HERMES Rocketeer (SA) keyset proposal

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zslane

24 Aug 2016, 00:22

The recent thread on Tom Hanks' typewriter collection inspired me to whip up an SA keycap set for 60% keyboards based on my favorite vintage manual typewriter, the Hermes Rocket:
hermes_rocketeer_sa_promo_01.png
hermes_rocketeer_sa_promo_01.png (788.16 KiB) Viewed 4733 times
The Hermes Rocket, along with the numerous other "ultralight" typewriters of the mid-20th century, was the laptop of its day. This is the keyset to draw out your inner Hemmingway.

This would be a keyset exclusively for 60% keyboards and smaller. It is pretty much composed of a single color, with only a few keys in an alternate color. The alternate color keys, which are the bottom row modifiers and the Return key, represent those keys that would not have had a functional equivalent on a Hermes Rocket typewriter, and they all feature novelty legends. In all, there are 9 themed novelty keys that evoke the mechanical design of the Rocket.

The plan would be to offer ANSI and ISO sets, with strong international child kit support and support for all the popular alternate layouts for small keyboards (Atomic, Plank, etc.). In an ideal world, this set would be combined with a group buy for aluminum cases in seafoam green as shown below. In fact, without a seafoam green case, I'm not sure the keyset is worth doing because the case is what really ties the entire color scheme together and completes the Hermes Rocket look.
seafoamgreen_aluminum_case.jpg
seafoamgreen_aluminum_case.jpg (145.59 KiB) Viewed 4733 times
This idea leads to two important questions: 1. Is there enough of a 60% customer base out there who would even like this theme (and colorway) enough to reach MOQ thresholds, and 2. Would MassDrop be able to use its vendor connections to have seafoam green aluminum cases made to go with the keycaps?

User avatar
Elrick

26 Aug 2016, 08:02

zslane wrote:
seafoamgreen_aluminum_case.jpg
This idea leads to two important questions: 1. Is there enough of a 60% customer base out there who would even like this theme (and colorway) enough to reach MOQ thresholds, and 2. Would MassDrop be able to use its vendor connections to have seafoam green aluminum cases made to go with the keycaps?
Actually like your choice in colours here.

I hate 60% layouts due to it being too small for me to use BUT you might have enough interest from the others to make this a successful Group Buy on MD.

The case being offered has to probably go secondary because you need to find someone that can offer it, don't count on MassDrop providing everything, simply because they already have too many requests from everyone out there to run numerous Group Buys.

face

26 Aug 2016, 14:10

I personally really really like it (but couldn't buy since I am a topre user atm). Looks awesome!

You probably would have better chances if you would opt for a complete keycap set where one could choose a 60% set from.

User avatar
zslane

26 Aug 2016, 19:47

I kind of feel strongly that Concept is King here. The Hermes Rocket didn't have a nav cluster or a numpad or a function row. This keycap set should remain small and compact, just like the Rocket. Basically, the set is aimed squarely at writers (and aspiring writers), not gamers or coders or spreadsheet jockeys.

To compensate for the focus on small keyboards, the set would provide extensive international support and support for the wide variety of small boards out there. For a sculptured set, that is challenging enough. I realize this narrow focus limits the potential customer base, but I prefer to stay true to the concept even if that means it never happens.

It is ironic that I would even consider this concept because as a general rule I do not like small toy-like keyboards and I hate green keycaps. However, I have been using a Pok3r with my iPad (a toy keyboard for a toy computing device, is the way I see it), and I've come to realize that an iPad or a 12" iBook (or similarly small laptop) actually makes for a perfect mobile writing device, just like the Hermes Rocket was back in its day. And as for the green keycaps, well, the Hermes Rocket has so much charm I just couldn't resist. :mrgreen:

User avatar
Phenix
-p

26 Aug 2016, 23:28

is adding TKL or 65% an option? The Whitefox drop was recently, so there might be some who want an nice keycap set.

Intl support is always nice!

A split spacebar package is also interesting imo

User avatar
zslane

27 Aug 2016, 01:11

I kind of like the White Fox. But this is a slippery slope. In order to support 65% boards, you have to supply a full nav cluster (because different users want different keys from the nav cluster). Once those are included, then it seems like TKL support is only an F-row away. And once you include the F-row, full-size board support is only a "mere" 17 caps away. I'd rather not even start down that path.

What size are "split" spacebars? We are limited by the sizes available in the SA family, which I think only goes as small as 4u?

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Phenix
-p

27 Aug 2016, 01:34

multiple boards have those (e.g. 2u, 2.25,2.75..)
I just remember there were an discussion on Geekhack about setting such an kit alive

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zslane

27 Aug 2016, 03:49

Ah, okay, but if I understand correctly, those aren't (convex) spacebars. They are just ordinary blank (concave) keys, yes?

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pietergen

27 Aug 2016, 22:58

Wow, this looks a lot like a typewriter that my grandmother had! She used it in the '70s, 80s I guess... I still remember those greenish keys, very dished. I remember they were shiny and felt a bit slippery (ABS, possibly?) Lovely colour. Interested, for nostalgia sake !

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Elrick

28 Aug 2016, 04:00

Looks like zslane is onto another winner here.

Hope it happens soon, just wish I didn't have a liking for full sized keyboards......

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Invisius

29 Aug 2016, 01:33

Looks very similar to my Model D typewriter! Definitely a cool late 50s-early 60s color for something different.

Image
Image

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zslane

29 Aug 2016, 01:42

A seafoam green aluminum case under a white Pok3r, paired up with gray Round 5/Round 6 HONEY keycaps would totally capture the look of that typewriter. Another good reason to push for a dual-purpose MassDrop group buy to include the seafoam green aluminum cases, and not just the green keycaps.

For example:
vtw.jpg
vtw.jpg (113.58 KiB) Viewed 4315 times

User avatar
vometia
irritant

30 Aug 2016, 15:11

I absolutely love the look of the concept in the OP. Personally, I don't think I could ever get used to 60% (I like my function and arrow keys too much, and the ISO layout) but I have to say I think it looks awesome: it would be cool just to know it ended up being a thing.

The original typewriter also stirred a vague memory of something similar I seem to recall owning way back, although ISTR mine was boring white rather than mint green.

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Elrick

01 Sep 2016, 10:55

vometia wrote: I absolutely love the look of the concept in the OP. Personally, I don't think I could ever get used to 60% (I like my function and arrow keys too much, and the ISO layout) but I have to say I think it looks awesome: it would be cool just to know it ended up being a thing.
I may pick this up if a number pad is offered as well, so that anyone wanting their extra keys is available.

Just wish the OP would look into providing an extra Numpad layout with some customized keys to offer us lot, who love full sized keyboards.

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

01 Sep 2016, 11:09

Those keycaps also have a very nice Fallout-universe touch even without any VaultTec stuff added ...

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TuxKey
LLAP

01 Sep 2016, 12:19

it does look nice..but as always my FC660M with strange spacebar will be a big problem..
Not to mention my FC660C Topre madness..ahahha

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pietergen

01 Sep 2016, 23:08

Image

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chuckdee

01 Sep 2016, 23:37

Interested - I'd go ahead and put up a MD poll. And then if/when you're contacted, run the complete concept by them with the case. Who knows? They might go for it.

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tofagerl

02 Sep 2016, 13:34

I don't know if I agree with the reasoning behind keeping it at 60%. I get that to you, the layout is king, but to others - especially those who like the colours, but have never seen the typewriter, it's just an arbitrary limit.

Using a 60% base set and a TKL add-on set is just common sense. It allows you to present the keyboard as a package as envisioned, but it also allows buyers to use the set as THEY envision :)

Please understand I mean this as constructive input, not "dude, you're a total idiot, and this is why!"

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vometia
irritant

02 Sep 2016, 14:07

tofagerl wrote: I don't know if I agree with the reasoning behind keeping it at 60%. I get that to you, the layout is king, but to others - especially those who like the colours, but have never seen the typewriter, it's just an arbitrary limit.

Using a 60% base set and a TKL add-on set is just common sense. It allows you to present the keyboard as a package as envisioned, but it also allows buyers to use the set as THEY envision :)

Please understand I mean this as constructive input, not "dude, you're a total idiot, and this is why!"
I can understand the rationale behind it; I can even understand why some strange people like full-size keyboards with a number pad on them. :D I think if I were predominantly a writer I'd be really keen on a diminutive 60% keyboard, it's just nice having something small, tidy and unobtrusive. But I'm a gamer, programmer, sysadmin and general faffer about so I like having quick and easy access to function and arrow keys. I guess it's always going to be a bit of a compromise either way so it depends on where one's priorities lie.

As much as I love the design and style of this keyboard, I wonder if I'd love it quite as much in the 75% format that's normally my preference: I think it works incredibly well as a 60%, aesthetically speaking, but I don't know how well it could be scaled up.

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chuckdee

02 Sep 2016, 16:51

vometia wrote: I think if I were predominantly a writer I'd be really keen on a diminutive 60% keyboard, it's just nice having something small, tidy and unobtrusive.
That's exactly the appeal to me. I go even smaller, using a miniVan and a JD45. But I'd love this whole package.

Heinel

03 Sep 2016, 12:39

I think it would look awsome with a full height case with thicker rounded edges. But very nice now to.

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Elrick

06 Sep 2016, 05:34

Heinel wrote: I think it would look awsome with a full height case with thicker rounded edges. But very nice now to.
AGREED, if you're going to design a new casing for this, GO-FULL Retro and give us all a real Older style keyboard not some thin as a credit card casing, which is hardly retro in anyone's language.

Keep it REAL or forget about it. Remember every time you mention the word "Retro" a disruption in the universe shall develop. Playing with that idea is both ignorant and dangerous. Either make it really happen or zip it immediately.

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zslane

06 Sep 2016, 06:30

Wouldn't a large, oversized case defeat the purpose and appeal of small 60% keyboards for most folks (who use them)?

I kind of like the idea of such a case, but I don't know who would be willing to manufacture them in quantity just for this (though I also like the idea of pairing up oversized brown cases with charcoal gray keycaps for a Selectric II homage).

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kbdfr
The Tiproman

06 Sep 2016, 07:45

chuckdee wrote:
vometia wrote: I think if I were predominantly a writer I'd be really keen on a diminutive 60% keyboard, it's just nice having something small, tidy and unobtrusive.
That's exactly the appeal to me. I go even smaller, using a miniVan and a JD45. But I'd love this whole package.
I am predominantly a (professional) writer and I prefer having a tool which is really fit for use instead of just looking nice.
That's probably the reason why you seldom see marathon runners wearing high heels :D

Quaranta

06 Sep 2016, 08:50

I really like the looks of the set, and the seafoam green case too. Great job.

As for people who don't like 60% boards, maybe you could show a picture/render with the 60% set integrated in a TKL/100% keyboard with a different set. I've used my TKL Filco with one keyset for the 60% part of the keyboard, and a different set (different color and profile) on the remaining keys and it looked nice.

It could also be useful to show how it would look on a different color case.

User avatar
chuckdee

06 Sep 2016, 17:47

kbdfr wrote:
chuckdee wrote:
vometia wrote: I think if I were predominantly a writer I'd be really keen on a diminutive 60% keyboard, it's just nice having something small, tidy and unobtrusive.
That's exactly the appeal to me. I go even smaller, using a miniVan and a JD45. But I'd love this whole package.
I am predominantly a (professional) writer and I prefer having a tool which is really fit for use instead of just looking nice.
That's probably the reason why you seldom see marathon runners wearing high heels :D
Well, opinions vary. As I said, I am the same, though these days, what being a professional writer is, is an admittedly up for grabs title. And this helps to focus me, in the same way that a minimal editor does. Sometimes, I use scrivener and word with writingoutliner. Sometimes I use sublime text 3 and writemonkey. It just depends on what I'm doing. And sometimes I use a 40%, and others a 60%. The lack of arrow keys is refreshing for focusing me, and focusing on writing, instead of editing.

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vometia
irritant

06 Sep 2016, 18:06

chuckdee wrote: The lack of arrow keys is refreshing for focusing me, and focusing on writing, instead of editing.
It just makes me feel annoyed that I have to remember to use hjkl in vi when the arrow keys don't work. Which they often don't anyway because of a wonky termcap, something that seems a bit of a tautology.

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zslane

07 Sep 2016, 01:19

I feel that blanks would do the job for folks who need to fill out a TKL board.

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chuckdee

07 Sep 2016, 04:52

zslane wrote: I feel that blanks would do the job for folks who need to fill out a TKL board.
That would work if they're uniform... but sculpted, I'm not so sure with having to find and deal with sorting for the different rows.

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