Author Topic: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build  (Read 5568 times)

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Offline Tshort

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Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« on: Wed, 29 March 2017, 18:10:53 »
I've designed a fork of the Dactyl keyboard by Matt Adereth with the thumb cluster from the ManuForm keyboard by jeffgran. I'm quite happy with it so far. Matt's Clojure code for generating the 3D model is really cool. With this fork, you can change the number of rows and columns pretty easily. Here's the 40% version I made:



Here's the link to my Dactyl fork:

https://github.com/tshort/dactyl-keyboard

I adapted firmware from the Let's Split QMK firmware here:

https://github.com/tshort/qmk_firmware/tree/master/keyboards/dactyl-manuform

This firmware allows you to use each half independently or together, and either side can be master.

In the Clojure code that generates the 3D model, you can also adjust the tenting, column offsets, and other parameters.

On one half, I wired this up using the standard method of wiring rows using the diode leads. I'm not great at soldering, so this took me a long time, and it was frustrating. On the second half, I used strips of 1/4-inch copper tape for columns and stripboard as the main row connection and support. The cut pieces of stripboard were particularly nice to use. With these strips presoldered and glued down, soldering is much nicer with one end of the diodes held down.



For more build pictures, see here:

http://imgur.com/a/v9eIO


The keyboard is quite nice to type on. I use a layout similar to my Atreus, so I don't have to adapt much.

The main glitches I still have to work out are (1) warping prints and (2) weak USB connection on the Arduino Pro Micros I used as controllers. I'm using 3D printers at a local Makerspace. I've had the most luck with a MakerBot. It's warping, though. This has led to failed prints. Even on my good prints, the warping at corners shows up. In one case, I had to adapt a connector to make it fit to account for the warping. A printing guru at the Makerspace suggested trying an upside down print. I haven't gotten a good 60% print yet, so I'll try that soon.

For the USB controller issue, I'll probably try to design a female USB connector into the keyboard frame and jumper that to the Arduino Pro Micro. There's plenty of room for that, and those should be easy solder joints.

On Shapeways, if you print the 40% version in their cheapest plastic (PLA), it's only $34 to print one side, so it's not bad if you want to try the ergonomic layout and thumb cluster.

Offline lkong

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  • Location: United States
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 23:56:28 »
This is beautiful! I want to build another one now.
But I still remember the time I spent soldering them keys in those tiny spaces.

Offline AMongoose

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 13 April 2017, 04:47:14 »
Are those G20 caps? looks pretty good with the "bowl" profile. Do you miss sculpted key tops?

Offline jeffgran

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  • Location: Denver
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 13 May 2017, 21:32:37 »
Just seeing this thread now. Dude! That is awesome!

I had always wanted the ManuForm to be purely generated by code but couldn't figure out a good way to do it. I will have to look at the clojure code and see how it is implemented. How did you get my thumb cluster in there, did you implement it in clojure and sorta "patch it in"?

Offline bruceme

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 09 June 2017, 16:38:11 »
I built one, case printed on Thingiverse for $29 delivered, 50 cherry browns for $25, key caps off ebay for $25.  Wired it up and I'm fiddling with wiring and mappings now.  But it went really well and I will post pictures.  The case didn't print very cleanly (sloppy printer) and I had to whittle out most of the key holes.  But the design is very solid and I like it so far.  Once I'm happy with the mapping I'll post a review at some point as well.

Offline Tshort

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 15 June 2017, 21:20:14 »
Just seeing this thread now. Dude! That is awesome!

I had always wanted the ManuForm to be purely generated by code but couldn't figure out a good way to do it. I will have to look at the clojure code and see how it is implemented. How did you get my thumb cluster in there, did you implement it in clojure and sorta "patch it in"?
"Patch it in" is a good explanation. I measured off of your model to get coordinates.

Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk


Offline TheGlyph

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  • Location: San Francisco, CA
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 15 June 2017, 22:24:47 »
This is way cool! The unique shape immediately makes me want to CNC a wooden one. If you still like it after sorting all the mappings out you should hit me up and we can explore a potential collaboration opportunity  :)

Offline Tshort

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 16 June 2017, 18:27:10 »
This is way cool! The unique shape immediately makes me want to CNC a wooden one. If you still like it after sorting all the mappings out you should hit me up and we can explore a potential collaboration opportunity  :)
A wooden CNC version would be awesome. It might be a tricky cut.

Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk


Offline bruceme

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 28 June 2017, 10:24:00 »
So here's my "real world" review...

My background... I'm a keyboard geek, I love thumb-boards like the Kinesis Advantage, I've built an ErgoDox and I immediately fell in love with this keyboard. So, I built one.

The build follow-up.  See my earlier comment on the build above.  One small issue since... the magnet wire doesn't strip cleanly (insulation sludge spoils the joint) with a hot solder iron and several of my joints have failed, I had to re-solder at a higher heat, seems ok now.  Obviously nothing to do with the design, that's on me, just letting others know.

On the firmware... it totally rocks.  I really love the multi-use keys and the way you can have a primary momentary function and a secondary held-key function.  That is invaluable and really makes a 4x5 layout even practical at all.  One thing I learned mid-way, once you've initially loaded the firmware on both controllers, it auto-updates the slave controller on reprogramming, also... there's function+Q resets the controller for reprogramming, both are super time saver if you're iterating on a mapping!

On the layout... the stock layout wasn't for me, so as-is the beauty of open-source, I created my own which is based on the kinesis layout with developer keys in the extended/lower thumbs.  I also added Colemak alternate layer, it's needed as the ';' is not in the standard pinky key on the Dactyl.  I also did a hold-mapping of "Z" with shift because I couldn't stop hitting it to uppercase.

Learning... I transitioned from Kinesis to this 4x5 Dactyle Manuform effortlessly.  The hangups are what you'd think... symbols and F-keys.  But I know where 80% are including '%' ... hehe. 

What's good...  It's super compact and goes anywhere. It's very comfortable, very similar to the Kinesis, it doesn't have a palm rest, but you're not supposed to rest your palms either.
The firmware totally totally rocks, best I've ever seen
I like the hardware dual Pro Micros is so much easier than trying to figure out a IO expander

What to improve... not much honestly.  A quirk of the dual-function key mapping is that keys you like to repeat (e.g. backspace) need to be double tapped and held to do this should you dual-map them.  It is honestly a bit of a pain to code with as the symbols are all over the place.  I may try building the next size up to see if that helps.

I published a pull request for my 4x5 alternate layout change and Tom accepted it right away.   I've been really happy and I'd tell anyone that likes this style of keyboard to do it.

and by the way... this entire post was typed using my 4x5 Dactyl Manuform
« Last Edit: Wed, 28 June 2017, 10:26:37 by bruceme »

Offline D4vidH4mm3r

  • Posts: 2
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 25 July 2017, 14:29:20 »
This keyboard looks awesome!

I am trying to build the 5x6 version of it - so far I have printed and kind-of wired the right side. I am unfortunately a keyboard-building newbie. Do you have any hints on how to adapt the wiring for 5x6? I am currently using the build pictures and the wiring diagram on github for reference, but my attempts to extrapolate to 5x6 have not yet succeeded (I can only type "f" right now).

Sorry for the hassle. Maybe I should just have gone for 4x5 for the practice.

Offline Tshort

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 29 July 2017, 07:40:14 »
I've printed a half of a 5x6, but I haven't wired it, yet. In theory, the wiring should be very similar to the 4x5 version. You just wire the extra row and the extra column the same. You wire in diodes the same along rows and connect columns directly. Then, connecting the columns and rows to the ProMicro is just a little different. In the following figure, note where it says "skips pin 4" and "skips pin A1" for the left side. Instead of skipping, you attach the extra rows and columns to those pins.

If you post close-up pictures of what you've got, I might be able to help debug. Does only the "f" key work, or does it produce "f" for other keys?

The QMK software should be set up for 5x6, but no one's tried it, so there might be bugs.

Offline D4vidH4mm3r

  • Posts: 2
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 05 August 2017, 10:38:13 »
Thank you a lot for the help. I tried following the instructions and though I have obviously not managed to do so correctly yet, there is some slight improvement: now the left-most column works, giving keycodes 9 through 14 from top to the second-last thumb button on the left.

Please excuse the sloppy wiring - I have not yet developed finesse.

Offline Tshort

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 05 August 2017, 18:16:45 »
I think you are very close! The main problem is that the connecting wires you have to the rows are in the wrong place. Each of these should attach to the common point where the diodes all come together. You have them on the wrong side of the diode at the end. Also, the diode at point A1 on your photo is backward.


Offline drawnwren

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 04 September 2017, 00:51:23 »
It's been a while since you posted this. I'm curious if you have any updates. Do you type on it frequently? How do you feel about the design vs the flat thumb clusters? I'm debating building it, but would love to hear how it aged.

Offline Tshort

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 04 September 2017, 06:01:07 »
I still use the 40% version as my main keyboard. No big complaints. I like the thumb cluster.

I may try a larger version to see how I like that.

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 16 September 2017, 19:08:52 »
Thank you Tshort, I built two copies of this keyboard.
One with Gateron browns (the black one), another with Oatemu blues (the silver one).
Both with Teensies and modified Ergodox EZ layout from QMK project.
The Oatemu switches and diodes for the silver one were salvaged from a Tomoko TKL keyoard, from which I took the caps for the black one earlier.

I used the black one at work for a few weeks now.
Built another to use home.
Since I ran out of other switches I de-soldered the Tomoko and used its parts and the cable.
Used cat5 wires for the matrix, soft wires from a broken HDMI cable for the ICs.

Had to secure the Outemu switches with hot glue, their bodies differ from the Cherry MX and the clones.
I installed the 90 degrees rotated and set the with the glue.
Not some much hassle, just some more time needed for that.
Did not need to do that for Gaterons.

« Last Edit: Sat, 16 September 2017, 19:27:24 by ak66666 »

Offline Tshort

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 17 September 2017, 19:33:23 »
Cool. Thanks for sharing! Do you like those keycaps with this shape? (I've been thinking of trying different keycaps.) -Tom

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 17 September 2017, 21:03:25 »
Thank you again Tom for sharing your models.
I tried to modify Matt Adereth's too, to extrude the bottom portion down, so no separate legs would be sticking out.
I kinda succeeded in printing them, but then I saw yours.
Luckily I had not managed to use the switches and ICs at that moment.

Do you like those keycaps with this shape? (I've been thinking of trying different keycaps.)

Yes, they both are ok for me.
Mind they are just some noname caps sets from Aliexpress, nothing fancy.

The black ones are a bit too polished, the fingers tend to slip off a bit when I use it lazily.
But once I start typing that becomes practically unnoticeable.
Better say it is not as pleasant to touch then the white set, functionally they are just fine, may be a bit lighter and feel cheaper.

I tried to print caps with wider and flatter top, similarly to what you have in your pictures.
It turned out too rough on the top surface, really scratching my fingertips.
Also they didn't hold on the stems well. Remove it once and it won't stay fixed anymore.
May be it because the PLA I used, didn't try the ABS yet.
The result was ugly anyway, so I preferred the cheapest options from China.

Alex

Offline vvp

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 18 September 2017, 03:01:10 »
I tried to print caps with wider and flatter top, similarly to what you have in your pictures.
It turned out too rough on the top surface, really scratching my fingertips.
Also they didn't hold on the stems well. Remove it once and it won't stay fixed anymore.
May be it because the PLA I used, didn't try the ABS yet.
Print with ABS. "Paint" with acetone (it will smooth them). Can be inserted on a switch and removed many times.
Of course, getting some keycaps from a shop is easier. I would recommend printing only the special shapes you cannot get in a retail shop.

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 18 September 2017, 08:27:54 »
Thanks, will try.

Of course, getting some keycaps from a shop is easier. I would recommend printing only the special shapes you cannot get in a retail shop.

So I figured. May try to do that for the steno version.