Custom Mounts - What are your ideas?

(Mark Vedder) #1

I’ve been doing some brainstorming on how I might mount my Model 01. I’m still exploring both chair (arm) mounts and mounting to a keyboard tray. Given I want to have the option of using a standing desk, I’m leaning towards a Keyboard tray based mount. Either way, I want maximum adjustability-- pitch, roll & yaw, height, depth (distance from the body) and width (i.e. separation between the halves).

The built-in ¼"-20 camera mount threads is a huge help in achieving this (thanks @keyboardio!). I’ll most likely want a locking ball mount connected to the Model 01. Something like this:


I’m also exploring using an articulating arm of some type with a ball joint on the end. Something like this:

But I’d want to be sure the ball head on the end was lockable.

If I use a keyboard tray, one idea I have is to cut a slot across the tray. Then mounting two tripod heads (or other mini ball heads) in the slot with a locking knob underneath. I could then adjust the separation between the two halves. The keyboard tray itself gives me height and depth (distance from body) adjustment. But the pitch & roll adjustments would be limited to the point where the edge of the keyboard half hits the tray. So I would not be able to do extreme tenting angles like 90° where the keys face the side walls rather then the ceiling, like the SafeType. I don’t know that I’d a full 90° or less. But it’d be nice to try options like that. So that’s why I’m thinking of mounting a pair of articulating arms under a keyboard tray. I’m just not sure that that would be stable enough (i.e. there wouldn’t be any bounce when typing). I also worry about the potential of the arms becoming knee knockers. On the plus side, I could put a conventional keyboard on the tray for use by others, or for when I need simple keyboard access (pausing a video, typing a single word or two).

A chair mount is appealing but would not work with a standing desk.

For inspiration and possible resources, I’ve been looking at camera tripos heads, parts and accessories so far. I’ve also thought about looking at microphone stand parts. What other potential part resources am I missing?

My question for the community is… What ideas do you have? What parts/resources are you thinking of using?
I’ve seen some tweets on the subject such as this thread from @imbriaco @Jennigma and others:

And this one from Joel

Finally, here are some chair mounts for other keyboards I have collected over the years.


And on the unique side of the house:

Here’s hoping for some ideas from the community…

A better tented stand
First ergonomic keyboard - help choosing one
(Jennifer Leigh) #2

My first thought about chair mounts is related to cable management. It would be ideal to have a bluetooth connection, but it seems like the bluetooth keyboard adapters all get shitty reviews.

Next hurdle is how to handle mousing. I love my apple track pad for everything I don’t use my wacom tablet for. I have not liked the mouse keys on the function layer. I don’t have a solution yet for this one, and it’s a deal breaker where the cable management issue is only inconvenient.

(Gergely Nagy) #3

Ever since the following was posted on Twitter, I’m dreaming about a similar (but sturdier) setup:

(Jennifer Leigh) #4

I’m looking at these for portable mounts:

My gorillapod is out on loan, and its borrower is on notice to return it asap. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Mark Vedder) #5

In a similar vein, I’ve thought about a tripod head on a short pole, either an extension pole or a tripod/monopd pole cut down. Then secure it to a plate or a keyboard tray.

(Mark Vedder) #6

That always seems to be the hurdle with chair mounts. Typical solution is an additional platform on the outside of the keyboard half on your mousing hand. You can probably find and adapt a mouse platform, either one designed for a keyboard tray as an accessory, or one meant to mount to a desk.

An advantage of it is that it doesn’t need to be mounted horizontally.

(Blake Jones) #7

I’ve been using this setup for the past several years:

It’s a heavily modified office chair with swiveling arms that each hold a Kinesis. My RSI seems to have been largely related to pronating my arms, so this has been a godsend. But it’s also meant that I can’t use a standing desk, and (more importantly) I can’t really do a lot of typing outside of this chair.

So with the Model 01, I’ve been thinking about solutions that will let me mount the keyboard halves directly to a desk. My first attempt involved trying clamps from Arkon and Pedco; I tried them both with a Model 01 that a friend has already received, and the Arkon mounts seem plausible:

(The Pedco clamps seem to have a design flaw: the adjustment knob unscrews when trying to loosen the clamp.)

I’ve also picked up a few random parts for experimenting - two of these locking ball mounts, a spigot adapter, and a collection of male-male adapters. I don’t have my friend’s keyboard to experiment with anymore, so I haven’t actually hooked these up, but it looks like it’ll give me about 5" of spacing between the two (vertically oriented) halves while providing good adjustability. I haven’t figured out what to use to connect it to anything yet, though.

What does your RSI-helping setup look like?
(Stan) #8

This idea is good. I’ve been wanting to tent it higher than just 15 degrees. Preferably 30 or more. Only issue I see with this is it’ll slide around everywhere. I wonder how that can be overcome.

(Mark Vedder) #9

Thanks Blake. That Arkon mount looks like it has some promise.I might try that on the edge of a keyboard tray to provide some additional adjustability. Another advantage of it is that it’s a portable solution. Your other links are very useful leads as well. 90% of the battle in coming up with a solution is finding resources that you might be able to use and/or ones that give you an idea.

My big issue is tension in my shoulders and upper back. Keeping my keyboard in close and low helps tremendously, But I also want to eliminate the pronation.

On a side note… seeing that beautiful Sun Microsystems Sparc box under your desk (and the Sun mouse pad) brings back some great memories. My previous job used Sparc systems almost exclusively in our data center and we each had one under our desks. Those things are unstoppable tanks!

(Blake Jones) #10

I think that was my Ultra 24, which was an x86 system. But I know it was in my office where I worked on the Solaris kernel. Glad to hear you enjoyed our boxes :slight_smile:

(Christopher) #11

I’ve been thinking about a “treadmill desk” or “walking desk”. If I ever should go through with this plan (at the moment it’s more like new year’s resolution kind of thing) I’ll most definetly try to mount my Model01 on the treadmill somehow.


Compiled list of different mounts I was able to find online:

UPDATE: Links are now inlined below. (thanks to @jesse for upping my privileges)

RAM and Arkon mounts look plausible:

Longer extension mounts:

“Long option 1” makes me wonder about the staying power when in U-shape.

“Long option 2” is reasonably priced.

I wonder if it’s superior to the Arkon clamp @blakej used in the pictures above? His clamp mounts look a bit cramped like the keyboard halves wouldn’t be able to rotate much (but it’s hard to tell if they are fully extended).

Perhaps @blakej can clarify: Is there room to rotate upwards without hitting the desktop or side of the clamps?

“Long option 3” is pricey and might be hard to adjust:

(Mark Vedder) #13

Nice! That’s a very comprehensive list. I’ve only glanced at a few of the links so far, but there’s some very promising leads in there. The component nature of the RAM mounts looks like it has a lot of flexibility and potential. Thanks for putting that list together and posting it.

(Blake Jones) #14

@leoj3n: Here’s a head-on picture of the Arkon clamps.

Each clamp is basically made of three parts: the desk clamp, the tripod mount, and the center. The clamp and tripod mount each have a ball attached, and the center part has a socket on each side. The adjustment comes pretty much just from the positioning of the two balls in the sockets. The only “extension” is on the clamp itself, which can be adjusted to clamp onto a fatter surface.

So, to answer what I think is your question: I doubt you’d have room to rotate the keyboards very much farther upwards before they’d run into either the clamp or the bottom of the desk. That’s not a big deal for how I plan to use it, but it’s probably a deal-breaker for others.

(Noseglasses) #15

Does this setup require your chair to have armrests or is it comfortable to use without?

(Blake Jones) #16

My current setup (pictured above) doesn’t have armrests. I don’t miss them a bit, though I’ve been using it this way for many years at this point.

(Noseglasses) #17

You must be pretty strong :muscle:. Doesn’t the absence of arm rests imply that your arm muscles have to carry all the weight of your arms when typing? The angle of the keyboard halfs looks steep in a way that I cannot imagine that they carry your arms weight just through friction. Anyway, this seems to be a fairly interesting approach that I will certainly try out.

One more thing: I wonder how you operate the mouse. The distance from the keyboard under the table to a mouse on the table appears to be quite far.

(Blake Jones) #18

Yep, my arms are definitely holding themselves up. I’ve never liked using armrests (or wrist rests, etc) while typing; I’d heard various warnings about them leading to nerve impingement, and I’ve had some tenderness in my arms when I’ve used them in the past, so it wasn’t a sacrifice to give them up. I do have the keyboards in my current setup positioned so my upper arms hang straight down while I’m typing, so that half of my arms doesn’t require much effort to support.

Mousing is a bit tricky. In the chair pictured above, I have a stand for a mousepad that’s also attached directly to the chair, so it’s a very short reach. With my similar chair at home, I just have a small set of drawers next to my desk that happens to be at a good height, and the mouse sits on top of that. I definitely wouldn’t put the mouse directly on the desk.

I’m also hoping the Model 01’s mouse keys will just reduce my need for mousing.

(Michael Richters) #19

The weight of the forearms, but not the whole arm. I never rest my arms on anything except the keys while typing, but I’ve never been accused of being particularly strong. It’s like playing a piano – you wouldn’t use an armchair or wrist wrest for that, but it doesn’t take a lot of strength or endurance. Admittedly, @blakej has a somewhat more difficult job, since he presses the keys orthogonal to the direction of the gravitational force, but it’s probably not that much of a difference in muscle use.

(Mark Vedder) #20

Since shoulder/upper-back tension is an issue for me, I’ve been considering a solution that provides arm rests. But since I want to use it with a standing desk, chair arm rests are not an option. My latest crazy idea is to use an swiveling arm rest with a pole sticking out with the Model 01 on a ball unit on the end.

I’m thinking of using an Ergorest with the long arm arm pad (left side of below image; right side is short arm pad) and long arm.

Then using something like the RAM Mount components (thanks @leoj3n) to attach the Model 01 sticking out on a pole with a camera mount on a 360° ball mount on the end of the pole. I would need to somehow (still thinking on that) attach the pole to the bottom of the arm pad since it needs to swivel (as shown in this video) with the arm pad. It can’t attach to the top arm of the Ergorest.

For the end mount, I’ll use the RAM-B-202AU camera mount:


For the arm, I deciding between the RAP-BB-230-14-201U

and the RAP-BB-201-14U

The first one would give me double ball joints and a bit more flexibility, which may be overkill and may result in the keyboard height level being off. Either way, I’ll likely need to shorten the pole a bit. In the end though, I’m thinking a flat bar would be easier to mount to the arm pad. So I may have to make my own arm and mount the ball joint to it.

So basically, the idea is to create something like this:


The big outstanding question is will there be too much weight hanging off the Ergoarm for it to support it. I’m worried it will be.

Again, this is still in the brainstorming stage.