Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #2023/36

Quick news, Killer Whale, new shops and discounts, lots of new meetups, new keyboard competition in sight.

Published September 8, 2023
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 120K readers.

Hey 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.

Reading for the weekend

  • Shared by Jurica Bacurin, the juriform36 is a 36-key wireless split keyboard with keywell.
  • FOREVER-1 by Protieusz is a monoblock split with an encoder and trackpad in the center à la GRIN Quern.
  • Evgenii Vilkov shared his half-keyboard GameBoard, optimized for gaming.
  • Open Deck is a macropad with a customizable image behind every key – shared by joshr120.
  • Temper – a wireless-only split keyboard by raeedcho, based on the Chocofi.
  • Kotte's Batoid is a handwired monoblock split in a cute case. Small footprint, big personality.
  • Radliński Ignacy designed a Dactyl-like ergo split in Fusion360 – the Basilisk.
  • Alakuu from revised his flexible PCBs and designed a new XIAO-Flex MCU breakout board.
  • Some commercial or closed-source products: Erez announced the Voyager, the first low-pro board by ZSA. Rhino Pad is a macropad for CAD by Kea Workshop. Zensai 65 is a wooden 65% keyboard by ori-kobo. And the Zireael, a Corne-like wireless split in plastic or aluminum case, is still in the making.
  • Diderot effect: Megalodon Lumine is a macropad and display platform for action figures. Fragrance keyboards – I really wasn't expecting this – shared by Idobao.
  • LevelType – A typing practice app written in Go, focusing on spacegrams. In console, no WPM, no backspace/del. How does that sound? Makes sense to me but the UI/UX needs an upgrade.


New keyboard competition on the horizon

I was approached by a manufacturer about an upcoming keyboard competition and thought I'd share some preliminary details.

Do you remember the Seeed XIAO contest last year? There were a lot of cool entries, and although it was a lot of work, I'm glad I had the opportunity to jury that one. I hope this next one will result in many intriguing keyboards too.

This is a different manufacturer, specializing in CNC, anodizing, keyboard assembly, and the whole manufacturing and distribution process, so this contest will be quite different and somewhat special too: The focus will be the keyboard case, mounting, etc.! You don't necessarily have to design a PCB, you can enter the contest with a new case design for an off-the-shelf or open-source PCB. You don't need to submit CAD files either, in an extreme case even a pencil sketch will do it! (Although presentation does count.)

The prize you can win? Prototypes of the winning designs/concepts will be manufactured for free ($1000 vouchers). And you get free consultation on how to get your design manufactured and to bring it to the market. There will be about 4-7 winners based on the number of submissions.

Submission will start in mid-late October, but I thought I'd leak some info in advance so you can prepare and start brainstorming and sketching right after reading through this newsletter.

In the mailbox

Killer Whale. What have I gotten myself into?! ;) So many parts.


Thanks Taro! As I've already mentioned, he arranged a free shipment for me. (FYI, if you are in the EU customs regime, "free" still meant paying $50+ for VAT and related fees…😡)

No clue when I'll have time for putting this cool thing together. Started with the trackball side unit even though I'll have to source a ball yet. After half an hour into the project and 80 parts used from the heap of stuff… 😂:


Pealing off the protective foil from acrylic pieces and picking up the tiny M2 washers give me some hard time.

Meetup database

I haven't heard of meetup organizers for a long time so I scanned some discord servers for unlisted events for the database of keyboard meetups. I'm pretty sure there are many more meetups being organized, and I can't keep an eye on all the local communities, so feel free to ping me if you know of any missing one.


New entries/updates

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.

Vendor database

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

  • Kea Workshop (Auckland, New Zealand) added, and Claude offered you a 10% discount (coupon code: KBDNEWS). Thanks!
  • Ori Kobo – waiting for the shop to be updated.


  • A handful of shop logos added, some optimization here and there.
  • Investigating some newsletter issues. There was a huge drop in open and click rates in mid-July for some reason.


Still with me?

Did you hear about the guy who had his left side cut off? He's all right now!


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 Fri 8th Sep 2023. Featured in KBD #134.


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