V4N4G0N (pronounced "vanagon", occasionally referred to as "V4N") is a 45% keyboard based on the MiniVan that includes a half-numrow (1-6 keys).
There have been 3 group buys for V4N4G0N. The first round of 25 boards sold for $360 in December 2019. The second round of 30 boards sold for $335 in August 2020. Round 1 boards were more expensive due to differences in the case design. A total of 55 metal cases were produced between the first two rounds. Each V4N4G0N kit from the first two group buys included two PCBs and two FR4 plates so a second board could be assembled by purchasing or 3D printing a compatible case.
The V4N4G0N round 3 group buy ran from April 26-30th on Trashman.club. Round 3 boards (referred to as "V3N" or "Hullagon") will ship with a single PCB, a single FR4 plate supporting the "standard" layout, a redesigned case made of silver anodized aluminum, and a free set of DSA Hullagon keycaps.
V4N4G0N is a three-layer compression mount board based on the JetVan layout with an added half-numrow. It was designed to bridge the gap between the Minivan and larger (60%+) keyboards to allow for more traditional use while playing games that require number keys. The numrow is indented a half-key to match the layout of larger boards. Three indicator LEDs are placed in a vertical line in the empty space to the left of the numrow. The board connects to the host using a USB C connection located on the left hand side between the 1 and 2 keys - a notable design change from Minivan/JetVan that have the USB C connector placed on the right side under the Backspace key.
Firmware for the board can be generated using the Configurator
KLE available here: http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/2765c52a68a48e9720865060047b9aa8
V4N4G0N supports two layouts - one with a standard 6.25u spacebar and one with split 2u spacebars. The original plan for the board was to only support a single layout with a 6.25u spacebar (JetVan layout) but after feedback from community members a split space layout was added (though it is notably different from any of the existing MiniVan layouts.
DXF files for V4N4G0N plates can be found on the Files page.
The official V4N4G0N PCB designed by Trash Man only saw minor changes between the two group buy rounds
The first group buy included a rev 1.0 PCB that features a black solder mask with a gold silkscreen on the front to match the black and brass case. The R1 silkscreen includes the name of the board in large font across the bottom two rows and a picture of a van in the "bump" for the half number row. Written across the other side is the text "Designed by the infamous VanMan". Three 3mm through-hold LED indicator positions are located in the top-left corner. The LEDs need to be installed before installing the plate and switches as most LEDs have flanges and cannot be installed through the plate holes. There is no reset button on the PCB. A pair of reset pads are located on the bottom of the board next to the Backspace switch location with the label
Round 2 V4N4G0N kits included updated PCBs with a green solder mask and white silk screening. The boards still feature the V4N4G0N wordmark across the bottom and the image of the van in the bump. The remaining text was changed to read "Designed by the trash man" with an additional seal stating "100% Garbage - Trash Man approved!". The board still includes reset pads in the same location as revision 1.0 boards. Three 3mm through-hold LED indicator positions are located in the top-left corner. The LEDs need to be installed before installing the plate and switches as most LEDs have flanges and cannot be installed through the plate holes. Several unused pins from the MCU were broken out to through-hole pads on the PCB that can be used for modifications. Four are located below and to the right of the MCU on the back of the board and are labeled
PC6. Two more pads to the left are labeled
PD1. One final pad above the MCU is labeled
Round 3 kits will include a new revision 3 PCB. A one-day group buy for standalone rev 3 PCBs ran the day after the R3 V4N4G0N group buy ended. The only change from rev 2.0 is the resistor value for the indicator LEDs has been increased from 330Ω to 1kΩ. This reduces the maximum brightness of the LEDs as they are directly visible through the exposed plate of the round 3 case. Revision 3 PCBs are still compatible with all previous cases.
Chop Shop is an upcoming community-designed board that will support V4N4G0N layouts and cases. Additionally, because it has support for MiniVan layouts it will allow users to use any of the Minivan bottom rows on a V4N4G0N (a custom plate will be required). Chop Shop adds a trio of surface-mount RGB LEDs (instead of through-hold LEDs) for the V4N4G0N indicators in the top left as well as per-key RGB LEDs under each switch.
V4N4G0RTH0N is an ortholinear PCB designed for V4N4G0N cases. It offers a unique layout with two 6x4 clusters anchored by a pair of 3u spacebars that are separated with a .75u gap down the middle of the board.
Similar to the PCB, the official case only saw minor changes between group buy rounds. Both metal cases are comprised of a three-layer design with the PCB gasket mounted on six 6x2mm rubber bumpons between the middle and top layers. The case is held together by twelve M3 x 12mm socket cap screws installed through the bottom of the case.
The three layers are all shaped slightly differently. The bottom layer is a full rectangle and includes the V4N4G0N wordmark milled into the open space to the right of the half number row. The middle and top layers are cut away in that section to follow the layout of the keys across the top row. The angles of the cuts are designed to reveal a hint of the middle layer of the board when viewed from above.
The R1 case includes black anodized CNC-milled aluminum top and bottom pieces and a brass middle layer that has a clear cerakote coating applied to it to prevent the brass from developing a patina. 25 of these metal cases were produced for the first group buy.
The R2 case follows the same design as R1 but replaces the brass middle layer with aluminum. The middle layer received several small quality of life improvements to make it easier to insert the assembled PCB and plate. Initially, all R2 cases were planned to be black anodized top and bottom pieces with a silver anodized or clear coated middle layer to distinguish them from the R1 cases. However it was later revealed that round 2 buyers would be able to choose what colors they would like for their case. After a round of discussion and voting, the decision was made to offer anodized black, blue, violet, and clear-coated "silver". Each buyer was then allowed to select the colors for each of the 3 pieces of their case, resulting in many unique combinations. 30 total cases were produced for round 2.
The round 3 cases were redesigned following the success of Hull's simplified design. The new design has been affectionally referred to as "Hullagon" by the community due to the resemblance. R3 cases are low-profile with a bottom mount plate that is screwed into the case with four M2x6mm screws installed through four tabs, two each along the left and right edges of the board. The cases will be made from milled aluminum and anodized with a clear coat, the same process used for the "silver" found on round 2 cases. The space to the right of the numrow is squared off and a long slot has been cut out to provide a pseudo-handle like WorldSpawn's acrylic case. The hole is only as wide as a single switch so it's unlikely to be used as an actual carrying handle by anyone other than children (and those with child-sized hands). 136 round 3 kits were sold in the buy and an unknown additional amount of extras were made.
The FR4 plates included with R3 cases include traces and pads to support RGB indicator LEDs installed on the plate itself. Due to the case and mounting style redesign the plates are not interchangeable between R1/R2 cases and R3 cases, nor will R3 plates will not work with the 3D printed or acrylic cases described below. DXF files for producing your own R3 plates can be found on the Files page. Please note that DXF files do not contain information for traces or pads for RGB LEDs and plates produced using the DXF files will only be compatible with the through-hole indicator LEDs on the PCB. If gerber files are ever released for the FR4 plates with RGB support we will upload them here.
Round 3 kits included the following:
Since V4N kits shipped with two PCBs (and extra PCBs were also made available for purchase after both group buy rounds were fulfilled), a need quickly arose for cases that could work with such an unconventional layout.
A two-piece, 3D printed case was designed by Trash Man that combines the bottom and mid layers of the metal cases into one piece for easier printing and assembly. It uses a separate top piece with a new design that replaces the staggered/layered look from the metal cases with ridged fins.
The case requires six 6x2mm rubber bumpons installed on the bottom case to function as gaskets under the plate. Twelve M3x12mm or M3x14mm socket cap screws are required to assemble the case (definitely go 14mm if you are buying self-tapping bolts). The case has 4 shallow recesses on the bottom for 3/4 inch round adhesive feet.
The STL files for printing the case can be found on the Files page.
A layered acrylic case with a handle is sold built-to-order by Worldspawn Keebs on Etsy. Its design was inspired by fresnel lenses. Buyers can choose a color for each acrylic layer to allow for extra customization. WorldSpawn also sells POM and PP plates as well as custom-cut foams to fit between the PCB and plate.