Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #166

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

Published May 31, 2024
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 120K 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.

Some posts worth sharing

It's been two weeks since my previous editorial, so two reviews as well:

Pic: Ergohaven K:03

Ergohaven K:03

  • I tested Ergohaven's K:03, a 60% true split, the latest member in the ever growing family of keyboard models offered by the team.
  • And there was a Kemove K87 1980 review before the hiatus too. The K87 is a fully built three-mode wireless hotswap mechanical TKL, and its $28(!) budget companion, the K87SE, may be of interest too.

Pic: Kemove K87 & K87SE

Kemove K87 & K87SE

Pic: Pimple Smile

Pimple Smile

  • Protieusz keeps updating keyboard models with trackballs. His latest project is the Pimple Smile.
  • An Osprey remix by Vladimir Glushkov – with a daughterboard instead of on-board MCU.

Pic: Osprey remix

Osprey remix

Pic: Leveret


  • Leveret is a wireless split keyboard by dohn-joh, featuring thumb clusters with custom lever keycaps.
  • Alejandro Cámara published his Winsplit, a true split compatible with normal keysets.

Pic: WinSplit


Pic: OmegaISO


  • An all-ISO Enter board, anyone? Of course it exists: OmegaISO with 94 ISO Enter keycaps – materialized as a real community effort.
  • A reversible split PCB by Dmitry Belousov: Dedekind.

Pic: Dedekind


Pic: Kada 0110

Kada 0110

  • Emil shared Kada 0110, a 3D case inspired by the Apple M0110 and Apple II.
  • Jack Pikatea launched a new service: Instant Keyboard Quoter is a parametric custom keyboard designer interface, with the RubySea 1800 as the first board manufactured.

Pic: RubySea 1800

RubySea 1800

I've created a website that gives you instant quotes for any [sort of] keyboard layout of your choosing! I've refined my keyboard design process so much (parametric models and code automation) that it's now cost effective to make whatever layout you'd like at a very low unit count! – Jack.

The website explains more on pricing and how the process works.

Pic: FRCE Mk2


  • FRCE Mk. 2 by SupaOscar51 aka BayneSolo – this input device is the author's solution to flying in space games. With a nice monoblock split keyboard after the ortho one of his Mk. 1.
  • WIP: Iyada by Outrageous-Half.

Pic: Iyada


Pic: Twelvety


Pic: VanFlyhight's proto

VanFlyhight's proto

Pic: Play Tray

Play Tray

  • Weekly Diderot effect: Play Tray V2 (source) – a solid aluminum trinket / screw tray for your desk, inspired by the infamous ball-on-a-track cat toy. Another run after two years.
  • Something similar to my age-old cardboard prototyping approach strikes backAlbertoAru turnes splits into unibodies via some cardboard.
  • Bauns teased a handwired split:

Pic: Bauns' handwired board

Bauns' handwired board


Pic: Void Retro

Void Retro

Layout design

  • ngrrram by Gleb_T/winterveil is a CLI tool to practice typing ngrams. Free cat included! Similar to ngram-type but supports multiple layouts.

Pic: ngrrram


  • Peter Theobald shared a simple Python keylogger he's using to count keystrokes and bigrams.

All of the data I've seen only compiles visible characters from stored files, but ignores all the arrows backspace delete copy/paste home end and control codes that we spend a lot of our time typing. I'd bet backspace at least deserves a place on a main layer alongside the alpha keys – Peter.

  • Fellow redditor rafaelromaro keeps improving his Magic Key, behaving depending on the context (e.g. previous keystroke).

Keyboard art

  • dafku_'s cute Apricot – not real stone but GMK Modern Materials (Stone) keycaps and light sand/chocolate brown cerakote.




Fiddled with this concept for a Sony encased mini C64 with a crazy grid keyboard – Arne Niklas Janssen.



  • Timo is back as recurring donor. Thanks a lot!
  • And thanks to Ed N. for the donation too.
  • As always, many thanks to my awesome regular supporters and everyone who helped this project thus far.

For all the donation options check out the donation page!

In the mailbox

First a K:03 arrived, courtesy of ergohaven, then Jesus effin' holy Christ, I paid the customs clearance fee for.. ba-dum-tss.. a Mantis v0.3! This breathtaking board with the unique hex caps and layout, designed by Felix Kühling, but then I went on a short holiday…

So returning home, this eclectic mix of keyboards was awaiting:


Akko's gorgeous MU01 Mountain Seclusion (US / EU) has arrived in the meantime. A real beauty in a mouth-watering walnut case – with some additional wax in the box? :D Quite unusual prop when it comes to the keyboard hobby. Anyway, even my muggle family members and coworkers can't resist this gorgeous board. Review next week.

I've published the Ergohaven K:03 review earlier today. This 60% split in a 3D printed case could be the split brother of the monoblock Planeta I use at home, so transitioning was easy-peasy.

Finally, the jaw-dropping Mantis v0.3 with it's hexagonal grid and caps will require a longer setting up period. The layout makes a lot of sense, the angle is very close to my own unibody designs, I feel right at home using it, but I'll have to figure out where to put my extra non-English vowels - a bit fewer keys than I'm accustomed to. Again, big shout out to Felix who built and sent this to me as a gift. (The local customs staff doesn't really care about this but whatever.)

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

Feel free to use the KBDNEWS discount code at 153 keyboard shops! And do not hesitate to report any issues.

New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this past two weeks:

  • jjwkb added, haven't received any response though so the entry is quite half-baked.
  • (set as closed now) filed for bankrupcy. Discord deleted.


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

Until next time,

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Published on Fri 31st May 2024. Featured in KBD #166.


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