Author Topic: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist  (Read 1411 times)

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Offline McPeanutbutter

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The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 12:26:58 »
Disclaimer: I don't own an Ergodox. I have tried one for a few minutes at a meetup, with sculpted SA caps, and absolutely loved it. Now I have two sets of Ergodox SA keycaps on the way but no board to put them on.

Hey everyone,
I finally made an account here to receive some feedback on an concept that's been in my head for a while. The idea is as follows: Many people use an Ergodox, and there's a significant amount of amazing keycaps available - especially in SA and GMK, i.e. sculpted profiles. Yet, I keep reading complaints about the positioning of the thumb cluster, how it's too far away and sits at a weird angle. Further, "tenting" the Ergodox seems to make the problem even worse, since it requires to lift the thumbs up in a weird restrictive position. Below, you see my attempt at solving these issues, the Ergodent (suggestions for a better name are welcome!).

197581-0

By removing one key from the Ergodox layout and rotating both parts around their respective y-axis (the vertical axis in the plane that's defined by the array of keys), the cluster can be closer to the main part of the board - similar to the Kinesis Advantage or the Dactyl. In these renders, the thumb cluster is rotated vertically by 15 deg, and the tilt of the plates is +/-10 deg, respectively.

197583-1

Okay, why not simply use Advantage or an Dactyl? I personally think the Advantage is too large and inflexible. The Dactyl, while being absolutely amazing, is simply impossible to manufacture with a solid aluminum case for a price that's even remotely reasonable.

I have also constructed a version that's utilizing the entire Ergodox set of keys (see below), though I'm not quite sure what's the best orientation for the cluster in this case. Depending on the final Orientation of the two plates, there's probably also a way to separate the case such that it can be manufactured with a 3-axis mill and from two smaller blocks of aluminum (instead of a 4-axis mill and a single larger block), which in turn would greatly reduce the manufacturing cost.

197585-2

Yeah, so what do you think, especially with respect to tilting angles, thumb cluster orientation and the "missing key"? I would love to one day turn this into a group buy (including a set of PCBs), if there's enough interest. If anyone is wondering, I made the construction in Solidworks and the renders in Blender (with the incredible Keyboard-Layout-Editor-for-Blender plug-in).

Cheers
« Last Edit: Fri, 07 December 2018, 05:02:05 by McPeanutbutter »

Offline MatchstickMan

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 13:05:10 »
I love this idea!

Personally, I use that bottom inside key for most of my layer toggles for the Function keys, PrtScn, etc. Maybe see if you can put a 1u cap there instead of the 1.5u? Maybe both vertical switches become 1u keys?

Online Loligagger

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 13:20:56 »
Looks pretty good. I'd tilt it more, but that's just my preference. Changing the two inner 1.5u keys to 1u sounds like a good compromise to move the thumb cluster closer in.

Offline JianYang

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 13:27:08 »
Seems like a good idea. I personally do not use the keys that you have removed. I also do not use the 4 x 1u keys on the thumb cluster, so you could in theory remove the top row of the thumb cluster, but I think your approach is a bit better. Perhaps you should raise the top row of the thumb cluster, so that you can actually use them with your thumb. I also use the buttons each side on the bottom row nearest the thumb cluster for layers, so I suggest at least putting one of them on the same angle as the thumb cluster.

There are a couple of new modified dactyl designs that have also changed the layout of the thumb cluster completely - it would be worth having a look at them. Example https://imgur.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/EOnEmp8
« Last Edit: Fri, 08 June 2018, 13:30:29 by JianYang »

Offline McPeanutbutter

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 13:43:16 »
Thanks for your suggestions!

The main problem with adding 1u keys is that they're not part of most Ergodox-Sets. That being said, one could probably take them from the thumb cluster, and that might work with most or even all colorways (I checked 1976, Oblivion, Carbon and Nautilus). I've attached a few different layout versions; Ver A being the one on the renders above.

JianYang, thanks for pointing out that the innermost button on the bottom row should probably be part of the thumb cluster. Is Ver E what you imagine? I'm not quite sure how to achieve a raised upper row for the thumb cluster though.

I'm aware of the Manuform (and probably should've mentioned it), but there's two major issues I see with it. First, it has to be 3d-printed and second, it looks super weird.  :)
What I'm going for here is a sleek, solid design that's rock-solid and wouldn't particularly stand out in a professional office environment. But it's a good example to consider nevertheless. If it turns out that 5-axis milling is feasible, I might as well transition to Advantage-esque shifted and curved columns.

Offline Parva Ovis

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 14:32:22 »
I feel like the top-right thumb cluster R2 key on each version would be hard to reach and would extend the length of the keyboard more than necessary for minimal benefit. Six thumb keys is more than enough, IMO.

Offline xack

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 14:48:15 »
also there would not be much ergodox left but i think you could have more space wit 1u keys only... at least on the thumb cluster... but that would bring it closer to an iris than an ergodox xD

Offline MatchstickMan

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 15:11:20 »
Versions C and D are what I had in mind (but with the standard thumb cluster). I agree that the upper-right R2 key in that cluster would be even harder to reach than the normal 1u keys in the cluster (and I use an Ergodox as my daily driver at home).

E has me very interested, the standard thumb cluster but having the 3rd thumb key seems like it would be very useful. I often use the 1u key that you removed from E as a 3rd thumb button anyway and this seems way more natural. It's likely that this key would be convex vs the standard concave of the 2u thumb keys.

I wouldn't be terribly concerned if you're replacing a 1.5u key with a 1u key. Those are pretty easy to come by and would be a good place for novelties. If you don't use all the keys in a standard ergodox set, that shouldn't stop you either.

Offline romevi

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 08 June 2018, 15:19:54 »
Paging tp4tissue.


Offline Parva Ovis

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Re: The Ergodent - Ergodox with a twist
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 21 June 2018, 22:00:45 »
Paging tp4tissue.

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I doubt the angle is extreme enough.