Author Topic: [IC] Infinite Split  (Read 6617 times)

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Offline Blitzschnitzel

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[IC] Infinite Split
« on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 15:21:38 »
205044-0

205046-1

205048-2

This is an early stage concept. So, there is no pricing yet. I just wanted to ask for input and if there would be enough interest in the idea to develop it further.

Each Infinite Split (Working Title) is a separate keyboard with its own processor and a 2 port USB-hub. You can daisy-chain as many of the 6x5 ortho boards as your USB port power output allows. You could just get one for fps gaming and plug your main keyboard into the second USB-C port, or you could use several modules to build a keyboard as long as your desk. The modules can be split or combined with the magnets in the case's sides. The aluminium mounting plate is resting on top rather than in the case. This way it is possible to have a completely bezel-less case easy to combine with other modules.

What do you guys think? :D

EDIT: If you find this concept interesting please tell me how/what for you could see yourself using the modules. Also, how many you would chain together. This would help me with some design decisions.
« Last Edit: Thu, 11 October 2018, 12:52:56 by Blitzschnitzel »

Online KevinSanToast

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 15:38:07 »
This is amazing! I am definitely interested. What features will the pcbs support? If I may, I hope you would consider hot-swappability and rotary encoder support.

Online dimo

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 15:44:20 »
All depends on pricing but this is nice (:

Offline MikeTheTiger

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 15:48:59 »
Nice!!
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Offline dead_pixel_design

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 16:05:48 »
Very interested

Offline ProtonDecay

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 18:04:46 »
I love this. In for everything pictured assuming the price doesn't work out to something crazy

Offline digid3ar

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 19:29:59 »
like the idea of modules. :thumb:

Offline clickityClackity

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 21:14:57 »
Yes please! Awesome concept!

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 07 October 2018, 23:08:08 »
Thank you guys! :D

This is amazing! I am definitely interested. What features will the pcbs support? If I may, I hope you would consider hot-swappability and rotary encoder support.
If there is enough demand, swappable switches would be possible. However, I would love to see people using 4 - 5 or even 6 modules with crazy CS go or Photoshop shortcut keycaps and really specific productivity macros. Thatís why I am trying to keep the cost per module low. Thatís also the reason, why the mounting points of the switch plate are brass pcb spacers instead of being milled directly into the case. This would reduce machining time and pcb spacers for a few cents should work just as well.
I think I should also drill the holes for the magnets from the top close to the side of the case. This way the magnets are invisible and the case has to be milled only from 3 instead of 5 sides.

Offline young_won

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 08 October 2018, 09:37:57 »
i'm interested in :)

hotswap +1

and i wish multi layers
« Last Edit: Mon, 08 October 2018, 09:40:43 by young_won »

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 08 October 2018, 10:15:56 »
and i wish multi layers

These are individual keyboards on a USB hub so you can't change layer on one board and have it effect the other(s), you'll have to press "FN" on the same board as you're trying to press the key on.  Ctrl, Alt and Shift are managed by the operating system so you can press them on another board.

As long as this works for you, great :)
                               
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Offline jay_seo

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 08 October 2018, 13:24:08 »
This might be the solution to all my problems.

Having to do documentation and visualization, at minimum I'll have autocar and illustrator running which is fine with custom layers on the keyboard. The problem is when I'm working in autocad, illustrator, rhino, and any number of 3D programs with rendering engines that I want to pull my hair out. Changing layers is just not efficient every couple of minutes to make small changes.

I run a 3 monitor setup anyway so having multiple keyboards in front of a monitor with a dedicated numpad type of custom setup would be a dream come true.

Online KevinSanToast

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 08 October 2018, 13:59:24 »
If there is enough demand, swappable switches would be possible. However, I would love to see people using 4 - 5 or even 6 modules with crazy CS go or Photoshop shortcut keycaps and really specific productivity macros. Thatís why I am trying to keep the cost per module low. Thatís also the reason, why the mounting points of the switch plate are brass pcb spacers instead of being milled directly into the case. This would reduce machining time and pcb spacers for a few cents should work just as well.
I think I should also drill the holes for the magnets from the top close to the side of the case. This way the magnets are invisible and the case has to be milled only from 3 instead of 5 sides.

This makes a lot of sense. I agree with keeping the costs down for the majority of consumers. The best part about your design is that it is completely modular. So perhaps sometime down the line, you would release a more expensive pcb with more features to add on the originals, I would be very interested in that as well. It's funny you mention photoshop, because I love using the rotary encoder for the adobe suite.

Either way, I will be watching this project very closely. I don't browse gh very often, but this thread I can get behind. I wish you the best of luck!

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 09 October 2018, 16:50:35 »
and i wish multi layers
Yes, layers would definitely be a feature. But as suicidal_orange wrote the layers will be handled by each module separately and not span over the whole chain. I guess it could be possible to have the modules recognize each other and communicate layer states but I'm not that good of a programmer.^^ Maybe someone else would mod that in. If you only use one module this is not an issue. If you use 3 or more you can have everything on the top layer. Only if you want to have a 50% split board you would have to get used to a left an right layer state. However, the idea of the modules is to put everything you could possibly need on the top layer. 
This might be the solution to all my problems. Having to do documentation and visualization, at minimum I'll have autocar and illustrator running which is fine with custom layers on the keyboard. The problem is when I'm working in autocad, illustrator, rhino, and any number of 3D programs with rendering engines that I want to pull my hair out. Changing layers is just not efficient every couple of minutes to make small changes. I run a 3 monitor setup anyway so having multiple keyboards in front of a monitor with a dedicated numpad type of custom setup would be a dream come true.
You're the kind of guy I had in mind for this. :D
This makes a lot of sense. I agree with keeping the costs down for the majority of consumers. The best part about your design is that it is completely modular. So perhaps sometime down the line, you would release a more expensive pcb with more features to add on the originals, I would be very interested in that as well. It's funny you mention photoshop, because I love using the rotary encoder for the adobe suite.
Either way, I will be watching this project very closely. I don't browse gh very often, but this thread I can get behind. I wish you the best of luck!
Once the concept is developed enough and I could give a prize estimate I would make a feature vote. Including swappable switches. As I had media creator definitely in mind with this concept, I can see the usefulness of module with a rotary encoder. But that would be an option for later. First, I would concentrate on the one size fits all numpad style.


« Last Edit: Tue, 09 October 2018, 17:03:27 by Blitzschnitzel »

Offline equalunique

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 10 October 2018, 16:17:34 »
Looks fantastic. I will keep tabs on this.

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Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 11 October 2018, 09:11:18 »
Does someone have one of these USB multimeters and could check the current draw of a board with an ATMEGA32U4 Chip? The documentation states a peak draw of 200mA which would mean a maximum of 4 boards in chain on a USB 3 port. However, I am pretty sure the chip isn't running at full blast just to monitor some switch states. Perhaps it could draw the full load on bootup but I guess It would be possible to have the module chain boot in sequence. Maybe with a transistor on the powerline.

Offline gnunin

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 12 October 2018, 02:33:41 »
QMK? Depending on pricing I'm interested

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 12 October 2018, 13:52:33 »
Exept for the USB-hub controler the pcb will be super standard. So, yes QMK will be a thing.
I am going to order some aluminium plates. Which has become surprisingly cheap. The bars can be removed with a dremel or jigsaw where a 2u keycap is needed. I guess there is no way to make plate mounted stabilisers possible with this design. Right? I've put some cutouts in for now but there is no support from the opposite side.
« Last Edit: Fri, 12 October 2018, 14:16:08 by Blitzschnitzel »

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 14 October 2018, 21:19:40 »
Exept for the USB-hub controler the pcb will be super standard. So, yes QMK will be a thing.
I am going to order some aluminium plates. Which has become surprisingly cheap. The bars can be removed with a dremel or jigsaw where a 2u keycap is needed. I guess there is no way to make plate mounted stabilisers possible with this design. Right? I've put some cutouts in for now but there is no support from the opposite side.
(Attachment Link)

If you want to use the same plate design for all modules then no, I don't think plate mount stabs is an option. As for asking interested parties to use a dremel or jigsaw.. I dunno. If it's made from aluminum it as you said it shouldn't be that much of a big deal. Might not look very pretty depending on the user's skill and patience. If you go stainless steel I would absolutely not do that.

Offline rumlyne

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 23 October 2018, 04:24:30 »
This is interesting!
Which one is going to be the master? The middle one? Are they linked via trrs or usb?

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Offline ilouis_07

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 23 October 2018, 04:32:02 »
like the concept.

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 24 October 2018, 10:00:00 »
This is interesting!
Which one is going to be the master? The middle one? Are they linked via trrs or usb?
There are going to be updates soon. Right now, I am working on the pcb. There is no master. Each one functions as a full keyboard hooked to an internal USB hub. The second port is then free to accept the next module.

Offline clickityClackity

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 24 October 2018, 10:34:45 »
This is interesting!
Which one is going to be the master? The middle one? Are they linked via trrs or usb?
There are going to be updates soon. Right now, I am working on the pcb. There is no master. Each one functions as a full keyboard hooked to an internal USB hub. The second port is then free to accept the next module.
I saw some mention of pawer draw, but if I'm understanding this correctly....

So daisy chaining, like ADB(ish)? What would the power-draw limitations be? Like, would 5 daisy chained boards cause issues, would the quality of the cable become a major factor at that point etc.. And if we're daisy chaining, would future modules (trackpad, roller ball, thumb cluster keys) be options down the line? Cause that would be pretty ****in sick...

Just curious, love this concept!

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 25 October 2018, 10:19:28 »
So daisy chaining, like ADB(ish)? What would the power-draw limitations be? Like, would 5 daisy chained boards cause issues, would the quality of the cable become a major factor at that point etc.. 
The documentation of the chip was a bit confusing. 200mA was the max breakdown current not the draw. I estimate each module to draw around 60mA. 420mA if you solder in 30 white 60mW LEDs.
So, for USB 2.0 with a max output of 500mA that would mean: 8 daisy chained modules or at least 1 with backlight blasting at full brightness.
For USB 3.0 with a max output of 900mA that would mean: 15 daisy chained modules or at least 2 with backlight at full brightness.
You can also double the current with a Y-adapter-cable or if you use a powered USB hub you can raise the current to whatever the power supply says. However, the internal passthrough limit is 2A. Meaning, 33 daisy chained modules or at least 4 with backlight at full brightness.

Now the backlight numbers are assuming you want to burn away your retinas each time you look at your keyboard. Since I have no influence over your choice of LEDs I am only giving an ďat leastĒ estimate. If you use less potent or coloured LEDs or reduce the brightness setting, the power draw can reduce significantly. Also, there are going to be jumpers if you only want a caps lock or num light or want to drive these separately from the other LEDs. 

All USB-C cables must be able to carry a minimum of 3 A current. So, if the cables are up to spec this shouldnít be a problem.

And if we're daisy chaining, would future modules (trackpad, roller ball, thumb cluster keys) be options down the line? Cause that would be pretty ****in sick... 

I agree, that would be ****in sick! But first I am going to test the waters with the module that everybody has a use for.

« Last Edit: Thu, 25 October 2018, 20:07:41 by Blitzschnitzel »

Offline DoY

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #24 on: Sun, 28 October 2018, 08:30:57 »
I am really interested... This is going to be an insane good tool for PS editing. Following!

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 07 November 2018, 03:47:47 »
So, Iíve got a lot to do recently but I am still on it. I went through some iterations and now have settled for an angle and height that I like. Next, I have to order some neodymium magnets and figure out the right strength for the modules to snap together satisfyingly but not clank together violently.
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Offline Darknight00z

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 04 February 2019, 15:04:23 »
Updates?

Offline Retrias

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 16 February 2019, 08:37:59 »
Pretty interested in this , even more if you make an entire eco system out of them , I would use 3 of them to have a navigation stuff on the middle and the rest of them would just be a board , prolly another one thats function rows , that way I can arrange them the way i like to access them

Offline Lepr3chaun

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #28 on: Sat, 16 February 2019, 15:49:46 »
I would be in for this.

Offline vicissitude

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #29 on: Sat, 16 February 2019, 16:46:19 »
Cool  !!!

Offline rionlion100

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #30 on: Thu, 28 February 2019, 08:24:16 »
Very interested would love to see a cheap case option to make these even more available. I would do southpaw with 3 modules and maybe even 4 one from media and macros

Offline Mechboards

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 28 February 2019, 08:43:26 »
I really like this idea. It's kinda like the DC-01 but Ortho :P

Offline dead_pixel_design

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #32 on: Thu, 28 February 2019, 12:34:30 »
I really like this idea. It's kinda like the DC-01 but Ortho :P

Did DC-01 already GB?

Online tex_live_utility

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 04 March 2019, 08:23:22 »
Love this idea.

This kit is a good incentive to figure out a generic tenting solution that can attached and removed again quickly and easily.

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #34 on: Wed, 10 April 2019, 20:54:09 »
Thank you guys. Work and Family has gotten in the way of things lately.
As I wrote in the first post this is a very early interest check. The feedback has been very positive, however rather moderate in numbers. Maybe this is because this is a very niche keyboard or maybe there would more feedback if this were a fully developed working prototype. So, Now I am hesitant to go further because of the very high cost of getting prototypes made. (Even higher if anything doesn’t work on the first try)
I would like to make three case prototypes and at least five PCB prototypes to make sure the whole chain works together nicely and that everyone would be satisfied with the product.
One thing I found out while further developing this board was that there will be no hot-swappable key version. The sides of the case are already thin and almost touching the switches. If I made room for the wider Kailh hot-swap sockets, the sides would become ridiculously thin.

I am definitely still invested in this concept as this is my dream work keyboard but I also would like to break even with this project, so I’m considering some options:
  • Just going ahead. Scrape together the money and fully develop this keyboard.
  • Make a laser cut steel sandwich version first and a CNC aluminium version later if there is demand.
    The aluminium case is the most expensive component and most expensive to prototype. Maybe most of you are media creators who need a ton of macros and looks are secondary for you.
  • Put this on the back burner and realize a simpler project first to gather some experience. Just a case or just a PCB but nothing combined like this.
  • Try to find someone more experienced from the community who would like to hop on to this project. Or maybe even try to get a shop like KBDfans interested. Does this kind of stuff happen?
  • Move to Alaska.

What do you guys think?
I have a PCB design which I will upload soon to the Making Stuff Together section to get some feedback and to check weather I made some errors.
« Last Edit: Wed, 10 April 2019, 23:13:10 by Blitzschnitzel »

Offline fireworm

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 10 April 2019, 21:04:55 »
Acrylic / ss sandwich.

Sooooooooooo many layouts start that way.

See: anything on keeb.io, rgbkb.com, helidox etc.

Literally pcb, two sheets of alu, and some screws. Can't beat that. 

Add the alu case later, with another pcb run.

Online tex_live_utility

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 10 April 2019, 23:34:32 »
IMO just get a proof of concept going with the PCBs and worry about cases later. Could always start with an FR4 sandwich.

Offline Blitzschnitzel

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 17 April 2019, 23:00:08 »
Yes,you are right. One step after the other. I've posted the wiring schematic here, if you want to give input:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=100264.msg2749536#msg2749536

Offline Zurg Eon

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Re: [IC] Infinite Split
« Reply #38 on: Mon, 22 April 2019, 07:34:51 »
I'm looking for something like this to use as a numpad and for fps gaming. Ability to plug my main keyboard to this sounds cool!