[IC] Ortho/dox Blues: DSS/DSA keycaps with an Ortho/Ergo compatibility focus

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Ortho/dox Blues
A DSS/DSA keycap set with an Ortho/Ergo compatibility focus

Important Links:

Potential Boardwalk Example

Introduction & Origins
This is my first-ever Interest Check, and I’m very new to this process. I’m a software developer from North Carolina, and I’m an amateur board game designer. After buying an Ergodox to replace my MS Ergo keyboard, I found myself going further and further down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole.

Ortho/dox Blues itself began as a pun. I wanted to make a sculpted keycap set with high Ortho & Ergodox compatibility, and I knew I wanted to use some variation of the portmanteau “Orthodox” in the name. Initially, I began building a set using liturgical colors from the Eastern Orthodox church, but eventually I landed on a fairly simple blue gradient design.

Color samples in outdoor lightingColor samples in indoor lighting
Set color sample gradient, in outdoor and indoor lighting

About the Profile
I currently use DSS Dolch on my Ergodox, and I’ve grown to really love the texture and sculpting of DSS keycaps. I noticed that there were very few DSS group buys on this forum or on Reddit, so it seemed like a great new market to experiment with.

DSS keycaps are doubleshot ABS plastic, and they’re produced by Signature Plastics. DSS keycap tops are spherical and have a slightly rough texture, almost identical to DSA keycaps. Unlike DSA, DSS is a sculpted profile; the overall positioning and angle of each row in DSS is a bit closer to that of the OEM or Cherry profile.

So why is DSA part of this set? It has to do with the bottom row. As part of the survey I ran back in September, I found that the Ortho/Ergo audience is pretty evenly split between those who prefer a flatter bottom row (like SA R3) versus those who prefer an angled bottom row (like GMK R4). Because the tops and overall shapes of DSA and DSS caps are very similar, and because the DSA uniform profile is highly versatile for vertical caps, it made sense to me that providing an option to mix the two profiles might be a pragmatic approach for an Ortho/Ergo keycap set.

DSS Profile Example using DSA as bottom rowDSS Profile Example with DSS R4 as bottom row
DSS Profile Examples using DSA as the bottom row (left) or DSS R4 as the bottom row (right)

About the Kits
First and foremost, this set is meant to be Ortho/Ergo focused, but not Ortho/Ergo exclusive. That does mean that the kit design is a bit upside-down from what you might see elsewhere. Instead of setting up kits such that TKL users buy just one kit while everyone else buys add-ons, here the Ortho and Ergo users can get away with buying just the Core kit, while it’s the row-staggered keyboards that need additional kits.

The Core kit is similar to what other Interest Checks might call an Assembly kit: it provides enough keycaps to provide baseline coverage for a wide range of Ortho and Ergo layouts (Ergodox, Iris, Sol, Ergodash, etc.).

REMINDER
All images of kits are just simple renders, charts, and simulations. The font used will be SP’s standard Gorton Modified, which is not exactly the same as what is rendered. Kit contents are not final and are subject to change.

Kits & Descriptions on Imgur

Core Kit
Core Kit

Mainstream Mods
Mainstream Mods

Numpad & Compatibility Blanks
Numpad Compatibility Blanks

Typist Kit
Typist Kit

1u Legends & 1.5u Legends
1u Legends 1.5u Legends

Extra Blanks
Extra Blanks

ISO Kit & Novelties (Work in Progress)
ISO Kit Novelties

Globetrotter Kit & NorDe Kit
Globetrotter Kit NorDe Kit

Logistics

  • MK Ultra will be acting as my vendor for the US.
  • EU vendor in discussion but not yet finalized.
  • Kit MOQs will range from 10 to 75, with most at either 25 or 50.

KLE-Render Examples of Potential Layouts

Baseline Ergodox
(requires only the Core kit)
Baseline Ergodox

Boardwalk
(baseline requires only Core, this example includes 1.5u Legends and Novelties)
Boardwalk

TKL with ISO
(requires Core, Mainstream Mods, and ISO)
TKL with ISO

Planck with Workman Layout
(requires Core and Typist kits)
Planck with Workman Layout

UT47.2
(requires Core and Compatibility Blanks)
UT47.2

Katana60 with adapted Japanese JIS Localization
(requires Core, Globetrotter, & Compatibility Blanks)
Katana60 with adapted Japanese JIS Localization

Important Links Encore: