The original ErgoDox is an open-source, split mechanical keyboard that's offered as a kit, meaning the end user is required to pull out the soldering iron and slap it together. For the experienced builder, this kit has everything needed to build the peripheral, including the two circuit boards, ten acrylic case plates, a Teensy USB board (version 2) and more. Naturally, the ErgoDox isn't the ideal solution for general consumers looking for a completed split mechanical keyboard solution right out of the box, until now.
There's an Indiegogo campaign that's looking to raise funds for a completed version of the ErgoDox keyboard called the ErgoDox EZ. The campaign is seeking $50,000 and has already reeled in 270 people in 12 days pledging $44,112. At press time, the campaign still has 19 days to go and offers eight pledge tiers spanning from $145 to $880.
Connecting to a PC or Mac by a USB 2.0 cable, the two halves of this mechanical keyboard are strung together by a standard 3.5 mm cable, allowing the end user to place each side wherever they want it. The company is currently offering two kinds of assembled models, including a compact "retro" model and a large ergonomic version.
What's rather neat about this completed keyboard is that end users can choose what type of mechanical key switches they want. The ErgoDox EZ comes with Cherry MX Brown key switches by default. However, users can opt for Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Black (for $15 extra), Cherry MX Clear and Cherry MX Green.
In addition to choosing the type of switches that will be used, customers will also have the option of configuring the actual key commands. By default, the ErgoDox EZ comes with firmware programmed with a QWERTY keyboard layout. To change this, users can use Massdrop's Layout Configurator to make a new layout, or use new firmware by Ben Blazak that's located on GitHub.
An FAQ on the Indiegogo page stated that the ErgoDox EZ will include PBT DCS keycaps. The keyboards will also either be ivory white, slate gray or midnight black in color.
As for the project's paid tiers, the featured "perk" of $190 will see pledgers getting "the works." This includes the ErgoDox EZ keyboard, a 2-year warranty, an injection-molded ABS case, blank PBT DCS keycaps and whatever key switch type the users wants. Need printed key caps? You'll have to fork over extra money for the $225 tier. The full printed keyboard is actually valued at $250, so essentially, customers will get $25 off the MSRP price but are required to pay $30 in shipping.
Don't want both pieces? The $145 "One-handed Pirate" provides either the left or right keyboard, a 2-year warranty, an injection-molded ABS case and blank PBT DCS keycaps. This can be used as a shortcut pad or a number pad to complement an existing keyboard.
The Indiegogo page revealed that May will be spent perfecting the enclosure design and ordering parts. June to August will be spent making the molds, while September will be spent perfecting the final mold. In October, the company will fine-tune the outer surfaces, and by November, the keyboard is expected to go into production.
The estimated delivery of the ErgoDox EZ is December 2015.