Mar 2, 20191404 views

THINK6.5° -- Polycarbonate 65% Keyboard

Hey my keeb friends, it's your boye oldcat here, to present a design in collaboration with airpotter from Gray Studio. Krauth summarized René Descartes' philosophy succinctly, "That cannot doubt which does not think, and that cannot think which does not exist. I doubt, I think, I exist." As a fan of and heavily influenced by Descartes' Philosophy, I combined the key term with some design choices of this board, and named it "Think6.5°". Think6.5° has been more than 3 months in the making, and the prototype is currently being made. I think it is a good time to gather some final feedback for a potential production version. My original plan was to make about 10 boards (at a relatively high price) for myself and friends, but PCB maker is not willing to just make 10. Potter asked me about doing a GB to lower cost of production, if enough people in the community are interested. So here it is: 
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Motivations and Design Choices 1. It is a design that I had for quite a while, that combines many good elements from all the top-notch 65% boards I own, trying to optimize and come up with an ideal design, for my own taste. 65% keyboards comprise a significant portion of my life out of the busy work schedules, and some of you have probably heard of and joked about my owning many Canoe boards. Indeed, the amazing designs like TGR910, Canoe, Zephyr, etc are the true inspirations for me, and I am trying to come up with a design that looks good and also optimizes typing sound. The final two candidates are 4.5mm PC plate vs. a gasket 1.5mm aluminum or 1.5mm brass plate. In our testing, thicc PC plate stands out. 2. From the typing sound perspective, we adopt a thick 4.5mm PC plate integrated to the top plate, PC helps to preserve the sound of the switch while simultaneously maintain typing consistency. No metal rattling or high-pitched sound from thick aluminum or brass. 3. I have always advocated for affordable premium-quality boards. Gray certainly shares this value. Therefore, for this board, the pricing will be very affordable and competitive compared with current offerings in the market, as per the tradition of prior Gray Studio GBs. Personally, I will promise you that as a designer I will not take a single dollar of profit out of a potential GB, the money will go to high-quality material, best processes, and Potter's and our PCB designer's manufacturing costs and operating expense. 5. Angle will be 6.5 degrees, hence the name. In my experience, 5° is a bit flat (feels ok), and 8° is too steep, so why not 6.5°, it feels good. 6. It will be PC only. Currently I do not have the intention to make an aluminum case, I believe there are many good aluminum board options in the market. If there are many requests, we will do a slight modification to make the metal version either top mount or gasket mount, shouldn't be too much work as we have other top and gasket designs already. 7. A high-quality, good looking, hotswap, QMK, Type-C PCB with underglow is being developed and will be included if this ever goes to GB stage. I know god-like Wilba's PCB is hard to beat, but our goal and material and process we use for this PCB will be that kind of quality. TL; DR, What are the Features? 1. Premium-quality, affordable Polycarbonate (PC) board, different colors of PC material is being considered  2. 6.5 degree angle 3. PVD Brass Badge and PVD Brass Weight 4. 4.5mm, perfectly-cut PC Plate optimized for both the sound and consistency with most switches (not your regular metal integrated plate!) 5. Three versions: ANSI Hotswap with badge, ANSI hotswap without badge, Compatible-layout non-hotswap 6. PCB is QMK, type-C (connector position in the middle), underglow, ESC key 4XRGB, hotswap (non-hotswap PCB for compatible layouts). Shooting for Wilba quality, let's see. 7. GB price estimation (case, with or without brass badge, brass weight, 1 hotswap PCB, designer box, accessories): under $300 8. A few ready-to-ship, non-profit raffle spots: estimated around $250 9. Design: oldcat and airpotter 10. manufacturer: gray studio and factory 11. Final simpler brass weight design is pending Planned Layout
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 Please fill out the Interest Check form, with polls: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KRWAYYYrB1h_g5ScqGBNsXAQZ2xYPu9bjIPLAIRx--4

Planned Timeline Late March: Raffle Early April: Regular GB Progress:   2/28/2019: 1.Case: Initial design complete, prototypes production in progress, eta 1-2 weeks. Will make multiple prototypes regarding badge placement. 2.PCB: Design complete, prototypes production in progress, eta 2 weeks. 3/1/2019: Sincere thanks to so many friends who have filled out the IC form! Based on the feedback from the first day: 1.Confirmed that we will make 1 case with badge (badge placement TBD), and 1 case without the badge. The blocker near the arrow cluster will stay. 2.We are exploring different colors of PC materials. 3.We are working on simplifying the bottom brass weight. 4.Most likely a second non-hotswap PCB will be provided either as a kit bundle or as an option (TBD). 3/2/2019: 1. new renders updated 2. PCB design posted 3. Received additional feedback and working on them 3/3/2019: 1. Badge with 3 upper indicator light has been adopted. 2. We will provide different colors of LEDs for the indicator lights, and hotswap SIP led sockets 3. Confirmed PCB design for the build-in 4XRGB circling on the ESC key. 4. Stepped capslock will be compatible 5. Font orientation on the badge being tweaked 6. Finalizing weight design and send .step file to factory  7. I believe we have addressed most concerns and feedback so far, and any additional feedback welcome. 8. Confirmed a third case option that supports compatible layouts (7u space, ISO, split BS).  3/4/2019: 1. Still working on refining the badge (alignment, font orientation) and the weight (some don't like the horizontal stripes, we are coming up with a better design). Rendering software hung a few times, it was frustrating and maybe time to get a new computer 2. Decide that we will make the badge's 3D model opensourced after GB, so that participants can make their own badge and print out with other materials. Default brass badge will still be included for #1. 3/5/2019: 1. Redesigned weight plan is out. Gather feedback to finetune 2. Renders for our meticulously-designed 4.5mm plate is out, optimized for all MX switches including Holy Panda 3. Badge design has been finalized. Still working on weight design (overnight).  4. PCB design finalized. 3/6/2019: 1. Weight and badge design completed. 2. PCB sent for prototyping  3. Cases sent for prototyping  Links of interest Follow me on Instagram Chat on Discord Channel Geekhack Interest Check Page

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The plate cuts for the compatible layout (#3 option).
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Images for 3D Printed Prototypes: https://imgur.com/a/hk9GDQs
(Edited)
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@OldCat soon? 😎
bfitz
Details will be announced on Geekhack March 31, 6:50PM!
GB planned for first week of April
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will be on Geekhack: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=99634.0 If MD is interested we can certainly consider a collaboration.
OldCat
Alright, thanks for the reply. Good luck!
More renders as we wait for production of the prototypes.
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老猫设计必出精品
Octolings
大佬好
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update: CNC prototype is out.
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More renders out:
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OldCat
this looks promising :)
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Update: Images for 3D Printed Prototypes: https://imgur.com/a/hk9GDQs
Update: 3D Printing case is done, delivering tomorrow Materials purchased, CNC case prototypes (all 3 layouts) are in production, completion estimate Monday/Tuesday
Final designs have been completed and sent for prototyping!
Final rendering of the revised badge and revised weight will come tonight or tomorrow.
Another update today. The design will finalize today and prototype will be made this week. If you have any feedback do let me know!
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No worries, I was literally sitting on MD while filling my cart at kbd with acrylic TOFU, pcb, stabs etc... when your post hit top of MK talk page. Yeah this will cost a bit more, but I loved the look from the very first pic and render. Not going to settle for a plain Jane wedge case when I could have this :) Aesthetically a better presentation, better build(looks like it) and the attention you are giving the top/plate. most other PC plates look poorly cut/finished and/or flimsy. Halo Clears, Kailh Pro Purples or HPs? Def putting York Chan 2600 on this.
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bfitz
HP is always my pick :)
How is raffle going to work? Auto enrolled from IC form, reply or raffle thread on GH, reddit, etc...? I am really interested in this, the more I look at renders the more I want one 😜
bfitz
Hey the prototype is coming this week! Haven't decided how raffle is going to work, most likely just picking from my instagram followers. And regular GB will still be more than $100 lower than comparable keyboards (as I am taking my own designer profit out of the picture)!
(Edited)
OldCat
Don't make me sign up for instagram.. lol.
I was actually just considering a TOFU acrylic case and DZ60. I will wait for this though. much nicer. I'm in for GB. Edit: Will raffle winners get a choice of PCB color(if that were to become an option)?
(Edited)
bfitz
Interesting question. I was planning to make a cool "Gray-Gold" colorway PCB. Maybe we can offer multiple colors of PCB for the GB if we can get enough people interested to join.
OldCat
ah, haha I misunderstood PCB color bit. Even only one choice of PCB color over green is good. Grey/gold, white/gold would be great. 👍
Updated!!
ISO layout and split shift please???
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NiceeeeeEeeeEEE
eksdee
Thanks Bro!
Finally, an OldCat board
erickong
Thanks bro!
Very promising. Best of luck!
diggergig
Thanks man!