MagSafe Tenting and Wearable KeyboardsEvan Travers
I've been anxiously following the progress of #zen-custom-mods on Lowprokb.ca's discord… people doing some very clever 3d printed stands for my beloved Zen keyboard.
The previous solutions all required hot-gluing some magnets to the Zen, or 3D-printing a custom shelf to mount the magnets in and then place your Zen into.
A month or so ago I came across Seth Millikin's gist on using MagSafe for keyboard mounts. This seemed perfect… with the advent of MagSafe there were lots of options, and I decided to invest and see how it works.
Man is it awesome.
Here's the build list:
- QKOO Magnetic Tripod Adapter
- Manfrotto Pocket Tripod MP3-BK
- cheap MagSafe stickers… I had to buy two packs so that I could get the black ones to match my A E S T H E T I C.
- 3x5 Corne-ish Zen
All I had to do was eyeball a position for the sticker that both seemed like a natural balance point and didn't interfere with the screw placement on the baseplate. I screwed the puck on the tripod… and that's it. Job done. The magsafe sticker is thinner than the already small bump-ons on the baseplate so it doesn't interfere at all with the normal usage of the Zen. The quality of the products (and my matte-black aesthetic) means that it even feels like it was designed for each other.
I put it together and was amazed at the strength of the magnetic bond. The QKOO magnetic pucks have a light rubber-ization on the contact points and are quite strong. Together with my all black Zen it becomes a very natural object and it's solid. It actually takes some hand strength to break the tripod and board apart. The extra weight is actually really nice on the desk. The tripod has an inch of play back and forth for the screw… given the strength of the bond you could probably shift the sticker more outboard and achieve some extreme tents with the Manfrotto, or just buy a different stand like bastardkb.)
After using it happily for the past few weeks… I started googling for a MagSafe adapter on a strap… ever since reading the post on supine computing I've wanted to have a setup that would work in a hammock. 🤷 After searching fruitlessly for an hour, I wondered if the existing magnet pucks would work just sitting in my pocket.
Oh they do. And not just in flimsy gym-pants, but in normal work pants1. I can walk, pace, jump, and stomp. You have to be careful not to "brush" the board off the contact point laterally while moving around, but it's pretty secure.
After playing with it for a day, I recommend flattening the tripod's supports before placing in your pocket. By conforming the tripod supports to your leg you can create a more stable platform upon which to type. You can adjust the keyboard's height by positioning the magnet in pocket prior to attaching the keyboard to the outside.
If your pockets are deeper than your arms are long, this may be a solution that could work for you. This opens up a whole bunch of silly options for working… and if the fabled Apple VR Headset is truly around the corner then wearable typing like this may be still more important. I started out doing this as a silly experiment… but after using it for a day I could see myself actually choosing this in certain circumstances… even if it does make my wife double over with laughter.
- /u/vagabionda on Reddit using MagSafe with A/V "magic arms" for a HOTAS style setup
- /u/bastardkb using a different pocket tripod and building a magnetic plate into the bottom of a larger keyboard
Tested in Lululemon cotton twill pants. ↩
2023-04-06 19:32:29 -0500Fix typo
2023-04-06 11:48:54 -0500Apparently Git LFS has problems with capitalized filenames?
2023-04-06 11:42:06 -0500Fix typo
2023-04-06 11:40:47 -0500A few adjustments
2023-04-06 11:36:27 -0500MagSafe Tenting and Wearable Keyboards First Draft