Ducky Shine 5 August Release date

For those who missed the announcement the Ducky Shine 5 is the successor to the Ducky Shine 4 (shocking) now sporting RGB backlighting. Although I don’t care for RGB backlighting myself I think having a stock board with more options such as this keyboard is a good thing. For details on how the RGB lighting will function this ducky video should cover everything. It uses cherry RGB switches that were previously locked into corsair so this could be the first of many stock RGB keyboards that you see. It also comes with some possible extra gimmick in the form of a double PCB. What this does to the keyboard I am not entirely sure. I can only guess that this is just for stability and changes the feeling similar to how a plate does. But again the Ducky Shine 5 also comes with a clear plate. This is likely functions like a traditional keyboard plate but also helps even out some lighting. It will be available in August with lasered ABS and doubleshot options.

Cherry Keyboard 6.0 is Now Available

Cherry’s new “fastest keyboard in the world” is now available. I have not tested one so I cannot really say if the speed is noticeable. The reason for the speed is cherry’s “realkey-technology”. Read more about this in the article. It also boasts full NKRO, red in switch lighting and a detachable wrist rest. It looks ok, but I much prefer the classic cherry g80-300 design. I can’t say much without testing one but it is at least interesting.

Although it is said to be available, I could only find one place on ebay in the UK http://r.ebay.com/Xco411

Here is the official release

Massdrop KC60

Quite interestingly massdrop has continued to be a keyboard retailer. The KC60 is a very reasonably priced 60% that is available through massdrop. The main draw and surprise around this keyboard is the price. $74.99 + shipping, for a backlit 60% with gaterons this seems like a good price. The other draw was the dyesub PBT keycaps pictured. They do however cost an additional $15. The keycaps by themselves are available on taobao here. The PCB seems to be a GH60 rev b, which really is famous for it’s long and arduous groupbuy. Because of this it is expected to be fully programmable and able to use TMK. Since it uses the atmega32u4, programmability should not be an issue. It’s case is injection moulded plastic available in black and white. Limited to 400 units it is due to ship some time in August. This may be subject to change. For this price it is almost worth seeing how it turns out. I myself bought one and am excited to see how it is.

Find it on massdrop here

Blahlicus/UniqueK Is Still Working

Blahlicus is another community member who is making keyboards that are a bit different. Starting with the Diverge as a cheaper ErgoDox alternative and moving onto the Terminus mini which 40% matrix layout keyboard. Now I believe they are creating a 60-80% ish keyboard amongst other interesting prototypes. Follow their blog for photos of the prototype PCB and plate

Adomax Solderless Infrared Switches

The title says it all. Adomax has created a switch that does not require any soldering of the switches to the PCB. The switches use an infrared sensor to detect whether the switch is depressed. This also allows for measuring how far the switches are pressed. Infrared also allows for a faster response time, but whether this is noticeable remains to be seen. Analog switches whilst not useful for traditional typing could have other uses. The stem looks to be Cherry MX stem compatible and diffuses backlighting much like the Romer G switch created by Logitech.

New UK Vendor UK Keycaps

Find them at http://ukkeycaps.bigcartel.com/. Although they don’t have the largest inventory at the moment, another retailer in the UK is welcome. Currently they have a limited selection of keycaps, o-rings, 60% cases and ring keycap pullers.

The Super Novatouch by Matt3o and Massdrop

Massdrop, Cooler Master, Vortex and Matt3o have all come together to create a ‘super’ edition of the novatouch. It is super because it comes with thick PBT keycaps produced by Vortex and Designed by Matt3o, all for $199 + shipping. This is something that people have wanted as soon as the novatouch went on sale. The major issue people seem to have with the base novatouch is the low quality keycaps. I think the set designed by Matt3o is incredibly nice and is another great design in his lineup. Everything else is the same novatouch. It is also available without keycaps for $130 + shipping. As well as this being a collaboration between major companies, I find it interesting that Vortex is the company producing the Matt3o’s set. I’m not sure how much this was down to whom, but this could indicate Vortex being more open to creating community designed sets in the future. The drop is limited to 500 units, but I have to say there does not seem like a huge amount of interest.

Find it on massdrop here

Hemingwrite is Now Freewrite

For those not familiar with the product the ‘Freewrite’ is a new-age typewriter that is a mechanical keyboard with an e-ink screen. This is a simplification of the project but this is the main idea. I am very interested to see how it works and if it lives up to what was boasted in the kickstarter. From the latest updates on the kickstarter it seems to be entering the production phase.

Find the website here

Board Makers A Keyboard Podcast by Jack Humbert and wildpanic

I just wanted to give this a bit more exposure as mechanical keyboard podcasts are very non existent at the moment. I’ve listened to it and I can say it is very enjoyable. Subscribe on itunes or follow their tumblr here.

Keycaps

Royal Kludge Doubleshots

Spotted by Ripster these look to be very nice thick doubleshots. Here is a Chinese article with more information. I was drawn to the colour that the underside of the keycaps and was then again turned off by the font used. They are currently only available on China but with massdrop being as enterprising as ever we might see them soon. One thing to note is the similarity to JT Keycaps. Particularly the stem design. Although it is now known whether they are the same manufacturer it could be possible.

Datamancer Keycaps on massdrop

On the higher end for novelty keycaps these are typewriter style keycaps. I have never typed on them but the unusual shape could make for some uncomfortable typing. Although I don’t like them, they are the more interesting sets available. There is really not much else like it.

Find them on massdrop here

Leopold Dyesubs

Some new dyesubs by Leopold PBT with 1.5mm thickness. These look incredibly nice and the Leopold quality is generally praised. Keycaps are available with the option for English ansi and English ansi with Hangul. Again these are only available from Leopolds online store so you will need a Korean proxy.

Sometimes there is a lot of keyboard news in the week. This is a feature that should detail as much keyboard news that happened in the past week as possible. Depending on the frequency this might not turn out weekly. News tends to be around big events such as Computex or not at all.

Sonder E-ink keyboard

I will have to preface this by saying it is not mechanical. But it is certainly an interesting idea, but I can’t quite think why it would be used. It is advertised as having ‘work’ and ‘play’ applications, however I can’t see it being used beyond learning a layout.

While this may be interesting I do not know if it will come to fruition. This is certainly not the first of its kind, and at this point there are only renders. But if the reviews are to be believed “This is the best keyboard.”.
The features of the ‘Sonder’ are:

  • Backlighting
  • Macros
  • Patented crisp, responsive key mechanism
  • E-ink

The E-ink display is obviously the most interesting feature despite whether it has a use. Whatever the mechanism feels like is currently unknown. The current renders show a keyboard with similar design to the Apple aluminium keyboards, whether feels similar is unknown. The lack of information and a prototype is the main issue. Recently the company has been active on reddit and are available for questions at /u/SonderDesign. The most interesting piece of information is how they say it feels. If it truly does feel like Topre then I imagine people will be happy. I am very interested in trying one out.

It is currently on preorder sale for $199

https://www.sonderdesign.com/

Atomic PCB’s Incoming

Jack Humbert is continuing to lead the rise of ortholinear keyboards. If you don’t know an ortholinear layout may also be called a matrix layout. It has no staggering. Jack’s products keep getting better and the inclusion of PCB’s make the custom keyboards much more accessible to less experienced makers. The Atomic is a 60% ortholinear keyboard with support for these layouts. From my perspective more 60% PCB’s are a good thing and especially different 60% designs such as an ortholinear layout. It seems to be a nice PCB, with all components pre-soldered (sans switches) and support for LED’s. There is nothing left to be desired in this PCB’s design. From the planck PCB to the atomic PCB, you will find the only difference to be the size.

They aren’t quite yet available but prototypes are being made and prototypes should be on hand soon.

Alongside the PCB’s milled cases similar to the Planck milled cases will be available.

Visit the ortholinear shop at http://ortholinearkeyboards.com/

Keyboardio Kickstarter Launched and Exceeded

it For those who don’t know the keyboardio is a new ergonomic keyboard that has been around in designs for a long time. It is getting a bit closer now with a fully funded kickstarter. Similar to the ErgoDox, it is split-hand (or can, depending on your fancy) backlit and supports many different configurations. The configurations are how you are able to set down the keyboard. You are able to have it flat, like a traditional keyboard, tented for extra comfort, on a tripod for some reason, and you also have the ability to split it exactly like the ErgoDox. Unlike the Infinity ErgoDox this seems to improve upon what the ErgoDox started. The main complaints ErgoDox complaints were on the ergonomics. The thumb cluster can be awkward for those with smaller hands and the staggering may not be optimum. Keyboardio is designed with ergonomics in mind. Staggering on the keyboardio is much more natural and the thumb cluster is utilised for Fn keys. Of course this is only until you change the layout yourself as it is fully programmable.

In a bold move it is only available in Matias quiet click switches. It is unusual for a keyboard in production to stray from the more standard cherry switches, but this may mark a turn in the popularity for Matias switches.

The keyboardio is RGB backlit and features NKRO rollover over usb. This is said to work on all platforms without any program running on connected devices. Macros run on the keyboard but where I was confused is the application awareness that runs separately on your OS. What this does is tell the keyboard what application you are in. This then enables you to have your layer automatically change when you are using a specific application. I think this could be a potentially useful feature. I am thinking more for gaming, but I am sure there are better uses.

All this indicates custom firmware which is not surprising, but you will likely be able to run TMK at some point. Keycaps for the keyboardio also seem like an issue. Not only are they alps but they are oddly shaped with some rounded keycaps. You are also restricted by the bulky wooden casing. So getting keycaps might be tricky.

I was surprised at how fast this kickstarter was funded as it seems somewhat niche. But what this does demonstrate, is people are willing to buy expensive mechanical keyboards who might not be into making their own. But even the EZ Ergodox took longer to reach their goal. I will be interested to see who is buying these and what for.

It is an interesting keyboard but I am still not convinced. It does however seem to be leading the Ergonomic keyboard charge alongside major companies like Kinesis.

Check out the kickstarter if you want https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keyboardio/the-model-01-an-heirloom-grade-keyboard-for-seriou

Custom 60% Plates by LeandreN

Leandren figure This is groupbuy territory but it is being orchestrated with unexpected proficiency. LeandreN started with simple ISO and ANSI 60% mountplates. A product which is always in short supply and more quality plates are only a good thing. The first groupbuy is over and everything seemingly went smoothly.

LeandreN’s latest venture is custom plate designing. The idea is you pitch your plate design and see if people like it. If enough do LeandreN, will get it made. This is the simple interest check the keyboard community loves so much. I also think this is a ‘service’ that was missing from the current community offering. Hopefully this will pave the way for some interesting designs to be made.

Use this to submit your design for round 2.

60% Leftovers ISO 60% and misc grab bags.

Leopold FC660M Aluminium Case

I was surprised to see this put on massdrop as it seems like a product that might be long sought after. It is only compatible with the FC660M not the FC660C. If I were to own a FC660M I would gladly purchase this. However, the main reason for my surprise was because it is a little bit closer to an aluminium HHKB case. Whilst they are being developed, none of the projects seem to be moving very fast.

I was also interested in the fact massdrop is running this. It seems lately massdrop is becoming more and more a groupbuy platform for keyboard products. But as seen with the Gateron and Gateron keycaps massdrops there is a notable price difference with the runs from massdrop and the community run drops. This may indicate that a HHKB aluminium case could be on the horizon.

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/aluminum-case-for-leopold-fc660m?mode=guest_open

HHKB Aluminium Case By infiniti

TSD Labs Aluminium HHKB Case

#JT Keycaps Surprise Revealed For those who purchased Topre sliders in the recent JTK Debut groupbuy were teased earlier in the proceedings with receiving something special with their order. It has revealed to be a Topre spacebar in cherry profile to match the colour and height of the JTK Debut set. While this is interesting this is a Topre spacebar for a cherry set on Topre to MX sliders. So the spacebar should be the only slider to remain Topre in order to complete the set.

prototype topre spacebar Prototype Pictured

Of course this is also indication of JT Keycaps ability to produce Topre keycaps as was mentioned earlier in the announcement. Although they aren’t PBT like matt3o’s they will hopefully be of high quality.

Click the images to be taken to the relevant page for the maker

Brocaps

The Karma Sale

A small sale took place on the 10th of May. This was a ‘missed out sale’ but done differently. Everyone was eligible to enter however, those who did not win anything in the previous two sales had twice the chance of winning.
The sale included:

Nuclear KushLimeadeKushy PurpGrape ApePlush Purple
Brobot V2x
Esc/Fn Setxx
F&J Setxx
Escxxx
Fn Singlex
Stumpx

Upcoming

Some major brocaps updates have been teased in the recent months. Most recently is the upcoming ‘Cosmos Sale’. I believe it to be coming quite soon. poster Currently the sale looks like it will include most of the staple brocaps with glitter throughout the cap. As well as the normal line-up, this sale will include a mystery cap. This sale could also be the return of the ribbit or expect that in a following sale. This sale also marks the return of bronin and the reaper V1 which have not been seen in a while.
The next piece of news is this is the end of the Reaper V1. However, with this sad news the Reaper V2 was announced. Reaper V2 Before the final image (shown above) there was a teaser image. And I’m not sure if they are meant to be the same cap. You can tell they both have the reaper theme but they do not appear similar in shape. Whether this is a different cap I don’t know, but when I first saw it I thought of the light pipe mod performed by ripster. Teaser reaper

My favourite announcement is the Miami colourway Brobot. I think this colourway works well with anything, and with the brobot it works perfectly. Bro donated a Miami V2 to the destiny giveaway.
The hapster is also a strangely nice looking keycap not just in this colourway but in general. This is odd as it was designed as a comment on the artisan keycap market. Nevertheless, I really like it. Miama colourway Bro

HiddenPower

The innovative “War of Betrayal” sale began on the 18th. Although you might not agree that it is innovative, the maker has gone with a different aesthetic that is at least not that common. The sale on a whole however is very interesting. Keycaps are produced in series; artist series, design series and painted caps. Not only are there 3 distinct tiers there is also a back story centred around 12 characters.
The artist series is for the main characters. They are all individually hand painted with what appears to be distinct weathering. They will be the unique and limited in their numbers. The second series is the design series which are less intricate characters from the Artist series, instead of individual hand painting they are just blanks of the characters but in solid colour. Painted caps are as they sound. But there is very clear effort that has gone into them. The painting is as high quality as seen on the Artist series and it is very impressive. From this standpoint, I don’t think painted caps have been done in this way before. work done This image is quite indicative of the effort that is being put in. Although it is packaging, everyone likes some nice packaging.

ImpendingxDoom

Another maker who has seemingly come out of nowhere. The theme for their current run is not surprisingly Doom. doom I am not huge fan of the doom cap design but there is promise in what they have posted. I expect good things from this maker. My current favourite is their Fn blanks. Although, they are not explicitly a new design, the colours are nice. Even with the recent increase of Topre artisans, they are still scarce. There is promise here and I look forward to the future.
btcorpre

In the theme of doing things differently, I believe ImpendingxDoom ships resin space invaders with their caps, this is a nice touch.

Flehrad

Another new maker. The caps are OK. For a beginning attempt they look good. te Not a lot to say about these, but it shows a clear start. The only caps shown are see-through blanks, but a custom design is being worked on. Good luck!

KappaKapps

The KappaKapps store is live with 3d printed caps for sale. Currently the only artisan available is the UnDead Clackin’. Other designs have been shown but are not currently available. It’s a nice design and one of the more complicated 3d printed designs that are available.

igke

The previously mentioned Polaroid keycap is in prototyping stages. he The file is also publicly available so if you want one all you need is access to a 3d printer. http://www.shapeways.com/shops/IgKe

Lootkeys by whizzard

Lootkeys is a new keycap project started by whizzard (not completley new). As of now there is only a single completed design which is called the “Abductor”. However, there are many other designs in their progress thread. My current favourite is the flux capacitor and the campfire key. From the designs shown I could say this is the most creative offering in the current artisan market.

Defect/WinterWinds

winder Still no sale but just another showcase of their ability. It is unlikely this particular design will be sold because of its resemblance to the “Oktoberfest” cap. Nevertheless these look really well made. Hopefully they continue and sell some in the future, whatever the design.

K3KC

The controversial cap maker is back and not avoiding the controversy. They have come out with a “Red Vander” and another Clack skull clone. c Whilst this keycap got a lot of flak on reddit I think this is a nice colour combination. However, I don’t want to support the direct ripoff of Clack.

Clack Watch

This was an interesting month for clacks many were sold and many were outraged. But a record was set for the highest clack sold. This OG Tricolor sold for $852 a 5225% increase of its retail price. Shortly after a Translucent Glow-in-the-dark Clack sold for $810.
Although, I haven’t purchased art for this much myself. I’m not sure that when I received it, I would be satisfied. For those who want to buy a clack this is not that good news as prices have continued to increase and nothing can be done. On the other hand this is the nature of art. It is extremely hard to put a price on specific work and understand why people pay what they do for specific pieces.

This thread is interesting in questioning the nature of the market. And I think from inside the community it is often seen as a bad thing that they are being sold for this much. But another way to look at it is comparing it to more traditional artwork. There has been artwork that has sold for much more and much less than what these Clack’s go for. They are now being treated as pieces of art which they are. Again this will only matter depending on how you view the sale of other art. But I don’t think the issue is quite as clear as it is made out to be. The main argument is the creator is not making any of this profit, which I do believe to be the strongest argument.

Not So Artisan News

The Matt3o spacebars are now on sale through massdrop. This has been a long time coming and a lot of work has been put in to make them work and fit in with your other Topre keycaps. Buy as many as you can, as this opportunity might not come back for a long time. Or it might, depending on what Matt3o does as well as JT Keycaps. I believe some distributers are also in talks to carry the spacebars. Specifically http://mechanicalkeyboards.com.

The JT Debut GB is almost over. If you want Topre to MX sliders, don’t miss out.
https://ctrlalt.io/buys/jtk-debut

MeowCaps

If anyone is wondering what has happened they are facing ‘personal issues’ and there status is unknown. I hope they are OK and return soon.
http://redd.it/35jwdr

Late Addition

Kill4Caps

Kill4Caps contacted me to say that I had made a mistake and they have no affiliation with whizzard. Nevertheless they are a cap maker, and they are the person behind the excellent darkside copies. For obvious reasons they are not going to sell the copies they are just for personal use. However they have been working on their own design. t The HGF: the This is just a prototype and it is not quite ready for production. I am told other designs will follow.
The main reason I grew interested in this maker was the copies they produced. Although these are copies this is a demonstration of ability.