October 2020

October 2020: PCB Testing, Second Case Prototype Changes

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Testing of the 2nd PCB prototype is underway which features a 1.2mm thickness and modified leaf-spring style cuts on the tabs.

Typing experience is much better than R1 since the lack of full-row flex cuts prevent the whole rows of keys from bouncing around too much, (something you normally wouldn’t experience with a full/half plate). At the same time, the gaskets allow for a soft bottom out and the thin PCB provides a firm but flexible feel.

IC Feedback

  • Some people have asked about whether the side tabs are really necessary since you never see side mounts on plate designs. Without them, the modifiers don’t have as much support and the typing force feels very uneven, especially with gasket mount. So yes, they are necessary.
  • In-switch LEDs: at this time I won’t be adding them in just to keep things simple. If I decide to run another round, it will be included
  • Split-spacebars: it would require a PCB re-design so unfortunately that is also out of the picture for this round
  • Lighter rose gold color: the first prototype was a custom pantone that the factory had never worked with before so color matching was a challenge. Adjustments are being made to a more reproducible, lighter rose gold color.
  • Only 20% polled like HHKB so unfortunately that is out of the picture
  • Green PCB: sorry but it will be black.
  • Polycarb case: maybe for R2!

Next Steps

2nd case proto has been ordered with a couple changes:

  • Removed the text logo at the back based on feedback
  • Slightly increased the space between PCB and case to provide more room to flex
  • Added alignment tabs for the brass accent piece
  • Polished brass just to see if I like it
  • Changed the rose anodization color to a lighter one

Updated to-do:

  • Sound test
  • Design and order custom packaging (samples in transit)
  • Look into reasonable intl shipping costs (30% of IC is outside North America!)
  • Prepare for GB – hoping for 2020 but we’ll see

In the final stages of the group-buy, hopefully everything goes well and we can be on track for a December release.

-kbye

Website Launch

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Welcome to my new website for my design projects, studiokestra.ca. Here I plan to provide project updates, design resources for released boards, as well as a future storefront for group buys.

My mechanical keyboard hobby started in 2011, when I had just graduated university and my girlfriend gifted me a Razer Black Widow Ultimate. I never really got into customs until 2017, when I purchased a Filco keyboard and “modded” it with a crappy set of laser printed ABS keycaps. I’ve been hooked since then, and now my interest has turned to designing and creating my own keyboards.

All of my group buys will ship from Canada. As many from the CMK community know, buying in USD sucks for us. I hope that myself along with the many Canadian vendors can help bring some cool stuff to market that is attainable and doesn’t break the bank for Canadians.

Thanks for reading, take care and expect some cool things in the future!

– kbye