WhiteFox True Fox Keyboard

Finished Project

Nearly four years ago, I picked up a Nixie Clock kit with the plan to build it with my son. He wouldn't be born for another two months. To complete the Nixie Clock, I needed a soldering iron, and I wanted one that would be approachable and usable for a variety of projects, so I also picked up a Hakko FX-888D.

Shortly thereafter, my son was born, my time to work on projects evaporated, I took a new job, moved the family to Boston for a year, we found out we'd have another kiddo, moved to Seattle, my daughter was born, my time further evaporated, so on and so forth.

About 18 months ago, I jumped in on a drop on Massdrop for a WhiteFox keyboard. It delivered just about a year ago, and it has been waiting patiently since then.

I finally got a chance to break out the soldering station for the first time, and assemble the keyboard over the Thanksgiving break from work. The project was really fun, and I'm itching to do another one. My soldering skills improved dramatically simply through repetition, and it was a really fun learning experience[1].

The keyboard itself is much better than I expected. The gap between the right-modifiers and the arrow keys is exactly as my fingers expect, and it makes things like ⌘+← just as easy as on my WASD Code 87-key, or on my MBP's Keyboard for that matter.

Add to that, Input Club has a really nice web-based configuration tool which makes key programming super easy. It means I can futz with the layout until I get it exactly the way I like it. For example, I just realized that I'd likely prefer the ~ key to be just to the left of Esc and all the other num keys right one. This will be no problem at all.

Of course, this isn't without its caveats. The current firmware (both Latest and LTS) have bugs with the LED functions. Not a dealbreaker, but frustrating.

Oh, that Nixie clock is still waiting. It's almost time.

  1. As an aside, I took the assembly picture while I was working on a chamois for some reason. It didn’t dawn on me until I was reviewing the pictures that a chamois isn’t ESD-safe. Everything turned out just fine, but talk about a noob mistake.  ↩

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