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Muirium
µ

17 Jun 2015, 22:29

They're a cunning ploy to reduce wobble actually. The switch is centred right under the hat. You're encouraged to press it in just the right place, straight on top.

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SL89

17 Jun 2015, 22:35

But they are rather tall?

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Muirium
µ

17 Jun 2015, 22:36

No. Shorter than normal caps. Only the hat is full height. Steps go down, not up.

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SL89

17 Jun 2015, 22:42

Ohhh that makes more sense.

jacobolus

18 Jun 2015, 03:23

Hat keys are IMO idiotic, basically a way for keyboard makers to solve a technical problem in the cheapest possible way (that is, requiring no engineering effort or extra parts), while preserving their really bad legacy keyboard layout choices.

Basically, long keys need stabilizers, but for some designs of keyboards/switches, the stabilizers were badly engineered or skipped entirely, and as a result a long key would be non-functional. Turning the key into a hat key is functionally the same as replacing it with a smaller key, the only real difference being aesthetic (the unpressable stepped part of the hat key fills the available space).

The much better solution to non-functional unstabilized long keys is to change the layout to avoid a need for the long keys. There’s really no reason for any key to be wider or longer than 1.5 units, with the possible exception of the spacebar (a spacebar should be split and should still not be longer than about 2.5 units). Vendors were too cowardly to fix their broken layouts, and too cheap to include stabilizers, so instead we got ridiculous hat keys.

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002
Topre Enthusiast

18 Jun 2015, 04:14

1 unit hat key dye-sub ABS spacebars
Groupbuy on Massdrop next April 1st :)

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vinnycordeiro

18 Jun 2015, 04:39

jacobolus wrote: Hat keys are IMO idiotic, basically a way for keyboard makers to solve a technical problem in the cheapest possible way (that is, requiring no engineering effort or extra parts), while preserving their really bad legacy keyboard layout choices.

Basically, long keys need stabilizers, but for some designs of keyboards/switches, the stabilizers were badly engineered or skipped entirely, and as a result a long key would be non-functional. Turning the key into a hat key is functionally the same as replacing it with a smaller key, the only real difference being aesthetic (the unpressable stepped part of the hat key fills the available space).

The much better solution to non-functional unstabilized long keys is to change the layout to avoid a need for the long keys. There’s really no reason for any key to be wider or longer than 1.5 units, with the possible exception of the spacebar (a spacebar should be split and should still not be longer than about 2.5 units). Vendors were too cowardly to fix their broken layouts, and too cheap to include stabilizers, so instead we got ridiculous hat keys.
Problem isn't only the lack of "courage": companies have to sell their products, and human being in general do not like changes in well-known patterns. I believe that the mass public would find such keyboard strange and would not buy it.

We are enthusiasts, we know the flaws of mass produced products and how to solve (some of) them, but that isn't necessarily the opinion of the majority. Just my 2 cents.

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rsbseb
-Horned Rabbit-

18 Jun 2015, 05:17

In general i am not a fan of stepped keys, but sometimes they just look right on certain boards. I see them as a novelty and don't have a problem with a person's preference for them whatever the reason. I think that keyboards are or should be laid out for the specific user based on their typing style, dexterity, specific application use, and any other personal preference they may have. I know it sounds crazy to most people but I want an enter key at least 2.5u on both sides of the keyboard as well as duplicate backspace keys. And don't get me started on escape. I use it a lot and I would like to see it bigger and not so far away.

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Mal-2

18 Jun 2015, 05:53

rsbseb wrote: I know it sounds crazy to most people but I want an enter key at least 2.5u on both sides of the keyboard as well as duplicate backspace keys. And don't get me started on escape. I use it a lot and I would like to see it bigger and not so far away.
Your duplicate Backspace is at least a solved problem — reassign CapsLock to be your second Backspace, as the Colemak layout does, and assign the CapsLock function to some other key or combination of keys. Personally I've got my number and cursor pads to the left of the alphas, and I just included a Backspace among those, easily reachable by the left hand in either the normal or numeric situations. I also included a third Ctrl key to the left of the left arrow, to facilitate one-handed document navigation. Of necessity this is a duplicate of one of the two existing Ctrl keys, but that just means I can't use it as yet another modifier in combinations (not that I would want to, it's too far away from the alphas). I also have an Enter to the right of my left-handed number pad, easily reachable from the alpha area just like the Backspace is.

Escape I make more accessible by making it taller. It stands about 4 mm above all the other keys and can be located quite easily by feel. This is essential because it's not in the corner of anything. To do this I took a key and cut the stem out of it, leaving only the relegendable square top. Then I took a damaged key and trimmed it down enough to be inserted cleanly into the square top, and glued them together. Voilà, a taller key.

For keyboards that have all the F keys in a continuous line without gutters, having F5-F8 stand taller than F1-F4 and F9-F12 would also be a pretty simple way to make them easier to discern without changing the layout. Perhaps they can be the same as Escape.
Attachments
battleship.jpg
battleship.jpg (294.87 KiB) Viewed 1173 times

jpatters

21 Jun 2015, 11:24

Without stepped keys, there is exactly one reasonable configuration where the bottom row mods are all the same size and the space bar is centered:
1POINT5UMODS.png
1POINT5UMODS.png (18.29 KiB) Viewed 1112 times
Many keyboards have different sized modifier keys or the space bar is off-center slightly, or both; which is fine I guess, but we can do better:
1POINT25UMODS_HAT.png
1POINT25UMODS_HAT.png (27.01 KiB) Viewed 1112 times
This arrangement also visually separates the modifier keys from the normal keys not only by size, but spacing, which I think is an underused design element. Of course you could just use 1.25U modifiers spaced out like that, but then the top of the case would have to have little prongs to fill the space and it would be ugly.

Here is a variation:
1POINT5UMODS_HAT.png
1POINT5UMODS_HAT.png (27.17 KiB) Viewed 1112 times
Having stepped and hat keys in the design palette gives you options when you are working on weird layouts, for example with the arrow keys integrated into the right hand side of a 60% board, how do you visually separate the arrow keys from the right hand modifiers? Here's one way:
WITH_ARROWS.png
WITH_ARROWS.png (28.84 KiB) Viewed 1112 times
Mind you, these are very narrow hats we're talking about here, the "brim" is only 0.125U on each of these.

Findecanor

21 Jun 2015, 13:10

Having the space bar in the middle does not work properly. The Sholes' typewriter staggering is not symmetric for both hands, and people don't press the space bar in the middle unless they learned to type on Japanese keyboards: they press it either with the left or the right thumb - on the left or the right side, I.e. below C,V or below N,M.
Attachments
bottomrows.jpg
bottomrows.jpg (33.13 KiB) Viewed 1096 times

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Muirium
µ

21 Jun 2015, 13:26

Aye. I can vouch for this. My spacebar shine says NM = right thumber. And in fact I'd rather put backspace on the left side of a split spacebar than out on a pinkie.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

21 Jun 2015, 14:39

rsbseb wrote: And don't get me started on escape. I use it a lot and I would like to see it bigger and not so far away.
I sometimes switch `~ and Esc. On 60% boards I keep Esc in the upper left where it belongs.

KRKS

21 Jun 2015, 23:06

Findecanor wrote: and people don't press the space bar in the middle unless they learned to type on Japanese keyboards: they press it either with the left or the right thumb - on the left or the right side, I.e. below C,V or below N,M.
I've never touched a JIS keyboard in my life(and even though I'm fine with a shorter spacebar I hope to not have to because 1u backspace and tall enter would make me fuming mad) and I press space under B and a bit of N. I just never curl up my right thumb. Playing on ESDF since forever miay have something to do with that.

As for the profile itself, I'm not into contoured sets, but maybe if you offered an all-R4 I might be interested.

jacobolus

22 Jun 2015, 00:21

jpatters wrote: Without stepped keys, there is exactly one reasonable configuration where the bottom row mods are all the same size and the space bar is centered:
Image
This is such a silly nonsensical constraint to apply to designs. Here, have some better symmetry and more usable modifier positions:
Image
(Though the right shift is still a key too far away. Better would be to add a column between hands, and move the slash key elsewhere on the keyboard.)

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SL89

22 Jun 2015, 01:25

I'd like a split spacebar. I'd keep the right one 'Space' and the left one 'BackSpace.'

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Mal-2

22 Jun 2015, 01:36

KRKS wrote: I've never touched a JIS keyboard in my life(and even though I'm fine with a shorter spacebar I hope to not have to because 1u backspace and tall enter would make me fuming mad) and I press space under B and a bit of N. I just never curl up my right thumb. Playing on ESDF since forever miay have something to do with that.
My thumbs meet in the middle, and I use both just to either side of center. I like making the spacebars (split) run front to back like rabbit teeth. It allows me to turn my hands inward something like an ergo keyboard, but better because it effectively lengthens my pinky reach. The downside is that it effectively adds a row.

jpatters

22 Jun 2015, 13:21

I am sympathetic to the idea of splitting the space bar, but not to adding another row below it. Especially when we are talking about a sculpted profile, I just don't think that would be nice. I tend to hit the space bar between B and (qwerty) N, and having another key right below it would get in the way, even if it was lower then the others. I would rather solve the problem of ctrl being way out in no-finger-land by having four modes to the left, five to the right, and thus putting ctrl closer to the center and having the left-most and right-most mod be something like hyper or funct.

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Mal-2

23 Jun 2015, 01:43

jpatters wrote: I would rather solve the problem of ctrl being way out in no-finger-land by having four modes to the left, five to the right, and thus putting ctrl closer to the center and having the left-most and right-most mod be something like hyper or funct.
This is why I pull Ctrl in to be next to Alt, with the Win or Menu key outside that (I see no reason for two Win keys). Between this relocation and the fact that the space area is only 2U wide, Ctrl is accessible to either a thumb tuck or a curled middle finger. Alt and AltGr are almost always best done with the thumb.

My basic layout doesn't have a row below the mods. The only keys extending down into that area are the spacebars. My personal, extended layout does have keys in not only that row, but two rows below it as well. My wrist pad has to be high enough to keep my palms clear of all those extra keys. It doesn't hurt that I don't actually use Ctrl all that much, because of the twenty-nine one-touch Control-enabled keys.

Findecanor

23 Jun 2015, 03:38

jacobolus wrote: This is such a silly nonsensical constraint to apply to designs. Here, have some better symmetry and more usable modifier positions:
Image
It is not that much of an improvement, to be honest.. Win keys are an abomination and the Sholes and Glidden typewriter layout was never symmetric to begin with.
Merge the left Alt and Win keys, lengthen the right space bar to the right and then merge the right Alt and Win keys into one Alt key - that way, the keys fall into their conventional places.
Having 1u Control keys in regular concave profile in front of the space bar would be uncomfortable. The µTron has its thumbkeys sloping diagonally and also being farther away - actually emulating the fan arrangement of earlier Tron keyboards while forcing them into a row layout.
If there should be keys in front of a Space Bar and not sloping diagonally, they should be like on the NeXT and UHK keyboards: flat or convex and lower profile.

jpatters

23 Jun 2015, 08:25

11U wide and centered:
COLEMAK MINIMIZED.png
COLEMAK MINIMIZED.png (35.72 KiB) Viewed 917 times

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SL89

23 Jun 2015, 14:09

So after using full SA sculpt (after months of SA R2 R2 R3 R3 R3 R3) I realize even SA is not enough, although It does feel noticeably more comfortable. Idk if its a height thing yet, or a smaller landing zone thing yet. But just something I figured I'd put out there.

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Muirium
µ

23 Jun 2015, 14:12

Smaller landing zone?

jacobolus

24 Jun 2015, 03:35

Findecanor wrote:
jacobolus wrote: This is such a silly nonsensical constraint to apply to designs. Here, have some better symmetry and more usable modifier positions:
Image
It is not that much of an improvement, to be honest.. Win keys are an abomination and the Sholes and Glidden typewriter layout was never symmetric to begin with.
Okay fine... better would be something with two split hands, more space between finger and thumb keys, and not arranged in a rectangular grid-like pattern.

But while we’re leaving those as constraints, this works pretty well, in my tests on little prototypes.

Also, if you like, ignore the key labels. Use those “win” keys for some kind of function layers, move shift to be directly to the sides of the pinkies and put a few symbol keys to be where the shifts currently are, etc.

Making the bottom row symmetric relative to the “home row” and concentrating it toward the center of the keyboard is a very significant improvement over the brain-dead bottom row on a standard keyboard.

I’ve posted this in other threads before, but this layout actually works surprisingly well considering how close it is to the standard layout. It includes all but the three useless top right keys from a standard TKL keyboard and it can be learned effectively in a matter of hours/days:
Image
Additionally, it’s better centered and noticeably more compact, bringing the mouse in closer.

For me personally, a more radical keyboard is better, but I suspect the majority of people would be able to use this design more effectively than the standard layout and with very little transition period.
Having 1u Control keys in regular concave profile in front of the space bar would be uncomfortable.
Who said anything about concave? I’d make them flat or convex, and enough lower than the spacebar keycap top that the spacebar can be fully depressed with a thumb without bumping into them. With that said, with concave shape these still work fine in practice.

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SL89

24 Jun 2015, 04:30

@Mu like how the top of the key is narrower then the bottom of the key on SA. The 'cup' where your finger contacts the key on SA, or the 'face' on DCS and the like.

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Muirium
µ

24 Jun 2015, 17:38

All caps are like that. Jacobulus's picture above is a good example. The bright areas look like the top surface on DCS to me. Quite a lot smaller than the full width of the cap at its base.

SA is pretty big on top. I'm typing on them just now, and there's no less surface area up top than on buckling spring. In fact, walking over to a Model F, SA feels more roomy on top. Even the higher rows.

A cap family with a noticeably smaller top is Beamspring. I love those. But you do notice where your fingers are, in a way that more forgiving, later designs allow you to ignore.

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SL89

24 Jun 2015, 18:19

I know thats what I'm saying lol. I'd like to try beamspring, because how you describe it sounds like what I'm looking for.

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rsbseb
-Horned Rabbit-

27 Jun 2015, 13:14

The face on the SCM 1u keys is just under 13mm wide and tall which is bigger than the beam spring. The Beam spring 1u caps are about 11.75mm wide. I'm not sure how it compares to SA.

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SL89

27 Jun 2015, 14:31

I don't have calipers, but from the renderings and then down at this board they do indeed look more narrow.

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vinnycordeiro

27 Jul 2015, 03:33

Any news about the keycaps? Just saw this video on YouTube and remembered about this project.

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