Author Topic: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build  (Read 32041 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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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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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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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  :)
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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

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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

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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.

Very delayed update: Thanks a lot for the row-driven wiring diagram. I found it much easier to follow. I have now for some months had a completed keyboard to type on (not quite every day though) and it is both fast and pleasant. I have started resenting staggered rows now.  ;D


https://imgur.com/a/9H939
« Last Edit: Tue, 20 March 2018, 16:24:01 by D4vidH4mm3r »

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.

Offline Cerasis

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 24 January 2018, 07:55:09 »
I'm not quite sure about necro'ing threads, but i'm interested in building this board.  :D

Unfortunately though it'll take me a lot of effort to get myself some rj9 connectors. Would a usb-mini breakout work? i can get those quite easily and i have an extra cable for it too :)

I'd like to keep it as local as possible, though it might not be possible with the heat-set inserts, which i'll probably source from overseas.


Really interested in trying out an keyboard without the straight plate, was initially interested in just a normal dactyl but i think i would prefer the thumb cluster on this one in particular.
Bantam44 | M0116 | Miuni32 | EXENT | Un-novatouch'd Novatouch to be fixed

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 24 January 2018, 12:20:31 »
Any connector with enough contacts should do.
The connection speed is too low to be affected by that.

I've just finished another copy with the halves connected by an HDMI cable.
The HDMI connectors fit into the slots just fine.
Inside it is a Planck on a single ProMicro unit.
HDMI has 19 wires, I only needed 10.
 
The beauty of this model is that you can remove the unnecessary parts from it, thus reducing the time to print.
I took out the teensy holder and the wire posts.

Love this board, all of them I built.
 
« Last Edit: Wed, 24 January 2018, 12:42:54 by ak66666 »

Offline obviouslygene

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 24 January 2018, 20:18:44 »
I am looking to build one of these.
What's the difference between the pro micro and the teensy?
Currently looking to print the body.

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 24 January 2018, 20:34:28 »
For me it primarily defines which of QMK builds could put in there.
Planck uses ProMicro, ErgoDox - Teensy.
Other than that - does not really matter to me.
May be they could be replaced, haven't got that far yet.

ProMicro clones are cheaper, if that's is important, but the clones could be shipped without the bootloader.
The original ones should be fine, but almost as expensive as Teensy.

IIRC Teensy has a couple more pins, enough to cover more keys, so each key may be programmed separately.
May be I am wrong though.

With ProMicro it is only 16 pins for data.
So for the 6x4 layout there are two options:
- use two of them, one for each half, like in Let's Split,
- or use only one for 12x4 matrix and duplicate/repeat some of the keys in the hardware.



« Last Edit: Wed, 24 January 2018, 20:43:45 by ak66666 »

Offline obviouslygene

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 25 January 2018, 03:36:21 »
I am looking to print the cases but in Singapore the prices are insane for 3D printing services.
Would anyone be able to help me print them for a reasonable fee?

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 05 March 2018, 18:55:38 »
I am looking to print the cases but in Singapore the prices are insane for 3D printing services.
Would anyone be able to help me print them for a reasonable fee?
how much was it? and what material?

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 05 March 2018, 20:04:52 »
is the thumb cluster customizable? I'm thinking of 1 row instead of a cluster. Is it possible?

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 05 March 2018, 20:11:28 »
IMO you'd need to edit the .clj file for that.
The thumb cluster parameters control its location related to the base keys.
It could be moved around, but not modify the number of keys or their position.


Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #28 on: Tue, 06 March 2018, 01:13:45 »
how much infill should I use for PLA printing?

Offline obviouslygene

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #29 on: Tue, 06 March 2018, 03:11:51 »
I am looking to print the cases but in Singapore the prices are insane for 3D printing services.
Would anyone be able to help me print them for a reasonable fee?
how much was it? and what material?

ak66666 helped me out here so if you would like you can ask him.
3D printing places quoted me 570 PER SIDE.
****ing ripoff.

Offline vvp

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #30 on: Tue, 06 March 2018, 04:49:03 »
3D printing places quoted me 570 PER SIDE.
****ing ripoff.
That seems way too much. Shapeways quoted me at about 300 for both sides of K80CS (which is slightly larger than Dactyl-ManuForm). That was four years ago. I doubt the prices went up.

Edit: Fix the price and time.
« Last Edit: Tue, 06 March 2018, 04:59:42 by vvp »

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 06 March 2018, 08:21:27 »
how much infill should I use for PLA printing?

10-15-20 is more than enough.
Even 100% would be ok.
The walls are fairly thin, there are almost no internal cavities to fill.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 06 March 2018, 09:08:15 »
how much infill should I use for PLA printing?

10-15-20 is more than enough.
Even 100% would be ok.
The walls are fairly thin, there are almost no internal cavities to fill.

What's the optimal number, or a good enough %? A seller on 3dhub asks for this.

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 06 March 2018, 09:51:24 »
For the case 10-15% percent is enough.
There are no voids to fill, not that much of free space.
I printed all of them with 10%.
All the gaps between the outer and inner shells were stitched together just fine.

For the bottom plate - 15-20% just to seal the cells nicely.

PS: sorry, I sent an incomplete message before.
« Last Edit: Tue, 06 March 2018, 13:00:52 by ak66666 »

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 06 March 2018, 18:02:06 »
For the case 10-15% percent is enough.
There are no voids to fill, not that much of free space.
I printed all of them with 10%.
All the gaps between the outer and inner shells were stitched together just fine.

For the bottom plate - 15-20% just to seal the cells nicely.

PS: sorry, I sent an incomplete message before.

Thanks for your help. I guess I will go with the default option 25% then

Offline mustcode

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #35 on: Thu, 08 March 2018, 16:23:46 »
I'm thinking about building one with Alps. Anyone has an idea of how difficult would that be?

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #36 on: Fri, 09 March 2018, 10:02:41 »
Should be pretty easy.
If they fit the Cherry switch hole then no changes are needed.
If not then you have two options:
- either file them holes wider or affix the switch with the hot glue.
- or modify the Clojure code to have the hole for Alps. Luckily that is only one function/piece to modify.



Offline mustcode

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #37 on: Fri, 09 March 2018, 13:32:01 »
Should be pretty easy.
If they fit the Cherry switch hole then no changes are needed.
If not then you have two options:
- either file them holes wider or affix the switch with the hot glue.
- or modify the Clojure code to have the hole for Alps. Luckily that is only one function/piece to modify.
Thanks for the advice! I found these constants in the code after a quick glance:

(def keyswitch-height 14.4)
(def keyswitch-width 14.4)

I guess another project coming up for me!

Offline mustcode

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #38 on: Sat, 10 March 2018, 13:39:26 »
So, I think I successfully modified the code to make it fit Alps switch. I had to also adjust the "side-nub" and made it into something that an Alps switch can clip on to.
For those of you who are interested, first you need to adjust to switch size:

(def keyswitch-height 12.8 )
(def keyswitch-width 17) 

Notice that the width is a little wider than usual, that is to make room for the size nub. Here's the new side-nub code:

 side-nub (->> (binding [*fn* 30] (cylinder 0.8 keyswitch-height))
                      (rotate (/ π 2) [1 0 0])
                      (translate [(+ (/ keyswitch-width 2)) 0 3.2])
                      (hull (->> (cube 1.5 keyswitch-height 1.6)
                                 (translate [(+ (/ 1.5 2) (/ keyswitch-width 2))
                                             0
                                             3.2]))))

And that's it!

Offline ak66666

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #39 on: Sat, 10 March 2018, 17:10:45 »
That's great, I may build one with Matiases this way.

BTW, while you're at it - you may consider commenting out the wire posts and the Teensy holder.
They almost double the print time, yet have no use.
I had to remove them in the first print, then just modified the CLJ file.
It is somewhere near the end where the whole body is assembled.

Offline mustcode

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #40 on: Sat, 10 March 2018, 22:21:38 »
Oh, that is good to know. Thanks!

Offline jmg123

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #41 on: Thu, 15 March 2018, 18:53:15 »
I decided to make one as my first ergo keyboard, but annoyingly 6 x 5 size is just too big for all my print beds, so I had to get it via 3DHubs. The only mods I made to the clj file were to stop autoscad generating stl files that had weird issues around the screw holes , RJ9 connector and USB connector, and ak66666's suggestion of removing the wire posts (clj changes here).



As I had some left over UV resin , I though I would also give this a go  - the picture above is pre-curing. Having cured it tonight I reckon that it is still going to need a bit of sanding before spray painting, can't decided between dark blue or satin black.

 I have a stack of Kailh BOX Burnt Oranges ready to go, wiring that lot up will be a boring evening. Haven't got any keycaps for it yet, might just stick something cheap and boring on there until I find some I like (and can afford). This weekend I'll cut the bottom plate out of some 6 mm clear polycarbonate that I have knocking around from my last project on my mpcnc. After I sent it off for printing I though it might be good to mod the clj to put the screw posts on the inside, with enough of a lip so that the bottom plate can be hidden internally, ah well , maybe I'll do a little 5x4 on one of my printers and try that out.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #42 on: Sat, 17 March 2018, 08:43:03 »
any post curing pics?

Offline davkol

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #43 on: Sat, 17 March 2018, 08:55:04 »
Just spotted this build (source) on Reddit.
« Last Edit: Sat, 17 March 2018, 16:36:37 by davkol »

Offline jmg123

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #44 on: Mon, 19 March 2018, 01:04:27 »
any post curing pics?
I didnt unfortunately, after curing i still felt they needed a bit of sanding as there was still some lumoiness in places. 600/ 800 grit started taking off the cured resin, so in the end i decided to sand the whole lot of and us a sanding /filler primer combination.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #45 on: Mon, 19 March 2018, 09:17:10 »
any post curing pics?
I didnt unfortunately, after curing i still felt they needed a bit of sanding as there was still some lumoiness in places. 600/ 800 grit started taking off the cured resin, so in the end i decided to sand the whole lot of and us a sanding /filler primer combination.

I plan to first sand with 240 - 400 - 800, and then coat with resin, or maybe just sand it.
are you going to coat with resin after sanding?


Offline jmg123

  • Posts: 10
  • Location: UK
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #46 on: Mon, 19 March 2018, 13:40:44 »

I plan to first sand with 240 - 400 - 800, and then coat with resin, or maybe just sand it.
are you going to coat with resin after sanding?

I went down the filler primer route in the end, as I needed some filler primer for another job. I am also making a macro pad using a lets split pcb, so for that i plan to print the case and try again with sanding and then resin. Also that case will be pretty much 90 degree angles so the sanding will be less of a chore.

Offline jmg123

  • Posts: 10
  • Location: UK
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #47 on: Fri, 23 March 2018, 13:39:22 »
The left side is now done, I used Kailh box burnt orange switches, and some really cheap key caps from banggood. Tested with qmk, but I might swap it over to a port of the animus firmware from unikeyboard.io, just so that it is easier to configure.

I think i might get some of my own red dwarf (uk tv show) inspired keycaps printed, using the font from the show and a few appropriate novelties. What are uv peinted abs keycaps like? Does the printing wear off quickly?

Is there any advantage to having the left and right side independently plugged in via usb?

Offline flac.head

  • Posts: 23
  • Location: UK
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #48 on: Wed, 28 March 2018, 07:39:10 »
Is this easy to modify for kailh's low-profile switches? Looks like this would be my perfect board then, but I have no idea where to start!
« Last Edit: Wed, 28 March 2018, 08:10:03 by flac.head »

Offline mustcode

  • Posts: 46
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #49 on: Sun, 08 April 2018, 16:21:39 »
Finally finished my Alps build :D

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #50 on: Tue, 10 April 2018, 21:30:59 »
Finally finished my Alps build :D
What material is this? it looks very smooth.

Offline mustcode

  • Posts: 46
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #51 on: Tue, 10 April 2018, 22:29:06 »
Somos NeXt @ 100nm layer. It is quite smooth indeed.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #52 on: Wed, 11 April 2018, 02:08:38 »
The thumb cluster seems to be optimized for 1.5u or 2u keys. Anyone modified it to be optimized for all 1u?

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #53 on: Thu, 12 April 2018, 06:59:00 »
I've really small hands and I'm changing the thumb cluster to https://imgur.com/a/xxoIP
STL attached
I'll probably print this in 1 week.

Will it work? What're your thoughts?
« Last Edit: Thu, 12 April 2018, 10:34:48 by ju6ju8Oo »

Offline vvp

  • Posts: 747
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #54 on: Thu, 12 April 2018, 11:16:04 »
Looks like switches will fit there. Just try it and you will see. If you are afraid to print it directly then try first on a modeling clay.

All manuform thumb clusters are too low relative to the keywell from my point of view. My thumbs do not extend that low easily. My natural thumb position is higher than the tip of my bent pointing finger. It is hard for me to go much lower with my thumb. Therefore Maltron/Kinesis thumb cluster shape is better for me.
But many people like them and Oobly has a nice version of it too:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=48176.msg1049331#msg1049331
I can imagine using Oobly's thumb cluster but positioned a bit higher ... probably. It might need low profile switches there.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #55 on: Thu, 12 April 2018, 20:40:23 »
I've removed one key, and move the other keys up.
Would the thumb cluster in my version too high?

Offline vvp

  • Posts: 747
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #56 on: Fri, 13 April 2018, 01:31:49 »
Put switches (with keycaps) on modeling clay and test how well it fits your hands. That is the best way to find out how the switch positions suit you.

Offline crystalhand

  • Posts: 25
  • Location: USA-MD
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #57 on: Fri, 13 April 2018, 07:35:52 »
The beauty of 3d printers is the ability to iterate and improve.  I have printed more tests than I care to admit on my quest to find a solid way to mount outemu/box switch mounts for the dactyl/maniform. 

Offline vvp

  • Posts: 747
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #58 on: Fri, 13 April 2018, 08:22:32 »
I have printed a way too many prototypes too. But things are not that simple when one needs to pay a commercial service for each iteration.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #59 on: Fri, 13 April 2018, 08:25:19 »
What's your process on using molding clays?
I'm thinking of using 5mm blocks for prototyping.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #60 on: Thu, 19 April 2018, 05:08:43 »
what screws / nuts should I use?

Offline ak66666

  • Posts: 14
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #61 on: Thu, 19 April 2018, 07:17:59 »
I've really small hands and I'm changing the thumb cluster to https://imgur.com/a/xxoIP
STL attached
I'll probably print this in 1 week.

Will it work? What're your thoughts?

Looks good, those two innermost keys in the thumbcluster are barely used anyway. Simply too far, the hand needs to be moved instead of a short twist.
Would you share the clojure file as well please?
I'd tent it a bit more, actually twice the angle, as I did in the latest copies.

Offline crystalhand

  • Posts: 25
  • Location: USA-MD
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #62 on: Thu, 19 April 2018, 07:21:01 »
I have printed a way too many prototypes too. But things are not that simple when one needs to pay a commercial service for each iteration.

Who are you currently using for your prototypes?  I run a fairly small scale 3d keyboard case sidebusiness.  Hit me up if you have any interest, I am sure I can do it for cheaper than you are currently paying.

Offline vvp

  • Posts: 747
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #63 on: Thu, 19 April 2018, 16:02:06 »
Who are you currently using for your prototypes?
I have a 3D printer in the next room. No real need to play with modeling clay for me.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #64 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 18:26:32 »

Would you share the clojure file as well please?

Code released on https://github.com/l4u/dactyl-manuform-mini-keyboard
STL and plate (ai) can be found on https://github.com/l4u/dactyl-manuform-mini-keyboard/releases
I'm printing them, so I cannot confirm if it works or not.
There's a lot of hard coded numbers for prototyping. I've only generated 4x5.


Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #65 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 20:06:36 »
I'd tent it a bit more, actually twice the angle, as I did in the latest copies.
Any photos / model files?  :)

Offline ak66666

  • Posts: 14
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #66 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 09:11:03 »
I'd tent it a bit more, actually twice the angle, as I did in the latest copies.
Any photos / model files?  :)

Sure, please find them here:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2872180

That yellow case is the latest version.
I left a complete one at work, so no pictures until next week.

IIRC The white one in the pictures is the one generated with the default settings.
Plus it has a 6mm sole plate, so it is a bit thicker.

Offline kamegami

  • Posts: 1
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #67 on: Thu, 26 April 2018, 11:55:00 »
I started my own Dactyl-Manuform build. I wanted to report that the slicer Cura has a new Tree Support feature. In my testing Tree Supports work particularly well with the Dactyl-Manuform, significantly saving on filament and print time.

A single side 5x6 (tilt increased to 4) without supports is about 72g.
Grid Supports: 147g
Triangle: 148g
Lines: 116g
Tree Supports: 109g

It also saves an estimated hour in print time over the Line supports. The supports also separated in one piece with zero effort, I didn't need to bring the knippers out.

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #68 on: Sat, 28 April 2018, 20:12:58 »
I'd tent it a bit more, actually twice the angle, as I did in the latest copies.
Any photos / model files?  :)

Sure, please find them here:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2872180

That yellow case is the latest version.
I left a complete one at work, so no pictures until next week.

IIRC The white one in the pictures is the one generated with the default settings.
Plus it has a 6mm sole plate, so it is a bit thicker.
How did you generate the bottom plate?

Offline ak66666

  • Posts: 14
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #69 on: Sat, 28 April 2018, 20:19:26 »
I get a slice of it in OpenSCAD with Projection command:
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/OpenSCAD_User_Manual/3D_to_2D_Projection
I.e. I load the SCAD file generated by Clojure into OpenSCAD, add that Projection command if front of all other text:
projection(cut=false) translate([0,0,-0.5])
Render it, then export the resulting flat figure it to DXF format, import that file into Autodesk 360 Fusion, press/pull it to a desired thickness, add holes for the screws and foot pads (which are just 0.5 mm deep holes with flat bottoms).
Export the results into STL.
PS. Autodesk Fusion is free for the non-commercial use.
« Last Edit: Sat, 28 April 2018, 20:23:02 by ak66666 »

Offline copper

  • Posts: 2
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #70 on: Thu, 10 May 2018, 08:05:17 »
Hello everyone!

I just registered to tell you all that I will be building my own copy of this keyboard.

I will post progress here.  So far, I have printed the 6x6 version posted by Chaotic-Entity at github.  I am missing the bottom plates, and may print them as well.  I have my own 3d printer, so that is not an issue.  I also have sheets of policarbonate that could be cut as the bottom plate, but I don't have a CNC.  Because of this, I may try to print bottom plates. 

I will be posting details as I progress.

Online Loligagger

  • Posts: 213
  • Location: ON, Canada
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #71 on: Fri, 11 May 2018, 00:43:08 »
So I'm interested in building one of these myself. However I'd like to make some changes to the layout, and I'm not exactly sure how to go about doing that. Essentially I'd like to add an inner column, and modify the outer columns to more closely resemble the ergodox layout (somewhat like this). Seems like these changes would require more than tweaking the parameters at the top of the file. How should I go about modifying the clojure code to change the layout like this?

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #72 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 15:47:19 »
Adding an inner column should require a change in the thumb cluster position.
Adding the outer column might require some changes in key positions, and tweaks for the walls depending on how you'd want it to look like.

Online Loligagger

  • Posts: 213
  • Location: ON, Canada
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #73 on: Wed, 16 May 2018, 22:22:46 »
Adding an inner column should require a change in the thumb cluster position.
Adding the outer column might require some changes in key positions, and tweaks for the walls depending on how you'd want it to look like.

Moving the thumb cluster would mean you'd have to mess with the column offsets though, right? That and the I'd like the inner column to only have 3 keys. Seems like I'd have to define a column type with 3 keys, one with 1.5 width, and only use them for the first & last columns respectively. Then add the 5th row to the outer columns by adding it to the thumb cluster (since the 5th row in the 3rd and 4th columns are actually part of the code for the thumb cluster). Then move the walls to accommodate these changes to the columns. But since I'm unfamiliar with clojure code that's as far as I've gotten. How to accomplish those things is beyond me at the moment.

Online Loligagger

  • Posts: 213
  • Location: ON, Canada
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #74 on: Sat, 02 June 2018, 22:05:43 »
So after a good amount of messing with the clojure code, I've finished modding the layout to conform more to the ergodox. If anyone wants I can share the clojure code itself, but it's just a bodge to get it to work with this specific layout, changing the number of rows or columns would most likely break it.

Edit: noticed a small error with one of the connectors, updated the .stl file.
Edit 2: Fixed the outer 1.5u column.
« Last Edit: Mon, 09 July 2018, 22:43:01 by Loligagger »

Offline mmmm

  • Posts: 1
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #75 on: Tue, 05 June 2018, 23:07:09 »
I'd tent it a bit more, actually twice the angle, as I did in the latest copies.
Any photos / model files?  :)

Sure, please find them here:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2872180

That yellow case is the latest version.
I left a complete one at work, so no pictures until next week.

IIRC The white one in the pictures is the one generated with the default settings.
Plus it has a 6mm sole plate, so it is a bit thicker.



ak66666, do you have a github repo or anywhere with the code changes for your latest version? I'd love to riff on it

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #76 on: Tue, 12 June 2018, 03:05:33 »
So after a good amount of messing with the clojure code, I've finished modding the layout to conform more to the ergodox. If anyone wants I can share the clojure code itself, but it's just a bodge to get it to work with this specific layout, changing the number of rows or columns would most likely break it.

Edit: noticed a small error with one of the connectors, updated the .stl file.
it would be cool if you can share the clojure code!! how did you change the spacing for the pinky columns?

Online Loligagger

  • Posts: 213
  • Location: ON, Canada
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #77 on: Tue, 12 June 2018, 03:32:02 »
it would be cool if you can share the clojure code!! how did you change the spacing for the pinky columns?

It was a couple of things I modified to get the column to be 1.5u wide. I'll attach the clojure code so you can see for yourself. By no means are my changes to the code the best/most efficient way to do it though (far from it).
« Last Edit: Tue, 12 June 2018, 03:37:26 by Loligagger »

Offline galorin

  • Posts: 3
  • Location: UK
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #78 on: Fri, 22 June 2018, 07:22:12 »
I seem to be having trouble getting the clojure to evaluate and regenerate a new set of SCAD files.  I am pulling from /abstracthat/dactyl-manuform master and with the OpenJDK it is producing errors about unmet dependencies if I remember correctly.  Before I go posting logs, is the repo working today?

Offline ak66666

  • Posts: 14
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #79 on: Fri, 22 June 2018, 08:17:09 »

ak66666, do you have a github repo or anywhere with the code changes for your latest version? I'd love to riff on it

It is here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ta8aok816smqgo5/AADhWZTSZm8MqsPJmsrqKbZIa?dl=0

Offline ju6ju8Oo

  • Posts: 71
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #80 on: Fri, 22 June 2018, 09:38:22 »
I seem to be having trouble getting the clojure to evaluate and regenerate a new set of SCAD files.  I am pulling from /abstracthat/dactyl-manuform master and with the OpenJDK it is producing errors about unmet dependencies if I remember correctly.  Before I go posting logs, is the repo working today?


I used tshort's repo weeks ago and it was working.

Offline galorin

  • Posts: 3
  • Location: UK
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #81 on: Mon, 02 July 2018, 10:23:23 »
I used tshort's repo weeks ago and it was working.

Got it.  It was my environment that was the problem, plus a few lines were commented out that shouldn't have been.  I now have my own fork that is compiling just fine.

Now I just need to get my printer to cooperate.  Had two 80% print failures so far, one was a full print with a layer shift, the other was thermal runaway after a soldered connection gave in to fatigue.

Online Loligagger

  • Posts: 213
  • Location: ON, Canada
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #82 on: Wed, 04 July 2018, 17:17:21 »
Figured I may as well post this now that I've finished the build and typing on it. I'll have to fix the 1.5u outer column though, as they're very slightly off. (Fixed now, updated the .stl file in my previous post). Not really noticeable while typing at least.

I might modify the code to make the bottom row flat with an (inverted?) T arrow cluster. But that probably won't be anytime soon.
« Last Edit: Tue, 10 July 2018, 16:38:08 by Loligagger »

Offline ErgoMacros

  • Posts: 199
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #83 on: Wed, 04 July 2018, 18:36:37 »
Looking very fine! Congratulations!
Today's quote: '...“but then the customer successfully broke that.”

Offline copper

  • Posts: 2
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #84 on: Mon, 09 July 2018, 02:23:27 »
Work in progress...

Offline annirak

  • Posts: 1
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #85 on: Mon, 20 August 2018, 10:03:05 »
I started my own Dactyl-Manuform build. I wanted to report that the slicer Cura has a new Tree Support feature. In my testing Tree Supports work particularly well with the Dactyl-Manuform, significantly saving on filament and print time.

A single side 5x6 (tilt increased to 4) without supports is about 72g.
Grid Supports: 147g
Triangle: 148g
Lines: 116g
Tree Supports: 109g

It also saves an estimated hour in print time over the Line supports. The supports also separated in one piece with zero effort, I didn't need to bring the knippers out.

When I try running the 5x6 STL that's in git through Cura, with tree supports enabled, it says 210g. What settings are you using in Cura?

Offline geek128

  • Posts: 7
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #86 on: Tue, 04 September 2018, 19:15:32 »
what keycap profile works best with this? DSA? SA R3? or is it fine with sculpted SA, MT3 or Cherry, too?

Offline Squarism

  • Posts: 1
Re: Dactyl-ManuForm keyboard build
« Reply #87 on: Wed, 28 November 2018, 00:42:48 »
I havent found any review of this/these keboards. Are you satisfied with yours? Complaints? Missing something? Angles properly chosen? Room for improvement? How does it compare to kenisis advantage? The latter having built in palm rest, do you miss that?

I've ordered stuff to be able to build one. Mainly to tackle hand stress I've felt lately. So hope it fills that purpose.