Where Did All My Keys Go? A Look Into the Function Layers of the MiniVan

more_vert
So you find yourself looking at these so called 40% keyboards, and all you can do is scratch your head and ask, "How do I do numbers?" A fine question indeed. In this post I want to break down the layout I am using on the MiniVan and alternatives for you.

The following image is my default layout, the layout of the keys without holding down any function keys.
search
As you can see, for the most part, it is standard qwerty. Caps lock, enter, left alt, and right shift have been replaced with function layer activation keys. I purposely wanted to be able to activate two layers with either hand thereby giving me access to every key on each function layer. If you don't need this you can reprogram (a programming guide is in the works) every single key to be whatever you want it to be. Right shift has shifted, pun intended, to the bottom row. I only ever used Control on the left side so the right control went bye bye. Alter was rarely used so I kept the right one to make room on the left for the FN2 key. Kept the left windows key, but again, I only need one so the right windows key is gone. I found that I only hit space with one thumb so moving enter to the other thumb naturally made sense.

The following image depicts Function Layer 1 which is activated by the red keys on the default layer.
search
By pressing either FN key (the light red) the layer is activated and the keys change from their default behavior to the dark red keys shown above. You can see special characters across the top row, programming characters in the middle row, as well as, arrows. Escape in the bottom left corner, led toggle, and print screen. Alternatively you could put the numbers across the top row. I had my layout setup that way in the beginning, but didn't like switching between hands when typing long strings of numbers. Remember, anything you don't like placement wise, can be reprogrammed. Move the exclamation point if you want. Put the arrows somewhere else. It can all be customized 100%.

"I still don't see any numbers!"

The following image is my Function 2 layer
search
I've got a numpad on the right which I find extremely useful for punching in numbers quickly, the best part being that I don't have to move my hands from home row. There are a couple keys for controlling volume, some programming characters as well. The numbers also go across the top row. I don't ever use the numbers that way anymore, but it shows the progression I went through.

My layout has changed significantly from the very first iteration. As I have moved things around and tried out different ideas, I have honed in on what I like and what works well for me. Your optimal layout might be drastically different. I encourage you to explore different layouts and to try different configurations.

Oh I almost forgot. I have a lock layer setup for gaming. This allows me to lock in something that doesn't really work for typing, but allows me the ability to play my favorite games.
search
Can you guess which games I play primarily based on my gaming layer?

I hope this post was informative for you and helped give you some ideas for what your optimal layout might be. As always, you're welcome to post questions and I'll answer to the best of my ability!
41
62
remove_red_eye
20.2K
evangs
1491

search
close
Trike-Mike
5
Mar 29, 2022
I saw this now years old post in one of the spam emails from Drop. It's just as relevant today as when it was written One thing I didn't see noted in this article or the comments is.... 40% is FAST. One's fingers move so little from home row that they just end up being really really fast. I also used to be of the "just not enough keys" when I looked at these. So... my journey to "weird" began with the XD75 ortholinear... a 75% keyboard. Took days to get fast. Then on to an Ergodox. Only took a few hours to get fast on that one after breaking finger memory to the XD75. However, I found that if I looked at my hands, my typing turned into a trainwreck. I had found that it was sometimes difficult to get keycaps with legends in the right size for a given layout BUT... now that I was never looking at my hands... blanks rock. Go for style and color only since it no longer matters whether I have the "right" keycap for a certain spot. The trip to 40% came when drop had the Planck on sale for what the heck money. That one took mere minutes to get used to after breaking finger memory on the other keyboards and I could style it how I liked as I didn't have to worry about what keycap went where other than color. After that I went directly to a Corne. Both the Planck and the Corne have become my alternating daily drivers. I get the other two out once in a while for the change but never stay on them long and back to the small ones. NOW I look at most keyboards and wonder why so many keys.
evangs
1491
Mar 29, 2022
Thanks for sharing. I love hearing other peoples stories coming into 40s. As firmware has advanced I’ve pushed even a bit further than what is written here.
Trike-Mike
5
Mar 30, 2022
I'd love to see another post of your evolutionary changes. I am half tempted to grab another 40 of some sort and start experimenting with tap dance configurations.
Enzo1
Jul 16, 2020
But see what games does he actually play with his keyboard...
evangs
1491
Jul 17, 2020
Counter strike. I made a new keyboard for league of legends
Enzo1
Jul 17, 2020
ah nice, a man of culture I see.
Chadchawan
2
Feb 12, 2020
Definitely, Starcraft
sjb217
0
Jun 18, 2019
Thanks for this!
While checking around, I came across this post. Thanks, for providing your minivan function layer layout!
evangs
1491
Sep 23, 2016
no problem!
Hypocaffeinic
109
Sep 17, 2016
Hey Evan, do you have a layout map please with the size of each key? I'm purchasing some nice blanks for the mods and want to ensure I get the right sizes! Cheers. :D
evangs
1491
Sep 19, 2016
N274
2
Sep 3, 2016
Is there support for macros?
evangs
1491
Sep 3, 2016
Yes
MiTo
13755
MiTo
Sep 1, 2016
Pretty interesting Evan, very nice to see the layers organized like this. I play some games every once in a while, so in case I happen to up(down)grade from my 60% I'm definitely getting a Van! Fantastic job, great looking case as well!
EDIT: Forgot to say that the Arrow layout looks like it would work better for me since I don't need more than one Shift/Control. Also, do you have any plans for RGB underglow?
evangs
1491
Sep 1, 2016
rbg is something that has been in the back of my mind for quite some time.. I have some ideas, but nothing noteworthy yet. I hope to add more of these features over the next year :)
tobsn
262
Sep 1, 2016
Hey Evan! Would you mind telling me how you ordered those custom made keycaps? thanks!
tobsn
262
Sep 6, 2016
does the cost drop a lot? I just ordered a custom set of DSA caps and the cost is insane...
evangs
1491
Sep 6, 2016
yes, if you can get to 50 sets it starts to become pretty reasonable. the more you can buy the lower the price will be per set.
Showing 24 of 62
keyboard_arrow_up
Newest
62 OF 62 POSTS
keyboard_arrow_down
Oldest
Trending Posts in Mechanical Keyboards