Retro goes GMK!

Retro goes GMK!

Something I thought impossible just few years ago just became reality: Retro finally goes GMK and it’s ready to be purchased on Massdrop.

All started with DSA Retro. It was the first community organized group buy in DSA family. To tell all the truth Koreans had some DSA before us but it was limited to their market. DSA Retro was one of the most successful group buy of the time (we are talking 3-4 years ago). It was so popular in part because DSA was a novelty at the time, in part because we included a hell lot of options. It wasn’t so easy back then to cover less common or custom keyboards and Retro was basically compatible with all of them :)

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First steps in 3D printing with an Original Prusa i3 MK II

First steps in 3D printing with an Original Prusa i3 MK II

I’ve been skeptical about consumer grade 3d printers for long time. They were expensive, slow, required a lot of maintenance and quality was less than optimal. Things are moving rapidly, though and we’ve reached such a nice sweet spot between quality and price that I couldn’t simply resist the temptation.

First of all I had to understand if I wanted an FDM (fused deposition modeling) or SLA (stereolithography) printer. Without going too much into it, SLA generally produces higher definition prints but it is also more expensive to start with and maintain. You can find very cheap FDM instead and while the print quality is not as good, it is exceptional for quick prototyping. So FDM it is.

Only few months ago Prusa released the second generation of what is probably the most famous filament 3d printer in the DIY realm: the not-so-originally named Prusa i3 MK 2. It comes in kit or fully assembled, I was convinced to get an assembled one but it wasn’t available at the time so I went for the kit because “it can’t be that difficult, right?!”

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The cardboard keyboard case

The cardboard keyboard case

How much does a custom keyboard cost?

That is one of the most common questions I’m asked. There’s definitely a lot of interest around DIY keyboards and the main concerns are: 1) the technical/practical aspects, 2) costs.

Sometimes you just want to try an idea you have in your mind but you are not sure it is really going to work. Building a prototype may end up in the $150-200 range, but big part of the budget goes into the case.

Trying to cut prototyping expenses I wanted to test the feasibility of a cardboard case. Is it stiff enough? Do the switches fit nicely? Is the keyboard actually usable? Let’s go find out.

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WhiteFox take two!

WhiteFox take two!

You never know when a WhiteFox is going to strike! Stealthy and deadly she comes unexpected and hits with no mercy.

Honestly I myself wasn’t expecting her for another couple of months, but –you know– you can’t really tell her what to do. She comes and goes when she wants.

So, I’m pretty happy to let you know that the WhiteFox is available again on MassDrop.

How does round 2 differs from the initial release?

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About ownership of keycap sets

I feel that I failed to explain why I care so much about the work I’ve done for Granite. Many new members of the community haven’t witnessed the creation of the set and the argument about intellectual property of a keycap set comes out every now and then.

Please do understand that the following is my personal opinion, likely a copyright lawyer would see things very differently.

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The future of Granite

The future of Granite

UPDATE: Granite in currently on sale on PimpMyKeyboard.

Honestly, I had enough of Granite. We had four uber successful batches, everybody got a chance to grab a set by now but it seems I have no control over Granite after all. It lives a life of its own.

There’s still too much interest around the two-shades-of-gray keycaps and many are eager to take advantage of the success of this set. At the point where I thought we could have moved on to the next project I’ve been basically blackmailed: either I run more or someone else will. It already happened to other of my works and I don’t want Granite to pop up on Alibaba with some shady bootleg name (Graneat? Cranite?) and poor overall quality.

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How to build your WhiteFox

How to build your WhiteFox

I just got a final sample of the WhiteFox and it’s simply fantastic. The barebone kits will start shipping in a few days and I’m so excited to get your feedback. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do, it has been a long and exhausting endeavor but it was totally worth it!

Assembling the WhiteFox is easy but there are a couple of things you should be aware of so I compiled this quick how-to guide that will bring you to a safe build. Even if you are an experienced DIYer you might find some interesting pointers, so give this a quick read anyway. Let’s get started!

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The many faces of Granite

The many faces of Granite

Granite Round 4 has finally started shipping to its final destinations, I’ve already seen some nice pictures and I’m glad people are enjoying it.

During the last few years we had quite some iterations of this set and I never took the time to catalog all the keycaps that have been produced. So, it took me some digging into the many backups but I can ultimately show you all the Granite keys that left the Signature Plastics factory lane (excluding blanks) with a good 99% approximation.

Beware! Lots of pictures inside.

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Topre to Cherry MX adapter

Topre to Cherry MX adapter

It’s hardly a novelty now but I actually started working on a Topre to Cherry MX adapter back in 2014. The NovaTouch was not a thing yet and no 3D model for the slider/converter was available at the time.

It’s an incredibly simple model and I’m by no means a 3D expert, but anyway I hope you can make good use of it. Please note that everything is released under a Creative Common license, you are free to use and modify the models as long as you give credit and re-share under the same license.

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WhiteFox: the making of

WhiteFox: the making of

The WhiteFox is the first A-grade mechanical keyboard I designed to be commercially available to the public.

In the last few years I worked on many iterations of the same compact layout and the WhiteFox is the result of the experience grown during a journey that actually started in 2013.

The WhiteFox

My first experiment was the SteelBeauty: a lovingly hand wired solid piece of steel powered by a Teensy development board.

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