IBM Beam Spring - MX mount

Layer_Shift

18 Oct 2018, 07:24

Ok so here is my latest setup.
https://imgur.com/a/S5j4QT0

This takes into account the shorter 21 mm size, and a bunch of other improvements that I wont know if they work til someone can test it. If you are up for printing this, PM me and I can send you the file. This version is somewhat hard to print only because of the small dimensions and keeping good tolerances.

There are better ways to produce this if made in mass but this is a good test setup.

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darkcruix

18 Oct 2018, 13:23

Layer_Shift wrote: So I have a new model I am working on but need some details on dimensions. Do you happen to have a dial caliper? If not I can make a general model and we can go from there. I am working off of pictures online only right now so its a little difficult to be precise.

Worst case senario I can grab one of those keychain setups from ebay but for the 21 Dollars I will try to hold off and thought I would see what you could give for more information.

I will post the latest shorter and hopefully more stable version sometime tonight. I have some other work to attend to first but I will try to get it done soon.
I have a dial caliber - what figures do you need? Thanks a mil!

Layer_Shift

19 Oct 2018, 00:11

Mostly I need the inside diameter of white part, the rest I can work around.
w/images/2/22/Beamspring-top.jpeg

Can you take a picture of the white part with the metal insert not in there as well? If possible get the picture from a top view so I can get a better sense of the profile in there.

Thanks in advance, once I get this updated I can get things rolling for production on an SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) printer and it should be like 3-4 USD a piece I think. Not as cheap a printing it on an FDM machine but it would certainly be stronger and more reliable to produce them this way in any kind of quantity.

Layer_Shift

19 Oct 2018, 02:11

Side note, is this a 5251?

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darkcruix

19 Oct 2018, 09:14

Layer_Shift wrote: Mostly I need the inside diameter of white part, the rest I can work around.
w/images/2/22/Beamspring-top.jpeg

Can you take a picture of the white part with the metal insert not in there as well? If possible get the picture from a top view so I can get a better sense of the profile in there.

Thanks in advance, once I get this updated I can get things rolling for production on an SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) printer and it should be like 3-4 USD a piece I think. Not as cheap a printing it on an FDM machine but it would certainly be stronger and more reliable to produce them this way in any kind of quantity.
The diameter of the slider barrel is 4 mm. The groove adds another mm - so the diameter is exactly 5mm when measured from groove to groove.

I did my best to get a focus inside the white slider. The last one on the pictures below is showing the "rail" where the mount insert is sliding in. The first one is showing it directly from the top:
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darkcruix

19 Oct 2018, 09:15

Layer_Shift wrote: Side note, is this a 5251?
3278

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darkcruix

19 Oct 2018, 23:47

Just in case someone is interested, I have installed a full Cherry MX mount keyset on my BeamSpring (3278), with a few exceptions (I did keep the modifier keys due to some size issues).
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Spoiler:
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Spoiler:
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Layer_Shift

19 Oct 2018, 23:59

That is AWESOME!!! I have used a beamspring many moons ago and wish I could get my hands on one.

By the way the pictures of the barrel are perfect. I thought that was how they were setup, but wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something.

Side questions, what issues did the modifier keys have? Also Does your board have clips that hold it together inside of the case? Someone else on GeekHack had lost all of theirs and I was curious if the models used the same clips or not.

Lastly, I have updated the file and I will send it to you through PM for now to check out.

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darkcruix

20 Oct 2018, 00:15

Layer_Shift wrote: That is AWESOME!!! I have used a beamspring many moons ago and wish I could get my hands on one.

By the way the pictures of the barrel are perfect. I thought that was how they were setup, but wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something.

Side questions, what issues did the modifier keys have? Also Does your board have clips that hold it together inside of the case? Someone else on GeekHack had lost all of theirs and I was curious if the models used the same clips or not.

Lastly, I have updated the file and I will send it to you through PM for now to check out.

There is only one stabilizer (for the space bar). All other keys have a design like the one in the picture below.
Spoiler:
IMG_2501.JPG
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About the size issue:
You can get:
Right-Shift
Tab
Caps-Lock
Alt
Enter
The sizes that aren't available:
Left-Shift
Control / Command
Backspace
Space

Layer_Shift

20 Oct 2018, 02:16

Interesting. I wish I had one of these to play with. I think its plausible to build a stabilizer for this, if I am not mistaken it could be possible to print this adapter piece with a built in stabilizer for those wider caps. That would take a little messing around but I could see it being possible.

As for the sizes that aren't available. I did not even realize how MASSIVE that space bar is. Those issues are able to be designed and printed in a resin printer for the same smooth look, but would likely not give the same feel as a standard keycap. It may be interesting to try out.

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Wingklip

20 Oct 2018, 06:24

Is there a way to stabilise all the keyboard keys of a beamspring board? For some reason they're always really rattly and are able to rotate or tilt into other keys, potentially interfering with typing. If there is I would consider getting some of these :)

Layer_Shift

20 Oct 2018, 07:05

Hmmm.... Ya know, there may be but I would need to do some closer investigation on the design flaws of the layout. If this is a want in the community I could look into picking up a single switch and try things out from there.

To be clear, you are talking about keeping your existing caps, stems, etc. but making the key caps wobble less?

Would it be ok if the design were to replace an existing part, such as the metal stem? Or are you looking to keep everything as original as possible?

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darkcruix

20 Oct 2018, 14:31

The printout did work perfectly and the MX cap did fit also without issues.
A few things I wanted to share:
- The overall height of the mount makes it to be above the other keys. Something that is probably hard to change, but here's how it looks:
Spoiler:
IMG_7676.jpg
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- The stem isn't sitting tight in the slider, so it has to be a bit wider or the "ears" have to be made thicker, so it is a bit jammed into the slider. The original metal stems are sitting super tight.

BUT:
- The keys don't wobble at all anymore with this design (WOW)
- The sound is 100% the same as with metal stems - same hard feeling
- The mount is super easy to print out and very rigid

Very well done !!!!

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darkcruix

20 Oct 2018, 14:57

Quick and dirty video (sorry for the bad sound quality) of the new plastic stems and MX mounted keycaps on Beam Spring switches:

Layer_Shift

20 Oct 2018, 15:52

Excellent! It's great to see you using them. Are all of the MX caps the new version or are some of them the earlier one you were testing?

On the barrel fit issue, I undersized the stem going into the barrel to ensure it would fit, but apparently too much, that is easily addressable.

The height can be likely modified a bit more. There is some more room there but I would need to rework it a bit and need to know how much the height difference is.

Once Wingklip mentioned the wobble issue I figured the wobble came from one of two places and from what you are saying this mx conversion stem fixes that. So it is also possible to make a new stem to fit existing caps and reduce or remove wobble of the keys.

Can you get me a measurement of the height difference that you're seeing?

The barrel fit issue I will most likely iterate with different tolerances and we can test them til they fit appropriately.

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk

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Wingklip

20 Oct 2018, 17:27

Layer_Shift wrote: Excellent! It's great to see you using them. Are all of the MX caps the new version or are some of them the earlier one you were testing?

On the barrel fit issue, I undersized the stem going into the barrel to ensure it would fit, but apparently too much, that is easily addressable.

The height can be likely modified a bit more. There is some more room there but I would need to rework it a bit and need to know how much the height difference is.

Once Wingklip mentioned the wobble issue I figured the wobble came from one of two places and from what you are saying this mx conversion stem fixes that. So it is also possible to make a new stem to fit existing caps and reduce or remove wobble of the keys.

Can you get me a measurement of the height difference that you're seeing?

The barrel fit issue I will most likely iterate with different tolerances and we can test them til they fit appropriately.

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk
Wobble I found seems to primarily come from the extremely degraded layer of foam under the barrel plate. Otherwise the fact that the keys are only supported in one direction also seems to be the cause of much wobble

Layer_Shift

20 Oct 2018, 17:37

I came across this for your foam issue

http://imgur.com/a/IqNlH

Relatively time consuming and laborous it seems. But if you have the tools already its not too bad and I am guessing many beamspring owners are ok with a labor of love.

This may be something that could be produced with a laser cutter or cnc router. There may be other ways to stiffen it up without all the labor in replacing the foam too, if this is something people would want or use I could look into this but I dont know how many people would be interested or of its worth pursuing. Let me know your thoughts.

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darkcruix

20 Oct 2018, 20:21

Layer_Shift wrote: Excellent! It's great to see you using them. Are all of the MX caps the new version or are some of them the earlier one you were testing?
All are the old one, except the G (the black modifier keys and space are on original metal stems)


On the barrel fit issue, I undersized the stem going into the barrel to ensure it would fit, but apparently too much, that is easily addressable.

The height can be likely modified a bit more. There is some more room there but I would need to rework it a bit and need to know how much the height difference is.
The full height of the slider barrel is 18mm. The printout was 3.65mm but can easily be 3.9. The diameter measured at the spot of the excrescence is 4.35 and can definitely be 5 mm in diameter.

Once Wingklip mentioned the wobble issue I figured the wobble came from one of two places and from what you are saying this mx conversion stem fixes that. So it is also possible to make a new stem to fit existing caps and reduce or remove wobble of the keys.
I have replaced the foam and completely restored the keyboard - a must for the beamspring, in my opinion. Then the keys are firm and crisp. The wobble I had before was on the first iteration of the plastic stem.

Can you get me a measurement of the height difference that you're seeing?
The difference is 2 to 2.5mm


The barrel fit issue I will most likely iterate with different tolerances and we can test them til they fit appropriately.

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk

My comments inline in different color

Layer_Shift

20 Oct 2018, 22:27

The model is designed at 3.8 and at the excrescence 4.8, so from the printer there is some variance. I figured this is going to be the case, we can tune in the design to your printer to start with though so we can best evaluate the design and move from there.

I will adjust the design accordingly to those issues as well as the height. I can easily get 1mm-1.5mm lower. The other .5mm-1mm may be obtainable but no certainty there.

As for the foam, what kind of foam did you use? Did you just hand cut your own?

Thank you for your feedback, I will update the model in a bit and share it with you again.

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Wingklip

21 Oct 2018, 04:26

Ah, so the barrel internally has wobble by fault of design?

Layer_Shift

21 Oct 2018, 09:36

New design that lowered the cap height 2mm. I cant go any more than that from what I can tell, I may be able to squeeze out a little more if I re design the part. The sizes have been moved to the nominal sizes you provided. The challenges with FDM printing is that with small features, tolerances are much harder to hold. There may be a few little tricks we can pull though if we need to.

https://imgur.com/a/wQcLdV4

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darkcruix

21 Oct 2018, 14:07

Layer_Shift wrote: New design that lowered the cap height 2mm. I cant go any more than that from what I can tell, I may be able to squeeze out a little more if I re design the part. The sizes have been moved to the nominal sizes you provided. The challenges with FDM printing is that with small features, tolerances are much harder to hold. There may be a few little tricks we can pull though if we need to.

https://imgur.com/a/wQcLdV4

YOU SIR - have made a nearly PERFECT stem !!!!

The size is exactly right for the height and fit. I have to admit, the stem has to be squeezed into the barrel with some force, so a little less diameter would be the perfect one when not used with my printer (I printed it in extra-fine and then it won't fit at all).

Another item I saw, when using the stem was the hook which holds the spring back so there is a return force. It can jump over and then the switch isn't returning the key anymore. Can you make that thing a little longer?
See picture below:
Spoiler:
IMG_7682.jpg
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One more note: The round stem and the way of the design is made, the keys sit even better than the original ones and feel super crisp. I have to say - this might be an impossible improvement for Beam Springs ... WOW

Layer_Shift

21 Oct 2018, 17:17

Updated file sent. I reduced the stem diameter and elongated the return spring end by 1mm.

I'm glad that this is not only an adaptation for new cap options, but an improvement to the feel of the keystroke.

I was thinking it would be wise to thicken that return area as well just as added insurance of longevity. I will update that once we get a better understanding of the tolerances that work best.

To anyone else watching this thread is there a desire for other keycap types? This opens the door for artisans as well.

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk

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darkcruix

21 Oct 2018, 19:32

Layer_Shift wrote: Updated file sent. I reduced the stem diameter and elongated the return spring end by 1mm.

I'm glad that this is not only an adaptation for new cap options, but an improvement to the feel of the keystroke.

I was thinking it would be wise to thicken that return area as well just as added insurance of longevity. I will update that once we get a better understanding of the tolerances that work best.

To anyone else watching this thread is there a desire for other keycap types? This opens the door for artisans as well.

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk

This version does the trick (for my printer). It is now fitting perfectly in all areas. The only thing I need to test is the durability as well. I have printed five and added them to the sliders. They fit tightly (as they should), but when I tried to remove them out of the slider, the head was ripped off. Not a big deal, as you can use pliers to remove the stem, but something I wanted to mention. Overall - I think it is a great design that has the potential to make the beam spring keyboards to "wear new clothes".
I am on a business trip for the better part of next week, so I can't test the designs more in depth.

THANKS A MIL

Layer_Shift

21 Oct 2018, 21:05

Excellent news. I figured there would be a point where they would just tear off the base. PLA does not have excellent characteristics in tension in the Z axis. An SLS printed part would be much more isotropic and made of nylon which is a better performing polymer by a large margin.

I am going to pick up one of those beamspring switches on ebay to have and test with myself. I can then start moving in the direction of a proper part that will hold up.

I am glad your happy with the result though.

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