Author Topic: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod  (Read 7113 times)

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Offline plainbriny

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ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« on: Thu, 20 February 2014, 23:13:45 »
I like my ergodox pretty much, and got it a new tenting yesterday..

55032-0

Along with my Kensington Trackball Expert

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Yet it has something to be improved, especially the flat thumb cluster.
Thus I have spent the last couple months working on the thumb cluster mod. It is not finished yet, because I only got the right hand side built, but I am so excited, I got to share its current (ugly) working form. And here it is

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With my hand on it.

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I have pull the thumb cluster closer and higher, thus more keys are readily accessible now.
It might take a few more months and more polishing before completion.

This is a work-in-progress mod. Comments and suggestions are welcome...

===========================================================
Update: Here is how I did the mod

1. Cutting the PCB
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2. modify the shape of the thumb cluster PCB
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3. Connecting the two pieces using a IDE cable
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4. wiring and soldering
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5. drilling holes on the PCB and attached a plate to it
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6. attach the two pieces together
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If anyone is interested, I will post more detailed pictures.
« Last Edit: Sun, 23 February 2014, 22:31:12 by plainbriny »

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 24 February 2014, 06:38:51 »
Working on left hand side now.

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I have changed the TRRS connector and use RJ11 sockets instead.
Don't know whether they will work or not, but RJ11 cables (6P4C) are more accessible than TRRS cables.

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Cutting a square hole on the PCB is fun
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The profile of the RJ11 socket is much higher than TRRS, but since I won't use a case for now, using RJ11 is fine, and I can use coiled cord to connect the two sides, just like the old days...
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« Last Edit: Mon, 24 February 2014, 06:48:09 by plainbriny »

Offline lcs

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 24 February 2014, 06:50:47 »
really nice. the only thing i dislike about the edox is that the tumb cluster 1x keys are too far away. tenting improves it, but a change like yours would feel significantly better.

great job!

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 24 February 2014, 07:10:58 »
really nice. the only thing i dislike about the edox is that the tumb cluster 1x keys are too far away. tenting improves it, but a change like yours would feel significantly better.

great job!

Thanks!
The thumb keys are now more accessible, and the inward presses are more naturally.
However, cutting PCB and rewiring takes too much effort, and the non-flat conformation won't fit any case available now.

Anyway, I am eager to use this keyboard, hopefully I can finish it in a few weeks...

Offline clickclack123

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 24 February 2014, 16:13:35 »
Nice. I thought about doing this myself but wasn't game, especially since I only have one Ergodox, and now I've experienced that, I can't go back to a crappy staggered non-ergo.

After I finish my next project, I may attempt something like this.

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 26 February 2014, 06:30:33 »
Left hand side built
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...and RJ11 works

However, I need to make a custom cable to make it work (otherwise I would need to reverse the pins in one side)
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Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 02 March 2014, 22:35:59 »
Both hand done, any suggestions for the case?

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Offline kaltar

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 29 May 2014, 00:16:14 »
I like my ergodox pretty much, and got it a new tenting yesterday..

(Attachment Link)

Along with my Kensington Trackball Expert

(Attachment Link)


Can you show us more of your tenting solution?
And the trackball tenting too :) I have the same trackball, and it seriously needs tenting

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 29 May 2014, 01:34:00 »
I used film roll cases for tenting.
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I attached two film roll cases to the base of the trackball, and cut the bottom to the angle I need.
But the trackball tenting is a failure.
Maybe it's because my ergodox is not flat, I can't use the tented trackball anymore, my wrist hurts after awhile.
This does not happen before, when I still use convention keyboard and the untented trackball.

It might also due to that I set the left button to emulate scroll. So I used my left pinky to scroll a lot.

The height is ok, but I think I should have tilted the trackball as well.

Afterward, I added a trackpoint module to the ergodox, and haven't used the trackball since.
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Currently I combined film roll case and L-shaped steel for tenting, it worked quiet well and costs almost nothing.
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Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 29 May 2014, 01:46:29 »
I should say that trackball tenting is worth trying,
but you need to experiment and find out the best height/tilt for your setup (keyboard/desktop).

If you use ergodox, the trackball should also accommodate your ergodox tenting.

I think you may try something like this:

and use screws of different lengths.

You can use 3m double-sided automative tape to fix the steel.
http://www.amazon.com/Automotive-3M-Attachment-06384-Mystarsound-com/dp/B006QYB3JG
They are highly adhesive, but can be easily removed by applying force in the perpendicular direction.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 29 May 2014, 08:44:49 »
Ah.. I wonder if I should have done your mod .. but I did another one and now it is too late.

Please tell, what trackpoint module did you use? I would like to know if there is one that is widely available.
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
Daily driver: Phantom (Lubed Cherry MX Clear, Lasered Cherry PBT keycaps with Row A. Plastic "Frankencase". Custom firmware, Swedish layout)

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 29 May 2014, 16:52:31 »
I got mine from thinkpad keyboard, you can easily find one in ebay or other sources.
The used keyboards are cheap. I got mine in less than $5.

If you want large quantity, maybe you can talk to sprintek.
http://sprintek.com/products/sk8702.aspx

and here is the discussion on how to add trackpoint module to ErgoDox, I am still working on the details
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55960.0

Offline Findecanor

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 30 May 2014, 12:40:31 »
I got mine from thinkpad keyboard, you can easily find one in ebay or other sources.
The used keyboards are cheap. I got mine in less than $5.

If you want large quantity, maybe you can talk to sprintek.
Awesome. Thanks!
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
Daily driver: Phantom (Lubed Cherry MX Clear, Lasered Cherry PBT keycaps with Row A. Plastic "Frankencase". Custom firmware, Swedish layout)

Offline kaltar

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 31 May 2014, 19:18:53 »
Thanks for the Tenting information :)

Offline persuasionlaser

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 05 June 2014, 20:57:14 »
Hey, would you mind showing/explaining the soldering in more detail?
Once the new pcb is released I'm going to be doing something like this but I want to be sure I get everything right.

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 05 June 2014, 21:09:35 »
Hey, would you mind showing/explaining the soldering in more detail?
Once the new pcb is released I'm going to be doing something like this but I want to be sure I get everything right.

You mean the connection between the thumb cluster and the rest of the PCB?
There are 8 traces need to be connected. Since this is a two-sided pcb, you can make all the connections in one side.
My wiring is ugly and not very clear, but basically just follow the traces on the pcb and it should work.
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Offline davkol

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 06 June 2014, 06:46:23 »
Awesome!

Please, can you post a bit more about the plate/case?

Offline osi

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 06 June 2014, 07:48:12 »

(Attachment Link)


If you look closely, one can have a peek at the elusive film roll cases, a threatened species. They are pictured in one of many of the habitats conducive for survival; the film roll cases' natural habitat is no longer safe. Mostly, these soon to be relics can still be located in areas where its digital cousin have not overtaken all of the available territory. Strangely, the species is still thriving and experiencing a renaissance in Brooklyn, NY where the film roll cases pair most naturally to their host, the hipster.

____

That thumb cluster actually looks very comfortable to use. Nice work!

Online kurplop

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 06 June 2014, 08:12:39 »
My complements to you on your excellent mod. Thanks for sharing your work with us. I had considered detaching the thumb clusters, in fact I even cut a pcb but never got around to finishing it. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to adapt a ErgoDox pcb for my new board but decided in the end that with all the changes I wanted to make it was better for me to start from scratch.

It's nice to see it done well. Good luck on the case.


Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 06 June 2014, 22:18:10 »
Please, can you post a bit more about the plate/case?

Well, you can see there's no case and I did not use plates...
The switches are PCB mounted.

I do have some rough ideas, but that involves some radical changes to the keycaps.
Will post when there are more progress.

As for the plate under the PCB, it is used to support the PCB and also provides a convenient way to attach the thumb cluster and tenting.
I drill 4 holes on the PCB and the plate, use m3 bolts and nuts to fix the plate to PCB.
The thumb cluster is attached to the plate using a slightly bended L-shaped steel, with additional support by plastic strips.

The plastic bolts
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The slightly bended L-shaped steel
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The plastic strips to fix the thumb cluster
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The pictures are taken by phone and are not very good in quality.
Maybe I should dissemble the keyboard and take pictures with a more decent camera... if time permits

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 06 June 2014, 22:27:49 »
If you look closely, one can have a peek at the elusive film roll cases, a threatened species. They are pictured in one of many of the habitats conducive for survival; the film roll cases' natural habitat is no longer safe. Mostly, these soon to be relics can still be located in areas where its digital cousin have not overtaken all of the available territory. Strangely, the species is still thriving and experiencing a renaissance in Brooklyn, NY where the film roll cases pair most naturally to their host, the hipster.

As the one responsible for the undesirable condition of these film roll cases, I can't help but feel sorry for them.
Well, at least some of them have been resurrected in another form, serving a greater purpose.
The time will come for the rest... someday...

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 06 June 2014, 22:32:01 »
My complements to you on your excellent mod. Thanks for sharing your work with us. I had considered detaching the thumb clusters, in fact I even cut a pcb but never got around to finishing it. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to adapt a ErgoDox pcb for my new board but decided in the end that with all the changes I wanted to make it was better for me to start from scratch.

It's nice to see it done well. Good luck on the case.

Thank for your compliment, I am fluttered...

Actually I first come to notice ErgoDox through your ErgoDox/Trackball mod, that's a great work.

As for detachable thumb cluster, AcidFire's design has it, he even designed an adjustable case. I am eagerly looking forward to that.

Offline cub-uanic

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 23 January 2015, 16:45:37 »
@plainbriny

Excellent mod, imho it's beautiful and don't need any case :)

Which firmware do you use?

Could you please share more details about trackpoint?
How do you connect it?
Is it works as separate device and connected to pc directly, or it's connected to Teensy?
In last case I'm very interested to see your code, if this is possible.

Thanks in advance!

ErgoDox Classic - Stock Clears
Teenesis - Kinesis Advantage powered by Teensy

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 23 January 2015, 17:24:57 »
Hi @cub-uanic,

I connected trackpoint to teensy, and used your port of TMK.
The connection and code are scattered in the following threads:

Wiring and code mainly in this thread:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55960.0

The is the discussion of pinout in trackpoint modules
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=8971.0

I have changed the orientation of the trackpoint module, thus made some modifications to swap the X, Y axis, also some mod for mouse keys since I did not use the buttons on the trackpoint module
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=50176.30

Offline thedoctor

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 15 September 2015, 16:57:49 »
In case anyone has a pre-assembled ergodox and wants to emulate this mod, it's possible!

I wanted to try an ergodox but I couldn't find an unassembled kit so I bought an assembled one on ebay. I discovered I had the same thumb pain issue as OP some time after I finally learned how to type efficiently with it.



moar pix: https://twitter.com/matt_wutrudoing/status/643867976307998720

Key differences:
- Since the switches are mounted on top of an acrylic top plate, to do a similar mod, I had to use a rotary tool (dremel) to cut through the PCB at the same time as the acrylic. You want to have a vice for this.
- Since the PCB is flush with the acrylic plate, there's no convenient way to attach one of the traces that must be reconnected on the left-hand size. To get around this I had to solder it directly to the pin on the teensy board. I can post pictures if anyone needs help with this.
- Since I wasn't sure I knew the most comfortable thumb position, I attached the thumb clusters with neodymium magnets so they could be easily adjusted.

Offline ridgeboy

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 27 January 2016, 16:24:16 »
Thanks for sharing your work -- it's a great idea, and the picts flesh it out nicely and are very inspiring. Like thedoctor, I also got one pre-assembled on eBay and am now modifying it to tilt. All of which leads up to my possibly stupid question (art major 8-). Can I just cut off the sticking out piece with the thumb switches as shown in your pict, remove the piece entirely, put it away in a drawer for now, and have the rest of the switches work?

Offline plainbriny

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Re: ErgoDox thumb cluster mod
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 27 January 2016, 23:56:41 »
Thanks for sharing your work -- it's a great idea, and the picts flesh it out nicely and are very inspiring. Like thedoctor, I also got one pre-assembled on eBay and am now modifying it to tilt. All of which leads up to my possibly stupid question (art major 8-). Can I just cut off the sticking out piece with the thumb switches as shown in your pict, remove the piece entirely, put it away in a drawer for now, and have the rest of the switches work?

Short answer: yes.