Armor V2 and Woodland Raven I was never too interested in Hotkeys but I was aware of their presence. Unlike other artisans they are made to order, meaning there are more keycaps to go around. This is one of the things that makes them stand out. If you want one and participate in the sale you will be able to get one. This means there are a lot more out there and a lot more opportunities to get something nice to add to your keyboard. The motivation behind this is exactly the aforementioned reason.

These are my first Hotkeys and they were given to me by Martin. So thanks very much Martin. What I received was a Woodland Raven and a Silver Armor V2.

I will preface this with saying I was never really sure about HKP. But what I received was very pleasing.

woodland raven packaging

The Woodland received the special treatment in the packaging department. I am not sure if this is standard with all HKP stuff. But I always like when I get artisans in their own little bags. The Raven is the design I am more familiar with and it is really the design that makes me think of HKP. In the bag the Raven came with the visor detached. As an unboxing experience goes this really makes you look at the cap and I instantly began to appreciate it. It is actually a very nice looking keycap.


Woodland raven One thing that is very cool about the raven design is the fact it is in some sense modular. Not really for the consumer as I belive there may be some glue used to hold everything together. But you can see that there are different parts that make up the cap. Not only the visor (which is the most obvious) the eyes and the mounth piece are all separate parts.

underside of raven The visor is the first part that I was really drawn to when I first got it. It is incredibly effective at doing what it does. I was not sure whether a moving part would really work, and if it would look silly. But this perfectly works and just seems incredibly in keeping with the design. It is held in fine and fits into place without issue. If you really wanted to, you could change these between any other ravens you may have. This is certainly something that set’s these keycaps apart. Since it does include a moving part, it is a little more fragile than some others. It could be easy to knock it off if it is on a high use position on your board. So far I have not had any issues with this.

The Armor V2 is also modular in design as I believe the chest piece could be swapped out for different transparent colours. Again, I don’t think this is something you should do as you may damage the cap.


woodland raven with visor down artisan If you have ever seen any photos of HKP stuff before you will have certainly seen the quality of the sculpt. The Raven is nicely detailed. In fact this is true of both the caps I received. The main body of the raven, the breathing apparatus and the visor all work really well together. I’m not entirely sure if this is based on an existing design but it works perfectly by itself.
The visor does give the Raven a little extra height when compared to the Armor. This is noticeable if you have it in a high use position on your keyboard.

Armor v2 artisan keycap The Armor V2 is greatly detailed. It has very sharp clean lines all over which is necessary for a design like this. It does not go too far with creating this hyper detailed armour which is possible with a design that is not really bound by a source. There is clear progression in this design in comparison to the previous iteration. I don’t think it is impossible to say that some inspiration may have been taken from the iron man armour. But it is a unique looking keycap however you look at it. The Armor is impressively detailed but I really like the raven design over this. This is possibly because I like the idea of faces, heads or busts as keycaps.

Both of these have very nice clear stamps of the ‘H’ logo on the underside.

armor underside showing logo

Colour of the Keycaps

This is another feature of HKP. They come in a lot of colours. The Woodland Raven is obviously Woodland themed with browns and green. There are some very nice colour schemes available for these keycaps. I like that they come in such a variety, as it continues the theme of trying to get them to as many people as possible.

The chosen colours always seem to be to someone’s taste and I really like the Woodland Raven’s colour. The Armor has just a silver surface that is really enhanced when used with a backlit keyboard. This is true with all the Armors colours. But I think the darker colours work a little nicer for the Armor.

This is a good thing about Hot Keys. There are many colours available and more to come. This just makes it easier to get a keycap you really like.

Where to get Hot Keys Project Artisans.

Getting these keycaps can be a lot easier than many others. Martin often runs monthly-ish sales and keycaps are made to order so no raffle, and you are guaranteed a keycap.
The November sale is next and I think it features some great colours.

november Gray wolf gasmask v2

I really like both of my HKP keycaps. These are some lovely keycaps and I am very happy to own them. I have been thinking about the keycaps as keycaps, and them as objects and the artistic value they hold. Although I have a lot of artisans, they are not often on my keyboard. I like how they look and what they represent. The fact that they are keycaps often doesn’t matter, as that is just the context of these small sculptures and creations. I like them as the canvas that creates possibilities. At the same time I appreciate this as a limiting factor and like how keycaps are designed by the confines of what they are, and in the end they have a very simple function, and they all do the same thing. Many caps like clacks and bros create high resale prices and I don’t think that is wrong, but I like the keycaps I have for various reasons. The prices are an inevitability of objects like this.

Typed on The Planck

When I was hand wiring my planck, I could not really find a guide that I really liked. I really managed to get through building it by looking at as many photos of planck builds as possible. I hope this guide reduces the need somewhat. It is a great mechanical keyboard so I wanted at least a semi-comprehensive guide.

The hand wired planck is being phased out. But if you really want to do it, this is still a viable option.

This is a slight rehash of Matt3o’s BrownFox guide, but I made some graphics to hopefully clarify a few things.


This is the diagram I am using for a switch. This is the underside so it is sort of reversed but don’t over think it.

switch underside diagram

The first thing you will want to do is put all your switches in your plate.

switches in planck plate Reverse view.

The best way to start off is to put some solder on both of the switch pins. This makes it easier down the line when you have to put on small wires.


Next you need to put on your diodes. I found this was somewhat easy to do but I sometimes just did one at a time.

diode placement

  1. Place your diode in between the first pin and the leg. You will find the best way to do this with a little practice.

  2. Bend it round so it is facing straight down.

  3. You can either solder before step 3 or after. But you just want to heat the connecting pin as it has solder you applied earlier. Then bend it round like in part 3.

You should have something that looks like this when you have done all of them. diodes put in matrix

To fully complete the diode rows you will have to solder both point A and B. If you did point A earlier then you have done this and there is no need to do it again.

where to solder for rows

Wiring Columns

The next part is probably the worst. This is because it requires preparing the wire which can be quite fiddly if you don’t have any wire cutting tools.

The best way to do this is to measure your wire against your planck. You want to create something like this (but vertical). You want to keep as much of the wire’s insulation as possible as it can be quite hectic in a hand wired board.

How column wires should look

I found that if you get a piece of paper and mark out the positions you can easily use this for a template. You will be making 12 of these so a template is appreciated.

To cut the wire pieces in the centre I used a razor blade to make two cuts whilst rotating the wire to cut it all around. Then all you have to do is cut downwards so that you go through the two cuts and you can take off that section.

You then need to solder them on to the switches like this. switches with wire on

Wiring to the Teensy

I found this stage the most complicated as I could not find the matrix generator. So these positions are for the default firmware on github.

At this point you are soldering both the columns and rows. The columns are on the pin of the switch and the rows are on the diode end as shown in the below diagram.

Where you need to solder rows and columns on the planck

The numbers here are corresponding to the pins on the teensy. F1 is column zero and ascending to D7 is column 11. D0 is row 0 ascending to row 3 at B6.

matrix with column and row labels

I have my teensy positioned up, in-between row D5 and B5. I suggest putting a bit of electrical tape above and below to reduce any shorts.

You will then need to flash the firmware which you can find here. Github planck firmware.

I wrote a guide on flashing the ergodox firmware which is fairly similar if you are stuck.

One issue I had was flashing the hex use this command if the recommended commands are not working. This requires teensy-cli on linux systems.

teensy-loader-cli -mmcu=atmega32u4 -w -v "name of your generated hex here"

My hand wired Planck

It took a long time to get it to a usable state. You may notice some additional wire here and there were things broke. But this should be assembled as per my instructions. Handwired planck by roastpotatoes

Typed on The Planck

The Protean

This is probably the most interesting different keyboard that comes with something slightly different. It is like the Optimus Maximus in that the keys are relengedable through individual screens in the keycaps.
In theory this concept seems interesting. But I really don’t see this being interesting past the novelty. It’s not really something many people are looking for. The problem is this removes one of the main customisation options you get with keyboards, the keycaps. But of course it does come with an alternative that allows you to change the legends. But this is not the same and I don’t see it being particularly useful or exciting.

protean keyboard

The renders also make it look like the keycaps are inverse. I’m not sure if this is the idea or just how it looks but I can’t see this being too comfortable.

Obviously this is a unique keyboard, but I see no reason for it to be.


More updates on the previously announced keyboards.


S60-X I think this is a more interesting project as I like the goal behind it. It is a 60% kit that is aiming to be affordable and something to build with whoever you please during the holiday time. That just seems like a fun idea to me.

Just like when the KC60 came out people were quite excited about the prospect of a cheap 60%. This isn’t as cheap as the KC60 but it is still affordable at (probably) $99.

It comes with:

  • PCB with components pre-soldered (I’m assuming SMD)

Coming to massdrop hopefully soon.

TK78 PCB Prototypes

TK78 PCB Prototypes This is the other project by Sentraq which is a bit more specialist. It is a 60% with a numpad. While it may not have the same mass appeal as the 60% has I have definitely heard call for a keyboard like this before.

The news is that they now have prototypes. So nothing ground breaking but if you are interested in this, it is moving forward.

New Mechanical Keyboard Line By Monoprice

Full sized standard mechs in 3 configurations in either blue or reds.

I’m not sure why the standard (Select Series) costs more. But in my opinion it is more aesthetically pleasing.

The other question is “What switches do these have?”. I was told “our made mechanical switches”. So I imagine these are on the level of kalih or greetech (pure speculation). These could in fact turn out nice.

Penclic MK1

A new mechanical keyboard aimed at the professional typist. It looks like a squashed TKL with edges. From a new company with a slightly strange looking keyboard, I am not feeling too hostile towards it.

No word on the switches so I really don’t know.

Artisan Sales

The ever trendy artisans are at it again.



  • Hot Keys Project November Sale. Coming in November. This was worth mentioning as the colourways are looking excellent.

Hkp blue November

Krap Birdie Possibly relevant photo. Sale contents unknown. But I love these.

Typed on The Planck