should we make a new XT layout group buy?

As naive as the title says : )

I know there's the XTant and I don' particularly like that solution, this is more what I have in mind:
DSC03658.jpg


While we all drool over the new kishies, and have a laugh at some fake sales, I wonder: isn't the original XT just FANTASTIC in terms of ergonomics and form factor?

No idea how much pcb+metal+foam would cost, I guess not that much for the PCBs, with the added cost of machining the metal barrel-holder and laser cutting the mat, it could probably be around the 100ish bucks with enough partecipants?

Would there be any interest? I can offer my service for the plate/mat cad files, unfortunately I suck at PCBing, maybe someone wants to help?

Also, call me an heretic, but once all the cad files would be done, I'd be curious to try out alternative materials, like acrylic barrel holder, or ink printed conductive sheet instead of PCB : D
https://www.instructables.com/id/Print-...t-Printer/

Considering it would not require more barrels than what an XT already ships with, I think having these files around could be pretty cool!
andrea-i

Unread post04 Dec 2018, 07:56

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Seems the pic comes from Orihalcon with a f107 board cut and mod, but its still a good idea.

I think there must be someone who could finish the PCB design if even the 3277 pcb has been completed. Xwhatsit could still take over the controller job also, but can't think of how to get the appropriate curved metal plate over the foam, even with the CAD file. Maybe need a machine tool to do the part, or use plastic plate for some substitution?

Very interested in this project if could go further, following.
John Doe

Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:02

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Yes, that picture is from a geekhack thread on fitting an F122 chopped pcb in an XT case.

To make this into a guilt-free mod kit, we'd reuse the original bottom metal plate of the XT and just work on a new custom PCB + top barrel holder plate + mat.

I now see what you meant about the curved plate, yes that needs addressing, annoying : (
Last edited by andrea-i on 04 Dec 2018, 09:17, edited 1 time in total.
andrea-i

Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:13

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Cindy has some F107 internals for sale if somebody would like to try it.
I think I personally would rather prefer a revive of the FSSK project as my OCD doesn't like that there are no case parts at the empty area around the arrow keys. A custom PCB and (as already seen in FSSK/FEXT) is not an issue, same for the mat. Producing a plate with this curve seems to be rather difficult though.
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Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:16

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+1 would mod my XT like that
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Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:19

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The XTant PCB was, apparently, a bit of a nightmare in daily use. I gave mine (and a matching curved plate) to DMA to see what he could do with it with his much more suitable Common Sense controller. Don’t know what came of it.

This stuff is harder and more costly than it first appears.
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Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:24

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looks like the easiest (yet not very easy) solution would be to have a printed paper to mark the holes for a bolt mod and rely on the bottom plate to do the flexing on the custom top plate.

Yup, this might turn not as neat as I thought : (
andrea-i

Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:32

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Muirium wrote:The XTant PCB was, apparently, a bit of a nightmare in daily use. I gave mine (and a matching curved plate) to DMA to see what he could do with it with his much more suitable Common Sense controller. Don’t know what came of it.

This stuff is harder and more costly than it first appears.

But for most people still the only viable option to get a small Model F with decent layout :( Sadly a Kishy is out of reach for most people and the F AT is already quite a bit larger.
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Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:42

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andrea-i wrote:Yes, that picture is from a geekhack thread on fitting an F122 chopped pcb in an XT case.

To make this into a guilt-free mod kit, we'd reuse the original bottom metal plate of the XT and just work on a new custom PCB + top barrel holder plate + mat.

I now see what you meant about the curved plate, yes that needs addressing, annoying : (

For the barrel holder plate, if the existing holes could match where the barrel would place in, that would save a lot of time also. Sadly im afraid not. So to save money and time, maybe to drill some needed circles of 14 or 15mm at the precise needed places would be a better idea. Not sure if this would be feasible without wobbling other barrels nearby.
John Doe

Unread post04 Dec 2018, 09:44

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true again, the space between the barrels of an F doesn't allow for screws.
The only space available is along the line separating the left F rows and on the right the line separating the numpad.
Would that be enough to keep the center part pressed? probably not.
andrea-i

Unread post04 Dec 2018, 10:17

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I'm happy to not only design the PCB but also stream it and teach people how to make Model F and beamspring PCBs for themselves.

Now, if someone could solve the F-barrel problem, that would be great!@
__red__

Unread post04 Dec 2018, 16:51

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I almost think that using XT's for their barrels/hammers isn't a total crime especially since no parts are actually destroyed and you could aways rebuild the XT from the parts again. Definitely think it makes sense to reuse the back plate, so really all you'd need is the PCB, barrel plate, and Xwhatsit. The most difficult part about all this would be the curve in the barrel plate which I think requires a special type of shop tool that isn't super common. I think 6-8 bolt holes could be strategically placed that would hold it together well without much modification of the barrels if any.

Hard to believe it's been over 3 years since making it, but that's my F87 (as I call it) which is just a F107 cut off because I had some spare parts that otherwise wouldn't work in their original configuration. I really like the keys between ALT and CTRL and I think it would be really cool to create PCBs that would allow those keys to be added to F122's (as well as full columns around the arrow cluster like the F107 has) and a PCB to add those to AT's. That's what mainly sets the F87 apart from an Alt modded AT (and of course it lacks one extra column compared to the AT due to that divider being there on the F107 that isn't there on the AT.

See here for the full thread:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=71408.0
orihalcon

Unread post05 Dec 2018, 02:26

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oh hi! I was pretty excited when I first bumped into that thread, thanks for posting it and great job!

My thoughts on the barrel plate thing:
Curving it is not big deal, just a matter of making a clamp out of wood with the right profile.
What bothers me though, is that for the barrel plate to work like it does on model Fs, we'd need to machine some pretty strong metal, cost goes up and game is over.
More so if we ask whoever cuts the metal to clamp it to curvature or worst, if we ask people at home to clamp themselves.

I think the only way to know if this works is to actually try it with a bolt modded aluminum plate and see if it holds.

Also, I'd love to see __red__ designing the pcb on video!
andrea-i

Unread post05 Dec 2018, 07:08

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andrea-i wrote:Also, I'd love to see __red__ designing the pcb on video!

Alright then - I'll arrange a google hangout for it next week. I'll recreate the PCB that I did for @JP! 's beamdesk.
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Unread post05 Dec 2018, 15:56

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Definitely interested in this project. I unfortunately do not possess any skills necessary to help, but I would definitely buy one kit, possibly more. :-)
nyerel

Unread post07 Dec 2018, 16:38

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Curving the top plate is easy if your fabricator/machine shop has a slip roller.

Controlling the XTant was fiddly because the xwhatsit sets a single threshold for the entire board. DMA's CommonSense controller has per-key threshold and costs much less at just $10. This is the way to go.

The XTant layout needed 2 or 3 extra barrels more than what an XT has - this would add 5 to that (7 or 8 barrels, 5 or 6 flippers, 4 inserts).

I would be happy to help too.
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Unread post07 Dec 2018, 16:45

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I stand gladly corrected!

What I’d really love to see is kits. Bring your own XT, and we’ve got the PCB, controller, plate and even caps and stabs for you. Common Sense integrated into the PCB would be great. (DMA’s subsequent Bluetooth version as an option would be ideal!) I could see people getting creative with LEDs (as Phosphorglow did on Model Ms) under the keys, indicating special functions like layers as well as basic Caps and Num locks.

Model F barrels and flippers are hard to source. (I’ve a good few extra for myself, for XTant and then for Model MF, but this is unusual.) Wouldn’t we be best off with a layout that’s 100% covered by one single donor XT? It doesn’t have to be the only one—this is Model F remember, and I’d want to HHKB it up with split backspace, like my Kishsaver—but 83 keys just might be worth consideration.

I know the XT case rather begs for more keys—so many oddball big keys worth of space to fill!—but 6 keys in the nav island + 4 arrow keys is pretty much enough for me byeond the 60% block and a well placed Fn key.
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Unread post07 Dec 2018, 20:40

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I'd also be up for using the exact number of barrels that ship with an XT.
If anyone knows anybody able to make curved steel plates for cheap give us a shout!

As soon as I get my hands on another XT (gave mine away, doh!), I will start experimenting at home with a flexible top plate with screws.
andrea-i

Unread post08 Dec 2018, 07:00

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