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Budgy

Another Raspberry Pi Pico based keyboard: Budgy by keyboarddweebs.

KBD.news
Published November 24, 2022
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The Budgy is a 34-key open-source split sporting Picos as controllers – shared by keyboarddweebs aka doesntfazer, designer of the Crowboard.

Another raspberry pi pico based keyboard. I call it the Budgy. This time split in half! – keyboarddweebs.

I reached out to Alex for some info and to correct my mistake of featuring the Crowbar six months after being published – simply because I wasn't aware it was open source. :|

Could you tell us about yourself and Keyboard Dweebs?

My name is Alex Miller – or my online alias DoesntFazer. I am a huge advocate for the open source/GNU community. I started Keyboard Dweebs to get away from the group buy model, and when I first opened it in 2019 there was really only 1 or 2 stores that sold little (sub-40) keyboards.

My other inspiration for going into business was to fund my keyboard addiction, expensive hobby for a cheap person like me. I know this might be sacrilegious, but I didn’t get into this hobby for the Thock. I didn’t get into it for the lubed switches and GMK keycap sets. I got into it because I saw people making these crazy 60% builds out of model Ms, I was seeing things like the Ergodox start to appear. I thought it was all so cool.

But about 1 year into my keyboard journey, I developed carpal tunnel. And that’s when I started going down the ergo rabbit hole.

Some thoughts on the Budgy and your inspiration?

The Budgy is named because it’s small like a budgie, and it’s a budget keyboard.

This is the second keyboard that I have designed under the Keyboard Dweebs name. The first being the Crowboard.

I would also like to side note, everything made under the Keyboard Dweebs name will be named after a bird species and have some kind of connection to the bird that it’s named after. I love birds. Hehe.

But I don't like designing cases. When I first saw the Gergoplex, it opened my world up to a new way of thinking. There’s no need for a case! This also saves a whole bunch of money as well for everyone involved. What inspired the Budgy was seeing these diodeless builds like the Cantor, Piantor, and Ferris. I figured this would be one more way to pass on some savings, and remove the annoyance of soldering diodes.

Some thoughts on your experiences, lessons learned?

I originally wanted to do this as a single board PCB like the Crowboard. After realizing that the Pico, only having 29 pins wouldn’t work I started seeking other options. I bought a BlackPill (STM32F401) and built out a firmware for it only to realize that I was mislead by the pinout diagram I was looking at, and it did not have 34 pins. So I had to go back to the drawing board. I settled on a split keyboard. I always liked the CRKBD and how it has the MCU on display, and I thought it was fitting to show off the Pico once again like I did on the Crowboard.

I won’t bore you with too many details, but I did run into issues with the firmware after assembly because in my infinite brilliance turned on SERIAL_USART_PIN_SWAP when I was prototyping because I didn’t check the footprint when I was wiring things.

There are two versions in the repo. What's the difference?

As for the Rev2, it’s not complete yet. I am adding per key RGB, and I am considering adding OLED’s, and maybe even some EC11 low profile encoders if I can find a place to put them.

If you were to download the files for the rev2 today, it only has the per key RGB implemented, and it should work in theory. I haven’t tested anything yet. So download and send to JLCPCB at your own risk!

I'm likely not going to be selling the rev 1s. I feel like I need to add more, but didn't want to go all out on my first split keyboard. If I do decide to sell them, I will probably sell as a kit, and as a prebuilt without keycaps and limited switch options because assembly time is reasonable.

Resources

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Published on Thu 24th Nov 2022. Featured in KBD #104 (source).


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