The long journey of the WhiteFox
A 4 years long adventure in search of the perfect 65%
I understand that nobody cares about the back story of the WhiteFox so I've hidden all the unessential parts and you can go straight to the point. For the other two sadists who want to know more about the whole process of building a "commercial" grade keyboard, go ahead, do harm yourselves, read the spoilers. Note: the facts may not be exposed in exact chronological order.
How it all started
Following a two years discussion and months of active prototyping, I'm proud to finally show you the fruit of our efforts.
Please bear in mind that we are still in Beta-1 phase, I don't have a 100% final WhiteFox yet, but we are very close now and I'm comfortable at showing you some pictures.
Again, the keycaps are not final, the legends are still hand aligned so some shifting is to be expected. The final version will be perfectly aligned. Anyway the keycaps are completely optional, if you have --say-- Granite or Round 5 you are good to go.
The Group buy will include
- Anodized CNC'd aluminum case
- Anodized aluminum switch plate (6 layouts available, see below)
- White PCB with SMD components pre soldered. Comes with default firmware and can be easily updated with a web based visual tool
- Aluminum (+rubber) cone feet
- Screws (of course)
- Costar stabilizers
The above is the bare minimum, if you like you can add any of the following:
- Switches (I'll try to give as many choices as possible). The board is Cherry MX compatible only
- Keycaps, cherry replica dye-sublimated PBT
- Braided gold plated micro-usb white-blue cable
- LEDs (yes, the PCB is backlight ready)
In collaboration with I:C, the firmware is a Haata's creature. A PCB has been sent to Hasu too and a TMK version is now available!
SMD components come already soldered, just add switches and LEDs if you want. I'll try to make a full tutorial as soon as I get all the final components.
Customizing your layout is super easy thank to the online configurator. Cross platform, web based. Design your keyboard and download the compiled firmware, ready to be flashed.
High quality CNC aluminum case with a wonderful silver anodized texture. Feet are also made of aluminum.
The PCB supports a gazillion layouts, including ISO, but we couldn't offer a plate for each of them. Also I excluded a multi-layout plate because the switches are exposed and it would look like shit.
The following are the supported layouts:
#1 Vanilla is the easiest to the eye. It is relatively easy to source custom keycaps if you don't want the stock ones. The only weirdly shaped key is the 1.75 right shift. The 1u modifiers in the bottom row are pretty easy to find. As you can see, there's no gap on the arrow cluster, if you feel you don't need it, this layout is a safe bet.
#2 ISO Same as above, ISO version. Unfortunately we don't have an ISO with the gap in the arrow cluster.
#3 Aria Same as vanilla but with a gap in the arrow cluster. All modifiers are standard sized, you only need a 1.75 right shift. This is the layout I suggest if you don't want the all she-bangs (ie: #5 The True Fox)
#4 Winkeyless If you prefer 7u spacebar and 1.5u modifiers, this is the layout for you
#5 The True Fox This is the real deal. This is the WhiteFox as it is always meant to be. No compromises. Gap on the arrow cluster. 1.75 right shift. 1.5 backspace in lieu of the \| key. I know it might seem too much for some of you, but believe me, this is the result of years of experiments and you should really give it a chance. This is the layout I suggest to anybody.
#6 Jack of all trades This layout has all standard sized keycaps. It is compatible with basically any keycap set on the market.
Keycaps are PBT cherry replica. Thickness is just right. Not too thick (that creates problems with LEDs), not too thin. The texture is very nice and the legends are incredibly sharp.
Shut up and take my money!
The Group Buy will start (hopefully) before Christmas. I'll post more pictures as soon as I get the final revision. I can't yet give you a price tag BUT it will be less than you'd expect from a custom keyboard of this kind. The craftiest of you I bet can hazard an estimate. In the coming days I'll post more details, so stay tuned and subscribe to this topic.
As a side note, I'm fighting (and seems that I won the battle) for a limited edition WhiteFox, available in only one layout (#5 the true fox) with dark gold anodized case and black on dark-gray keycaps. That it is expected to be a pinch more expensive, but gosh if it will be sexy!
Once again, let me stress on the fact that none of this would have even been possible without the continued support of Andrew, Kunal and Wu from MassDrop.
Also a special thank to the guys from the Input Club, especially Jacob and Brandon who patiently agreed to all my nuts-breaking little requests.
And of course all those who participated to the "interest check" and followed the project since the beginning.
The keyboard is finally available for purchase on Massdrop