RE alternate layout keycap sets -
We have made test runs of other layouts to confirm art and processes. The keycap molded parts are identical, it’s only the printing that is different.
So there are no technical burdens of the other layouts, just the logistics of multiple configs.
Most manufacturers try to limit the number of configurations when they first ship high volume, in order to simplify the logistics and allow production to ramp up quickly.
For example, as Tesla ramps up volume of their Model 3 EV, they are limiting the interiors to a single configuration - the black premium interior. They also only produce one size of battery right now.
Obviously there’s nothing technically complex about making different colors of interior, they’ve done that for years. But by narrowing the variations in the production line as they increase volume - that is a useful technique to focus their efforts. They plan to open up the interior selections in the second half of this year.
For similar reasons, we think it’s the right idea to release volume of one flavor first, and then dial in the other variants after we’ve hit our stride. Printing is not the rocket science here, but just keeping things simple really works.
That said, we’d guess that we’ll start shipping other styles about 4 to 8 weeks after we’ve shipped high volume of qwerty, so hopefully that gives you an idea of the amount of skew we expect.
One thing we are weighing is whether to let users swap the caps themselves if they want earlier delivery of say, a qwerty set, and then swap them out in the field for say, Colemak.
Our treg users have had some experience to remove and install key caps for cleaning purposes, and that has been pretty manageable, but we’re not sure it’s wise to rely on that approach to service alternate layout orders. The safest path is likely to just stagger the shipments by a few weeks, so the alternate layout customers just get everything presinstalled and ready to go.
Hope this is helpful.