Split keyboards. The Breeze.

A "Breeze" split keyboard I built from the kit sold at afternoonlabs.com.

The Breeze.

I built this keyboard from a kit sold and designed by afternoonlabs.com, with keycaps from kbdfans.com and the Elite-C micros sold by keeb.io.

It’s got two parts, a left side that has an Elite C micro controller and TRRS jack, and a right side that mirrors it but also has more keys and connects through the USB C in the micro to my computer. Both sides are connected together with the blue TRRS cable.

This was my first ever custom keyboard build, and I learned the basics of soldering and what piece does while building and later rebuilding and repairing it. I “killed” the keeb a couple of months ago after having issues and failing to get it to work as well as I liked.

Cherry MX blue.

Split mechanical keyboard with a column-staggered layout.

Useful tips

Get a plate for the key switches, you really don’t want a wobbly keyboard. The plate will hold everything together snugly and avoid issues.

Materials: 40/60 solder, keyswitches, keycaps, keyboard case, PCB, hotswap sockets, 1 TRRS cable, 1 USB-C cable, 2 Elite-C micros

Breeze PCB from afternoonlabs.com

Blanks, mixed, from kbdfans.com

Fun fact:

This keyboard’s design is asymmetrical. When you get the kit, you have to break off 9 keys from the left side of the PCB, and you get a macro pad PCB from that.

Tools: soldering iron, solder sucker, soldering mat, pliers.

About this build.

I don’t think I would have gotten really into building keyboards if my old corsair k60 vengeance had not died, or if I had been in a market where buying a $300 keyboard doesn’t end up costing 800 USD. I know for sure that I was struggling with the overwhelming choices of keyboard pieces out there until I run into the Breeze. If it weren’t for the amazing newbie friendly guides and community in afternoonlabs.com, maybe I’d still be trying to repair my corsair instead of going deeper into building keyboards.

This was the first build I did, and back then I didn’t even know how to select which parts to build, much less how to wire or solder anything. While the Breeze wasn’t everything I wanted out of a keyboard, it was Good, and super easy to use, and a friendly on-ramp into more interesting projects.

It took a couple of days to select all the parts I needed, and about two weekends to have a fully functioning, usable version of it. The first weekend I ended up with a keyboard that had silly failures sometimes because of my poor soldering skills.

I definitely think this is a very friendly kit for anyone starting to think of getting into the hobby, or simply someone who just wants to build a keyboard once. If you do: please get a plate. The one complaint I had about the Breeze is how wobbly it felt compared to any other keyboard, and it was all because the plate wasn’t available on the launch day and so I didn’t get one

More pictures of the build and my setup at the time.