This is a semi press release from Input Club, but I was asked to get the word out. I believe this group is valuable to the community and could have good things to offer in the future.

Who are Input Club?

To those who don’t know, Input Club are the team behind the Infinity and the Infinity ErgoDox. Two keyboards that have successfully run on massdrop. These two keyboards are also accompanied with the KLL (keyboard layout languague) which is designed as a universal keyboard firmware. However, the KLL is actually more of an operating system. To fully understand the capabilities of KLL I suggest reading the spec as it is a bit more involved than you would think.
Overall I find the core of the input club to be relevant to the communities interests. They are creating open source hardware and their own firmware to create keyboards that have many use cases.

The K Type

This is an early render

06/10/15 New Renders The K-type side angle K-type

The new keyboard project from Input Club is the K Type. The following is the official press release from Input Club.

The K Type will be a stock Ten Keyless keyboard.

We are also going to include true RGB backlighting behind every key, a USB type C connector, and full programming options. The plate will be aluminium for optimal flex, and all designs will be open-sourced on Github. This will allow after-market manufacturers and hobbyists total flexibility in customization.

We are still in the planning phase and want to receive feedback from the enthusiast community. We designed the Infinity Keyboard and the Infinity ErgoDox to test our Keyboard Design Process. This process allows Interest Checks to be created for any layout.

This means that within the world of keyboards, anything is possible.

We want to make a product that allows the general public to enjoy typing on a keyboard they own. The best keyboard on the market should also be one that is open source and available to everyone.

The Keyboard Layout Language which powers our keyboards allows infinite layers of layouts for custom use cases. It is in fact a separate operating system, just for the keyboard.

In practice, we will see custom layers for Photoshop, video editing, programming, and for typing in other languages. People will be able to set their keyboards using our configurator, designed by the legendary Matteo Spinelli.

We’re excited to begin generating interest for this and we know it’s going to be great. We’ve come a long way since our launch last year, and there are nearly 2000 people who have purchased our keyboards via Massdrop.

Thank you for supporting us, we know you’ll love what’s coming next.

The major takeaway from this, is the amount of options you will have. KLL gives you full programmability, the design will be open source and it has the best option for backlighting. I was told the source is likely to be released after a successful first round.

Here I conducted a small questioning of Input Club that will hopefully give some more insight into the project and its design choices.

KLL is referred to as an operating system. I asked, What elevates this from a simple firmware?

The KLL is a firmware, but it is also a language to describe keyboard input. First, if you have a deep interest, here is a link to the spec. <https://www.overleaf.com/read/zzqbdwqjfwwf> Currently, all keyboards try and approximate keyboard input with a general purpose programming language. This results in a clunky solution that doesn't have much keyboard specific flexibility. The KLL will transform all keypresses into a series of Triggers and Results. One of the core objectives of the KLL is to allow any Trigger to cause any Result. Both Triggers and Results may be defined by the user using a command prompt or our configurator. This system means that you can transfer trigger / result mapping over between the Infinity 60% and the Infinity ErgoDox, even though the hardware is very different. This is useful, especially for people that use many keyboards, as they can create one keyboard map and use it on different KLL supported hardware. There is quite a bit more than this, specifically in the realm of N-Key Rollover, Macros, Analog Control, and Foreign Language Characters but that is more in depth than your question.

The use of a usb type C is also interesting as it is still not that common. I asked Does this have any specific benefits over micro?

It has incredible benefits when it comes to power delivery. This will allow for very bright LED's as well as open up the door to things such as solenoids and superior daisy-chaining ability. The solenoids are especially exciting as it will give us more control over the sound and tactile feedback that is emitted when you type.

Do you have a price point in mind?

With regard to price point, it will likely be more expensive than the Infinity 60% Keyboard, but less expensive than the Infinity ErgoDox. We haven't priced everything out yet, but given what we currently know that is likely a safe range.

The plate material (aluminium) was chosen specifically by Matt3o as he believes it to be a great plate material. Matt3o is not a part of Input Club, but always seems to be some way involved with everything that happens in keyboards. You will notice that the KLL configurator, the tool that allows you to customise your keymap with a gui was created by Matt3o.

As to where this keyboard will be sold, is still up in the air. Input Club’s history has been with massdrop but this is a new project and nothing is set in stone.

That is all the information for now. But I look forward to the future of this keyboard and Input Club in General. Read more at their website.

Prototypes will be made available to select keyboard enthusiasts and you must be able to compile, to be considered.


Typed on HHKB Pro 2

So I thought it would be interesting to hear from K3KC, who is not highly thought of in the community. I asked Thong a couple of questions and here they are.

Who is K3?

Could you write a small intro to yourself? Who are you? What you do? Sort of thing, so everyone knows who you are.

Everyone often call me with my nickname k3kc (or k3), and I guess that most of them knew who I am, especially my customers who bought my keycap. In the past, I was a graphic designer, but now I am a photographer. Besides, I make keycaps and sell them on my website k3kc.com

What was your reason for starting to make keycaps? Or what inspired you to start?

4 years ago, I started to know and use the mechanical keyboard. Like the mech player, I also bought keyset and keycap for decorate my keyboard. I really impressed the skull keycap of CC, but it was difficult to own it. After 2 years, I took part in giveaways 5 times and bought a skull keycap from CC, 2 skull keycaps from after-market. All of them were solid color. There was just a few keycaps sold by CC and the after-market price was too high made me wonder that how I could own double-color skull, tri-color skull or translucent color skull. Thus, I started to learn and make keycap.

Do you enjoy making keycaps?

Of course, I desire to own ‘dream color skull’ keycaps.

What kind of tools are you using? How complicated is your setup? e.g. Vacuum chamber, pressure pot

My tools are similar with instructors on youtube, however, I was fortunate to meet an expert who taught me more details than youtube.

Do you have a favourite keycap you have made? Do you favour specific colours?

I have already made a keycap with 4 and 5 color shots. My favourite colours are blue and transparent.

Controversy and Ethics

How do you understand the controversy around your keycaps?

I saw on /r/mk and GH, there was quite a lot of controversy about my keycap. There have not only agreeing but also protest debates. However, it seems that those debates cannot affect the number of keycaps I sold. My clients are large enough for me to continue producing them. As my criteria is to keep confidential customer information, so please allow me not to disclose who my clients are. However, I can reveal something that many people downvoted my keycap on /r/mk or objected it on GH, they still buy my products regularly.

You have produced keycaps that are copies of the infamous ‘Clacks’ as well as brobots V2 do you recognize this as a controversial move?

Of course, I do. Those are too well-known that everyone will know when I cloned them. That’s why its controversial is inevitable Speaking about brobot, he is very active at the leading of my protest. He bought my skull keycap in one session, took pictures and lowered our quality. Fortunately, there are many client also bought in that session, and they do not think so. That brings me to clone Brobot V2. At first, I do not tend to do this because I do not like this design repository. Designed Brobot V2 which is not created by hand generated by CNC and clone all in resin material. And consequently, my paypal account was limited in a while. But I think people should be happy because after I clone brobot keycap that makes their prices now more reasonable. The price of the original keycap fell by the price of clone store. Perhaps he thought that” if the price of clone products and original products are equitable, then people will only purchase the original”: D

Because you have made copies of other makers keycaps many people do not see you as a maker and boycott your keycaps? This can be seen in how your posts on /r/mk often get downvoted. Do you mind this?

If you are in a position to make and sell keycap like me, you will get some interesting values more than a normal keycap player. The keycap I clone of CC, I can confirm that it did not affect the sale of CC. There was evidence that the sale of Clack’s keycaps were still sold out. Let me get this clear, firstly I clone skull keycap for myself because I cannot afford them. I thought to myself I can make it, why do not I make it for myself. Many people would like to have them like me, but they neither afford because of the prices nor make them, so I decided to sell them off. With my ability, I can totally clone exactly keycap of CC even with their logo in the bottom, but I’ve decided to replace the CC keycap’s logo with mine. The obvious reason is that I do not want someone to buy them and resold to people who have never ever own CC keycap.

I know a lot of people that are cloning keycap of CC and retaining the original logo, then sell it after market or at auction. This is those who suffer the most when I make and sell keycap clone, so you should be careful when buying keycap with original logo which is extremely easy to copy. Because the logo is not and will never be a sign to distinguish genuine products and clone products. After I said these thing, if you pay attention you will easily see them.

Do you plan to continue producing copies of other keycaps? Such as sculls?

Maybe no, maybe Wingnut… I am joking :D

Many people have expressed that they see appreciate your ability to make keycaps but want you to make your own designs instead of making clack copies. Do you have any thoughts on this?

In order to make a keycap (or figure), it requires 3 steps: shaping, molding and casting. Just few people can handle all three jobs. As far as I know, there is now only CC can do it.

Each person has his own ability. I confess my ability that can only do a good job from the first mold and molded products in bulk. You cannot ask Valentino Rossi to create a moto gp race car because he drives well does not mean that he can make the car which he used to race.

However, I am also looking for a partner to help me creating a new design and you will be the first one know when I find him.

What do you think about the prices of artisan keycaps? Your caps are moderately priced but on the higher end of the spectrum. Some of your such as the tricolour sculls are quite expensive at $42 Are you planning on keeping this price?

I will try my best to keep the price of keycaps is affordable. As I live in Vietnam, I have to buy almost equipment, materials, tools and resin from US, Germany, France. Consequently, it affects to the price of keycap.

Tri-color sculls keycap has the high price because it takes much time and effort. Each color usually takes 18-24 hours to freeze; thus, it takes 3 days to make a tri-color keycap scull. In the case of one in three colour is damaged, this keycap will be failed.

What do you think of your quality of keycap in comparison to an original clack? Do you see yourself as matching the quality?

Please let my clients evaluate the quality of my keycap, I am not a narcissistic person.

General

What keyboard do you use as your daily driver?

Realforce keyboard

Do you have any other favourite keycap makers that you like or admire? If so who and what are your favourite of their keycaps?

CC is always the number 1. I like the keycap which form has a similar with the keycap of original keyboard (skull, blank, cannabis) because they will not make much difference to the overall structure while installing it to the keyboard.

Other makers often do giveaways after a sale (such as bro) do you orchestrate giveaways?

I do not want to make someone sad. Please think about it, the giveaways, usually only 2-5 people were glad winners, the majority who “wish you luck next time” were not happy. In the old days, I had joined a few giveaways, and I was never a winner so I understand that feeling. So do not make me do that cruel thing :D

Are you an active geekhack, deskthority or /r/mk member? Maybe under a pseudonym?

Yes, I am. Please let me keep it secret.

Will you be making keycaps for any other stem designs such as buckling spring?

Yes, I will if somebody orders it.

End

Well I thought it was quite interesting to hear from K3 himself. For me two answers really resonated with me were:

  • He does not copy clack’s logo. Which is not a great justification but they are not sold as the real deal.

  • They exist because they sell. But then again, this can be true with anything and doesn’t make it right.

I’m not quite sure how people will react to this interview as I am giving him press. But I found it interesting and it gave me another viewpoint on the situation.

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Typed on HHKB Pro 2

I have improved my organisation for this week and hopefully should have better coverage.

KC60 Update

For those who partook in the GB there was a small update. Nothing particularly interesting, other than the fact they are on target. Apart from the delays.

Planck Milled Bottoms Shipping

These are looking really nice and I think work very well with the aesthetic of the planck. These certainly do look excellent.

I also spotted an atomic PCB in the wild. Hopefully mine is on the way.

New Keyboard Forum KBDhub

It has not yet skyrocketed into popularity. However, the admins are some recognisable names from geekhack.

  • radio_killah
  • photekq
  • Meiosis

I have made an account but I find it hard to justify its existence. I would be more interested in seeing a nodebb forum which could bring a little more to the table. But I will reserve judgement until anything happens on this forum.

UK Keycaps Update

UK Keycaps seems to be shaping into a useful store for those in the UK. This latest stock update brings a few switch testers to the table.

SentrantPC O-ring Restock

For anyone interested in o-rings this seems like a good US source. It is also good to support the smaller stores.

Gateron Producing ISO Enter Keys

After having no ISO enters for the shadovved GB, Gateron is now producing them. We also seem to be seeing a rise in Gateron produced keycaps. With the possibility of a dyesub Gateron dyesub GB on the horizon.

Leandren Empire Expanding

Leandren is now offering Spirit 60% pcb’s with his universal 60% plate designed by JDcarpe. I thought this was awesome as this is a near perfect custom 60%. For anyone who doesn’t want a stock 60%, this is a great purchase. Orders aren’t quite up yet.

Ducky Shine 5 Release Pushed

Previously slated for release in August, now coming in September.

Techmattr Cables on 1upkeyboards

1upkeyboards which is known for high quality keyboard sleeves is now offering custom cables by techmattr. You are able to buy what is offered on the store as well as contacting /u/techmattr for your custom needs.

GMK Classic Beige

I try not to function as a groupbuy tracker but this one has been planned for a while. GMK is considered the height of doubleshot ABS quality and this is an excellent colourway. For those looking to upgrade their keysets I suggest this as a great starting point. Of course GMK comes with a bit of a higher price tag compared to other offerings.

This is also being run through precision buys which I remember seeing before but can’t quite place it.


Typed on HHKB Pro 2