A different approach to tenting

Like many of you, I was a long-time Kinesis Advantage user. While I really like my Model 01, I miss the keyboard angle of the Advantage. The 20* tenting along the X axis and the dished key wells made the keys almost flat under my hands. If the Advantage had separable halves, I probably would still be using it.

The octopus tents (or whatever you call them) that come with the keyboardio work well enough, but they’re way too big to travel with and lift the keyboard too high off my desk. I tried the tented stands from thingiverse and they worked fine, but they only tilted along the X axis, and to try and replicate the dished key wells, I wanted to tilt along the Y axis as well, and I could’t figure out how to draw what I wanted in sketchup. I also wanted something I could throw in my bag and travel with, and I didn’t feel like spending money on camera mounts.

After much mucking around and a run through high school trig and the table saw, I came up with this:

It looks unstable since the wooden blocks don’t have much of a mating surface with the table, but it works quite well.

Please note: I am not a mechanical engineer or particularly good at this stuff. All measurements are approximate. And I apologize to my metric brethren who won’t be able to parse Freedom Unit™ dimensions.

The setup is pretty simple.

Velcro on the bottom of the keyboard - one square near the RJ45 cable and a strip between the rubber feet on the front.

Wooden blocks of two different lengths, with velcro on the top and cork on the bottom. They’re labeled 1" and 3/4", but that’s not quite right. The 3/4" ones are pretty close to actual 3/4" tall including the velcro and cork, and the 1" ones are 1" without velcro and cork; closer to 1 1/8" with velcro and cork installed.

This tilts the keyboard at maybe 20+ degrees along the X axis, and just under 20 degrees on the Y axis. The third spacer (labeled 3/4") is there so that the keyboard doesn’t rock or wobble while I’m typing, although truthfully the wobbling is pretty slight without it. YMMV - if you like to use the empty space outside the Fn key as a palm rest, you may need that third spacer.

With this setup, the top of the keyboard, just over the cutout for the RJ45 cable, is about 2 7/16" off the tabletop. The front of the keyboard, if you draw a straight line through the shift key, is a little over 2.5" off the tabletop, and the back of the keyboard (the corner nearest the LED button) is maybe 2 1/8" off the top. And the whole assembly is six hardwood squares I can rip off and throw in a plastic bag when I travel.

If I go with an alternate setup: replace the front 1" block with a 3/4" block:

it sits a little lower and doesn’t need the third block to keep it from rocking. This is basically 20* tenting along the X axis with no Y axis tenting.

What I like most about this setup, though, is its versatility. It’s not quite as flexible as the octopus tents (which I’ve come to realize are really, really clever) but it’s much more portable, and with the right set of blocks and enough velcro, probably almost as adjustable, and honestly, less likely to slip out of adjustment. There’s nothing to screw into the bottom of the keyboard, and the blocks are scrap maple and easily replaceable if lost. And they’re not breakable.

I could make a few more sizes in between 1 1/8" and 3/4" and play around with placement, , but so far these work well for me.

In the background of that last picture you can see a prototype of an old wooden model that screwed into the bottom of the keyboard. That was a pair of pieces (‘outriggers’, maybe?) which screwed into the bottom of the keyboard. More portable than the octopus stands, but still a pain to lug around, and kinda fragile.

Here’s what that looked like, just for the record.This is probably an indecipherable picture, but I can post more if anyone wants.

So far, after a few days’ use, I’m quite happy with them. Not quiiite as nice as the Kinesis Advantage, but maybe I’ll find the right combination of blocks to get me there someday.

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