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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #160

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

dovenyi
Published April 5, 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. Lots of news, discounts, meetups this time, let's jump right in!

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.

Some posts worth sharing

Pic: Back of the MelGeek Modern97

Back of the MelGeek Modern97

  • I reviewed the Modern97, one of the recent models in a family of gorgeous keyboards designed by MelGeek: a prebuilt three-mode wireless 90% board.
  • The Corne V4 Choc, this latest iteration of foostan's iconic split, comes with on-board MCU. (Well, the recent addition is the Choc version I guess but I couldn't find a photo of that PCB.)

Pic: Corne V4

Corne V4

Pic: Micro Journal

Micro Journal

  • A series of writerdecks: Micro Journal for distraction-free writing – designed by Un Kyu Lee.
  • Daniel Bauer's wireless split Corax54 ditches one key of his previous model (the Corax56).

Pic: Corax54

Corax54

Pic: K:02

K:02

  • With a recent release, the K:02's PCB, designed by Ergohaven, is open sourced now.
  • The Cornball by Protieusz is a heavily modified Cornelius – with an integrated trackball and some LEDs.

Pic: Cornball

Cornball

Pic: Quantum Painter tutorial by Esse Woods

Quantum Painter tutorial by Esse Woods

  • Juha Kauppinen's Cygnus 1.0 has been officially released. Already featured back in February, there are now some more variants available, e.g. a 3x6 version. And a build video:

Pic: Imperial44

Imperial44

  • The handwired lets_mimich is a split ortho by Lu aka anothermimich. Inspired by the Let's split.

Pic: lets_mimich

lets_mimich

Recently I build this keyboard inspired by the Let's split. In a way it's not a new design, but as I used parts that where not intended for this purpose it is kind of original. I used a cospad case, which is a low-profile flat case for numpads and an ortho 75% plate that i have resized manually to fit the case – Lu.

  • Prime52 by Ok-March1037 – a split keyboard with double joystick layout, plus some encoders. Repo later.

Pic:

  • Rzr36 is the BLE Choc version of MReavley's Slice36 (no files shared (yet?)).

Pic:

Pic:

3dprinted a brown elastic TPU skin for my keyboard. 0,4-0,6mm thick. Plastic on a alu keyboard, full circle – Snoo.

Pic:

Pic: Grumpy(bird)

Grumpy(bird)

I present the Grumpy(bird), my modification of the magnificent Grumpy by Weteor to use the Hummingbird pinky (since that's my preference) – bravekarma.

  • Aurora Corne 6x3 3D printed case by Keravanhurja.
  • Keysmet is a "scriptable micro-console", offering a new way to create and play electronic games. A macropad with live programmability for fun and also learn coding I guess.

Newsletter fundraising

Here are all the ladies and gents who we all have to say thanks:

Many thanks to: Mario S., Brendan P., Gordon Diggs, s_p_l_o_d_e, Cloyce – for setting up new recurring donations.

And to: Thomas P., Kevin B., Noel T., Rodrigo Fernandez-Vizarra, Shad, Indigo Computer Systems, Jurica B., Adam Batkin, Moses Hoyt, Delek T., Luke R., Lam D., Dante P., Jure B., Nicolas T., Andrew G., Kane, Dylan Ingham, Enrico, Rich Dawe, Eugene B. for their one-time donations in support of the newsletter.

This is about $170 altogether, so the annual fee of $145 is covered even with transaction fees I guess.

Thanks again everyone!

Btw, compiling this list was a real nightmare :), given your support spread across Paypal, Patreon, Stripe, etc. – and these latter two platforms don't bother with sending me any notifications for some reason, despite having it explicitly set in the settings.

So let me know if your name is missing from the list.

Keyboard art

Pic:

  • GetMyNerdOn made some room on the flanks for this flowery build. The Kit Adam is excellent keyboard art material thanks to the Lego structure.

Pic:

Pic:

MelGeek Modern97 review

This keyboard is such a beauty! Now with 8% off.

Unfortunately, my photos suck. I'll have to set up a proper studio, but buying/renting an apartment for this purpose seems to be an overkill at this point. ;)

Pic: MelGeek Modern97

MelGeek Modern97

I really dig the pattern of the case. The matching deskmat on the product page is a render, I really hope it will go into production.

Other than that, this board is perfect for people who are not too deep in the keymap customization rabbit hole. Wireless, hotswap with MX compatible switches should offer enough customization options for most users, however, if you are into layers, I would wait for a software update.

In the mailbox

So beside the Modern97 by MelGeek, various switches from KiiBOOM have arrived, an ErgoDox "Hot Dox" from Apos/Alpaca/Eclipse, Cerakey samples, and – ba dum tss – something from tapwithus. This latter has just arrived, I haven't even opened the box and it's not in this photo either.

Pic:

Meetup database

Upcoming meetups:

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

Lots of new coupons this week. I mean, the same coupon accepted by a bunch of stores. You know how things work by now.

Feel free to use the KBDNEWS discount code at 147 keyboard shops now!

I continue checking the coupons, adding new offers and removing inactive ones, but don't hesitate to report any issues.

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

Marked as closed some long gone shops, flying under my radar: TyprTools, Unspoken Deskpads, Warlock Cables, Hydrakey.

Newly added stores

  • I just realized IQUNIX.com and IQUNIX.store are two separate shops, with the .com one being dedicated to the models of the "super series".
  • In addition, Akko made me aware of two of their EU stores: Akko EU and Akko DE. As already mentioned above, they both offer you a 10% discount.

Attention! These Akko shops still ship from China while displaying prices with VAT included. The main difference is the product range, e.g. ISO sets:

From a product perspective, our European website sells ISO keyboards, whereas the US website does not. So, in a sense, we also recommend certain Spanish-speaking users in South America to use our EU website – Akko.

Vendor database update

I'm finished with checking each store in the vendor database. Phew… It took about two months.

Well, simply clicking 500 links could be done in a few hours or even be automated. The reason why this took so long is that I wanted to contact all the shop runners, asking for missing info for the database: founding date, address/coordinates for the vendor map, etc.

This was a great occasion to beg for discounts for you too, so that's why the many new coupons.

Since for various reasons this whole project took me about two months, despite just having finished the update, the database may be already outdated. ;) It's time to start it all over again, however, it will be much easier and quicker this time.

I also wanted to add shop logos, which took some time too, espcecially looking for logos of already closed shops – because this is not just a database but also an archive.

So here they are…

Vendor logos

As I write on reddit, this HD image with 576 keyboard shop logos (well, with some of them missing or nonexistent) is not really a wallpaper, nor an artistic endeavor, but actually a quite handy tool: an image sprite.

Pic:

Serving 500+ tiny images on a single pageload would affect performance so I ended up combining the logos into a single HD image and tossing it around with CSS to show the particular logo I need.

Developments

  • Finalizing, testing, rolling out the logo "engine".

---

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

Until next time,
Tamás

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Published on Fri 5th Apr 2024. Featured in KBD #160.


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