Behind the scenes #153
Keyboard projects, quick news, in the mailbox, meetups, new vendors and discount codes!
Published February 2, 2024
Hey, what's up everyone!
Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up. A summary before all the Chinese factories and shops close for CNY and a big chunk of the community hibernates.
If you are new to kbd.news, 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.
Posts I thought are worth sharing
(I'm pretty sure I forgot something, you know that lingering feeling. Creators I've been chatting with lately per email to Discord, Reddit to Twitter, etc., sorry and let me know if your project is missing from this list.)
- I reviewed the Weikav Record Alice, an ultra-affordable kit if we consider the anodized alu case and the pretty sick leaf-spring suspension.
- Pabile published the files of the P60, a 5x12 ortholinear keyboard with RGB and encoder.
- BFB_Workshop's Compaq'ed is an ortholinear replacement PCB for the Cherry G80-11800.
- Penk Chen's Rasti is a retro-futuristic laptop inspired by the iconic GRiD Compass – with his custom mechanical keyboard and keycap set.
- Zach Taylor shared his goshawk, a 3D printed, handwired split with only one controller and battery.
- SirFodds created a gasket-mounted unibody case for the Corne keyboard.
- President Bob Guenser sums up the history of Signature Plastics, creator and manufacturer of keycap profiles like SA and DSA, on occasion of searching for buyer candidates. According to the announcement, he is retiring and co-owner Melissa doesn’t want to take his place.
If you are interested in owning/operating a small injection molding company, with a successful track record in the commercial and consumer keycap markets, please contact us – Bob.
- Taiwanese keycap manufacturer Tai-Hao is about to roll out a new family of low-pro caps – for both Choc and MX switches.
- I wouldn't claim that I fully understand what's going on here, but Project W came up with 1U platelets for plateless gummy oring and PCB-mounted builds. As of my understanding, this way you can alter the sound on a per-key basis.
Compared to plateless kits, the sound should be more even and balanced, akin to having a plate, but retain the flex that users love with plateless! – flatfreewater123.
- Going columnar but keeping the rectangular shape? The yet noname layout of Tschibo00's upcoming Chaotist PCB is something pretty original.
I'm currently thinking about stepping up from Ortho matrix board to column stagger ergo-ish. Because I've got loads of unused xda/dsa caps lying around I thought about doing something rectangular instead of the typical ergo stagger to make use of all those 1.25u, 1.5u, etc. In the mockup the home row would be the white keys, space has two switches instead of stabs. Other than that it's kind of like my BM40 layout but staggered – tschibo00.
- WIP: Ambitent by Cerbekos.
- Moeetech came up with an integrated shell / gapless sheel / drawer-type structure for the GLITTER 65 – now with 30% off if you use the KBDNEWS coupon code – (assembly video), so not the usual two-piece top-bottom case. I'm pretty sure I've already seen something similar with one of my vintage keyboards but can't remember which one it was:
- Beautiful carry cases for split keyboards by Modern Coup:
Our split carry cases are now available for sale on our store. They're available in four sizes, two each for regular MX splits and low-profile Choc split keyboards – Christian.
- @maxvoltar designed an aluminum+polycarbonate artisan:
I was using and testing the Luminkey80 this week. A gorgeous board with a personality, some crazy features, and (at least my colorway) with deceptively retro look. I have to reshoot some photos, thorough review hopefully tomorrow.
The Data General is here, I have yet to find the time to shoot some photos and do my research for a post.
But I already found another two vintage boards, a huge battleship and a smaller IBM. (Bought only because it was sold by the same seller and I negotiated free shipping anyway.) Not shipped yet because the sender can't find a long enough box for the oversized beast: :D
- A big, long-time donor canceled his recurring donation for personal reasons. If you'd like to take his place and help me out so that my enthusiasm does not wane, this is the right time. It's always depressing to see donations decline.
- No new donors this week.
- But I still have some awesome regular supporters! Thank you! As always, I'm grateful to everyone who helped this project thus far.
For all the donation options check out the donation page!
In the mailbox
The Data General One.
Ergohaven replacement around the corner, just paid VAT. And a keyboard with magnetic switches is on the way, just like some THT keycap samples.
Imminent and recently added events in the meetup database:
Upcoming meetups (2):
- Love is in the Keebs, February 3, San Diego, US
- Sacramento Winter '24 MK Meetup, February 3, Sacramento, CA, US
Recently added (1):
- Bangkok Mechanical Keyboard Meet up 2024, April 6, Bangkok, Thailand
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.
Vendors & Discounts
New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:
- Ergo Keyboards SG (Singapore) added, and Sree offered you a SGD$7 discount. Thanks!
- Sillicons Studio (Thailand) added. Thanks Jay!
- Diykeycap's old coupon code changed to KBDNEWS (10% off). Thanks Zhou!
In addition, Apos Audio (Oakland, CA) contacted me. They manufacture and sell mostly audio equipment but have also keyboads and accessories in stock. I wouldn't add them to the database at this point because all the keyboard stuff is quite hidden in their online shop, but feel free to check them out – especially if you'd like to see them growing in the MK field.
- I'm checking who's alive and kicking, did A-E this week. Some vendors marked as closed, or updated from reported to closed. (Clueboard, Cluster Cables, Contrakey [temporarily closed, I was told it will be back], Crafting Keyboards, Donut Cables, etc. Outdated Cytinfo coupon removed.)
- We don't often have meetups spanning multiple days. I had to implement this feature on the meetup pages due to the Sillicons Bangkok meetup.
- A bunch of vendor logos added. I have something interesting on my mind, but for now they only appear on the vendor pages (I don't want to put 500 images on the shop home page – yet! :D). Anyway, I'm trying to push myself to check and update existing vendor entries regularly, so, as already told, I've done shops with names starting with A-E this week. If I could revisit 10-20 vendors each day, I could finish the whole database in about a month, keeping it relatively up to date.
- I put the maps back on, with self-hosted tiles.
I thought about the distracting tiles, and I can update them any time if I find better ones or want to put more effort in doing this.I found a solution to recolor the map during rendering rather than updating a few hundred thousand tiles one by one. (Do not grab the tiles please, just le me know if you need them. Zoom levels locked to 0-8, since their purpose is illustration, not navigation anyway.)
That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!
Until next time,
Published on Fri 2nd Feb 2024. Featured in KBD #153.