After seeing Chyrosan demo the IBM 4704 a couple of weeks ago, I wiped the drool off my beard and tried to score one on ebay. Unfortunately, they were long gone given the video was made years ago, but it was worth a try. I did score the legendary Pingmaster, a similar keyboard featuring the ALPS green SKCC switches. They are still available on eBay if anyone is interested.
Unfortunately, the layout sucks. I prefer the ANSI layout or at least the AT one. It would also be nice if it spoke better English.
As serendipity would have it, I passed over a Sears Communicator II typewriter at a thrift store a few days before. Nice keys and decent feel, but didn’t see a need for it. I wondered if it may by chance use the same SKCC switches. I frantically drove back to the thrift store.
I pulled out one of the keys when I got there and to my surprise, it appeared to use the same cruciform switch, but white instead of green! The keycaps were thick and heavy and amplified strokes, but the switches lacked the hollow and pingy sound of the green SKCC. I purchased the keyboard at the full price, but could have had it for 50% off if I didn’t pass it over. Shucks!
Popping out the keys from the Pingmaster was so difficult, it took several tries and left stress marks on my cheap plastic puller. I fashioned a double loop using a wire as a puller. The typewriter keycaps came off easily with minimal fuss.
Sigh… The keycaps fit the SKCC green, but it was horribly misaligned. Interestingly, its stem orientation varies depending on the keycap's location, whereas on the other keyboard it's uniform.
Upon closer inspection, the Communicator II wasn’t an ALPS SKCC after all. It’s actually a type 2 or 1 Mitsumi ALPS clone. Well, so much for "compatibility." I must say it fooled me once, so shame on it!
What a bummer! It would have been an orgasmic experience to have the chocolatey, nugaty sears keycaps to complement the creamy crunchiness of the 4704 SKCC switches. Yum!!! Man, this is like being cock blocked in a violent and vicious manner. Any suggestions out there for things to try other than finding a TRS-80 model 4?