Split ergonomic keyboard project


07 Jul 2012, 16:03

You are talking about a new version with trackpoint. Is the version you are talking about the beta/final version or will this be the next split keyboard you'll do AFTER ergodox?

I'm almost definitively in, unless price is really really too much. But I wonder, is the way you are planning to do the housing (multiple layers) really the best way to go? :o. I have no idea myself, it's just something you rarely see in the products you find on the market, so I was a bit surprised. Also, wouldn't make this building method the ergodox harder to mod/hack?

Also, will it be possible to use different material/colors for each layer ? :D.

User avatar

07 Jul 2012, 18:09

As far as I know, Dox is using a normal shapeways plastic housing, at least for the prototypes.

The proposed housing isn't so "new". Designs incorporating steel laminations are relatively common. Look at all the transformers. Applying it to a case design would be relatively easy.

Painting the plates before assembly should be possible, but I imagine using a "thin" paint would work out better. If they are aluminium, anodyzing is probably the best option.

Doing the case in this laminated way has the bonus of being able to get the mounting plate and case made by the same people (for a volume discount, we hope) and has the added advantage of more inexpensive water-cut metal. Personally, I'm not certain that the screws will be able to thread onto something that narrow, but I have no qualms just bolting it together (all the way through)

If we are going with water cut, we can consider combining identical plates into a thicker piece. Many water cutters are beefy enough to go through.

User avatar

07 Jul 2012, 22:20

Was the prototype up and running before GH went down?

User avatar

08 Jul 2012, 06:53

I believe so, yes. Once Dox reversed the scan in the firmware (to account for backwards diodes), I am pretty sure he made a post using his ergoDOX and tab keys.

Does anyone know Shapeways' turn around time?


08 Jul 2012, 07:54

I should get the case prototype from shapeways monday. I've been typing on the prototype pcbs for the past few weeks at home and work and I would never return to a regular keyboard.


08 Jul 2012, 09:41

That sounds awesome !

I'm more and more excited for this project, as time goes by.

User avatar

08 Jul 2012, 13:38

I'm still defo in for one. It's a great project.


09 Jul 2012, 17:51

Dorkvader, please add me to the list of people who'd like an *assembled keyboard*. Doing this myself would be a recipe for disaster, frustration and verbal aggression toward innocent bystanders...

Need to figure out my key preference before then.
Either Reds or Browns, or one keyboard for each.


10 Jul 2012, 00:23

IMG_0399_1.jpg (252.17 KiB) Viewed 20195 times
IMG_0400_1.jpg (263.07 KiB) Viewed 20195 times
IMG_0401_1.jpg (270.26 KiB) Viewed 20195 times
IMG_0402_1.jpg (265.78 KiB) Viewed 20195 times
IMG_0405_1.jpg (269.54 KiB) Viewed 20195 times
IMG_0406_1.jpg (272.92 KiB) Viewed 20195 times
IMG_0407_1.jpg (275.87 KiB) Viewed 20195 times
IMG_0408_1.jpg (228.97 KiB) Viewed 20195 times

User avatar
Wild Duck

10 Jul 2012, 00:24

Oooh, that looks very nice!


10 Jul 2012, 00:55

Add my name to the "I want one list", please.


User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 05:18

Yeah, that shapeways case isn't half bad! I wonder if we can also do it in cermaic, though.

Of course the metal stack is the best option, but we need to find a place that can do it cheaply enough.

Looks excellent, DOX!

(List will be updated shortly)


10 Jul 2012, 05:58

Thanks guys!
Ceramic is possible, as well as gold plated stainless steel.
shapeways.PNG (309.29 KiB) Viewed 20157 times


10 Jul 2012, 08:15


Really like the glazed ceramic look.

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 09:29

hoggy wrote:ooh.

Really like the glazed ceramic look.
Yes. Yes. Yes... I can't believe how well the case has turned out.

I'm glad this thread has been carried on here, it would have been such a shame to lose this with GH.


10 Jul 2012, 10:26

Does that mean the mass-produced version will be out soon?

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 10:45

Dox very well done, how do those cases discount with scale? 50 orders, 100 orders, does the price decrease by much?

I worry that glased ceramic may be a little brittle. The Alumide but polished may be a good compromise.


10 Jul 2012, 10:47

dirge wrote:Dox very well done, how do those cases discount with scale? 50 orders, 100 orders, does the price decrease by much?

I worry that glased ceramic may be a little brittle. The Alumide but polished may be a good compromise.
I believe we won't use this service for the alu case, this is just to make the prototype.

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 12:19

Fair enough the price is pretty high. Just that Alumide/Polished looked pretty close to being a metal finish and wasn't too expensive. Would get these on desks sooner too ;)

But the prototype does confirm that his case design is spot on. Really is a stunning bit of work.

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 12:28

This prototype looks fantastic :P

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 12:40

I'd like to be added to the interested list please, this really is starting to look awesome.


10 Jul 2012, 12:56

This is indeed looking awesome! I thought about getting a kinesis advantage or wait for the ergodox, looks like I made the right decision in waiting!


10 Jul 2012, 17:46

dox, this is looking really nice!

Did you consider using one double sided board layout and simply flipping the board over for each side?
Depending on volume you could make a significant saving on the manufacturing costs of the boards that way.

I am not sure which CAD tool you are using but it should be pretty easy to load 2 different netlists in PCB (gEDA), perhaps not at the same time though :-P

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 19:00

Damn this might be already to late ... or even discussed before ... but why are there no holes on the sides of a switch like on the phantom project metal plates ? Would be a good feature for a switch change. Is there to less space for them? The switch separation distance looks pretty short.


10 Jul 2012, 19:05

I've been discussing making the PCB flippable with DOX only a little. I think it should be done, I don't know his stand point any more. I understand if he wants to stay with the design as it is now not to delay the project any further. I have also made a very rough KiCAD setup as a proof of concept. That would need some more work though.

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 19:27

So flipable PCB would that lower costs as it makes them all the same but also allow for people to use one board as a game controller for the left hand?

User avatar

10 Jul 2012, 19:27

Uhhm....I'll take one prototype please.


10 Jul 2012, 20:36

Making the PCB flippable is quite straight forward. It would require two jumpers to connect ground and +5v correctly, but that is all I think. Benefits from having a flippable PCB
  • Lower costs since all the PCBs are the same (price decrease settles at higher numbers so this would be most important in low numbers)
  • Easier sorting and handling
  • Each one could choose to have the USB cable coming out of the left or right part (not very important probably)
  • A single PCB could be used to make either a left or right hand only keyboard (with a non-flippable PCB only a right hand keyboard is possible).


10 Jul 2012, 20:59

Quickly thinking about it you might not even need that jumper. If you use the USB for power, any LEDs could just be installed backwards if needs be.

I completely understand the position of not wanting to change too much now. Perhaps for v2? The idea of PS2 is also intriguing.


10 Jul 2012, 21:18

Is the whole thing charlieplexed? Looks like the plug for the second board is just a headphone jack. Are you using 1 Wire and a 3 pin jack or i2c and a 4 pin jack?

I definitely want one!

Post Reply

Return to “Workshop”