Neito Group Buy (GB HAS ENDED)

A Alice-like keyboard with ISO-support

I wanted an Alice keyboard but didn’t want to settle on the ANSI-layout. There wasn’t really a single alternative keyboard that filled my need so I decided to make one myself!

Ever since the original Alice-keyboard was released I wanted to get my hands on one. The big issue for me was that it didn’t support ISO-layout. There was a board that was similar and with ISO-layout called Majbritt but you couldn’t get your hands on it. This all led to me having to learn KiCad and Fusion360 to make this board myself (with help from friends) from scratch!

We want to be transparent with the phases this project has had if there are any questions you can be in touch in your preferred way via the contact page.

Group buy update 6.6.2021

Around 30% of the orders have already been shipped!

The shipments have started. If you have participated in this GB and live outside of Finland, remember to answer my email about your shipment information! I need a phone number to be able to ship anything outside of Finland.

Also, the build guide is up, go check it out!

Build guide

Group buy update 22.5.2021

It’s been a rocky road but we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

PCBs

The PCBs arrived with underglow RGB LEDs flipped the wrong way around. Thankfully I’ve found a small company that is capable of fixing this issue. As of writing, the PCBs are being repaired.

Cases

Most of the cases received were good but there were some units with scratches. I’ve already received replacement units so that every GB order should get an un-scratched case.

Software

My Neito Pull Request is still pending. I recently updated it to have a more basic default and via keymaps and separated my own keymap. Keyboards are flashed with a (to be) VIA-compatible firmware.

See the Pull Request

Final GB steps and additional units

I have everything ready to be shipped but I’m still waiting for the PCBs to be repaired. Shipment will be done via everyone’s domestic parcel service. I’ll be streaming on Twitch building at least 3 more units. I’ll provide a blog post with a Neito build guide. There will be some additional units that will primarily be up for grabs on FMKC Discord in the #gb-neito channel, any extras that are not gone right away will be listed up on Mechmarket.

There has been discussion about Neito GB Round 2, that might happen but first I want to get this GB done. No ETAs for Round 2 but first hints of Round 2 dates will be shared on FMKC Discord.

Group buy update 17.2.2021

Due to unexpected popularity, I’ve decided to close down this GB early on. The reasoning for this is for me to have a controllable amount of shipments to handle + avoiding bigger chaos if something goes wrong.

If all goes well, I’ll arrange a Round 2 so that anyone who didn’t make it has a chance on participating. It’s been tougher than I expected, but a second-round should be easier to arrange as most of the pitfalls are known.

For those who have already made orders, you can still order an additional bottom plate or make changes to your color choices for the whole of February, please let me know of any changes by email. I will start sourcing the PCBs and cases in early March so that we can stay on time with shipments.

Neito keyboard Rev. 1.0

  • 68 Keys in ISO-layout
  • Pre-flashed QMK and tested before shipping
  • Fully assembled PCB
  • RGB underglow (read full post)
  • Backlight support
  • Rotary encoder support
  • VIA/VIAL (if we get PR merged)
  • Acrylic case of your color choice (comes with type-c port support piece)
  • Comes with keyboard stand
  • Estimated shipping end of Q1 2021

MOQ broken, GB ended prematurely due to unexpected popularity.

See all buying options

How it was made

We started working in late 2020 on this layout. At first, we tried to replicate fully the Majbritt-keyboard layout but opted to add in support for the rotary encoder, additional B-button, LEDs and RGB underglow. Some days before NYE we received our prototype PCBs with most components soldered on. We flashed on the software and started getting keycodes right away! Check out this demonstration video for more details.

PCB

The PCB contains 68 keys. You can have a normal switch instead of the rotary encoder, the caps-lock key also supports either supporting the keycap from the middle or from the left side.

The key-sizes are mostly normal, but there are some keys that are slightly modified in size due to the design of the board. Here are listed the bottom-row keys + right shift to ensure keycap support.

9,0: 1.5U
8,1: 1.5U
8,2: 2U
9,2: 1U
9,3: 2.75U
8,4: 1.5U
6,6: 1.75U

We didn’t order the prototype-batch of PCBs with LEDs nor underglow but managed to test that those work. The PCBs in this GB will come with all components pre-soldered so all RGB LEDs should work right out of the box. The thing we’re worried about is that something goes wrong in the manufacturing phase, this is just a precaution.

Photo of leds and underglow working on Neito PCB, note that all leds are from normal soldered to bottom rather than top.

Case

The case is made out of 3mm acrylic sheets and is made from 6 layers (two HiPro layers, switch plate layer, two in between layers for standoffs, bottom plate) + 4 layers of legs. We’ve designed the case so that it comes with a little additional piece of acrylic that wraps around the Type-C port, making it more durable. Every case also comes with a keyboard stand due to the fact that we can laser-cut the stand without any additional material cost. The stabilizers we used were Durock stabilizers, and the fit was perfect! The Case will be laser-cut by a Finnish company called Tunkua.

There have been some questions over if this case is compatible with Alice or similar PCBs. The answer is sadly no, the keyplacement + layout is slightly different due to ISO vs ANSI.

Minor issues with prototypes and how these have been taken care of:

Switches popping easily out of the plate
We’ve enlarged the holes in the plate from 14x14mm to 14x14.15mm. This slight adjustment should make it easier to install switches and not have them pop-out as easily. Also, every order comes with a strip of white-pad-material which should fit perfectly between the PCB and plate. These ensure that the plate stays exactly where it is supposed to. By installing these in tactical spots, you cannot see them after installing keycaps.

Extra-B too tight
In our design process, we forgot to add some extra spacing around this single key. In our prototype case, we had to sand down the edges to make the key work smoothly. In the GB case, this issue has been taken care of and this has been tested with a 3D-printed piece (Thanks Hekeke 💖).

Keyboard stand flat part too long
The stand was perfect except for the fact that it was slightly too large. We’re scaling this down a little bit so it should be better.

Additional notes

We’ve added some additional legs for the keyboard, this lets us have a higher degree of tilt if we want. The legs are 4x 3mm acrylic pieces added to the backside of the case. In the GB we will provide you with M2.5 screws for both flat and fully tilted case, but if you want some angle in between, you can source the necessary screws easily for cheap. The screw-holes are the same in front and back, so if you want an inverted tilt, you can also do that!

Assembly and build service

Foremost, remember to install stabilizers before soldering! The Assembly of this keyboard is relatively simple if you have done any build previously with a plate. The 3mm acrylic plate might cause some challenges as the switches might pop-out before they have been soldered, once soldered, they will sit tight. Using white-pad material helps a lot with assembly and cannot be seen when keycaps have been put on. The Type-C port has an additional support piece. Add this after having the plate soldered with switches.

For the assembly, you will need these parts:
- x67/68 switches
- 1x EC11 15mm/20mm rotary encoder (optional)
- 4x 2U stabilizers, I recommend using Durock stabs
- x67/68 through-hole LEDs in your preferred color (optional) for backlight
- Keycaps and optionally encoder knob
- Basic tools for the screws

If you need help with the assembly or soldering, contact me before ordering and we’ll sort it out! 😊

Color options

Here are the color options for this GB. In case of some color is unavailable we will substitute it with something really similar, or wait until there is more in stock.

Neito case color options

Risks

As this is a group buy there can be some unforeseen delays. We are trying to get all the orders shipped out asap so that we can stay on our original schedule!

Another risk (or perhaps just my concern) is that there is some issue with the RGB underglow. As shown higher up on the page, we’ve tested that everything should work but we cannot guarantee that they work. PCBWay has marked the RGB LEDs as sensitive so these should be fine, but you can never know if something goes wrong in assembly. The main function of the keyboard will nevertheless work.

Make your order

By buying this item you acknowledge the manner of this group buy and the risks it come with. Please familiarize yourself with this project before placing an order!

Terms and conditions - by placing an order you agree to the following terms and conditions

  • Estimated shipping date: End of Q1 2021.
  • All items are ordered after the group buy so no returns/refunds can be done.
  • All items shipped from Finland, shipping may cause additional expenses if you live outside the EU.
  • We cannot guarantee that the underflow RGB LEDs work but will do our best to assess any problems, please read the full post for clarification.
  • The sale is purely C2C (customer to customer) unless you are a business in Finland. In that case please contact me and so that we can create an invoice for you.
  • The final product will be nearly identical to the one in the images, but there will be more components and another silkscreen on the PCB.

Available items

PCB - PCB only, comes in antistatic bag
Case - Acrylic case parts + screws + keyboard stand. Select your prefered color in the cart.
Additional bottom plate - single 3mm layer for better RGB underglow. You probably don’t need this if you buy a clear or frosted case.

Neito PCB

Acrylic Case for Neito PCB

Additional bottom plate

Any questions?

If you have any questions or wonder about certain features, just contact me in the way to fits you the best.
If you are contacting me about your order, please send an email!

I’m more than happy to answer your inquiries :)

Contact me

Common Q&A

When is Round 2?
- Maybe in April 2021 if that happens

Do I have to buy the additional bottom plate?
- This additional bottom plate is only for making RGB underglow work better. If you already have in the cart a clear or frosted case, you probably won’t need an additional bottom plate.

Can I use the case with other keyboards?
- Sadly no, this is Neito only for now

Is this keyboard hot-swappable or supports it?
- This keyboard is at least in this GB solder only, not suggesting using millmax sockets as they are quite unreliable

Is there support for ANSI or Split backspace?
- This is an ISO-only board and sadly this revision doesn’t support split backspace

Will there be a chance of buying this keyboard or PCB after the GB?
- There might be some individual units but no real store where this would be sold (unless CandyKeys contacts me about it)

Are you planning on any other case designs than stacked acrylic?
- Maybe, but those are not for this GB, maybe in R2 if that happens.