Dactyl Updates

Written by Daniel Gordon, OhKeycaps.com owner

I wanted to put out a post giving some better insight into current lead times of our dactyls, as well as our future plans. First - lead times:

Hotswap Delays

For those who have been following, we have had substantial delays with our hotswaps. 

Why the delays? 

Non-flat keyboards
The first is that we had some significant issues with cases not sitting flat, mainly the wrist wrists not lining up properly with the case. This took a lot of manual finishing and occupied a lot of our time just to get the cases right. 

I paint the keyboards myself, in my garage. At the end of the summer, I waited until it was no longer too humid to paint - however the window where the humidity wasn't high, and the temperature was not too low - was a much smaller window than I anticipated. I slacked painting the first week or two, and next thing I knew it was too cold to paint. 
I have purchased a small heater, as well as a heating fan, but this only heats one table, so realistically only one or two keyboards at a time can be painted. 

As of now, our main builder (who we have trained from the ground up!) has not yet built hotswaps. For the time being, we have had him build non-hotswap dactyls. 

What is OhKeycaps doing about this? 
We have partnered with another vendor to expedite a few batches of hotswap keyboards. Over the next few weeks, we anticipate many orders being completed. Outside of that, we are looking into a local builder (Skokie, IL) to build these. We also are going to start giving hotswaps to our main builder. 

How can you help? 
There are two things that can speed up the process of hotswap builds:
  • If you ordered a paint job - opt out. 
  • Opt out of wrist rests
  • Or, have the keyboard shipped with wrist rests unattached

Non Hotswap Dactyls
Non hotswap dactyls have been proceeding nicely. We are a little behind, but nothing like the hotswaps. There are a few keyboards that had some issues that need to be worked, and a few boards that were delayed due to missing parts, but in general we are progressing consistently in fulfilling these. Right now we are in the upper 4000s and lower 4100s for orders. 

What is the plan going forward to prevent delays? 
We have upped the estimated time for hotswaps dramatically to 40-46 weeks. Having an additional builder for the hotswaps will make a huge difference for our lead times. We are also looking to no longer take pre-orders at some point this year, and only sell stock dactyls (more on this below). 

The pre-order model
We have attempted to start offering at least a few in-stock options. See our collection here. However, the pre-order model has been difficult. Estimating delivery times can be tricky. Things can go wrong, and the overhead of tracking pre-orders and communication can be exhausting. 

This year, OhKeycaps hopes to secure enough funding to be able to stock 30-50x keyboards. The goal is the we will stop taking pre-orders for dactyls entirely by June. Then, we can completely catch up on all customer orders, and start offering in-stock options before the holiday season. 

This will be tricky for us. Funding is just part of it, but deciding on dactyls can be very difficult. With so many keycap/switch/case color/case style combinations, we have to figure out which combinations will sell best and make those. 

New feature
Rotary encoders! We are in the process of finalizing a keymap that will support the encoders out-of-the-box in Vial. 

Final thoughts
Many of you have been very, very, very, patient with us, and I really appreciate that. We are working hard to get this keyboards out asap. Considering some hotswaps are waiting for over a year - I totally understand the frustration many are feeling waiting for their (very expensive) keyboards. Rest assured, it is very important to us that we get this done, and are willing to pay significantly more for labor in the short term to get these out to you.