100% Split Keyboard

MW-1:1 – Split Full-Layout Keyboard

November 2017 – Present

The intent of this project is to develop a full-sized 104-key ANSI layout keyboard that can be converted into a more ergonomic “split” configuration. Think similar to the VE.A keyboard but with a more standard layout that you would find in a normal keyboard.

The reason this concept is being created is based on my enjoyment of the Ergodox keyboard that I have for my home computer. I wanted to bring the ergonomics of that configuration (and the ability to “tent” the keyboard) to my work station. But what I found is that after using my home Ergodox over the winter break and not using a standard layout, I had almost completely forgotten how to type on the layout. So, if I keep a standard layout on this concept and split it right, I can maintain my ability to use a standard layout keyboard while reaping the benefits of a split keyboard configuration. Being able to pull the two pieces back together would also allow coworkers to use the keyboard relatively easily, as well.

After some concept work, I found that if I kept the standard staggered layout that you would find on the standard ANSI layout, I could move the number cluster to the left side of the layout and split the two halves down the middle like on the VE.A keyboard and both halves would have the same width, thus avoiding most of the disparities of having one hand sitting higher than the other in a tented configuration of the keyboard.

This was my first big dive into proper PCB design, thankfully there is a plethora of information about proper diagrams, design, and programming within the Mechanical Keyboard Enthusiast community and most of the design has been rather simple. My primary issues have arisen from connecting the two halves and the protocol to use for that. The Ergodox uses an IO Expander Chip, other split boards use an I2C interface, and both of those methods have tripped me up, so I need to do some more research on that to continue the project.

PCB Layout of the Left-hand side of the keyboard

The Geekhack post is a chronology of my time designing it until I find a better home for the information.

See Project