Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #154

Keyboard projects, quick news, in the mailbox, meetups, new vendors and discount codes!

Published February 12, 2024
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

Hey, what's up everyone!

Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up. A lot has happened lately: I reviewed the Luminkey80, working on a Velvet 2 write-up, the THT keycap samples are here too.

Invokeys offering you a 5% discount is the 134th shop accepting the KBDNEWS coupon code (insane!), and of course here are all the projects I thought were worth sharing while I keep updating the keyboard vendor database. A lot of work considering this is a hobby. :D

If you are new to, 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


Pic: Luminkey80 in e-retro white & 9009 caps

Luminkey80 in e-retro white & 9009 caps

  • I really enjoyed reviewing the Luminkey80. It's a fantastic bundle: a TKL with gorgeous retro look (at least this e-retro white colorway), metal artisan, coiled cable, and some crazy features like an F13 key.
  • The AlphaSmart Neo was a scissor-switch membrane "typing machine" in the '90s. Its devoted users seek help from modern day keycap designers. Check out Ed's write-up and feel free to contact me if you have the skills and free time to recreate these keycaps in 3D.

Pic: AlphaSmart Neo2

AlphaSmart Neo2

Pic: IK keyboard

IK keyboard

  • Ian MacLarty shared his IK keyboard, an open-source split with KS-33 switches and ZSA Voyager vibes.
  • Tschibo's idea manifested as an astonishing open-source PCB: Chaotist is an ergoish 40% keyboard – with some cement.
  • John Riggles published his DELPHI, an "ergolinear" low-pro orthoish split.

Pic: The Chaotist by Tschibo

The Chaotist by Tschibo



Pic: Rhino Pad

Rhino Pad

  • Claude of Kea Workshop shared the files of his Rhino Pad, a macropad for CAD work.
  • Diego talks about how he made the custom wooden keyboard case with LED light bar.

Pic: JD's wooden case with LED

JD's wooden case with LED

Pic: Ohaabu Desuwa

Ohaabu Desuwa

Pic: NoTree's handwired split

NoTree's handwired split

Pic: BeardFromFargo's split ortho

BeardFromFargo's split ortho

Pic: Chordie 2

Chordie 2

Pic: CFX-spaced Chicago Steno on a Tern

CFX-spaced Chicago Steno on a Tern

Pic: Movement Drup Computer

Movement Drup Computer

AlphaSmart keycaps wanted!

The loop is closed. In 2018, I stumbled upon mechanical keyboards while looking for tools to write a novel, which led me to dedicated devices for distraction-free writing.

And earlier this week I was contacted by Ed, an avid AlphaSmart user, one of the contemporary authors who rediscovered this pretty dumb "writing machine" from the '90s. To be honest, the feature list of the AlphaSmart Neo is not very long. No internet connection, basic software with basic functionality, no color display, but it's perfect for one thing: writing without getting distracted.

The device is long discontinued though, that's why it would be crucial to recreate the keycaps in 3D for fans to be able to continue using their failing specimen.

If you are into 3D modeling and keycaps, and would like to help, feel free to get back to me so I can connect you with Ed.


  • New donor: Trey Causey. Thanks a bunch!
  • And I have some awesome regular supporters too. 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

Ergohaven pack: HPD + Velvet 2. This is a replacement of the HPD I received a few weeks ago, that arrived slightly damaged. Evgeny was kind enough to not just replace it, but he also packed a Velvet 2 in the box. And it's probably my favorite Ergohaven board so far. There was a question with regards of its thumb cluster so I'm going to review this next.


Focus FK-5001. I instantly fell in love with this retro abomination. 129x white Alps, some extra columns, Arabic sublegends and independent calculator function. Broken LCD though. It matches the Luminkey80 perfectly:


THT samples. The new low-pro caps from Tai-Hao are very promising, however, only compatible with MX spacing because of the 18.1x18.1mm dimensions – they come with MX or Choc stems, in PBT or ABS though, so this is gonna be a very versatile keycap family. More on the THT keycaps in this recent write-up, but I may do a proper comparison with measurements later.

Pic: THT keycap samples

THT keycap samples

Pic: THT MX caps on the Velvet

THT MX caps on the Velvet

Btw, from the materials I like ABS a bit more. If you are interested, I posted a lot of photos e.g. on twitter, check out @KbdNews.

Meetup database

Some upcoming and recently added events in the meetup database:

Upcoming meetups

  • Keebuary, February 17, Tallinn, Estonia


Recently added

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

You can now use the KBDNEWS discount code in 134 shops! New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:

  • Invokeys offered you a 5% discount. Yay! Use the KBDNEWS coupon code.
  • keebwerk. (Germany) raises the stakes with a 10% discount. Thanks Julien!
  • Ergokbd (New York / Guangzhou City) added, and Janson offered you a $5 discount (KBDNEWS). Thanks!
  • KeyGeak, IL, US, added.
  • SandKeys (Dubai) added.
  • Cafege (Sydney) added.
  • MKNZ (New Zealand) added.

Keebcats has been taken over by (mid-January). It will remain a separate entity in terms of its online appearance but with all orders and support being fulfilled by the mechboards team.

  • I keep checking who's alive and kicking, did shops with names starting with F-J this week. Struggling with K, which is pretty long, obviously, with all the kb-, keeb- and key-s, so it may take some time.

Some vendors marked as closed in this round of attempt to make the list up to date: Himo MK, HolySwitch, I/O Keyboards, Infinity Key, JustKeys, Keeb Concrete, keebmeup, keebnerd.


  • Lot's of small tweaks here and there in the background. I'm working on some new features, but still need some time to roll them out.


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

Until next time,

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Published on Mon 12th Feb 2024. Featured in KBD #154.


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