I'm Back (in the Mechanical Tunnel)

So, in previous episodes I was telling you about my story with mechanical keyboards. You can read some here, if you want more details:

  1. Queen Elizabeth II vs. Emperor Reiwa
  2. Emperor Reiwa vs. Dr. Black (with the help of Harlequin)
  3. Is the Quest over?
  4. Dr. Black is Here

But, has the story reached a true end?

The Story So Far (in Short)

Basically, after receiving the IBM Model M (for free!) in 1996 (or was it 1997?), in mid 2017 I've (long story short) spilt some orange juice over it and even though I've cleaned it up a bit, a couple of keys started malfunctioning in end 2018, exactly those hit by the juice.

I worked daily, since university and then office, with that keyboard, for 20 years. I even had to buy a PS/2-USB adapter to continue working with it! But then the orange hit.

So, I've bought a Filco Majestouch 2 TKL ISO Italian in 2019. Then pandemic happened, but everything was fine.

Then back to work in office, we started doing max two days per week from home since about mid 2022. I quickly got tired of commuting with 1kg-heavy keyboard so I've bought a lighter GMMK 1 ISO TKL barebone, customized with Gateron blue switches and side-printed PBT keycaps, in second half 2022.

One nice keyboard at home, one nice keyboard in office (even with useless RGBs!).

I thought I was satisfied.

I wasn't.

I mean: I was satisfied, but I felt something saying myself to continue my quest.

The search didn't stop.

Continuing the Quest

I'm still (again!) searching for a keyboard, and now it seems about time to move to a more ergonomic, potentially split, keyboard.

Why? I don't know. No apparent utility reason, just the need to search for it. No reason, even not enough money actually. But I feel the urge to search, explore and evaluate a new keyboard, the perfect keyboard for me.

I started looking around, back to the original list: the X-Bows first, the Keyboardio things, adding a few Alice layout keyboards like the YMDKey Wings V2 and the like.

I was also looking to a set of different things, the so-called ergo(nomic) keyboards: the most famous probably being the

And so on.

Even though the prices were way nicer than ErgoDox and Moonlander, I've dismissed the Kinesis keyboard simply because of the switches: they didn't came with Blue (clicky) switches but only with Brown or Red ones. Still with Kinesis brand, the Advantage360 and the Advantage Pro are not only too expensive, but also way too huge to be portable for commuting.

Well, if I have to spend (again) money on a keyboard, this time it must be as close to perfect as I can.

The New Path

I've then decided some interesting constraints for narrowing my search, or it'll never end (again).

Then time passed, days, weeks, still searching (I've even explored many of the keyboard supported by QMK) and with the help of the FOSStodon mechanical keyboards community people I've found other places, other keyboards, suggestions and ideas.

Maybe the most nicer of those places being Keebio, with an interesting list of very nice keyboards, with their weird names: the Quefrency, the FoldKB, the Sinc and the Iris.



Specifically, looking at the Keebio keyboards, I thought, for a time, that a normal QWERTY layout, split keyboard might worth the money. Something like the Sinc or the Quefrency, but even the more traditional things like Mistel Barocco MD770 were nice. Or so I thought.

Then I saw the Bastard Keyboards Scylla that is a custom open source keyboard that comes also pre-built, with even per-key RGB and tenting. Very cool, but prebuilt at >€500 is way way too much for me.


So, in the end, my feeling for a new keyboard was definetely moving toward a split keyboard, but I was actually still unsure if to go for a traditional QWERTY layout or more ergo/ortho things.

And looking at the Keebio Iris and the BastardKB Scylla, I decided it's time to take a leap into the dark, and go for a split-ergo-ortho thing.

So I've started searching for something like that. And, again, came back to ErgoDox EZ and the Moonlander: both are nice, very well reknown, fully available with an interesting number of options (including clicky keycaps!) and so on.


There's also the very interesting Falbatech website with its peculiar bamboo versions of well known ergo open keyboards! Did you know that the ReDox keyboard was designed by an Italian engineer!?

In the end, Moonlander seem'd the way to go, also considering the fact that I shall possibly commute with that keyboard, and it comes with a travel bag! Even though the Falbatech things are very nice and interesting.

And there's also the Miryoku layout that's worth a try with (almost) any custom and programmable keyboard.

The Iris is cool and with the tenting middle layer is quite... tempting. It has a bunch of possible configurations, also placing different thumb keys. It comes out at $250 with frosted acrylic plates and tenting middle layer and even its own carrying case! There are also Iris-specific 3D Printed Cases that can be ordered and sent to Keebio for assemblying before shipping.

Let's mark it as a possible answer to my Quest.


I don't know. I still think Moonlander is a nice thing but looking at it I was not fully satisfied. Being intriguing to consider, even the bamboo things of Falbatech didn't satisfy me for good. Why? Again, I don't know Gut feeling. Very nice, but not my own.

Another “End” of the Quest?

Here comes the Lily58 Pro, an open source (MIT-licensed) custom keyboard designed by Naoki Katahira that is split, ergo, column-staggered, QMK-compatible and it even comes with a couple of OLED screens!

Lily58 Pro

WTF with the OLED screens? It's a keyboard!


But if you look at its keymaps on QMK, you'll notice that there might even be interesting uses for the OLEDs as well.

So, in the end, I think I've feel in love with the Lily58 Pro.

So, time to buy? Well, except for the fact that I don't have enough money, at least let me search for it.

It's a custom open source thing, so you won't find it in Amazon. But this also mean that I either need to solder it myself, or find a place where they sell it prebuilt. I'd go for the second choice...

If you see the reference page from the author, there is a note about Yushakobo, a physical store in Tōkyō that also has online service. The online store is also in English (not that I mind much, knowing Japanese language). They have kits and the like and the Lily58 Pro with MX sockets comes out at ¥16280, about €234 if I include also the assembly service (have I said I'm not good at soldering?). Unfortunately, even keeping in touch with them, they do not allow me to order from the website and pick up the keyboard in the store (I'll be in Japan next summer), and considering how long I'll be there, I won't be able to go to the store the first day, ask for assembly a keyboard and still being there after 2-3 weeks to pick it up. Seems they don't want my money ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

I'll might anyway stroll around there.

And there are other services that offer a prebuilt Lily58 Pro, but it seems to me that having it with its normal layout, even with the aluminium plates top and bottom, it's a bit risky to commute with (basically) exposed micro and OLED screen.

Here comes KrisCables an online shop from Portugal that also offer a nice full case for the Lily58 Pro, including build service and the like.

Lily58 Pro

Will this be my (next?) (final?) keyboard?

Will I be satisfied for good?

Let's see... for now, I've already choosen the keycaps that can fit there, from the usual YMDKey.

107 DSA Profile Gray Orange (Dye Sub PBT)

I'm Back (in the Mechanical Tunnel) by Marco Bresciani is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International