DIY Staggered Columnar Laptop Keyboard (Semi Ortholinear) [Prototype]

@dosssman

yeah I meant to say 2 4x6 boards connected together, which makes a 40% layout
I handwired it since I am using gateron low profile, the circuit design are similar to lets-split

i do not plan to use the stems or keycaps. In fact, I pretty much just intended to salvage the contacts and spring since I imagine it would be more reliable than membrane setup and have a good amout of switches laying around. Everything else would probably be 3d printed. It is pretty annoying to work since some feature are right against what is possible with the printer I have.

regardless, I have a initial prototype at the moment and it is switching fine while having a thickness of 3mm. I am thinking of solder the contacts and springs on pcb and epoxy on someting to clip onto a kepcap

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Hello. :slight_smile:
I am also very interested in the possibility of integrating an ergonomic keyboard (at least only orthogonal, at best split with staggered columns).
I can’t buy a standard laptop because all models are equipped with a standard non-ergonomic keyboard. If the Framework Laptop 16 offers an ergonomic keyboard model with blank keys, I would certainly be interested in this computer.

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Someone (not me) built something based on a MNT Reform:


Source: jacqueline: "i made a trackball module for my reform!" - chaos.social

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@nrp Another thing that would help custom keyboards would be a way to make room for taller keycaps. Maybe some longer hinges and an extended bezel for the screen.

The individual pcbs sounds amazing. Then one could 3d print a holder in whatever layout they wanted.

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Hello there.

Just saw the RGB Macropad for the FW16, amazing work as always.
Now that it is out in the open, I was wondering if there is any update on individual key switch modules ?

Thank you for your time.

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We’re still in progress on it. It does seem to be technically possible, but we don’t have a timeline for first samples.

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Excellent to hear!
Would be amazing to see people have custom ergonomic layouts they built.

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Such a keyboard would make me order a FW16 instantly.

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Barring development of individual key PCBs, is Framework thinking of creating any alternative layouts? It might make sense to have first party support for the most common alt layouts (i.e. Ortholinear, etc…).

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Tooling costs for custom keyboards is very high.

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Which is precisely why it might make sense for Framework themselves to take on the costs if there is enough demand for a particular layout.

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An out of box idea: if the keys were tilted laterally/vertically (right cluster tilted to right edge of laptop, left to left) that could both:

  • allow slightly more height underneath each key (sloped ~1mm to 0)
  • better fit the natural angle of our fingers. This could negate the increased unevenness moving between keys
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I’m willing to pay a premium for a staggered columnar keyboard. I am sick and tired of an unnecessary big space bar and the stupid default layout.

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I’d like to add that I as well am very interested in an ortholinear or column-staggered keyboard module, and would definitely pay extra for such a product.

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I had briefly looked into an ortholinear laptop replacement about a year or so ago. The up front cost to produce a custom, acceptable quality keyboard at any scale would be risky.

I think it would have to be a standard laptop scissor switch. The same components Framework uses now but arranged ortholinearly.
I had thought about Choc low-profile switches. These are the thinnest keyboards I have been able to build, but the z-height would be too much to fit into the existing case, just a little too thick.

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Now that the ZSA Voyager has been released, I wonder if it’d be possible to make an input cover with compatible magnetic mounting points.

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hmm so, giving you an ability to put the keyboard on top of the input cover?

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Yeah, exactly! It appears to have some magnetic mounting points on the corners and is designed with portability in mind

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aye! is there a mechanical drawing for these? could print them out on paper and see how it could fit

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This would be interesting to do with a Framework Laptop 16. It would be possible to make a Small Input Module that has pogo pads on it, and then the keyboard could just drop right on top.

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