2021 Oct 31

Production progress, spare parts bonanza, new Agent release

By |2021-10-31T17:50:42+00:002021-10-31 15:44 CEST|news|30 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this monthly UHK status update!

TL;DR: We’ve delivered about sixty UHK 60 v2 orders in October. We plan to ship hundreds of orders per month starting from November. The v2 palm rests, and extra feet are finally ready to ship. We’ve added several spare parts to our webshop. A new Agent version has been released, supporting arbitrary scancodes and restoring preloaded keymaps.

Production progress

In October, we received the much-anticipated mechanical support parts we told you about in our previous update. We’ve tested the parts, they work just as expected, and socket separation shouldn’t be an issue going forward.

Unfortunately, we had to wait for the parts for quite some time, which halted production, resulting in only sixty assembled UHK 60 v2 units in October instead of the originally planned hundred units. We shipped many of these units at the end of October, so these days were quite a rush.

Luckily, we have also received the missing v2 palm rest parts and extra feet, so customers who ordered such items will be queued on a first-come, first-served basis.

We still only have black cases, so orders containing UHK 60 v2 items with non-black cases or extra non-black case items won’t be sent to production until we have non-black cases in stock unless you ask us to switch the case colors of your order to black by filling out this form.

We plan to manufacture hundreds of UHK 60 v2 units starting from November, enabling us to combat the backlog of pending orders effectively. We’re eager to receive many tweets like Peter’s.

New orders are expected to ship in March, and we’ll update the delivery status page every weekend.

Spare parts bonanza

A long time ago, during our crowdfunding campaign, I wrote an article on repair and how we planned to enable our customers to fix their UHKs if needed. Fast-forward six years, we’ve written many repair guides, we provide repair assistance and in-warranty repair service for free, and out-of-warranty repair service for very reasonable prices.

Many people may not know, but we also provide spare parts. Until this point, a very limited selection of spare parts has been available in our webshop, and the rest of the spare parts was only available via our customer support. To further our dedication to the noble cause of repair, we’ve added several additional spare parts to our webshop, so should you need any spare parts, you can pick them up and check out in no time.

Your UHK is an investment that should serve you for years to come. Don’t throw it away if it has been broken. Feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll help you make it shine in its former glory. As for the selection of the spare parts of our webshop, it’s only expected to grow.

New Agent features

There are two major features of the new Agent 1.5.16 release that are worth mentioning.

The first feature is arbitrary scancodes. The scancode dropdown of Agent provides quite a few scancodes that should satisfy most needs, but some want more scancodes, for example, to bind special shortcuts that surely don’t interfere with other shortcuts. This group of users may find the arbitrary scancodes feature very handy. To explain this feature, we have to get a bit technical.

There are three scancode types according to the USB interfaces that the UHK exposes:

  • The basic keyboard interface implements the Keyboard/Keypad Page, which contains alphanumeric, navigation, and regular scancodes. See chapter 10, page 53 of HID Usage Tables. Scancode type abbreviation is B for basic.
  • The media keyboard interface implements the Consumer Page, which contains volume adjusting and other media scancodes. See chapter 15, page 75 of HID Usage Tables. Scancode type abbreviation is M for media.
  • The system keyboard interface implements the Generic Desktop Page, which contains sleep and power down scancodes. See chapter 4, page 26 of HID Usage Tables. Scancode type abbreviation is S for system.

As for the valid numeric intervals of the scancodes, it's 1-255 for basic and system scancodes and 1-65535 for media scancodes.

You can write a string composed of the scancode type and scancode number into the scancode field to specify the desired scancode. Examples are B40, M160, and S10.

Agent substitutes the specified scancode with its well-known name if the scancode dropdown contains it. For example, the B40 scancode gets substituted with Enter. Otherwise, Agent will display the scancode as it is.

The range of available scancodes is huge, hosts recognize only some, and different operating systems and applications recognize different sets of scancodes.

The second new Agent feature allows you to add pre-loaded keymaps.

The UHK is preloaded with six keymaps: QWERTY for PC and Mac, Dvorak for PC and Mac, and Colemak for PC and Mac. You probably don’t use all of these keymaps, so you can delete the unused ones in Agent to minimize clutter. Up until this point, you couldn’t restore the deleted preloaded keymaps, but now, you can by using the plus icon next to the Keymaps menu item of the side menu.

Thanks for reading this update! We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and plan to publish the next update at the end of November.

2021 Oct 01

First UHK 60 v2 batches delivered

By |2021-10-04T07:05:41+00:002021-10-01 18:58 CEST|manufacturing, news|33 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this slightly delayed monthly UHK status update!

TL;DR: We’ve delivered about 50 UHK 60 v2 orders in September, and the overall feedback was great, but a customer reported a production issue that can affect other customers as well. We ensure that this issue won’t reoccur going forward, delaying production by a week or two. We plan to ship about 100 UHK 60 v2 orders in October and keep ramping up production.

TL;DR 2: Due to various factors, order fulfillment is not yet strictly executed on a first-come, first-served basis. If your UHK 60 v2 has a non-black case, your order can get further delayed. We can change your UHK 60 v2 case color to black if you fill out this form. New orders are expected to ship in February 2022. Read on for more details.

We’re delighted to hear from UHK 60 v2 customers as they received their orders!

Sadly, Ben reported after his initial tweet that three sockets of his UHK separated from the PCB when he replaced all the switches. Socketed keyboards are affected by this issue, but three sockets are too much to be considered normal.

Going forward, our contract manufacturer will use more solder for the sockets, and we’ll add mechanical support to prevent such issues. The mechanism for mechanical support will be the same we’ve been using for the key cluster module. For the record, we’ve delivered thousands of key cluster modules and haven’t received any complaints about separated sockets.

For the time being, we’ll use extra parts within the case for adding mechanical support. Later, we’ll integrate this solution to the bottom case parts by modifying their molds. We’re chasing the latter solution because it makes manufacturing easier and faster. Consequently, we won’t manufacture non-black cases until the mold gets modified, which should take about three months.

We currently only have black cases in stock, so if you’re early in the queue and don’t want your order to get further delayed than necessary, switch to a black case by filling out this form. You can check your order parameters several days after you submit the form.

When will my order arrive?

New orders are expected to ship in February 2022. 

As for earlier orders, the following factors inhibited us from shipping on a first-come, first-served basis:

  1. I realized about a week ago that our order allocation algorithm was still buggy and didn’t respect our first-come, first-served principle. I fixed the bug, tested it, and it won’t be an issue in the future.
  2. We don’t have palm rests and extra v2 feet in stock, so orders containing these items aren’t sent to production. We expect to have stock in two weeks, at which point this will be a non-issue.
  3. Only UHKs with black cases will be shipped until modifying the mold to add the mentioned mechanical support mechanism. We expect to manufacture non-black cases about three months from now. Again, you can switch to a black case according to the above instructions.

Consequently, if your order hasn't shipped yet and you see an order number larger than yours shipped, it doesn’t mean that there's something wrong with your order. If your order is in the “processing” state, we'll ship it as soon as possible. Please check the status of your order before emailing us.

As soon as points 1 and 2 are resolved, we’ll update the delivery status page.

Thanks for reading this update! We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and plan to publish the next update at the end of October.

2021 Aug 31

UHK 60 v2 production has started

By |2021-08-31T22:18:58+00:002021-08-31 21:31 CEST|manufacturing, news|47 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this monthly UHK status update!

TL;DR: UHK 60 v2 production has finally started, earliest orders will ship in September, and new orders are expected to ship in January 2022. Every Crowd Supply order has been shipped, and almost all module orders of UHK 60 v1 customers have been shipped.

Please make sure to update your address!

Please note that these are unusually busy days, and as a result, our support response time is considerably longer than usual. It may take some days to get back to you, but we will get back to you.

UHK 60 v2 production progress

After multiple delays, I’m delighted to say that all the needed parts have arrived and UHK 60 v2 production has finally started. The earliest orders will ship in September. We’ll work hard to fulfill pending UHK 60 v2 orders and catch up. If you purchase now, we expect to deliver your order in January 2022.

Don’t expect our UHK 60 v2 production volume to be high in September, as we still have some modules to ship, and launching the production of a new product is usually a bit slow in the beginning. 

Module production progress

We’ve shipped every Crowd Supply order. If you haven’t received yours yet, chances are it’s already in transit.

We plan to ship pending module orders in the next two weeks to every customer who hasn’t ordered a UHK 60 v2.

As for the rest of the module orders, we’ll ship them together with UHK 60 v2 units.

Your tweets

You guys keep sending your tweets, and we're always eager to read and feature them! If you got your UHK or modules, please share your love!

We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and plan to publish the next update at the end of September.

2021 Jul 31

Module shipping and UHK 60 v2 progress, part two

By |2021-07-31T19:29:18+00:002021-07-31 19:29 CEST|manufacturing, modules, news|44 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this monthly UHK status update!

We’ve been churning out as many modules as we could In July and received more feedback than ever, including Yukio Miyamoto’s who happens to be an outstanding illustrator. In his true style, Yukio wasn’t afraid to put his skills to good use, resulting in some spectacular photos.

I’ve recently noticed that our batch allocation algorithm was buggy, and it didn’t respect our first-come, first-served principle. If it did, we would have already shipped every Crowd Supply order. I’ve just fixed our algorithm, and the last Crowd Supply order is expected to leave our facility next Wednesday. Chances are good Crowd Supply will deliver every pending order in August.

We expect to ship non-Crowd Supply module orders in August, too, except for the modules of UHK 60 v2 customers who haven’t ordered a UHK 60 v1. We’ll deliver such modules together with UHK 60 v2 keyboards, as the modules are not helpful without a keyboard.

As for the UHK 60 v2, we received the first production sample of its injection-molded cases just a couple of days earlier.

The cases are the only missing parts to launch UHK 60 v2 production, so this is a major step forward, but they contain some minor defects, and the tooling must be fixed accordingly. We’ll receive subsequent case samples in a week or two, and afterward, the mold may have to be further tweaked depending on the results. We’re pushing hard to launch UHK 60 v2 production in August.

From that point forward, we’ll continuously ship UHK 60 v2 pre-orders on a first-come, first-served basis as quickly as we can. We should be able to ship the majority of UHK 60 v2 preorders in 2021, but some will probably slip to early 2022 despite our best effort. We can’t provide a more precise production schedule yet, but we’ll keep you updated monthly as usual.

Your tweets

We’re delighted to see your posts on the modules and the UHK in general. Please keep spreading the word; we greatly appreciate it.

We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and plan to publish the following update at the end of August.

2021 Jun 30

Module shipping and UHK 60 v2 progress

By |2021-06-30T19:37:21+00:002021-06-30 19:37 CEST|manufacturing, modules, news|26 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this monthly UHK status update!

Module shipping has peaked in June, and as a result, we’ve received some tweets which make us very excited.

Right now, module production is on a temporary halt, and it’ll resume in two days; we recently noticed that a large portion of module cases didn’t meet our quality standards, and we had to get new cases made. This issue set back module production by about one and a half weeks, unfortunately. We’ll be doing more thorough early incoming quality control to catch such problems early on.

We’ll keep churning out the modules, and we expect to ship every Crowd Supply order in the first half of July. The delivery of non-EU orders via Crowd Supply may take weeks longer due to the extra fulfillment and shipping step on their part.

We’ll continue with the modules ordered via the UHK webshop, and we believe we’ll ship most or all of them until the end of July, except for the modules of UHK 60 v2 customers who haven’t ordered a UHK 60 v1. We’ll deliver such modules together with UHK 60 v2 keyboards, as the modules are not helpful without a keyboard.

As for UHK 60 v2 production, we’re only two days away from having the final mold, but our injection molding supplier has an organizational restructuring which can delay the production schedule by about a week or two. When the first molded UHK 60 v2 parts come off the assembly line, we’ll see how much tweaking has to be made to the mold. We believe we can launch UHK 60 v2 production in late July.

From that point forward, we’ll continuously ship UHK 60 v2 pre-orders on a first-come, first-served basis as quickly as we can, possibly until the end of the year. We can’t provide a more precise production schedule yet, but we’ll keep you updated monthly as usual.

We appreciate your patience, and we’re looking forward to talking to you at the end of July.

2021 May 31

Wrapping up Crowd Supply and module orders

By |2021-05-31T16:18:00+00:002021-05-31 16:17 CEST|manufacturing, modules, news|47 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this monthly UHK status update!

Module production is in full swing. When we started up, we could only assemble several hundreds of modules per month, and now, it’s in the thousands. We expect to ship every module order in June, excluding customers without a UHK.

It took me a lot of time to sync Crowd Supply orders with our database and tweak our backend system for order fulfillment via Crowd Supply. But now that our systems are ready and we have quite a few modules in our facility ready to be shipped, you can expect a heavy surge of module shipments In June.

If you got your modules, make sure to update to the latest Agent and flash the latest firmware as we keep smashing bugs and releasing new versions.

The modules are not helpful without a keyboard, so UHK 60 v2 customers without a UHK 60 v1 who also ordered modules will receive every item in one package, including their modules and UHKs.

Almost every part is available for UHK 60 v2 production except for keycaps and plastic parts. Our PBT keycap supplier confirmed that they’ll start shipping keycaps in mid-June, as previously discussed, and the silk-printed side legends of the final PBT keycap sample look great.

PBT keycaps with side legends

As for the plastic parts, tweaking the plastic module cases pushed UHK 60 v2 plastic part production further. As a result, we expect to launch the production of the much-anticipated UHK 60 v2 units in early July.

From that point forward, we’ll continuously ship UHK 60 v2 pre-orders as fast as we can, possibly until the end of the year. I asked our plastic supplier to hurry up without compromising quality.

The best way forward is to plow through every obstacle we encounter, and I’m sure we’ll end up with a keyboard like no other. We appreciate your patience on this journey, and we’re looking forward to talking to you at the end of June.

2021 Apr 30

The first module batch has been shipped

By |2021-04-30T16:22:24+00:002021-04-30 16:22 CEST|manufacturing, modules, news|41 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this monthly UHK status update!

TL;DR: The first 400 modules have been shipped from our facility, and we’ll be continuously shipping the remaining module pre-orders. We’ve approved the latest PBT keycap set our supplier sent to us, and UHK 60 v2 production is expected to start in early June. We will try to provide estimates regarding pending orders in our next update.

Please make sure to update your shipping address if you have moved to another location since your order.

Also, please open the web address that you can find in the module boxes to be able to use the modules and make the most out of them. Don’t forget to update to Agent 1.5.12 and firmware 8.10.9 or any later version available.

Production progress

After all this time, we’ve finally shipped the first module batch, containing 400 modules. These are some of the modules.

We’ve ended up providing a red ball, a black ball, and a steel ball for the trackball modules because we’re unsure which one you’ll like best, and your feedback is much welcome.

We can’t wait to see your posts and hear your experiences regarding the modules. The following is the first we’ve received.

You may be wondering why you haven’t gotten your module order even though you ordered earlier than Domi. The reason is that so far, we’ve only shipped non-Crowd Supply module orders because Crowd Supply’s order database is not synchronized with ours yet. In a couple of days, however, it will be synchronized, at which point we’ll start shipping Crowd Supply module orders, too.

We’ll be continuously shipping the remaining module pre-orders in the coming months. We’ll provide an estimate regarding module shipping, but it’s too early as it was challenging to start module mass production, so the assembly speed of the first module batch is not representative.

As stated in our previous newsletter, the UHK 60 v2 is currently blocked by the lack of PBT keycaps and plastic parts. Our keycap supplier expects to start shipping the keycaps in early June, by which time the plastic parts should be ready, too, and UHK 60 v2 production will begin. From that point forward, we’ll continuously ship UHK 60 v2 orders, possibly until the end of the year, which begs some explanation.

The current and future state of delivery

Under normal circumstances, we ship orders in a matter of days, as we did from 2019 May to 2020 October.

As you can probably tell, the current circumstances are everything but normal for several reasons, some of which I’m about to explain.

  1. We’re releasing five different products (four modules and the UHK 60 v2). Every product has its own set of manufacturing challenges, and ramping up production is quite challenging even for a single product.
  2. We have quite a backlog, especially of modules that we need to fulfill. At the same time, the demand for our products has significantly increased recently.
  3. Our on-site, on-demand manufacturing operation is excellent when it comes to a steady stream of orders but not ideal for combating large backlogs. As a result, it takes more time to catch up than if we had an OEM in China.
  4. The electronics supply chain is a wreck due to Covid. We had to purchase several thousand ICs for the modules and the UHK 60 v2 for about ten times the price we usually pay, and we were told we’re lucky we could even get the parts.

We sympathize with every one of our customers whose order is delayed, and we’re doing our best to catch up.

If you need an ergonomic keyboard quickly due to health issues, the UHK is not the right choice now. (Unless you pick up the handful of UHK 60 v1’s left on stock.) But if you’re not in a hurry, it’s still worth purchasing because we’ll raise the price of our products after we catch up with pre-orders, and we deliver on a first-come, first-served basis.

On the upside, after shipping the current module and UHK 60 v2 pre-orders, we expect to ship most orders in 24 hours on workdays, faster than ever before.

Thanks for your understanding, and your continued patience is much appreciated.

Your tweets

Please keep spreading the word on the modules and the UHK in general. The following tweets put smiles on our faces.

We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and plan to publish the following update at the end of May.

2021 Mar 15

Module production is underway

By |2021-03-15T21:09:13+00:002021-03-15 20:54 CEST|agent, demo, electronics, manufacturing, modules, news|109 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this delayed monthly UHK status update!

TL; DR: The assembly of the first 400 modules is underway in our facility, and we expect to ship them in about a week. Afterward, we’ll be continuously producing and shipping module preorders as quickly as we can. One of our key contractors has become suddenly overloaded, and as a result, we expect to start UHK 60 v2 production around the end of April. There are a lot of cool demos in this update, so make sure to read it.

Module production

Module manufacturing has finally started, and we’re assembling the first 400 modules, including 100 modules per type. The following photo was taken after surface-mount assembly and shows the module panels:

Unlike the UHK panels, the module panels contain numerous PCBs. The key cluster panel looks like some kind of modern art:

The trackball panel is very densely populated:

It’s interesting to peek into the modules, so here are some pictures of them half-assembled and fully assembled:

The following modules have been assembled so far:

The modules’ look and accuracy have greatly improved since I made the last module demo videos, so I’ve made some new ones. At the end of the videos, you can see the scrolling navigation mode in action assigned to the Mod layer of my UHK 60 v2. This mode makes it easy to zoom through a massive amount of content quickly, and it’s great to skim through documents.

Let’s start with the trackball module.

We’ve tried many different balls, and we’re unsure whether to provide a light black resin ball or a heavier steel ball, so we’ll include both. We may eventually offer only one of these balls based on your feedback. The balls can be quickly replaced without tools, according to the following video.

The new, modified, injection-molded spacer improved trackpoint accuracy, and now it feels more accurate.

Beyond single tapping, the touchpad module supports two-finger tapping, two-finger scrolling, and pinch to zoom, but only tapping is supported at this point. We’ll add firmware support for every one of these actions soon.

Can the modules replace the mouse? It’s a question asked by many, so it’s worth an answer. The modules are a good fit to replace the mouse for regular desktop use, such as web browsing or interacting with applications. If you’re a graphics designer and spend a lot of time in Gimp or Photoshop, a mouse or a graphic tablet is a better choice, though. As for gaming, I think the modules are useful for specific games such as turn-based strategy, but I wouldn’t play fast-paced games, such as first-person shooters with them.

We keep shipping on a first-come, first-served basis, but the first 400 modules will be sent only to non-Crowd Supply backers. The reason for this is that Crowd Supply could potentially cause a weeks-long delay in delivery, and it is vital to get quick user feedback at the start of module mass production.

After shipping the first 400 modules, we’ll fully adhere to our first-come, first-served shipping policy, and we’ll be continuously producing and shipping module pre-orders as quickly as we can. So far, module mass-production has been a smooth ride, but it’s just started, so we don’t have reliable metrics on how long it’ll take to assemble all modules. We’ll provide you an estimate in our next monthly update.

In the meantime, make sure to update your address if you have moved to another location since your order.

Agent progress

Agent has evolved quite a bit recently, and now it’s able to detect every module and configure the actions of module keys and buttons.

A seamless experience of a fully-fledged product is kind of magical, and I believe that the above demo exemplifies it well. You can take a look at Agent’s web demo, which now includes the modules, too. We’re working hard to make the modules not only work for you but amuse you.

UHK 60 v2 progress

Two issues are blocking UHK 60 v2 production: PBT keycaps and plastic parts.

We’ve received a new PBT keycap sample set for approval since the last monthly update. This sample is a definite improvement over the previous one, but some keycaps’ shine-thru performance, especially the convex keycaps’, should be better. Our supplier is doing their best to maximize shine-through performance and provide improved samples soon.

As for the plastic parts of the UHK 60 v2, they’re larger than the modules and can only be molded with a larger machine. We have a great supplier who proved themselves, but due to a sudden influx of foreign orders, they’re quite overwhelmed these days and can only mold UHK 60 v2 parts around the end of April.

Most of you are very patient regarding such delays and primarily concerned about the quality of the final product which we highly appreciate, and we resonate with your mindset. Others are less patient which is understandable. We have dozens of suppliers, and even if one of them introduces a delay, the whole project gets delayed. These delays are often unexpected, and they’re among the top reasons why shipping hardware is so much harder than shipping software. We’ll do our best to push forward. We’re making sure that the wait worths it, and we’ll be keeping you updated.

Your tweets

You guys keep sending your awesome tweets, and we're always eager to read and feature them! If you got your modules, please share your love!

We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and are looking forward to talking to you in mid-April. There’s a lot to do nowadays, so the update may be a bit late, but I’ll do my best.

2021 Feb 01

Module testing result and manufacturing progress

By |2021-02-01T19:30:46+00:002021-02-01 14:34 CEST|agent, features, manufacturing, modules, news, tech talk|57 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this monthly UHK status update!

TL; DR: We’ve shipped a couple of modules to select testers, and their feedback was very positive, but they’ve also noticed some small issues. PBT keycap and ABS tooling are late, which affects estimated delivery dates. We plan to start shipping the modules around the end of February or March and the UHK 60 v2 around late March.

Module progress

Shortly before Christmas, we finished assembling the following modules and shipped them to select testers.

The feedback we received was very positive but also revealed some new issues. For some testers, the top and bottom parts of the key cluster came apart.

As for the touchpad, some testers pushed the top board into the module case.

Regarding the trackball, we’ve learned during the assembly process that the sealing ring slightly interfered with the ball in some cases, causing the ball to get stuck somewhat. We’ve also noticed that adding a slight pattern to the ball significantly improves optical sensor tracking at high speeds.

We haven’t heard any critiques of the trackpoint, which is unexpected because the spacer that held the top trackpoint part was 3D printed and slightly wiggled. We already had an injection-molded spacer, but we improved it, resulting in lower trackpoint operating force, and the mold hasn’t been modified yet, hence the 3D-printed part. If the 3D printed part was good enough, then the final molded part will be great.

We’re also removing a small plastic part that connects the two case buttons of right-handed modules based on tester feedback. This way, the buttons will be easier to press along their entire surface. The small plastic part was needed for the 3D-printed button prototypes to be sufficiently rigid, but injection-molded plastic behaves much better, and we’re better off without this part.

Luckily, all of the above issues are easy to fix by tweaking the molds, and our contractor is working on the fixes.

It’s fair to say that we’ve learned a ton from the testers’ feedback and the module assembly. I think we’re at a point where apart from the above fixes, the module hardware is excellent and cannot be improved significantly.

Our mold making contractor expects to update the module molds by the middle of February, and UHK 60 v2 mold modifications are expected to get ready by the beginning of March.

Keycap progress

Our PBT keycap supplier has finally sent us samples for approval. The majority of the keycaps’ shine-through performance is excellent, except for a handful of keys, including Space and Mod.

Several UHK 60 v1 owners wanted consistent key cluster keycaps, and as a result, we will also provide ABS keycaps for the key cluster. Our ABS keycap supplier is ready with convex 1U keycap molds, and we’ll ship every key cluster with both PBT and ABS keycaps. We expect to discontinue ABS keycaps for the key cluster in the far future, but now they’re included for free.

Our PBT keycap supplier recently told us that they can only provide the keycap sets in late March, which surprised us quite a bit. Previously, we only used ABS keycaps, which weren’t subjected to such delays.

As it turns out, manufacturing high quality, custom PBT keycaps of excellent shine-through performance is much more time consuming and complicated than making laser-engraved ABS keycaps, hence the delay.

We’re pushing our supplier to provide at least the key cluster PBT keycaps in March, enabling us to start shipping the modules sooner. Unfortunately, the UHK 60 v2 PBT keycaps will have to wait until the end of March despite our best effort.

Module configuration options

Agent’s master branch can already visualize the modules in real-time, and remapping them should be possible soon. The following screenshot is a work-in-progress, but you get the idea.

Remapping the modules, however, is not sufficient to make them live up to their full potential.

It can be difficult to hit small targets or take too much effort to make large motions with the pointer when using the modules. That’s where speed and acceleration settings come in. The speed setting is a linear multiplier, and the acceleration setting is an exponential multiplier. We’ve been already playing around with these values, and they make a world of difference.

When it comes to module usability, another critical feature is navigation mode, which determines what modules do when using their mousing instrument:

  • Cursor mode: moves the mouse cursor
  • Scroll mode: behaves like a scroll wheel
  • Caret mode: moves the text cursor, just like with up/down/left/right arrow keys
  • Media mode: invokes volume up, volume down, previous track, and next track on upward, downward, leftward, and rightward motions, respectively

Speed, acceleration, and navigation mode will be adjustable on a per-layer and per-module basis. So, for example, you’ll be able to make the trackball scroll when the mod layer is active.

By default, the navigation mode of the base, mouse, mod, and fn layers will be set to cursor, scroll, caret, and media mode, respectively, which are sensible and intuitive defaults given these layers’ default behavior.

I can think of a couple more minor options, and I’m sure the community will make further suggestions, but by and large, I’m quite confident that the above configuration options will provide sufficient freedom to achieve excellent usability.

Your tweets

You guys keep sending your awesome tweets, and we're always eager to read and feature them! I’m blown away by Sebastian’s review, Hubert’s chair mount hack, Alex’s custom tenting stand, and all the modded UHKs. Keep it up!

We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and are looking forward to talking to you in late February.

2020 Dec 03

Major module mold progress

By |2020-12-03T15:30:06+00:002020-12-03 12:33 CEST|agent, manufacturing, modules, news|31 Comments

Hi there, and welcome to this delayed monthly UHK status update!

TL; DR: Except for small refinements, the molds of the modules are done, and we have some great looking samples to show you. We’ll send a couple of module prototypes to select testers in December. We plan to start module shipment at the end of January 2021. PBT keycap tooling is coming along nicely. Agent now has a dark mode.

The modules look almost perfect from the outside. Minor surface defects result from not using the final injection molding machine and not setting optimal production parameters, both non-issues for the final production run.

Despite their nearly perfect look, some tooling changes still have to be done to the modules. We’ll fine-tune the length of the bosses of the microswitches to achieve optimal actuation force, and some other internal tweaks have to be done to optimize the parts for assembly.

The key cluster plastic parts should be fine as they are, and we don’t plan to make changes to them. The keycaps on the above photo are not final. The final keycaps will be made of PBT, and the bottom two keycaps will be convex.

Due to popular request, we’ll include three extra blank ABS keycaps for every key cluster for no additional cost to make key clusters more consistent with UHK 60 v1 keyboards.

The inner trackball housing needs to be adjusted for the distance between the ball and the optical sensor.

The trackpoint is already working fine, but we’re experimenting with optimal trackpoint cap height, which may affect the inner holder part. We plan to add a nice texture to the big glossy area near the cap. These are minor tooling changes.

The touchpad plastic parts work flawlessly. The golden edge at the left side won’t be visible as the final mylar sheet’s size will be corrected. The marker text which contains the version number of the PCB won’t be featured on the final product.

The above module plastic samples are surprisingly good for a first run. We aim for a second run in December, at which point the samples should be nearly perfect, and we plan to do a third run in January when we expect the samples to be flawless, and we plan to start shipping at the end of January 2021.

Plastic tooling does take more time than anticipated. We’re doing our best to release the modules as soon as we can. We won’t make any quality compromises, however, and the ETA will be extended if needed. We appreciate your continued patience, and we’ll be keeping you updated.

PBT keycap progress

As for the UHK 60 v2, our supplier sent us a photo of production PBT keycap samples.

Almost all custom legends look fine, but Mod, Space, and right Shift will be revised.

Join the dark side

Mad props go to our fabulous contributor, Mikko Lakomaa, as he has almost single-handedly implemented Agent’s dark mode.

Update to the latest Agent version, go to settings, and join to the dark side.

Magnetic USB cable mod

Simon has written an excellent UHK USB magnetic cable modding guide, which you may want to follow.

You can join the conversation on Twitter.

Your tweets

You guys keep sending your awesome tweets, and we're always eager to read and feature them! If you got your UHK, please share your love!

We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and are looking forward to talking to you in January or sooner.

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