Project update 29 of 76
Hi there, and welcome to our monthly status update! Let’s warm up, and see what’s been happening in UHK land these days.
Our mold-making contractor let us know that they’re done with the molds of every plastic part, so we made a second trip to Serbia to check them out.
The best part of the meeting was snapping together the top and bottom parts of the case, and hearing the satisfying click sound, meaning that the parts fit together accurately. This is not something we’ve ever heard when trying our 3D printed prototypes.
Putting the LED display into the case was a similarly elevating experience. These parts are so precisely fabricated that they look like a single part from the outside.
The newly created top case parts
The assembled case without the switches and PCB
Having all of the plastic parts injection molded is a major milestone, but it’s not the end of the story. Aesthetics will improve by tweaking technological parameters of the molding process. This is fully expected in the world of manufacturing, and our contractor is working on them.
Having the injection molded parts and the final inserts in his hands, András put the inserts into the case and tested them.
As it turns out, even 16 kg can’t pull a single insert out. We’re about to order 16K of these little guys.
What does one do with 80 kg of stainless steel rods? Turn them into 16,000 guides to hold the keyboard halves together!
As you can see, we have already ordered the raw material, and we’ve also found a local manufacturer who will get the job done.
In our previous update, we published a picture of the wooden inlays on the palm rest but weren’t sure about the final color. Now, we’re experimenting with a couple of options.
Let me introduce you my mother, Klára Monda, who just happens to be a furniture painter folk artist. That’s right folks, the UHK is becoming a family business! Having more than 40 years of experience behind her, she’s more than qualified to dye and lacquer the wooden parts of the palm rests.
So far, a dark brown “walnut” dye seems to be the best match for the UHK case, but we will also give a graphite color a try soon. We’ll keep you posted.
10 of our 7th generation PCBs are being fabricated at Eurocircuits and will arrive at any moment.
These PCBs should fully resolve acoustic and electrical noise issues and contain lots of small improvements. They’re heavily optimized for manufacturing, boast 100% test point coverage, and also include little touches like the UHK and OSHW logos. As soon as they arrive, I will assemble a couple and meet Robi to test them thoroughly.
5 of the prototype PCBs will directly go to our PCBA contractor. They’re eager to do a first small prototype run so that they can create the tooling for efficient mass production.
Józsi and Nejc have been working very hard on Agent. As the fruits of their labor, Agent has become far more polished than ever before.
You’re welcome to check out Agent in your browser to see for yourself. Click on any key to see the key action popover appear. Then associate an action of your desire, and see the new action displayed on the key. Then rename a keymap, or its abbreviation, set it to default, duplicate it, or delete it. All these things should work smoothly now.
We still have a lot to do, but Agent already resembles the final application pretty well, and we’re making rapid progress.
Jacob Alexander of the Input Club has been doing some mad science lately. He has created the The Comparative Guide to Mechanical Switches by doing one-of-a-kind mad science. Lucky for us, Kailh switches were rated among the top contenders, so it looks like we’ve made a great choice. We’re extremely impressed by Jacob’s work.
While speaking of the Input Club, let’s give credit where it belongs. When porting the UHK to ARM and searching for the best microcontroller and LED driver we could use, we checked out their open source keyboard designs, and picked the same ARM processor and LED driver that they used.
Later on, we upgraded to a more powerful processor of the same family, and created our own schematic, PCB, firmware, and configuration application, but still, they have definitely affected our design in positive ways, so mad props to them!
Lately, some of you asked for more frequent updates and we’re glad to comply! Since our last newsletter update, we published 3 updates on social media. The plan is to post updates on a weekly basis on social media. You’re welcome to subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus channels to for even more UHK goodness.
And that was it, folks! We’ve arrived at the end of our December update.
Let me take the opportunity to wish every one of you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on behalf of the whole UHK team! We’re so happy that you guys are on board!
Talk to you on 2017-01-19.