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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Hand-wiring a custom keyboard

Hand-wiring a custom keyboard

It’s finally time to get our hands dirty.

For the sake of this tutorial I designed and 3D printed a small case that will serve as the base structure for my handwired keyboard. It doesn’t matter what case you use anyway, the procedure is the same from a 40% to a full sized keyboard; you are only limited by the number of inputs on your main controller but up until a tenkeyless you should be good with pretty much anything (teensy, arduino, promicro, …).

If you prefer visual gratification, at the bottom you’ll find a video tutorial but this article will also cover some theory about the matrix so I guess it’s worth a read.

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Susuwatari dev log

Susuwatari dev log

It has been a while since the last update on the Susuwatari keyset. The drop for the double-shot MT3 profile set ended few months ago and development is proceeding at a slow but constant pace. It is incredible the amount of work needed to design a brand new double-shot set.

Few weeks ago I received the first color samples. As expected we are not there yet, but we are very close. I’ve already sent my report to the manufacturer and I’m confident that the next samples will be right on spot.

Few days ago I’ve also got the first double shot samples. I’ll be frank, I was expecting more tests to be made at this stage. I received just a few legends, but anyway they are good enough to be cautiously positive that everything will proceed as expected. From the picture above you can see a rather complicated legend injected with unexpected craftsmanship.

What next? I’m working on updated legends following this first round of prototypes to further optimize the injection process and I hope to get a more complete set in the coming weeks. Chinese New Year holidays put a stop to the production for a few weeks and we should be back in the game in a few days.

Sorry I can’t show you more at this time, but I hope to be able to reveal a final-ish product in a month from now.

Midnight Love

Midnight Love

Few days ago I got a copy of my Midnight Set produced and sold directly by Signature Plastics on Pimpmykeyboard.

It’s an old keyset of mine, one of the first I’ve designed and that I’m particularly fond of. It has been recently reprinted with some updates. The modifiers color is now lighter and the tonal difference with alphas more marked, but if you like to dare there’s also the turquoise punch-in-the-eye modifiers kit.

Included in every set you’ll find a few “midnighty” novelty keys but the text-only counterparts are also available.

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Peopoly Moai, an honest review

Peopoly Moai, an honest review

I’ve always looked with awe at the whole 3d printing phenomenon. I believe something clicked in my mind with the Star Trek replicator and 3d printers are the closest thing to it we have nowadays.

I waited long enough to get an original Prusa MK2 (also reviewed here) and a little more than a year ago I finally bit the bullet and jumped into UV resin printing.

The beast to beat at the time was the Formlab Form2 but the price to get it and especially to maintain it is too steep for an tinkerer like myself. To the rescue the Peopoly Moai, a Laser SLA that is not only affordable but also comes with a variety of very wallet friendly resins.

The Moai at the end of 2017 wasn’t ready yet so I emailed Peopoly asking for information and within seconds I received a reply from Mark (the founder) who promised to ship within a few weeks.

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More nerd sets from your friendly neighborhood

More nerd sets from your friendly neighborhood

I’m still working on Susuwatari, but more sets are coming out soon. Long time ago I was contacted by a manufacturer that wanted to release some of my designs. They asked what could be our first project together and I immediately said: “Elvish! and Russian!”.

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Susuwatari BETA-1

Susuwatari BETA-1

In just a couple of days I’ve got dozens of comments, emails and people reaching out on reddit/skype/slack. Thanks everybody for the great support and feedback!

So, it looks like I’ve been a little selfish and I didn’t think that other designers and creators might be interested in releasing their creations in double-shot MT3. Some of them contacted me and asked to make the legends a bit more “vanilla” so they would be better suited for a wider range of sets and color schemes.

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Susuwatari: the first Double-shot set on MT3

Susuwatari: the first Double-shot set on MT3

So /dev/tty1 is finally out into the wild, round two is going nice and smooth and it’s time to move on to the next project.

It’s some time we are toying with the idea of a double-shot version of the MT3 keycap profile and it looks like Massdrop has just greenlighted the project.

I mostly worked on dye-sublimation lately, so I was forced on light schemes. You can’t have a legend that is lighter than the background with sublimation (yeah, okay you technically can with negative printing… but let’s leave it for now), so this time around I wanted to go dark!

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/dev/tty Round 2: Harder, Better, Faster, Sharper

/dev/tty Round 2: Harder, Better, Faster, Sharper

Long time I haven’t posted an update about the second round of /dev/tty. As you all well know I wasn’t very happy with the dye-sub quality of the first drop and –honestly– how Massdrop handled the whole development phase.

Fortunately this time things are moving smoother. I’m getting prototypes at a constant pace and the first impression is very good.

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