A LITTLE RECAP
We already had a solution for the palm pads. We had our supplier and we already specified what we wanted. The palm pad we wanted looked something similar to the image below but with our palm pad shape.
Initial palm pad sample
It would have had a PU anti-slip material at the bottom, PU inside, cloth on the top, and a soft curve around the edges.
We were concerned with the softness of the palm pads. We wanted the palm pads to be soft, but not too soft. So we needed to find the right balance. Our supplier ensured us in our previous visits that they can find this balance.
Unfortunately, during our last visit to Shenzhen, the sample that the manufacturer showed us was too hard.
So we started working with a different material inside the palm pad. We decided to add silicone.
But the samples that the manufacturer showed us were still not what we wanted.
This sample was too soft.
This was too thick. And they couldn’t make it any thinner.
The thickness requirement we have for our palm pads is 7.5mm.
Searching the market
It was a frustrating time for us as we were already set to have the tooling made for the other components. We tried to look for a reference in the market but we didn’t find anything that was similar to what we wanted with the same materials.
Then we found something slightly similar to what we wanted. The difference was that it had a PU skin instead of cloth.
The PU skin is similar to synthetic leather. It's also easy to clean.
PU skin instead of cloth.
This palm pad had silicon inside, PU, anti-slip PU, and PU skin. We decided that this would be a better solution.
So we started looking for a different supplier and then we finally found this!
New palm pad sample.
It will have a layer of EVA underneath the PU skin to make it softer. Then a layer of silicon, and an adhesive material at the bottom.
Materials inside the palm pad.
We really like the adhesive material at the bottom.
The anti-slip material of the previous sample was great, but if you would pick up your keyboard, for example, the palm pad would fall off.
Anti-slip / adhesive layer.
This new sample has a thin layer of adhesive material so it will stick to your keyboard. What's also great about it is you can clean it with water and it will still stick!
The final solution
We are happy to be using this new sample for our palm pads. It will have our palm pad shape and have the curved edges that we want.
We like the new solution for the anti-slipping. We also like and prefer the softness.
Our new manufacturer told us that we can also create thicker or thinner palm pads with the same material in the future.
It will still be a challenge to manufacture but we have already decided to pay the tooling. We will do a short batch and test it properly.
What do you guys think? Your feedback is highly appreciated!