Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stenomod, now with a 3d printed case!

3D printing seems to be under control, so that's how I'd like to package the stenomod from now on.

There is a choice though, between having just the plastic cases or having them mounted on a wooden deck.

If you get just the plastic cases, the top has no screw holes. Looks nicer that way and the two halves of the box sort of snap together. The version that's mounted to the deck has two holes on each side for screws. You can't see them under the cable in this picture, but they're there.

Same price either way, $200 USD. In the US, shipping is $13.60 with the wood deck, $7.15 without.

Outside the US it's more. I'll look it up for each individual case.

Email me at stenomod@gmail.com if you have questions or would like to order one.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

3D Printer Progress

There is definitely some magic to 3D printing, at least for me there is. I've been printing and experimenting for the past few weeks. I'm not an expert by any means, but I seem to have a working system going.

At first the problem was that the blue tape was lifting in at least one corner, ruining the box. Google search suggested I should use my fingernails to get the tape to adhere better, and that seemed to work for awhile. Then I noticed that the box I was making was lifting off the tape, in the same corner. I tried cleaning with alcohol and acetone, but no luck. Then I saw, Google again, where one person suggested using a glue stick over the blue tape. That seems to have done the trick, though I'm trying not to be over confident.

I've managed to print one keyboard case that I'm satisfied with. I think that I'll be able to make them fast enough now to start taking orders. I won't actually take your money unless I have a keyboard with case ready to be shipped, but I'm happy to hear from you, if you're interested, and I do have about 6 keyboards without cases finished and otherwise ready.

The plan is to keep the same price, $200 USD (I know the D is redundant) plus shipping.

I still have at least one wood deck and I can make more, so if you like them better I'd be happy to sell them that way as well!

I hope to follow up with some pictures before too long.

Friday, December 23, 2016

3D Printed Case

Ted Morin, lead developer of Plover, designed some cases to be 3D printed for a stenomod, and I have succeeded in doing that! Here's what it looks like. Find the design at  https://github.com/morinted/stenomod_case  if you'd like to try making your own.

Stenomod with 3D printed case
It took about 5 hours, and this is the first time the print wasn't ruined by having the tape lift around the edges. I'm not sure what the difference was, maybe temperature of the room? Anyway, I'm not sure I can rely on the process yet, so I'm not offering them for sale, not yet. Maybe when I feel more confident that I can repeat the process.

As I hope you can see I've put an extra rubber foot on the inside edge so they tent just a little bit. That's part of the point of the getting them off the wood deck, being be able to adjust their position more flexibly.

If you'd rather have 3D printed cases like this than the wooden deck I've been offering, let me know in the comments. I'll keep working on it.

Monday, December 19, 2016


I know I said that I'd post some pictures of the process of making the wood decks, but I just haven't gotten around to it and I think it's time to admit that I'm not going to any time soon. So don't hold your breath waiting, please. Note to self to stop promising future postings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Holiday

This is just to say that for the next few days service will be a little slower than usual. Feel free to inquire but don't be surprised if it takes awhile for me to get back to you. Thanks!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Back to 8 bit

Quick update. I discovered that Adafruit doesn't support USB keyboard emulation on the M0 version of the Adalogger, so I ordered a couple of the 8 bit 32u4 feathers for more experiments. Not much point doing the translation in the micro if you can't get out it to the computer.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Side Trip, Adafruit Feather M0

First: You can still order a stenomod keyboard. Same price, same procedure. See the earlier post.

Now, I know I said I'd talk about making the wooden deck next, but I haven't needed to make one lately so I don't have any pictures yet. Instead I want to take a little side trip into some research I've been doing.

On Discord there's been some discussion about putting some version of Plover directly into a steno keyboard like the stenomod. For this and other reasons I'd like to see about using a more powerful processor in the next version of stenomod. I bought a couple copies of the Adafruit Feather M0 board, called the "Adalogger". It uses an ARM processor with 48k bytes RAM and 256 bytes flash. It also has an SD card socket on the board. Even if "Plover in the middle" doesn't work out, I'd like to use the SD card to record strokes without being attached to a computer the way some of the real steno keyboards do.

My first experiments with the new board involved getting an interpreter to run to make interactive testing go easier. I don't anticipate getting Forth going on this machine, so I want to make my C environment as comfortable as possible. I already had this interpreter working for the 8 bit AVR.

It turned out to be amazingly easy to port the interpreter to the M0! I used it to test pins and dump memory as I got to know something about this chip. I've committed the code to a github repository if anyone is interested, here. I have a newfound respect for the portability of the Arduino IDE.

As it stands you can test I/O pins, making them input, output, input_pullup, high, low, or get one to wiggle indefinitely. You can also do basic arithmetic and logic using a sort of a data stack to pass parameters. I say "sort of" because the data stack is circular like that in the Green Arrays F18A. There is no overflow nor underflow. One you're used to it it's a very powerful way to pass parameters. It's not hard to make new functions visible to the interpreter as you go.

Now that I've learned a little something about the Adalogger, I'm wiring up a prototype stenomod and adapting the stenomod-C code to work with it. I'll report back when I know more.