An update about the MTNU profile was long overdue. Let me start by stating the obvious: it is taking more than expected… but less than I feared. I have a little experience in manufacturing by now and a couple of weeks late is really nothing. Let’s do a recap.
What is MTNU again?
MTNU is a new keycap profile I envisioned a couple of years ago and developed thanks to the incredible craftsmanship of the guys at GMK. Let me stress on that. MTNU would have been very different without GMK expertise (and not for the better); I’m very grateful to Christoph for convincing me to work with them and to Franz and Franziska who brought the profile to life.
These are the main characteristics:
- Doubleshot PBT. Since I still get people surprised about that I need to repeat myself: this is a 100% full blown PBT profile with doubleshot legends.
- Medium height, sculpted, spherical top. The idea was to create the spherical top counterpart of the cherry profile. The keys height is similar but shape and angles are very different of course.
- Hitting area (key top) is wide, round and welcoming. Ergonomics is always my top priority, the fact that MTNU is also pretty is a fortunate eventuality. During development I sometimes requested .5/1deg angle variation when realistically nobody would notice less than 2deg. Just to give an idea of the level of optimization I’m after.
- Homing keys are deep dish, they are deeper and the top edge is a little sharper for easy homing.
- Side thickness is about 1.6mm. It’s a sweet spot and I find it totally adequate.
- Row profile is R1-1-2-3-4-4. Row 5 (the bottom modifiers row) is in the cards for future release.
- Textured but very smooth. Texture helps hiding flow-marks, we used the smoothest texture that still hides the production sins. They look rougher than they actually are, the feeling is actually very velvety.
- Original typeface. The typeface is called Son of a Doubleshot (SOD) and it has been designed from scratch just for MTNU. The font will be open sourced soon and I will release some guidelines in case anybody wants to add their own custom legends.
- Manufactured by GMK, open to vendors. The sets will be available at multiple vendors around the globe, there’s no exclusivity and any designer can have their design manufactured given they find an agreement with vendors.
MT3 vs MTNU
Last week I got few prototypes, mostly 1Us, not enough to cover a full keyboard yet but the quality is good and we haven’t optimized them yet.
While there are many things to fix I’m really impressed by the double-shot job. There’s no seam between legend and keycap and if you rub a fingernail on the top you can’t really tell that they are two different injections. Have a look at the difference between MTNU (GMK), MT3 (Drop) and SA (Signature Plastics). Click to Zoom in.
If you look closely you’ll see quite some bleeding in SA and MT3 and the seams are not perfect. Let me be honest: at the naked eye they are all fine but GMK really sets a new standard here.
The keys shape and texture are final and approved. All the legends for all the keys are already designed. The tooling for all 1-unit is ready but the injection process has to be perfected still. We are also working on legends alignment, centering doubleshot is no easy task.
Tooling for modifiers and big keys are being manufactured as we speak. I’ve only seen a 2.75U SHIFT and it came out beautifully with minimal warping. By the end of the month I should get another round of prototypes, if all goes smoothly we should be ready soon.
The release of MTNU is split in 3 rounds.
Round 1 will cover all major layouts (60%, 65%, 75%, TKL, full size) with the addition of few extra keys for ortholinears, but 40% support is limited. ISO is covered.
Round 2 adds keys mostly for 40% and 6U spacebar.
Round 3 expands the compatibility even more and adds a flat Row 5.
To give you an idea the following is the programmed kitting for MTNU Susu in round 1.
If the profile is successful (crossing fingers) each round should be just a couple of months away from the previous. If there is interest integration kits might be available.
What, Where and When
The first sets to be release are: White on Black, Beige and Susu (pictured below). You’ll notice that Susuwatari is just Susu for MTNU, this is to make a clear distinction from MT3 Susuwatari. The colors will be also slightly different, the new RAL codes for Susu are:
- Light warm gray: RAL 7022
- Dark warm gray: RAL 7021
- Blue: RAL 240 60 40 Clear Blue
- Red: RAL 3020
- Green: RAL 110 70 70 Chlorophyll Green
- Cream (legend): RAL 090 90 30 Wax yellow
Official vendors for Round 1 are:
- US: Novelkeys
- EU: Oblotzky Industries
- CA: DeskHero
- UK: protoTypist
- CN: Matrix Labs
- AUS: DailyClack
- SEA: iLumKB
Round 2 will see Black on White, possibly Dolch but it’s not defined yet. I also plan on working on the Space Cadet legends, but that will likely happen next year.
Vendors already got some prototypes, so expect more coverage in the coming weeks, but please bear in mind that they are not final and many things need fixing.
We are tentatively starting pre-orders at the beginning on June. This may change based on how manufacturing proceeds, but anyway we are really close. Production shouldn’t take long and MTNU might reach vendors in the summer.
One last note about pricing. You can expect more or less the same pricing as other GMK Cherry sets but the first batch will be marginally cheaper to help kickstart the new profile. So if you are on the fence, consider that the first 3 sets will be likely more affordable than whatever comes later.
In the coming weeks I’ll try to keep you updated as much as possible and I’ll post pictures and sound tests so you can get a better idea of how MTNU will be. As soon as I get production prototypes I’ll host a stream with a little giveaway.
As always daily updates are available on discord. Brace yourself we are almost there!