Jul 20, 20182292 views

An inside look at Kumo - The Next Generation MiniVan

Hello! I am Evan, the creator of the MiniVan keyboard (https://www.massdrop.com/buy/minivan-keyboard). For the last several months I have been working on the next evolution of the MiniVan keyboard. This is the first MiniVan with a plastic case.
You can check it out on Kickstarter.
What is Kumo? Kumo is Japanese for 'Cloud'. Steven, art director for TheVan Keyboards, lives in Japan and I live in the USA. We wanted to embrace both of our homes with this launch. We have incorporated both English and Japanese Legends into the keycap set. When we were children we use to look up to the clouds and imagine all sorts of things. We carry that on with Kumo. We see the endless possibilities of what a keyboard can be and do.
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Why Plastic? Producing a plastic case has several advantages.
  • Lowers production cost
  • Gets us into plastic production
  • Reduces production time
  • Tons of color choices
Ultimately we would like to produce our HuB keycap profile. To get there we need to get into plastics. Our case is a relatively easy mold to do and is fairly inexpensive. This seemed like a great logical step for us to get closer to making HuB a reality.
Lowering Production cost and as a result lowering retail price is another huge benefit. Lowering the barrier to entry will allow us to share the joy of 40% keyboards with many more people.
RGB Indicators This is the first MiniVan with RGB leds. A whopping 3 of them. In conjunction with our configurator you can easily redefine what the LEDs indicate and in which colors they do so. This is immensely useful for knowing which layers are active, seeing how long the tapping term is for tap keys, or indicating traditional keyboard states (num lock, caps lock, scroll lock, etc.)
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Hotswap PCB Part of lowering that barrier to entry is removing soldering. No longer will you need special tools or knowledge. We have legofied the MiniVan keyboard to allow anyone to build and customize it!
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Leveraging the fact that mx switches are square and designed to work in any orientation we have found a way to continue supporting all of our existing layouts in our new hotswap model. There are limitations to what layouts can be overlapped in comparison to a non hotswap PCB, however none of those affect the MiniVan.

We are excited to share Kumo with the Massdrop community and hope you will join us on our journey.
[Links removed]
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Just a small update -> we are nearly fully funded! Big thanks to everyone who has already backed us. We have a stretch goal at 95k to include a holster case with every order. With around 8 days left, we are very close and need some help for a final push across the finish line! Head on over to kickstarter and search for "Kumo" to find the campaign.
evangs
here are some photos of the indicator configurator and the results https://imgur.com/a/ZtaYayQ
hot swap again? i feel like I joined this hobby just the right time. here i been dreading about soldering for the past six months ive known about mechanical keyboards and now im seeing hot swap in a lot of places. Yeah.
Saw Kumo & was disappointed @ the lack of ichimoku references in this post. 😅
Anyway, extremely happy to see Japanese legends added to this iteration. Would LOVE to see this continue in any future endeavors! Keep up the great work! @evangs
Torelli
Thanks :)
please invert all the colors. id buy this board just for the caps in dark grey/black
Would suggest doing a full underglow/backlit RGB option
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I know but it was a suggestion for the future :)
BlueCrowned
Noted :D
This looks rad!
Smashism
Thank you!
Hi Evan, Have you considered creating a keyboard that reduces ulnar deviation, which is one cause of carpal tunnel syndrome? This could be done by introducing a gap down the middle of the keyboard and/or by making the PCB not a rectangle but more like a gentle V shape.
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Could just... use two minivans like a split keeb lol
KM1337
Or a Bananna Split if your can find one
So excited!
keyoka
:D
this looks really good I want to add this to my collection!
please bluetooth with option to to use cabled
Lefibonacci
I'd like to see it be 2.4GHz wireless honestly. Less latency and more reliable from what I've seen.
Great moves evangs, keep it up!
I unfortunately have to be bad police man and remove the direct links to KS. Direct links to campaigns and other buys from the vendor have in the past led to some confusion regarding whether Massdrop endorses/sponsors the campaign or is otherwise affiliated in some way.
But, the post itself is great and I'm excited to see what people think. Good luck on your campaign!
AlexPk
no worries, thanks for letting me know
AlexPk
I just want to say that this is a classy moderator response. Thank you for upholding the community guidelines while still being a part of the community. 👍
@evangs I would like to get a plate with the Kumo, how do I add it to my pledge?
Sonificant
you will be able to add it after the kickstarter when we transition the pledges to our web store and collect shipping info and switch selection
evangs
Cool. Thanks!
I joined the Kickstarter on day 1, but I'm glad to see you man an announcement here. I actually didn't think I'd want a small keyboard until very recently, but now I'm very much looking forward to working with this one.
I plan to put the MDA Big Bone keycap set from Kono on it... and then I'll call the keyboard the "Kumo Bono!"
(If anything, you got to amuse yourself right?) ;)
Starius
Haha that is awesome! I can’t wait to see your post :)
Nice one Evan. Do mounting holes on new PCB allow for backwards compatibility with previously sold aluminum chassis?
Sakis
Yes
Such an exciting inovative project. Just to clarify the pcb is not fully rgb just three keys which is just the indicator?
Is the pcb led enabled, like for example I can install SIP sockets with led and it will work?
rowie
Installing SIP sockets for mounting leds would be nullifying switch hotswap feature. For a PCB with hotswap sockets you need SMD pads for leds.
rowie
There is no back lighting support. The only LEDs are the three rgb indicators.