[IC] SKBXX solid bent alu case made in Germany (60%+75%)

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03 Nov 2017, 17:53


I'm Plastikschnittstelle. This is an interest check for a keyboard case. It's made of thick aluminium sheets, laser cut and bent. Bead blasted and black anodized for the finish. It's supposed to be a more affordable alternative to all the awesome but also expensive CNC aluminium cases. The design is simple and sturdy, with integrated height adjustability (6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 degrees) and a low initial row. The plate is laser cut from steel and powder coated, black. The plate is edge-mounted top-mounted. There are different profile versions to decide on - medium, high and high with integrated wrist-rest. We will have to decide which size and layout the case should be adapted to. The case is high profile and there will be different 60% (Standard, WKL, HHKB, YAS) and one 75% version to choose from. This is just the case, plate and screws, no PCB, switches or caps included. All PCBs fit - just if the plate supports the layout you want.



- IC ended and GB started

- made a second build from the samples, more pictures

- got the samples and made a build, pictures

- updated intro text
- still waiting for the samples, will arrive soon

- waiting for samples

- updated plate drafts, added banana split and DZ60 support

- first plate drafts

- third google form for choosing your preferred layout

- bead-blasted finish
- screws
- order step size
- pricing

- new renderings of 75%
- first try to determine the plate layouts:
-> 60% versions
-> 60% HHKB versions
-> 60% YAS versions
-> 75% versions

- decision change: all 60% versions (Standard, WKL, HHKB, YAS) AND 75%
- evaluating the possibility of sandblasting before anodizing for higher quality finish

- decision: it's a 60%
- decision: high profile case
- design change: caps sink in 2mm
- design change: added 6° angle
- design change: flathead screws
- new renderings
- question: "everyone gets his 60" or "keep it simple"
- second google form

- first google form

- initial post

75% as well
I'm aiming at a combined GB. So not only the various 60% but also 75%. Here are the renderings that I promised:
SKB75H-NEW-01.jpg (882.78 KiB) Viewed 6392 times
SKB75H-NEW-02.jpg (1.01 MiB) Viewed 6392 times
SKB75H-NEW-03.jpg (1.01 MiB) Viewed 6392 times
SKB75H-NEW-04.jpg (810.14 KiB) Viewed 6392 times
SKB75H-NEW-05.jpg (640.8 KiB) Viewed 6392 times
SKB75H-NEW-06.jpg (483.91 KiB) Viewed 6392 times
"Everyone gets his 60" or "keep it simple"
The form shows, that all 60% versions combined make up for well over 50% of the total votes and the vast majority wants the case to be high profile and some wish for a lower angle than 8° degree. Changing the design to make the 6° angle possible might seem like no big deal, but it did take a while. High profile it is now and the caps sink in 2mm deep. Going for a 60% case seems to be the obvious choice after looking at 119 votes. Now there are two possible ways we might go for:

A) Making only the standard 60% with one universal plate. The 60% group is pretty defragmented and this would mean I could probably only rise enough interest for a relatively low production count. The prices would be as already mention when I started this thread. Maybe we would reach around 20 units I guess. So we wouldn't be enough to advance to the more attractive midrange pricing zone.

B) Offer all 60% versions (standard, WKL, HHKB and YAS) so every 60%-supporter gets exactly what he wants, including a plate that fits his version. This way we could get way past the 50 units mark, maybe even higher. But although the overall production count number would be higher than A, the price per unit would still be higher because it is not an order of just three parts anymore but many different parts instead.
Also it would be impossible to name a specific price up front. I would only know the pricing after I know exactly how many orders are safe. I could only estimate a price range and hope I'm not mistaken. Buyers would have to agree to that. Managing all the different orders would also be quite a challenge.

I'm waiting for your opinion on this. I put up a second google form, so I can decide which way we will go. I'm still working out some detail with the manufacturer regarding a more complex, mixed order and I hope I can give a rough price range soon.
All the sixties!

I hope you like the new renderings, they now show the different 60% versions with different angles starting at 6 degrees.
I also threw in some more colors. You've seen the classic beige with red accent Enter+Esc Mods already in the first renderings. Here I wanna point out again Wodans work on his HADapter GB awhile ago, which made it possible to make use of the old HAD sets on modern layouts. He'll do another round soon so we can make even more use of the all the HAD sets we can harvest from old G80/G81s.
Since HHKB is pretty popular I looked at some original HHKB models. The Black with red accents are pretty nice, so I tried to ported this style into the GMK color universe.
YAS color theme - well just another try.
The colors should just give you a better impression what a final keyboard with the case might look like.

Here you go:
01-SKB60H-STNDR-01.jpg (904.43 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
02-SKB60H-STNDR-04.jpg (1.09 MiB) Viewed 6650 times
03-SKB60H-STNDR-07.jpg (643.48 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
04-SKB60H-WKL-05.jpg (1.01 MiB) Viewed 6650 times
05-SKB60H-WKL-08.jpg (794.77 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
06-SKB60H-HHKB-01.jpg (865.63 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
07-SKB60H-HHKB-05.jpg (985 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
08-SKB60H-HHKB-06.jpg (806.89 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
09-SKB60H-YAS-04.jpg (1.15 MiB) Viewed 6650 times
10-SKB60H-YAS-05.jpg (1.05 MiB) Viewed 6650 times
11-SKB60H-YAS-07.jpg (668.61 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
12-SKB60H-angles.jpg (179.83 KiB) Viewed 6650 times
13-SKB60H-ex.jpg (287.01 KiB) Viewed 6650 times

Old Pictures
I already made a post on GH, but I think it's necessary to open up a discussion here as well. I won't c&p the whole text from GH, please read it over there in order to get all the details.

Here are some of the pictures:
01 skb60-iso-01.jpg
01 skb60-iso-01.jpg (900.92 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
02 skb60-iso-06.jpg
02 skb60-iso-06.jpg (736.07 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
03 skb60-yas-04.jpg
03 skb60-yas-04.jpg (1.09 MiB) Viewed 7445 times
04 skb60-yas-05.jpg
04 skb60-yas-05.jpg (1013.38 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
05 skb65-iso-01.jpg
05 skb65-iso-01.jpg (931.64 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
06 skb65-iso-08.jpg
06 skb65-iso-08.jpg (758.28 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
07 skb75-iso-04.jpg
07 skb75-iso-04.jpg (1.01 MiB) Viewed 7445 times
08 skb75-iso-06.jpg
08 skb75-iso-06.jpg (705.29 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
09 SKB-gr-01.jpg
09 SKB-gr-01.jpg (147.61 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
10 SKB-gr-03.jpg
10 SKB-gr-03.jpg (295.97 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
11SKB65M-02.jpg (423.61 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
12 SKB65M-03.jpg
12 SKB65M-03.jpg (427.94 KiB) Viewed 7445 times
Short remarks regarding the pictures:
- SKB60H, 60%, high-profile, @ 10°
- SKB60H, 60%, high-profile, @ 10° (YAS62)
- SKB65M, 65%, medium-profile, @ 12° (Keycap GB here)
- SKB75H, 75%, high-profile, @ 10° (possible PCB)
- Graphics
- Photos of the prototype

You can find more photos of the prototype if you dig through this and that album.
Expected pricing:
20 Units: ~135€
50 Units: ~105€
100 Units: ~92€

Yes, I had hoped for a lower price, but that is probably not possible when manufacturing in Germany. Only high quantities can make the price appealing. There is still a lot that may change and have an effect on the price but if so, it would probably get cheaper.
You would get the three main parts (bottom, top and plate) as well as screws (all M3), nuts, washers and rubber feet.
I would consider world wide shipping.
What to decide on:
- any interest at all?
- what size: 60%, 65%, 75% or else?
- plate material: anodized aluminium or blank steel?
- what layouts to support?
- not the color!

If there is enough interest, I'll put up a google form in order to clarify which size and layout is the most popular.
Last edited by PlastikSchnittstelle on 10 Apr 2018, 19:07, edited 25 times in total.

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ISO Advocate

03 Nov 2017, 18:29

Very nice concept for a solid and affordable custom kit! Love the way the keyboard angle can be adjusted.

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Offtopicthority Instigator

03 Nov 2017, 18:43

Wodan wrote: Very nice concept for a solid and affordable custom kit! Love the way the keyboard angle can be adjusted.
I like the looks of it but I don't see any information on pricing here. Remember that the black/red burns my eyes too much when I try to read anything at GH! :lol:

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5711 4 life

03 Nov 2017, 18:44

Very nice, was very much interested in it at Mechanicon, would definitely be down for 75% version!

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03 Nov 2017, 19:09

thanks for the first replies. and sorry, forgot pricing info, that's quite important, of course. updated it.

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Offtopicthority Instigator

03 Nov 2017, 19:18

PlastikSchnittstelle wrote: thanks for the first replies. and sorry, forgot pricing info, that's quite important, of course. updated it.
Thank you. Wodan was right then, quite affordable indeed! :)

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03 Nov 2017, 19:31

Looks awesome! Incidentally I had a similar idea a while ago, but your's looks obviously much more fancy and polished. Where did you get it made?
Personally I'd be interested in the 75% one or even a TKL.
75% plus bend case 3.png
75% plus bend case 3.png (1.07 MiB) Viewed 7373 times
75% plus bend case exp2.png
75% plus bend case exp2.png (494.62 KiB) Viewed 7373 times
Last edited by Nuum on 03 Nov 2017, 19:32, edited 1 time in total.

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03 Nov 2017, 19:31

nice too, i made more designs, one is a little more similar to this, but it would make more sense in steel.
step by step.

i'll wait till more questions come up and then try to answer in a combined post.

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03 Nov 2017, 21:35

Looks interesting. I'd be interested in a winkeyless one at the lower price tiers (~€100).


03 Nov 2017, 22:29

Wow that looks really nice! I would be down for the 75% version for sure.


04 Nov 2017, 12:13

I'd be down for one of these for the yas62, which I forgot about and don't have a case for.


04 Nov 2017, 14:55

Looks so sweet. I choose 65% version!


04 Nov 2017, 17:46

I don't like the fact that it is not solid. I cannot adjust to layouts smaller than TKL. I absolutely hate "floating style" Keyboards. So I do not need one. I do not want one.
But... here it comes: GB from Germany? Resonable price? Not a big vendor who sucks the money out of my wallet while calling some marketing bullshit "GB", but a trustworthy individual from "the community"? FFS, count me in!

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Finally 60%

04 Nov 2017, 19:10

It looks terrific. I just wish more flat cases existed. They are hard to find.

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04 Nov 2017, 20:20

This is quite nice. As for finish, take the cheapest, I think more people would be interested if it was to be very cheap. A 75% is for me the way to go, they seem to be quite the hype and they're a space-saving TKL, can't go wrong with that !

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05 Nov 2017, 11:03

PlastikSchnittstelle wrote: - any interest at all?
Yes! High profile on 65% or 75% would be great :) Anodized aluminium as well and (obvious) ISO-DE.

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05 Nov 2017, 11:58

This is very cool

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05 Nov 2017, 13:17

A winkeyless high profile one looks pretty good. If it reaches the lower price tiers I may be interested in it

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05 Nov 2017, 13:46

This looks awesome, but of course everyone ( :lol: ) wants an 80% TKL keyboard.

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05 Nov 2017, 22:56

thanks very much for your replies! sorry I couldn't answer earlier. some of your questions have already been covered by the starting post over at gh. I also just replied to lots of questions that came up over there.
now some answers to the questions here:

what do you mean by "not solid""- this thing is damn solid!
Yes, now I really have no more doubt that 99% seem to hate floating key design - no worry the medium-height version is out of question now, it will be high profile for sure.
The rest: thank you so much, best post so far ;)

Of course, cheaper -> more interest, but only a high production count leads to cheap prices. the coming weeks will show how much will hop on.

Yes, of course I want to provide ANSI and ISO. I hope it'll be possible to offer at least two different plate versions to choose from. But it's far to early to talk about specific plate layouts now.

I'm preparing a form which I will hopefully post soon. this way we'll be able to determine what's most wanted.

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05 Nov 2017, 23:05

Really nice look!

Any chance to have a 6U HHKB (or 7U) layout?


06 Nov 2017, 09:20

I meant "not milled from one piece" when I mentioned "not solid". So it is like we german say "crying on high level". Looking forward for the high profile version. I allready have switches (either tactile grey or white) and a keyset (GMK Dolch) in mind. Need a PCB ;)

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06 Nov 2017, 14:28

DarKou wrote: Really nice look!

Any chance to have a 6U HHKB (or 7U) layout?
+1: I am interested in the 6U-HHKB layout style too.

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06 Nov 2017, 17:44

I finished the the google form - hope it will give us a clear direction.

@DarKou & @ideus :

before we can talk about layout specifics we need to sort out more general stuff. but whishes for hhkb style is considered in the form.

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06 Nov 2017, 18:52

Filled the form :) Keep it up, german groupbuys are rare!

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06 Nov 2017, 18:53

Multiple choices for some of the questions in the form would be nice, e.g. layout choice, as I'd like a 75% and/or a TKL and with voting for "something bigger" my vote for 75% would be lost. Also maybe a comment field?
I don't know whether you can change a google form afterwards, though.

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Alps Aficionado

06 Nov 2017, 19:00

Forum filled out, this is a quite nice idea.

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06 Nov 2017, 19:17

Form filled too!

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07 Nov 2017, 04:18

if you made this for the plum kb75 and kb84 i would pay 150 for them.. : ]

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07 Nov 2017, 05:23

Filling the form was very funny, thank you for that nice sense of humor you have.

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