Welcome to the YARH.IO Plastic Planck project, where our goal is to build an ortholinear mechanical keyboard for use as an external typing tool for all your cyberdecks as well as in place of your daily driver.
Ortholinear keyboards are designed to minimize the amount of finger movement, making them more efficient.
Ortho keyboards come with a learning curve because you will have to get used to a slightly new layout. While the ortho keyboard layout is relatively similar to the staggered one, the ortho keys are arranged linearly in relationship to each other.
The biggest difference is that with the non-staggered keyboard you will not have to stretch out your fingers as far to reach numbers or symbols. This is guided by the idea that your fingers should not be more than two keys away from the home row while touch typing.
To reach numbers, symbols, or functions on your keyboard, you have to hit a modifier key to raise or lower it into a different layer that has the desired symbols or functions. One way to think about this layered functionality is in terms of multiple Shift modifiers for each key.
In much the same way as the Shift keys allow us to use a single key to represent both q and Q (the upper case “layer” if you like), we introduce more modifiers to take us to a layer of symbols, movement keys, and media keys. For instance, in case of q and Q, 'RAISE' key modifier can be used to reach number '1', and 'LOWER' key modifier can be used to reach an exclamation point '!'.
Best part of the ortho keyboard is that we can position these modifiers in right under the thumbs, allowing you even faster access to numbers, symbols, and functions.
Plastic Planck keyboard can be customized to your liking to fit your workflow with the help of QMK software.
All case parts are 3D printed using PLA plastic. ABS and ASA plastics can be used as an alternative, but require use of advanced printers and techniques.
The list of components used for the YARH.IO Plastic Planck project is available below.
|Cherry MX Mechanical Key Switches||Amazon|
|Gateron Mechanical Key Switches||Amazon|
|Kailh Mechanical Key Switches||Amazon|
|DROP Preonic Acute Keycaps||Amazon|
|1N4148FS-ND - DIODE GEN PURP 100V 200MA DO35 x 48||DigiKey|
|Silicone Rubber Solid Wire 24AWG||Amazon|
|#2-56 Socket Cap Screw Stainless Steel
. 1/4" x 2, 3/8" x 22
|Trimcraft Aviation RC|
|Clear Adhesive Bumper Pads||Amazon|
Plastic Planck Project at a Glance.
The outcome of the YARH.IO Plastic Planck project is a compact size ortho mechanical USB keyboard that can be used with all your handheld devices as well as your daily driver. Its minimalist design allows you to build it using your favourite esoteric key switches and exotic keycaps. The rest can be easily 3D printed and assembled.
To upload the .hex file to the keyboard:
- connect keyboard to the computer with the USB cable
- install qmk toolbox from here - https://github.com/qmk/qmk_toolbox
- launch qmk toolbox
- open Local file - .hex file
- select MCU - atmega32u4
- check Auto-Flash checkbox
- press and release reset button on the bottom of the keyboard
To modify keyboard layout use the Keyboard Firmware Builder:
- go to the Keyboard Firmware Builder web page
- upload .json keyboard configuration file
- choose KEYMAP tab
- select the layer to modify
- select the key to modify
- after you finished
- select the SETTINGS tab
- update the Layout Name
- click Save Configuration, a new .json file will be downloaded to your computer, saving your configuration for future use
- select COMPILE tab
- click Download .hex, a new .hex firmware file will be downloaded to your computer
- upload new firmware .hex file to the keyboard