I've been thinking about making a new keyboard that's somewhere in between my first split ergo keyboard and my grid60. So a split (but not separated) ergonomic keyboard with staggered columns.

Basically like an Atreus, but with a few more thumb-specific buttons and 60 keys total.

In terms of the construction I'm thinking of doing more fancy stuff with the sound - so actually have a plate for this one. Foam between plate and PCB, and silicone below. Maybe a gasket-mounted plate?

This is roughly what I'm thinking for (half of) the layout. It's a little weird-looking but I quite like it.

I think I can manage to make it so that you flip the left side PCB over to make the right half. If I can get my head around it, that is.

I'm gradually getting there with my split keyboard layout. I can tell that getting everything to the connector is going to be tricky! Tonight I'm dealing with the battery/power stuff in the top left.

It's starting to be less of a mess... or at least, a more compressed mess. Power stuff is mostly done, just got to connect everything to the microcontroller module and the keyboard half connector.

Getting there with the keyboard routing, but it's getting pretty messy. I think I'll need to redraw most of the tracks to tidy it up and rearrange stuff.

Mostly done with the keyboard PCB - it's still a bit messy around the microcontroller, but I can live with that.

Oh, just realised I need to remove the ground fill under the antenna!

Aaand I think that's the layout done! I need to review it (particularly how the connector between the two halves works) but I think that's pretty good!

Good thing I checked the connector - it doesn't work out quite how I thought in my head! I thought flipping one PCB over and putting the header on the bottom instead of the top would connect pin 1 to pin 2 and vice versa.

But this paper mockup shows that pin 1 is gonna connect to pin 1, because both the PCB and the connector have been flipped so they cancel out.

It's not quite back to the drawing board - I'm pretty sure I can do my original plan which was to have the connector straddling the edge of the board. That way the connector orientation *does* flip with the board, so the pins do get swapped!

I think it's ready! I changed the connector over to an edge mounted one (which may or may not be very resilient to stress). Also took the chance to move the mounting hole close to the USB port, to hopefully strengthen that corner of the PCB.

Started designing the plate for the Schism keyboard. It's probably not necessary but I'm planning to gasket mount this, and generally do stuff to make the keyboard sound nice!

I'm getting somewhat used to the #FreeCAD way of doing things, switching between workbenches as appropriate (e.g. designing features in PartDesign, making arrays in Draft and doing boolean operations in Part.

I think it could be nice to have some of these features duplicated in other workbenches (e.g. PartDesign could do with having Draft's array tools). I'm sure there's some reason they're not, though.


@gbrnt Why don't you use the Spreadsheet to define the dimension of your cuts and although the positions? You wouldn't have to leave PartDesign in this case.

The lattice2 workbench could be interesting for you too. wiki.freecadweb.org/Lattice2_W

@M4x I've driven sketch dimensions with a spreadsheet before - but with this many it would be kind of a mess, wouldn't it? Is there a way to define points in the spreadsheet and use that to drive the feature instead of having to draw out all the squares to cut? Also in PartDesign it'd need to be two features because the cut is stepped. That seems like more work than using the Draft PointArray method.

Thanks for linking the lattice2 workbench, I'll take a look!

@gbrnt I wouldn't define every point. Instead define the startingpoint(s) and the horizontal / vertical distance between a key. You can use this information to calculate the position of your pockets. Honestly I'm not sure if draft array isn't the better way already.

Could you show me what you're meaning with the stepped cut? Stepped in which directions?

@M4x On my phone right now, but there's an image in this thread that I sent to @normandc. The hole is a 14x14 square at the top, then 1.5mm down becomes a 16x16mm square.

Draft array seems easier to correct if I change the position of keys in a new version of the PCB, as they'd all be individually adjustable.

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