What's the best case for SMK 2nd Gen?

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hellothere

31 Dec 2020, 23:01

I have two Chicony KB-5181s with SMK 2nd gen blue Alps-mount key switches. It also has Windows keys. I like it. A lot. What's the best case, vintage or modern, for one of these or close to best that's common enough that I might find one? I wouldn't necessarily mind building one into a brand new case/plate/PCB, but the only ones I've seen are 60%. The smallest form factor that I like is TKL.

Please note that the SMK 2nd gen switches, while mine are Alps mount, they will not fit an Alps PCB.

kajahtaa

31 Dec 2020, 23:09

Just wondering have you seen any open source SMK compatible PCB greater than 60% ?

uttindar

31 Dec 2020, 23:21

https://www.lfkeyboards.com/smk78/ is probably your best (maybe even only) option for bigger board.

User avatar
Polecat

31 Dec 2020, 23:29

The only SMK board I have is one branded Mitac, which is really an early Chicony KB-5181. I don't use it because of the 1u backspace, but it's a good, solid case and inoffensive, if not especially attractive. Caps are printed, so those would have to be swapped for long term use. Yes, it needs to be cleaned up, in all my spare time.
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User avatar
hellothere

01 Jan 2021, 18:40

uttindar wrote:
31 Dec 2020, 23:21
https://www.lfkeyboards.com/smk78/ is probably your best (maybe even only) option for bigger board.
I really do like the function keys on the side, but that one's really pricy: $40 for the case, $55 for the plate, and $70 for the PCB.

Sounds like I have some extensive searching ahead of me.

Thanks, Polecat and uttindar!

uttindar

02 Jan 2021, 01:48

hellothere wrote:
01 Jan 2021, 18:40
I really do like the function keys on the side, but that one's really pricy: $40 for the case, $55 for the plate, and $70 for the PCB.
Yeah, they are pricey. That's why I chose to build myself 60% board - you can literally build a full working keyboard (with plastic case\aluminum plate and cheap keycaps, but still) for the price of that PCB.
Hopefully someday someone will create opensource version for 68%+ SMK PCB's. Although with some practice and experience, 60% layouts aren't that bad.

User avatar
hellothere

02 Jan 2021, 22:28

The reason I don't mind TKL is because I have a mechanical 10 key (somewhere), which I can use with my left hand. The advantage to that is that I can put my trackball closer to my typing area. However, when you start getting rid of the function keys or the "page" block (Insert, Home, PageUp, etc.), you have to start getting into layers and I'm not going to remember that shift-option-alt-d does a page down. I do have F9 through F12 programmed and I use the print screen key often.

I mentioned elsewhere that I committed a bit of Alps sacrilege a few weeks ago: I took all the orange Alps off of one Apple Standard keyboard and most out of another, then put them into an Apple Extended Keyboard II case. Main reason was because I really missed that "page" block and F5.

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