Trackballs, Finally!

This has been my first Chinese New Year, holy hell do those guys know how to throw a party!

Eitherway, my trackballs that I've been waiting on for forever have finally reached Canada. I should be able to get back to shipping out trackballs in a few days.

Thank god, it's about time.

Georgi: 75$ Fully Assembled 20% With 20g Chocs

Holy! It's been a busy few days!
Check these out!





If you haven't heard I've been working on a economical keyboard for use with plover. It's small, compact, modern and ready to go with 20g Kailh Chocs. Blue PCB and either white or black keys. Fully assembled, tested and loaded with a firmware.

Form factor will be similar to the black Gergo in those images (same depth, different pcb size) with the USB connector on the left hand side. Artwork on the back is a dithered tesselation of birds. The switches are Kailh Low Profile Linears, spring swapped out for 20G Chocs from Sprits store! These are literally lightest spring available for chocs (Spirit is working on pushing that bar even lower!).

With a boatload of help from Stenoknight, Thomas Baart, Ted The French Wizard, Charley and everyone hanging around the Plover discord server this wouldn't have been possible. Extra thanks to Ted for printing a billion keyboard designs all week and helping me lay this out for stenographers! If you're interested in joining the preorder you can find [all that on my store!](https://www.gboards.ca/product/georgi)

But Georgi is a little bit different then your typical steno board, it has columnar stagger. is optimized for height, uses a split design and uses QMK. As with any design there are tradeoffs, so I thought I'd explain them here.

QMK: This firmware has been widely accepted by the keyboard community and has every feature under the sun. It's already used by SOFT/HRUF, supports Gemini and Bolt and is in all respects, fantastic. If you want to change anything with your Georgi, you can do it! We're working on getting web config support going for even easier customisation.

Columnar stagger: Many ortholinear boards have adopted a slight vertical stagger to accommodate the natural stagger of the hand. This is a very ergonomic setup even though it deviates from the proper ortholinear grid used by most steno boards. This layout has been adopted by many DIY boards over the past few years and it is a proven design. The stagger is slight enough that it does not interfere with pressing multiple keys. The TDSZ keys are not staggered for easier tapping.

Dimensions: Because a majority of plover users are using it for non professional use (I think, I'm still getting into steno sorry) having a traditional layout is less  important then comfort and size. Georgi is tiny and will literally fit into your pocket! To facilitate a fallback QWERTY mode, easier configuration and a as yet to be designed case the layout is symmetrical, this also gives a few extra keys to play with for QMK. The lack of a number bar is replaced with a thumb key (much like the TinyMod).

Keycaps: Instead of using G20 caps or custom laser cut toppers, Georgi uses Blank Choc 1us. In addition to bringing down the price these caps are very very square. We've brought them in to reduce the gaps even more and inverted the upper row as there's a very slight lip. The availability of commodity parts is a good feature for longevity.

Switches: Stenography requires light switches, I've been using 20g springs from Spirit since before I undertook this project, it's good to see that the community has started adopting and learning to spring swap! The downside is there are no commodity chocs under 50g, but thankfully Spirit carries 20g choc springs. **As such every Georgi comes with their springs already swapped out and ready for steno**. We're also in talks with Sprit to try pushing that even lower, he is eager to begin testing 5-15g chocs! Georgi is also compatible with MX and ALPS switches if you have a personal preference that you'd like to install. Due to the current offerings of caps, Georgi is designed to use many 1us in place of other sized keys.

Cost: While you can do steno with many boards, I though having another option focused on being low cost would be good for those exploring steno. This has driven many of the design choices made. As opposed to a kit instead this is ready to use with a sane default firmware to increase the audience that has access to it.

Split Design: Like any split board the sides can be moved around, twisted, tented, rotated and all that fun stuff. This increase the ergonomics of the whole device with one downside. Instead of having a single column for *, you now have four different options (by default all of them).

Let me know any questions you might have, It's being sent off to fab shortly but will be available for purchase with my other boards for the future.


PREORDER HERE


Georgi: It fits in your pocket!
-- Germ

A note about trackballs.

If you've ever dealt with shipping early stage hardware, you know all about delays. If you look at a product like the UHK, you'll see up to two years of lag time in fuffiling orders!

Why are these delays so common in Hardware? It's hard to get things right! Look at Gergo, a minor fuckup added three weeks to my expected ship date as I had to get another set of samples to verify my design before getting the production ready units! But at least we're shipping now.

Let's talk about trackballs, right now I have a handful of these guys left and my supplier is taking their time getting the rest of them to me. But until they're in I have to ration them out. If you ordered just a bunch of trackballs or a Gergo with multiple balls, your order will be coming in once those balls arrive. The reasoning is simple, if I fulfill a single order of 5 trackballs, that's 5 Gergos that could have shipped. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few :(

That being said I'm working to get these out as soon as I can!

-- Germ

The post lady hates me!

Got the kits fired off, now i'm dealing with the Partials and Readys!

Protip: You can loosen up dried solder paste with a few drops of flux.

Stay tuned! -- Germ

Finally!


A boatload of parts just came in so I can get on with fulfilling orders. About time.

In other news: We're now listed on QMK's website!

Shipping update!

So my fab is shipping it out in two parts, the boards just finished today and are on their way and the trackball related stuff just came in.

Going to be able to ship out trackball only orders right away! Time to get some Star Trek going and put some kits together.

Edit: Upon further review the magnetic sensors are in the main order. (╯ರ ~ ರ)╯︵ ┻━┻


Stay tuned!

-- Germ

Paitence.


Paitence is very hard for me, I want my 15Kg of microelectrionics goddamn!

First Batch!

Sending out the first batch today!

Sadly demand was much more then I anticipated, so I'm waiting on JLCPCB to get the others to me so I can fulfill the rest of the orders :(


Wow.

Everything is working, things are coming together.

Massive boxes have arrived, and my hot air station is being worked.

I need to get a scale.

Expect shipments to start as I can get through them.

Photodump!

The black production boards have been sent from factory! I should be able to start shipping by the end of week. Exciting times!

Anyway, here's a photodump while I wait.




















Another update: It's all good!

Awesome! Everything including the Trackball works. I'm going to finish my little boards and submit the Gerbers for fabrication :)

One thing that I forgot was that these trackballs were meant to be used in small phones to navigate lists and grids. As such they update positions at a fairly slow rate (about 10/revolution). To compensate for this I did something kind of neato, there's a configurable default scrolling speed defined in rules.mk, this speed is then multiplied by the active layer number. Modifiers, Layers and a few other things go into modifying this number, but one is for sure. Hold a layer for speed!



Take care,
-- Germ

Gergo updates!

It's working! Well more or less anyway, still have some testing to do later tonight, but there's switches on her, and I've been using it for the last few days without any major issues :)

After this is done, I have some tweaks to add to my project and we should be good to go to fab! I'll keep you posted.

-- Germ

Dev Boards v2!

Good news everyone! I just got a big-honkin' box of parts for the orders and the next batch of dev pcbs!


These guys use the new footprint and will be compatible with my next projects for Gergo! In other news this is the first time I've ordered enough parts for a tray and a reel. Neat!


Expect more updates soon :)