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

Clearance would probably be your largest issue unless you plan on taking it off every time you shut the laptop.

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Just discovered Framework and am blown away by how much it changes the game. The sustainability/repairability and linux support alone are enough to make other brands feel uncompetitive, but just when I thought it couldn’t get any better… qmk on a laptop keyboard? Amazing.

That said, I’m really hoping alternative layouts gain traction. Massive spacebars are so wasteful.

While a full ortho would be ideal, if it’s any easier to just take a standard layout and split up the spacebar into as many keys as possible, that would get me 90% of the way towards what I want.


I understand that it’s a very niche market for an ortholinear laptop keyboard, but we’re also the bunch who’s willing to pay a hefty price for it. The average price of an ergo ortholinear keyboard is above $200 for sure. And I’m willing to pay $500 (excluding the keyboard itself) just to have it installed. If someone is willing to install an ortholinear keyboard (preferably 3x5_3), please kindly DM me. I’ll immediately buy a framework and a compatible keyboard.

I’m so sick of using the regular laptop keyboard. I curse every time I have to put the acrylic sheet and then my chocofi on top of the laptop keyboard and connecting it and all the shenanigans just to use a decent keyboard that doesn’t hurt my wrists.

Thanks guys!


The problem is that I don’t think any compatible keyboard exists. Someone could potentially create one, but the construction of laptop keyboards is challenging and expensive. In order to make them thin enough. And a lot of the most dedicated custom keyboard users seem to strongly prefer mechanical keyboards, to the point of feeling hatred for membrane laptop keyboards. So I think those two combined are the reason it doesn’t exist.

The Framework-16 I bet will overcome this though.


I’m curious, is there any news on this? It seems like it might be doable to mod the hinges to gain some extra space for the keyboard.

It’d be awesome to use an ergonomic keyboard inside this laptop!



Thanks a lot for your interest.
I am personally more interested in an ergo keeb as plug in play as possible, without further modification to the FW13 beside the input cover.

As an alternative, I am looking into cutting a proper aluminium based for the keyboard like the original one, then build a custom membrane on top of it.

While I am at it, hello again @nrp .
I know you are probably quite busy handling the new models releases as well as the next points on FW’s roadmap, but I was wondering if there was any update regarding the individual key switch development, now that the FW16 is out?

Best regards to all.


Ah yeah I should’ve said that I’m talking about the FL16.
I’d also love a mostly plug and play keyboard for the FL16, but I’m wondering if it’d also be possible to create a detachable bluetooth keyboard. That’d be insanely cool for on the go, but I’m not sure if it’s possible. The batteries would probably fit easily on the sides, the harder problem is structural integrity and a nice mounting system. ZMK should be able to take care of the firmware and bluetooth part, so that’s nice.

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I’m curious if this is being pursued? I’m so used to my ergo dox that I just can’t do laptops any more, and I’m looking at the Voyager mentioned above.


Hello Lee,

Thanks for the interested.
Progress is slow, but I am still working on prototyping a better base layout for the keyboard using CNC.