This is not a rant - alternative keyboards

And it’s actually available.


Another interesting keyboard project that someone recently told me about:

It looks like they are struggling to make their fixed goal of $200k

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Moonrim is proof that the Republic of South Korea is a free country.


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By my calculations even if they sold all of their available perks they would still be under $100k.

My quick mental calculation suggests that selling 1,118 keyboards at $179 would exceed their $200k goal.
The basic perk is up to 2,000 keyboards.
Am I missing something or are we calculating things differently?

I’m not sure what I was thinking. You are correct.

Yes, that calc is right. And they’re at 37K with 19 days left.

To provide some perspective relative to the Moonrim project -

TextBlade has 300+ unique parts, and cost us millions of dollars just to tool the many molded parts.

Without all of those parts in stock, we couldn’t have delivered any of the hundreds of production units already shipped to customers and in field use for validation.

So that’s a kind of binary test - Missing even one part, ship zero. Got all parts, can ship.

(By comparison, a Tesla Model 3 has 10,000 unique parts, and cost billions to tool)

And the software for each project - TextBlade or Model 3, cost a lot more investment than the mechanical tools.

So even Moonrim’s modest rearrangement of legacy Cherry standard keyswitch parts, will end up with tooling costs far more than the 200K.

Making any good quality widget is expensive and hard.

Making nextgen technology, with all-new tooled parts, is on a different planet.


And here’s another alternative keyboard with a trackpad built in. I think I see problems with using a trackpad that is such a rough surface.

Mokibo - The Touchpad Embedded Keyboard

Well after a delay of a few months; I have my Planck; it is really small compared to my normal keyboards at 40% it is barely wider then my hands.

So as expected the Planck “won the race”; I will have to do a bit more work to make it more portable. But so far it is really good; a bit of a learning curve going from a full sized board to a 40% where all the functions are on layers.

With 4 rows of keys there are a few more then the TB but I will look at setting up some maps that will emulate the TB layout…when I get time.

Oh and it took about 30 min to build; no soldering required unless you want LED’s…which I really don’t want.

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RandomAdam - now you’ll get a feel for why ortholinear with reduced rows and layers is the way to go.

Planck will prepare you to quickly see the virtues of TextBlade architecture.

Pricey though. About $50 more than TextBlade just for a kit, only USB wired mode, with no Bluetooth or cordless / battery. So no jumps.

Also about 10x size and weight.

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I had considered getting a Preonic keyboard (the larger version of the Planck) a few years ago because the ortholinear layout and cost appealed to me. The Planck is a popular keyboard for sub-60% enthusiasts, but I never did buy one because I couldn’t imagine how typing on it would be comfortable with the amount of ulnar deviation required to use it. This problem is somewhat mitigated by row-staggered layouts, but for ortholinear layouts, the keyboard must be split (a la the Let’s Split) or have left and right halves rotated in opposite directions to mitigate ulnar deviation. Do you experience any discomfort using the Planck during extended typing sessions? When typing, do you have to sit farther away from the Planck than you sit from a standard keyboard?

But, he has it already. As cool as the TextBlade is going to be, for the people that don’t have it yet any other keyboard is more usable at the moment.


The wired mode is not really a problem; since every other keyboard I own is wired.

Price is not really an issue; I use a keyboard so much that as a tool they are very cheap; compared to my hobby tools (wood working) which I just have for fun, some single tools are 10 x the price.

10x size / weight; not a problem (I think) since I generally don’t move my KB around a lot once I’m setup. Maybe I will end up using both maybe I won’t. There is a bit of learning curve going from a full sized KB to the 40%. But it is one I’m willing to go through.

Send me a TREG unit and I’ll compare the difference…


I see what you did there! :rofl:

Here is a fairly small BT keyboard that looks okay. Not the TB, but maybe worth a look as an alternate while you wait…

Ok so I have been rolling my planck for a while now and I am already typing faster on this then on regular keyboards…my error rate is up but not by much.

I have setup some basic layers and have chosen to go 4 x 12 rather then have even the small space bar in the default layout.

The left of the space key is now a shift / shift lock key and the right is now a space key.

Portability is fairly good, though I feel I need to make a case for it to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged in transit.

I have also settled on a magnetic USB adapter, this is great for connecting, and if I get lost in the layers it is a very quick reset by disconnecting the power and booting the keyboard back up. Thus dropping me back to the default layer.

There is much that I still want to do with this thing, it is just a matter of time and patience.

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Ok so I have now been using the Planck; for quite a while now.

The more i use this keeb the better it gets. This thing is just awesome.
Auto-shift has basically removed my need for a shift key; which I have moved and turned into a shift-lock.
I have also gone to a full 4*12 layout; so my space bar is now a space key; The other half is now my leader key

The leader key is super useful; I have a few macros programmed into it with a whole heap more to add in for specific use cases.
e.g. I have my personal email address on Lead+P and my business email on Lead+B; and a slightly more complex Lead+A-A-U opens a terminal; alt-tab’s to the terminal waits a bit then enters the text “sudo apt-get update” and sends an enter, I then enter my password to do my regular updates.

Every time I use it; I have more ideas around what I could do.

The open firmware is super customizable, which makes this the ultimate keeb. After using the Planck (or any Qmk based board) the TextBlade will have to be pretty damn good to surpass this.

RandomAdam - your acclimation to Planck ortholinear + layers shows that new architecture can indeed work better than the old paradigm.

Shown below is the lowest profile Planck, about 23mm thick and 233mm long.

For rough comparison of scale, Planck is about twice as long as iPhone plus, and about 8X the volume of the same phone.

iPhone shown in photo next to TextBlade for scale.

TextBlade at 5mm thick, and blades are about 105mm long.

Volume of stowed TextBlade < 10% of Planck.

If you like the feel of Planck with ortholinear keys, TextBlade keys should feel very good to you.

What do you mean by “auto-shift”? We all know about how iOS will automatically give the next character after a period to be uppercase. Do you mean something more?

The leader key sounds interesting, but some examples you gave, I just do with the TB macro capability.

I can see how someone may just prefer something more like a traditional keyboard, especially if, using the TB, they still have many situations they have to use a standard keyboard, they may find it easier switching between a work machine and their planck at home. At least short term.

Auto shift is automatic shift, if you hold a key for approx twice as long as a standard key-press (tunable) the a shifted key will be sent.

This can be enabled / disabled for key types; i have it turned on for all keys except numbers at this stage.

Standard auto-shift period is 150ms. Sometimes this is a little long, but you quickly get used to it.