Scratch-building a keyboard


Boss stole his keyboard? Did he take his stapler too while he was at it?

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I’m all for more niche keyboards (I’m a mechanical switch snob, with four mechanical keyboards currently in my stable), but I can’t see what this has that the ErgoDox project at GeekHack doesn’t have.

another link

I can see two very slight differences. One is that his columns of keys are not parallel to each other, they’re slightly more spread out at the top. The other is that the halves have some tilt to them, whereas the ErgoDox halves lie flat. Is that worth all of the labor? Maybe not. But if it’s more fun than taking up golf, more power to him.

I am 90% happy with a Kinesis Advantage, except for the chicklet function keys, and I’d really like to be able to hard-wire an Apple Magic Trackpad (so it works through my KVM) and have it sit in the middle of the keyboard. But I’m the kind of person who could burn their house down trying to install a bookshelf, so I probably shouldn’t break out the dremel on this.


See slide 3.

Boss = cat.

I also am about 90% happy with my Kinesis Advantage keyboard. I’m something like 480% happy with how long it’s lasted - seriously, I think I’ve had the thing for 15 years or something; I can’t even connect it without special adapters, because nothing has PS2 connectors anymore.

Looking at slide 6, on the left just below the Kinesis keyboard, was one that looks like it might actually address some of the 10% remaining dissatisfaction with my Kinesis keyboard - it has a proper numeric keypad in the middle, and proper full size function keys. A bit of searching reveals it’s a Maltron dual hand keyboard. The one in the slide doesn’t have it, but Maltron do have one with a trackball in the middle.

The remaining dissatisfaction that I can see - the shift keys are still stuck under the little fingers, and for some reason they’ve put the alt and control keys back at the bottom of the keyboard rather than under the thumbs.

I found their website to be a bit difficult to navigate, but there’s plenty of information there if you poke around a bit.

I’ve got about three years on the Kinesis, and it’s essentially brand new, aside from those wrist pads, which you can easily replace. I take it apart every few months to blow out the crumbs, and I’m also pretty amazed at the construction. It’s very much designed to be taken apart and repaired, not just thrown away when broken.

I looked at the Maltron too, but the US availability is sketchy, and they’re about double the cost of the Kinesis. I do like the real F-keys, but would probably remap the other modifiers you mention. (I use AutoHotKey already to remap some of the F-keys, using the Home and End keys as modifiers.)

I think the link was above, but if you really want to fall down this rabbit hole and spend a week or two obsessing over keyboards and mods, the site is the place to go.

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