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Mantis keycaps

Felix Kuehling released the updated keycaps for his Mantis keyboard.

KBD.news
Published October 17, 2023
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If you remember the Mantis and Mantis v0.2 by Felix Kuehling aka luckybipedal/fxkuehl, they are monoblock split keyboards built around the HEX keycaps designed by s-ol and manufactured by FKcaps. Felix now came up with a new profile for this hex spacing.

I updated the 3D-printed keycaps for my Mantis v0.3 keyboard to create more sculpted keywells that require less finger movement for typing – luckybipedal.

Thanks to the rotation of the switches on the PCB, this needs only two different keycap profiles, a flat one with 15° tilt of the dish and a tall one with 28° tilt.

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The flat keys are used on the home row, the outer pinky key and most thumb keys. The tall ones are used on the remaining keys.

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As kick-ass as these caps look, Felix is not happy with the rotation of the inner index finger keys with the taller key profile. Fixing that will require a revision of the PCB, at least if he wants to keep the number of distinct key profiles to just two.

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The author was able to print these keys very cost-effectively at JLCPCB, by joining 10 keys in a single 3D object. For the flat keys it brings the cost down to 30 cents per key. This leads to more imperfections than printing individual keys, but they are mostly cosmetic and don’t affect the usability.

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All in all, the savings are worth it for Felix to make several prototype keyboards cost effectively. If you see potential in this solution, check out this connected parts printing guide from JLCPCB.

Resources

The updated 3D models, including 10-key versions are on GitHub:

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Published on Tue 17th Oct 2023. Featured in KBD #140 (source).


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