[Photos] IT'S ALIVE! Post your xwhatsit-resurrected beamspring/kishy



This is a photo thread for every keyboard out there resurrected with xwhatsit's excellent capsense USB controller. Let's see just how many of these beasts are now happily communicating with modern computers, thanks to xwhatsit. 8-)

I'll start with my APL 3278. It's using the Rev. 4 beamspring controller with Rev. 1 solenoid board:

3278.JPG
mr_a500
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Unread post20 Sep 2014, 13:08

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My BlacKish :)
- Model F rev 2 controller

Image
Image


@mr_a500: do you have more pics of that beamspring? I like that bare metal look.
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Unread post20 Sep 2014, 13:41

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I love that BlacKish™.
snoopy wrote:@mr_a500: do you have more pics of that beamspring? I like that bare metal look.

See here (linked because I don't want to spam this thread with photos of the same keyboard):
http://deskthority.net/resources/image/9145
http://deskthority.net/resources/image/11191

I had a bunch more shots on Imageshack, but they're gone - damn unreliable Imageshack. (note to self: never use Imageshack)
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Unread post20 Sep 2014, 14:10

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mr_a500: would you mind taking a picture from the side, and as low as possible? I’d like to get the best idea I can of the keycap profile on that beam spring board.
jacobolus

Unread post21 Sep 2014, 06:45

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Only keycaps:
IMG_20140802_123104 (Large).jpg


Muirium also posted this before:
Image
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Unread post21 Sep 2014, 07:27

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BTT: the two beam spring keyboards that I use with xwhatsit's converter. Well, I have only one rev3 converter right now that I use with both, but a new one is on its way.

1) 3278A02 terminal keyboard:

IMG_20140921_111724_p.jpg


IMG_20140921_111705_p.jpg


2) 3279 color terminal keyboard (now with "new" APL caps)

IMG_20140921_111123_p.jpg


IMG_20140921_111307_p.jpg
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Unread post21 Sep 2014, 10:54

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Wow, great boards in here :)

@snoopy
That kish is clean! Very tasteful mod.

@mr_a500:
I really like the bare metal look. Do you find it comfortable to type without the plastic cover?

@Halvar
Nice collection! That A02 is so cool.. that’s the keyboard that sparked my interest in beam springs. Also, the 3279 function keys are very nice, I’ve never seen those before. Btw, where did you get those ‘new’ APL keys?

Here are mine, brought back to life thanks to xwhatsit:

1) 3290 Serial APL. My new daily driver

Image

2) 5251 66 Key. The quietest and nicest feeling beam spring I have. The solenoid feeling is very subtle, like it’s part of the switch action.

Image

3) 3278 75 Key. I’ve always liked the looks of the 75 key, almost perfectly symmetrical

Image

4) 3278 APL 87 Key. This one is very special to me.

Image

5) 4704 107 key. WIP
Last edited by kuato on 22 Sep 2014, 00:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post21 Sep 2014, 23:15

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I don't always like the Retro hardware, but these are kind of inspirational. How hard is it to do the converter mods?
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Unread post21 Sep 2014, 23:59

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This is mine , better images to come when its finished sorry for the crappy phone picture, it needs painting and needs its nice sleeved cable and possibly green function keys ( can unicomp do F13 to F24 ).

Image

( they are XT number-pad letters and number row for the most part few model m bits and a few unicomp bits)


UPDATE

I have asked unicomp if they can do F13 to F24 and a unsteped caps lock key. I have also asked if they have a legend they can put on a key that's close to Fn or Function i know they don't do custom legends but they may have something close as i use caps lock for a function key

Will update when they get back to me.
Last edited by andrewjoy on 22 Sep 2014, 11:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 00:02

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SL89 wrote:I don't always like the Retro hardware, but these are kind of inspirational. How hard is it to do the converter mods?

Beamsprings are pretty easy, if you get one in good condition. Xwhatsit ships you a PCB with an edge connector installed and you pull out the keyboard's original one, then slot in his version like an old cartridge game! The setup in software is a little hairy, but doesn't require any code. And they are no less than awesome beasts.

Kishsavers require soldering. Quite a lot of fiddly stuff. Model Fs don't have a nice slot, but have a directly soldered ribbon cable instead. It's not rocket science, or even as much work as a Model M bolt mod, but you better like the smell of melted insulation while you make the necessary mess! Once it's hooked up, the process is exactly the same as with setting up a beam spring. Because Xwhatsit is a bloody wizard. For better and for worse!

Recommended. Xwhatsit even has a guide for each. Just know you're taking a big step deeper into the keyboard rabbit hole when you do.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 00:06

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Oh and dont do what i did and get lazy and not bother removing the ribbon cable and replacing it with normal wire it causes loads of problems.

If i was to do it again i would use pin headers the correct size for the holes in the pad card ( model f pcb) but i don't know if they do them that small
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 00:10

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Thanks for all that Muirium, I'm reading Xwhatsit's guides, i think a beamspring would be sick.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 00:20

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Halvar wrote:Only keycaps: [...]

Thanks! That’s closer to SA profile than I thought from the top/front pictures.
jacobolus

Unread post22 Sep 2014, 03:24

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Yes, the caps are quite similar to SA, but with the slanted mounts on the switch top, the resulting profile on the keyboard is quite different from SA on MX mounts.

Makes me wonder whether SA was originally designed to be used with slanted mounts, too. Which would mean that the way we're using it on MX caps is way off from how the profile was meant to be used by its designers.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 10:17

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Halvar - wow, German layout APL.. with colour function keys! That's the only one I've ever seen. When did you get that? I didn't see any showoff thread.

So that means there are now four 3278 APL beamsprings converted. I wonder how many more are out there waiting.
kuato wrote:@mr_a500:
I really like the bare metal look. Do you find it comfortable to type without the plastic cover?

I've been asked that a few times before. I don't have a problem with it. If it was uncomfortable, I'd be rushing to paint and replace the cover, but I'm not. I find my totally flat MacBook Pro keyboard much more uncomfortable.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 12:40

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jacobolus wrote:mr_a500: would you mind taking a picture from the side, and as low as possible? I’d like to get the best idea I can of the keycap profile on that beam spring board.

Are Halvar's photos good enough? The keycaps on the side blocks are all the same profile. (which is handy because you can shift them around as you like)
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 12:45

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@mr_a500: I got it just two days ago, from the same seller that sold me the 3278 A02 and the other five German beam spring boards that I proxied around Europe in recent weeks (the ones with generally bad shape of the inner metal plate). He contacted me directly saying he had one last board left and that a big part of the paint had come off in addition to the usual inner rot. When I saw the photo I couldn't believe my eyes ... :D

So I was just really really lucky. (And I have the board itself (3278 full size) left now that needs restoration, painting and converting, as well as a fitting nice German set of non-APL keycaps, if someone's still interested.)
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 13:13

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Halvar wrote:@mr_a500: I got it just two days ago, from the same seller that sold me the 3278 A02 and the other five German beam spring boards that I proxied around Europe in recent weeks (the ones with generally bad shape of the inner metal plate). He contacted me directly saying he had one last board left and that a big part of the paint had come off in addition to the usual inner rot. When I saw the photo I couldn't believe my eyes ... :D

So I was just really really lucky. (And I have the board itself (3278 full size) left now that needs restoration, painting and converting, as well as a fitting nice German set of non-APL keycaps, if someone's still interested.)

@Halvar, im actually interested in those caps. Cause i got one Beamspring more from cindy and it misses some caps.

One you already proxied for me is apart on my table and im going to give it some derust soon =)
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 14:15

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I desperately want a "Help" key if somebody has a spare.

So it looks like there are 9 xwhatsit-resurrected keyboards in this thread so far. Let's see the rest of them. 8-)
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 14:21

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Im still thinking should i ressurect my 50-key F or wait for 62 or 77 key to show up somewhere =) I have the controller ready but haven't decided that yet.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 14:27

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I personally see no practical use for the 50key F. It looks nice, but what to do with it at daily work? Could be only an addition to a normal board?
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 16:56

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Yeah thats why i hope il score Kishsaver and then have that 50-key as numpad+ functions when needed.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 16:58

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Where did you get such lovely boards kuato?
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 17:05

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photekq wrote:Where did you get such lovely boards kuato?

Through a friend that works in IT. He deals mostly with telecom hardware, but every once in a while he comes across vintage IBM.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 18:54

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Halvar wrote:Yes, the caps are quite similar to SA, but with the slanted mounts on the switch top, the resulting profile on the keyboard is quite different from SA on MX mounts.

Oh that explains why the caps look different on a keyboard. I guess I need to just find someone with a beam spring keyboard (e.g. HaaTa) and see if I can take some completely side-angle pictures or measure the profile with some calipers or something.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 22:43

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What are you up to, if I may ask? :)
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 22:51

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I’m convinced that typewriters were on to something with the big height step from row to row (though it made the bottom row somewhat unusable).

Or rather, I’m convinced that the best profile for a flat keyboard is something along the lines of:
Image
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=62444
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=62417

Unfortunately Signature Plastics’s DSS profile is supposedly “retired”. (I’m not sure if that means the molds wore out, or they destroyed them, or they’re in storage, or what. I wish I could talk directly to someone technical there. Oh well.)

But I think with either a modified DCS profile (with the standard home row skipped and everything else shifted down one), or with custom-CNC-cut keycaps, or by constructing a keyboard where the switches are at different heights (by CNC cutting a case out of wood or similar and then hand wiring it), it should be possible to do better than a standard keycap profile.

I think this is especially helpful on a column-staggered keyboard like the Ergodox, but it should also be helpful on a standard-layout keyboard.

It looks from pictures like beam spring keyboards somewhat have this same idea, but on the couple occasions I’ve briefly tried one out, I didn’t really think about the keycap profile or inspect it carefully.

* * *

Sorry everyone to go so off topic here. :-)
jacobolus

Unread post22 Sep 2014, 23:00

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Ok, I tried to do a bit better.

Alpha keys (you can also see the row 5 "Reset"/"Grundstellung" key and the higher space key behind it in the background):
P1010012 (Large).JPG
3278 Alphanumericals profile


Function keys:
P1010007 (Large).JPG
3278 Function keys profile


Note how the keyboard is tilted, so you have to rotate the image if you want a horizontal baseline. You can take the prominent lower edge in the foreground as a horizontal.
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Unread post22 Sep 2014, 23:54

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Wow, thanks!

Relative to my proposals:
Image

Now that I look at it, I think the beam spring profile is actually pretty similar (on the top) to SP’s SS, DSS and DCS profiles (but a bit taller than the medium-height ones of course), once you take the rotation into account.

DCS:
Image

DSS:
Image

As I’ve been writing in my other thread, I don’t think those profiles are ideal though. In particular I think there’s a benefit from an increased height on further-away rows.
Last edited by jacobolus on 23 Sep 2014, 01:02, edited 6 times in total.
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Unread post23 Sep 2014, 00:34

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It may be possible to recreate this stepped profile with SA keycaps and angled stems (e.g. Cherry M9). I once made a mock up of this configuration but I can't find it at the moment. I'll search for it tomorrow and post it.
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Unread post23 Sep 2014, 00:40

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