[GB] SA Dasher & SA Dancer keycap sets (Completed)

Update 12/28/16: Ordering for Dasher and Dancer is now over. Thank you for all the support!

dasher_keyboard_ansi_12.jpg
SA Dasher in 3D mockup

This is a preliminary check for interest in a colorway that is all about the Blue! Introducing a pair of sibling colorways based on the Data General Dasher family of terminals. The first I call SA Dasher and features deep blue alphas (BFK), light blue modifiers (BFN), and white legend text (WA) on both. The sibling colorway is merely the inverse of that, and I call it SA Dancer.

dancer_keyboard_ansi_04.jpg
SA Dancer in 3D mockup

Both sets would be SA-profile using SP's standard Gorton Modified typeface. I don't want to create new legend shapes or graphics for this. This is really just a colorway exercise.

Row assignments are not locked down, but I happen to like 1-1-2-3-4-3. But there's another possibility worth considering. When I look at photos of the original terminal keyboards, the keys all look like what we would refer to as row 4. They all tilt up towards the top of the keyboard. But since Signature Plastics doesn't have all the keycap sizes we would need for that, an alternative would be to go all row 3 as a sort of stylistic homage.

Actual kit breakdown would probably follow the usual arrangements: TKL base kits with separate numpad kits, along with ala carte alphas, modifiers, etc. Things like international kits and kits to accomodate 60%ers and Ergos would be considered and built based on interest levels for those types of boards.
Attachments
SA_Dasher_and_SA_Dancer_Full_ANSI.png
SA Dasher and SA Dancer colorways
nova-detail.jpg
Data General Dasher terminal
Last edited by zslane on 28 Mar 2017, 17:46, edited 7 times in total.
zslane
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 07:03

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Oh wow, that's gorgeous. Have you gotten any quotes on pricing from SP yet?
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 07:49

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zslane wrote:... When I look at photos of the original terminal keyboards, the keys all look like what we would refer to as row 4. They all tilt up towards the top of the keyboard. But since Signature Plastics doesn't have all the keycap sizes we would need for that, an alternative would be to go all row 3 as a sort of stylistic homage. ...

You need M9 switches to do that (along with row 3 keys).
:evilgeek:
7bit
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 08:51

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Has this got anything to do with facetsesame's plans? A significant amount of work seems to have been done towards colour matching and other brainstorming in that thread.
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 08:58

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zslane wrote:Row assignments are not locked down, but I happen to like 1-1-2-3-4-3. But there's another possibility worth considering. When I look at photos of the original terminal keyboards, the keys all look like what we would refer to as row 4. They all tilt up towards the top of the keyboard. But since Signature Plastics doesn't have all the keycap sizes we would need for that, an alternative would be to go all row 3 as a sort of stylistic homage.

The smaller models (D100, D200, D400, D450, possibly more) had sculpted alphanumericals and non-sculpted numpad.

Here are some of the pictures I just posted i facetsesame's thread:
Image
Image
The numpad is actually row 3/asdf, but the profile is similar to SA row 4 (or maybe even row 1?).
morkl

Unread post15 Sep 2015, 09:34

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SP has a different key family in a similar shape.
7bit
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 14:45

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That they put on a shelf and are pretty sure they lost it. Forget about SS and all the other obscure families. Pursuing them gets us nowhere. We've tried before.
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 14:49

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scottc wrote:Has this got anything to do with facetsesame's plans? A significant amount of work seems to have been done towards colour matching and other brainstorming in that thread.

No, this has nothing to do with facetsame's project; in fact, I wasn't even aware of it until this morning. His project is far more involved than this. I am simply looking to create a keycap set with a color scheme inspired by the Dasher. I have neither access to the real thing nor a set of SP's color chips, so I am choosing colors by sheer visual estimation. Facetsame is contemplating custom colors from SP in order to match as closely as possible the real deal, whereas I am content to get a decent pairing using SP's existing blue shades.

I can see how the "replica" nature of Facetsame's project holds more appeal than a simple "homage" colorway, so I'm willing to withdraw this proposal so as not to confuse matters around here.
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 19:10

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Maybe you could work together. With flexibility made possible by various granite-style sets, you could easily create a group buy that caters to both needs, with people on either side of the fence contributing to a shared MOQ.
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 19:41

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In light of Facetsame's project, I'm not sure my proposal has any merit. What does SA Dasher offer that Facetsame's replica capset does not?
zslane
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Unread post15 Sep 2015, 19:56

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The full Dasher work is including the keyboard + keycaps, I believe. This could allow work to continue on the board itself while letting us get our grubby mitts on the keycaps in the suggested color schemes.

I'd definitely be in for both color schemes. What if you take the lighter blue alphas and let Facetsame do the original Dasher colors?
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 01:47

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Why not combine forces?

I'd be very keen on the OG Dasher colorway

but zslane's Dancer colorway is equally striking.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 13:54

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I am assuming that Facetsame's project will include GBs for the keycaps alone in common layout kits. If so, then I have to wonder how many people would pay for essentially the same keycaps twice. Facet's stuff will have the benefit of being color-matched to a real Dasher keyboard, and if interest in a Dancer colorway was really that strong, all he would have to do to provide that also is provide all keycaps in both colors. That's just an MOQ issue; it doesn't create any new legends or colors.

Even if my SA Dasher/Dancer sets were ready to go right now, they wouldn't go into production until well into next year just given Signature Plastics' current manufacturing schedule (Danger Zone which is wrapping up its MassDrop join-up this weekend isn't scheduled to begin production until December, that's how backed up the queue for SA is over there). How many folks would buy into SA Dasher knowing the Dasher replica stuff would be following right behind?

Lastly, who would like to step up and run the GB? I am only interested in putting together the kit definitions. Someone else would need to take over the logistics of a group buy. Is the PMK GB facility up and running again yet?
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 16:49

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I suggest you do it. Didn't you say you are quite close to the factory?
:o

Rent a truck, or drive a few times and get the boxes home all without expensive shipping charges!
:cool:
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 17:28

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zslane, well maybe we can do the OG Dasher first as a Round 1, then invert the colors (esp if they are custom) and do the Dancer (as an inverted version of Facets Dasher) as a sort of Round 2. Staggering it will have the benefit of giving people time to recharge, and to not over saturate the market with SA groupbuys. Esp because we still need time for the board itself and other replica bits.

Regarding logistics, we have a few options: run it ourselves or maybe work with an established GB orchestrator (MassDrop, CTRLalt, etc)
I'm not too sure if Facetsesame is trying to run anything, its all been very slow going (and deliberate) which i like, and nothing has really been defined at all.

December for SP is also very rough, iirc they close down for a week or two during the end of the month.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 17:41

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Better: Do both colors for all keys.
:evilgeek:

Hey, I did 4 colors the last time and now 9!
:shock: :roll:
7bit
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 17:44

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@SL89: What is OG Dasher?

@7bit: I do not live close to SP, my mother does. Granted, I am a lot closer than any of you Europeans, but 1,000 miles is still a 1,000 miles, which I don't consider "close".

I do agree, though, that a project like SA Dasher/Dancer is easiest to run by simply doing both colors for all keys. But it would only make sense to do that if interest in the Dancer colorway was strong enough to justify carrying double the inventory.

So far, though, I only see three, maybe four people who have chimed in with a clear vote of interest in this Interest Check thread, so I'm thinking the point may be entirely moot.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 17:58

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@zslane: What would the set look like if you used the background color of the alphas for the text on the mods and the background color of the mods as the text color for the alphas (for both Dasher and Dancer)? Would there be sufficient contrast?

Regarding profile, I would prefer an overall sculpted profile rather than a flat profile. Your suggestion of 1-1-2-3-4-3 seems good.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 18:04

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My primary objection to swapping keycap colors as legend colors is that it departs too much from the basic design aesthetic of the real Dasher keyboard: two shades of blue with white legends. Simple, classic, and oh so very retro (in a good way!).
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 18:09

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@zslane OG Dasher is Original Dasher / Dasher Replica as pursued by Facetsesame.

And regarding interest, you are at the tip of the iceberg. Lets start talking about it, wait and gauge interest. Even well liked colorways like GMK Beige had issues tipping, lets wait it out and be very deliberate to get the word out there.

And you and 7bit may be right, Dasher + Dancer together and then manually splitting them might work.

and Hyperspheres idea is nice, but maybe that could be later.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 18:29

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SL89 wrote:Lets start talking about it, wait and gauge interest.

Well, my goal with this thread was to start talking about it, which I guess we are. But I've been waiting and gauging interest for two weeks now with very little response from the community. It is hard for me to tell how much of an iceberg might actually be under the tip here, having never done this before. To my (inexperienced) mind, this thread has drawn a rather anemic response so far, and I figure if a Dasher colorway can't attract interest on DT, then it is doomed anywhere else (especially GH where I look at the classified section there and I have no clue what 99% of that stuff is people [H] and [W].)
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 18:42

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First off, DT is slower and quieter then any of the other spaces for keyboards. If you really want to gauge the community, crosspost to GH, use MassDrop polls, and get on reddit. You just gotta wade through it all to get a clear picture. As i said, popular colorways can have issues taking off. This should be a longer, drawn out and deliberate way to get the word out there.

The ball is rolling, thanks to you (zslane) and Facetsesame, and even if its rolling slow, its still moving!
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 18:49

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If anyone here has accounts on those sites and the campaigning savvy to evangelize this, I invite you to take my first post (with the images) and spread the word wherever it might be most effective to do so. However, out of respect, I would first like to know that Facetsame does not object to such an effort. I wouldn't want interest checks being challenged (on the grounds of redundancy) at every turn by Dasher Replica advocates, you know?
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 19:08

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I have no problem helping out the cause, and I agree. I think its pretty sensible course of action. I havent seen facetsesame in a while. Has he been around at all?
SL89
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 19:19

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I also think it is important to reiterate that I am not interested in creating any new legends. This keeps costs down and production schedules shorter. However, I realize that it also limits interest. If you look at most of the SA and DSA sets of the last couple of years, they always feature special legends and novelty keys. I can't help but feel that there are an awful lot of buyers out there who only take notice when there are special keys to be had. To them, the modest goals of SA Dasher/Dancer would likely draw indifference.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 19:21

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They aren't the people who would be interested in this classic colorway most likely.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 19:27

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zslane wrote:@7bit: I do not live close to SP, my mother does. Granted, I am a lot closer than any of you Europeans, but 1,000 miles is still a 1,000 miles, which I don't consider "close".

Image
With the right car, it's just a 10 hour ride!
:evilgeek:
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 19:35

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Even with the right car, there is no roadpath between Los Angeles and northern WA where you can average 100mph. Sadly, the west coast of the US does not have an Autobahn.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 19:48

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SL89 wrote:They aren't the people who would be interested in this classic colorway most likely.

Perhaps so. But don't they make up the bulk of the GH/MD/reddit user bases?
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 21:05

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I think you could build up enough interest to get this set made if you want to. It's all in the marketing of it. Do not bring up what the set doesn't have, but instead focus on what it does have going for it. If I were running this, I would say that because it is a vintage replica, novelties kind of go against the "spirit" of the project. That spirit is to try and capture the beauty and majesty of the original Dasher keycaps and make a replica set that can be used on a mx mount keyboard. For example, the Triumph-Adler set was massively popular, and did not include any novelties. It was also an expensive set, but despite that it still sold well. I am very interested in this set myself, so I want you to make it! There is someone on reddit who does some amazing 3d mockups. I suggest you search him out if you move forward as having one his mockups will no doubt build interest on an IC there. I can't remember his u/n at the moment though, but I think he will do it for free if you are committed to actually making it.
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Unread post26 Sep 2015, 22:09

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