Wow, I think I got another infection. First it started, when I remembered the mechanical boards we used in the 80s. I got myself a pretty MX Clear Cherry G80.
And wow, I was happy like a child. There remained a problem, though. Since the 90s and my first ThinkPads I was also infected with the trackpoint virus. I had to get a trackpoint into a mechanical board. The first shot, was a Conversion of an IBM Space Saver II keyboard, we ended using it only as a case for a Cherry MX-Board and the trackpoint from another USB SpaceSaver(I have a lot of them here, mostly with stuck keys). This was a rock solid proof of concept. And works great. Givven that I found hasu's tmk firmware and the opportunities it gave to me, I had to give it another try. This time with my friend Sami, who helped me with all the mechanical part and it got complicated, we had to learn a lot... At the end we built my Cherry MX-Blue Woodbeast. It is since then my daily driver, when coding or constructing. We used the height adjustable Trackpoint prolongation in this board as well, so the trackpoint can be adjusted to match keycaps.
The last infection on this way, was caused by my old M0115 Apple Keyboard, I use it on my old Macs. And with hasu's converter I started to use it on my server machine as well. And man, I still love those orange Alps babes. I had another almost unused Apple Standard keyboards with orange alps. I harvested them and the idea kept burning through my brain.
2 Month ago we talked about the idea and some coding collegues said they plan to build a custom board themselves. So we started to design a little case. One of us produced a prototype of the case in MDF. After some days of work on the plate we got it into the small case and where able to make it work. I am writing this on the first prototype. It yet doesn't have trackpoint buttons, but presstoselect works perfectly and the other buttons are integrated in the keymap for now. We will build a little module to integrate physical buttons soon. The final cases will be build from wood or aluminium. Every one of use wants it a little different, so we will make also a cherry plate, which matches the case. My boards layout is perfect for me, as a vi user I need the escape key and I miss function keys when I work on the mainframe, so I will add them too. I don't miss the cursor keys as I can use VI bindings now everywhere!;-)))
The other Boards will become a layout similar to the Keycool84 or Matt3o's White Fox. So they also have to get a bit wider than the actual prototype. A pcb is planned, but untill today I have no clue of how to design one,any hints for good starting points?
There are some problems remaining, but this first test went really well, so I am planing to start the next prototype next week.
I will also build a cover for it. One Idea ist to build the body from aluminum and the covers from walnut wood. And a colorful vinyl version.
Questions so far:
1) I use Space as FN key and it works great, but the time is to short. Sometimes it misses my Space press, because I pressed a little bit slower. Where can I adjust this timespan in TMK Firmware?
2) I have some very small TTC Switches(almost the same dimensions as Omron D2LS) from an old Razr Mouse. The only matching pieces I find are Omron D2LS, but they seem to have some special kind of snapin mount. I'd prefer PCB mountable ones, but can't find them anywhere, any tipps here?
3) can anybody help me getting started with pcb design? I wouldn't like to glue the switches and a pcb seems to be the only solution to allow my friends to build there own boards. Is it possible to create one PCB to rule them all(Cherry/Alps,ISO/ansi)?
4) I think about using the trackpoint buttons from the matrix. But to make it really working I'd have to put the trackpoints button connectors to on. I should be able to connect them with a teensy output and put that one to high. Would that do the job? Otherwise selecting and middle button scroll don't work.
I currently test to clip the switches in, see the foto. It seems to work pretty well, but I am not sure, if it's worth the lot of work. But it doesn't hurt the switches!-)
I would have givven you a sound sample, but DT does not seem to allow mp3 files!-(
So far I'm pretty happy with it, even without trackpoint buttons!;-)
Here are some pix: