Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the Scenes of Issue 113

Sending out the newsletter is no longer free. Quick news. Lots of new shops and discounts.

Published February 10, 2023
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 120K readers.

Hey y'all,

The future of the newsletter

From next month on I'll have to pay for the newsletter to be sent out. I'm polling newsletter subscribers this week. Check out today's email for the link to the google form. Just 3-5 quick questions. Thanks for your time!


Welcome back for another edition of Keyboard Builders' Digest (this time Issue #113), a weekly temporarily fortnightly roundup of this DIY keyboard focused newsletter and blog from Tamas Dovenyi – that's me. If you are new to this, you can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, you can subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.


Newsletter dilemma

So MailChimp has announced an update to their free plan – effective in three weeks. Just after Buttondown changed its business model as well.

I've been using these two services simultaneously to optimize costs – to stay below the pay threshold –, but from now on I would have to pay. For a newsletter which is free for you and extra work for me at the same time. ;)

Obviously, I don't want to charge you anything or turn this newsletter into a paid service, but I could make use of some extra donations to cover these expenses which will amount to about $500 this year.

If you are a shop runner and are interested in "sponsoring" the newsletter, paying the monthly fee of about $50 ($39 MC + $9 BD + PP fees) these days, what I can offer you is I'd indicate your contribution in each newsletter.

If you are a reader and would like to help, please DO NOT donate $1-2. A big share of these tiny sums goes to PayPal, e.g. I get less than half of a $1 donation.

So I'd need a generous sponsor, or about 5-10 people who could donate $5-10 a month (e.g. 5x$10 or 10x$5). So the support of 5-10 people would keep the newsletter alive for another 2,600 subscribers.

Thanks in advance!

Personal difficulties

As you've probably seen, the blog is still in low-power mode. I keep bookmarking cool projects, but I post only occasionally. My wife has been in hospital for a month now and I'm still juggling with work, kids, household, etc.

Quick news

  • Two years after the IC, Lu announced the GB of the TRIFL keycaps: (Related post.)
  • Shift Happens is happening (Kickstarter campaign). The history of keyboards – from early typewriters to modern mechanical marvels – told in two volumes. (Related post.)
  • I intentionally skipped 40s Day this year. It's too overwhelming to process all the posts on r/mk around this time. Let me know if I missed any important 40% board.

Microsoft ergonomic?!

As already told, my life is still a total chaos, and I missed a lot of cool vintage stuff which I would have otherwise bought. I'm not sure if this is something bad or good, but I simply don't have time for bidding and keeping an eye on local classified sites, my usual sources of old, yellowed, and sometimes even smelly abominations.

That said, I ordered a medical device for my wife, and because I'm on the way all day, instead of my home I ordered the device to a nearby pick-up point of the courier: a small computer shop I've never been to.

As it turned out, they sell almost exclusively used computers. A few years old, absolutely usable ones. I asked around if they have older stuff, and it seems I serendipitously stumbled into a new source of vintage keyboards. ;)

There wasn't much to see at the time I stopped by, but I was told they will call me if there's anything interesting. And I picked up a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 for next to nothing (and will check back for an interesting IBM POS keyboard.)


Well, I'm not really interested in these behemoths, but I have one of the first beige Gen1 MS Naturals from 1994 so I thought the 4K will fit into the collection.

I'd never tried these "ergonomic" boards before designing my own so laying my hands on the 4K was a totally new experience. It takes up all the space on my desk, it's really awful to type on (gave up after a few minutes), mushy, and despite being split-ish and tented, the row staggering renders the layout absolutely unusable for me. (It's pretty insane how far the Backspace is compared to my thumb Backspace – I could barely find it.) Regardless, I'll have to keep an eye on all the models between this 4K and the Gen1 one now to complete the collection. ;)

Vendor database

New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors:

  • 3dkeycap (QC, Canada) offered you a 25%(!) discount (use the KBDNEWS coupon code). Once the opening promotion is done (end of Feb?), the discount will be dropped back to 10%.
  • WhatGeek, Hong Kong. 10% off.
  • GoblinTechkeys, Malaysia. 10% off.
  • CLS Tech, Perth, Australia – 5% discount for everything except full keyboards.
  • offered you a 5% discount as well (clicking this link adds the discount automatically).
  • Laneware Peripherals, Brisbane, Australia.
  • MechVault, Mechlovin.

Meetup database

As always, this meetup database is both a calendar and an archive so feel free to send me upcoming events or even ones from the recent past to make this collection as comprehensive as possible.


  • Yay, two new supporters: Thanks Emily Muse and Geobert Quach!
  • But two recurring donors have left the board, so – especially with MailChimp practically killing the free plan and charging a monthly fee for lists over 500+ subscribers – I could really make use of some more recurring donors.

As I write it in my year-end summary, maintaining this site takes a lot of energy and time. (According to the Reddit Recap stats that's 100 hours per month on Reddit only.) If you'd like and can afford to help, here is the donation form.

And many thanks to everyone who supported this project in any of its development stages.


That's all for today. Thanks for checking by.

Cheers, Tamás

Do you like this post? Share, donate, subscribe, tip me off!

Published on Fri 10th Feb 2023. Featured in KBD #113.


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