Keyboard Builders' Digest
Save 6% at SwitchCaptain! Code: KBDNEWS
Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #158

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

Published March 16, 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.

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.


Jeez, it's been already a whole year since I moved to Buttondown (from MailChimp).

Do you read the newsletters at all? Does it make any sense beside the blog, Twitter and now Instagram? Also weekly reminders on KeebTalk and r/mk or r/ergomk?

While the newsleter is free for you, I'll have to pay $145 in a few weeks.

I would be happy to hear your opinion.

(With all its faults, I like Buttondown a lot. Other services would probably cost much more with 3,000+ subscribers for a year.)

Some posts worth sharing

Pic: SpaceFN tutorial

SpaceFN tutorial

  • My write-up about the SpaceFN concept – setting up your space key as a layer switch when held. It's probably the most useful tweak on keyboards with standard layout. I owed this for a long time.
  • Reviews: Wrote two new ones (Synth Labs 060 and IROK ND75) but both are postponed. Nevertheless, I had some issues with the previous newsletter, so check out the WhiteFox Eclipse review if you missed it, along with last week's "on my desk" semi-issue.

Pic: JESK56: 56 keys without diodes

JESK56: 56 keys without diodes

  • Curiosity or game-changer? We'll soon see: T. G. Marbach's JESK56 is a diodeless 56-key ortholinear keyboard, using a single RP2040-based microcontroller thanks to some fancy math and graph theory.
  • Mangokitty published the files of the Tanto, a 40% with Katana-stlye symmetric layout.

Pic: Mangokitty's Tanto

Mangokitty's Tanto

Pic: glyphkbd


  • An open-source ortho TKL with on-board controller: glyphkbd v2 by _galile0.
  • A 20-key minimal split: Pepesweep by Volodymyr Petiushka. Low profile, wireless, open source.

Pic: Pepesweep


Pic: dance!


  • Dance! is a wireless-only split keyboard by chase-hunter.
  • Penk Chen shared his Haori36, a compact monoblock ortho with thumb cluster and optional Pimonori trackball.

Pic: Haori36 by Penk Chen

Haori36 by Penk Chen

Pic: Toad v2

Toad v2

  • This is an old project for reference: Toad v2 by TalkingTree, an open-source 70% keyboard from 2017.
  • Shared by Kea Workshop's Claude, the KW keycap profile is uniform, spherical, MX-sized, and compatible with Choc V1 switches.

Pic: KW Choc V1 keycaps

KW Choc V1 keycaps


Our goal was to create the lowest profile case we could for this PCB, one that gets out of your way while still adding functionality and beauty. A case that holds true to the goals of many split 30% users: lowest, smallest, and lightest possible – boardsource_xyz.

Pic: Photo: Ryosuke Kawamura

Photo: Ryosuke Kawamura



I've created keycaps that offset the stem to the left or right, allowing me to turn a standard keyboard into an ortholinear layout. By using this method, you can replicate various layouts on your existing keyboard simply by swapping out the keycaps – Leo.

Keyboard art

No Internet / Dino104:


Mantis builds by luckybipedal (and here is Felix's article if you missed it last December):


A 3D printed planter switch fidget toy by Creative_rooster00 (source):


Donut keyboard by QDP2D.



As already mentioned, I finished two reviews this week but still no posts published.

Synth Labs 060

That's because, firstly, Julien of keebwerk asked me to postpone the Synth Labs 060 review to a later date, simply because the shipment is still on its way.



So I hastily grabbed the IROK ND75, this compact gamer board with magnetic switches and rapid trigger settings, but MechKeys starts a springs sale tomorrow, so I didn't want to trick anyone into buying it when there may be a 10-30% discount next week.


The ND75 is definitely on the list when you click the link, but not named in the spreadsheet I received. Anyway, I'll rather post the review later when the discounts are already active – prices will be updated only then.

We're planning a Spring Deal from March 17th to March 27th […] The sale offers up to 30% off! – MechKeys.


For all the donation options check out the donation page!

In the mailbox

Can it be true? Some new offers, but nothing showing up in the mailbox this week.

Meetup database

Upcoming events in the meetup database:

Right now

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:

Not much progress with updating the vendor database and contacting every single shop. I'm still stuck at "S".

Some vendors marked as closed in this round of attempt to make the list up to date: Qoda Studio, Rainkeebs (no product listed), (last week), and SquashKB, Standard Keys (really?! TWS), Steel Apes (cables, Spain) since issue 157 and half.


  • Search: autofocus the damn input box on pageload – after more than three years… :D
  • Title to link. Sometimes it would be useful to be able to point to specific parts of an article, so I implemented this: headers get an id and can be turned into links automatically, so you can reference specific parts of posts. E.g. this link takes you deep into the SpaceFN post. I may have to do a little conversion for this to work for all the past write-ups where I used a different markup. Yep, and I'll have to put the links out for you so you can share links pointing to these sub-page anchors. At the moment they only appear for me. :) I have to test formatting so it won't break any layouts.


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 Sat 16th Mar 2024. Featured in KBD #158.


Behind the scenes #153

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

Behind the scenes #154

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

Behind the Scenes of Issue 94

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

Behind the Scenes of Issue 75

Domain renewal, new promo codes and the dangerous ground of sponsorship offers, new supporters and vendors. Newsletter test and performance, status of developments & acquisitions.

Behind the Scenes of Issue 26

Issue 26 and personal favorites. Moving to, more performance tweaks, CDN setup, redirecting madness. Issue 25 follow-up.

Behind the Scenes of Issue 77

Newsletter issue, new discount code, matrix research, covid, listing of the week.