[Sergei Silnov] was quite attached to the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard, an updated version of their Natural keyboard that brought so many into the split fold. But once [Sergei] started writing notes in coffee shops, it was time for something portable.
The trouble with many portable keyboards, especially folding ones, is that they’re not often comfortable to type on. However, the Crabapplepad, a sleek, elegant offering, looks as though it begs to differ.
[Sergei] truly thought of everything and packed it into this 2cm thick wonder. There’s a little kickstand to hold your phone, or you can just throw an Apple trackpad between the halves and it magnetically attaches. Inside there’s a Seeed Studio XIAO nRF52840, and the switches are the extremely thin and hard-to-find Kailh PG1425 X, a sweet-looking scissor switch.
The only problem with X-switches is that there is only one type of keycap for them at the moment, and there aren’t any homing bums for F and J. To get around this, [Sergei] designed some 3D-printed frames to go around the keycaps and make them more distinct. Yes, this beauty it is open source, so go forth and be comfortable in absolute style. Don’t forget to check out the demo after the break.
To be honest, there once was a pretty good folding keyboard — the Palm Portable. Don’t worry; someone made a Bluetooth adapter for them.
Continue reading “Crabapplepad Folding Keyboard Is Actually Pretty Sweet”
If you want something as personal as a keyboard done right, you have to do it yourself. Not quite satisfied with the multitude of mechanical offerings out there, [summific] decided to throw their hat into the ring and design the Chrumm keyboard. And boy, are we glad they did.
Between the lovely tenting angle and tilt, the gorgeous flexible PCBs, and the pictures that could pass for renders, [summific] has given us something beautiful to behold that we can only dream of thocking on. Even the honeycomb plate is nice. Oh, but this monoblock split is completely open source.
This Raspberry Pi Pico-powered keyboard features a 3D printable case design without visible screws, and a rotary encoder in the middle. Those palm rests are firmly attached from the underside. Why are the thumb cluster keycaps upside down? It’s not meant to drive you insane; it’s because the contour is more finger-friendly that way, according to some people.
[summific] makes this look easy, but it doesn’t matter, because all the hard work is already done. If you want something easier, start with a macropad. Or a macro pad, even.
When thinking about a perfect keyboard, some of us have a veritable laundry list: split, hot-swapping, wireless, 3d printed, encoders, and a custom layout. The Aloidia keyboard by [Nguyen Vincent] has all that and more.
One of the first things to notice is a row of solar panels on the top, which trickle charge the keyboard. The keyboard uses 65uA in idle and 30uA when in a deep sleep. With the solar panels providing anywhere between 600-1200uAh a day, the battery should last a year and a half under even harsh conditions. The encoders were specially chosen to reduce pull-up power consumption. Given the focus on power and the lack of wires between the halves, you might wonder how the connection to the computer is handled. Does one-half handle the connection and use more power? The answer is that both talk to a dongle based around an nRF52840. This lets the keyboard halves idle most of the time and enables the dongle to handle the expensive communications to the host PC.
Instead of an e-paper screen in the top left, [Nguyen] placed a Sharp memory display. The 3D-printed case is stunning, with no visible screws on the top and tenting feet on the bottom. The two halves snap together very satisfactorily with the power of magnets (the printed palm rests also magnetically attach). Overall it is an incredibly well-thought-out keyboard with all sorts of bells and whistles.
There are project logs with detail to dig into and more videos and photos. We love a good keyboard journey like this one that went for a more ergonomic shape that meant more custom wiring.
Schematics are up on hackaday.io in the files section—video after the break.
Thanks [Shantanu] for the tip!
Continue reading “Solar Powered Split Wireless Mechanical Keyboard”
Hooray, the system works! [Sasha K.] wrote to let me know about their Thumbs Up! keyboard, which is the culmination of a long journey down the DIY rabbit hole to end game. (Seriously, it’s kind of a wild ride, and there’s a ton of pictures).
Thumbs Up! comes in both monoblock and full split versions, but both are designed for Kailh chocs. Fans of the Kinesis Advantage will dig the key wells and possibly the thumb cluster, which in this case is raised up a bit from the mainlands. I’m pretty fond of the naked PCB approach to keyboard building, especially when they’re stacked and look as good as these do.
While the full split only comes in RP2040 (not that there’s anything wrong with that), the monoblock split is available in Pro Micro, ATmega Mini, and RP2040 versions. You can find the STL for the tilt stand and other goodies on Thingiverse.
Continue reading “Keebin’ With Kristina: The One Where Shift (Really) Happens”
It turns out that typing all day just might be bad for your hands and fingers. Repetitive Strain Injury, RSI, was a real problem for [David Schiller], particularly when coding. So, naturally, he started designing his own keyboard. And bless him, he’s shared the whole project on GitHub.
The solution is Fulcrum, a chording keyboard with keys that can be pressed with minimal movement. And one more clever trick is a thumb joystick, mounted in the thumb’s opposable orientation. It’s a 5-way switch, making for a bunch of combinations. The base model is a 20-key arrangement, and he’s also designed a larger, 40-key option.
The build is pretty simple, if you have access to a 3D printer. Print the STLs, add key switches, and wire it all up to a microcontroller. Use the supplied code, and all that’s left is to learn all the chord combos. And why stop with combos for single characters, when there are plenty of common words and plenty of key combinations. If you decide to build your own take on the Fulcrum, be sure to let us know about it!
One of the nicest problems to have with a split keyboard, even a monoblock split, is deciding what to put in the middle. Most people go for either the mouse, or else their beverage of choice. Some might sub in a bowl of snacks later on in the day. Personally, we most often use the space for holding notes.
[AlSaMoMo] went with the mouse, but decided to make it a permanent installation. They planted a trackball in the middle of Batreeq, their awesome little monoblock split. For a while now, [AlSaMoMo] has been using 30-key ‘boards and wanted to see about integrating a trackball. Not only that, Batreeq has a fun-looking scroll ring and haptic feedback. Plus, it just looks fantastic.
Even though Batreeq is vaguely bat-shaped, the word translates to ‘penguin’, which, on second glance, the keyboard does appear a bit villainous. But fear not, Batreeq’s PCB is open source, as are all of [AlSaMoMo]’s keyboards.
Want to have more space between your hands? Check out this split that uses VGA connections.
Via KBD #103
When it comes to building a split keyboard, you have a lot of options when it comes to the cable. Many will use a standard 3.5 mm TRRS cable, and others might use something more esoteric like RJ-45 to run between the halves. This only works if you’re using two controllers; if you only want one controller, you have to pass the matrix from one side to the other, which typically requires more than the four wires offered by the aforementioned choices. While rummaging around, [Joe Scotto] found a VGA cable and thought, why not use that?
This lovely Barbie-themed peripheral is a split version of an earlier board he built called the ScottoFly, which is a monoblock split with a void in the middle. As with that one, this is hand-wired using thicc brass insulated with heat-shrink, uses a solid 3D-printed plate, and a printed case. And like a madman, [Joe] coiled the cable.
Unfortunately, this proved to be problematic in the wire breakage sense, or so he thought. The real problem turned out to be that the middle row of pins on a VGA connector all act like ground, so they can’t be used to pass rows and columns. However, there were still enough viable pins to send the 4×5 matrix across. Be sure to check out the build video after the break.
Continue reading “Colorful Split Keyboard Uses VGA Connections”