Romeo in the Spring

Romeo is a 40% through-hole keyboard kit produced by CFTKB.

This is the second board of this type that I have built. Besides being a through-hole board, the other interesting design choice is the layout. There are many different 40% layouts available. You would think that at just 40 or so keys, almost any keycap set would work. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case, and you often need to opt for an add-on kit to ensure your favorite GMK set fits properly. However, in the case of the Romeo, Coseyfannitutti used a layout that will work perfectly well with a vast majority of the sets you already own[1].

Spring was in the air when I was preparing for the build, so I decided to make that the theme of the build.

For the build I went with:

  1. Romeo Kit in white.
  2. Gateron Milky Yellow switches lubed with 205g0.
  3. Purple Durock Stabs lubed with 205g0.
  4. GMK Vaporware

Overall, for about $60 (not including stabs, switches, and keycaps) the board turned out great.

I went with a split spacebar, which provides a couple of easily accessible keys to use to switch layers (LT(1, KC_SPC)).

For a caseless board, the sound is surprisingly good. With a house full of kids social distancing, it has been next to impossible to record a good sound test, but they should be coming soon. I am going to try to record with and without the foam. My guess is the foam what's pulling this all together.

Finally, for someone who has tried a couple 40%'s and never stuck with it, the full Via support helps quite a bit. This makes it both easy to see what I have mapped and then customize it to meet my own needs.

I have been using the board a fair bit, but I still cannot get used to coding on a 40%. Trying to remember there to find (){}[]~ and keeping track of what I am coding is still a bit much, but I will get there (Cajal here I come!).

It will take you an hour or two to build[2], but it is a fun and cost- effective way to try out a layout.

Photos

Money shot

Diodes install, more work to do.

PCB Ready

PCB is labeled exceptionally well

Proof I used Milky Yellows. :)


  1. Unfortunately, one of my favorite keycap sets, GMK Paperwork, which is designed for 40% boards did not have the proper keycaps available. Funny if you think about it. ↩︎

  2. Coseyfannitutti does a superb job of labeling the PCB. I am hoping we see this level of detail from more PCB designers in the future. This takes a lot of guesswork out of the assembly. See the fourth picture below. ↩︎