- How do you type with so few keys?
- All the digits, most of the punctuation, and the arrow keys are
accessed by holding down the fn key. (See
the cheat sheet.) Other special keys
like home, end, insert,
delete, and F1–F12 are hit by
switching the keyboard into "L2" mode with fn+ESC.
These changes are a pretty big adjustment, and it can take several
weeks to get back up to your normal speed. However, it
significantly reduces the amount of finger movement necessary for
typing, which contributes to a more comfortable typing
- But I've used the fn key on my laptop, and I hate it!
- Laptop fn numpads usually make the mistake of placing
1, 2, and 3 on the home row and 7, 8, and 9 way up on the top
row. This means you can't hit all the digits from a neutral
position. The fn numpad on the Atreus is placed right
in the middle of the home row. There are a lot of keys that
need fn to hit, but even on a conventional keyboard
most punctuation needs the shift key already, so it does not require
additional keypresses. Also laptop fn keys are usually
held with your pinky, while the Atreus fn key is under
- How long does it take to construct a kit?
- Soldering a regular kit takes one to three hours, depending on
your experience level. This time-lapse
video shows the construction process (minus the wood
finishing) over the course of a few hours, and
of build logs contains descriptions of many different
experiences of the construction process. Finishing the wood case
takes a few hours due to waiting for multiple coats of lacquer
to dry, but you can use the keyboard before all the coats have
- I'm not very good at soldering; I think I would mess it up!
- You should order a presoldered
kit. All the tricky soldering has been done for you, and you
only need to solder the switches. This is really easy to do and
can be done in half an hour. It is nearly impossible to
accidentally damage the switches with your soldering iron, and
even if you do there are some spares included in the kit.
- How loud are the clicky switches?
- They're louder than most keyboards, but quieter than the
Model M. Some have compared the sound of a keystroke to
that of a ball-point pen clicking.
- What if I don't own a soldering iron?
- Nothing in the kit requires much precision—it is all
budget soldering iron from Radio Shack will get the job done
just as well as something fancy. If you buy something low-end that
doesn't have temperature control, making sure it's low-wattage
(around 25W) will reduce the risk of damaging the controller. If
you've never soldered
from Adafruit explains the
- Where is the Mac OS X ⌘ key? How about the Windows key?
- These are both labeled super on the cheat sheet and
diagram, which is a platform-agnostic way to refer to this key. By
default it's in the middle of the bottom row on the left side, but
of course you can change the layout to move it anywhere you
- What keyboard layout options are offered?
- Like any keyboard, you can change the layout in the operating
system without changing the keyboard. However, if you'd rather
change the layout in the keyboard itself (for instance, if you
want to use an alternate layout on someone else's computer),
firmware supports QWERTY, Colemak, and Dvorak. Others are easy
- Wait, the layout looks different from before?
- The older layout is still
available as an option in the firmware, but the new default layout
places the arrow keys on the fn layer, making them much
more accessible than before. It also moves the reset key to where
it's harder to hit by accident, and adds volume control. The
default firmware used to be
atreus-firmware codebase, but now
firmware is recommended, which is more featureful.
- How much does shipping cost?
- We use USPS Priority Mail for the packages. Within the United
States it costs US$10. Prices for international customers vary by
country; usually between US$35 and US$47. Customers outside the US
may also be charged import fees by their country of residence;
these vary widely.
- How long does it take to ship?
- Orders usually ship within a handful of days. Except in the case
of special orders or delayed payment, kits should not take more than
a week to ship at maximum.
- What parts does the kit contain?
- Kits include a laser-cut mahogany ply case, a circuit board, a
controller, key switches, key caps, diodes, sandpaper, a USB
cable, rubber feet, and screws. The keyboard has only 42 keys, but
a few extra parts are included in case of loss or damage. There is
also a cheat sheet and assembly instructions. If you have your own
switches and/or keycaps, let us know and we can ship a partial kit
that excludes these for a discount. Wood colors vary between
lighter to deep red; if you have a specific color preference, let
us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. You will also
need lacquer or other wood finish, a soldering iron, solder, and
- What key switches are used?
- The non-clicky kits
Quiet Click switches for most of the keys, while the clicky
Click switches. Some non-tactile non-clicky keys are included
for the modifiers (shift, ctrl, etc.) because modifiers are meant
to be held down rather than tapped, so they do not benefit from
tactile response. However, if you'd rather leave them all the
same, enough regular switches are included to do so.
- What kind of keycaps are used?
- We use blank keycaps constructed
with PBT plastic
form factor, which has a round indentation in the top to guide
your fingers. There is no difference in keycap shape between the
rows apart from the elongated middle thumb keys.
- I would like to customize the colors of the keycaps.
- We don't stock any custom keycaps, but you can buy them from
Plastics. Please note that the Matias switches used in the
kits are not compatible with most aftermarket keycap sets, which
use a Cherry mount. We have a limited supply of Cherry cases for
those who want compatibility with these sets; however, you will
need to source
separately. When you place your order, select "partial kit" and
note in the bottom of the shipping field that you want a Cherry
case in your kit with no switches or caps.
- Why isn't bluetooth an option?
- Fitting a transceiver and battery in would require redesigning
an enlarged case, since there is virtually no free space in the
present design. While it's a possibility for the future, at this
time we are focusing on shipping the most compact design we
- Will using an ergonomic keyboard ease the pain in my hands/wrists?
- This really depends on what is causing the problem. Repetitive
stress injuries (RSI) can have a host of causes, some of which can
be alleviated by a better keyboard and some which can't. Purchasing
equipment is no substitute for seeking medical advice, improved
sitting posture, or taking frequent breaks.
- What options are offered for payment?
- Within the US, Square Cash
is preferred, which accepts US debit cards. For customers in other
countries or without a debit
card, PayPal is used.
- Help! I broke it.
- Email me!
you diagnose the problem and step through the process of fixing
it. It's important to me that every customer is able to get
their kit successfully constructed.
- What if I have more questions or need to change my order?
- Please feel free to email
email@example.com with any further questions. General
questions can go to the mailing list