Monday, December 18, 2017

Stenomod Changes

I'm finding 3D printing to be somewhat of a nightmare. Sure, it's a great way to make a prototype quickly. But to rely on it for manufacturing, even at the small-scale of the stenomod, is probably a mistake. The printer needs too much maintenance and baby sitting. If it quits working suddenly, what am I supposed to do?

Well, what I'm doing right now is starting to phase out 3D printing. I'm going back to using a drill press on the wood deck for the bottom part of the keyboard. For now I'll still make the top half with a 3D printer. Maybe eventually I'll have acrylic parts made for the top half, but for now I'm just minimizing the need to use a 3D printer, not eliminating it completely.

This applies to the hinge model as well as the classic. I've made a prototype of a wood bottomed hinge model for my own use. If I like it well enough in the next week or so, then I'll start making them all this way. I expect to like it just fine, by the way.

Here's what the prototype looked like as I put it together:

I used a drill press to make space under each solder joint so the PCB can fit flush to the deck and be well supported.

Now the PCB fits nicely.

The plastic top fits over the PCB, flush with the deck.

And finally the hinge is installed. In the prototype here I've used bolts that are a quarter inch too short, so the nuts don't quite fit. I'll fix that soon.

The classic model looks much the same, but I'm still using a 12 x 5 1/2 inch deck. For the hinge I'm using 3 1/2 inches wide instead. This older deck looks about the same, except now I'm using the drill press for all the cutting and not using a router at all.

I hope you like the change! It's going to make my life easier I think, even with all the drilling and lacquering. A drill press pretty much runs forever and needs very little maintenance. A 3D printer is something else entirely!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Back in business, again!

I'm working on getting ahead in inventory now. Ready to take orders anytime!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Taking another break

I'll be away from the office again for about a week and will be unable to fulfill orders during that time. I think I'll have email the whole time, so I'll be happy to talk to you about stenomods, I just won't be able to sell you one until after September 1, 2017. I'm sorry if this causes any inconvenience. I'm hoping to be able to run without any significant gaps in service for a long time after that.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back in business

I'm back from vacation and slowly getting caught up with assembling stenomods. If you're ready to buy one, I'm ready to sell you one now, so let me know.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Out of Stenomods for the next week or so

I've run out of finished stenomods just as I'm about to take a week off for a family vacation. I'm happy to get your emails and answer questions, but I won't be able to take your money and ship you a stenomod until sometime after August 7th. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A New Option

I'm calling it "the Hinge".

I discovered that a standard 3 1/2 inch door hinge fits almost exactly to join the two halves of a Stenomod. It makes a solid unit and allows tenting if you use something to support the middle, as I have in the picture above.

You can fold it up, as in this picture. You can also lay it flat pretty much just like the older version, and the distance apart is the same.

What's the disadvantage? Well, it's a little heavier, if that matters. You probably won't want to put it directly in your lap, because the middle falls down into a sort of negative tenting situation. But of course you can support it with something, a book for example.

I'm still going to offer the original version with the wood deck. They will both be the same price. So it's up to you to is decide which way you want it.

Like this?

Or like this?

Let me know your choice when you order.

$200 plus shipping, same as before.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Out of Stock until May 17th

I won't be able to take and fill any more orders until about Wednesday, May 17th. I hope this doesn't inconvenience anyone too badly! Please feel free to ask questions but I won't take your money until I have something to send you!

Friday, May 5, 2017

A History of Stenomod

I recently shared a link on Discord to a talk I did about two years ago to the Silicon Valley Forth Interest Group about steno, Arduino, and Forth. This was before I'd made the first stenomod, but shows me working my way up to it. I'm posting it here too, for people who aren't on Discord but might have some interest.

My part is about an hour in the middle of three, but that link should start at the beginning of my talk. It's roughly in three sections. 1. Stenography 2. Making a keyboard by hand using an Arduino 3. Programming the firmware in Forth. So pick and choose based on what your interests are.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Running Plover on a Raspberry Pi

Disclaimer! I can't show you how to run Plover on raspbian, or on a pi zero. But I did get it going on a Raspberry Pi 3, model B, using Ubuntu Mate. It was actually quite easy as it turns out. I just followed directions.

I did try with raspbian, but ran into trouble with dependencies which I didn't know how to deal with. Then I saw that Ubuntu Mate was available for the Raspberry Pi 3. I knew that I could install Plover on Ubuntu. I'd already done it on my laptop. The only question was whether or not it would work on the ARM processor of a Raspberry Pi.

I'm not going into how to install Ubuntu Mate. You can find that on the internet. I'll assume you've done that, and that you're working from the Pi. Start Firefox. Now, go to the Open Steno Project website:

Then click on the Download button, which puts you here:

You might as well download the .deb file now:


Leave it in the Download folder, and click on the "installation guide" link. Scroll down to the Linux directions and click on the  "ppa:benoit.pierre/plover"  link. There are two lines there to be executed on the command-line in order to make Benoit Pierre's ppa visible to your computer.

        sudo add-apt-repository ppa:benoit.pierre/plover

        sudo apt-get update

Once you've done that you're ready to actually install Plover. Type on the command-line:

        sudo apt-get install plover

Be patient. It might take awhile to respond and finish. When it does you can find an icon for Plover in the Applications/Universal Access menu.

Wait though, there's one last thing you need to do. You don't have permission to use the serial ports yet. This won't matter if you're using an NKRO keyboard, but let's assume you have a stenomod and need TX Bolt over serial. Write this on the command-line:

        sudo usermod -a -G dialout "$USER"

This adds you, the USER, to the dialout group, which allows you to have access to serial ports.

Now you should be be able to run Plover from that   "Applications/Universal Access" menu. Again, be patient! It takes awhile for Plover to start, but once it does, you can configure it for your machine and get to work!

The downside is that this has to be done in a GUI and it starts after you've logged in. It's not the ideal situation for a Plover-in-the-middle, where it acts as a USB keyboard for another computer without installing Plover or any other drivers. Still, running Plover on a Raspberry Pi is pretty fun!

Many thanks to Benoit Pierre for setting up and hosting the ppa!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Standard Model

I've decided that it doesn't make sense for me to try to maintain two types of plastic case. From now on I plan to make this the standard stenomod, plastic cases mounted to a wood deck. You can easily remove the wood deck if you like to experiment with other ergonomic positions. You can also put the deck back on if you prefer it that way.

If you would really rather have just the plastic cases without any screw holes, I can still print them that way, but you'll have to wait a day or two while I make them. And it limits your options.

I'm recommending that you try it this way.

Still $200 USD for the keyboard plus $13.60 shipping in the US. Outside the US I'll have to look up the shipping costs.

My email address is  for inquiries.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stenomod, now with a 3d printed case!

3D printing seems to be under control, so that's how I'd like to package the stenomod from now on.

There is a choice though, between having just the plastic cases or having them mounted on a wooden deck.

If you get just the plastic cases, the top has no screw holes. Looks nicer that way and the two halves of the box sort of snap together. The version that's mounted to the deck has two holes on each side for screws. You can't see them under the cable in this picture, but they're there.

Same price either way, $200 USD. In the US, shipping is $13.60 with the wood deck, $7.15 without.

Outside the US it's more. I'll look it up for each individual case.

Email me at if you have questions or would like to order one.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

3D Printer Progress

There is definitely some magic to 3D printing, at least for me there is. I've been printing and experimenting for the past few weeks. I'm not an expert by any means, but I seem to have a working system going.

At first the problem was that the blue tape was lifting in at least one corner, ruining the box. Google search suggested I should use my fingernails to get the tape to adhere better, and that seemed to work for awhile. Then I noticed that the box I was making was lifting off the tape, in the same corner. I tried cleaning with alcohol and acetone, but no luck. Then I saw, Google again, where one person suggested using a glue stick over the blue tape. That seems to have done the trick, though I'm trying not to be over confident.

I've managed to print one keyboard case that I'm satisfied with. I think that I'll be able to make them fast enough now to start taking orders. I won't actually take your money unless I have a keyboard with case ready to be shipped, but I'm happy to hear from you, if you're interested, and I do have about 6 keyboards without cases finished and otherwise ready.

The plan is to keep the same price, $200 USD (I know the D is redundant) plus shipping.

I still have at least one wood deck and I can make more, so if you like them better I'd be happy to sell them that way as well!

I hope to follow up with some pictures before too long.