because I think every experimental design is great, we get to test out new ideas and see what works. For me personally, there are too many keys, with many of them unreachable, the columns arenít staggered ideally, and the whole thumb section is too far away, and the way it tilts puts the switches at a worse position and angle (for me personally anyway) than when itís just flat.

Iím glad youíre making it though, because other people can then try it and report back on which aspects work for them.

Quote from: AcidFire
To be honest I'd hadn't given it any thought, but as jacobolus pointed out Topre's are a bit more of a time/funding sink than I currently have the capacity for. That being said, as long as the dimensions work (and the CM Novatouch hints that they may) I definitely wouldn't rule it out.
CM Storm sunk a huge amount of time, effort, and resources into the Novatouch, and itís a huge gamble for them that could be disastrous if it flops (I have no idea what their sales are like, I really hope their gamble pays off, because itís nice to see more keyswitch alternatives in popular use). Itís certainly possible that you (or another small indy keyboard designer) could figure out a way to build a Topre version, especially if someone has friends at the Topre Corporation, or if a keyboard design turns out to be outrageously popular; it just seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

Offline AcidFire

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    • Axios - The Open Source Modular Ergonomic Keyboard
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1580 on: Wed, 28 January 2015, 17:41:50 »
I really donít want to sound like Iím bashing you, because I think every experimental design is great, we get to test out new ideas and see what works. For me personally, there are too many keys, with many of them unreachable, the columns arenít staggered ideally, and the whole thumb section is too far away, and the way it tilts puts the switches at a worse position and angle (for me personally anyway) than when itís just flat.

Iím glad youíre making it though, because other people can then try it and report back on which aspects work for them.
I don't consider it bashing at all, it's the same sort of feedback that I had from the ergodox that started me on this project in the first place and why we do what we do here :)

I know your points are yours personally but my inner engineer/designer can't help but reply:

there are too many keys
Can't really argue here, this is totally subjective to someone's intended use; that being said I tried to strike a balance between removing keys that don't get used as much outside of specific tasks like programming, while keeping enough that you don't have to shift between a number of layers to find what you need. Another factor was being able to resemble a standard QWERTY board as much as possible to make the transition for the average user as easy as possible. After this design goes out into the world, I have a couple more waiting that you may like a bit more.

with many of them unreachable
As previously mentioned, this was mostly due to the aim of striking a balance with something familiar and something new. The next designs I'd like to work on definitely seek to address it for those who are more open to new layouts.

columns arenít staggered ideally
this was something else I struggled with, especially with the index finger and trying to strike a balance between male & female anatomy. I do however think I need to raise/lower the pinkies about half a key(credit to you for inspiring this with your ergodox revisions) and dropping a key (bye bye caps lock :D ) to reduce their curl, and happily there is enough room the design that it's a relatively minor change to (admittedly one I keep forgetting to) make. I'm going to try a plate as well dropping the third key on the inner most column in favor of lowering the remaining two into a more reachable position (the very helpful reason I like having easily accessible plates).

whole thumb section is too far away
It is pushing it for sure when it's flat, however when tented and dropped the thumbs can actually come in a bit closer than they look. I'll see if I can do a better render to illustrate this. In the case design I'd like to release after the first run, the plates will remain the same but sit right against each other, minimizing the distance.

the way it tilts puts the switches at a worse position and angle
Again I would agree that this can be subjective, but I've found that with the thumb adjusted properly so that you rest in the middle, the keys to either side are a very comfortable movement to make. The next time I'm in SF I'd love to catch up and see if it fits better in person (and just to nerd out about keyboards in general).

CM Storm sunk a huge amount of time, effort, and resources into the Novatouch, and itís a huge gamble for them that could be disastrous if it flops (I have no idea what their sales are like, I really hope their gamble pays off, because itís nice to see more keyswitch alternatives in popular use). Itís certainly possible that you (or another small indy keyboard designer) could figure out a way to build a Topre version, especially if someone has friends at the Topre Corporation, or if a keyboard design turns out to be outrageously popular; it just seems unlikely to happen any time soon.
This is the half of the reason why I backed off doing a new type of switch for the initial production (the other half being a potentially 6-8 month dev/production time, and that was the most optimistic). The money I'd have to invest for a potentially bad switch (doubtful with Matias at the helm admittedly) that if they didn't feel right or just took too long was just took much of a risk. I'm glad to see Cooler Master & Logitech taking these types of risks to help open up the market and provide viable alternatives to the Cherry MX.

Offline JackMills

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1581 on: Thu, 29 January 2015, 02:25:38 »
Good to hear you and your significant other are doing well!

Just read through the new posts as I haven't frequented here that often, and I am still looking forward to the launch (doesn't matter when). I would love to go for Matias switches, especially with the RGB option as I have the idea of using the RGB to color code the keys (would look cool with blank translucent caps), if possible it would be great to change the color coding between layers.

Now the next step is to put Bluetooth in ;D

Offline jeep

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1582 on: Thu, 29 January 2015, 16:56:16 »
3) Thumb cluster switch changes
The more I look at the design, the top three 1u switches on each side seem to be counter intuitive to the end goal of reducing strain by reducing travel, so I'm experimenting with dropping them. In their

Well, I'll put in one vote to have the extra keys remain...

And welcome back. ;)

Offline AbuBakr

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1583 on: Fri, 30 January 2015, 11:09:08 »
Thought so.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 January 2015, 14:30:35 by AbuBakr »

Offline jacobolus

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1584 on: Fri, 30 January 2015, 11:38:22 »
I didn't think so. Topre did seem a bit outlandish. I ruled out buckling springs a long time ago, but I'm starting to see their reasonability. Do you see any future in using Buckling Springs (capacitive or membrane)? But I suppose BS switches would be even more difficult to obtain and utilize. I suppose a modern BS keyboard (especially Ergodox like) will just have to remain a fantasy. ;(
Making a custom-layout Model M is basically impossible without ridiculous up front capital expense, and is probably never going to happen. Making a custom-layout Model F is possible as a DIY hobby project, but requires cannibalizing parts from an XT keyboard (or similar), so is not viable as a commercial product. If you want a custom-layout Model F, youíre going to need to design and build it yourself.

Offline Koren

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1585 on: Fri, 30 January 2015, 15:04:49 »
About buckling springs, is there a lot of patents over the system?

I'm curious, with many improvements on the 3D printers, the next step could be custom designs for switchs. Buckling springs are not the most complex design...

That's a stretch, because moving parts are difficult things to produce, but seeing how the technology has changed recently...

Well, I wish you all the best.
Same here... Can't wait to invest money in this ^_^

Many thanks for the updates AcidFire!

For me personally, there are too many keys, with many of them unreachable
With threads here about 40% and boards with 122+ keys, you probably won't be able to design a "one fits all" ^_^ I'd say that there's not enough keys for me (I don't mind an additional pinkie column, I prefer moving the hand to combination of keys, and I can't put all the keys I use often on the current board... it's even worse now I have to find a way to relocate 6 keys ^_^)

I'm already happy that this keyboard will happen soon, because even if we could have designed a couple of things differently (I'll trust AcidFire on the ergonomics, though, he has apparently put a lot of thought in this), that's still better for many of us than anything available, and if other designs follow, that's even better news.

Offline Dee1

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1586 on: Sat, 31 January 2015, 02:17:16 »
Wow, this looks amazing so far! I personally love the fact that it has so many keys. It looks really useful in that regard. I can't wait to see your future progress on this. :)

Most importantly of all, I'm glad you're doing well! :)

Offline Dynamo

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1587 on: Tue, 03 February 2015, 13:59:01 »
I also vote for many keys! :)

Offline cmdrdan

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1588 on: Wed, 04 February 2015, 22:15:06 »
I am wondering what a complete kit minus key caps would run (all micro processing, switches, case), also do you have any early run kits available?

Offline Scoox

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1589 on: Wed, 04 February 2015, 22:52:01 »
I was just thinking about the arrow keys. I may be wrong, but I think most people use these keys as follows:

Index >> Left
Middle >> Up and Down
Ring >> Right

The current design means the hand needs to move outwards by one key in order to operate the arrow keys with the above familiar fingering. It may be a bit late but in my opinion this would be more ergonomic and a little cheaper (saves two keys):



In previous mappings I did on normal keyboards I put the arrow keys on the numbers row (so they were arranged in a line, not in the shape of a cross) and it didn't take much getting used to. The point is the hands don't need to move sideways.

Offline Scoox

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1590 on: Wed, 04 February 2015, 22:58:57 »
I was just thinking about the arrow keys. I may be wrong, but I think most people who have all their fingers in place would operate the arrow keys as follows:

  • Index >> Left
  • Middle >> Up and Down
  • Ring >> Right

This is probably because index+middle+rings is the most dexterous combination possible, certainly more than middle+ring+pinky, even though the ring finger is the dumbest of all fingers. The current design means the hand needs to move outwards by one column in order to operate the arrow keys with the familiar fingering. It may be a bit late to point this out now but in my opinion the following design would be more ergonomic and a little cheaper (saves one key):



In previous mappings I did on normal keyboards I put the arrow keys on the numbers row (so they were arranged in a line, not in the shape of a cross) and it didn't take much getting used to. The point is the hands don't need to move sideways.
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 February 2015, 08:27:57 by Scoox »

Offline conandy

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1591 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 01:14:59 »
I have to admit I am in accord with Scoox on the arrow cluster positioning.  I have a TEK, and the arrow cluster (right hand) and the pageup/dn/home/end cluster (left hand) being one key shifted right (or left) of the home row positioning really is not ideal, especially for touch typing.  I was not originally a fan of the Ergodox solution which puts them all in a row, but I think I could learn to live with that solution (don't have an Ergodox yet, though, so haven't tried it) since it lets the hand slide directly down the columns and stay aligned with home row.

Even taking the same concept that is currently on the table, and moving the arrow cluster over one column so that the left arrow is directly in line withe the J-key column, but keeping the cross layout, would be a better solution in my opinion.   


Offline clickclack123

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1592 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 02:13:24 »
I agree with these two. I have both an ergodox and a truly ergonomic. I have programmed the left arrow key on the teck so it is a Fn key that I hold down with my thumb to turn the home row into arrows. So I don't even have to move my hand, I just press the thumbkey and J is left, K is down, L is right, and I is up. Also H is Home, ; is End, U is PgUp and O is PgDn.

My ergodox is set the same, using one of the thumbkeys.

I use dvorak so it's not actually those keys, but you get the idea.

I could not go back to a layout without such a setup anymore. It's so useful being able to navigate without moving your hand.

Offline Scoox

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1593 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 07:19:17 »
I agree with these two. I have both an ergodox and a truly ergonomic.

Did you buy the ErgoDox after the TEK because you were looking for something better? How do the two compare (pros cons about both)?

I like to hit the left- and right-most keys (shift keys on a normal keyboard) with my palms, at the base of my pinkies, so I normally would map those to be the Enter key. Looking at the US version of the TEK, and also AcidFire's keyboard, these keys are slightly wider which means they may be easier to press this way by a range of users with varying hand sizes.

For me the centre column has always been (from top to bottom) Win key, Ctrl, Alt. On the ErgoDox there are two larger keys straddling the home row vertically, which is not the case on the TEK or AcidFire's keyboard, I wonder which one feels better in practice.




Also, could you comment on the enclosure? The ErgoDox one seems kind of boxy with those sharp corners, while the TEK one is curvier and somehow more "inviting", so to speak.

I have programmed the left arrow key on the teck so it is a Fn key that I hold down with my thumb to turn the home row into arrows. So I don't even have to move my hand, I just press the thumbkey and J is left, K is down, L is right, and I is up. Also H is Home, ; is End, U is PgUp and O is PgDn.

My ergodox is set the same, using one of the thumbkeys.

I use dvorak so it's not actually those keys, but you get the idea.

I could not go back to a layout without such a setup anymore. It's so useful being able to navigate without moving your hand.

That's really interesting. I did a prototype layout yesterday on a Japanese HHK2 Lite which has a bunch of extra thumb keys. I moved all keys of the right hand to the right by one key, so I get an extra column in the centre which now contains Ctrl, Alt and Win (so it is basically a poor-man's TEK).

When I press and hold the left thumb modifier key I get numbers under my left hand and arrow keys under my right. I am finding key combinations such as Shift+Home (which on a normal keyboard only involve two keys) hard to get the hang of, because of the extra modifier key involved. I think my problem is that the way I've set it up I have to press Shift and the modifier with the same hand, the way you've set yours up you are probably pressing the modifier with the right thumb and Shift with the left hand, am I right?

I've been using layers for symbols and numbers for many  years (since 2002 actually), but I always had my arrow keys mapped to the numbers row, so maybe I have grown used to the immediacy of dedicated arrow keys vs using a layer for that. Therefore I'd like to hear about your adaptation experience.
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 February 2015, 07:39:48 by Scoox »

Offline sordna

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1594 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 08:55:39 »
I agree with the above 3 folks and would also much prefer a normal bottom row.
Long time Kinesis Advantage and Ergodox user here. I actually like my arrow keys like Kinesis arranged, using index and middle finger on left and right hands, and using the rest bottom row keys for other purposes.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Koren

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Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1595 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 09:48:39 »
I am wondering what a complete kit minus key caps would run
If the keys use Matthias stern, you could probably spend more in custom keycaps than in the keyboard itself... They won't be easy to source, I fear.

The current design means the hand needs to move outwards by one key in order to operate the arrow keys with the above familiar fingering.
You probably have to move your hands so far downwards that I don't think an outwards move matters so much.

I'm pretty sure that many touch typers will use motion keys in the middle of the keyboard in a special layer rather than the cross-shaped keys in the bottom most of the time (I use J for left, K for down, L for right, I for up, U for home, ; for end, Y for pageup and H for pagedown on a QWERTY layout myself).

There's nothing mandatory like using those clusters for navigation... They're probably too far for touch typing, anyway. But I think they can be an useful alternative when your hands have left the keyboard (I can more easily find the inverted T cluster on my keyboard by touch than the home row).

IIRC, one of the reasons for this cluster is to make the keyboard less strange to newcomers in the world of ergonomics keyboards.

It may be a bit late but in my opinion this would be more ergonomic
You're not late, but it's actually an older layout that was studied... It was changed to the current one (minux the keys replaced by LEDS) something around may 2015 if I remember well.

I think the current layout has its merits, although I would personally use a larger key for the inward key in the cluster to avoid having a "gap". This way, you virtually have the same layout you suggested (plus a "down" key you may always not use).

and a little cheaper (saves two keys)
Please  Stop  Removing  Keys  !    ^_^

(besides, I've already redo my layout half a dozen times in the last eight months, I'll turn crazy before the kickstarter launch ^_^ )

Offline Scoox

  • Posts: 51
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1596 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 11:19:30 »
IIRC, one of the reasons for this cluster is to make the keyboard less strange to newcomers in the world of ergonomics keyboards.

C'mon, this keyboard was never aimed at the masses: for that the market is already saturated with so-called "professional" and "ergonomic" keyboards. Plus, I bet everyone following this thread can touch-type.

Offline Koren

  • Posts: 133
  • Location: France
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1597 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 11:49:23 »
C'mon, this keyboard was never aimed at the masses: for that the market is already saturated with so-called "professional" and "ergonomic" keyboards. Plus, I bet everyone following this thread can touch-type.
My memory may serve me bad. I don't remember well the reason(s) for the "switch" of the layout. It's in the pages 30-40, it could be interesting to re-read this discussion.

Fact is the suggested layout here has been the one AcidFire was toying with at first... See for example the first Grand Piano model, or this one from last march:


I think both layouts can work, the differences are not really so important. Especially since the keys we're talking about won't be the ones used the most often, given their position. I doubt a lot of people will find a layout or the other unconfortable just because of two keys.

I think AcidFire intend to offer variations of the layout in subsequent kickstarters, anyway...

About the people targeted by this keyboard, I hope it appeals to people outside of this thread. Actually, outside of people even interested in ergonomics keyboards. A couple of my co-workers may be interested in AcidFire's keyboard (they want to try it, at least), and they didn't even know that there were keyboards beside the ISO/ANSI ones...

Since hardware makers are only doing stupid "ergonomics" keyboards layouts or insanely expensive (and scary) ones, I think this kind of project, like the Axios, the Ergodox or the Keyboardio one may be the firsts steps toward a larger reach of comfortable keyboards. Maybe I dream a bit, but you have to set your goals high.

Offline tups

  • Posts: 21
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1598 on: Thu, 05 February 2015, 16:27:57 »
Lets dream, Koren!

I was one of the people requesting an arrow cluster ó a few months and pages back. I have some weird less-than-ideal arrangement on the ErgoDox at the moment (up/down on thumb cluster). Not enough spare keys elsewhere (and most already have two or more layers).

ErgoDox vs. TEK: personal opinion, but I like the design on the Ergo much more than the TEK. The TEK feels higher quality but both are heavy, over-engineered keyboards (in a good way).

Offline Scoox

  • Posts: 51
Re: AcidFire's modular keyboard system - Axios [In Development]
« Reply #1599 on: Fri, 06 February 2015, 02:45:34 »
Thanks for the info.

And yes, I think the future is ergonomic input devices. Not sure what it will take for people to realise. I blame schools for teaching kids to use computers but not teaching them how to type. In my case, I set out to learn to touch type form the day I got my first computer. I've always seen touch typing and operating a computer as being part of the same skill. This is just another example of how 90% of the bull**** kids get taught in school is useless in real life, instead of teaching them life skills, such as cooking, healthcare, personal hygiene, communication skills, and of course, typing.

A simple solution, which is not going to happen, would be get all manufacturers to produce keyboards without key labels. Within a few months everyone would be touch typing.

I think the keyboard of the future will be symmetrical but will still have key labels. A symmetrical keyboard resembles the natural position and angle of the hands, and it's more likely to lure newcomers down the touch typing path. With the traditional QWERTY keyboard I had to read a typing course book to figure out which fingers should press which keys. But a keyboard like the ErgoDox is pretty much self-documenting, in terms of fingering.

Perhaps in the future laptops will have very low profile symmetrical keyboards, similar in layout to the ErgoDox, but much lower profile (scissor mechanism), fitted with a folding tenting mechanism such that optionally springs open and locks in place mechanism. Whether it will happen within our lifetime is different story.
« Last Edit: Fri, 06 February 2015, 02:49:05 by Scoox »