2018 IBM Collection


30 Dec 2018, 16:28


Full album

IBM Model M:

One of the earliest Model Ms with the rainbow inner plate and left metal badge. It's actually a modded Model M with Model F guts. See details.

Unfortunately, the sensing is extremely sensitive and I could not get it to work properly without at least one key spamming me. It's on my to fix list.

IBM Model F 122:

Got it for an extremely low price from an eBay recycler (I'm guessing they don't really know the pricing that well) at the end of last year. Missing 1 or 2 keys which I replaced with a donor M. Sanded the plate down, made new art foam and painted the metal plate with a coat of red. I've also added a small bit of aluminium tab to enable this keyboard to be fitted with Model M space bar. Fully converted to perfection with a built in Soarer's converter with a miniUSB female.

IBM 4704 Model F 107:

Got it for a good price from the Philippines with original coat stripped and powder coated black. It was thoroughly cleaned and fixed before it was shipped but untested. I've installed my own TMK converter that made use of the original PCB (so no soldering and desoldering of xwhatsit) and it works perfectly. Still trying to figure out some configurations and binding of the firmware but overall a great purchase.

Model F XT:

Got it with the original foam in a perfect state. Spray painted the top sandwich plate red as well and thoroughly cleaned. The left shift is ANSI modded. It's fully converted with an internal Soarer's converter as well but I've removed it as I needed the Pro Micro for my other projects.

IBM 3101 Beamspring keyboard:

The holy grail of IBM collection in my opinion. Thoroughly cleaned and USB modded with xwhatsit with female miniUSB pigtail. Caps are replaced with some black Selectric keys and white displaywriter blank keys (all the keys are unused and the original machine could not be salvaged).

All the boards other than the M are in perfect, working USB condition. Shameless advertising: I hand make and hand test internal Soarer's converter for Model Fs. eBay link
Last edited by xueyao on 31 Dec 2018, 05:55, edited 1 time in total.

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30 Dec 2018, 17:08

That's an impressive collection. Thanks for sharing! Is possible to still make a Model M into a Model F like you have done?


30 Dec 2018, 21:37

So, I take it this is your hobby collection, not an ad of units for sale?


31 Dec 2018, 03:23

impressive collection indeed

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Aer Fixus

31 Dec 2018, 03:52

Nice collection indeed.
JP! wrote: That's an impressive collection. Thanks for sharing! Is possible to still make a Model M into a Model F like you have done?
The short answer is yes, but you have to order a PCB which makes things more complicated. The gerber files are public (those are the files that you will send off to the PCB makers). Things may have changed but as of around a year ago most of the cheap PCB manufacturers refuse to make boards that large and that thin. It took me a while to find someone to make the PCBs and when I did it ended up being a hefty penny.

Then you actually have to assemble the board. I found that it was sooo much easier to use the screw method over the bolt method for reassembly. And even then getting it to work with an Xwhatsit is finicky since the thresholds aren't consistent (because the Model M wasn't built with Model F in mind and you'll inevitably tighten a screw every so slightly too tight or something of that ilk). I haven't posted my build yet because of this. Once I get it working, I should have images/video to share. I've considered swapping to the CommonSense controller since the variable thresholds should make actuation much less fuzzy.

Feel is a bit a of a cross between an F and an M. It's crisper than an M and theoretically has N-key rollover (but the finickyness of the whole thing makes it less than N-key unless you get lucky or know I trick I don't). But it's also not quite up to the F feel either.

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31 Dec 2018, 04:38

That for your response Aer Fixus. I was thinking CommonSense would be the way to go. It sounds like one would almost need a torque wrench accurate enough to tighten each screw with exacting precision and perhaps a specific tightening order or procedure to ensure the most consistent results. I'll be looking forward to a workshop thread on your M/F project whenever you have an update though.


31 Dec 2018, 06:02

oharamj wrote: So, I take it this is your hobby collection, not an ad of units for sale?
For now no, but I might consider thinning out my collection in the future. Shipping is a problem however as I am located in Singapore and these boards are superrrr heavy.
JP! wrote: That's an impressive collection. Thanks for sharing! Is possible to still make a Model M into a Model F like you have done?
I actually have an extra PCB that I've kept because I wanted to make an FSSK if I acquire an SSK but for now that plan is on indefinite hold as the MF that I've built feels way too far off from an actual Model F and the sensing is extremely difficult to perfect.

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08 Jan 2019, 03:12

I have been thinking about posting a different version of the FEXT and FSSK; one that uses just 6 rows instead of 8. Fewer rows means less congestion around bolt holes. FSSK would be 6 x 16; FEXT would be 6 x 19.

DMA's controller will fix the issue with one different thresholds on each key and would handle 6 x 19 just fine. Also since that controller can be ordered from Digikey or Mouser for $10 it is easier to get and costs less.

PCBShopper.com is a PCB price comparison/aggregator.
It looks like you can get (10) 2 layer, 460 x 180 x 0.4 PCB delivered to US for $100 from https://jlcpcb.com

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