Alps Appreciation

@DocNoc: Your acrylic plate is 3 mm thick? I thought that Alps plates needed to be in the range 1.0 - 1.2 mm thick. Do Brown Alps have different requirements, or am I mistaken about the plate thickness?
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 13:14

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I was only thinking about making new, drop-in tactile replacement leaves. Like you throw it in place of your white Alps click leaves or something. But, if we want to make a new switch... Boy is it gonna take a crap load of money.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 14:12

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Lynx_Carpathica wrote:I was only thinking about making new, drop-in tactile replacement leaves. Like you throw it in place of your white Alps click leaves or something. But, if we want to make a new switch... Boy is it gonna take a crap load of money.
That's not at all necessary. The leaf is what gives MOST of the switch's feel.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 15:08

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Still, are Mathias switches compatible with SKCM leafves?
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 16:53

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Elrick wrote:
Blaise170 wrote:I'm in the (very) early stages of making a full PBT Alps set, preferably dye sub or doubleshot. I'm leaning towards SP since it seems like Tai Hao won't respond.

PLEASE keep us informed about this.

If it can fill either a Dell Big Foot as well as NorthGate keyboards, then this will indeed be something FANTASTIC :shock: .

Yes, please keep us informed! I also missed the PBT Alps GB - would have definitely bought the TKL combo, but never saw it. If a TKL-or-larger Alps kit in DCS becomes available, shut up and take my money!
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 19:03

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Scarpia wrote:
Elrick wrote:
Blaise170 wrote:I'm in the (very) early stages of making a full PBT Alps set, preferably dye sub or doubleshot. I'm leaning towards SP since it seems like Tai Hao won't respond.

PLEASE keep us informed about this.

If it can fill either a Dell Big Foot as well as NorthGate keyboards, then this will indeed be something FANTASTIC :shock: .

Yes, please keep us informed! I also missed the PBT Alps GB - would have definitely bought the TKL combo, but never saw it. If a TKL-or-larger Alps kit in DCS becomes available, shut up and take my money!

Yes, yes! I am definitely interested!
Lynx_Carpathica wrote:Still, are Mathias switches compatible with SKCM leafves?

Yes. They are interchangeable with SKCM Alps. When I am refurbishing an Alps board, I often put a tactile leaf and slider from a Matias Quiet switch into the spacebar switch on the Alps board. Unfortunately, only the slider, click/tactile leaf, and spring are interchangeable with SKCM Alps. The top switch housings, bottom switch housings, and contact leaves are not interchangeable.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 20:44

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Then we can make new tactile leafsprings that are compatible with a wide range of alps compatible keyboards. Now we only have to design the leaf in Cad or something, and talk with a manufacturer who is willing to talk to us. Like Khail, or gateron maybe. If everything is ready, we can start the kickstarter campaign. I don't have Any of theese special swithes.

We also have to vote: Wich would be the better for the avg. user? Leaf spring from SKCM Lyme green, or Brown?


Edit: I'll talk to the local university. If you can maybe send me some SKCM Neon greens in the name of sience (most of their tactile leafves will most likely be torn appart, at least from one or two), they have all the things to measure, test, tear, and basically everything you can do with metals. Maybe they can even recreate it in cad or something... The scool is called GAMF, in Kecskemét.
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Unread post06 Nov 2018, 21:51

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I'm more than happy to lend my 3D modelling skills to such a endeavour.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:11

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Outemu/Gaote has contracted both custom Alps and MX switches before (Skies, Matias) I'd say we should start talking to them, and possibly talk switchplates as well (Matias's contact design is pretty flimsy)
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:42

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Or heck, let's commission Alps Electric themselves.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:42

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If you really want to COMMISION someone, you need a damn hefty MOQ usually. Alps themselves no longer own any tooling for any of the switches (or any documentation, it seems), so their starting barrier would be high, I imagine.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:44

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abrahamstechnology wrote:Or heck, let's commission Alps Electric themselves.

did you ever think about why they stopped making SKCM/L switches ?
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:46

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Chyros wrote:If you really want to COMMISION someone, you need a damn hefty MOQ usually. Alps themselves no longer own any tooling for any of the switches (or any documentation, it seems), so their starting barrier would be high, I imagine.

True, but considering the current price of Blue Alps it may be well worth it. I'd certainly spend all of my hobby budget on a brand new Alps kickstarter/group buy.

Let's just do it!
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:50

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Myoth wrote:
abrahamstechnology wrote:Or heck, let's commission Alps Electric themselves.

did you ever think about why they stopped making SKCM/L switches ?

As far as I know, mechanical keyboards were becoming less popular as computer companies cheapened as much as possible. Alps sold the tooling to Forward,then it finally wore out in 2012 and Forward never brought it back. Matias then turned to Gaote to make a suitable SKBM White replacement.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:53

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abrahamstechnology wrote:
Myoth wrote:
abrahamstechnology wrote:Or heck, let's commission Alps Electric themselves.

did you ever think about why they stopped making SKCM/L switches ?

As far as I know, mechanical keyboards were becoming less popular as computer companies cheapened as much as possible. Alps sold the tooling to Forward,then it finally wore out in 2012 and Forward never brought it back. Matias then turned to Gaote to make a suitable SKBM White replacement.

no, they didn't get less and less popular, they were too expensive, SKCM switches are expensive to make, no company has money to sell 300usd keyboards, not with a small margin at least (because I can already hear the "but Xbrand is expensive")
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 15:57

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Myoth wrote:
abrahamstechnology wrote:As far as I know, mechanical keyboards were becoming less popular as computer companies cheapened as much as possible. Alps sold the tooling to Forward,then it finally wore out in 2012 and Forward never brought it back. Matias then turned to Gaote to make a suitable SKBM White replacement.

no, they didn't get less and less popular, they were too expensive, SKCM switches are expensive to make, no company has money to sell 300usd keyboards, not with a small margin at least (because I can already hear the "but Xbrand is expensive")

What about SKBM then? With a less clunky contact leaf than Matias.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 16:00

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SKBM/SKBL were a lot cheaper to make, of course. The switchplate for Alps SKCM/SKCL is overly complicated and I'm sure it costed a lot of money. Unfortunately it's not going to be much different from what Matias is already making right now.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 18:34

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keyboards = debt
SKCM were not expensive to make in bulk. Alps boards and switches were not expensive at the time.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 19:04

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abrahamstechnology wrote:I'd certainly spend all of my hobby budget on a brand new Alps kickstarter/group buy.

Let's just do it!

THIS! Philosophers are and will be everywhere, and, if you listen to their reasoning, the only switch whose existence makes sense now is the rubber dome. Until the next cost-cutting invention, where they will again find the logical consequence.

If we really like the thing, we should at least try to do it! Even if it's only a leaf :)
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Perhaps if we could agree on a single keyboard design with a single type of Alps switch, and if someone among us would be willing to lead the effort, it could be done.

Case in point: the F62/F77 project led by Ellipse. This started with a common ideal -- cloning the "Kishsaver" with its capacitive buckling spring switches. This has been a massive long-term effort requiring single-minded dedication on the part of one of our members, but the project appears to be nearing a highly successful conclusion.

Among the first problems to solve would be our choice of keyboard chassis and switch.

However, if we could not agree on a chassis, we might be able to narrow down the switch. Then, the project might not be to create an ideal keyboard, but to create an ideal switch that folks could use to make their own custom boards.

Regarding switches, I would imagine that many of us would vote for Alps SKCM Blue. We would also need to accept that it might not be possible to recreate this Stradivarius of switches with full fidelity. For example, certain questions might remain unanswered: What is the elusive mystery lubricant? What are the compositions of the plastics used in the switch housings and sliders?

Alternatively, we might elect to go with a generic Alps switch or components from which we could assemble our own mix-and-match hybrids.

Thoughts?
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 19:37

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Chyros wrote:SKCM were not expensive to make in bulk. Alps boards and switches were not expensive at the time.

yes, during their prime, but the fact that the quality of them cheapened more and more proves that they were too expensive for regular consumers. You can't deny the fact that the price of mechanical keyswitches and the rise of the cheapness of rubberdome boards are definitely what led to the end of the mechanical keyboard era.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 19:47

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Myoth wrote:
Chyros wrote:SKCM were not expensive to make in bulk. Alps boards and switches were not expensive at the time.

yes, during their prime, but the fact that the quality of them cheapened more and more proves that they were too expensive for regular consumers. You can't deny the fact that the price of mechanical keyswitches and the rise of the cheapness of rubberdome boards are definitely what led to the end of the mechanical keyboard era.
Absolutely. But, if you take the cost of the tooling and development out, a modern mass-produced Alps SKCM clone keyboard doesn't need to cost $300, is what I'm trying to say.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 20:04

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Hypersphere wrote:Perhaps if we could agree on a single keyboard design with a single type of Alps switch, and if someone among us would be willing to lead the effort, it could be done.

Case in point: the F62/F77 project led by Ellipse. This started with a common ideal -- cloning the "Kishsaver" with its capacitive buckling spring switches. This has been a massive long-term effort requiring single-minded dedication on the part of one of our members, but the project appears to be nearing a highly successful conclusion.

Among the first problems to solve would be our choice of keyboard chassis and switch.

However, if we could not agree on a chassis, we might be able to narrow down the switch. Then, the project might not be to create an ideal keyboard, but to create an ideal switch that folks could use to make their own custom boards.

Regarding switches, I would imagine that many of us would vote for Alps SKCM Blue. We would also need to accept that it might not be possible to recreate this Stradivarius of switches with full fidelity. For example, certain questions might remain unanswered: What is the elusive mystery lubricant? What are the compositions of the plastics used in the switch housings and sliders?

Alternatively, we might elect to go with a generic Alps switch or components from which we could assemble our own mix-and-match hybrids.

Thoughts?

I vote for Blue Alps and Neon Green Alps. And we definitely need to make a complete switch, because Matias housings have terrible acoustics.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 20:10

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Chyros wrote:a modern mass-produced Alps SKCM clone keyboard doesn't need to cost $300, is what I'm trying to say.

fair enough, though, I wonder how much it'd actually cost, because we've not seen such complex switches recently.
Hypersphere wrote:Alternatively, we might elect to go with a generic Alps switch or components from which we could assemble our own mix-and-match hybrids.

This is without a doubt the best solution IMO, Alps springs are already available, slider are universal and so are housings, producing those wouldn't be a problem I guess, the important part is the leaf, I think the other stuff should be a secondary problem.

And please let's not make another shitshow of a group buy like the Nexus slider + top housing, I will be elitist and say that the less people there are, the easiest it'll be to organize, the keycap barrier is big enough to be able to have a productive GB. IMO at least.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 20:17

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I'd be all for a modern successor to blue alps but you do bring up an interesting point with the keycap thing. With alps mount the keycap availability is limited. Of course you could make an MX compatible switch, but unless you make both alps and MX versions you'll make one camp mad guaranteed. Problem with making both is it complicates what is already a complicated operation to begin with.
If there is a way to have a top housing that could accommodate both slider variations I think it would be easier, but that's work to develop new stuff instead of simple cloning.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 21:19

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Do we really need to try and replicate alps switches? It's not like the common alps types are in short supply, right? You can still find blue, white, green, yellow, black, salmon, and orange pretty easily on the open market. Sure, maybe switch prices are a little high, but they are also available right now, with no need to have to remake all the tooling and go through all the manufacturing hassles. Even if we did go through a remake, it's unlikely they would end up being EXACTLY like the alps we've all come to love - there are sure to be a variety of discrepancies.

Even if it was decided just to make basic parts for alps, like switch housings, sliders, and leaf springs (leaving really only the switchplate and contact leaf the thing we'd need to source from other alps switches), then I think that's somewhat of a wasted effort when SKBM switches and SKBM switch clones are already so abundant.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have alps be remade as much as the next guy - but I'd want them to actually be complicated alps made by Alps Electric; the exact same switches in these 25+ year old vintage boards and not some modern day attempt at recreating them.
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ALPSの日常

Unread post07 Nov 2018, 21:32

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Making SKCM Blues is impossible. We need serious stuff to determine how are the switches made.

Anyway, I made the survey.This is only a test version (typos and anything else), but I'm just qrious what we'll see.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ogwHou...SGL1Tp-DL0

You'll get the idea.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 21:36

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Put in my 2 cents.
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 22:44

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>no option for SKCC mount
Why even bother :p
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Unread post07 Nov 2018, 23:43

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Lynx_Carpathica wrote:Making SKCM Blues is impossible. We need serious stuff to determine how are the switches made.

Anyway, I made the survey.This is only a test version (typos and anything else), but I'm just qrious what we'll see.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ogwHou...SGL1Tp-DL0

You'll get the idea.

Isn't the special click leaf where the unique feel is from? The sliders are likely just POM. As for the lubricant, we could just use PTFE dry lube.
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Unread post08 Nov 2018, 00:09

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