This is a Massdrop group buy for the ErgoDox Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Kit! This kit is the result of over a year of work by a dedicated group of keyboard enthusiasts. Each keyboard kit has 14 separate components, over 160 individual items, two custom built parts and plenty of potential for modding. In addition to all the hardware features, the software is programmable via this configurator, so you can truly make this keyboard your own. This is a DIY kit so you will have to do the assembly yourself.
Don’t let that scare you off, we’ve got a step by step build guide right here.
The electronic components are exactly what dox had in mind, no cheap substitutes. The clear acrylic cases are heavily inspired by a design from litster, and are a crafted from laser-cut acrylic. The PCB is custom made to the spec that bpiphany wrote up when building his units. Two layer, custom printed with instructions and outlines, the high quality blue silkscreened PCB will make you glad your case is clear. Everything is powered by the Teensy USB development board, a micro-controller that is quite popular with the mechanical keyboard community.
Ergonomic keyboards are designed to minimize muscle strain and solve a host of related problems. This keyboard uses a split design that allows your arms to rest naturally at your sides instead of forcing them into a cramped position close to your body. The two foot long connecting cable allows for a variety of configurations and it's an easy to find a replacement if you want a longer version for more extreme setups.
In addition to superior positioning, the keys on the ErgoDox are arranged to limit the amount of hand movement required while typing. Taking into account how silly it is that both of your thumbs are relegated to the space bar, the ErgoDox has dedicated the right thumb to space and the left thumb to backspace and delete. This layout makes it so you don't have to move your entire hand when you need to delete a character and your normal space bar habits remain completely unaffected.
Horizontal layout is just the tip of the iceberg. With the screw based case construction you can experiment with different slants to find what position works best for you. In addition to slant customization, you can also fully customize the keyboard layout and reprogram the Teensy board (uses Arduino software) to make the keys trigger whatever functions you desire. This keyboard may take a little learning but once you've got it down, you can perfectly tailor it to meet your needs. Ergonomics and keyboard layout design by dox.
This keyboard is setup to use Cherry MX mechanical key switches. These switches are well known for their extremely long lifetime (20-50 million key presses) and superior response times. The switches are mounted to a plate layer rather than directly to the PCB. This is done to reduce stress on the PCB and prolong the life of your keyboard. As a result, the keys are rigidly secured in place producing a more solid aesthetic and feel.
Cherry MX Switches don't need to be pressed down all the way in order to register a key stroke. This means you can type faster with less fatigue. There are six types of switches available for the ErgoDox. The three most important criteria when determining which switch type is right for you are:
Cherry MX Browns are among the most popular of switches, and are particularly desirable because of their quiet nature. This switch type is delightful to type on for extended periods of time and has a fairly low actuation force of 45 grams. Many people exclusively prize this switch type over all others for its use in crowded environments where a noisy keyboard would create enemies.
Cherry MX Reds are a very popular gaming switch option due to their low activation point and linear nature. Reds are a light switch, which allows for extremely fast keystrokes in serious situations. However, it should be noted that due to the ease of actuation on Red switches, people do often input accidental keystrokes, so make sure you know what you're in for.
Cherry MX Black switches are linear (non-tactile) switches, these are considered one of the best switch types for gaming. When gaming, having a tactile bump does absolutely nothing because you're going to be bottoming out anyway. The actuation and release points are at the exact same position as well. This means that games which require a lot of double tapping become easier with Black switches than on any other keyswitch. However, most people don't enjoy typing on them that much do in part, to their linear nature.
If you're a person who tends to hit a wrong key every so often while gaming, these will be beneficial in that the high actuation force will help prevent many of those accidental presses.
Cherry MX Blue switches are the best cherry switch for typing. The tactile bump can easily be felt, and the resistance is similar to your average keyboard. Although many people find them just fine for gaming, some don't like the fact that the release point is above the actuation point. This can cause some trouble with double-tapping. This is usually the case with someone who has experienced other mechanical switches before hand.
Cherry MX Clear switches have often been called "stiffer browns" though some users note that they have more of a tactile feel than browns do. This really can be a subjective topic, though this is another switch that could be considered "balanced." The force required is comparable to most rubber dome keyboards, with a nice tactile feedback to tell you the key has actuated. These switches are harder to find on keyboards.
After all of this education about the different types of Cherry MX switches, this video should help you see some of the simple elegance in the design. Credit to dacasman for creation of the Cherry MX animation GIFs as well as this video.
This keyboard kit has a few options you can choose from at checkout. Choose what kind of cherry switches you want, which style of case you want, and whether you would like to add keycaps.
Full Hand Classic
There are several different keycap options available at checkout for the ErgoDox and pictured below are the different keycap types offered. The two we offer with this listing are DSA keycaps which are all uniform and flat, and DCS which have varying slants to cradle your fingers as you type. DSA and DCS are profiles designed by Signature Plastics and you can learn more about their profiles by looking at their helpful Standard Keycap Families Page.
Before we launched this buy page, we had a few prototypes built. We documented the build process to help you when it comes time to assemble your own kit. Here is a link to our instruction manual. It takes you from soldering the first diode to flashing the most recent firmware so hopefully you'll have a good time putting this together.
You can find out step by step build guide here.
As for quality control, we've done a few things to help make sure that everything goes smoothly for this kit. We'll be including a few extra switches, diodes, extra LEDs, and resistors all for free. We've also built our own keyboard and made sure that everything fits smoothly and is working properly. That said, this is a DIY kit so we can only help replace parts that are faulty upon arrival (so inspect your kit as soon as you get it). We'll also be sure to take care of all European and Asian users in the case of any issue - don't worry, we'll cover the shipping.
Our parts are sourced locally, but we ship globally. These kits will ship to all countries at very affordable rates. Shipping to the USA is free. Shipping to Canada will be $14.99 and shipping anywhere else in the world will be $24.99. We'll do everything possible to make the fulfillment go quickly. However, there is a global shortage of Cherry MX switches and as such, it might take a significant amount of time to receive all the switches in our order. Those customers who ordered first will be given priority in the case of a shortage.
Estimated ship date is Jan 29, 2015 PT.
After the drop ends, payment will be collected and the group’s order will be submitted to the vendor up front, making all sales final. Check the discussion page for updates on your order.