Author Topic: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45% - Updated 1/21/19: Added renders  (Read 9903 times)

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Offline holtenc

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[IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45% - Updated 1/21/19: Added renders
« on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:22:53 »
Prime_E. A 45% ergo board.

Design Features:
  • 4.75mm integrated switch plate
  • Inner alphas rotated inward at 8deg
  • 6deg incline
  • 3 indicator LEDs
  • All aluminum, 2-part case. anodized
  • Hotswap via Kailh sockets
  • USB-C
  • QMK
  • Via support


**Poll for colors**

Update 1/21/2019 - Renders Added (thank you voodoo6k!)












Update 1/19/2019 - 3D printed prototype:
More
I was going to wait until I got my new 3D printer that would be capable of printing the case parts whole, but it got delayed until February and I'm just too impatient to wait. So I had to print it in portions and glue them together. The point of this was to confirm that the PCB fits correctly. Next step is getting some CNC aluminum samples









Update 1/14/2019 - Prototype PCB:
More

Today I received assembled prototype PCBs. All is good and working as intended.





Update 12/22/2018 - finalize features and layouts:
More
Changes:
  • added USB-C
  • split backspace only
  • 2u and 2.25u spacebars
  • moved indicator LEDs to upper right corner

Here are some CAD views of what is more or less final. Things such as rounded corners could change based on feedback. Getting hardware of some form in hand mid January




ignore the missing enter footprint  :-[





Outdated content:

More

After seeing the TGR Alice and subsequently not getting in on the GB, I decided to design something similar but in 45% form factor. I have been using it as a daily driver for several months now and absolutely love it.

Enter Prime_E,  a 45% ergo design. Or at least a proposal and looking for feedback so I can produce a keyboard that appeals to a larger group and works with a wider range of keycap sets. Even if it means starting over.

I was at about 90% done with the project. Both case and PCB. But couldn't decide on a final layout. Particularly the bottom row and right-side modifiers.


Case assembly:


Bottom view of top part showing thick integrated plate with provisions so switches can snap in:



Layout ideas:

Initial design. Fine for DSA. Not so fine for sculpted. Issues: 2x 2u spacebars. R2 2u backspace doesn't exist in sculpted sets, I think


Split backspace and 2.0/2.25u spacebars should expand compatibility with more sculpted sets. 1.25u mods in lower right instead of 1.5u.


More experimentation with bottom row. 1.75u spacebars probably have wider compatibility that 2.0. Right-side modifiers shrunk by 0.25u which basically provides minivan compatibility.



I think it's fair to say that 2u backspace is a bad idea. 2x 2u spacebar is a bad idea. So lets hear some feedback in preferences, particularly for keycap compatibility. I pretty much strictly use DSA so I'm not too familiar with Cherry/SA norms. Personally I would lean more toward the 2nd layout but maybe go with 2x 1.75 spacebars thereby getting rid of stabilized keys altogether. So lets hear some feedback.


I'll end it here with some pictures of the board I've been using for a few months so you can see some real life examples of what it would look like. Minus the giant numpad of course  :p  The bezel under the spacebars will be smaller as seen in the render at the top.







« Last Edit: Mon, 21 January 2019, 11:25:19 by holtenc »

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:23:07 »
TO DO:

-Get Price Quotes
-Prototypes
-send for production
-whatever else comes up
« Last Edit: Wed, 16 January 2019, 22:11:31 by holtenc »

Offline cijanzen

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:25:29 »
Glad to see this come to an IC. Id be interested in 2.25 2.75 spacebars as those are pretty common sizes when you get a split spacebars kit.

Online dimo

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:27:27 »
one with a smaller left side numpad might be pretty great

Online Abec13

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:28:29 »
Love seeing Ergo. I would be more interested in this if I was more oriented to a 40% board, which I will in the future. Minivan is supposed to be dropping some kits soonish and I will pick one up and learn then, so let's see where this ends up in my timeline.

Otherwise, super cool idea. Not much a fan of the pad on the left because I value a symmetrical-looking board more than more keys, otherwise I'd get an 1800.

I also would like to see a different finish on the paint. That red looks too opaque. But maybe I just love the look of Ano and chamfered edges.

Online the_high_5

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:34:25 »
I've never used a 40-45% or ergo before, but I am super interested in this! Since I don't have any experience with layouts of this nature, I'll leave it to the veterans for input. My only concern is keycap compatibility.

Will there be a non-hotswap PCB available? Not a deal breaker, but I would prefer one.

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« Last Edit: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:36:03 by the_high_5 »

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:45:39 »
I've never used a 40-45% or ergo before, but I am super interested in this! Since I don't have any experience with layouts of this nature, I'll leave it to the veterans for input.

Will there be a non-hotswap PCB available? Not a deal breaker, but I would prefer one.

Hotswap is totally up for debate. Personally I like having it, but I know there are those that don't trust these kailh sockets.

Love seeing Ergo. I would be more interested in this if I was more oriented to a 40% board, which I will in the future. Minivan is supposed to be dropping some kits soonish and I will pick one up and learn then, so let's see where this ends up in my timeline.

Otherwise, super cool idea. Not much a fan of the pad on the left because I value a symmetrical-looking board more than more keys, otherwise I'd get an 1800.

I also would like to see a different finish on the paint. That red looks too opaque. But maybe I just love the look of Ano and chamfered edges.

thank you for the thoughts. The numpad on the left wouldn't be there. Those images are just there for real-life references of the shape and design language. The render at the very top is what would be made. As for the finish, the final keyboard will be anodized aluminum. What you see in the pictures is a 3D printed case that's been sanded, and spray painted. :D

one with a smaller left side numpad might be pretty great

totally agree. But I think this one is just going to be a pure 45% board. perhaps if this goes to production then we can revisit with a numpad.

Glad to see this come to an IC. Id be interested in 2.25 2.75 spacebars as those are pretty common sizes when you get a split spacebars kit.

 :thumb:  true about the spacebar sizes. 2.75 just seems so big on a 40/45%. But hey, I've got my board already the way I want it, so whatever the majority wants here. If that's 2.75 spacebar then so be it.

Online apossardt

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 21:54:29 »
Love it. Definitely +1 for more common split space size. I think 2.25u on both sides would fit nicely and be a little easier to cover with most sets.

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Offline clickityClackity

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 22:06:40 »
Sick, love it! Can't wait to see this come to fruition

Offline chuckdee

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 22:21:30 »
I like it!  I like it even more with the number pad.  I'm using 2x2u on my Clueboard, and though I've had to go out of the way to get them on a couple of buys (solarized dark, oblivion), if you don't mind base/accent, many spacebar kits have 2x 2U in them (didn't have to do anything special for MT3 or Nautilus).  I actually like the balanced keyboard now.
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Online MikeTheTiger

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 22:34:55 »
Im down. I love the Alice, but unfortunately cant afford the mech market premium.

Offline The_Royal

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 22:41:16 »
Oh I'm for sure in for this.  Not too bit a fan of the HUGE numb-pad cluster though. The simple 40% Ergo is beautiful on its own.

Offline qq

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 22:53:38 »
The left numpad would be a huge plus for this layout I think, especially when key Enter/+/- are on the right side of the left numpad. Care to say the name of the board in the photo?

Offline aedin

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 22:56:48 »
I love the idea of a small form factor Alice. I know you don't have plans to include the numpad, but I wouldn't mind if you did.

Having a split backspace would be wise, but it would be cool to have the option of the 2u, if possible.


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Offline ullr

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 23:11:39 »
Love it, I personally rarely am interested in sub-60% but this is very attractive. I would prefer one column of keys left or right (if any) over a keypad, and the second "layout idea" with split backspace is close to perfect to me - attractive WKL-like 'blockers' like the Alice and six 1.25u mods is unbeatable IMO. I think personally 2.25u on both sides with the left being as in the picture just extended a quarter unit into the space between the two halves would by my choice if it were up to me, but I really don't care since most group buys can furnish any 40% these days and I'm hard to please since I would always prefer the left one to be bigger.

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 23:26:06 »
Im down. I love the Alice, but unfortunately cant afford the mech market premium.

I've been too afraid to look in mechmarket just in case I can't resist.

The left numpad would be a huge plus for this layout I think, especially when key Enter/+/- are on the right side of the left numpad. Care to say the name of the board in the photo?

Adding a numpad is definitely something to look into as a future project. Maybe a 4x4? I guess we can call the one in the photos the Prime_EXL. I made 2 of them. One for work and one for home.

I love the idea of a small form factor Alice. I know you don't have plans to include the numpad, but I wouldn't mind if you did.

Having a split backspace would be wise, but it would be cool to have the option of the 2u, if possible.

Agreed about split backspace and 2u. If I end up going with out kailh hotswap sockets then for sure the PCB will support both.

In a couple days after getting some feedback and looking into some things I'm going to make a Google Form to get a general consensus on things like hotswap etc.

Online Puddsy

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 23:30:19 »
i am open to this
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Offline vonswoopington

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 23:33:59 »
You have my interest. I'm not usually a fan of sub 60 layout but a pocket Alice would be great.

I'm open to hot swap as well.

Offline vikipedeer

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 11 December 2018, 23:40:50 »
oh damn, I was thinking of trying out ergo/40%
now you have combined my intererest
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Online homerowco

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 03:44:40 »
split backspace!

Offline Nigolski

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 04:38:44 »
woah
hi hello

Offline qq

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 05:08:33 »
Adding a numpad is definitely something to look into as a future project. Maybe a 4x4? I guess we can call the one in the photos the Prime_EXL. I made 2 of them. One for work and one for home.

Although I am more into an ergo 60% with a full left numpad, 4x4 would be very nice to look at this 40%. :))

Online pino38

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 05:10:40 »
i def would insta-buy


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Offline saucybulgogi

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 09:21:49 »
would love a 45% alice! i prefer the 2x1u backspace. if you could make the 2x1u backspace with the bottom row from the 2u backspace, that'd be my pick.

the large num/macropad on the left is nice but i think it's too big for me personally.

As for the design/style, i've never had an integrated plate board so i'd be interested in trying one. I'm not sure if i like the rounded edges tho. your prototype looks like a plastic board because of them i think. maybe it's the glossy finish too.

Online pino38

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 09:44:20 »
is there an ETA on shipping date? I want to know before i waste $ on another case.


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Offline rossfromfriends

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 10:01:14 »
Take my money.
Definitely like your middle layout the most.

Offline tex_live_utility

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 10:02:24 »
How comfortable is this layout to actually type on? The Q and P, not to mention the mods on the outside, look like kind of a stretch.

Alice users -- thoughts?

I'm especially skeptical of an angled case with this layout.
« Last Edit: Wed, 12 December 2018, 10:13:34 by tex_live_utility »

Offline ejewell89

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 10:11:05 »
might be into this once i see a proto without the numpad
         

Offline phongnh

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #28 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 12:18:58 »
I prefer layout with split space 2.0/2.25. It is more common than two 1.75 spaces m

Offline beekey

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #29 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 12:33:02 »
How about adding some keys on the right sid to be able to have [] and ; as dedicated keys? Would also need abigger right shift. A bit like the Lynx L50.

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #30 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 13:18:04 »
is there an ETA on shipping date? I want to know before i waste $ on another case.

None at all unfortunately. Lots to do before I can even think about a shipping date. Really depends on if I can modify my current work into something acceptable based on feedback or if it would be better to start from scratch. Add a month or two to find a manufacturer and for prototypes to be made. Just too early to say. Wanted to see some reaction first before putting too much effort into it. But I can work pretty fast once determined. Plus I'm a easy push over and it doesn't take much to convince me to get on the ball.

I prefer layout with split space 2.0/2.25. It is more common than two 1.75 spaces m

Pretty sure that's where this is going. I had a good lock at a lot of sets in both the IC and GB forums and the vast majority had 2.0 and 2.25 spacebars. Several even had both in convex for GMK.

would love a 45% alice! i prefer the 2x1u backspace. if you could make the 2x1u backspace with the bottom row from the 2u backspace, that'd be my pick.

the large num/macropad on the left is nice but i think it's too big for me personally.

As for the design/style, i've never had an integrated plate board so i'd be interested in trying one. I'm not sure if i like the rounded edges tho. your prototype looks like a plastic board because of them i think. maybe it's the glossy finish too.

The pictures that include a numpad are just for some reference. The end design will be like the render at the top of the post. If the prototype looks like a plastic board... thats because it is lol. It's 3D printed and then spray painted. I will definitely have a CNC machined aluminum prototype made to show off before the end.

How comfortable is this layout to actually type on? The Q and P, not to mention the mods on the outside, look like kind of a stretch.

Alice users -- thoughts?

I'm especially skeptical of an angled case with this layout.

Personally I love typing on it. I don't find any keys hard to reach, even considering my left pinky finger is broke and can't extend fully straight the Q or tab isn't a problem at all for me. "You have big hands", said no one ever to me  ;D

The mods aren't any harder to reach either. And really I feel they might be even easier and more natural to hit than on a typical standard stagger board. My thoughts on this are: with this board your wrists are at a more natural and straight position, so when it's time to hit a modifier such as enter or tab, you have a full range of motion left in your wrist to rotate them outward. Who knows. I just know I really enjoy this type of layout and it's uncomfortable for me to use a standard keyboard now.

I can see a steep angle making it more difficult. The proto in the pictures has 6 deg. I was going to go for 7 for this. I can try both and see how they feel. I don't think 6 or 7 is very steep. At least when compared to my TC-V3 which I think has 11.

How about adding some keys on the right side to be able to have [] and ; as dedicated keys? Would also need a bigger right shift. A bit like the Lynx L50.

I can see the draw to something like the Lynx L50. A 60% minus the number row and some shortened modifiers. But for this were going to stick to a more pure 45%
« Last Edit: Wed, 12 December 2018, 13:20:42 by holtenc »

Offline SK0P1

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #31 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 18:27:58 »
This looks incredible and what I am looking for but is just probably out of my budget, what is your price estimate for this?

Offline ZeroEn96

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 21:31:21 »
Super excited to see where this goes  :D :D :D

Agree with the idea of 2.25u spaces for better split compatability.

Offline 19MODL

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #33 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 22:00:11 »
Definitely in for one as long as its <$200 USD. A 40% board with a decent amount of interest should make that feasible. Only other condition on my end would be color options. Less common colors like rose gold or forest green, or even some pastel colors other than the usual black/gray/silver would surely drive interest up.
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Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #34 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 23:06:58 »
Definitely in for one as long as its <$200 USD. A 40% board with a decent amount of interest should make that feasible. Only other condition on my end would be color options. Less common colors like rose gold or forest green, or even some pastel colors other than the usual black/gray/silver would surely drive interest up.

This looks incredible and what I am looking for but is just probably out of my budget, what is your price estimate for this?

Thank you! It's a bit too early for pricing. Haven't even started looking for a manufacturer yet. Once I get the CAD work done over the next couple weeks (decided to start from scratch) I'll get pricing lined out ASAP.

Agreed additional colors would be nice. But I don't think I'm going to go too crazy on selection, especially if it affects overall price.
« Last Edit: Wed, 12 December 2018, 23:39:55 by holtenc »

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 12 December 2018, 23:45:11 »
Considering the changes necessary on the bottom row, I decided to start from scratch. Got the basic ground work done this evening. Going with 2.0/2.25 spacebars and split backspace w/ option for 2u backspace. May ditch the 2u backspace option if it proves a pain in the ass with hotswap sockets. Here are some renders with the bottom row blockers. Keep in mind it's still pretty rough and needs a lot of work.



« Last Edit: Wed, 12 December 2018, 23:50:40 by holtenc »

Offline snelltrail

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #36 on: Thu, 13 December 2018, 16:05:10 »
A 1.5u backspace would provide better compatibility with sculpted sets. The 2u backspace included in most base kits is R1, not R2. You wouldnt be able to have a split backspace option though.

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #37 on: Thu, 13 December 2018, 16:33:43 »
A 1.5u backspace would provide better compatibility with sculpted sets. The 2u backspace included in most base kits is R1, not R2. You wouldnt be able to have a split backspace option though.

1.5u backspace really doesn't work with this layout. While 1.5u backspace is generally included in a lot of sculpted sets, you still have to get a 40% compatibility kit for the rest of the common 40% modifiers. So might as well stick with what's common with most 40% boards.
« Last Edit: Thu, 13 December 2018, 17:15:56 by holtenc »

Online homerowco

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #38 on: Thu, 13 December 2018, 17:36:38 »
split backspace w/ option for 2u backspace

Well, you got one order then for sure  :-*

Offline pvd

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 13 December 2018, 18:06:28 »
Super cool idea! Hope the final layout can be covered by a standard gmk set without additional kits.

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #40 on: Fri, 14 December 2018, 00:51:03 »
The updates look great!

Offline chuckdee

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 14 December 2018, 16:14:20 »
Super cool idea! Hope the final layout can be covered by a standard gmk set without additional kits.

Little chance of that with the split spacebar, unfortunately.  No matter what's chosen, you'll need spacebar kits.
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Offline tex_live_utility

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 14 December 2018, 18:18:45 »
Super cool idea! Hope the final layout can be covered by a standard gmk set without additional kits.

Little chance of that with the split spacebar, unfortunately.  No matter what's chosen, you'll need spacebar kits.

Spacebars are actually easy nowadays. Spacebar kits are cheap and tend to hit MOQ.

Offline chuckdee

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #43 on: Fri, 14 December 2018, 19:28:20 »
Super cool idea! Hope the final layout can be covered by a standard gmk set without additional kits.

Little chance of that with the split spacebar, unfortunately.  No matter what's chosen, you'll need spacebar kits.

Spacebars are actually easy nowadays. Spacebar kits are cheap and tend to hit MOQ.

I wasn't saying anything to the contrary.  But that wouldn't be in the base kit, which is what was being asked.
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Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #44 on: Sat, 15 December 2018, 13:50:15 »
So as I suspected it just doesn't really work having the option for 2u backspace and split backspace AND have kailh hotswap. So a decision needs to be made. Right now I'm leaning towards getting rid of 2u backspace in favor of hotswap. But I would love to hear some thoughts from others.

Online apossardt

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #45 on: Sat, 15 December 2018, 14:03:19 »
Ive never opted to use split backspace; that being said, seems like it's really popular and I like the idea of the hotswap sockets so if getting rid of 2u backspace is the only option, I say go for it.

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Offline chuckdee

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #46 on: Sat, 15 December 2018, 14:17:04 »
So as I suspected it just doesn't really work having the option for 2u backspace and split backspace AND have kailh hotswap. So a decision needs to be made. Right now I'm leaning towards getting rid of 2u backspace in favor of hotswap. But I would love to hear some thoughts from others.

For me, I never use 2U BS anymore, so it's fine with me.
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Online fireworm

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #47 on: Sat, 15 December 2018, 15:58:33 »
... Could I make the suggestion of adding alps which means no hotswap, and 2u backspace?

Offline ullr

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #48 on: Sat, 15 December 2018, 18:16:38 »
I think split backspace is best because like you said, R2 2u keys don't really exist and I don't like being forced to use even profile sets... Plus I'd like the extra key. As for Alps, what ALPS sets even support this layout? Just Lightcycle and Granite right? Seems like a lot of compromise (loose plate, no hotswap) for something very few people would be interested in.

Offline holtenc

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Re: [IC] Prime_E : Ergo 45%
« Reply #49 on: Sat, 15 December 2018, 19:11:38 »
I think split backspace is best because like you said, R2 2u keys don't really exist and I don't like being forced to use even profile sets... Plus I'd like the extra key. As for Alps, what ALPS sets even support this layout? Just Lightcycle and Granite right? Seems like a lot of compromise (loose plate, no hotswap) for something very few people would be interested in.


... Could I make the suggestion of adding alps which means no hotswap, and 2u backspace?

Having both MX and Alps in an integrated and machined plate might be possible. Would have to pay around in CAD and figure it out. But the "pain in the ass" factor outweighs the number of people that would benefit from having it. If it we're a laser cut plate no problem. But not machined.