Author Topic: Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard  (Read 21677 times)

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Offline ricercar

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« on: Wed, 02 December 2009, 01:32:17 »
I'm pretty certain sometime within the last decade on the Kinesis site I've seen a Kinesis Contour with a trackpad between the key groups.There's no proof. So, like any enterprising young rogue, I contrived to create some proof.

Pictures appear after their descriptions.

I'll start bass ackwards like usual, and display the end product, as it is this minute. Notice the key stems are missing key caps that are shown later in the project. This is addressed on the next page.



Here's a pride picture, showing how cleverly I lined up my button holes with the factory keys. My, my! Aren't those preserved lines pretty? Notice how this has nothing to do with a trackpad, and serves only to perk my ego.



The following pic displays the organ donor for the trackpad, an EliteGroup EzTablet portfolio. I was able to pick up a pair for $7 each because no one seemed to realize that a 4-pin proprietary keyboard/trackpad connector guaranteed to be either USB or PS/2. I cut the end off, and if USB blew the controller then it had to be PS/2. At $7 each, i could play. Fortunately it was USB, with color coded wires the same colors as in the USB cable I sacrificed.



This next image shows how the PCB was torn when the drill slipped. The flat PCB in the rear was unscrewed at the time, floating free so the drill was able to push it with great force when the hole, carefully and accidentally almost not beneath it, was drilled.Notice the passive voice that takes no responsibility for the error.



Here is the source end of the repair jumpers I had to install. I really appreciate how I tore only two PCB traces, and also appreciate that these vias that pass through the PCB are hollow, and pre-tinned with solder.



Continues (tomorrow after sleeping)....
« Last Edit: Wed, 02 December 2009, 02:07:24 by ricercar »
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Offline ricercar

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 02 December 2009, 01:51:42 »
Pictures appear after their descriptions.

Here are the key switches, or buttons as I called them in the previous installment. Drilling the top one was the activity that tore the PCB. Note the thin PCB? That's the trackpad controller board from the EzTablet.



Here is a wider angle of the repair jumpers after both ends were soldered.



This next shot helps you understand where the trackpad USB controller board was installed in relation to the other components. Those wires that go up past the top of this pic are connected to a pencil-thin PCB which was removed from the EzTablet keyboard.



Next you see the USB controller board in all its glory. The wires on the left go to a USB cable that leaves the keyboard through a hole, and the wires at the right-ish top go to the trackpad. You can also see the point-to-point wiring on the key switches.

Writing R W G B on the PCB let me recall the colors of the wire order in the socket. Since I lost and broke the removable connectors that plugged into these socket receptacles, I removed the receptacles by force and soldered thin wires directly to the pads on the PCB.



The following picture shows the keyboard after drilling holes and installing key switches. It shows black key caps on the key stems, but this is before the trackpad was screwed/velcroed in its final resting place.



When I re-started the trackpad experiment the last days of November, the trackpad had been electrical-taped in place over its frame that covers the opening. I had drilled/nibbled a hole for the trackpad mid October, and failed to please myself. My tolerances weren't good enough to mount the trackpad from within the keyboard enclosure. Thus the external mount with blue electrical tape. It concealed my cutting errors, and held the trackpad without allowing movement.

Yet the electrical tape itself was too thick. The areas under the tape were not able to control the cursor.  To access the full trackpad surface, i needed somehow to back-mount the trackpad element without covering the front at all. Then I lost motivation for two weeks, thinking of what to use. I ended up using velcro, because it was the closest thing to double-sided tape in the house. This raised the trackpad surface higher than the mouse buttons, a sensation I'm not sure will remain acceptable long-term.

So this started as a trackpad mod. Why add three keys? Because they were there in my tool box. They were added so the left hand could press Space Bar and Enter, two keys that are regretfully absent from the left side, and missed when one-handed typing is going on. They are simply wired in parallel with the regular Space Bar and Enter keys on the right side. The third key was drilled for completeness, and was for future use. Unfortunately I learned from use that keycaps on these new keystems protruded too much for comfortable typing with the left thumb. I kept pressing (my) Enter and (Kinesis') Delete at the same time, intending for only the Delete key. I'll have to countersink the three keys to achieve comfort and allow accuracy.

Erk, midnight. I'm a pumpkin. More details later ...
« Last Edit: Wed, 02 December 2009, 02:29:20 by ricercar »
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Offline sixty

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 02 December 2009, 02:18:26 »
Looking good so far! There have been a few Koreans who have taken the same effort already in the past, however also placing the touch pad at a different location:

#1 http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=review&wr_id=202
#2 http://www.kbdmania.net/xe/?mid=review&search_target=user_name&search_keyword=%EC%B9%B4%ED%94%84%EB%A6%AC%EC%98%B9&document_srl=711827

Maybe you can get some inspiration there, though you seem to have a pretty good plan going on already.

Looking forward to see your final results and ongoing progress!

Offline ricercar

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 02 December 2009, 02:47:47 »
holey moley, those guys are hardcore. They have loads more patience than I did. But now I want to do that nice cutout work on my Kinesis, and maybe also on my second one, coming on a truck from eBay.

And are those the fabled RED Cherry key switches? Ooh la la! I was going to replace those stock brown Cherries with blue Cherries. That one guy has proven it's do-able.

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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 16:25:28 »
I like your 3 key adds with the trackpad. Very helpful. Can you continue to show pics of changes you make of the work in progress? And you're right, some of those Korean mods are totally impressive.

I'm still on a quest to cut my Contoured Advantage in half. I have all the materials and the plan, but I'm hung up on the pointing device. The only thing I think I can come up with is cut the board in half unequally (left side small, right side large) and mount a trackpad similar to what you have done.
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 17:03:46 »
Your mod is THE BEST!

How'd ya do it?

:)

P.S.  Still waiting for your expert Datahand review...waiting...waiting...
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Offline ricercar

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more to come
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 17:09:52 »
Please tell us more about the Filco trackpad. Can you compare it to a Cirque (the only other trackpad I've seen recently at retail). Specifically, what are your 'feelings' about the pressure required and the texture of the pad?

Quote from: input nirvana;139192
I like your 3 key adds with the trackpad. Very helpful. Can you continue to show pics of changes you make of the work in progress?


I'm likely to cover the leftmost two and use only the rightmost position. The other two positions interfere with my delete and backspace.



Below find the detail on my current trackpad progress. It's got a Synaptics sensor, but I'm pretty sure the controller is 3rd party, because my Synaptics drivers aren't recognizing it.



I'm working to mount the trackpad under/inside the enclosure to prevent edge touching, as the Koreans both did. The exposed/external trackpad acts unpredictably when my finger touches the outside edge.



I decided to damn the aesthetics and call this a "proof of concept" so now I don't have to care about the holes made with the initial attempt.



Those Koreans have a lot of patience. I lost steam last night at this point and sealed the keyboard up again until I have the energy to do the detail work of the buttons.
« Last Edit: Sat, 05 December 2009, 17:32:25 by ricercar »
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 17:23:30 »
I was thinking of using this for simplicities sake: http://www.ergonomictouchpad.com/

Dunno if this is of any use for you.
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Offline ricercar

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 17:40:55 »
Quote from: input nirvana;139202
I was thinking of using this for simplicities sake: http://www.ergonomictouchpad.com/

Oooh la la! The large one is my next purchase ... next paycheck. I've already bought more input devices this month than I'm comfortable telling my spouse.

  • Data911 MDS2000 Keyboard Mouse Combo M2C-TG3-TP
  • LOGITECH T-CJ12 TRACKMAN MARBLE FX PS/2 TRACKBALL MOUSE
  • 32 old 1980s word processor and computer keys
  • Vintage IBM Serial Mouse Model 6450350
  • Kinesis Clasis MPC ergonomic keyboard
  • USB Mini Keyboard Pad for Laptop/PC Numeric keypad
  • Cherry Electrical MX SPOS Credit Card Reader Keyboard
« Last Edit: Sat, 05 December 2009, 17:45:43 by ricercar »
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 17:57:19 »
I thought I would de-construct the USB wire to hard wire into the board. I found this touchpad is very functional and responsive. I am mostly Mac, so I lose a few of the driver functionalities. There are some utilities (USB Overdrive, Steermouse, etc.) that can restore and add functionality.
« Last Edit: Sat, 05 December 2009, 18:01:58 by input nirvana »
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Offline msiegel

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 18:26:35 »
Quote from: ricercar;139210
Oooh la la!


cool :D

check out the inventor playing guitar at the end of the video XD

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Offline Computer-Lab in Basement

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 18:48:05 »
Trackpoints good, trackpads bad...
tp thread is tp thread
Sometimes it's like he accidentally makes a thread instead of a google search.

Offline Input Nirvana

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Offline ricercar

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 05 December 2009, 22:37:45 »
Cool. A portable clit!

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Offline itlnstln

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 07 December 2009, 08:30:11 »
Quote from: ricercar;139293
Cool. A portable clit!

That's how I build middle finger strength.  Scroll wheels were a great invention, too.  My GF agrees.


Offline Input Nirvana

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« Reply #15 on: Mon, 07 December 2009, 17:50:56 »
Ok, here is what I'm going to do. As well as attach to each arm of an office chair. Still dunno about the pointing device.
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 11 December 2009, 17:24:59 »
Did the idea of integrating a trackball on the Kinesis Contoured ever pop onto your radar?



These guys have a few for that purpose:
http://www.positioningtech.com/products-trackballs.html
« Last Edit: Fri, 11 December 2009, 17:35:12 by input nirvana »
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Offline ricercar

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« Reply #17 on: Fri, 11 December 2009, 18:12:40 »
Yes, that's occurred to me, a trackball on my Kinesis Contour, but in November I had only one pleasing trackball that I didn't want to risk. With two trackpads, the risks were smaller.

However, now I have an "extra" Logitech TrackMan® Marble FX, because two auctions closed lower than I expected, while I needed only one more ball for the workplace. With the will to mod and extra hardware, this looks like it could be a fun weekend.
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 11 December 2009, 18:33:52 »
Story and pics pleezzzzz....

I'm going to remove the interior curved "bowls" that the switches are held with from the Kinesis and incorporate the pointing device, then mount to adjustable arms. A trackpoint in between the Y-U-H-J spot would be good, but I don't know what to do about that part yet. Any work on your pointing device is very helpful for me to see.
« Last Edit: Fri, 11 December 2009, 18:37:47 by input nirvana »
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Offline ricercar

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« Reply #19 on: Thu, 17 December 2009, 02:13:51 »
More hobbyist pages to think about. (this is not my mod)
Trackpoint to Kinesis

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Offline itlnstln

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 17 December 2009, 08:24:03 »
I like that trackpoint mod.  I much prefer that to a wackpad.  My GF hates that I turn off the trackpad on my laptop.  I, then, gently remind her that she has her own laptop, and to get the Hell off mine.


Offline Input Nirvana

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« Reply #21 on: Thu, 17 December 2009, 22:01:54 »
Nice. I thought of that, but didn't think it would fit on the narrow return, and would need to be on tho top surface, which would FAIL. His turned out cleaner than I thought it would. I have my project Kinesis apart, and can't see how to put a trackpoint into the nest of keys without an actual trackpoint stick for sizing purposes. It's pretty tight. Gotta look for a trackpoint to buy...

On the Kinesis split, I may need to keep the immediate surround of the case for the handrest portion and as a mounting point for the TP if I can't get it into the key nest.
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Offline ricercar

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« Reply #22 on: Thu, 24 December 2009, 14:04:23 »
I sen this in a private PM, but it might be valuable to others modding a Kinesis Essential.

--
Hi. I strongly recommend getting a Blue Cube USB adapter for your Kinesis Essential, because this will leave all your problems behind. On my Essentials I've tried other USB adapters without success, and also had PS/2 problems, all of which I associate with insufficient power supplied by the PC to the Kinesis keyboard.

For example, on a generic PS/2-to-USB adapter,
  • the LED would not light properly when the CAPSLOCK was engaged.
  • Modifier keys would not register. When I hit Ctrl-A, only the A would register. When I hit Shift-T, only the t would register.

Additional PS/2-only problems include Lenovo ThinklPads refusing to boot beyond the BIOS screen when I was using the Kinesis-supplied AT-to-PS/2 adapter. The only way I could use the Essential with Lenovo ThinkPad machines was using a Blue Cube USB adapter.

I have two Kinesis Contour "Essential," both of which are AT/ADB. They are more similar than different, although their model numbers are 130EM and 133EM. They each came with (1) AT-to-PS2 and (1) AT-to-ADB adapter.
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Offline ricercar

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« Reply #23 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 01:44:05 »
Tonight I replaced 18 rubber buttons with 12 mechanical key switches. The first step was to cut the enclosure.



Step 2 was to cut down a PCB from another keyboard into strips for the 6-key holes. Since the circuit board had FKeys in 4-key groups, the project required me to use strips from the alphabet area. I scored the fiberglas with a carpet cutter xacto tool, and then broke the board along the line. There was much debris, and some practice needed.

Then I decided to preserve the board section for the numeric keyboard group, and the arrow key cluster. I'll probably use them intact, maybe even in this project. Arrow keys on the Kinesis are split between the right hand and left. I need an inverted T to play games. Oh, and then I have to add an escape key. There's room for only 12 mechanical keys in the space that was taken by the 18 rubber keys.



It took a bit to fit the keys.
  • had to cut the enclosure hole wider to accommodate all six keys.
  • used motherboard standoffs to inset the 6-key strips below the enclosure opening.




All in all it seems to have come out well. There's some small flex in the pcboards, but a brace behind the board might fix that.



The semicolon key cap was sprung across the room, so I had to use a temporary stand in. I'm sure the original will be found soon.
« Last Edit: Sat, 02 January 2010, 01:46:26 by ricercar »
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Offline Input Nirvana

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« Reply #24 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 02:03:46 »
Right on!

I want to do that too. Did you use Cherry Browns? Where did you get the keys? Any way you can show the innards? Where are you thinking for the ESC key? What happens to the 6 keys you "Lost in Translation"?
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Offline ricercar

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« Reply #25 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 02:25:38 »
The lost keys are
Regular
  • ESC
  • Scroll Lock
  • Pause-Break
  • Print Screen

Kinesis proprietary
  • Program
  • Keypad (a proprietary Num Lock)

the switches are Cherry clones from Kishy's 101 board: look like blacks and feel like browns. I'm about a heartbeat away from replacing the entire key switch set with Cherry blues.

Interior pics when the wiring is complete.
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Offline Input Nirvana

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« Reply #26 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 02:42:13 »
Thanks. Are you going to put access to the Kinesis keys somewhere? That's the stage I'm at now figuring out these: Esc, Program, Keypad.

FYI: There is a series of pics on this site of someone that replaces their Contour with Blues if you hadn't seen it.
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Offline Buckling_Summer

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 02:48:44 »
Quote from: ricercar;147234

the switches are Cherry clones from Kishy's 101 board: look like blacks and feel like browns. I'm about a heartbeat away from replacing the entire key switch set with Cherry blues.




Nice!!! I think you moved on with my idea :laugh:

I wish the Kinesis company would build the PROPER Kinesis Contour. I do not like to fix the things I have been bying.. If they do not add trackpad+trackpoint+Blue MX cherries or Buckling Springs, i will not buy. Really.
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Offline ricercar

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« Reply #28 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 02:49:20 »
If you look earlier in this thread, there's also a Korean site kinked where a guy replaces his Kinesis browns with genuine Cherry reds. Linkage to the blue replacement is welcome in this thread.

My Hacka-Contour is broken such that the programming and audio are no longer functional. I don't plan to wire a Program key, but I do plan to wire a Keypad key. When I broke the audio feedback circuit in November, I discovered I'm quite enamored of the electric key click. The lack of audio is what catapulted me into adding a Cherry blue update into this add-a-trackpad project.

A numeric keypad in the center is kinda appealing, but because the Kinesis circuit has a proprietary embedded key pad I'd have to add another circuit board for a keypad. I'm concerned about USB power draw. Alternately separating each component with an external plug (USB power hub, PS/2 kepad, USB trackpad, PS/2 alphabet keyboard plus two blue cube adapters) is doable with my on-hand parts, but even two cables is inconvenient; three or four would be comic, and nightmarish, respectively.

Therefore a simple arrow cluster plus ESC plus pgup/dn, and home/end sounds less cable cluttery.


ESC | HOM |PGUP
---- | END | PGDN
----| UARW | ----
LARW | DARW | RARW

EDIT: this was posted in anohter thread; I'm copying it here for completeness.

This pic shows the oval 'holes' or channels on each end of the cutout. These serve to anchor the screws PLUS hold the PCB at the proper angle. They are hard to work with. The top end is too shallow to hold a screw properly.



The following image shows my PCB mounting with motherboard standoffs. The nylon shafts at the top of the pic were too long and the nylon screws stripped too easily for them to be a permanent solution.

« Last Edit: Sun, 10 January 2010, 02:32:43 by ricercar »
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #29 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 03:10:03 »
Kinesis Advantage cut into 2 halves | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | on Mac+Hackintosh
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #30 on: Sat, 02 January 2010, 03:19:11 »
After I get the trackpoint finally installed, I'm planning on replacing the 2 power/data cords (Kinesis keyboard, trackpoint) with 1 power cord splitting into 2 ends the last 6".
Kinesis Advantage cut into 2 halves | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | on Mac+Hackintosh
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #31 on: Sat, 05 June 2010, 12:43:40 »
FYI
I wanted to bring this point up regarding cutting the plastic keyboard case and filing the holes to a fine finish. I've had tremendous success, it looks original, it's FAR EASIER than I imagined, and I only put 50%-80% effort into it for 99% results. Cutting holes is the more difficult part  if you can believe it. It's a fantastic return on investment. $10 bucks worth of various files and you can be a hero.

To get up to date, you need to read this thread and follow a couple links for pictures. If you see the Korean keyboard pics, just know that as nice as their finish product is, I'm getting virtually identical results without really trying. I was just smoothing the holes up a bit. Boy, am I surprised!
Kinesis Advantage cut into 2 halves | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | on Mac+Hackintosh
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Offline chozar

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #32 on: Fri, 11 June 2010, 02:12:50 »
I'm interested in pictures.

With what/how did you fill these holes up with?

Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #33 on: Fri, 11 June 2010, 10:30:28 »
In a month there will be pictures.

I've used some fine metal files so far, with various profiles. I probably will be getting some very fine hobby files for plastic, but I may not need to, my results are good without them.
Kinesis Advantage cut into 2 halves | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | on Mac+Hackintosh
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Offline ricercar

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #34 on: Sat, 11 December 2010, 15:14:23 »
Too weary to post a new thread. Here's an intermediate pic of Kinesis Trackpad mod #2, with mechanical switches (Cherry browns from a G80-82xx) replacing rubber FKeys.



I'll find the thread where I described the FKey mod someday. The keyswitch mod is more ambitious and finicky than a trackpad mod, so this pass on the project I'm starting there. The FKeys are mounted on fiberglas boards glued in place, and the ESC key is glued to the same PCB as the Home|End|ALT keys next to it, after drilling holes for the switch poles and plastic mounting pips.
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Adding trackpad to split ergo keyboard
« Reply #35 on: Sat, 11 December 2010, 19:09:54 »
Ahhh...the final resting place for the ESC key!

What trackpad and where will it be located?
Kinesis Advantage cut into 2 halves | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | on Mac+Hackintosh
Evil Screaming Flying Door Monkeys From Hell                     Proudly GeekWhacking since 2009
Staying in touch via Tapatalk VIP                                        Thanks much, Smallfry  
I AM THE REAPER . . . BECAUSE I KILL IT
~retired from forum activities 2015~