I’m progressing quite slow with my second self-made keyboard. But slow doesn’t mean I don’t make progress at all. I finished casting the basic parts for the case: upper and lower parts of both sides. I clipped the extra material, ground everything to an even level and polished the right side. The left is still raw from the mold.
The right side looks still rough but has a very good touch. Unfortunately, after grinding and polishing THE bubbles are quite prominently visible. In the raw state it didn’t look like a problem. The next time I try something new I will listen to the guide. Well, I don’t have the extra money and space for a vacuum chamber and pump. I have to live with it, I guess. The look is not the most important thing.
The most important thing for this second keyboard is the natural positioning of the keys. I made distinct key areas for every finger, considering the length, position and flexibility of it. Four thumb keys in the lower left. Above are the keys for the pointer. The long column in the middle is for the middle finger. The smaller column for the ring finger. And finally the area on the right is for the pinky. I followed roughly the Neo2 key-layout. The only mayor difference is the <B> (on QUERTY the <N>), it moved from the pointer to the thumb. This was necessary, because I have difficulties reaching down-left with the pointer.
Regarding the thumb keys, yesterday I rearranged them a little (not reflected in the photo). I turned the <F3> (ALT or M3 in Neo-speech) and <F4> (M4 in Neo) by 90 degrees so that they are now facing the thumb, this way they move more easily.
As you might have observed I omitted many keys. No real <F> keys, the <F> keys I installed serve as switches for the different layers (F2 -> M2/Shift, …). The only <F> key I ever use is <F5> for refreshing or reloading. But I can live without it or maybe integrate only this key later on. I have no arrow keys, either. Those are on the fourth layer (M4) in Neo2, so you don’t need them separately.
I did basically finish the key-matrix and wired the whole thing to the Pinguino clone. The columns to the digital pins two to eight and the rows to analog pins zero to four. The final wire is for pulling down the rows.
I tried for many days to get the Pinguino IDE work on my Mac. I couldn’t make it. In Ubuntu it worked. There were still some things to install and to configure, but at least it worked without major complications. The first program, letting the LEDs blink in some interval, was easily written, compiled and bootloaded. Tonight I will try to finish the polling of the keyboard and the debouncing. Maybe I have enough time to wire up the Teensy and can actually see keypresses.