Unfortunately, this will be a disappointing update. The short version is that the RM-Numpad is being put on hold until further notice. If you want to be notified when there’s a new update, please sign up for the mail list: https://www.rmkeebs.com/updates/
I want to thank everyone who took the time to fill out the IC form. Your input helped inform some decisions over the last few weeks.
Speaking of which, let’s start by talking about some of the feedback and how it informed those decisions I’ve made
Let’s start with cost, because cost is a pretty large driving factor in what the end product will be. The results surprised me a little, there was a very broad spectrum of prices. Some of you want to spend a lot more than I think a numpad should cost (contact me directly, I’m happy to give you a special price), and some of you wanted me to sell the kit for less than it costs to manufacture. My primary takeaway from this is that many people just don’t know what it costs to make something. When I started down the path of making a numpad, I had a few goals. Most importantly, I would really like to make a nice quality product that is affordable. Given what the average person who responded thought was a fair price, I think I’ll be able to meet that goal. Unfortunately I don’t have a price for you yet, but I’m going to do everything I can to make this kit a fair price, and worth every penny.
I was also surprised to see that the responses were split almost exactly down the middle. Half of you want encoders with detents, half of you want smooth. I was planning on only stocking one kind just to simplify my inventory (and help keep costs down for you), but I will be offering both options now.
There was unsurprisingly a lot of variety in the colors people wanted. I wish I could offer all of the colors you wanted, but to help keep costs down, the first batch will have to all be one color. The most popular color by a very large margin was black, so that will be the color of the first batch.
The overwhelming majority of you wanted a 4-5 degree angle, but the percentage of you that wanted a 6-7 degree angle was too large for me to ignore, so I’ve come up with a design that will give you an option. Unfortunately this puts me in a bit of a sticky situation, because the number of people who wanted a 7 degree angle isn’t large enough to justify including them with the kit. The kit will come with some feet that can be attached to give the case a 4.5 degree angle, and spacers will be available that will give the case a 7 degree angle will be available separately.
5. Knob options
You spoke loud and clear, my logo will NOT be on the knob that is included with the kit. I plan on making a few of them anyway, and offering them separately in case some of you wanted them. I’m still pondering other ideas for knobs, and am open to suggestions if you have ideas!
6. Bare aluminum kits
Half of you were interested in a kit that offered a bare aluminum case and knob, which is honestly a lot more than I was expecting. I’ll be making them available for sure, but I’m still debating a sandblasted option, for a few reasons. Un-anodized aluminum is very soft, and I’m concerned that you may be unhappy with the end result if you don’t plan on finishing it with a coating or anodizing. If you do plan on coating it in a custom color, it will be a waste of time for me to sandblast it, because that needs to happen immediately before the coating is applied if you want a quality finish. If you want an unfinished kit so you can finish it yourself in your favorite color, I should be able to offer it at a slightly lower price. If you want an unfinished kit because you like the look of bare aluminum, I want to make sure you understand that it will pick up shallow scratches and show wear much more easily.
A bonus for those of you wanting a 7 degree angle, and a bare aluminum kit, I’ll also be offering the spacers in bare aluminum.
Now for the disappointing part. The silicon shortage is affecting even keyboards now. I’ve invested a lot of money, and ordered everything I need to make the first batch of numpads, and just this morning I was notified that my PCB order was canceled because they can’t source microcontrollers. They weren’t even able to give me an ETA on when they’d be available. Looking around, mouser has some on order, and doesn’t expect to get them until August 2022.
There’s nothing I can do at this point, so the RM-Numpad is on hold for now. If you want to be notified when I begin making them, or when they’re in stock, please sign up for the appropriate mail list: https://www.rmkeebs.com/updates/