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TomDP
6
Oct 24, 2016
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Buyer be aware: the thumb cluster is too far away and too flat for many people; see https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=62848.0
A fully-adjustable all-metal Topre or MX "ergodox" is being devised right now: see https://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/designing-a-custom-topre-board-t11734.html for the development thread and interest check here: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=84985.msg2273565#msg2273565
Oct 24, 2016
nnc-tlb
83
Oct 24, 2016
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sure, to many keys for the thumbs, I'm experiencing this right now. just use the 2u's with the thumb to avoid to much stress.
Oct 24, 2016
TomDP
6
Oct 25, 2016
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Gonna plug the full-metal adjustable split ortholinear Topre-or-MX board again. Design thread: https://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/designing-a-custom-topre-board-t11734.html Interest check thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=84985.msg2273565#msg2273565
There are 3 big issues with the ergodox which this beauty solves: 1. The thumb cluster is too far for many people. Removing the innermost column of keys (which are hard to reach reliably with the index fingers anyway) fixes this. 2. The thumb cluster is flat. Pressing your thumb down, on its side, is not comfortable. Game controllers and mice with thumb buttons solved this by placing them on the side, pressed with inward motion. This board's thumb clusters are adjustable independently of the rest of the board. 3. For anything to be truly ergonomic, it has to be adjustable. No one is truly average. See: https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.html
Oct 25, 2016
graefeln
28
Oct 27, 2016
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While people should be aware of potential options and issues, they should also be aware of price - that design, in Topre, is estimated at nearly 500$ USD (245$ for PCB/Electronics + 30$ (for two Teensy) + 200$ or so for a Topre board to harvest the switches); cheaper for MX, but still in another range over this drop (275$ + switches and caps).
Oct 27, 2016
TomDP
6
Oct 27, 2016
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Definitely worth pointing out, but it should also be said that there are a few unknowns about the final, "consumer-ready" version's price right now, since there aren't any prototypes and the estimates are conservative, and that there are ways to reduce the cost of one.
First, the Topre version can be made cheaper by not buying the board fully-assembled, Ergodox Kit-style, and by using cheaper keyboards, like a used Novatouch or Type Heaven, or even a https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Plum84-electrostatic-capacitive-mechanical-keyboard-topre-clone-compact-gaming-keyboard-PBT-keycap-detachable-cable-84-mini/32598836635.html. It would be silly to butcher, say, a Realforce, for this, because the whole thing about the Realforce and other nicer Topre boards isn't that their switches are better, but that the board's build gives them a deep "thock" sound the other boards don't really have. If building a custom Topre board, you'd want to source the switches from cheaper boards, since the switches aren't what make the nicer boards nicer.
Still no way to get around the (relatively) complex electronics and thus higher cost of the Topre variant :/
The MX version, though, could be done for ~$120 (case) + ~$10 (teensy) + ~$30 (switches) + diodes, wires, cables, I/O expander + keycaps, putting its cost close to most doxes and other custom MX keyboards. If you were to do this, you'd really only be paying extra for the adjustable metal case, which is the point of an MX build of this board.
Oct 27, 2016
graefeln
28
Oct 27, 2016
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From your own link, the designer lists (even conservatively) the PCB and case at 130GPB (that's 145$ USD) - he also states that "you'd need to spend a fair amount on components" (your diodes, wires, etc). It takes two teensy 3.1/3.2 which are roughly 20$/ea for genuine parts (more expensive than the more commonly used teensy 2.0). On top of that, you'd then have to do all the work yourself rather than just soldering in switches.
He also lists the 100GBP case price as based on a quote for 100 units - which will be a lot for a project like this - so that number won't change much, his conjecture was based on the assembly of the PCB.
Don't misunderstand me, I think it's an awesome idea and am looking forward to it coming to fruition... hell, I may even tear apart an RF for it, but I do NOT think it is the same market at this product.
Also, you mention tearing apart "lesser" Topre boards because their quality is the same, but the case material is lacking. That is not true - at the very least, Realforce uses a higher quality dome than most of the cheaper clones which is why people use donor RF rather than buying a cheap sheet off eBay (which there is a thread about on GH as well); most people that are in that deep money-wise would be tearing apart an RF for the domes I would think.
Oct 27, 2016
TomDP
6
Oct 28, 2016
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To clarify: the PCB aren't used for the MX variant; it'd be hand-wired like a traditional custom MX keyboard. The custom PCBs are for the Topre version.
The counterpoint I'm trying to make is that, while it is more expensive than most Ergodoxes, it isn't fair to say it's roughly $500 and be done with it, as that's for the assembled Topre variant, using a nicer Topre donor board, when you could build an MX version and have the only additional cost be the case, or build a cheaper Topre version if you chose to solder components yourself or use a cheaper donor board.
I don't think it's fair to dismiss it as an Ergodox competitor because of its higher price, when the price doesn't have to be much higher. I still think it's worth considering. It's at least worth knowing about the project, for anyone who's interested in split ortholinear ergonomic keyboards with configurable firmware.
Oct 28, 2016
graefeln
28
Oct 28, 2016
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When he mentioned wiring MX, he emphasizes the word should when he said that "...the case should be compatible..." - so that's not a guarantee. Honestly though, if you're talking about handwiring, I think that knocks it out as an Ergodox Infinity competitor right there - while they are both ergonomic keyboards, they appeal to different markets. Take a look at this thread and you will find numerous comments about it being "not worth the price if you have to solder," look elsewhere and you'll find posts about a major advantage of the Infinity being that components are already soldered, take a look at how many people new to soldering are trying things like this because switches are so easy and forgiving - handwiring a matrix is not.
It's like putting a hobby tool up against a professional tool - they accomplish similar tasks, and there is undoubtedly some market overlap, but in general, they appeal to different people.
Look at it as three market segments: those who want to do nothing (pok3r), those who don't mind doing a little (this), and those who don't mind doing it all (that).
You're removing key features that make the Ergodox infinity what it is so that you can level the price and that isn't fair to this product.
Oct 28, 2016
TomDP
6
Oct 28, 2016
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Re-reading my messages, I think my tone has been a bit aggressive, and I'm really sorry about that.
What I'm trying to say is that it's a project worth knowing about for people who are interested in split ortholinear ergonomic boards.
I intended to buy an ergodox, but when I found this project and saw that it was nearing the prototype and initial GB stage, I decided to wait, because its design solves a handful of the ergodox's problems (and I have a thing for metal, which is why I use MKC zinc V2 keycaps).
I now understand why you feel it isn't something you'd be interested in, but if I had found out about this project _after_ buying an ergodox, I'd be pretty sad, and seeing the number of posts on the IC jump up a bit since this comment thread here started, I think others may feel this way too.
Again, all I want to say is that if you're interested in a board like this, know about this project. I'm not holding it up as "The Mighty Ergodox Killer," but "If you liked X, you might like Y."
Oct 28, 2016
TomDP
6
Oct 28, 2016
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On the MX compatibility: it's a design goal, but the prototypes haven't been built yet, that's why it's an unknown how well they'd fit.
Standard Topre switches are 14mm x 14.6mm, they are a bit taller than MX switches. Clone Topre switches are supposedly 14mm x 14mm, like MX switches.
I think the idea is to mount the MX switches "sideways," since you can just do that with MX switches.
Oct 28, 2016
graefeln
28
Oct 28, 2016
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I am interested, and I agree it is nice to know about - I just think people should be aware of the negative aspects as well (realistic negatives). Truth is, this drop won't ship for four months, if we assume another drop occurs and ends a month later and has the same delivery time, you'd be waiting almost a year - I would hate for people and this to skip and and the haven to wait for it later.
Oct 28, 2016
mcmillion
82
Oct 28, 2016
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I suppose I have large hands, but the thumb cluster is the perfect distance away for me.
Oct 28, 2016
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