[GB] Model MF - GB CLOSED

Pick our controller... Voting ends on Friday

The mini-xWhatsit that WCass shrunk down. It uses the same mini-controller design as Ellipse's F62/77, but with a connector meant to slip onto our PCB (inverted running parallel to the backplate)
16
30%
The CommonSense that DMA has recently put together. This is young yet, but has the most long term promise (not a question). It will have a very similar connector (possibly perpendicular vs. parallel slip-on mount)
38
70%
 
Total votes : 54
So as part of silly stuff that people might find useful later... this is our proof from Uline for the packing tape approval. The tape will be 2mm thick (standard) with a 2"width. We will own the plate as well. Typically they would keep the plate, but will release it per request. Normally there is a fee for a one-time plate fee. That was waived per persuasion. If we did want to ever have more tape made, we would send them the plate to avoid a fee.

For awareness on how these adjustments work, it took a revision to get us to this point

Capture.PNG
lot_lizard
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Unread post23 Feb 2017, 18:20

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How in the world do you convince these companies to do such awesome stuff for this project? It's simply amazing. This is exactly what I would have hoped for. It's a level of polish that I would have only expected out of an "Actual Company", like I'm ordering a board off Amazon.

The work done here is so excellent. Just... Bravo.

I mean... custom packing tape? That's awesome!
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Unread post23 Feb 2017, 20:38

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drevyek wrote:How in the world do you convince these companies to do such awesome stuff for this project?
I agree... It's fun little touches that make something seem more "complete". People like to do things if their contributions are appreciated and acknowledged. In the grand scheme of other "gifts" we have received, this was less... but still very much appreciated.


Spoiler:
Rules of life when seeking a goal that is someone else's to grant (my 5 year is attempting to learn these):
  • be confident
  • come to the table knowing what you would like to achieve
  • ask for the desire with a purpose
  • provide supporting evidence (fancy, but truthful, buzzwords like "supporting local businesses", "non-profit initiative", "advancing technology", "multi-national support and visibility", evidence of what others have already done to support, etc...)
  • wait semi-patiently for response while remaining confident
  • repeat list if necessary
I am not a "Mid-Westerner" until recently, but their is a strong since of community here. The more contributors that are already participating, the more others want to join. A variety of reasons it adds up. We have a couple of more yet to be revealed actually... fun surprises. Again... key is to dream it up and ask in the first place with confidence
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Unread post23 Feb 2017, 22:59

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Nice touch! Step by step, and we might knock on doors of Big Blue ;)
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 00:15

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So today I finally got a chance to look at the springs that came in (anticipation awaits). So as a reminder... the goal was to take the actuation pressure from 65g down to 50g. I don't think I ever posted this, but I threw in quite a bit on top of our order and brought our total quantity of springs up to 25k in the hopes of getting this perfect.

First... this is what 25k springs look like. 3 bags of 8k with a 4th at 1.75k (750 extra in weight coverage)

FullSizeRender-1.jpg

The result... the fit is perfect. I think our dimensions, coil counts, etc, are spot on. Maybe we could add one extra inactive coil on each end, but it really has no effect there on function. The actuation pressure, we overshot by a bit. We are at 40g vs our goal of 50g.

It is a VERY interesting sensation to be honest. One unfortunate part though, we actually buckle now based on the spring shearing WITHOUT an outside trigger. If you followed the workshop thread closely, you will remember that what actually activates the switch is the key stem base putting pressure on the flipper paddle while the spring is essentially "cocked". That breaks the vertical alignment of the spring and kicks off the violent event. This buckles just SLIGHTLY before the key stem strikes the paddle. It's not enough for me to register them as two separate events, but the actuation point is a quieter (less tactile and violent) event, but seems to be at a very consistent point each time. What that really means is that math was off. We were basing the actuation force of the previous spring at 60-65g, when in reality, it is likely closer to 80 since the event is fired by the paddle shifting out of alignment (the spring doesn't buckle until influenced by the outside force).

Moral... would need a complete board put together to really pass judgement on these 40g springs (they are still interesting), but I would have preferred them to be heavier myself. The upside, we learned a ton and I believe I know what we would need to produce these is any increment we really wanted going forward. Also, it should be noted that this was a different metal, so there was a learning curve there to see the differences in behavior.

FullSizeRender-2.jpg


EDIT: struck through the above based on additional testing
Last edited by lot_lizard on 24 Feb 2017, 16:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 15:46

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lot_lizard wrote:Moral... would need a complete board put together to really pass judgement on these 40g springs (they are still interesting), but I would have preferred them to be heavier myself.

Science! Either way, it's good to have the options. An ultralight actuation on a buckling spring key could be an interesting take.
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 15:50

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E TwentyNine wrote:Science! Either way, it's good to have the options. An ultralight actuation on a buckling spring key could be an interesting take.
Exactly... I should put together a couple of full single switches on an acrylic base like orihalcon does (stock F spring and new spring) and send them off to HaaTa to get a full comparison. You will see the actuation distance being slightly less then and get some proper numbers besides the "nickel test"
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 15:56

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Is it still possible to add a spring to my order? I'm also curious on how lighter spring feels on a full board.
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 16:07

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lot_lizard wrote:This buckles just SLIGHTLY before the key stem strikes the paddle. It's not enough for me to register them as two separate events, but the actuation point is a quieter (less tactile and violent) event, but seems to be at a very consistent point each time
So I went back and tried this on a proper curved plane where the base is seated properly. The pitch changes just enough that the key stem/paddle contact is back to being the agent that fires the event consistently. I tried with 8 new springs total so far, and this was the case on each. To rephrase... I think we just accidentally found the lightest actuation spring possible to have the switch still behave as it should in ENTIRETY. I'm back to geeking out a bit about this concept. The feel is growing on me rapidly as well, though a 60-65g is actually my "sweet spot" already. The upstroke is still quite responsive for those that would have that concern. I will assemble the full SSK prototype using the new springs to get a full take. Im not sure it is going to be heavy enough to support the spacebar, but I did try on a 2.75x, and it still functions. In an ideal world, I think we would have SLIGHTLY different weights made to counteract the key weight. Not to be confused with a differential gram based on key location, but a differential gram based on key weight. At least for this UBER sensitive configuration.

All this said, I like heavy switches in general, but I have large heavy hands and type hard. I am not a gamer, but I do think this switch (aside from travel length) is a much more realistic gaming switch now with this light of a spring.
jorgenslee wrote:Is it still possible to add a spring to my order? I'm also curious on how lighter spring feels on a full board.
A single spring? You can certainly just have. If you are wanting a full set, I could certainly invoice you if you like for the same price everyone else paid. We were able to make this cheaply given our bulk. PM me and let me know


EDIT: I just checked my PM's. I have SEVERAL that needed to be answered and missed this for some reason. Apologize... I will try to make time today to answer all of these
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 16:32

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lot_lizard wrote:
lot_lizard wrote:
jorgenslee wrote:Is it still possible to add a spring to my order? I'm also curious on how lighter spring feels on a full board.
A single spring? You can certainly just have. If you are wanting a full set, I could certainly invoice you if you like for the same price everyone else paid. We were able to make this cheaply given our bulk. PM me and let me know


EDIT: I just checked my PM's. I have SEVERAL that needed to be answered and missed this for some reason. Apologize... I will try to make time today to answer all of these

Yeah, I mean a set. PM incoming. :)
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 17:13

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Wow, this is a very interesting development. I'm pretty sure these won't be my cup of tea, so you can make a note not to send the ones I ordered (I'm donating them for phase 2 usage!) I'd feel better about that than just storing them indefinitely.

Given that this weighting was quite a way off from what you were targeting originally, would we have enough time (and your inclination) to do a second round of spring orders? I'm thinking that based on your estimate of 80g for the original springs, maybe a target of 70 or 75 would be ideal? I would be happy to pay for another try, if you'd be up for it.
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 17:53

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Techno Trousers wrote:Given that this weighting was quite a way off from what you were targeting originally, would we have enough time (and your inclination) to do a second round of spring orders? I'm thinking that based on your estimate of 80g for the original springs, maybe a target of 70 or 75 would be ideal? I would be happy to pay for another try, if you'd be up for it.
After I get into the prototype and really play with them, I think we can make that call. To be honest with you... We were a lot closer than the numbers would imply. What seems like a 20% different in force to accentuate is actually a very small discrepancy in the spring itself (think a reduction of 4% in spring wire diameter). Also, the taper off is not linear (so instead of 2% decrease to equal 20% difference, it would be closer to 1.625%). The material differences were negligible compared to what I expected could potentially happen.


That said, I am certainly game for trying other variations. I would be quite confident that the next one would be VERY close to 50-55g. To be honest though, I can see many people liking these the more I tried them. It makes the switch seem substantially smoother and quite a bit more quiet. It does have loss of the tactile point, but you should expect that to happen with any lightening we do. The less tension before breaking will result in a less aggressive feel.

I think I will have another round made on my own anyway to aim for the 50-55g target for Phase 2. I don't mind fronting that now knowing it will have value later. But at the same time... I think you might actually like these 40-45g ones more than you are expecting. I was surprised. In the end, I will probably stick with 60-65g anyway for the reasons I mentioned previously (work alone, heavy hands, etc). I think I will have all three on hand going forward for our next project though (already have 40-45g, now produce 50-55g and 60-65g).

EDIT : Multiple corrections made
Last edited by lot_lizard on 24 Feb 2017, 19:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 18:52

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Wow, 40g springs sure do sound pretty intriguing. 60-65g would probably be my preference as well but I'd certainly like to try something that light.
lot_lizard wrote:It makes the switch seem substantially smoother and quite a bit more quiet. It does have loss of the tactile point, but you should expect that to happen with any lightening we do. The less tension before breaking will result in a less aggressive feel.

I was going to ask about this anyway, but this development makes me particularly curious: Would it still be possible to get a typing test video of both assembled prototypes, if time permits? With the new springs, I am especially interested in hearing the difference between them and the original ones.
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 19:12

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lot_lizard wrote:I think I will have all three on hand going forward for our next project though (already have 40-45g, now produce 50-55g and 60-65g).

Are these springs being manufactured exclusively for you, or is there a Springs R Us from which anyone can order a keyboard's worth? I ask because, for a while now, I've been wanting to buy some 75g-ish IBM-type springs to experiment with.
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 19:17

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lot_lizard wrote:I think you might actually like these 40-45g ones more than you are expecting. I was surprised.

I wonder how 25 gram springs feel like. Since special batch will need to be produced for testing - no one will ever know unless there's some manufacturing defect :D

Pity this stuff can't really be accurately described - or even described at all without venturing into audiophile land to borrow their language.
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One thing to note that I didn't mention I don't think. I purposely shot marginally below the math because I wanted to make sure it was actually less and unique given machine tolerances, etc. Just like with anything that is produced by a machine versus produced by a form/mold, there are tolerance decisions to account for. So anytime we produce something like this, there is a strong chance it would never be completely identical again (another reason ordering WAY more is interesting move). Also, it think about it... There are VERY spring use cases where EXTREME uniformity is even a need. Even for say firearms, minute differences in trigger pull would be rarely noticed
emdude wrote:I was going to ask about this anyway, but this development makes me particularly curious: Would it still be possible to get a typing test video of both assembled prototypes, if time permits? With the new springs, I am especially interested in hearing the difference between them and the original ones.
I think that is a good idea. What I will probably do is make the nav cluster / cursors have the original springs, and try the new everywhere else.
just_add_coffee wrote:Are these springs being manufactured exclusively for you, or is there a Springs R Us from which anyone can order a keyboard's worth? I ask because, for a while now, I've been wanting to buy some 75g-ish IBM-type springs to experiment with.
Unfortunately not. If so, I would be happy to reveal. There are SO many spring variations out there that they typically just dial up your specs and make a run. The bad part about that, the cost between 5k and 25k only doubles. It would probably cost close to the exact same amount to do 10 or 1k... so you have to take a leap
DMA wrote:I wonder how 25 gram springs feel like. Since special batch will need to be produced for testing - no one will ever know unless there's some manufacturing defect :D

Pity this stuff can't really be accurately described - or even described at all without venturing into audiophile land to borrow their language.
25 would be pretty crazy. If we did want that to happen, we really would have to get unique (different coil counts, shape, etc) otherwise we wouldn't be actuating at the same length. We ALMOST didn't here. Would have to get creative to dig deeper.


I agree on the description bit. Aside from HaaTa's graphs, we have basically nothing. Even with them, it relies on you to guess that sensation. Videos are okay, but certainly don't capture feel. And nothing captures the smoothness
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 20:33

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lot_lizard wrote:It makes the switch seem substantially smoother and quite a bit more quiet. It does have loss of the tactile point, but you should expect that to happen with any lightening we do. The less tension before breaking will result in a less aggressive feel.

Aye, there's the rub. For me the big tactile F bump is probably the single biggest factor in why I love this switch technology so much. I can sit back with my earbuds in and type all day long, with that strong feedback to my fingertips feeling so great.

No worries, though. I'm happy to donate my springs for science. It'd be great for linear switch lovers to be able to enjoy an MF keyboard too!
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Unread post24 Feb 2017, 21:37

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Assumedly, these would also fit on Model M hammers? I know a lot of people dislike Buckling Springs because of their weight.
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Unread post25 Feb 2017, 01:35

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drevyek wrote:Assumedly, these would also fit on Model M hammers? I know a lot of people dislike Buckling Springs because of their weight.

Yeah, AFAIK the spring sizes are the same between M and F.
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Unread post25 Feb 2017, 01:57

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I wonder if these will actuate the model M though. That system actually requires some amount of force to activate, especially with the rubber mat in play.
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Unread post25 Feb 2017, 03:15

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BinaryHalibut wrote:I wonder if these will actuate the model M though. That system actually requires some amount of force to activate, especially with the rubber mat in play.
Hard to say... I tend to agree that they might not work (without testing), or at least be unreliable/intermittent.


Just a small update... I am out of town until Thursday if you are wondering why we have gone dark (left Friday for a work "event").

I did get everything put together for the SSK, and we looked nice all the way around with two exceptions:
  • One tension hole not lining up properly in the middle of the board. It was off by ~.5mm and made tightening difficult. Easy fix
  • We will want to change the 3rd ground hole from the left into a standard tension hole like the others in the board so that we can pass the screw in from the backside. The issue is the post from the standoff passes through the back of the backplate to secure the PCB. The post is too long, and comes into contact with the controller. I expected this to be the case, but in the spirit of as much grounding as possible, wanted to prove it. So now we will be down to 2 grounded PCB stand-offs on the SSK, and 3 on the full size.
I installed the 40g springs everywhere but the nav. cluster (for comparison). They really are a trip. I am sending some to Fohat and DMA when I return. Personally they loose the "spirit" of the switch to me, but they do feel nice. The sound is substantially quieter as well. Some of you might actually like them better than F's (could see that), so please don't read into my take as they are "garbage"... it's just a different animal altogether really.

I wanted to take a bunch of pictures, but never had reasonable lighting (did at night). This was also the first time for trying the split spacebar. Works really well. I would prefer the left side (right shift key), and right side (1.5u) were rounded to match the center (Code key)... but that will be a project for some other day (maybe we even print an addition that is just bonded to the key top).

I have NOT tried out the electronic side of it yet (PCB and controller). I will do that when I return. But... all-in-all.. I think we nailed it. Kudos everyone
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Unread post26 Feb 2017, 14:57

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Awesome news, lot_lizard. So are you confident enough to roll those minor changes in and go straight to production, or will you do one more round of prototypes?
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Unread post26 Feb 2017, 19:01

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Please record the sound of your 40g springs. I'm curious about their timbre in comparison to regular F springs.
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Unread post26 Feb 2017, 19:20

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Techno Trousers wrote:Awesome news, lot_lizard. So are you confident enough to roll those minor changes in and go straight to production, or will you do one more round of prototypes?
We will go straight to production, but I still need to test fit in the top shell. Not expecting issues, but you never know. I wanted to try with the "martian" bottom row first for giggles, and didn't get around to testing without winkeys (not cutting my cases). Give me a 1-2 weeks of testing to verify, and we will hit the go button on the plates.
ohaimark wrote:Please record the sound of your 40g springs. I'm curious about their timbre in comparison to regular F springs.
I will... it should be documented for sure
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Unread post26 Feb 2017, 22:14

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I know that the SSK assembly has been tested thoroughly, but what about the full-size one? I am just a little worried that the larger size might introduce additional issues.
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Unread post26 Feb 2017, 22:27

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emdude wrote:I know that the SSK assembly has been tested thoroughly, but what about the full-size one? I am just a little worried that the larger size might introduce additional issues.
The stainless steel version was well tested, but poorly documented on my end. I have used it probably 1/3 of the time between the two?!? (for sure 25% as much). From a plate fit perspective, once I get them together and know that fit well (alignment in the shell and key actuation is consistent throughout), there really isn't much opportunity for deviation. The PCB and controller are a different story.


You do bring up a good point though. My testing the last couple of weeks before ordering the PCB should be focused around the full-size. It's one of those bits where you get spoiled to having your mouse close, that it becomes difficult to switch back. I will bite the bullet more though ;)
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Unread post26 Feb 2017, 22:50

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It is worth keeping an eye on.

Over a large board like a 122 some areas can be not as tight on the plate and cause a slightly different feel ( not a bad feel just different) so it can be inconsistent. its is in part what the XT and 4704s have over other Fs
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Been traveling a lot and haven't checked this in a while, as expected it looks like heaps of progress has been made!

The news about the springs was quite exciting as well!
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Unread post28 Feb 2017, 21:57

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On the spring front... I've been busy and forgot to post. I've ordered 55g versions as well. Those that previously ordered will get them instead of the 45g versions I currently have unless you PM me otherwise. I'll sit on these 45s for another day/need down the road.
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Unread post28 Feb 2017, 23:16

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lot_lizard wrote:On the spring front... I've been busy and forgot to post. I've ordered 55g versions as well. Those that previously ordered will get them instead of the 45g versions I currently have unless you PM me otherwise. I'll sit on these 45s for another day/need down the road.

Did you try the lighter springs out in a regular M? If so you could probably just sell those off to users with M's that want something different.
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