Adding a F-row to the Whitefox

So I've been toying around with the idea of adding a function row to the whitefox (and a split spacebar), I'm in contact with vortex that would be very much interested and we are exploring various options. The firmware would be QMK and the case CNC machined aluminum.

I don't generally like 75% because they are wall of keycaps and if you can't touch type the function keys I'd rather not placing them at all. So, with that in mind the following are the initial ideas.

Suggestions? (don't look too much at the legends, it's just the layout)

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I quite like #2 because all the gaps (the touch type helpers) are all of the same size. But also #3 is peachy :)
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Unread post13 Nov 2018, 08:35

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I really like first two, the third one not so much because of the use of non-standard keycaps.
Menuhin proposed a nice layout a while ago: keyboards-f2/post-a-picture-of-your-ideal-keyboard-layout-t10821-270.html#p350397
It's kind of a combination of both your layouts, maybe it can serve as inspiration. I also added ideas to it a couple of posts down.
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Unread post13 Nov 2018, 11:57

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FaceU 60%

Too many switches, too little time (and money).
I’m a 60%er, so I’m biased, but for whatever it’s worth I’d go for symmetry, including in spacing. Matteo’s spaced function row is sound. But I do really like Nuum’s concept from the linked thread, if you chop off the left two columns!:

Image

That symmetry is appealing. Especially the split in the spacebar. My instinct is that a split spacebar really must be proportioned 50:50. (That’s actually my main complaint about Matt’s three examples.) Then there’s that Fn key in the middle of the spacebars. Another key in the split seems right, somehow. Though I can’t explain it.

How do people feel about a space to the left of the Left arrow key, to make it faster to find? Again, I’m a 60%er so it’s not intended for me. What about adding something similar on the bottom left of the layout, for complete symmetry? A step too far?
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Unread post13 Nov 2018, 12:09

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thanks for the suggestions, guys. I like Menuhin's overall idea... not so much the mixed size modifiers in the bottom row...

I don't find the 1u FN key in the middle of the two spacebars very appealing. but the top Function row is pretty sexy. I'll make another couple of iterations with your inputs
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matt3o wrote:Image

I wish manufacturers would pick one two-column nav-cluster layout and stick with it. I updated the wiki article on "Nav Cluster" the other day: Five two-column variants are listed (see both island and integrated), and I know there are more out there.

BTW. I suspect you intended to emulate the nav-key layout from the common 3×2 layout. It has the PgUp/PgDn keys on the right, and the Home/End keys on the left ;)
Putting Del close to Backspace is a good decision though IMHO.

Please do choose a layout for which replacement keycaps with the correct profile for the row could be sourced without too much difficulty!
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I agree with Fin about Del next to Backspace being spot on, and that Page Up / Down should be right of Home / End. They even are, tucked away on the function layer of my HHKB here! That’s deep muscle memory, best not monkeyed with.

But man, making a creatively pleasing layout with the added constraint of regular keyset row compatability? That’s a challenge!
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well at least I always offer all the variants in my keycap sets :)
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Demand makes supply makes demand…

I’m super out of touch with group buys, so this is an honest question: what sizes of *convex* spacebars are out there and worth support? I’ve got a 4u SA spacebar on my Access-IS (made for Tipros) and it’s super cute, but I know it’s just as obscure. Yet I see a 4u spacebar on every one of your three designs. Are they shaped like fullsize spacebars?

I assume those 2.25 and 2.75 unit spacebars are concave, being just Shift key blanks. But I’m out of date so…
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Muirium wrote:I assume those 2.25 and 2.75 unit spacebars are concave, being just Shift key blanks. But I’m out of date so…

no! those are actual spacebars. honestly nowadays you can find spacebars in every shape and dimension. The latest drop we made with massdrop had 7, 6.25, 6, 4, 2.75, 2.25, 2 and even 1.
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Unread post13 Nov 2018, 17:18

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What size are those spacebars? They don't look 2.25/2.75 in the render.
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Unread post13 Nov 2018, 18:01

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chuckdee wrote:What size are those spacebars? They don't look 2.25/2.75 in the render.

it's just me being lazy with the rendeds, but I don't have confirmation yet from vortex on the size we can use. So consider that a placeholder.
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Unread post13 Nov 2018, 18:08

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1u spacebars? Like 7bit does them: straightforward A-row blanks? Or the real, convex deal?

There’s a difference between a blank and a spacebar. Do you really have all those sizes in the latter? Impressive if so! Want to see some pics.
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Muirium wrote:1u spacebars? Like 7bit does them: straightforward A-row blanks? Or the real, convex deal?

There’s a difference between a blank and a spacebar. Do you really have all those sizes in the latter? Impressive if so! Want to see some pics.

yes, we have all those convex, proper spacebars.
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Ooooooh…

Really want to see some pretty pics now! Got a sample set of all available sizes?
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One more question- is this a kit or something that they would manufacture assembled?
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Muirium wrote:Ooooooh…

Really want to see some pretty pics now! Got a sample set of all available sizes?

I'll cook something for you. Many of the sizes are new and I'm still waiting for the prototypes... if massdrop stop using my old address to ship shit actually... I had a set of MT3 for you that just got lost today thanks to massdrop (true story, fedex 773675573384, destination is wrong it will never get delivered).
chuckdee wrote:One more question- is this a kit or something that they would manufacture assembled?

assembled, possibly with a couple of options (like no split bar and backspace instead of |\)
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Unread post13 Nov 2018, 18:26

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Ah, reassuring to know I’m still cursed!
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Don't hold back.

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okay so the spacers that we can use are 4.0, 3.25, 3.0, 2.75, 2.25. The idea would be to release a version with standard spacebar (6.25) and one with split. Vortex seems to be willing to use 3.25 and 3.0, but those are sizes that can't be sourced elsewhere, so I'm not really into it. The easiest to keep the same 6.25 size would be to go 2.25 + 4. 4u is still rare but you can still find it if you search hard enough.

What do you guys think?
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Unread post14 Nov 2018, 14:20

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Well, a 2.25 + 4 split isn't great. But as it's impossible to cleanly divide 6.25u by two—in quarter units—there's not an obviously winning way to do this.

Meanwhile, I just saw this on the ideal layouts thread. Must say the even 1.25u mods look right to me.
Gampela wrote:I've been thinking about something similar to the above. Also recently came up with this:

Image

You're after something 17 columns wide, not 16 though, right?
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@matt3o: If you don't like having a 1u key on the split of the spacebar, then you could do 2.25 - 1.5 - 2.25 for a 6u spacebar or 2.25 - 1.75 - 2.25 for a 6.25u spacebar, but as you posted Vortex doesn't seem to have the right keycap sizes for that. :?
Another benefit of 2.25 - 1.75 - 2.25 would be that the 1.75u key uses the same switch spot as a 6.25u spacebar.
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Unread post14 Nov 2018, 21:35

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yeah technically we could take 6u or 7u space for the spacebars. So we could do 2x3u, but 3u are more difficult to find than 4u. 3 "spacebars" is also an option but at this point we really have a lot of keys, I don't see much use for even more.

the layout Muirium posted is basically a whitefox + function row. I like it of course but I like the 17 columns idea. It makes the keyboard less squarish :)
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Unread post14 Nov 2018, 21:49

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Nuum wrote:Another benefit of 2.25 - 1.75 - 2.25 would be that the 1.75u key uses the same switch spot as a 6.25u spacebar.

Also, if you use 2.25 keys for the left and right space bars then the outermost stabiliser posts will also match those for the full-length space bar. This means that split and non-split could be optional with plate-mounted stabilisers. If the keyboard also has switch sockets then users would be able to change between configurations from the top without opening or soldering.

However, I have actually tried that config (without shifting the mods left or right) and I did not like it. I found that I kept hitting the right Space bar on its left edge with my thumb, or not at all: instead getting it in-between keys.
Eventually, I instead cut a long spacebar apart in the centre, glued in stems and used those as two 3.125u space bars ...
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indeed there's a reason why spacebars are asymmetrical in the original layout
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okay working on the case now.

Image

sides and top plate will be one piece (they like to call it "unibody"). The top plate should be 3mm with pockets to fit the switches.

The layout that you see is just a test (no split spacebar yet), we are working on the main shape. I'm also testing another design, a kind of wedged profile.

Will keep you posted!
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We may end up doing two 75%. One is the one presented above. Very simple, "unibody", costar stabs.

The other could be the following:

Image

It has an "universal" plate that supports a lot of layouts. The 5 little pieces on top are small aluminum "spacers" you can screw in if you use a layout that supports them. The following are all the layouts supported so far

Image

Unfortunately we have to use cherry pcb stabs for that keyboard to work.
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Why are the f1 keys offset from the number keys? What is the benefit?
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obfuscated wrote:Why are the f1 keys offset from the number keys? What is the benefit?

F-keys are grouped in 3 clusters via spacers to facilitate easier reaching.
F-key row, for most computer users who touch-type, is usual beyond the touch-type reach already.
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I really hate the wall-of-keys that most 75% have these days. Not being able to touch type the F-row is incredibly annoying (especially F5). I'm trying to design a 75% that I would like to use. But anyway I'm giving you the option to have a big chunk of keycaps if you so desire.
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What sets me off the most about the 65% and 75% boards is the concept of adding more keys on the RIGHT when even a 60% already has the homing keys off-center to the left. You just make the boards more asymmetrical by adding keys on the right.

If I had the opportunity to add F keys to a compact layout, I would favor adding them in two columns on the left of the keyboard - much like an IBM AT or XT. Balances the keyboard out nicely!

This will also save you from the awkward top-right corner you commonly get on 75% boards where no one knows what else to put there so you throw in some absolutely useless keys like „Pause“ or „Scroll Lock“ just because you have the right profile keycaps.

And yes, I am aware my favourite only gives you 10 keys. But don‘t act like you‘re not going to use an FN layer anyway so just make FN+F10 your F11 and so on.

Edit: had to edit the text a little after realizing this option has already been considered in the OP. Why are we talking about the F-row so much? There are dozens of designs out there with that layout or a similair one already. The Leeku 75% PCB supports the „clustered“ F-row but not many cases/plates support it.
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