Often I have extra parts which leads me to buying even more parts which leads me to having more extra parts and well that's how this keyboard happened!
- MCU: STM32F03 ARM 32-bit
- Firmware: QMK
- Format: 60%
- Layouts: Ansi/ISO 60%, various custom options
- Connection: USB Mini
- Switch Compatability: Alps, MX Plate, MX PCB
- Backlighting: Support for add on boards via slots in the PCB
- Underlighting: None
- Audio: 2 Small piezo speakers on board
This is my first open source ARM based keyboard. The usual cost for a pcb is around 50$ but these were prototypes for sale for around 30$ due to a shifted capslock keyswitch position as well as being a prototype. I managed to get to work with a normal layout by carving away some of the throughhole for the stem and also opening up some area for one of the pins to allow me to shove the switch over. Everything works great and I got a fully functional arm pcb for $30 bucks! And it looks really nice too, with enig plating and matt black solder mask it one classy looking pcb.
Clueboard is one of the official QMK keyboards and active in the project so the firmware support is solid. The ARM libraries for the project are definitely functional but still in the early stages and being worked on and refactored so they might not be as easy to set up as the AVR boards but they'll get there and on top of that if you're the kind of person that likes writing drivers for MCU's, the clueboard pcb is considerate and has breakouts for I2c as well as swdio so if you want to integrate projects and want a 60% format board give the clueboard catalogue a look.
My only criticism, albeit a small one of this specific keyboard is the onboard speakers are a bit quiet, especially when enclosed by the case, I'm not sure if this is due to their size or perhaps voltage levels and maybe it can be adjusted in the firmware. Other than that i'm very happy with it.
- Since these were a one off run I couldn't find existing links
The switches I used on this board are the novel keys Novelias, they're a pink stemmed tactile box switch based on the NovelKeys Box Royals but with a heavier weighted stem. I bought these on sale due to them being clearing out group buy stock and also being PRE-retooling of the kaihua switches. Which means the switch stem tolerances could be a little thicker than mx standard and stretch out the stems of key caps. This is a big problem for gmk caps and other nice ones, I found that PBT caps may stretch on pre retooled switches but generally don't break, which makes this a problem if you ever want to use those keycaps on another keyboard, but if you're keeping them on the same board it should be fine.
In terms of tactility that is indeed what these switches are! Tactile. I find them actually very close to Hako Royal Clears, which are an official hybrid of Hako Clears from Input Club and Box Royals. I if anything they feel a little less lubed and smooth than the Royal Clears but less punchy than the Box Royals. Definitely switches for people with heavy hands or who like to really feel something happen when they push down a keyswitch. This could be a downside for things like gaming or light handed typists. These Switches were a one time run so you probably won't see many around.
- Material: PBT
- Profile: OEM
I've had an NPKC PBT gradient set before, prompting me to find a set that went along with the color scheme case I had. They're much thicker than most keycaps that come with your standard commercial mechanical keyboards and I've always been partial to the feel and shine resitance of PBT keycaps, I tend to favor them over abs if it's an option.
- Case Material: Aluminum
- Feet/Stands: Rubber feet
- Plate Material: Aluminum
The case is slim and sleek anodized aluminum, a nice purple hue and cold to the touch, The feet have are round screw on feet with rubber bumpstops on the bottom end and give it a reasonable incline for those that prefer that (like me!), but can be taken off if you want to lay it flat.
Bom and Cost:
|1||Clueboard 60% Prototype PCB||$30.00||Store Page|
|1||Sentraq Purple Aluminum Case||$49.99||Store Page|
|1||Pink aluminum switchplate||$21.99||Store Page|
|Old Stock Box Novelia Switches||25$||Post to prove they exist|
|6.25u set Costar Stabilizers||$6.49||Store Page|
|1||Set of PBT NPKC Sunset Blue Gradient Keycaps||$45.00||Maybe Store Page?|
Rough Cost: 178$