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While the Panbox MK I was great in basic function, there was a lot left yearned for.
The device itself ended up being quite small in the hands, and with the directional pad and face buttons so close together, it forced the wrists to work at an agonizing, carpal-tunnel-inducing angle.
On top of that, the orthogonal WASD layout did not actually assist me with my initial scope of making 360 inputs easier. With the "Up" input at the top of the ASD keys, a 360 input requires an awkward circular motion with the fingertips.
Less important than that, the visual aesthetic of the original Panbox was not great either. The flat rectangle with sharp corners and completely exposed face was not pretty, and the black soldermask held onto the oils from skin contact too well, giving it a disgusting gloss.
New key layout designed for ergonomic comfort, created with ergogen, a tool for creating ergonomic keyboards. The layout was generated with a .yaml hierarchal file, which you can find attached in the Github link.
Edge of the PCB, more visually appealing than the last rectangle
Routing traces for the PCB with KiCad instead of EagleCAD. This lets me create a PCB without the horribly restrictive size limit from the free trial of Autodesk's program. This new design is larger, has rounded corners, a fun shape, and a soldermask layer to include attributation and title.
Approximate construction in Fusion 360. This version of the Panbox uses the same number of switches and keycaps, and even uses the same microcontroller. This design, however, featured a larger PCB and a cut acrylic sheet fitted between the switch sockets and the PCB itself. This created a visually appealing layered effect and protected the very top surface from exposure.
Cut acrylic sheets, as they arrived from SendCutSend
Redesigned PCB, fabricated by JLCPCB
Final view of the completed Panbox MK II