Ortholinear UHK mod

I was ordering a 3D print, and since all companies around here have minimum order price, I was left with quite a lot of “free” credit, so decided for this experiment.

Ordered a bunch of these:


  • Originally I thought the keys would wobble to the point of unusability, but actually, this has not turned out to be a problem.
  • Some extenders/keys are imperfectly alligned, leading to some keycaps rubbing against other keycaps, which produces an annoying sensation/sound.
  • I fear about the cross stem getting broken inside of the keycap slot, so I am mounting them from outside. The mounting is imperfect as I have badly guessed at diameters, so the keycaps are not perfectly oriented. The model definitely needs another iteration.
  • Bottom row default shift is 0.50, but the zigzag extenders all shift by 0.25 key, so the bottom row is still shifted by 0.25 of a key. A good compromise between true ortholinear and staggered, as I tend to make mistakes on a true ortholinear bottom row.
  • Upper row default shift is 0.75, so instead of shifting them -0.75, I shift them +0.25, so the top row is shifted by one key, which would be a problem for keymap compatibility if I used the top row for writing. Fortunately I don’t, so I don’t care.
  • I have ordered an insufficient number and broken quite a lot of the extenders, so my top row of the left half is not aligned at all. :sweat_smile:
  • The thumb clusters being lowered by a centimeter compared to the rest of the keyboard feels weird. I will have to get used to that yet.


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Why not just using one of the ortolinear alternatives from the same price range (there are some options, afaik)?

You are quite missing the point. The point was the curiosity as to whether this would work.

But to answer your question literally:

  • Because I may not want to spend another 1400$. Especially I might not want to spend 1400$ on an experiment if I had no idea whether I want ortholinear or not.
  • Afaik UHK has still no competition when it comes to right side modules.
  • I don’t want to have to learn another customization alternative to UHK macros.
  • When it comes to advanced features, UHK’s smart macros seem much more user friendly than having to code stuff in C as in QMK.
  • I don’t want to have to maintain yet another keymap file for an incompatible firmware.
  • I value UHK features more than I value ortholinearity.
  • This took much less time than configuring yet another keyboard from scratch.


Thanks for posting about this. It’s a cool mod, I think I want to try out too. I always felt ortholinearity would be my next step, but I am not confident I really want to go there. This seems to be a decent way to try it out.

I wonder if 0.5u shifts could also be realised (to bring the bottom row into full alignment).

What are those bits called? Also, where did you buy them?

I call them key extenders. They are 3D printed. ( https://filetransfer.io/data-package/vmgfioZ0#link, the link is likely to expire → let me know if you need reupload… )

If you intend to print them, be warned that the cylindrical holders are too narrow - I suggest widening the base before printing. Be prepared for multiple printing iterations.

If you finish the design to be usable without issues, feel free to share the model in any 3D print database of your choice.

This is an interesting experiment.

I have used several keyboards. Ortholinear is one of the best I have used. They are easy to adjust to and they don’t really screw up muscle memory with traditional staggers.

What the UHK offers with its traditional stagger is a return on the investment all of us have made gaining typing proficiency on the traditional layout. This mean going to a split keyboard is something most can do pretty easily. It might take a little bit of time to get used to it again, but nothing major.

On the other hand, when I got the ortholinear columnar it took about 2 weeks to get comfortable, and about a month to get back up to my normal typing speed.

This practicality is the UHK’s real strength. It is trying to get you back in the game as soon as possible.

The one suggest I would add is that a keycluster module for the right side would be amazing. I could then move my backspace to my right thumb and not just the spacebar.

For now you can try the backspace on the MOD layer. I think that is even more ergonomic than needing to use a thumb button. I have Backspace on my home-row (right hand) and just need to hold the left MOD/ Space-key. So less movement than extending the thumb to the key cluster module.

That can work, but you are talking about using 2 fingers to do what 1 can do simply by moving a little more. I don’t think that is really all that much more efficient.

I just put backspace on the primary function of the caps lock key. Secondary is layer switch. Your left pinky can easily reach it during typing; you can keep the hand in the home row position.

Another good option, but you loose repeating backspace. That is a reason why I would want backspace not as a second function.

My maxtend macros for the Caps Lock key work this way:

Tap = Backspace
Hold = Layer switch
Tap-and-then-Hold = repeating Backspace
Shift+Hold = repeating Backspace
Alt+Tap = Delete
Alt+Hold = repeating Delete

So if you want repeating Backspace, either use shift+hold or double-tap and keep holding it the second time.

Ah, thanks for sharing. That is also a nice solution. You basically need just one key to do everything, but have to think a bit about which keys to press together. I need one extra key (for Delete), but have less mental overhead. So 2disbetter can choose which approach he likes best. :grinning: