ErgoFox Keyboard Build
We're building an Ergodox! We've wanted to try split and ortholinear keyboards for awhile, so why not do both at once? The Ergodox EZ is like $350 and we like building things, so we figured we'd try to save some money and work on our soldering skills and do it ourselves.
The keyboard is named "ErgoFox" because we made that same typo three times and decided that it would be a cute build theme.
ErgoFox Shopping List
If you were to omit the switch tester, use Gateron switches, and used generic cables, you could knock $60 off the price of the keyboard. Hand-wiring would save you the cost of PCBs, but not components, which is another $26 saved. All in all you could build one of these for about USD 164 which is still more expensive than a lot of entry-level mechanical keyboards, but is less than half the price of an Ergodox EZ or Moonlander.
- TS100 soldering iron (about $55 from a US seller on eBay) - loaded with the open source firmware. The Pinecil is equivalent but we didn't know about it when we started this project (and it was out of stock anyway).
- Generic soldering station with brass wire ($10)
- Generic helping hands and 2x/5x magnifying glass ($15)
- Generic small flush cutters ($2.50)
- 6" diagonal cutters ($17)
As with the components, a couple of our tool purchases are more expensive than strictly necessary, but we're going to be using these for years to come. You can find an appropriate temperature-controlled soldering station for cheaper than the $65 ours worked out to, and the diagonal cutters are a replacement for a $3 Harbor Freight pair that we've worn out.
Other keyboard options we considered: SiCK-68 (hand wired, 68 switches. usual plan seems to be getting a 104-key set and 3D printing the remaining keys like that 1.25u shift), BuzzSaw (looks like 64 keys) or Gergo from same site (50 keys I think), or just a numpad or macro pad to dip our toes into the pool before going all-in.
Volkswagen GTI Mk7
I don't think it's much of a surprise to anyone who's familiar with our interests that we drive a GTI. It's got a fair bit of get-up-and-go, decent gas mileage when driven with a light foot (we can get 29 city/38 highway), a reasonably sized modding scene, and as an uppity Golf it's relatively practical — it's no Honda Fit (our previous car, which with a roof rack was capable of transporting a couch and loveseat at the same time), but with the seats folded flat it has quite a bit of cargo space.
We installed the Curt hitch 11412 on our car. This is the least invasive hitch available for the GTI; It's a quick bolt-on with no need to pull the whole bumper off or cut the rear valence, but it's a very low hitch that needs about a 5" rise to get a ball up to the right height for a trailer. The other hitches available are taller and/or less obvious and we might upgrade in the future, but this one was the right price and the right amount of effort.
The included instructions are pretty good, except that you should use the technique they call "reverse fishwire" for all the bolts because they don't fit the other way. The modified instructions are as follows:
Curt Hitch 11412 Instructions
- Ratchet with a 2-3" extension and 13mm socket.
- Torque wrench set to 110 ft-lb, with a 6" extension and a deep 19mm socket.
- Something to temporarily hold your exhaust up. We used a ratchet strap hooked onto the rear sway bar and a lower control arm.
- Either a friend or a floor jack to hold the hitch while you get it lined up with the bolts.
- Drop your exhaust to give yourself room to work: Support the exhaust loosely so that it doesn't stress the other hangers too much, then remove the two 13mm bolts that hold the exhaust hangers on the frame.
- Thread one of the fishwires onto one of the carriage bolts. Put the head through the "access hole" - it should fit in at a bit of an angle. Then push the bolt up into the frame, put one of the spacers over the fishwire, and push that into the frame too. Now make a bit of a hook in the end of the fishwire so that you can bring it through the other hole. Pull the fishwire through that hole to bring everything where it needs to be, and wiggle it a little bit until the bolt seats nicely in the spacer. Do the same thing for both bolts on both sides.
- With the help of your friend or floor jack, fit the hitch over the bolts. Now you can pull the fishwire off and put all of the 19mm nuts on hand tight.
- Torque all of the nuts to 110 ft-lb.
- Bolt your exhaust hangers back onto the frame, and remove whatever you were using to support your exhaust.
Going To Do
- Order a hitch ball and wiring harness so that we actually can pull a trailer. First thing to pull is a rented motorcycle dolly, to get our motor scooter out of storage.
- Install a dash camera.
- Fit a skid plate to protect the plastic oil pan.
- Replace the side mirrors with the European split-aspherical ones to fix the blind spot on the driver's side.
Want To Do
- Mud flaps
- Fit some nice bronze wheels.
- Go to autocross events.
- Get a stage 1 tune.
- Upgrade the rear sway bar.
- Retrofit some of the stone guards and subframe covers from other MQB platform vehicles/European options that we didn't get in the states.
- Fit the jack pads from the Audi A3.
- Get ceramic tint for better heat rejection in the summer - the stock window glass is equivalent to ~72% tint and helps some, but Texas summers demand even more. Need to check how 35% applied (~25% total) would look at night; we know 35% total is fine for our vision but we're not sure about darker.
- Get a fire extinguisher bracket and keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Order in the ridiculously expensive Euro warning triangle, because that empty spot on the hatch bothers us.