3277: finally the keyset MT3 was designed for

3277: finally the keyset MT3 was designed for

When we designed the MT3 keycap profile we had very specific vintage keyboards in mind. One of them was the IBM 3277 (and the whole 32xx series). So before venturing any further in colorful and extravagant color schemes I had to honor the 3277 by dedicating an MT3 set to it.

Hence I’m proud to introduce to you simply “3277”, the next MT3 double-shot to be produced in the coming months.

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Susuwatari production prototypes TL;DR: they are awesome!

Susuwatari production prototypes TL;DR: they are awesome!

It was March 16th –basically 12 years ago in the time of covid– when I first told you that Susuwatari was going production. I was not happy about it, we weren’t ready and I had no trust in a factory that to that point gave only disappointment.

Well, when I’m wrong I’m wrong. Today I got the production prototypes for Susuwatari… and to my great surprise they are pretty darn good.

If you follow me you know that I’m an annoyingly perfectionist and I’m never 100% happy with my work. Well, this time I’m moderately optimist. I have no clue how the manufacturer pulled this off after the countless low quality tests we made in past year, but I’m not gonna complain.

Of course there’s something I’d still like to fix. Colors are still not a perfect match of what I had in mind and a couple of keys (not important ones) would need some retouching, but anyway they are ready for production and shipping as they are.

So warm up a special place in your collection, Susuwatari is coming to you real soon!

Keycaps news: /dev/tty2 and Susuwatari

Let’s start with the good news. /dev/tty2 is finally live! I thought it was “ready to buy” but it turned out Drop started with a preorder page. But there shouldn’t be delays, this is the third time we make these and the manufacturer can vomit /dev/tty pretty easily by now.

Please note that there will be some updates in the coming hours! More keys will be added and few things fixed. Honestly I didn’t know Drop was about to release the Kraken so soon.

Susuwatari is in production right now and as far as I know it is very close to be completed. As I said few weeks ago they rushed the production so I’m still not sure what will be actually released. We sent the manufacturer a very detailed report but I don’t think we’ll be able to fix any error unless it is very very bad.

That’s all for now! Stay safe!

Building a keyboard firmware

Building a keyboard firmware

We’ve built our keyboard from scratch, now it’s time to put a brain into it.

A keyboard functionality may seem trivial but the firmware job is all but simple. Dealing with the USB HID interface is tedious, that’s why it’s good to start with a controller that has integrated keyboard/mouse/keypads support like the Teensy and some ready to use libraries.

There are various firmware we can choose from but for the sake of this tutorial I’m going to use QMK. It was born as a fork of Hasu’s TMK and developed into its own thing. Unfortunately at the time of this writing TMK doesn’t compile properly with Chibios (aka modern controllers like the Teensy 3.x) so we are going to work with its equally capable cousin.

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Susuwatari goes production

Susuwatari goes production

This is a kind of good-news-bad-news situation.

The good news is that Susuwatari is going production. The bad news is that Susuwatari is going production.

I just got a new round of prototypes, but I’m informed that they are not prototypes, they are final and they are going production with what we have.

The keycaps had a series of production hiccups at the beginning, then Corona Virus. It was not an easy journey, but the sane thing to do at this point would be to stop and wait for this global emergency to cool down a little. Drop decided this is not the case, they want to deliver asap. I understand people are pissed of the delays and anyway Drop needs to return the investment (which was huge).

Of course I have no saying in this decision. After all they use my name to sell stuff but I have close to zero decisional power.

So at this stage is the set good enough? Yes!

Is the set ready for production? No.

You know by now I’m a perfectionist and I’m rarely happy with anything I do, I’m pretty sure very few will be upset with the keycaps we have now, but still it’s not what I designed and it’s not what I signed off. Not to mention that I haven’t seen all the kits, just a bunch of keys.

It is what it is. Stay strong, at the end Susuwatari right now should not be your top priority.

Susuwatari got virus

Susuwatari got virus

There’s no sugar-coating, everyone knows what is happening in China (and in the rest of the world). Factories are requested by law to stay closed and they need special permits to re-open. As far as I know until last week most of China was closed for Corona Virus. I don’t have news regarding the last few days but I’m pretty sure Susuwatari production has stopped for quite some time now.

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Getting ready for /dev/tty2

Getting ready for /dev/tty2

While waiting for the next round of prototypes for Susuwatari what better than prepping the next round of /dev/tty? The first original MT3 keyset! Drop is releasing /dev/tty every now and then but rarely with the plethora of options I like, so it’s time to rectify the situation and run a proper group buy.

On one side we’d like to keep it as simple as possible, so newcomers don’t risk taking the wrong kit, on the other we want to support the weirdest layouts! So the following is what we have at the moment, everything is still beta so please if you have requests and suggestions this is the right time!

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Happy New Year, Susuwatari

Happy New Year, Susuwatari

I said we needed half a miracle to have Susuwatari ready before year’s end… well, apparently we’ve been naughty and Santa gave us coal… or rather he didn’t (coal. Susuwatari. Got the pun?). Since last time I’ve received two rounds of prototypes, but we are still not there. Let’s see together where we stand after two months from my last update.

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Prototypes at last!

Prototypes at last!

I finally got the first batch of Susuwatari prototypes in my hands. Of all the sets I’ve designed this definitely has proven the most complicated. Injection molding is no joke, a lot of variables are at play and if you aim for perfection the road is long and tortuous.

Let me preface this post by saying that for being the first prototype ever created, they are darn good keycaps. Legend positioning, sharpness, size and consistency are already better than anything out of Signature Plastics or GMK. But…

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Susuwatari, where are you?!

Susuwatari, where are you?!

An update on Susuwatari was long overdue, I wish I had better news to give you but I wanted to bring you guys up to speed on the development since (Mass)Drop is not going to (in a timely manner).

Please bear in mind that the following is by no means an official update, this is just my conjecture and opinion. With that out of the way, let’s see where we stand with Susuwatari.

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