Community

Geekhack Outage

The first news should be the outage of geekhack. It is currently down and many resources are still unavailable. At first it was a DoS attack and not their hosting has bailed. This is the reason for the longer than expected outage. With this outage speculation around the funding of geekhack has come into question and it is possible donations might be needed to get everything running again. As a result of this, a t-shirt donation drive has been set up by fohat.
With the outage people have been left without information and communications that are all a part of geekhack. This could be a useful lesson to show people cannot rely on one service. It is a huge part of the community and the downtime is felt greatly.

Keyboards

ErgoDox Infinity

Delays have effected the ErgoDox infinity and it will not be shipping on the date originally intended.

Alex Peterkin:

I’ll work with Logistics and try to get an approximation for a new time line, but I can say for sure that this will not be shipping in 4 days as originally estimated. Thank you for being patient.

This seems to be the result of being generally behind in production and prototyping. A later update suggests they are getting closer to having high quality prototype. Although it has had a rocky start I am still interested to see how it turns out, even if it isn’t the product I was hoping for.

The missing chip has arrived at the PCB fab and we should be getting a prototype from facility A before the end of next week with another prototype coming from facility B shortly after.

Once we verify that these are working and up to the high standards of the community, we will start mass production. Sourcing all the components and assembly should be fairly quick and we should have these in our warehouse within a month of prototype approval.

As soon as the units the arrive at our warehouse the bulk order will get broken down and individual orders will be readied for shipment. All told this puts the new estimated ship date at mid-August.

Thank you all again for being so patient. This is a major undertaking and we want to assure a very high level of quality before shipping these out

Dedicated Osu Keyboard

Osu is a rhythm game and that is as much as I know. But this is a dedicated two key + plus a pause button keyboard, strictly for playing Osu. So if you are a hardcore Osu player this could be the perfect keyboard for you.

EASARS RGB Keyboard

easars This is another full RGB keyboard supporting 16 million colours. It is said to use switches that have “50 million life cycle” but no actual mention of cherry. It supports colour profiles and macros and possibly full programmability. The official page says “Customized programming setting can be controlled freely.” but I expect a customisable Fn layer. Again this is another example of a strange keycap font choice.

Ducky Blue One

This appears to just be a backlit full size keyboard. An alternative to those who do not care for RGB but like backlighting. I was unable to find any other product page than the mechanicalkeyboards.com listing.

Quickfire Xti

xti Yet another almost RGB backlit keyboard. This one however is a bit more appealing. It is full-size has a removable cable, 35 backlighting colours and macro support. All of this puts it on the level of the Ducky Shine 4. My favourite part of this keyboard is the font. The gamecuben font has been ditched, which has been a huge annoyance to many people in the past. Overall the design of this keyboard does not scream “gamer peripheral”. This makes it my favourite upcoming stock keyboard at the moment. Ducky has the next place with the Ducky Shine 5, with its double pcb.

TK78 Rev C. Prototypes Ordered

tk78 SentrentPC is creating a new keyboard design that I don’t think has been done before or is at least very uncommon. It is a 60% with a numpad. Although this might be considered strange, I think this design definitely fills a need. Many complaints with the 60% is the lack of numpad, navigation keys and arrow keys. But the arrow keys and navigation keys can be easily implemented on Fn layers but people still like a physical numpad. This is not a problem I find as I rarely use the numpad. However, I still appreciate this design. Most information is currently on geekhack so now unavailable.

Update With Additional Information

This is straight from SentrantPC so I don’t feel it needs editing.

We just ordered the PCB. It’s a daughterboard plus main board, with the daughterboard being for the 2 port USB hub. Plate will be sandblasted aluminum and case will be milled from aluminum and both anodized to gunmetal grey. The plate is cool as it supports many different layouts (linked to the layouts supported below). PCB also supports all those layouts. GB date is looking to be August 1st and limited to 30 units. A GB for the version with the numbed on the left side will be done I’m hoping around September with it limited to 20 units and also 20 units of the right version as well. You can buy it with Plate only, PCB only, plate/PCB, case only, kit, or assembles with or w/ out keycaps. base price for kit is looking to be around $260.

Supported Layouts

From this information it looks to be a very promising new 60ish% I hope everything goes well for this GB.

TextBlade Has Not Shipped

For those not initiated with the project, the TextBlade is quite an interesting portable keyboard. Although not quite mechanical like many keyboard enthusiasts are used to, the form factor makes it interesting. It is incredibly small and therefore portable. Although the switches are a new design they do look interesting and I would like to reserve judgement on the feel before I get one. Another benefit is the huge range of layouts that will be available. Layouts such as Colemak and Dvorak as well as language variants such as Korean, French, Italian, Spanish, Nordic and Danish.
This may seem like an ambitious project and the delays they are encountering seem concurrent with this. It is around 4 months passed ship date, but a recent forum update suggests that in two weeks on the 10th of July they will be getting a new prototype and if it is ok then some will be shipped. Although I am saying 10th of July, they said Friday and did not commit to a date.

Cherry MX 6.0 Available on Amazon UK

Now available on Amazon UK for £156.43. I have one and will be putting out a review at some point.

Keycaps

Leopold Dyesubs Available Through Widebasket

They became available shortly after last week’s post. But here are the links:

Granite GB Update

After the comical update a couple of weeks ago it seems that production is moving forward. At this stage the keycaps should either be with massdrop or shipped by massdrop.

We spoke with Signature Plastics earlier today and they’re wrapping up the final production steps as we speak. They are aiming to have the order shipped out to us from their facility within the next day or so.

Once the group’s order arrives our warehouse, we’ll break up the bulk shipment into individual orders and ship them off to you as soon as possible.

Our warehouse is prepared to get your package shipped out the moment it arrives. Thanks for your patience and expect an update from us on 7/6 or sooner.

Triumph Adler Update

This was always an ambitious GB because it was the first from GMK that was totally new. I believe the colours used are not offered by GMK but were created for this GB. GMK has run into a supply delay which in turn will delay the ship date.

We spoke with GMK earlier today and they informed us of an unexpected delay from one of their material suppliers. The last remaining shipment of the material needed for our production order to complete will arrive by end of next week. Unfortunately, this mean the order will only be ready for us to pick up from GMK’s German facility by July 21.

Our freight partner in Germany is on standby, and they will be ready to pick up the shipment from GMK within moment notice. Our warehouse staff have also all been informed of the urgent nature of everyone’s orders in this drop. Needless to say, we are all prepared to get these out to everyone as soon as the production is completed.

We understand this delay is undesirable and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. Knowing what we do, we think the keycap set is definitely worth the wait and up to the communities lofty expectations, but if you prefer not to wait and would like to cancel the order instead please submit a ticket via our Support page (https://www.massdrop.com/support), and we will take care of your request right away.

Thanks for your patience and expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 7/22.


Typed on Cherry MX 6.0

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 https://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 https://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 https://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.