Phantom Custom Keyboard Group Buy (CLOSED)

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 05:25

Group buy closed. Payment deadline is February 13th, 2012.

Here is the link to the pricelist:http://deskthority.net/wiki/Phantom#Pricelist


PrinsValium has designed a PCB with a programmable controller and a mounting plate that will fit inside a regular Filco tenkeyless keyboard case, which will enable every Filco tenkeyless user to use a full set of good old Cherry keycaps, including Cherry’s original 1.5x wide Ctrl and Alt keys. Detail technical discussion is here.

Latest PCB design:
Phantom PCB-Small.jpg
Phantom PCB-Small.jpg (732.46 KiB) Viewed 15074 times

Other unique features of this design:
-There are 4 extra holes on the PCB for each switch that should provide each stem/spring replacement without desoldering the switch from the PCB and metal plate.

- per 7bit’s request, you could do something crazy like this for the front row:
Phantom_7BITa.png
Phantom_7BITa.png (14.36 KiB) Viewed 15074 times

HaveANiceDay started the project originally with PrinsValium, and we are carrying it forward. Here is HaveANiceDay’s original post:
Image

"Who was that shape in the shadows? Whose is that face in the mask?"

Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am happy to finally announce a project of mine in co-operation with PrinsValium of the Symmetric Stagger Board fame.

For a long time I have lusted after the Korean custom keyboards, jealous of the ability to use a full set of Cherry double shot and dye sub keycaps without substitutes!
You see, I never cared about their CNC carved Alumin(i)um bodies and I spoke about that on a few occasion. The holy grail, for me, are the keycaps.
Image

I reached out to PrinsValium, told him my story and asked if he was interested. Luckily, he shares my views on this and he agreed to [strike]help me out[/strike] do all the work for me.

Now, before you fall asleep I'll go ahead and tell you what you probably have already guessed from the story above:
We are making a PCB with a programmable controller and a mounting plate, which will enable every Filco tenkeyless user to use a full set of good old Cherry keycaps!

Wait, what? Just for the Filco tenkeyless? Why?
It's practically impossible to make one PCB compatible with all the keyboard bodies out there, so we went with this one for a few reasons:
1. The Filco is probably the most popular tenkeyless brand around here.
2. The keyboard body on the Filco is in my opinion beautiful, I actually think it looks better than the Korean custom Alumin(i)um bodies.
3. It costs a lot to make low volumes of keyboard bodies, way more than a whole Filco tenkeyless.
4. I already own one! Yes, the privilege of being project lead.

If you still don't have a good idea what it would look like, it's basically the 86U layout!
Image
We would need 1-sized windows keycaps for in between CTRL and ALT, but luckily there are cheap Cherry boards with just the right keycaps available.
FAQ
Why "Phantom"?
It's a Phantom behind the Filco mask!

What IS the Phantom?
A "unisex" PCB (fits ANSI and ISO), the Teensy controller and a matching mounting plate.
It fits the Filco tenkeyless and most likely the PLU ML-87(the insides of the case are identical to the Filco).

I don't know how to solder, am I SOL?
If you don't want to or can't do soldering, you can contact Half-Saint (located in Europe) or alaricljs (located in the USA). They are offering their soldering service. You will have to order parts from this group buy and tell us to ship the parts to one of them. You will need to work out the cost and shipping arrangement with them directly.

Why the Filco tenkeyless/PLU ML-87 and not another brand?
1. Filco are probably the most popular around geekhack of all the tenkeyless keyboards.
2. Both of those are compatible with each other, thus increasing the market size.
3. I already own one :P

Is this compatible with the Filco tenkeyless gen1 AND gen2?
Yes.

Can I use ALL of the Cherry doubleshots/dye-subs with the Phantom? Meaning the entire bottom row with the 7-sized spacebar and the off-center capslock?
YES! This is the main reason we are doing this.

But I really like the modern layout my Filco has, can I keep it the way it was?
Sure, PCB is fully compatible with both choices.

What layouts are supported by the PCB?
ANSI and ISO in standard Filco or oldschool Cherry layout.
Also there is support for the shorter shift + FN key, like on the HHKB!
Another option that is available is the UNIX layout.

Can I use it to convert my ANSI Filco tenkeyless to ISO?
Yes, and from ISO to ANSI as well!

Can I re-use my old Filco mounting plate if I just want PCB with the reprogrammable controller?
Yes.

Do I have to buy the switches myself?
Not if you reuse the old ones from the Filco.

Can I use PCB mounting (without the mounting plate)?
No, there are no holes on the PCB that are needed for PCB mounting. There were good design reasons to leave them out, sorry.

What stabilizers are supported by the mounting plate?
Costar(Filco) and Cherry stabilizers.
We still have to look if we can cram both of them on one mounting plate.

Will there be just one mounting plate?
No. Every layout will probably get a matching mounting plate.

What will the PCB look like?
It will have an awesome black finish on both sides with white silkscreen markings for easier switch mounting. The Phantom logo and text will be embedded on the copper layer like on the Filco gen2.

What will the mounting plate look like?
Bare metal which you can spray-paint as you want and if you want :)

Update history:
---
People who are involved in this group buy:
PrinsValium: PCB and plate design
BiNiaRiS: plate ordering, payment collection, US distribution
7bit: payment collection, European distribution
Litster: Organizer, group buy communication

The PCB should be between US$25 to US$40 each. And the plate should be between US$20 to US$30 each. The finally price has yet to be determined. Each order includes 1 PCB, 1 plate, 1 controller. You will need to source your own diodes and Cherry switches. And you will need to solder them together yourself.

If you don't want to or can't do soldering, you can contact Half-Saint (located in Europe) or alaricljs (located in the USA). They are offering their soldering service. You will have to order parts from this group buy and tell us to ship the parts to one of them. You will need to work out the cost and shipping arrangement with them directly.


Total cost per kit should be between US$80 to US$120, depending on how many orders we have for bulk discount, shipping cost (factory to distributors, distributors to you), packaging cost, and paypal fees. As always, you the buyers will be responsible for all custom taxes, if any.

If you are interested and is committed to buy, please post the following information:

Code: Select all

Your user name: litsterExample
PCB 3
ANSI15 1
ISO15 0
ANSI125 1
ISO125 1
TEENSY 3
Country: USA
EDIT1: changed order format a little to be more explicit.
EDIT2: Added soldering service information.
Edit 3: Added more ordering information to the 3rd post in this thread.
Edit 4: Uploaded pictures locally to Deskthority.
EDIT4: PCB picture at the top of the first post has been updated to the final design.
Attachments
phantom.png
phantom.png (628.52 KiB) Viewed 15838 times
7bit_layout.png
7bit_layout.png (29.75 KiB) Viewed 15963 times
Last edited by litster on 08 Feb 2012, 19:59, edited 14 times in total.

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 05:25

Layout Examples for the different plates.

ANSI layout with Cherry 1.5x wide modifiers (There should be a 1x key on both sides between the Ctrl key and the Alt key):
Image

ANSI layout with 1.25x wide modifiers (E.g. modern layout like Filco):
Image

ISO layout with Cherry 1.5x wide modifiers:
Image

ISO layout with 1.25x wide modifiers (E.g. modern layout like Filco):
Image

7bit's Special:
Image

Here are the 5 plates we have available in this group buy:
PHANSI150.png
PHANSI150.png (26.1 KiB) Viewed 15799 times
PHANSI125.png
PHANSI125.png (25.43 KiB) Viewed 15799 times
PHISO150.png
PHISO150.png (25.4 KiB) Viewed 15799 times
PHISO125.png
PHISO125.png (26.62 KiB) Viewed 15799 times
PH7IT.png
PH7IT.png (25.81 KiB) Viewed 15795 times
Last edited by litster on 26 Nov 2011, 03:32, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 05:25

Order Suggestions:

To order, send a private message to PHANTOM with order information. It is a perl script account that 7bit setup to take orders automatically.

Currently only the following parts are confirmed to be available:

Code: Select all

TEENSY
PHANTOM
PHANSI
PHANSIWIN
PHISO
PHISOWIN
PH7BIT

MXRED       
MXBLUE      
MXDARKBLUE  
MXBROWN     
MXCLEAR     
MXBLACK     
MXGREY      

DIODE
For example, this is what I would order or myself for an ANSI layout using my Cherry 1.5 modifiers and MX red switches (CTRL and ALT on both sides of the spacebar):

Code: Select all

TEENSY 1
PHANTOM 1
PHANSI 1
DIODE 100  //order a few more diodes in case you break one.  They are super cheap.
MXRED 90  //order a few more switches for backup just in case 
litster@domain.com
If you want ISO layout and want to have 1.25x modifiers on the front row (2x CTRL, 2x ALT, 2x Win, 1x App), and ERGO CLEAR, this is what you want to order:

Code: Select all

TEENSY 1
PHANTOM 1
PHISOWIN 1
DIODE 100
MXBROWN 90
MXCLEAR 90
litster@domain.com
You would need to open up the switches to use the brown springs with clear stem for ergo clear.

If you are cool like me and want a couple of different ANSI configurations, then you would order this list:

Code: Select all

TEENSY 3
PHANTOM 3
PHANSI 2
PHANSIWIN 1
DIODE 300
MXBLUE 90
MXDARKBLUE 90
MXBROWN 90
litster@domain.com
If you are Uncle 7bit, your order would look like this:

Code: Select all

TEENSY 5
PHANTOM 5
PH7BIT 5
DIODE 500
MXBLACK 450
7bit@7bitmail.com
Last edited by litster on 24 Jan 2012, 00:25, edited 7 times in total.

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 05:26

Status update: December, 19th, 2011
First test plates were ordered, made, and second sets of plates are ordered for minor changes. Should be done this week. Also test PCBs have just been ordered as well.

Status update: November 21st, 2011
A quick update. Test plates have been ordered last week. They should be done this week. But this week is only a 3-day work week due to the US Thanksgiving holidays. BiNiaRiS will may an PHANSI plate to me and I will put switches and keycaps on the plate to verify the plate. PCB design will be finalized after that and then we can order a couple of test PCBs for one more round of verification. If everything goes well, we can then collect payments for PCBs and plates.

Status update: November 10th, 2011
BiNiaRiS is going to make 2 prototype mounting plates as soon as he receive seed money from the 3 of us. Once the plate is made and checked, we will be ordering 2 PCBs so I can build a prototype Phantom to confirm everything is working before we order all the parts.

Status Update: November 5th, 2011
7bit found a source who can provide us with Cherry MX switches of all colours. So Cherry switches are officially included in this group buy. We still need to source stabilizers.

Status update: November 4th, 2011
Behind the scene, we are finishing up the design and closing a few decisions. As you know we maybe getting a custom keycap made for this special keyboard. It will likely a separate group buy. We are looking into if we could include switches in the group buy, or direct group buyers to mouser or digikey to get the switches directly from these vendors. We are going to do a round of virtual measurement check of the plate design against an actual Filco tenkeyless keyboard. We will likely print out the PCB on cardboard in 1:1 scale to more measurement checking. Then we will make a couple of test plates, mount real switches onto them and do another measurement against a real Filco keyboard.

All the above I expect would take 2 weeks to 3 weeks. Once everything is checked out and that we are confident with the design, we will close the group buy, collect money, and order all the parts. That will likely take another month or two from ordering, manufacturing, shipping, sorting, shipping to our 2 distributors, and then ship out to buyers.
I will update again when we have more info. Thanks.
Last edited by litster on 19 Dec 2011, 20:57, edited 5 times in total.

cactux

02 Nov 2011, 05:35

[Account and posts deleted on request]

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 05:40

No final cost yet. But with the PCB, plate, and controller, it should be between US$80 to US$120. Hopefully lower than that. I still have to check with PrinsValium if a Teensy is included. He is sleeping now :-).

cactux

02 Nov 2011, 05:45

[Account and posts deleted on request]

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 05:48

No and no. PrinsValium is confident that the PCB is good, but would like some more eyes on it. We still need to get some plates made to confirm that the design matches with the PCB.

cactux

02 Nov 2011, 06:18

[Account and posts deleted on request]

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 06:20

Of course. That is already in our plan that we communicated privately.

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

02 Nov 2011, 06:36

That ANSI/ISO versatilty is a great feature. I wished all keyboards manufacturers would have gone this way.

Besides, this custom keybaord will probably revive the market for vintage Cherry keyboards with doubleshots. Or just sets of doubleshot keys :D

mintberryminuscrunch

02 Nov 2011, 07:45

might be in for one,
EDIT: tempting, but not this time. Maybe in round 2
Last edited by mintberryminuscrunch on 03 Nov 2011, 20:58, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

02 Nov 2011, 08:52

I'll take one set

User avatar
Ascaii
The Beard

02 Nov 2011, 09:18

sign me up for one.

User avatar
litster

02 Nov 2011, 09:22

Cool. Do you guys want ISO plate?

User avatar
Ascaii
The Beard

02 Nov 2011, 09:54

yes, im only interested if I can make it ISO. Also, I'm hoping it will be at the lower end of the price spectrum.

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

02 Nov 2011, 10:11

ANSI only! Screw ISO for me :D

Also for space row: [1.5][1.0][1.5][7.0][1.5][1.0][1.5]

you have this right?

User avatar
7bit

02 Nov 2011, 10:50

sixty wrote:ANSI only! Screw ISO for me :D
Also for space row: [1.5][1.0][1.5][7.0][1.5][1.0][1.5]
you have this right?
ANSI, ISO, 7BIT - anything is possible;-)

The bottom row works with the following key-sizes:
[1.5][1.0][1.5][7.0][1.5][1.0][1.5] :cool:
(This was the original plan.)

[1.25][1.25][1.25][6.25][1.25][1.25][1.25][1.25] :geek:
(Someone let PrinsValium mess it up a bit to make sure a 'modern' layout is possible.)

[1.5][1.0][1.5][1.5][1.5][1][1.5][1.5][1.5][1.0][1.5] :ugeek:
(Someone else forced PrinsValium into messing up the design much further to maximise the number of keys and avoid any need of stabilisers.)

I will post some layout samples ...

User avatar
7bit

02 Nov 2011, 11:25

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

mintberryminuscrunch

02 Nov 2011, 12:26

Questions:
-is it possible to make a plate that is ISO and ANSI compatible
-what controler will be used

PS: Ansi with 1.0 winkeys is missing

User avatar
7bit

02 Nov 2011, 12:31

mintberryminuscrunch wrote:Questions:
-is it possible to make a plate that is ISO and ANSI compatible
-what controler will be used

PS: Ansi with 1.0 winkeys is missing
I think the ISO-enter-switch will cause a bit of trouble.

Tarkoon

02 Nov 2011, 12:48

Hmm, I have no skills in soldering and nothing of the needed parts.
So I fear this great keyboard idea died for me... =(

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

02 Nov 2011, 12:59

One ANSI for me.

User avatar
7bit

02 Nov 2011, 13:29

Tarkoon wrote:Hmm, I have no skills in soldering and nothing of the needed parts.
So I fear this great keyboard idea died for me... =(
We will try to find some people to do the soldering for those who are not able to do this by themselves.

You can have anything in parts or a complete keyboard.

mintberryminuscrunch

02 Nov 2011, 13:34

mintberryminuscrunch wrote:Questions:

-what controler will be used
would be great if we could combine this with the Chameleon Controler
http://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1243

Tarkoon

02 Nov 2011, 14:13

7bit wrote:We will try to find some people to do the soldering for those who are not able to do this by themselves. You can have anything in parts or a complete keyboard.
If this is possible, the price would be the essential information...
Do you have any idea about that?

TOZZIL

02 Nov 2011, 17:00

I'm really interested, but do not have a Filco and don't want to spend all the money for one to just use its frame and switches >.>
Doesn't anybody have an idea which frame could also fit? Which housing has measurements close to the Filco and Realforce ones?
If there is a cheaper alternative, I'd definetively be in for it!

Regards

telge

02 Nov 2011, 17:58

I am in for 1 set ISO if the price ain't ridiculous that is (within posted range should be fine) but I do want a controller to be included..
Should the complete order with information be PMed to litster or just poster here?

User avatar
nanu

02 Nov 2011, 21:55

Your user name: nanu
Number of kits: 1
ANSI Plate: 1
ISO Plate: 0
Country: USA
I noticed that you use a Teensy 2.0 for the controller. Can you exclude this from my order to reduce cost?
-There are 4 extra holes on the PCB for each switch that should provide each stem/spring replacement without desoldering the switch from the PCB and metal plate.
H-shaped plate holes! Awesome!

xbb

03 Nov 2011, 01:35

Your user name: xbb
Number of kits: 1
ANSI Plate: 1
ISO Plate: 0
Country: Italy

I want [1.5][1.0][1.5][7.0][1.5][1.0][1.5] bottom row but I see the first picture is without the 1 sized keys.

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