Author Topic: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?  (Read 5957 times)

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Offline bennylava

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It seems the trend is for these smaller keyboards these days. I'm not really into that, I like em big, even with 10 key. I got really fast at 10 key back when I worked at blockbuster video. I'd like it to be split as well, but even though its split, I still need it to be sturdily connected cause I like to sit with it in my lap. Is there a keyboard out there for me? It would be awesome if it was also backlit, but I can live without that if I have to. I have big hands so these tiny keyboards really aren't my thing. Oh I'd also like it to use cherry switches if possible, and I'd like to be able to use my own keys that I pick out somewhere.

Too much to ask? lol

Offline Lanrefni

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 18 October 2018, 18:42:28 »
The BFO-9000 from keeb.io- https://keeb.io/collections/keyboard-pcbs/products/bfo-9000-keyboard-customizable-full-size-split-ortholinear?variant=8116065271914
You would have to make your own case for it though,you could easily get some top plates cut by lasergist/Ponoko then mount them on a board to make them connected,you can program it to any layout you want,here is my work in progress using some scrap wood as base plates while I figure out the tenting angles I want-

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 18 October 2018, 20:15:21 »
Oh, if I had a penny for every request for a "like Microsoft Natural Keyboard but with Cherry switches" ...
I'm sorry, it does not exist. I think it is long overdue that a major manufacturer would make one.

There are a few older keyboards that come close, but with Alps switches. That's it, I'm afraid.

Then there is the Kinesis Advantage 2, that I think works better in the lap than on a desk but it is a bit weird to get used to and the only numpad is "embedded", i.e. in the right alphanumeric section when Num Lock is on.
The Maltron has a similar layout to the Kinesis (Kinesis copied Maltron...) but with a numeric keypad in-between the two halves but it is an "older type of keyboard" (to use an euphemism).  Hand-made and expensive niche-item and maybe not as sturdy as modern keyboards.

Do check out Xah Lee's Keyboard Guide. It has a lot of info on ergo keyboards, both vintage and contemporary.
« Last Edit: Thu, 18 October 2018, 20:19:09 by Findecanor »
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
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Offline bennylava

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 18 October 2018, 21:33:20 »
Thanks for the replies! That site is funny, I like the chinese character keyboard drumset pics lol.

So it looks like the more I learn about keyboards, my requirements necessarily change. For instance now I want to make sure that it has a full set of function keys. I can see why some people wouldn't want a 10 key pad on the side. But no function keys? Madness.

Since this is geekhack, what about this idea:

Just hack up some decent quality mechanical keyboard, to be what I want. Maybe a Razor brand, or whichever brand has the 10 key. Just split it in half, and clock the two halves at 45 degrees. Then bind them together somehow at the bottom. Anyone here done anything like that? Looks like its not going to be possible to come up with a somewhat normal keyboard without doing something like that. All the ones I like have some crippling disadvantage.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 19 October 2018, 08:26:19 »
It would be easier to get a Kinesis Freestyle Edge, a separate numpad and a USB hub and just build the custom enclosure. Then you would not have to cut anything.
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
-- Arthur Miller

Offline bennylava

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 21 October 2018, 01:16:22 »
Maybe my brain isn't working right now due to being tired, but what custom enclosure are you referring to? One that I may be able to buy somewhere, (and still have to build) or one that I make out of... aluminum or something? Still really new to this hobby so I don't know what all is sold, and what all people do.

Those empty black panels that you plug switches into, that one member linked seem like a good idea. You could do what I want to do with those. You could use those to mock up any housing you wanted, then build it. Maybe it could even be backlit, I don't know. But would any keys work? I really like those green and orange keys. "Nuclear option" or some such was their name. But I don't know enough about keys, I guess that they'd be somewhat universal or Cherry would have to make all manner of variants of the same switch, just to fit different types and sizes of keys.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 21 October 2018, 08:20:43 »
I'm sorry, I meant build from scratch, referring to "Then bind them together somehow at the bottom." that you wrote. "Custom chassis" might have been a better term.

There would be many ways to build it. It depends on what skills and resources you have and how fancy you want the result to be.
If you don't want them lift up in the middle, then a flat sturdy piece of plywood or acrylic might do as a base. Then find ways to attach the keyboards to it.
« Last Edit: Sun, 21 October 2018, 08:27:06 by Findecanor »
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
-- Arthur Miller

Offline domsch1988

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 24 December 2018, 04:47:11 »
I wouldn't "split" a conventional keyboard. 1. with most mechanical keyboards atm you get all the RGB lights etc, which probably makes the PCB more crowded. So simply cutting it won't "cut it" ;)
In the end, a decent mechanical 10-key keyboard is around 100 Bucks. Once you take a dremel to it, factor in time and cost for a new enclosure etc, it'll be just as expensive as going directly custom.

The best compromise i found so far (from a manufacturer) is the Kinesis Freestyle Edge. Cherry Switches, Split and a close to standard layout. Basically a fully split, mechanical Natural Ergonomic. Plus the sell the Numpad. You'd "just" have to come up with a plate to hold the halves together.

Offline impaktor

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Re: Good ergonomic mechanical keyboard that fits what I'm looking for?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 25 December 2018, 11:18:30 »
Then there is the Kinesis Advantage 2, that I think works better in the lap than on a desk but it is a bit weird to get used to and the only numpad is "embedded", i.e. in the right alphanumeric section when Num Lock is on.
The closer to the body one has the kinesis advantage, the more one wishes the key wells were at an angle, at least in my opinion.