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Classics Refreshed + New Customization

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CTRL, ALT, SHIFT V2 We think it’s fair to say Drop’s original CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT keyboards have earned a place as classics within the hobby. But, since their debut, it’s also fair to say there has been a lot of evolution among mechanical keyboards. So, what do you do to modernize a classic without sacrificing what made it so in the first place? And, beyond that, what might something totally new look like? When we’ve done customer surveys and asked buyers why they picked one of the three the answer is usually the same - the design. Machined from a solid block of aluminum, then sandblasted and anodized, with pleasant rounded corners and simple-yet-elegant industrial design, CTRL, ALT and SHIFT look as great as they feel.  However, the common complaints we’ve heard are related to stabilizers, switch compatibility, and typing sound. So, we’d like to introduce you to the V2 family of these icons. 
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The refreshed V2 versions of CTRL, ALT and SHIFT will all have several upgrades: - Stabilizers are now updated to our highly reviewed Drop Phantom Stabilizers  - PCBA was redesigned to support 5-pin switches  - All keyboards come with 4 layers of foam for better acoustic performance
- PORON top case foam which sits between the top case/plate and the PCBA
- IXPE switch foam, which sits between the switches and the PCBA to act as a force break and adjust the switch sound
- PORON hotswap socket foam which sits under the PCBA and acts as an envelope for the hotswap sockets and other components
- PORON bottom case foam to fill any additional empty space inside the keyboard and eliminate any “hollow” sounds
- The keyboards now support the popular VIA configurator. Vial support will be available later this year. - New firmware to support latest QMK features including 50 different LED patterns included by default Some of the key features we are keeping: - Industry leading RGB LED brightness  - North facing LEDs to support LED shine-through for those of us who love flashy RGB settings, along with the LED diffuser in between the top and bottom aluminum housings (for those of you who care about this less and prefer south facing, stand by) - Dual USB-C output for easier cable management and using the keyboard as a hub The upgrade parts - PCBA, stabilizers, foams - will also be available to purchase separately, so existing CTRL, ALT, SHIFT customers can upgrade their existing keyboards to more contemporary performance. The keyboards and parts will be available to order next week. CSTM PLATFORM So, that’s good news for everyone who loves (or wants to love again) the sophisticated, all-aluminum designs of CTRL, ALT and SHIFT. But, we have also been working for well more than a year on an entirely new keyboard platform – one inspired by the nearly universal passion to make your setup your own style. We are excited to give you a preview here. This platform is called CSTM and our first model will be a tenkeyless version called CSTM80. The CSTM platform is all about… drumroll please…. customization. In addition to the usual customizable switch plates and weights, the keyboard has a magnetically attached top case which will allow designers to expand their designs from keycaps to the keyboard case itself. Combined with more customization options -- from designer deskmats to matching cables to custom grilles for BMR1 speakers – this new platform will offer unprecedented matching or personal expression across your battlestation. More to come soon!
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Spinner410
6
Sep 12, 2023
I was busy contemplating whether or not to buy one of these and then I remembered that my ALT died just after 3 years and this is basically the same board with the -bonus- of integrated plates (oh wait)..
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Will the new pcbs work on the old cases? it'd be nice since my alt pcb broke with the hotswap sockets breaking off just trying to install a switch
jxliu
1201
Engineer
Sep 12, 2023
Rice_PoutineYes, V2 PCBs work in old cases (and V1 PCBs work in new cases).
juanf
0
Sep 10, 2023
Is 2023, please provide an optional wireless mode!
Delighted to see the CTRL et-al get a PCB refresh, and for more other keyboard options being added for folks who prefer choosing plate materials and such. I really appreciate the increased compatibility. 5-pin support is great. Not in love with only plate-mount stab support, but TX APs being available in plate-mount now blunts that sting a bit 😛 Including foam from the start makes sense to me. There are lots of other keyboards that still need help from the little foam shops - I say high-five for making it standard here. North-facing as a default makes sense for this being an RGB-centric type of keyboard, but I would love to see a South-facing PCB. Understanding that would have additional development cost and not necessarily be popular, I still think lots of current owners would love the option. I happened to find a switch that I love using with the integrated plate and that also plays nice with DCX while North-facing, but if course more compatibility is always good. (TTC Silent Brown V2 if you're curious - just about any short travel switch should dodge the issue, as will any of Kailh's Box switches that have the circular shroud, among others) So, I will definitely be picking up one of these PCBs - I still have one more ask for this series, though - an optional accessory in the form of an aluminum part to replace the plastic diffuser. Anodized, maybe coated as a premium. Just imagine it; black ceramic hi-profile with a gold stripe. Purple gloss for the Hyperfuse keeb. Hot pink for the Cyber one - you get the idea. :3
DeadeyeDaveOoo, good shout. That'd help both the existing boards as well as V2's with more options, assuming the rest of the case structure is the same near the diffuser.
Any chance we'll see new case color options?
VeritechVF1SNot for prebuilt versions, we are working on some special premium case finishes right now though. You can expect to see many more case options for the CSTM series of keyboards at very affordable prices.
LukasMThat sounds wonderful! I'm a big fan of cases that allow for ease of swapping. Like the Bakeneko, for instance. You can easily remove the entire PCB and assembly in seconds and either swap it into a different case, or swap a different assembly in.
ChuckIenuts
0
Sep 10, 2023
Why can't you guys ever just make a standard 100% unf*cked keyboard with industry standard layout for once? Why is every single one of your keyboards either tenkeyless or fudded to heck and beyond? 104-key US QWERTY, it's a standard for a reason. Make this in top industry quality, and i WILL buy it. Edit: Here, a picture! Look at it! https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3a/Qwerty.svg/430px-Qwerty.svg.png
(Edited)
Millia
87
Sep 12, 2023
ChuckIenutsI've given up on the battlestation blingable keyboard of my dreams- ideally the CTRL but in IBM 122 style, but I'd love just a 104. Nobody wants to make one, even though there's lots of us out here willing to buy a kb that doubles as a self-defense tool in a pinch, either by RGB blinding or physical impact. I'm willing to take a matching numpad though- that would be fine. Still waiting.
AND, still no wireless!!
RarebreedAmazing how such a ordinary comment can get upvoted and then down voted so quickly. Dodgy behaviour, I suspect.
Cipulot
13
Sep 9, 2023
"The keyboards now support the popular VIA configurator." Weren't the Alt and CTRL merged in VIA like 7 months ago? "Vial support will be available later this year." VIAL support litereally takes the addition of a line in rules.mk and compilation but ok... "latest QMK features including 50 different LED patterns included by default" Damn folks, good job figuring out that RGB effects are available. Also don't count the various speeds as separate patterns, like be real. "Industry leading RGB LED brightness" Aka the same as any other keyboard pcb that uses the same led modules as everyone else w/o limiting brightness either in hardware or firmware through QMK. "the common complaints we’ve heard are related to stabilizers, switch compatibility, and typing sound." And yet still integrated plate is the only option. But hey, now we have foam. IDK where the "V2" namign comes from, these aren't big enough changes to "justify" the V2 naming I feel like. Sure, PCB revisions and all might align with the canonical rotation of Vx naming but from a featureset POV I can say, and the otehr comments seems to agree, that these aren't earth-shattering things. The decision to stick to integrated plate and the inclusion of not 1, not 2 but 4! foam layers is the clear demostration of that. I understand the challenges of running a product on this scale and keeping it sorta in-stock are hard, but folks like Keychron in primis and NK and others clearly demonstrates that it ain't that hard.
(Edited)
Integrated plates. In 2023. Oof.
You.. you kept the integrated plate? Fire whoever came up with this bullshit money grab.
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