Hi, I'm Ryan Norbauer


#1

Hey Everybody. I’m Ryan, and I’m really happy this community exists. I spent a long time in another one, and I’ll miss the way it used to be. However, I’m really excited to see where we all can take this new, community-owned platform together.

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I’ve been fixated on personal computing and keyboards my entire life (grew up using an Apple II and IBM Model M), but mechanical keyboards infiltrated my gray matter as an actual hard-core obsession in July 2013, when I first discovered the existence of Cherry MX switches. I spent a marathon sleepless two days learning everything I could about them, and I haven’t been the same since. Keyboards have become a central organizing enthusiasm of my life.

I believe that keyboards are all about global human connection, and to me they embody my childhood hopes about the future. I think it’s entirely fitting, then, that some of my dearest friends and the kindest people I’ve ever met have been in the keyboard community. It’s unlike any other grouping of enthusiasts I’ve ever encountered—somehow this weird fixation we all share seems to be, entirely unexpectedly, a selection filter for generally awesome people. I feel so fortunate to be among you all.

A few years ago, I taught myself industrial design and machining so I could make my own housing for the Novatouch keyboard. When it turned out other people wanted the same housing, I got into running group buys to make them. The community dubbed it the “Norbaforce,” and now I pretty regularly make after-market upgrade housings for various OEM keyboards, which have happily proved quite popular. Without my ever quite meaning to, I’ve become a sort of semi-professional industrial designer, making all kinds of enthusiast projects both within and outside the keyboard world. And I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun or been happier. :slight_smile:

One thing of which I’m particularly proud: for Roddenberry Entertainment, I designed and organized the first keycap and artisan set to be associated with a major Hollywood license—Star Trek (which is my other major lifelong, soul-consuming obsession.) This was a quite successful group buy run on Roddenberry.com. I’ve also run successful keycap group buys on MassDrop and PimpMyKeyboard, way back in those ancient days of yore when group buys were a somewhat new and radical concept.

I have a sort of grand vision for stuff I’d like to design and make for my fellow enthusiasts over the next couple of years—ideally figuring out how to drag other new people into this passion along the way. My goal is simply to make the fanciest keyboards possible, to elevate these mystical devices to beautiful, luxurious art objects. I know the resulting keyboards aren’t for everybody, but I’m just trying to scratch my own itches and make cool stuff that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Along the way, I try to document my process so that even if somebody isn’t in a position to buy one of my cases, perhaps at least they’ll learn something, or even be able to make one of their own. I simply do these projects for the creative satisfaction and the joy of making other people happy (nothing thrills me more than going to a keyboard meet-up and seeing things I made all over the room that other people brought to show off.)

Below are a couple of keyboard-related videos I’ve made.

I also post lots of keyboard-related pictures on Instagram. :blush:

So…yeah, I’m really into this keyboard thing. And I’m really into this new site. I can’t wait to see where we all can take it together.


#2

I told you this on Twitch earlier, but I felt compelled to say it again:

Thank you for Galaxy Class.

(Forgive the horrible photo, as I have neither skill nor equipment for decent photography.)

- noroadsleft, AKA xxiinophobia on Twitch


#3

As always Mr Norbauer, you have a way with words.

Very interesting post,


#4

@Snappo, @noroadsleft thank you so much guys. :blush:


#5

You are definitely a well spoken dude Ryan! Gotta admit your post here & on the old haunt really got me pretty pumped about the possibilities of this new community owned & run site. Really looking forward to what crazy projects/ideals come out if it & participating in them! Also gotta give you a huge thanks for helping setting this up! :metal:


#6

Agreed. He put words to my general distaste of the acquisition. Really happy that a leader of our community has used his influence for good. Definitely a net-gain for keyboards.


#7

DSA Galaxy Class was you?!

Also… /cries
I missed out on it by about a week. Story of my life.

Another run of it eventually?


#8

Indeed it was. The run was surprisingly popular, so I’m pretty sure they’d be down to do it again at some point. We were talking of maybe doing a Klingon doubleshot set first though.


#9

Thank you so much for your generous comments, guys! I shall endeavor to live up to your kind words. :blush:


#10

OOOOOOOOO

That would be FANTASTIC!


#11

Hi Ryan,

When do you expect the June run of Novatouch will be available to ship? Specifically the anodised ones? I’ve got myself into too many runs, I would like to mark it down in my calendar. Just to tidy things up a bit.


#12

I don’t have a specific estimate yet beyond the one mentioned the group buy listing: before the end of the year. There are all sorts of things that can vary in the timeline, and I’ve learned to take a sort of worst-case-scenario approach with timeline estimates, since that usually happens to be precisely the scenario that plays out. =\


#13

Hey Mr. Norbauer,

Glad you’re here! Love everything you do for us :slight_smile:


#14

Thanks @shenpai. It’s emails and messages like this that keep me going through the (sometimes arduous) process of producing and shipping my housings and other projects. :blush: :bowing_man:


#15

Thanks! Can’t wait for Xmas. :grinning: