New Keyboard: Welcome Charybdis

After building the dactyl, I took a long break from building keyboards. In that time I noticed, no matter how awesome dactyl was, I still needed to lift my hand up to use the mouse. So I started dreaming about a keyboard with an integrated trackball. My dreams came true when I ran into Charybdis.

Bastard Keyboards designs and delivers these ergo mech keyboards as kits or as pre-assembled. Everything is also open source, so you can also build these yourself. After Dactyl, I really didn’t want to hand wire another keyboard. The flexible pcb used in Charybdis looked sexy as hell too… So I ordered a kit.

It took no time to put the kit together. I must admit my soldering skills were a bit rusty in the beginning, and I struggled a lot with those teeny tiny diodes… I could barely see the thing, let alone the leg to be soldered. There were times when I missed the long legs of the huge diodes I hand wired, but I persevered.

I had some trouble flashing the keyboard (in my defense it was way past midnight), finally managed that too. Had to compile with qmk-cli on Linux. The via keymap it came with didn’t have some of the stuff I wanted. For example, I like the tilde, braces, and brackets to be easily accessible. They are often required for programming. So I altered the lower layer to have those handy. The WASD doesn’t really feel good in an ergo keyboard for gaming. There is an elevation difference between columns. A is higher than S, which is higher than D… It feels awkward. So I shifted the keys by one and added that as a gaming layer toggled on and off.

Admittedly, that took some time. Nevertheless… I managed to type all this in my new keyboard.

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