[IC] LvL Type-01/80 by Artifact Industries

Artifact Industries


www.artifact-industries.com

LvL Type-01/80 Founding Edition



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The Artifact Industries Story

Artifact Industries is a collaborative brainchild incepted by a serendipitous chain of events that brought together a team of passionate and multi-talented designers, engineers and entrepreneurs from Hurbon International Ltd. (@Taiwan) & Noto GmbH (@Germany).

We set out to capture the imagination and way of life in our exciting era. To observe, encapsulate and materialize “artifacts” by applying cutting edge manufacturing technologies, as well as distilling the values and virtues we hold close to our hearts within the design.

We believe a great design should represent the power of reciprocation. Every “artifact” should be gifted the power to induce inspiration for greater things, to affect the world a little nicer than previously. Like bouncing and polishing ideas from one another, like propagating positivity with one another, just as passing of the torch to the next.

A Word from the Founder

It is my absolute honor and pleasure to be able to work alongside Noto.Design a world renowned and extremely accomplished industrial design firm from Germany. Together, we are partners in building our high-end boutique brand, Artifact Industries (Designed in Germany, Engineered & Manufactured in Taiwan). It is also a privilege to collaborate with Sloky, a Taiwan Excellence Boutique award winning tool maker, so that our clients may enjoy the building experience with the exquisite hand tools. It is close to our heart that we never forget where we are from, and what better way than to share what Taiwan has to offer.

"It starts at the keyboard, and it ends at the far corners of the universe."

– Vincent Lowry


Yours Sincerely,
Phil

The Artifact Industries Team:
Phil Chen (Co-founder) @ Hurbon
Renner Wu (Mechanical Engineer) @ Hurbon
James Chan (Supply Chain Guru) @ Hurbon
Andre Poulheim (Co-founder) @ Noto
Julian Sommer (Industrial Design) @ Noto
Stefan Hohn (Industrial Design) @ Noto
Ira Mauve (Industrial Design) @ Noto
Yiangos Yiangou (PCB Designer) @ Yiancar Design
Demi Cui (PCB Designer) @ Yiancar Design

Please reference the second post for updates
Please reference the third post for additional renders/photographs

Design Renders - Exterior













Design Renders - Internals










Design Features

  • 4 or 8 Degrees quick-release cylinder stands for tool-less angle adjustment
  • Suspended Isolated Grommet Mount
  • Screw-less exterior
  • Slim bezel design
  • Low-profile front height (19.8mm)
  • PCB compatible with QMK and VIA
  • Universal USB-C Daughterboard
  • Adjustable color LED and brightness (65535 colors), and modes (breathing, static etc.) with light guide
  • Satin finished 6061 Aluminum housing
  • Radial diamond cut finishing for the USB-C faceplate & cylinder stand faceplates
  • Injection molded silicone dampening pad between PCB & Switch-Plate

Layout Options

Tsangan WK

Tsangan WKL

Technical Specifications

Weight & Dimensions

  • Estimated ~1.8kg (Full Kit)
  • 154.5 x 357 x 18mm Depth x Width x Height (w/o stands)
    172.5 x 357 x 31.6mm (w/ 4° Stand)
    172.5 x 357 x 42.8mm (w/ 8° Stand)
    Front-side height are 19.8mm for all configurations

General

  • Case
    Aluminum, Monochromatic Celestial Silver Sandblasted & micro-groove treated
  • Weight
    Approx. 2kg
  • Plate Options
    Aluminum, Frozen Black (Included - MSRP TBD); or Carbon Fiber, Frozen Black 3K 2/2 Twill (Optional - MSRP TBD)
    Finite Element Analysis (FEA) optimized for flex consistency
  • Form Factor
    Slim bezel 80%
  • Architecture
    Suspended Isolated Grommet Mount (screwless exterior)
  • Dampening
    Custom molded silicone mid-layer with reinforced Poron base-layer
  • Typing Angle
    4 (Included - MSRP TBD) and 8 Degrees (Included - MSRP TBD)
  • Layouts
    Tsangan WK or WKL (symmetrical 1U blockers, supports PCB-mount stabs)
  • PCBA
    Black-core Hotswap, Arm MCU, QMK & VIA supported, customized unified USB-C D/B.
    (1 x PCBA included – MSRP TBD)
  • Lighting
    Single side-firing programmable status LED, adjustable 65535 colors, adjustable brightness, breathing effect.
  • Accessories:
    a). 1 x 3-piece medical-grade 0.5Nm torque limiting T6 screwdriver (Included - MSRP TBD) in collaboration with Sloky (A Taiwan Excellence Award winning tool manufacturer)
    b). 2 x pairs of quick release cylinder stands (4 & 8 Degrees)
    c). 8 x custom T6 CNCed, black electroplated steel Switch Plate to Housing Grommet Mount screws
    d). 16 x black electroplated T6 steel screws for PCB to Switch-Plate
    e). 5 x custom CNCed black electroplated T6 steel screws for Housing to Bottom Cover
    f). 2 x 2 sets black electroplated T6 steel screws for Cylinder Stand
    Extra screw sets provided for redundancy
    Founding Edition is fully kitted (All accessories included).
  • Lineage
    Designed in Germany & Engineered & Manufactured in Taiwan

Pre-Order Information

  • Unit Quantity
    Founding Edition Limited run, QTYs TBD
  • Price
    MSRP TBD
  • Point of Sale
    artifact-industries.com
  • Launch date
    TBD

Disclaimers

  • The images are renders and are for illustration purposes only. The final product may differ slightly
  • Keycaps, switches, stabilizers are shown for demonstrative purposes only and are not included with LvL Type-01/80 Founding Edition
  • Keep in mind this is an interest check. Nothing, including options, pricing, etc, is final until the GB starts. This IC represents the most correct, up-to-date information we have regarding LvL Type-01/80 at this time. Based on prototyping and manufacturing samples, some things may change.
    We will be announcing any changes, if any, here first, and on Discord as well.
2 Likes

**UPDATES**

16-Oct-2021.........Type1/80 IC Launch with Exterior Renders
20-Oct-2021.........Pricing estimates removed. Will be updated again when QTY of run is determined
26-Oct-2021.........Updated Internal Renders (Internal parts and components)
26-Oct-2021.........Created FAQ
16-Nov-2021........Proto V3.0 photo shared in reply post
05-Dec-2021........Proto V3.0 typing sound shared in reply post

**FAQ**

What is Suspended Grommet Mount?

Our suspended grommet-mount is actually a variation of top-mount, and has several design implications (note that when I mention “module”, it means PCB+Silicone Pad+Switch Plate):
  1. Firstly, opens the door to thin-bezel design. As you can imagine, moving the mounting points inside the housing means we can do away without shelves/positioning cut-outs which requires thicker sides around the outter perimeters of the housing.

  2. Secondly, reducing contact surface/physical connection between the module and the rest of the housing, which in turn, inhibits vibration from traveling to undesirable parts and cause unwanted acoustic characteristics. This also means we only need to apply very small parts for isolation in strategic locations.

  3. Lastly, the grommets (all 8 of them, with high elasticity), which are quite small, can plasticly deform in both the vertical direction as well as in the direction of the horizontal-plane (i.e. as the screw tightens, the grommet will deform and hold onto the adjacent parts to provide good isolation). This provides a firm typing feel without harshness, and exhibits a solid acoustics without pinging.

One of the solution we imagined was with springs. We envisioned a suspension system with different spring types and spring-forces that is user serviceable would be a great customization point.

But it was apparent that we needed to customize step-screws to constrain the spring in place. Then it was apparent that the spring inevitably will need to be constrained while undergoing compression (i.e. as spring compresses, it may slant and deflect. Similar to how our shock absorbers on cars usually requires sleeves). If not controlled, spring touching adjacent parts will give off scratchy noise.

After many ideation and prototyping runs, we settled on the suspended grommet mount, as it seems to be much more efficient, simple and functional.

Reserved

Tbh your “story” might be the most pretentious set of words I’ve ever read

5 Likes

Life’s no fun without a little bit of pretension to distract us from the world, perhaps!

I’m intrigued, at least. I look forward to seeing prototypes and finding out more - that will help breathe life into the buzzy words shared here. After all, the draw of an ‘artefact’ is its actual presence in material culture, and I am a little beyond the reach of renders especially at this price point. I think I’ll need to feel the gravity of the real thing to feel less like I’m being spoken to like a venture capitalist or hypebeast-y consumer, and more like someone being invited to participate in the creation of a wonderful object with meaning.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and its a bummer it came across to you that way.
I admit proudness may seem like arrogance, and being romantic can seem like pretentious.
But I swear I did not touch that “Pretentiometer”!

G’day Batonnoir, appreciate your positive vibes!

The team has been working on this for the past year or so. We have actually produced two runs of engineering verification prototypes, and currently in the process of making 15 units of ready-to-ship (RTS) prototypes.

Please do stay around as we will update photographs and videos of our prototypes soon.

1 Like

It’s like a thesaurus exploded on my screen

It didn’t come across as pretentious to me FWIW. It looks like a lot of work went into this IC. Really interesting renders and I appreciate the originality of many aspects of the design. I didn’t care for the “ears/eyes” initially but the more I look at it the more the shape is growing on me. Would be interesting to see it in person. Also, really loving the look of the micro-groove treatment—stunning.

2 Likes

I assure you no thesaurus were harmed for the composing of copywriting.

1 Like

We are really happy you noticed and appreciate this detail treatment!

We feel the micro-grooves really completes the overall aesthetics. Can’t wait to share actual photographs of it with you :smiley:

One of our design consideration from the beginning was to imagine something that is clean, sophisticated with a classic aesthetic that’ll age well. A lot of care and attention (and design iterations) were considered in an attempt to achieve this. It’s very satisfying to hear that you also feel this way, if anything, this is likely a sign that we have struck a pretty fine balance. Cheers!

Lotta details in here (which I love, even though this is unfortunately deeply out of my price range at the moment), but I’d love to hear more about this. What kind of properties does this mounting style provide? Presumably the isolation helps avoid case ping, but does the mounting style imbue flex (would be an interesting challenge for a hotswap board) or is it intended to be more stiff?

2 Likes

Hi iaman,
That is a great question!

Our suspended grommet-mount is actually a variation of top-mount, and has several design implications (note that when I mention “module”, it means PCB+Silicone Pad+Switch Plate):

  1. Firstly, opens the door to thin-bezel design. As you can imagine, moving the mounting points inside the housing means we can do away without shelves/positioning cut-outs which requires thicker sides around the outter perimeters of the housing.

  2. Secondly, reducing contact surface/physical connection between the module and the rest of the housing, which in turn, inhibits vibration from traveling to undesirable parts and cause unwanted acoustic characteristics. This also means we only need to apply very small parts for isolation in strategic locations.

  3. Lastly, the grommets (all 8 of them, with high elasticity), which are quite small, can plasticly deform in both the vertical direction as well as in the direction of the horizontal-plane (i.e. as the screw tightens, the grommet will deform and hold onto the adjacent parts to provide good isolation). This provides a firm typing feel without harshness, and exhibits a solid acoustics without pinging.

Spring-Mount (One of many concepts)


(Red=Housing, Grey=Switch Plate, Green=Silicone Pad, Black=PCB, Purple=Spring)


Grommet-Mount (Solution of choice)

(Red=Housing, Grey=Switch Plate, Green=Silicone Pad, Black=PCB, Blue=Elastomer Grommet)

One of the solution we imagined was with springs. We envisioned a suspension system with different spring types and spring-forces that is user serviceable would be a great customization point.

But it was apparent that we needed to customize step-screws to constrain the spring in place. Then it was apparent that the spring inevitably will need to be constrained while undergoing compression (i.e. as spring compresses, it may slant and deflect. Similar to how our shock absorbers on cars usually requires sleeves). If not controlled, spring touching adjacent parts will give off scratchy noise.

After many ideation and prototyping runs, we settled on the grommet-mount, as it seems to be much more efficient, simple and functional.

We are glad you asked this question, and we’d love to answer more questions like this!

Cheers

3 Likes

Hey all,
Proto3 is out.
Pretty excited as we are able to achieve a finishing for CMF design verification that is extremely close to our renderings.


3 Likes

Hey all,
Here is a typing sound test for LVL TYPE-01/80 Proto 3.0
Apologies for the poor video quality as I don’t have a proper video setup

1 Like

G’day All,
Just wanted to share a beautiful shot of Proto4 when it came off the CNC a couple days ago.

Happy CNY :smiley:

3 Likes