Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #141

Giveaway and advent calendar update, quick news, in the mailbox, meetups, vendor updates.

Published October 27, 2023
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

Hey y'all,

Let's start with some important PSA stuff:

Today's listening? Of all the Wasted Years interpretations, this is what I can't get out of my head these days – by Ian Zumback:

(And in case you are too young or simply prefer higher volume, more power, and more gain, here is the original one from 1986 – contemporary of my new industrial Model M 😉.)


Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up.

If you're joining us for the first time, welcome first of all. This weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up is about all the cool and fun stuff going on in the DIY keyboard scene these days. You can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.


I'm so sorry if you had to wait days for me to reply – even worse if you are still waiting. ;) We had a long weekend here with a public holiday and I also started to organize those two dreaded side-projects behind the scenes. Feel free to nudge me if you think I missed something important.

Reading for the weekend

It seems this week was all about the renaissance of Foostan's timeless Corne:

Pic: Unicorne


  • Boardsource launched Unicorne, a Corne ecosystem with cases, PCB and a new tenting system.
  • Released by FrictioN, this Corne Xiao is a modified, wireless version of the original.

Pic: Corne Chocoflan by

Corne Chocoflan by

Pic: Corne case by Kooziecup

Corne case by Kooziecup

  • And even Foostan himself came up with an improvement: mid-mount/low-pro TRRS connector:

Pic: Corne TRRS update by Foostan

Corne TRRS update by Foostan

  • This is my review of the Bancouver40, this cool little pre-built ortho keyboard in a premium CNC aluminum case – designed by Sporewoh and sold by Chosfox – on the occasion of the announcement of minipeg48, its 4x12 colleague, and kowgary16, their numpad companion. Here is the very first exclusive non-render photo of them (shot at night so it can make it to this issue):

Pic: minipeg48 & kowgary16 with 3D printed prototype caps

minipeg48 & kowgary16 with 3D printed prototype caps

  • Span is a split with trackpoint support by Idan of holykeebs – following in the footsteps of the GergoPlex.
  • Patrick Ryan shared his Yurigs80, a 84-key keyboard with Pi Pico and encoder.

Pic: Span by Idan

Span by Idan

  • The Japanese media was full of reports on the new HHKB Studio board (press release) – trackpoint, gesture pads, three low-pro thumb keys for mouse control:

  • …and a custom linear MX switch with an interesting part 🤔:

Pic: Lux_via's board

Lux_via's board

Pic: Kassiopea 46

Kassiopea 46

  • Finally, the authoritative Hyper7 resurrected by Mechboards. GB starting at this very moment! In addition, Ben was kind enough to offer one of these beasts for the giveaway (details below).


After 2 years, we're bringing back this behemoth of a keyboard. The worlds only 173% keyboard –

Giveaway and Advent Calendar

Oops… I did it again. And all at once, which is sheer madness. It will be a lot of work, but chills are running up and down my spine already while reading all the feedback. I sent out my spam email for 500+ vendors yesterday and we had some good conversations. Thanks for all the support.

For those who are not familiar with the beauties of sending an email to hundreds of contacts: about 10-15% of the recipients seem to have auto-reply set up. I had to dig myself through dozens of replies to find out if they are general messages or conceal some important info – many of them being in Chinese or Japanese, this is often not as easy of a task as some might think. 🤣

Here are the most agile sponsors who came back to me in less than 24 hours:

Capsule Deluxe, Chosfox, Custom Keyboard Co., Cyboard, FalbaTech, Goblintechkeys, Green Door Geeks, KEEBD, Kemove,, Keycapsss, KEYGEM, Krome Keycaps, Little Keyboards, Mechboards, Mintlodica, Turtlekeebs, Upgrade Keyboards, ZSA Technology Labs.

The application form to enter the giveaway is not live yet. I will update the giveaway page in the upcoming days and open the form later. Nevertheless, feel free to check out the prize pool in its current state.

And there will be a lot of great articles in this year's MK advent calendar as well. Don't forget: if you personally have a good idea for a post, don't wait for my invitation. Consider yourself invited and feel free to contact me!


If you missed it last time, there are some new donation options. Some of you hate PayPal and think it's a big barrier. That's why I added Stripe, Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee and Patreon. You find all the links on the donation page.

  • Thanks Felicitas, you are the first member on Patreon. 🥰 (At least in this new era. Kaleid1990 started there originally two and a half years ago and she is still an active donor! – but via PayPal now.) Plus we have an anonymous donor too. Thank you all!
  • And as always, many thanks to everyone who helped this project thus far, especially to regular donors. Without you, this project wouldn't turn 3 in a few weeks.

In the mailbox

I bought some cheap and moderately interesting retro keyboards, four of them on the way, but nothing in the mailbox this week. These parcels keep showing up in the last minute before publishing the actual issue and sending out the newsletter…

It is probably the 1986 industrial IBM Model M I'm the most excited about. Bought for just a few bucks, about 2 minutes after the listing went public. I was at the right place at the right time. Well, and of course I knew what I was looking at, which is very important when people have apparently no clue what they are selling. 🤫

Meetup database



New addition:

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.

Vendor database

New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:

  • 8BitDo – more of a specialist of controllers, but with a cool retro keyboard in the line-up.
  • – brick-and-mortar showroom in Berlin.
  • Wirekeebs removed (thanks Darklord!)
  • Lots of updates, cleanup, some logos added – spamming all the vendors once a year (begging for prizes for the giveaway) is a good way to identify expired domains, abandoned emails, etc.


  • Preparations for the giveaway and advent calendar, creating landing pages, contacting potential sponsors, cleaning up the vendor database based on emails bouncing back, etc., took whole days from my life. 😐

There is so much more I could tell you about – IBM, Intergraph with toggle Caps and Alt keys, 8BitDo (maybe next week), breaking into the Videoton (one step closer to the arcane RAFI switch) – but this editorial is too long already. Instead, here is a honest still-life with the mess on the "storage" half of my office desk (the "working" half is an even bigger mess):

Pic: Honest shot 😬

Honest shot 😬


Still with me?

How many DIY buffs does it take to change a light bulb? One, but it takes two weeks and four trips to the hardware store.

How true!


That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!

Until next time,

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

Published on Fri 27th Oct 2023. Featured in KBD #141.


Behind the Scenes of Issue 47

Cool week, again, there were some awesome designs, excellent ideas and well-documented projects – a lot to learn in general. Update on the vendor database: I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Issue 46 follow-up, on micro museums, etc.

Behind the Scenes of Issue 105

Giveaway follow-up, advent calendar, Keebsmas, new vendors, discounts, meetups, etc.

Behind the Scenes of Issue 74

On longer format articles, 40 discount codes, keyboard lexicon update, duplex matrix cultural dissonance, Datalux acquisition, etc.

Behind the Scenes of Issue 54

Major split database update on the way, developments, giveaway follow-up, on the UNO Mini & Adafruit KB2040 controllers, Issue #53 follow-up, Movember.

Behind the Scenes of Issue 94

Fusion of hobbies, reunion, quick news, new vendors & coupons, meetups, donors.

Quick weekly BTS #2023/30

Quick news, meetups, shops & discounts, whatever. I'm on holiday btw.