Author Topic: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)  (Read 3908 times)

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Offline cribbit

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Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« on: Thu, 16 March 2017, 15:23:14 »
This board is currently just an idea that I hope to quickly get into prototyping.

The Atreus and its big brother the Atreus62 are excellent boards that give column stagger and thumb cluster typing without moving all the way to an Ergodox. I've greatly enjoyed the Atreus62 I own and want to add a new feature to the design - tenting.

The idea is pretty obvious. Cut the thing in half and put a hinge in the middle. This gives tenting and can also allow the board to fold fully in half for easier travel. Even if you don't like tenting, if you love your ergodox but can't travel with it easily this can be an excellent travel board. Additionally, a box can be cut for the folded board.

Challenges that will be faced:

1. How to get signal between the halves? First option is a ribbon or some form of cable between the two halves with a way to protect the cable as it jumps the middle. Second option is to run some sort of wire or signal through the hinge itself, so that the middle can be made prettier and more easily.
2. How to hold an angle in the hinge. This is likely solved by getting a nice hinge.
3. How thin can I make the case? If I'm having this folded together for travel I want it to get pretty thin.
4. Can I design the travel box so that I can split it and have each half as a wristrest?

Small changes from the base Atreus:

1. Fix the column stagger. The innermost column shouldn't be staggered because it's still being used by the index finger, same as the 2nd innermost column. Thus, both columns should be at the same stagger.
2. Tweak the thumb cluster. I want to see if I can get another key in there. 

I also hope to use what I learn from building this to make a similar design for the Planck/Let's Split (Let's Tent?) and potentially a normal layout board as well.
I typed this post on my Slanck. I also developed a stronger, cleaner, easier handwiring method.


Offline cy384

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    • cy384
Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 17 March 2017, 15:03:00 »
The idea is pretty obvious. Cut the thing in half and put a hinge in the middle. This gives tenting...
I'm definitely interested in how you approach this.  A little tenting would be a nice addition.

I'm not so convinced the staggering needs to be changed; I think it works well based on the movements necessary to shift fingers over a column, but this is at least very easy to modify/test with the openscad files (and of course, everyone has hands of different sizes/proportions).

My Atreus was about 25mm tall, including keycaps, before I added bluetooth to it.  I think it would be hard to make one much shorter.  Folding doesn't really reduce the volume, and the Atreus is already small; I don't think you'd gain much portability.

Anyway, as you say, the tricky part is entirely the hinge mechanism.  I think OEM/replacement laptop hinges would be a good place to start looking.

Offline cribbit

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 17 March 2017, 20:21:16 »
The idea is pretty obvious. Cut the thing in half and put a hinge in the middle. This gives tenting...
I'm definitely interested in how you approach this.  A little tenting would be a nice addition.

I'm not so convinced the staggering needs to be changed; I think it works well based on the movements necessary to shift fingers over a column, but this is at least very easy to modify/test with the openscad files (and of course, everyone has hands of different sizes/proportions).

My Atreus was about 25mm tall, including keycaps, before I added bluetooth to it.  I think it would be hard to make one much shorter.  Folding doesn't really reduce the volume, and the Atreus is already small; I don't think you'd gain much portability.

Anyway, as you say, the tricky part is entirely the hinge mechanism.  I think OEM/replacement laptop hinges would be a good place to start looking.

The goal of the project is developing a good hinge and PCB design for others to copy, the col stagger change is personal preference (closer to the Ergodox stagger, basically). I can easily publish PCB and CAD files for standard Atreus alongside my modified version.

I'm super anal about getting as thin as possible. There's no much to do above the plate since switches/keycaps are standard, but I try to get the height below the plate as short as possible. My daily driver (pictured in my handwiring thread in my sig) doesn't even have anything under it but a cloth. Obviously functionality over personal preference, but I will try to keep it thin.
I typed this post on my Slanck. I also developed a stronger, cleaner, easier handwiring method.


Offline Findecanor

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 18 March 2017, 03:00:32 »
1. Fix the column stagger. The innermost column shouldn't be staggered because it's still being used by the index finger, same as the 2nd innermost column. Thus, both columns should be at the same stagger.
A little bit of column offset on the outer/inner columns does not hurt. When your index finger moves from one column to the next on the home row, do you move your entire hand left or right or do you rotate the finger on the finger joint?
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
-- Arthur Miller

Offline cribbit

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 18 March 2017, 15:30:56 »
1. Fix the column stagger. The innermost column shouldn't be staggered because it's still being used by the index finger, same as the 2nd innermost column. Thus, both columns should be at the same stagger.
A little bit of column offset on the outer/inner columns does not hurt. When your index finger moves from one column to the next on the home row, do you move your entire hand left or right or do you rotate the finger on the finger joint?

The rotation does not cause nearly the same stagger as finger to finger column differences. Basically, go to an Ergodox stagger, rather than such an aggressive stagger. Also, see my post prior.
I typed this post on my Slanck. I also developed a stronger, cleaner, easier handwiring method.


Offline Wylte

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 30 March 2017, 13:46:52 »
Just wanted to post to show interest - I'm planning on building a (edit: small, portable board for school) this summer, probably an Atreus, so this seems like it would be right up my alley.
« Last Edit: Thu, 30 March 2017, 14:12:58 by Wylte »
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Offline cribbit

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 30 March 2017, 15:28:26 »
Just wanted to post to show interest - I'm planning on building a (edit: small, portable board for school) this summer, probably an Atreus, so this seems like it would be right up my alley.

Cool!

Small update on the project. I had to go to the hardware store for another project. While there I inquired about their hinges. They have some interesting stuff for the lockability but since they're designed for doors and cabinets they're much bigger than I want. I'm likely going back again this weekend, I'm going to try to think through the mechanism a bit more so I can ask more detailed questions.
I typed this post on my Slanck. I also developed a stronger, cleaner, easier handwiring method.


Offline ErgoMacros

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 30 March 2017, 16:40:41 »
If your HW store has a name for that type of "special" hinge maybe stuffing that in a search engine will yield smaller results as well.

Best of luck on the project. I'm having fun following it.
Today's quote: '...but then the customer successfully broke that.

Offline aikilink

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  • Location: Wisconsin
Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 26 April 2017, 14:46:31 »
I'd definitely be interested in a tenting version of the Atreus. I went from  Planck to an Atreus and really like the stagger.

I personally would very strongly prefer to have the stagger the same as the Atreus (I have large hands, and definitely notice my index finger move downward as it moves over - draw a straight line and place your hand over it as if you were typing, then move your finger to the 'inside' and it should drop significantly below the line).

I really like the Atreus, but think the 62 is a bit larger than I like, so adding another column for the pinkies but not adding the number row would be a huge plus for me if this board was available! :) I think that would also play into making it significantly more travel-friendly, as well as playing into your 'case as a wrist rest' idea.

Cheers!

Offline CMDR_Rockman

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 04 May 2017, 01:30:06 »
I've got a split version of an atreus I put together about a year ago. It's served me well so far but I wouldn't mind a new version with additional thumb keys and a trackpoint added in. Here is the relevant post:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/460ap9/atreus_blues/

Offline cribbit

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Re: Atentus - Hinged, folding/tenting Atreus (design phase)
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 27 September 2017, 14:23:37 »
Got some more spare time and some woodworking stuff recently so I'm hoping to get back into this project.

I've got a split version of an atreus I put together about a year ago. It's served me well so far but I wouldn't mind a new version with additional thumb keys and a trackpoint added in. Here is the relevant post:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/460ap9/atreus_blues/

That tenting method is smart, especially for being able to pack up and go. Cut a slot in the case to store the riser, screw it on when typing. Takes stress off the hinge.

The big design question I find myself facing is the utility of using a removeable ribbon/TRRS cable vs forcing the halves to stay together, folding at a hinge. The former is more useful, the latter more aesthetic.

The other design that I really like is creating some sort of middle section so that the halves of the keyboard go caps to caps for travel. So many designs to prototype!
I typed this post on my Slanck. I also developed a stronger, cleaner, easier handwiring method.