Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

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Dec 13, 2017

Delivering the pilot run units

Hi there, and welcome to our monthly status update!

TL;DR: The 50 UHKs of the pilot run and their palm rests have been assembled and will be shipped on Monday. We’ll ramp up production afterwards, and continue the fulfillment of the rest of the crowdfunding starting in January.

Examining the First Samples

Before the pilot run assembly, our contractor assembled four UHK panels, so that we could examine and approve them. We’ve taken a thorough look at them, and I noticed that the 4P4C jacks didn’t seem right. An older version of the jacks was used which we replaced a while ago with another jack. The spiral cable could not be removed from the older jack because its plug was too deep in the jack when the UHK was fully assembled, which is why we changed it in the first place.

Our contractor originally ordered the correct part, but the component distributor quoted an alternative replacement part and didn’t explicitly tell our contractor of the change. It’s pretty hard to spot these replacements in a long component list, hence the wrong part was ordered.

This miscommunication error cost us a couple days to get replacement jacks, but luckily no other issues were found.

PCB Assembly

The next step was SMD assembly which went very smoothly. This is a short video of the process:

As you can imagine, there are a number of steps involved in this process:

  1. The boards go into a solder paste stencil printer machine which applies paste to the pads where the surface-mount components will connect.
  2. The applied solder paste gets inspected by a solder paste inspection (SPI) machine that creates a 3D model of the paste to make sure that it has been correctly applied where needed.
  3. Here come the pick and place machines, which place the tiny surface mount resistors, capacitors, diodes, ICs, and other devices onto the board. All three of our contractor’s pick and place machines were operating simultaneously, which is not really justified for the UHK, but it allows for larger throughput. The machines are usually so fast that their movements can barely be seen by the naked eye, but this time they were operating much slower than usual so that operational tweaks can be made as necessary.
  4. At this point, the boards go through a reflow oven. The oven has multiple zones, each featuring a different temperature according to the specified temperature profile. By the end of this step, the solder paste solidifies, and the components are affixed to the board.
  5. Normally, the boards are inspected by an automatic optical inspection (AOI) machine at this stage, but the process parameters are not fully finalized yet, so a human operator inspected the boards manually.
  6. Finally, the boards are sent to my station where I flashed them on my Raspberry Pi workstation, with a UHK, of course.

The boards not only look beautiful, but they all work perfectly. This is a pretty good start.

We left the boards at our contractor to get the through-hole parts soldered, and some days later they sent us the fully assembled panels.

Mechanical Assembly

Unlike the PCB assembly, the mechanical assembly is a fully manual operation. It involves breaking out the PCBs from the panels, placing the panels into the pre-assembled bottom cases, screwing the metal guides to the plates, assembling the top and bottom cases, and putting the keycaps on the key switches. The result is 50 beautiful pilot run UHKs, ready to be shipped.

Shipping Status

Right now, we’re working on assembling the palm rests, and on Monday the UHKs and palm rests of the pilot run will be shipped. Exciting times!

Being located in Hungary, the first UHKs of the pilot run are expected to arrive in Hungary, then to the rest of the EU, then to the US, then to the rest of the world. We deliver the EU units directly, and the non-EU units via Crowd Supply (based in the US). We can’t change this in any way, or ship directly to everyone due to accounting reasons. Please note that except for the above, we do ship on a first come, first served basis. You will receive a shipping confirmation email with a tracking number from Crowd Supply when you order ships. If you need to change your shipping address, do so now through your Crowd Supply account. For questions on shipping, see The Crowd Supply Guide.

We’re hoping that most, or all of the pilot run UHKs will arrive before the holidays, but being just before the holiday season, we’re not sure.

Starting in January, we’ll scale up production and plan to fulfill the first batch of orders in 1-2 months. Afterwards, the second batch will follow. We’ll be keeping you up-to-date.

Thank you for reading this update! We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and we’ll talk to you on 2017-01-18.

$690,295 raised

of $200,000 goal

Funded!
No Longer Available

Dec 14 2015

funded on

345%

funded

5,183

pledges

Product Choices

$240

Crowd Supply Special UHK - $35 Off Retail Price

A fully programmable, impeccably built, open source, split mechanical keyboard - designed for extreme productivity and ergonomics. Available at a discounted pre-order rate, the UHK will retail for $275.


$60

Key Cluster Module (Left Half)

This module features 3 regular keys, 2 buttons and a mini trackball which can also be pressed - acting as an extra button. This module attaches to the left half of the keyboard.

Keycluster Module

$60

Trackball Module (Right Half)

The trackball features excellent precision and usability and is well-suited to be used by a thumb. This module attaches to the right half of the keyboard.

Trackball Module

$60

Trackpoint Module (Right Half)

The trackpoint surely brings back fond memories for those of you who have owned an IBM ThinkPad laptop in the past. With it, you can not only move the pointer, but click by pressing it. This module attaches to the right half of the keyboard.

Trackpoint Module

$60

Trackpad Module (Right Half)

The touchpad shouldn’t be stranger to anyone, given that it’s a part of pretty much every laptop and netbook ever manufactured. This module attaches to the right half of the keyboard.

Trackpad Module

$55

UHK Palm Rest

A super comfortable, truly split, wooden UHK palm rest - designed to add even more to the keyboard ergonomics by tilting and tenting to fit your needs.


$25

Extra UHK case

An extra case for your UHK.

UHK Extra Case

$25

Extra UHK keycaps

An extra set of keycaps for your UHK.

UHK Keycaps

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Credits

Ultimate Gadget Laboratories


László Monda

András Völgyi

Nikolai Lebedovsky

Ákos Tolnai


Tüv Rheinland

Final EMC certifier

T-Network

Preliminary EMC tester

Eurocircuits

PCB manufacturer

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