Ever thought about making your own ergonomic keyboard? If so this post is for you! I’ve enjoyed checking out the DIY keyboard builds over at the Reddit Mechanical Keyboard community for some time. And from time to time, people share their split keyboards. Why mechanical keyboards? Most manufacturers make keyboards from one circuit board and use what many describe as mushy buttons. A mechanical keyboard uses individual switches on each key and many people claim it is not only much more satisfying to type but also more accurate and faster.
Because mechanical keyboards are not as common, there is a whole community of tinkerers that make their own. Some just buy kits or all of the parts needed and put them together. Some people 3D print or fabricate their own shapes and attach the necessary electronics. Most are not ergonomic but once in a while someone posts a cool ergonomic keyboard like the one featured here from Reddit user eu_calyn. I saw his build and asked if it was ok to share here…stoked he agreed.
Below is his finished prototype. He moved function keys down and also added a small joystick with mouse buttons on each side. Note he hasn’t mapped the keys yet and didn’t add any letters on the keys themselves.
He 3D printed the entire case. He then added the main keyboard controller and wired up each individual key. This may look like rocket science to some but it’s actually not that bad. It’s a bit like adult legos. Well maybe a little more difficult than adult legos but definitely doable by most!
This story is not over yet. Here you can see his next prototype. He replaced the joystick with a trackball (that red board in this pic).
Just another angle of the pic above.
And one more angle 🙂
Making something can bring so much more joy than just buying something. If you have any interest in building your own, the Reddit community linked above is a great place to start to get ideas, help, and all of the tips and tricks you want.
Interested in buying a mechanical keyboard? Check out what’s on sale over on Amazon or your favorite retailer. If you are looking for a kit, you can find a couple of options at profetkeyboards.com. Below are the ergonomic keyboards with mechanical keys that we have already reviewed or will be posting soon. We have more coming as well!
Kinesis Advantage – If you’ve tried some ordinary ergonomic keyboards with poor results, the Kinesis Advantage is a step up that you may need to take. The price tag is high, there is an adjustment period, and some elements of the design may annoy you. However, if it helps your typing-related pain, those other things are petty by comparison. Also, after awhile you will most likely learn to work around the annoying features of the keyboard and begin to enjoy some of its more subtle efficiency benefits.
Maltron – This two handed USA English Maltron fully ergonomic keyboard fits the shape of hands and the different lengths of fingers to reduce movement and tension. In this way it can not only prevent the onset of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) symptoms but is an aid to RSI relief and even recovery from RSI pain. Not wireless. Uses USB. Has a comfortable built in wrist rest.
Truly Ergonomic Keyboard. We are not saying this is truly ergonomic. That’s the brand name, TE for short. While I don’t agree with the self-superlatives used in TE marketing – (“The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard is properly designed, and therefore different from other keyboards…”) – I do believe there is much to be said for this design. It combines a small footprint, an innovative layout, and mechanical keys into a high-quality package with a detachable palm rest. At $229 as of this writing, it is not the least expensive keyboard on the market – but it’s not the most expensive either, beating the Kinesis Advantage by a handy $40 on retail. Best of all, there is a 60-day return policy, so the Truly Ergonomic keyboard is at least truly guaranteed.
X-Bows Standard RGB. These are brand new and coming soon. We just got one and we are testing it now. Stay tuned for the full review. This is one cool keyboard with LED backlight options we haven’t yet seen on ergonomic keyboards. The layout is a little different but we have one of our reviewers using it as his daily driver with no issues so far. Full review out soon. Note: As of this writing, their website has some kind of SSL issue creating a warning.