Case discussions

User avatar
damorgue

05 Dec 2012, 18:48

People don't seem to want to discuss design ideas at all. This topic is pretty much dead and it makes me sad: http://deskthority.net/keyboards-f2/des ... t3474.html

In order to try and revive the discussion, here are some designs for a cases, in this case for the Phantom but the same variants exist for GH60 and a couple have been prepared for Hyper once it gets more finalized. I have been asked to make cases a couple of times, so here are a couple:

Phantom Sheet-based:
The idea is that it can be made from a single sheet, where the parts can be stacked on the sheet to take up less space and waste less material. If the sides are cut into separate pieces, then they can be stacked better etc. Split line can be hidden by placing it them the corners. Also, as you may understand, you place nuts in the layers which the screws cling on to. There is a plate in the middle to which the PCB is screwed onto. The top and bottom then hold on to that layer from above and underneath respectively.
Spoiler:
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Phantom Milled A:
Above is an album of the design I believe to be the best and most versatile design with no major compromises. It is assembled upside down. Basically, the top piece lies upside down, and you place the plate and PCB into it. Then you screw two screws which just keeps the plate from moving. Then you place the cord into the cable lock and finally screw the bottom piece on. The standoffs are almost certainly not necessary actually, and are left there because I used that method in other designs.

At the bottom it is just a plain plate and the middle piece doesn't have to be remounted in the milling machine to reach all sides. There are also less tolerances than some of the other designs since the inner surface of the red part does not have any real function. The edges of the plate lie in the top piece.
Spoiler:
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Phantom Milled B:
Spoiler:
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Phantom Milled C:
Spoiler:
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Feet suggestions:
http://www.wiberger.se/templates/gn343-1-5-fot.htm
http://www.wiberger.se/templates/gn346.htm
One could probably also use feet meant for speakers and HiFi equipment.

The top piece of these would have to come in a couple of variations. Winkeyless, 7bit layout, with keys above arrow cluster etc. Sheet based cases just doesn't look as good as milled cases in my opinion.

Thoughts?
Last edited by damorgue on 05 Dec 2012, 18:55, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
damorgue

05 Dec 2012, 18:48

Might reserve this post

User avatar
dirge

05 Dec 2012, 19:22

You already know I think what you're doing is great. The case design should come straight after the key layout as the plate should be part of the case.

Dan has mentioned that a geekhacker has a CNC machine, not sure if it's the same guy as the poker cases, but even given the equipment it would be useless without the work your doing.

User avatar
Acanthophis

05 Dec 2012, 19:40

Looks good.
Will this only be available for the Phantom or other TKL boards as well?

User avatar
fruktstund

05 Dec 2012, 19:58

I can't say I know anything about stuff like this, but I definitely think all the prototypes look quite nice. The cases all look a bit "high" though, but maybe they aren't in reality? I also think the corners are a bit too round (I think I'm comparing this to my Filco case), but that's probably not a major thing.

Most probably I'd prefer any design that's as close to that of the KMAC's (winkeyless titanium) case as possible, since I think that might just be the prettiest case I've ever seen.

Something that's a dream of mine is to have a full keyboard group buy (full as in case, plate, PCB and all required components) - maybe a Phantom 2 - and I think this case manufacturing might be a good step towards that. :)

User avatar
damorgue

05 Dec 2012, 20:07

fruktstund wrote: The cases all look a bit "high" though, but maybe they aren't in reality?
They are about 25mm high. This is because the USB connector on the cable which attaches to the teensy required a lot of space underneath, and builds height. The two ways I have of making it high only in the rear end are to either:
A) make it into a wedge shape, which makes it cost quite a bit more, or
B) have a hole in the bottom which the controller and cable connector can sick out of. This requires the user to put feet on it, and will look kind of sketchy.

It also depends a bit on how much one wants the caps to protrude from the case, or if the switches are to be completely hidden. I consider A to be an option here, and would like to stay away from B.

Edit: The GH60 models of them are ofc not as high because of a smaller controller+usb connector solution.

User avatar
damorgue

05 Dec 2012, 20:21

Does everyone else also prefer a more expensive case that is wedge shaped?

User avatar
fruktstund

05 Dec 2012, 20:30

Ah, I see. I'm pretty sure I'd prefer a more expensive wedge shaped case, although the best solution would probably be to not use a Teensy on a future Phantom but an "integrated" ATmega32 instead such as on the GH60 (if I recall correctly this is how they've done it at least). Biggest problem with that is that the case most certainly would not be compatible with the original Phantom.

User avatar
dirge

05 Dec 2012, 20:31

How much more expensive? 10% 50%?

User avatar
damorgue

05 Dec 2012, 20:44

Yes, I do believe the way of the GH60 and korean customs is the way to go with the chips soldered directly to the PCB. The connector on the teensy adds about twice as much as the actual teensy PCB if you look at it from the side btw.Below is a picture of it. I have made a clearance of at least 8mm from the PCB in my designs. Ihave even cut and modified my cables and that only removes about 0,5-1mm.
Spoiler:
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Edit: @dirge, cost increase would be hard. Suffice it to say that it requires far more milling to remove the wedge shape, and most likely also requires the operator to dismount and mount it back in another time to reach things and there will bee need to solve the issue of the screws, which can no longer go from bottom plate to top plate without the use of tilting holes. Gonna see if I can come up with a better way to make it wedge shaped.

Either way, hopefully it won't be an issue in future designs.

User avatar
damorgue

05 Dec 2012, 22:25

This might be another way to solve it rather cheaply. Sort of a spin-off from suggestion B on how to solve it. You cover up the hole. An extra plate could further increase the distance by which the controller can protrude.
Spoiler:
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Last edited by damorgue on 06 Dec 2012, 09:41, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
telepete

05 Dec 2012, 23:43

The small piece screwed on the bottom would be my preference. I wouldn't want the entire case to be tall just to accomodate the small little controller.

Findecanor

06 Dec 2012, 11:09

Let me suggest that you make the piece screwed to the bottom be (almost) as wide as the entire keyboard. That would be symmetric and give you some extra space for the cable.

User avatar
damorgue

06 Dec 2012, 11:44

Findecanor wrote:Let me suggest that you make the piece screwed to the bottom be (almost) as wide as the entire keyboard. That would be symmetric and give you some extra space for the cable.
Good idea. It would look better at least. As far as cable go, it doesn't really need more space, but I can see the point from an aesthetic point of view.

Since feet which raise the rear end are pretty much a requirement for this solution, perhaps one could use the feet to fasten the smaller add-on plate.
Spoiler:
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User avatar
damorgue

07 Dec 2012, 20:13

I am going to drop the GH60 case entirely. I was asked to make one, but now that it is done he won't acknowledge it or list it among the cases which are available. Fuck that behavior.

How far along is the Hyper as far as finalized PCB dimensions goes?

User avatar
7bit

07 Dec 2012, 20:58

damorgue wrote:I am going to drop the GH60 case entirely. I was asked to make one, but now that it is done he won't acknowledge it or list it among the cases which are available. Fuck that behavior.

How far along is the Hyper as far as finalized PCB dimensions goes?
PCB and plate will be to fit the Poker case.

User avatar
tlt

07 Dec 2012, 22:18

If the controller is mounted on the PCB (like it hopefully will be on the Hyper) then the USB connector can be mounted to the case and have wires to the PCB. That will decrease hight and make it more durable. Connectors soldered to the PCB can damage the PCB if they get hit by something.

User avatar
tlt

07 Dec 2012, 22:55

Another design idea (that was suggested in the MeC64 topic) is to have a mounting plate with bent edges. This gives a keyboard with a simple bare bones look what can look good if done right. Maybe you can put a thin plastic layer on the back of the PCB to protect it a little and against the sharp component pins. The short sides could also be bent down to for a box, that wound make it steadier and maybe look good?
tangentbord_v1_1_R3.jpg
tangentbord_v1_1_R3.jpg (267.27 KiB) Viewed 3881 times
This is a picture of the mounting plate in the MeC64 to show the general idea.

With this you get the benefit of just having to make one part for mounting plate and case. Bending adds an additional cost thought.

Corsair has a keyboard with the case as mounting plate http://www.corsair.com/en/vengeance-gam ... board.html

A problem I have discovered is that Aluminum is easily scratched, is a coating needed?

User avatar
damorgue

07 Dec 2012, 23:26

Anodization creates a fairly protective layer of aluminum oxide on the surface. It will by no means be scratch proof mind you, but at least more tolerant.

The problems I see with it is that in order to make the corners look decent you pretty much have to weld the flanges together, and then grind them smooth, and then user a covering paint to cover the differences in color. Other than that, the case is fairly easy to make.

I personally don't like it when the switches show though, it sort of reminds me of an idea for a case I had a very long time ago:
Spoiler:
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I suppose, since one has to weld the corner edges shut anyways, it would be easier to just not bend them and just weld the sides to the main plate. The sides could then be made to cover up the upper switch housing as well.

User avatar
tlt

08 Dec 2012, 16:32

If you start welding than the simplicity of it is gone and you get something that is as complicated and expensive to make as a milled case, but less attractive.

I really like your milled cases and would personally rather have something like that. Are you going to make a cases that will fit the Hyper? I'll be interested in that.

User avatar
damorgue

16 Dec 2012, 19:01

Another way to deal with the controller would be to still use the teensy, but to solder it upside down to the main PCB, aand having a cutout in the main PCB in order to make room for the atmega chip on the teensy to protrude through the main PCB, as well as the cable connector and cable to protrude through the main PCB and thus be more in line with the main PCB, and not have to extend much below it.

It would require some space without switches though which I don't believe there is in the case of the Phantom.

User avatar
damorgue

16 Dec 2012, 20:15

I am going to get a few more quotes on the cases for now. Machine time is expensive Sweden. I wish I could have it made somewhere cheaper. Probably going to order a first prototype in January.

User avatar
korne

16 Dec 2012, 20:20

I like all the designs, but the best one in my opinion is Phantom Milled A + B

Great work :)

User avatar
damorgue

12 Jan 2013, 18:41

How many variations are needed for the top piece?

Standard - What you might consider normal or a regular layout.
Arrclus - Only has the arrow cluster opened up to allow for the 5 keys above it to be used
Winkeyless - Has small areas which block and cover up the holes left by the lack of winkeys
Winkeyless_Arrclus - A combination of Winkeyless and Arrclus
7bit - Area above arrowcluster opened and entire F-row open

Does the winkeyless versions have to exist in two variations depending on where that winkey is? Is it:
1.5u; 1u; 1,5u; 7u; 1.5u; 1u; 1,5u
where the 1u keys are blocked out?

Edit: I need a name for it too. :D

Windz

12 Jan 2013, 20:39

Yup winkeyless uses 1.5x mods and 7x spacebar with the blocks being 1x. =)

User avatar
BimboBB

12 Jan 2013, 22:39

Variations looking good. Would definitely take a Standard and a Winkeyless case. (may 7bit one as well)

If you might think about a german company to produce the cases, you could check these two companies:

Zrinski AG
Jung GmbH & Co. KG (unfortunately no english translation of hp)

nebo

13 Jan 2013, 03:21

I'm a fan of the phantom milled A. I'm sure that if this becomes a reality it'd be based on # of orders, but if the possibility of winkeyless but with the 5 extra keys above the arrow cluster to be milled out 7bit style I'd get a keyboard layout I've been after for a while. I guess above it's called the Winkeyless_Arrclus.

The_Beast

13 Jan 2013, 03:47

Is the Arrclus layout supposed to be used as a numberpad?

User avatar
damorgue

13 Jan 2013, 09:48

nebo wrote:I'm a fan of the phantom milled A.
That is the one which I am focusing on at the moment.
nebo wrote:the possibility of winkeyless but with the 5 extra keys above the arrow cluster to be milled out 7bit style I'd get a keyboard layout I've been after for a while. I guess above it's called the Winkeyless_Arrclus.
Correct
The_Beast wrote:Is the Arrclus layout supposed to be used as a numberpad?
Nope, it just has the 5 keys above the arrow cluster opened up. I do have a case of similar design for the GH60, whenever the dimensions of the plate are finalized, as well as possible requirements on clearance.


On another note, I believe we have a volunteer who might manufacture cheap prototypes.
Last edited by damorgue on 13 Jan 2013, 10:03, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dirge

13 Jan 2013, 09:49

damorgue wrote:I am going to get a few more quotes on the cases for now. Machine time is expensive Sweden. I wish I could have it made somewhere cheaper. Probably going to order a first prototype in January.
Get a few to chip in for prototypes. Will socialise the cost and bring overall price down. Just no guarantee they'll be perfect.

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