I'm Building an ErgoDox!

A split, ortholinear, ergonomic keyboard. Oh yeah, and it's open source. But I didn't design it.

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I want to build a Dactyl, but I'm going to build this first.

So this is a Dactyl, made by a dude named [adereth]. It's like an ErgoDox with the curves of a Kinesis Advantage.

The super cool thing about the Dactyl is that the design is parametric. You can make the standard size, or print it in whatever row and column configuration you want. 

Here's a long post I wrote during the planning and part-ordering stage. This is what I ordered (links in components list):

  • a pair of PCBs
  • component kit ( includes Teensy; excludes key switches)
  • a five-layer, laser-cut, clear acrylic case
  • key switches
  • key caps
  • TRRS cable kit
  • mini-USB to male USB-A cable kit

Zip with PCB files from

x-zip-compressed - 939.41 kB - 05/13/2020 at 21:53


  • 2 × PCBs, one for each hand Gerber zip is attached, or you can go get it from
  • 76 × 1N4148 small signal diodes, SMT or THT (you choose) The design supports up to 80 keys total, and the difference is in the thumb clusters.
  • 76 × keyswitches I know it supports the Cherry MX footprint, and I hear it supports the ALPS footprint, too
  • 76 × clear (transparent), blank (no legends), DCS (sculpted profile) polycarbonate (material) keycaps (on order)
  • 1 × component kit (includes everything but the keyswitches, basically)

View all 8 components

  • Take a stand

    kristina panos05/18/2020 at 18:36 0 comments

    I printed some tenting stands I found on github and I love the way they turned out. The ED case is held together with M3 bolts, and the bolt heads on the bottom sit nicely inside the three holes in the stand. They don't slip around very much, but I'll probably get rubber feet at some point, both for the stands and to keep the rest of the bolt heads from scratching things.

  • Ice 'Caps

    kristina panos05/16/2020 at 01:04 0 comments

    My keycaps came today! 

  • Hand modeling

    kristina panos05/11/2020 at 14:57 1 comment

    I've run out of room in the gallery, so here are some pictures that include my hand. This may help you decide if the ED is too big for you as is.

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Get comfortable.

    Never built a keyboard before? I hadn't, either. I read through the ErgoDox assembly guide once or twice, but what really made me confident that I could do this was watching this build video several times:

  • 2
    Decide what you want -- what you really, really want.

    The point of building your own keyboard is to make it yours. Your colors, your feels. Never clacked a mechanical switch before? Get a switch tester. Try someone else's keyboard if you can.

    These are the things you must decide:

    • diodes - SMD or through-hole?
    • switches - do you want tactility or a smooth ride?
    • caps - uniform? sculpted? ABS? PBT?
    • case - is it okay if people see your solder joints?
    • cords - these make your keeb 20-50% coolef
  • 3
    Go shopping!

    Time to order parts. Ideally, you should at least have solved the SMD/THT diode question. You can get kits, you can get component-only kits, or you can gather everything yourself. Make sure you get the right TRRS jacks, though.

    If you're gonna have the boards fabbed and are comfortable with gerbers, this is the time to add your own stuff to the silkscreen, move the thumb cluster closer to the rest of the keys, change the ErgoDox logo to literally anything other than Comic Sans, et cetera.

View all 9 instructions

Enjoy this project?



kristina panos wrote 05/13/2020 at 23:28 point

@Simon Merrett 

No, I'm not planning to use stabilizers. The Kinesis doesn't have any and it doesn't bother me, so I assume it will be the same with the ED.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Per-Oskar O wrote 05/13/2020 at 17:26 point

What about adding a thumbstick mouse pointer movement in the thumbarea?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 05/08/2020 at 20:30 point

For the initiated, this looks similar to a dactyl. What's the actual difference? Is it the more aggressive curve to the keycaps in a dactyl?

  Are you sure? yes | no

kristina panos wrote 05/09/2020 at 16:00 point

You've just convinced me to put up a picture without any keycaps. The ErgoDox is totally flat on its own, and the dactyl is curved like the Kinesis (maybe exactly like it). I plan to tent the ED with bean bags under the thumb clusters. The newer version that you can buy outright, the EZ, is designed for adjustable stand thingies that change the various angles.

The black keycaps in the pictures are from that Bezos Barn keeb, and the blank colored ones are from a Cherry switch tester. I was putting off keycap ordering until I got it working, which happened yesterday. Woot!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Simon Merrett wrote 05/08/2020 at 07:08 point

So, 6 follows and 5 likes in almost as many hours. There's perhaps more interest in your keyboard build than you had imagined! 

Thank you for posting the images. Would you mind if I ask some questions about the ergodox design? My most comfortable keyboard is a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 type cover. It's very low profile and is compact, which suits my hands (glove size 9). Moving to an ergodox looks like I'll be moving my fingers over a greater distance. Do you think there's any scope to move the keys closer together on the PCB (I'm happy to rev the board design in kicad) and do you think there would be any advantage in having the keyboard tilted up at the rear? 

Next, key caps - where do you get key cap sets for the ergodox and what profile caps do you like to use? I'm mainly typing code rather than prose and never do gaming. Thanks! 

  Are you sure? yes | no

kristina panos wrote 05/09/2020 at 20:17 point

Coming from the Kinesis Advantage, the flatness of the ED made it seem very large at first. I've only been able to type on it for a few minutes, and only on these borrowed keycaps, but it feels a little better now that it's together. I will say that I have consistently missed the space key in my short trials. 

I think tilted toward the rear would help, as would tenting it by putting bean bags or something under the thumb clusters (my intent).

There are cheap blank PBT sets out there on ebay if you like gray/black/white. The form factor has been around long enough now that you can just search for 'ergo' keycap sets and it'll be the standard 76-key arrangement. For fancier stuff, some group buy designers include ergo sets. You can get past group buy sets and blank sets in both PBT and ABS over at PMK (
I think I am going to go with blank row 3 DSAs in two or three shades of blue or maybe blue/purple, but I can't stop gazing at  these:

  Are you sure? yes | no

Simon Merrett wrote 05/10/2020 at 23:42 point

Thanks again, that's really helpful. Started my own project to build one - now look what you've started!

PS, do you use / are you planning to use stabilisers on the 2U keys?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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