The Sneakbox Disarray is a mechanical keyboard that comes with an aluminum case, a brass switch plate, a PCB, and an aluminum knob. There are two keyboard layout options: staggered and ortholinear. I optimistically went for the ortholinear layout because I felt it was more flexible and could be customized to match my preferences.
After a recommendation from a friend, I decided to go all in and order the Disarray B-Stock from Sneakbox.
Because I wasn’t certain which key switches I wanted to stick with, I soldered Mill-Max 3305-1 sockets into the PCB which allow me to easily swap out key switches. It took me around an hour or so to solder all 154 sockets, the rotary encoder, and the LED. I swapped the included white LED for a red one to match my synthesizer.
I used SP-Star Switches and blank DSA profile keycaps. I was originally going to customize the keycaps, but ended up leaving them blank.
I also had to modify a USB cable by trimming some of the rubber around the connector so that it would fit snugly into the keyboard’s port. Just cut carefully with a box cutter.
Aesthetically, I think it turned out quite nice:
Layer 0 is pretty much what you would expect except I moved a handful of keys around. I replaced caps lock with backspace and it is amazing. I also focused the keys toward the center on characters I type often when writing code.
Layer 1 is effectively just for arrow keys and gives me two options: a vim like arrow layout and a more standard arrow layout.
Layer 2 is where I stashed all the F keys and my version of a num pad. I will likely be adding to the num pad to make it a handy dandy tool for calculations.
Learning how to type
A new physical key layout (ortholinear) combined with a new key layout did mean I had to relearn how to type.
I primarily used monkeytype.com to practice. It has a level of customization that makes learning specific things a breeze and it is well-designed. Within a single weekend of moderate practice, I was able to get to an acceptable typing speed to use this as my primary keyboard.
In two weeks of use, I am already faster and less error-prone than I was on a standard keyboard. The staggered layout really made it hard for me to predict where my fingers needed to go where this layout is a nice grid. Very predictable.
Thanks for the help
Helen and several of the folks on the Sneakbox Discord have been extremely helpful providing QMK layout examples, tips on soldering, and all I needed to know about Mill-Max sockets. Thanks, y’all.