I've been thinking about a similar project to my ongoing one, that is much simpler (I need a split Topre keyboard in my life). I'm interested in it being more community oriented, with design decisions being influenced by anyone who may want one of these keyboards. My other project is very uncompromising, but that means it'll take time (and money).
Specifically I'm looking at making a flat split Topre keyboard. I have a few options now but need to narrow down to a final goal. There's four styles I see being possible, each with positives and negatives:
|Style||Supported donors||Keycap requirement||Dome cutting|
|ErgoDox||Topre + full set MX Sliders||ErgoDox sets||Cut many horizontal strips for columns|
|Split Planck||Topre||Donor||Cut some horizontal strips for rows|
|Symmetric Stagger||Topre + few MX sliders?||Donor + few extras||Cut horizontal strips for rows|
|Split ANSI||ANSI Topre*||Donor + split spacebar keys*||Cut once through middle + extra domes for spacebar|
Any of these should also work with clone boards, provided they adhere to the rules.
The PCB should be quite simple to design - I will be going with a Teensy 3.1/3.2 on each side. Expensive, but it promotes easy firmware development and no special tooling required. Anyone have any recommendations for low cost PCB houses? I'm not sure I'll be able to get the board down to 2 layers - the controller on my other project is 4 layers. My previous suppliers don't do 4 layer boards in these larger sizes. Probably will have to do some design to figure it out! I'd like to use through hole stuff like the ErgoDox PCBs do. Don't think I'd be able to make it reversible like that though.
All would be plate mounted on 1mm thick laser cut steel / stainless steel. Not decided the finish, that will come later.
Please don't hesitate to post your thoughts!