[IC] Cajal: A 45% Keyboard

Introducing the Cajal. [kaˈhal]





The Cajal is a 45% hotswap keyboard with a detached arrow cluster, a prominent volume knob, and an RGB underglow ring. It also weighs in at around 2 kg, making it one of the heaviest boards for its size. This keyboard is a culmination of all the features that were requested from the Neuron GB, along with some new design features that haven’t yet been implemented in this layout. I have added indicator lights and a new (to my knowledge) gasket mount using stoppers to adjust the compression on nitrile tabs attached to the plate. PVD-coated brass and sandblasted polycarbonate plates will be available, as will hard and soft durometers of gasket material. With only four plate attachment points, the Cajal was designed to flex and give a cushioned bottom out. By changing plate material, gasket hardness, and gasket compression tightness, users will be able to tailor their experience to their preferences. Thank you for reading, and please let me know what features you would like to see in the final release when the Group-Buy comes. Nothing will start before the Neuron GB ships in early 2020, so prepare your wallets for a Spring 2020 release.

About the Name
The Cajal is named after Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934), the father of modern neuroscience. His studies of the brain were crucial to the discovery that the nervous system consists mainly of individual cells, a theory called neuron doctrine. For this discovery, he was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1906. His contributions to neuroanatomy and detailed drawings of neural structures are still relevant to our understanding of the nervous system more than a hundred years later. In addition to his scientific discoveries, Cajal was a writer of science fiction short stories under the name “Dr. Bacteria”, a bodybuilder in his younger years, a talented painter and artist, a doctor in the Spanish Army, and as a child, was briefly imprisoned in a local church for blowing a hole in his neighbor’s front door with a homemade cannon. This keyboard is a minor tribute to his brilliance.

Features:

  • 4.4lb (2kg) case with 5 degree typing angle.
  • QMK-compatible fixed layout white hotswap PCB with RGB underglow and daughter board to isolate PCB/plate from cable. Designed by Worldspawn. (KLE Layout here.)
  • Gasket mounting style with individual compression control and 40A or 70A durometer nitrile rubber gaskets above and below plate tabs.
  • PVD-coated brass or sandblasted polycarbonate plate.
  • Frosted acrylic diffuser layer for RGB underglow.
  • Three SMD LED indicators.
  • One included EC11 rotary encoder.
  • One big-ass knob, available in gold or black PVD brass, or silver or black anodized aluminum.
  • One big-ass sandblasted brass weight, engraved with Cajal and microscope based on Cajal’s favorite Zeiss microscope later in life.
  • Approximate price range $300-400.

If interested, please fill out this IC form.

Thanks for your time,
Walletburner

11 Likes

Cute, does it come in a flat profile?

I’ll preface this by saying I don’t think I’m currently in the market for this board but I’m not in love with the side profile. It’s very busy with how it cuts into the centre of the board. It’s handy for picking up the board no doubt, but aesthetically I find it detracts from the overall design. I think this is subjective of course but just thought I’d share my feedback!
Otherwise, I really like the design. It takes cues from several designs that have been introduced while adding your own twist and new ideas. Great job!

1 Like

Unfortunately not, this board has a 5 degree typing angle, which I will add to the description now!

Thanks for the feedback! Fair enough; something like this isn’t for everyone. The cutout was added with feedback from community members to add some flair to the sides. Yes, at 4.4lbs, I think these handles might have a very practical purpose, but I will better know how essential they are once I get prototypes.

1 Like

K, if you do a flat version in the future, with the option to use screw in feet (back and front for +/- tilt), I’d be interested. especially if you can get the price down to the $200-$300 range.

Good luck!

Sounds like the design is heading in the direction it needs to then based on feedback from your audience!

A HUGE portion of the choices on this board were sourced from Texas discord, 40% discord, and feedback from people who received the Neuron in an early prototyping run. I’m very interested in community feedback, so if anyone reading this has a feature they want, sound off in the IC Form or comment below :slight_smile:

1 Like

Any chance you would consider an ortho layout?
It would fit the top half perfectly, so it would “just” need a separate plate and pcb.
It would fulfil my dream layout :heart:

2 Likes

I’ve been thinking about that too, with 2u or 7u support. If there is sufficient interest, it can happen. Make your voice heard in the IC form!

3 Likes

I’m not in the market for with either, but allow me to disagree with @cijanzen. The handles are an awesome design, and I’d love to see this come to market, whether in this or a tweaked form. This thing is slick as hell, and its style is something I’d love to see on more boards.

3 Likes

I think it looks great! I would buy it for sure if it was a 45% board. Need that extra apostrophe before the return or it gets quite frustrating for me. I’ve tried and tried 40% but just can’t do it. But it does look amazing!

1 Like

Pretty much the same experience I’ve had. I can make it work, but I don’t enjoy it.

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Wow, I didn’t notice that…

Not having the apostrophe, right bracket, and forward slash would make it a no go for me.

I’d definitely give up the volume knob for the missing keys.

Love the even amount of keys for the both sides on the 2nd row.
I don’t need the arrow cluster but the knob makes me want it.

Is it possible to only have stabilizers under the spacebars?

Yes! The only two keys over 2u (and therefore the only ones that need stabilizers) are the spacebars.

Just saw your ortholinear Cajal renders yesterday. This quickly bumped the Cajal to the top of my list!


yup! it’s a really clean look i think, and ortho will be made available with a separate solderable PCB and choice of brass or POM plate. the bottom row should support full grid, 2u space, and 7u space, and unlike Neuron, i will make it available for the same price as the staggered PCB, not as an add-on.

2 Likes

That’s great! Definitely getting one of these then!

I see the need for a soldered pcb for the bottom row support, but perhaps hotswap on the three top rows could be possible?

Wow that looks really nice even though I’m not in the market for another 40% ortho unfortunately. Do you have a background in neuroscience?