Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #162

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

Published April 22, 2024
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

Hey, what's up everyone!

I had some mild issues with my left index finger, had to take some rest, so that's why the belated weekly round-up.

Anyway, welcome back for another 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.

Some posts worth sharing

Pic: TapXR


  • I've been testing the wrist-worn TapXR, probably the most unlikely typing device I've ever witnessed: Keyboard, mouse & controller in one. It's a fun gadget but works best within its closed ecosystem. Only for seasoned early adopters, reliability needs to be improved.
  • Wysteria is jwe's split keyboard with lots of features.

Pic: Wysteria


Pic: Masonry


  • The Masonry by dj_edit is another ergoish columnar keyboard projected on a rectangular keyboard shape.
  • Kai H. Chang's next design is the low-profile wireless Kai Simple split.

Pic: Kai Simple

Kai Simple

Pic: Key-sweep


  • A keycap generator by Sam Hughes: key-sweep creates multi-axis contoured keycaps.
  • The PNCATEHO by aroum is a 10-key chording keyboard for Russian.



Pic: Glyphica


  • Warning! Highly addictive! Glyphica is a typing survival game by fellow community member Sharde aka xm-zhou/aliasBlack. Type to shoot, level up, survive & hoard coins to buy upgrades. Lots of upgrades. Typing does pretty everything, there is no secondary control mechanic (movement, mouse-aim, etc). The difficulty level of the free demo released last Friday is pretty easy, touch typers will grind on for an hour and get to about level 50-60 where the game crashes when running out of power-ups. :D To be fixed later I guess, but playing Glyphica is lots of fun anyway.

  • A handwired "split Preonic" made by vanlyndgen using two 6*5 switch testers.


"Split Preonic"

Pic: URSA keycaps

URSA keycaps

  • I don't usually feature group buys, but URSA is different. Custom keycaps for Topre keyboards, brought to you by 23_Andreas and FKcaps.
  • SandwichRising published a new Keeb68 build log.

  • Closed source: Sweetkb by venisterkr with Gateron low-pro switches and NuPhy caps.



Keyboard art

Pic: Qazimodo


  • La Somme (IC) is a Chiffre-like monoblock – in cerakoted aluminum or frosted acrylic, and with an interesting back profile (renders).

Pic: La Somme

La Somme

Pic: La Somme

La Somme


For all the donation options check out the donation page!

In the mailbox

A parcel from Zion Studios/Kulermats. Totally unexpected despite they mentioned some gifts earlier. Absolutely surprised and stunned by the gorgeous deskmats and their versatility: from the elegant charcoal-gold Hokusai/Kanagawa-derivative to the crazy Takoland – and anything in between. :D (The KBDNEWS coupon should work for 5% off, but as I can see, some of these are from earlier group buys.)




I got something interesting from Akko (EU) and MoeeTech too, details later! ;)

Vendors & Discounts

Feel free to use the KBDNEWS discount code at 150 keyboard shops! And do not hesitate to report any issues.

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

  • Keysme (CN) added. 10% off of all the spaceship themed keyboards (use the KBDNEWS discount code).
  • Astro Keys (US) added. 10% off of deskmats and artisans (KBDNEWS).
  • timeToy keebs (US) added, $20 off (KBDNEWS).
  • Next Keyboard Club (PH) coupon updated: it's the standard KBDNEWS now. – I've been asked to remove them from the database entirely. Well, the entry has been marked as sus for some time, and while I'm aware of some serious issues, I'm definitely not in a position to judge the entire situation. It seems like a death spiral but I was told orders of in-stock products are fulfilled, so I leave the entry unchanged this time. I may make the warning more noticeable though.

Keymap wizardry – New layout design series

I made a lot of tests this week, mostly text statistics, but no overall progress with articles.

May will be pretty busy for me, I may not start the keyboard layout optimization series until then since I will be on holiday.

That said, I was doing the groundwork by collecting letter frequencies of relatively big chunks of texts, e.g. obvious choices like the whole English Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg, etc., but also posts and code.

Such stats may come in handy for pretty much every single upcoming write-up in the series, be it practical optimization tutorial or something more general.

I made a lot of scripts to process texts, clean up raw output with lots of junk metadata, and count characters eventually. This seems pretty basic, but that's only true for "smaller" files. As one encounters strings with the size of multiple gigabites, some new issues may kick in. ;) E.g. string length or memory allocation limits, not to mention the required time to do the actual counting, replacing, etc. I found that some regexp commands started to silently fail on strings as small as 20-40MB…

So reading large files in chunks and adapt counting mechanism is a must.

FYI, processing the whole Wikipedia makes no sense at all, I'll cover this in one of the write-ups. A much-much smaller corpus of a few megabytes is probably perfect as we'll see. I just want to do this once and for all.


  • As already mentioned, lots of scripts written as part of the layout design series, and pretty much that's it.


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 22nd Apr 2024. Featured in KBD #162.


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