Development of the DC-01: Part 1

by Affinity Agency


Thanks for taking the time to read this. This is the first product ever designed by me so there will be a lot of errors and things you may cringe at, but I will definitely learn a lot along the way! I’m a 25 year old Graphic Designer by day and Mechboards is my job evenings and weekends so this will be in the free time I’ve got left at the end of all that. Not much! This is an idea about why or how mechanical keyboards are like Lego pieces, built with precision and a preset plan, then bundled like glued together Duplo blocks. We have the individual pieces that we can personalise to the nth degree, yet are confined to 3/4 main design layouts. If we want to switch between these layouts, we have to buy separate products. It’s like designing your perfect car, the colour you want, engine size, manual or auto, and then, it comes only as a minivan. Even if you picked 2 doors and a V8. Minivan. 450hp? Minivan. Nope. This ain’t right.

I uploaded this idea to reddit/imgur in December as I thought it was a pretty interesting idea that no one else had really explored (to such a degree anyway)
The thought process behind it was:

I want a 60% (most people do, we’re typists after all)
But I need an arrow cluster sometimes ( it’s easier)
And I’d rather use the numpad than number row (it’s easier)
BUT, I prefer 60% when that’s all I need

Which left a sour taste in my mouth. If you want a 60% for every day use, a TKL for when you’re using excel and need arrow keys, and a 100% for data entry, you’d have to buy 3 keyboards, totalling around £300. It didn’t make sense. I understand some people only ever need a 60%. But then I see Joe Bloggs with a 60% and a numpad. So…….why not make it one keyboard kit? Why do I have to conform and buy SEPARATE products, for the same experience. I’m rambling here but you get the idea.

I started to think about how this could work and connect to the PC and the first idea was easy. Bluetooth. Or WiFi connected pieces. Just connect them up, turn them on, and you can have them anywhere on your desk, all designed together, working together cohesively. Need the numpad? Sure thing! Just drag it out of a drawer, turn it on, “dock” it, and off you go. Done with it now? Put it away. Oh you’re playing an MMO now and only need the left part of a 60%? Go right ahead, turn everything else off and away as if you’ve got your very own game-pad and off you.

This gave us what you see here. You can see my initial thought process at the top of the image. I wanted Bluetooth, I wanted ease and I wanted staggering (this gets changed, more on this later) and from my very dim perspective, why the hell not? It’s a product that is feasible (modular designs exist everywhere, see Palette Gear) and Bluetooth keyboards already exist. All I needed to do was to create the cases these modules would fit into, and make sure they’re all Bluetooth and battery-powered. I was incredibly excited at this prospect.