An inside look at Kumo - The Next Generation MiniVan

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Hello! I am Evan, the creator of the MiniVan keyboard (https://www.massdrop.com/buy/minivan-keyboard). For the last several months I have been working on the next evolution of the MiniVan keyboard. This is the first MiniVan with a plastic case.
You can check it out on Kickstarter.
What is Kumo? Kumo is Japanese for 'Cloud'. Steven, art director for TheVan Keyboards, lives in Japan and I live in the USA. We wanted to embrace both of our homes with this launch. We have incorporated both English and Japanese Legends into the keycap set. When we were children we use to look up to the clouds and imagine all sorts of things. We carry that on with Kumo. We see the endless possibilities of what a keyboard can be and do.
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Why Plastic? Producing a plastic case has several advantages.
  • Lowers production cost
  • Gets us into plastic production
  • Reduces production time
  • Tons of color choices
Ultimately we would like to produce our HuB keycap profile. To get there we need to get into plastics. Our case is a relatively easy mold to do and is fairly inexpensive. This seemed like a great logical step for us to get closer to making HuB a reality.
Lowering Production cost and as a result lowering retail price is another huge benefit. Lowering the barrier to entry will allow us to share the joy of 40% keyboards with many more people.
RGB Indicators This is the first MiniVan with RGB leds. A whopping 3 of them. In conjunction with our configurator you can easily redefine what the LEDs indicate and in which colors they do so. This is immensely useful for knowing which layers are active, seeing how long the tapping term is for tap keys, or indicating traditional keyboard states (num lock, caps lock, scroll lock, etc.)
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Hotswap PCB Part of lowering that barrier to entry is removing soldering. No longer will you need special tools or knowledge. We have legofied the MiniVan keyboard to allow anyone to build and customize it!
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Leveraging the fact that mx switches are square and designed to work in any orientation we have found a way to continue supporting all of our existing layouts in our new hotswap model. There are limitations to what layouts can be overlapped in comparison to a non hotswap PCB, however none of those affect the MiniVan.

We are excited to share Kumo with the Massdrop community and hope you will join us on our journey.
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evangs
1472
Aug 8, 2018
Just a small update -> we are nearly fully funded! Big thanks to everyone who has already backed us. We have a stretch goal at 95k to include a holster case with every order. With around 8 days left, we are very close and need some help for a final push across the finish line! Head on over to kickstarter and search for "Kumo" to find the campaign.
evangs
1472
Aug 10, 2018
here are some photos of the indicator configurator and the results https://imgur.com/a/ZtaYayQ
naverlands
144
Jul 31, 2018
hot swap again? i feel like I joined this hobby just the right time. here i been dreading about soldering for the past six months ive known about mechanical keyboards and now im seeing hot swap in a lot of places. Yeah.
Torelli
51
Jul 24, 2018
Saw Kumo & was disappointed @ the lack of ichimoku references in this post. 😅
Anyway, extremely happy to see Japanese legends added to this iteration. Would LOVE to see this continue in any future endeavors! Keep up the great work! @evangs
evangs
1472
Jul 24, 2018
Thanks :)
xero
23
Jul 24, 2018
please invert all the colors. id buy this board just for the caps in dark grey/black
BlueCrowned
5302
Jul 22, 2018
Would suggest doing a full underglow/backlit RGB option
BlueCrowned
5302
Jul 22, 2018
I know but it was a suggestion for the future :)
evangs
1472
Jul 22, 2018
Noted :D
Smashism
1
Jul 22, 2018
This looks rad!
evangs
1472
Jul 22, 2018
Thank you!
A community member
Jul 22, 2018
Hi Evan, Have you considered creating a keyboard that reduces ulnar deviation, which is one cause of carpal tunnel syndrome? This could be done by introducing a gap down the middle of the keyboard and/or by making the PCB not a rectangle but more like a gentle V shape.
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KM1337
1870
Jul 22, 2018
Could just... use two minivans like a split keeb lol
Sgt_Hobbes
0
Jul 30, 2018
Or a Bananna Split if your can find one
keyoka
1
Jul 22, 2018
So excited!
evangs
1472
Jul 22, 2018
bchoy
25
Jul 22, 2018
this looks really good I want to add this to my collection!
Lefibonacci
626
Jul 21, 2018
please bluetooth with option to to use cabled
I'd like to see it be 2.4GHz wireless honestly. Less latency and more reliable from what I've seen.
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