Small Spacebar Keyboard

User avatar
aaron

30 Dec 2013, 00:12

Hi!

I am looking for a 60% keyboard with a small spacebar (to place CTRL, ALT, WIN, ... on the thumbs). Just like the 7bit layout of the phantom but in 60% size as in poker/gh60. Is there such a keyboard or is there a keyboard which is moddable to remove the spacebarr and insert some additional switches?

And another question: I am the only one on earth who thinks the spacebar is ridiculous big?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

30 Dec 2013, 00:27

I can't answer your first question, but you're far from alone. I'm used to 5 unit Apple space bars, and want to try even smaller. My next custom keyboard will have one for sure.

Fortunately Japanese layout keyboards (JIS) have more mods and little space bars. Like the HHKB JP:
Image

The Filco Minila is up to the same thing:
Image
Nice to see one of the Japanese manufacturers bringing their small space bars over here!

User avatar
scottc

30 Dec 2013, 01:14

To answer your second question: I know the feeling! Have you ever used a Model F AT? Now _that_ is a ridiculously oversized spacebar! When I make my first custom keyboard sometime next year, I'm hoping to have a 4.5U spacebar because the normal size is far too big for my liking.

To answer your first question: I don't know any others apart from those that Mu mentioned above. Unless you want to join in and make your own? :D

User avatar
aaron

30 Dec 2013, 01:28

I am so damn close to make my own.
That would be my dream keyboard:
Attachments
2013-12-30-012437_824x288_scrot.png
2013-12-30-012437_824x288_scrot.png (19.06 KiB) Viewed 10281 times

TacticalCoder

30 Dec 2013, 01:43

aaron wrote:And another question: I am the only one on earth who thinks the spacebar is ridiculous big?
No, you're not the only one...

And thankfully most people in the "ergo keyboard" movement do also apparently happen to think that small spacebars are great and that the thumbs should be used to hit other modifiers too (and that, of course, they're easier to hit when the spacebar is both smaller and differently located than on regular keyboards). I'm talking about real ergonomic keyboards here, not plain staggered keyboards which have just been split in two and which end up being "split" but in no way ergonomic.

For "regular" staggered keyboards I guess we can consider ourselves lucky that the japanese layout exists :D

I'm nearly in the same boat as you: 60% here (HHKB Pro 2) since 18 months or so and I'm now seriously considering the japanese version...

Regarding your dream physical layout: please make left and right CTRL send different keycodes so people can configure them as they want (same for the two ALTs) :lol:
Last edited by TacticalCoder on 30 Dec 2013, 01:47, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
scottc

30 Dec 2013, 01:46

aaron wrote:I am so damn close to make my own.
That would be my dream keyboard:
That is a very, very small spacebar indeed! Is your alt-gr the same size as it? :D I meant more like 4 or 5U. Have you seen matt3o's custom keyboard projects Steely and Brownfox? They could provide some good inspiration to try to make your own. I've also got a thread here where I'm trying to devise a compact layout (though, not quite as little as your layout!)

User avatar
Dubsgalore

30 Dec 2013, 01:54

I've thought about considering a smaller size spacebar for long term use...I only use my right thumb in one specific spot for the spacebar. If you are using a 6.25x spacebar, it's right about where the N is on a standard ISO/ANSI board. I've thought, if i only use that small space on the spacebar, why not get a custom layout with smaller caps on either side of that one small position.

I think i just feel comfortable with a full spacebar there, even though i'm not going to be using it. If i had win keys and other caps there that i could use, knowing me it would take forever to adjust my typing style to where it would be effective to use that layout.

Also the look of a lot of caps on the bottom row doesn't intrigue me. :?

User avatar
aaron

01 Jan 2014, 22:23

Thanks a log for your suggestions and links! Matt3o's "build your own keyboard" posts are extremely useful!
I've modified the layout a little to meet my own requirements (modified NEO2 layout, I just post the first layer)..

Space and RControl are the same size (to swap the space key) to match better with the thumb resting position. LAlt, LControl, RAlt and WinManager can be pressed with the thumbs too, which is a bit more ergonomic. AltGr, the Fn key and the left Mod2 Key are rarely used so it is placed at the corners. I which I can make the ESC key a little bit bigger (or more accessible) for vim-users. What do you think?
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User avatar
Muirium
µ

01 Jan 2014, 22:34

Cool. Looks doable to me. You'll need to find the right caps, but with a bit of creativity…

Here's another vital link for keyboard builders: Soarer's Controller. This firmware is magic!

My custom runs it, and here is the heart of its layout config file:

Code: Select all

# Muirium's Shiny 60%

matrix
   scanrate 1
   debounce 5
   blocking 0

   sense         PF7         PB6      PB5      PB4         PD7         PD4      PD5         PC7         PC6         PD3      PD2         PD1         PD0         PB7         PB3            PB2
   strobe   PF0      esc         1      2      3         4         5      6         7         8         9      0         minus      equal      back_quote   system_power   UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF1      tab         q      w      e         r         t      y         u         i         o      p         left_brace   right_brace   UNASSIGNED   backspace      UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF4      caps_lock   a      s      d         f         g      h         j         k         l      semicolon   quote      UNASSIGNED   enter      UNASSIGNED      UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF5      lshift      z      x      c         v         b      n         m         comma      period   slash      UNASSIGNED   rshift      UNASSIGNED   FN1            UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF6      lctrl      lalt   lgui   UNASSIGNED   UNASSIGNED   space   UNASSIGNED   UNASSIGNED   UNASSIGNED   rgui   ralt      UNASSIGNED   rctrl      UNASSIGNED   pad_enter      UNASSIGNED
end
Equals:
Image
Equals:
Image
So simple even I can do it!

User avatar
adhoc

02 Jan 2014, 00:35

^- are those spherical caps? Man, I absolutely love the font and caps and the looks. What is that keyboard, something custom made?

User avatar
scottc

02 Jan 2014, 00:45

adhoc wrote:^- are those spherical caps? Man, I absolutely love the font and caps and the looks. What is that keyboard, something custom made?
Round 4 Space Cadet caps... I really, really wish I had been around when they were going, because I think that Space Cadet caps are the some of the most amazing that I've seen! If you want in on some similar caps, you might be able to get in on the order with 7bit before it's too late: http://deskthority.net/marketplace-f11/ ... =round%205

User avatar
Muirium
µ

02 Jan 2014, 00:59

Yes, Round 4 caps on my home made stainless steel keyboard.

Round 5 is wrapping up soon, I'd get on it if I were you. Matt3o's doing another group build this year, too.

User avatar
adhoc

02 Jan 2014, 01:39

Yeah I know, I watched the thread, but I'm on a HHKB currently and would prefer to keep it blank. If it were possible to order blanks I'd be all over this, because I'm seriously loving the sphericals. Also, I think it isn't possible to order a space bar :/ Is that PBT or ABS?

User avatar
Spearman

02 Jan 2014, 01:43

Looks nice Murium.

A layout I would like to try with a 3.5 unit spacebar.

I tried to make modifiers symmetric and take advantage of the bottom row.

http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/# ... 9d4d8d0914

Not sure about the order or spacing on the bottom

Edit: Correct version now

Edit 2: replaced delete with FnLk, uploaded function layer layout. Managed to keep at least one set of modifiers unchanged along the bottom while fitting all the missing 104 keys plus the most widely used media keys. I would have liked to put the arrow keys in vim position (HJKL) but being able to access the numpad with the right hand is the tradeoff there.
Attachments
symmetric_60_3.png
symmetric_60_3.png (92.1 KiB) Viewed 10095 times
Last edited by Spearman on 02 Jan 2014, 07:25, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
matt3o
-[°_°]-

02 Jan 2014, 09:21

I believe it's time for a "build your own firmware" thread.

User avatar
Spearman

02 Jan 2014, 10:01

Just about perfect

(Not sure if it's possible to build because of the 3.5-unit spacebar)
Attachments
67-us-international-trackpoint_700.png
67-us-international-trackpoint_700.png (75.5 KiB) Viewed 10077 times

User avatar
ماء

02 Jan 2014, 10:39

Muirium wrote:Cool. Looks doable to me. You'll need to find the right caps, but with a bit of creativity…

Here's another vital link for keyboard builders: Soarer's Controller. This firmware is magic!
Spoiler:
My custom runs it, and here is the heart of its layout config file:

Code: Select all

# Muirium's Shiny 60%

matrix
   scanrate 1
   debounce 5
   blocking 0

   sense         PF7         PB6      PB5      PB4         PD7         PD4      PD5         PC7         PC6         PD3      PD2         PD1         PD0         PB7         PB3            PB2
   strobe   PF0      esc         1      2      3         4         5      6         7         8         9      0         minus      equal      back_quote   system_power   UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF1      tab         q      w      e         r         t      y         u         i         o      p         left_brace   right_brace   UNASSIGNED   backspace      UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF4      caps_lock   a      s      d         f         g      h         j         k         l      semicolon   quote      UNASSIGNED   enter      UNASSIGNED      UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF5      lshift      z      x      c         v         b      n         m         comma      period   slash      UNASSIGNED   rshift      UNASSIGNED   FN1            UNASSIGNED
   strobe   PF6      lctrl      lalt   lgui   UNASSIGNED   UNASSIGNED   space   UNASSIGNED   UNASSIGNED   UNASSIGNED   rgui   ralt      UNASSIGNED   rctrl      UNASSIGNED   pad_enter      UNASSIGNED
end
Equals:
Image
Equals:
Image
So simple even I can do it!
Nice,weird left shift :?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

02 Jan 2014, 11:34

HHKB style right shift!
Image
I found that going for a Poker-style bottom row, with all 1.25 unit mods, gave me a hidden inverted T right down in that corner, so I didn't need to cram in my own cursor keys.
matt3o wrote:I believe it's time for a "build your own firmware" thread.
Perhaps. I know you like to build from source — and the idea appeals to me because I could try my own extended features like layer locks / selectors, and double tap keys — but it's a leap in the dark without a good guide.
Spearman wrote:Just about perfect

(Not sure if it's possible to build because of the 3.5-unit spacebar)
It's nice and symmetric, but 3.5 unit space bars aren't something I know how to source. 3 unit: can do. Even 1.5 unit! In fact, I'd better order one of those 3 unit ones myself now I come to think of it…

User avatar
ماء

02 Jan 2014, 11:40

Muirium wrote:HHKB style right shift!
Image
I found that going for a Poker-style bottom row, with all 1.25 unit mods, gave me a hidden inverted T right down in that corner, so I didn't need to cram in my own cursor keys.
No,sorry,i mean left shift :lol:the size not normal i see :?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

02 Jan 2014, 11:42

Well spotted. Soon to be fixed, along with Return:
Image
Signature Plastics didn't have the right molds to make all those keys in SA profile during Round 4. But they do now! So I'm getting the whole pack, so I can have a row 2 Tab and HHKB Backspace, too.

User avatar
bhtooefr

02 Jan 2014, 12:21

You know, an idea I had with the TrackPoint buttons... have a row BELOW the main row. ThinkPad keyboards actually do this (partially anyway) for arrow keys, and I know it'd be weird, but might get some more modifiers or something down there.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

02 Jan 2014, 12:36

The HHKB has thought of everything!
Image
Well, not a "real" HHKB, just the Lite model (which is rubber dome I think). But cursor keys like that aren't something you see on desktop keyboards every day. Note they're about 2/3 height, instead of 1/2 height like Apple's dinky arrow keys:
Image
Full height keys are really all you can do in a custom anyway, perhaps they're worth a look.

User avatar
bhtooefr

02 Jan 2014, 12:39

Keep in mind that you can get away with 17 mm pitch on Topre, and 16.75 mm (based on the clearances on the 2-piece 18 mm pitch caps that Alps sold) pitch on Alps...

User avatar
Spearman

02 Jan 2014, 22:00

Is it possible to do custom Topre builds? I haven't really seen any keycaps for sale, and then I imagine you'd have to manufacture a PCB or something, plus the rubber dome part... Much harder than Cherry MX, no?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

02 Jan 2014, 22:10

Yep. Topre and buckling spring are both out of reach, for now. Their switches are not discrete. So we are stuck with Cherry MX and, back in the distance, Alps.

User avatar
matt3o
-[°_°]-

03 Jan 2014, 00:11

Spearman wrote:Is it possible to do custom Topre builds? I haven't really seen any keycaps for sale, and then I imagine you'd have to manufacture a PCB or something, plus the rubber dome part... Much harder than Cherry MX, no?
that would be a hell of a job. there's a lot of hardware involved and "switches" can be only donated from other (very expensive) topre keyboards. so it would be very unpractical.

User avatar
ماء

03 Jan 2014, 13:37

Ansi Version with HHKb Style 8-)
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User avatar
Muirium
µ

03 Jan 2014, 13:48

I like the Round 5 style colours. Swapping Shift and Control would drive me nuts (as would HJLK instead HJKL!) but that space your symmetric stagger has cleared between GH and BN would be good for a pointing device.

User avatar
ماء

03 Jan 2014, 15:30

Muirium wrote:I like the Round 5 style colours. Swapping Shift and Control would drive me nuts (as would HJLK instead HJKL!) but that space your symmetric stagger has cleared between GH and BN would be good for a pointing device.
Yes,Swap Shift>Control for programmer
:lol: Sorry,actually HJKL,I think the trackpoint would interfere,when press G/H :x
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8-)
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:P
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Like qHack

User avatar
Spearman

05 Jan 2014, 11:49

A more-sane layout: 4-unit space, added a 'numpad' layer and used extra space to add more media keys

Nice thing about this is all the navigation keys are on the Fn home row

Since all the keys should be available in theory maybe i'll try and build one someday :)
Attachments
65-us-international-trackpoint-numlayer3_700.png
65-us-international-trackpoint-numlayer3_700.png (70.91 KiB) Viewed 9800 times
Last edited by Spearman on 05 Jan 2014, 12:50, edited 1 time in total.

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