The DZ60 and the KBD75 are both good layouts. There’s a few things that have prevented me from ordering.
Maybe it’s just me but I find the selection process really confusing on some of these vendor sites. Plus they always seem to be out of stock, I’m not very confident I can get QMK to do what I need, reluctant to drop 200-300 bucks on an experiment (mostly looking for a productivity boost from a programmable board), and I have a couple of cheap mechanical boards around that I can source switches, top plate and case from by hand wiring. I ordered a couple of Teensy 2.0’s the other day.
Really it comes down to testing the waters with as few dollars as possible. The 2.25/1.25/2.75 bottom row makes the most sense for my needs.
A lot of stuff is run as group buys where essentially it’s a preorder so that the vendor doesn’t have to front the money and then they order the stuff to be manufactured and ship it out after. The DZ60 is a really good do-all PCB and is pretty much always in stock, kbdfans is one of the bigger vendors.
What do need it to do? QMK is pretty fully featured
With a plastic case and cheap/no plate you could probably put something together ~100, but it sounds like you’ve already got a lot of the stuff to do a handwire so if you don’t want to spend a bunch of money that sounds like a solid option.
Poor wording on my part. From what I’ve read there isn’t anything QMK can’t do. I’m worried about me being able to control/program/code/configure it. I’m not a programmer and some of the code I’ve read in the QMK docs is over my head. For example, QMK docs refer to downloading source code to implement Tapdance. It’s areas like this that make me want to stick a toe in the water first to see if I can learn enough to build a quality board.
Honestly it’s going to be a lot more effort to hand wire and create a completely new configuration in QMK.
You don’t need a plate or a case to play around. You can just get a hotswap PCB and stick some switches in and immediately try flashing different layouts. Hotswap DZ60 RGB is 55 bucks and cheaper for the solder one. You can always get any GH60 compatible case later.
http://config.qmk.fm would let you configure a layout in your browser / compile / download and flash with qmk toolbox. You don’t have to compile it from source.
I think the non-RGB version of the DZ60 (solderable) will support the spacebar layout that you want and it’s 35 dollars.
The other benefit of going with DZ60 are users with the same board that can help you figure out advanced features of qmk.
I’m kind of new to the community too so someone please correct me if I get some information wrong.
GH60 is a 60% community designed board, but there are a lot of other PCBs that have adopted the same mounting hole patterns so that they can share compatibility with cases. The DZ60 is one of those.
If you use config.qmk.fm it will compile a file for you that you download and open with qmktool box and then flash the PCB. No need to use git unless you want to use advanced features that may not be available on the website.
The PCBs don’t seem to be out of stock for a long time. The one that requires soldering is in stock right now.
Yeah, I’ve ordered from them maybe half a dozen times, they’re generally very good, and their customer support is generally good too. I would say it’s worth it to pay for the quicker shipping they offer, I made the mistake of picking the slow one once and it took several weeks.
On the other hand, it can be quick too. I’m in Europe and have ordered from them three or four times, always with the free shipping that they say takes about 15–30 days, and it’s taken about a week each time. Another thing is that there are rarely any customs fees when ordering from KBDFans. (In other words, they undervalue the packages.)
I’ve always been very pleased with all my interactions with KBDFans. The descriptions on the store pages aren’t always the best, and they don’t follow up on the comments sections there, but on they’re quick to reply on Facebook and they have their own Discord server where they answer questions etc.
@jbcbrett for handwired projects, you can also use kbfirmware.com, it’s pretty old but it was designed for this use case. Configurator is more for existing keyboards that already exist in QMK. Having said that, our docs are quite good and there are lot of example handwired keyboards in the repo you can follow examples from and we have an excellent discord.
Thank you for the input @yanfali and the help. kbfirware.com is in my toolbox but for a different reason. I took the raw data (switch layout from hand wired project) from keyboard-layout-editor.com and pasted it into kbfirmware.com to get the column wiring configuration. The “flip” feature to see front and back information (column/row numbering) is very helpful. Thanks.
Ever tried to learn something entirely new, and had your little voice screaming that you need more information, but just didn’t know what or how to ask? This topic is that for me.
My brain says that if a controller board (Teensy 2.0 for example) is compatible with say kbfirmware.com or others, it shouldn’t matter if an existing configuration exists. Someone should be able create a firmware for a board since the controller/firmware-builder play nice with each other. Logic says there’s less work if the layout exists but as long as the controller is compatible, creating a firmware and flashing a board is possible right?
What’s funny is I’m guessing I’ll look back on this and realize I’m over complicating things. For now though, some of the things on my wish/want list are:
Macros (ctrl+l) to copy browser url, (alt+tab) to go to previous program (ctrl+shift+1) to trigger action in that program, (alt+tab) return to program…you get the idea.
Tapdance…introduced by @Lesbian otherwise probably wouldn’t have discovered it.
FN access to 3-4 layers with one or two key combos
Convenient flashing workflow (realize a need, add it to keyboard and be done in <5 min)…I’m hoping anyway.
Again thanks for reaching out. Everyone at Keebtalk has been very generous in their help and for someone that has to learn all facets of this subject, it’s really appreciated.