Not Sure I'm Happy with Cherry MX...

Lbibass

05 Feb 2019, 02:02

Yeah. I just got an interesting and rather undocumented alps clone board in. Pad Printed Arabic sublegends (yummy) and some alps clones. Although the board itself is kinda dusty, the switches themselves are PERFECT. They may be simplified alps clones, but dang, they are nice. Clicky and smooth. From my quick look after my shower, it used a plastic plate. I'll clean it up and take some photos later tonight.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 02:58

Hypersphere wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 01:17
I was happy with my Model M switches until refurbishing my first Model F XT (which I got for $19). Now the Model M feels scratchy. Of course, the native XT layout leaves much to be desired for many folks.

Compromise is a four-lettered word in my book.

Black Alps have arguably the worst feel of any Alps switch.

I have Topre-switch boards purchased four years ago; they still feel fine to me.

Tactile or tactile-clicky Alps are great fun, but the originals are found mostly in full-size vintage boards. I have one 60% custom with blue Alps, but the aluminum case and stainless steel plate dull the wonderful sound that blue Alps can produce when housed in the right chassis. I need to make a custom Alps board using my own customized plate and case -- it's on my very long "to do" list.

Yeah, I've felt the Model F feel, and I think it is superior to the Model M, but not by leaps and bounds. It's a little bit better, and if I had to choose between the two, I'd choose the Model F. I'd still have either of the buckling spring switches over any other type of switch I've tried thus far.

I feel like between Browns, Blues, Green's and Clear's I've tried enough Cherry switches to have a good feel for the lineup, and while certainly better than any rubber dome I've tried, I don't consider them anything to write home about. I've only experienced vintage black and Salmon Alps, and I didn't really like either of them, but maybe there is more in the Alps family I should try. I've never tried a Topre, so I guess I should expand my knowledge there too, though based on my excessive reading, I'm not expecting to like them very much.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 03:00

On a side note I just got done putting red 40A-L o-rings in my Ducky One with MX Clears for work.

It did quiet it down a little, but not by as much as I had expected. It also made the already somewhat mushy MX Clears feel even mushier to me.

I really crave harsh mechanical clacks in my typing. Can't seem to get beyond that...

samuelcable

05 Feb 2019, 03:02

ive heard a lot of bad things about cherry but ive never heard any non silent switches be described as "mushy" before. thats a first

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TheInverseKey

05 Feb 2019, 03:04

mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 03:00
On a side note I just got done putting red 40A-L o-rings in my Ducky One with MX Clears for work.

It did quiet it down a little, but not by as much as I had expected. It also made the already somewhat mushy MX Clears feel even mushier to me.

I really crave harsh mechanical clacks in my typing. Can't seem to get beyond that...
Yes the o-rings will silence the down stroke but the up stroke will still be quite loud. I had landing pads on by MX Clear board and I think that they are not as mushy as o-rings for sure.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 03:14

samuelcable wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 03:02
ive heard a lot of bad things about cherry but ive never heard any non silent switches be described as "mushy" before. thats a first
Maybe I've just been so conditioned to the extreme of buckling springs for 20 years, that anything less harsh and mechanical feels mushy and imprecise by comparison?

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ZedTheMan

05 Feb 2019, 03:31

mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 02:58
Hypersphere wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 01:17
I was happy with my Model M switches until refurbishing my first Model F XT (which I got for $19). Now the Model M feels scratchy. Of course, the native XT layout leaves much to be desired for many folks.

Compromise is a four-lettered word in my book.

Black Alps have arguably the worst feel of any Alps switch.

I have Topre-switch boards purchased four years ago; they still feel fine to me.

Tactile or tactile-clicky Alps are great fun, but the originals are found mostly in full-size vintage boards. I have one 60% custom with blue Alps, but the aluminum case and stainless steel plate dull the wonderful sound that blue Alps can produce when housed in the right chassis. I need to make a custom Alps board using my own customized plate and case -- it's on my very long "to do" list.

Yeah, I've felt the Model F feel, and I think it is superior to the Model M, but not by leaps and bounds. It's a little bit better, and if I had to choose between the two, I'd choose the Model F. I'd still have either of the buckling spring switches over any other type of switch I've tried thus far.

I feel like between Browns, Blues, Green's and Clear's I've tried enough Cherry switches to have a good feel for the lineup, and while certainly better than any rubber dome I've tried, I don't consider them anything to write home about. I've only experienced vintage black and Salmon Alps, and I didn't really like either of them, but maybe there is more in the Alps family I should try. I've never tried a Topre, so I guess I should expand my knowledge there too, though based on my excessive reading, I'm not expecting to like them very much.
Personally, as a Buckling Spring fan, I think you should definitely try one of the clicky Alps varieties. Blue is the best, very well balanced, crisp tactility, and excellent sound. But blues cost an arm and a leg in good condition, so SKCM whites might be a better introduction to clicky Alps. They are a bit harsher in tactility IMO, and I know some people prefer them to blue Alps. A lot easier and cheaper to find, too.

One thing I haven't seen recommended yet is SMK second generation clicky switches. A very sharp tactility, moreso than buckling springs, and a loud, well defined click. If you can find them in MX mount you can use modern keycaps with them too. I recently acquired a board with them and almost found them too harsh to begin with when I was touching individual switches, but typing, I think they have grown on me.
Last edited by ZedTheMan on 05 Feb 2019, 07:34, edited 1 time in total.

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swampangel

05 Feb 2019, 03:41

ZedTheMan wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 03:31
Personally, as a Buckling Spring fan, I think you should definitely try one of the clicky Alps varieties. Blue is the best, very well balanced, crisp tactility, and excellent sound. But blues cost an arm and a leg in good condition, so SKCM whites might be a better introduction to clicky Alps. They are a bit harsher in tactility IMO, and I know some people prefer them to blue Alps. A lot easier and cheaper to find, too.

One thing I haven't seen recommended yet is SMK second generation clicky switches. A very sharp tactility, moreso than buckling springs, and a loud, well defined click. If you can find them in MX mount you can use modern keycaps with them too. I recently acquired a board with them and almost found them too harsh to begin with when I was touching individual switches, but typing, I think they gave grown on me.
I think you're right on about all of this. I recently finished a handwire SMK 60% and it's a very satisfying board to type on.

Of course they're even more niche than alps, given there's one source for SMK pcbs and one source for NOS switches currently as far as I know.

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Darkshado

05 Feb 2019, 03:48

mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 03:14
Maybe I've just been so conditioned to the extreme of buckling springs for 20 years, that anything less harsh and mechanical feels mushy and imprecise by comparison?
I would think so. After all the buckling spring's tactility is quite sharp and happens right at actuation. For something more silent I find dampened tactile Alps (and Matias) have fairly sharp tactility, certainly when compared to something like MX Clears which is rather "rounded out" in comparison. Haven't tried out Zilents yet.

In MX mount, the one "sharply tactile" design that comes to mind are the Kailh x NovelKeys Box Jade and Navy. Caveat: don't use nice caps on them without checking the stems for dimensional tolerances.

If you haven't seen them yet, Haata's graph's are worth a look:
MX Clear: https://plot.ly/~haata/80/cherry-mx-clear/
Matias Quiet Click: https://plot.ly/~haata/488/matias-quiet-click-original/
Kailh Box Navy: https://plot.ly/~haata/415/novelkeys-box-navy/
IBM Capacitive Buckling Spring: https://plot.ly/~haata/200

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zrrion

05 Feb 2019, 04:12

Myoth wrote:
04 Feb 2019, 22:20
You're talking about switch design, when I'm talking about switches.
There is no meaningful difference between a switch and its design. A switch is its design.
What switch is the best and what switch is good to use in a given scenario are different though, and the context the switches exist in is important but even then its hard to recommend stock cherry stuff.

For an honest recommendation for a switch to try since greens aren't cutting it, box switches are a nice design that have pretty favorable clicks, certainly not the crinkle that greens call clicks. and they wouldn't be hard to put in a modern board with modern features. They aren't buckling spring, but until someone makes a modern clone of Proworld switches they're probably the nicest clicks you'll get from an MX footprint. (although SMK is good, they aren't in production and don't really support back-lighting)

Hak Foo

05 Feb 2019, 07:07

zrrion wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 04:12
There is no meaningful difference between a switch and its design. A switch is its design.
I disagree.

A switch's potential is LIMITED by its design, but it can well underperform that.

We've definitely seen performance changes from:

* Non-design-spec components (example: the lubes on Alps switches)
* Tooling wear (vintage vs. modern MX black)
* Materials selection (hard clear plastic versus softer materials)
* Board-wide implementation (plate and casing factors)

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Laser
emacs -nw

05 Feb 2019, 10:19

My first "conscious" contact with mechanical keyboards was when I found a yellowed Unitek keyboard with PCB-mounted MX Blue switches and even more yellowed, taller-than-cherry-profile, sharp corners, lasered keycaps. The feeling was fantastic, when typing fast the clicks and the PCB vibrations would combine in a strange, surreal, awesome sensation ...

EDIT: I guess I meant to say multiple things at once: when coming from a "rubberdome" background, any switch is already a big gain, so all the above discussions are in a different quality-of-typing class already. Also, that sometimes switches feel very differently depending on where they are mounted (with a plate, without a plate), the keycaps etc. And, also, maybe the memory that envelopes the first contact with a certain switch may weigh a lot when considering that switch "the best".

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Hypersphere

05 Feb 2019, 14:53

mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 02:58
Hypersphere wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 01:17
<snip>
Yeah, I've felt the Model F feel, and I think it is superior to the Model M, but not by leaps and bounds. It's a little bit better, and if I had to choose between the two, I'd choose the Model F. I'd still have either of the buckling spring switches over any other type of switch I've tried thus far.

I feel like between Browns, Blues, Green's and Clear's I've tried enough Cherry switches to have a good feel for the lineup, and while certainly better than any rubber dome I've tried, I don't consider them anything to write home about. I've only experienced vintage black and Salmon Alps, and I didn't really like either of them, but maybe there is more in the Alps family I should try. I've never tried a Topre, so I guess I should expand my knowledge there too, though based on my excessive reading, I'm not expecting to like them very much.
Much of human misery is linked to unmet expectations. So, having low expectations is one way to guard against disappointment!

If you appreciate definite tactility, you should try SKCM brown Alps. If you like tactility plus clickiness, SKCM white Alps might appeal. Among Alps clones still being produced, Matias Click switches are tactile with very assertive clicks. Matias switches have been greatly maligned of late, especially for reliability issues. I was apparently lucky and acquired my Matias-switch boards several years ago before some of current quality-control issues appeared.

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cineraphael

05 Feb 2019, 16:30

Cherry MX are nothing like Alp. Matias are even less like alp because of simplify switch plate. If there are alot of people demand for Alp Blue, so they need to make a modern version of Alp SKCM Blue. Unicomp can make a new Buckling Spring Model M so why not a New Blue Alp keyboard?

- Also Cherry, is it so hard to mount the switch on a plate instead on a PCB?
- Also Cherry, is it so hard to make a metal click jacket instead of plastic?
Come on Germany, you know cheapening out a switch is not worth a profit.

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kbdfr
The Tiproman

05 Feb 2019, 16:39

To me a keyboard is like a butler: it has to perform perfectly whatever the task, and to remain unnoticed all the time.
I always wonder why anyone would want a clicky keyboard - do you fear not noticing you're typing?
Or, for that, a tactile keyboard - if you type correctly, you won't even be able to notice there's been a bump.

Oh, by the way, I drive a VW.
Anyone willing to tell me what a crap it is compared to a BMW? :lol:

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hansichen

05 Feb 2019, 16:43

cineraphael wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 16:30
- Also Cherry, is it so hard to mount the switch on a plate instead on a PCB?
They did that on old boards and they do that on some of their newer boards. But what's the point? I think that the pcb mount boards feel and sound way better than the plate mounted ones. Sure, they are a bit lighter compared to the ones with metal plates but unless you wanna smash onto the board while gaming you don't notice the difference. And with decent rubber feet even a light board sits well enough on your desk.

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cineraphael

05 Feb 2019, 16:48

kbdfr wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 16:39
To me a keyboard is like a butler: it has to perform perfectly whatever the task, and to remain unnoticed all the time.
I always wonder why anyone would want a clicky keyboard.
To be honest though, Cherry did make a good linear switch like red and black. Alp SKCL in other hand are not really that linear. I have never tried a Romer G yet though but I think they are too quiet.

Clicky Switch: Alp
Linear Switch: Cherry

---- Also VW are still better than a Nissan.-----

samuelcable

05 Feb 2019, 17:00

kbdfr wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 16:39
I always wonder why anyone would want a clicky keyboard - do you fear not noticing you're typing?
This is a pretty controversial opinion of mine but I think clickies were a thing of the past that should stay in the past. It is really unessisary and I don't understand why anyone would want a repetitive click sound that gets more annoying and constant the better/faster you are at typing

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ZedTheMan

05 Feb 2019, 17:08

samuelcable wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 17:00
kbdfr wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 16:39
I always wonder why anyone would want a clicky keyboard - do you fear not noticing you're typing?
This is a pretty controversial opinion of mine but I think clickies were a thing of the past that should stay in the past. It is really unessisary and I don't understand why anyone would want a repetitive click sound that gets more annoying and constant the better/faster you are at typing

I think that a part of it is that mechanisms that provide a clicky aspect tend to also be able to provide a much sharper and more sudden tactility than their "tactile" counterparts, allowing tactile elements to suddenly and harshly give way. Beyond the actual feeling of this being the case, the sound of the click itself can play a part in amplifying this perceived tactility, it makes typing into a more involved experience. To put it one way, it makes it seem like "DAMN, IM REALLY DOING SOMETHING" when I'm typing on clicky switches vs linears and tactiles. It's a guilty pleasure of sorts, one that I don't want to impose onto others when it might be preferable to not be making a racket, but when I'm on my own, I feel that it enhances the experience.

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zrrion

05 Feb 2019, 17:12

Tactile feedback is nice, so is audible feedback. My fingers get worn out and it hurts my knuckles without a bump to keep me from pressing full force until bottom out. I don't know if the tactile bump in skcc/skcl is actually consciously noticeable while typing but I'm assuming its the reason those switches don't wear my hands out anywhere near as much as MX black does.

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Muirium
µ

05 Feb 2019, 17:36

ZedTheMan wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 17:08
I think that a part of it is that mechanisms that provide a clicky aspect tend to also be able to provide a much sharper and more sudden tactility than their "tactile" counterparts, allowing tactile elements to suddenly and harshly give way. Beyond the actual feeling of this being the case, the sound of the click itself can play a part in amplifying this perceived tactility, it makes typing into a more involved experience. To put it one way, it makes it seem like "DAMN, IM REALLY DOING SOMETHING" when I'm typing on clicky switches vs linears and tactiles. It's a guilty pleasure of sorts, one that I don't want to impose onto others when it might be preferable to not be making a racket, but when I'm on my own, I feel that it enhances the experience.
Precisely. I love a good sharp clicky board too. Model F is the very best at this, but blue Alps, Space Invaders and Montereys (SMK) are very almost as good, and each quite different. Beamspring is a clicky joy, but the boards themselves are so strange I never really feel at home there. The Kishsaver, meanwhile, my goodness. What a flier!

All this keyboard stuff is just as much about "the nut behind the wheel" as it is the hardware itself. Things influence you. For some of us it's a burbling brook of Topre thocks or a hail of IBM machine-gun fire! I love them both, in different places. I can rock linear, too, but it is essentially different, more so than tactiles and clicks to me. Having to guess where actuation lies…
zrrion wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 17:12
Tactile feedback is nice, so is audible feedback. My fingers get worn out and it hurts my knuckles without a bump to keep me from pressing full force until bottom out. I don't know if the tactile bump in skcc/skcl is actually consciously noticeable while typing but I'm assuming its the reason those switches don't wear my hands out anywhere near as much as MX black does.
Yeah, I don't get worn out by MX blacks (and for the sake of shuf-shuf-shuf fairness here I'm talking about nice smooth vintage blacks) but I don't find them as instant, in a way. Sure, poke them down to the bottom and you'll 100.00% get a keystroke, but there's something psychologically different about typing on them which feels to me like an abstraction between me and the mechanism. Naturally, the opposite is true! Linear MX is free from the abstraction of a click collar like blues and greens. But my mind expects my fingers to tell when the keys are pressed, mid-stroke, and linear inherently lacks this confirmation in-flight. If you're used to it, its absence is curiously eerie.

Lbibass

05 Feb 2019, 17:40

zrrion wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 17:12
Tactile feedback is nice, so is audible feedback. My fingers get worn out and it hurts my knuckles without a bump to keep me from pressing full force until bottom out. I don't know if the tactile bump in skcc/skcl is actually consciously noticeable while typing but I'm assuming its the reason those switches don't wear my hands out anywhere near as much as MX black does.


I feel like it could also be the lightness and the different spring properties compared to generally very stiff MX blacks.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 21:36

samuelcable wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 17:00
This is a pretty controversial opinion of mine but I think clickies were a thing of the past that should stay in the past. It is really unessisary and I don't understand why anyone would want a repetitive click sound that gets more annoying and constant the better/faster you are at typing
When it comes to MX Blues and the like I agree with them. The click doesn't sound good, and does not line up with the actuation of the switch.

Model M's and Model F's however are amazing. I have been trying to replicate this feel and sound with a more modern keyboard and have absolutely been failing.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 21:38

kbdfr wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 16:39
Oh, by the way, I drive a VW.
Anyone willing to tell me what a crap it is compared to a BMW? :lol:
I've driven many VW's over the years. Every single one of them has been a disappointment. Their only selling point - to me - has been their relatively low price. To each their own I guess. :p

To be honest though, I haven't really been impressed by the BMW's I've driven either. One of the worst cars I ever drove was a ~2013 BMW 528. The thing was a dog, really under-performed, had terrible controls, many software bugs, and for a brand that markets itself based on handling, really underwhelmed in that regard.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 21:42

ZedTheMan wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 17:08
I think that a part of it is that mechanisms that provide a clicky aspect tend to also be able to provide a much sharper and more sudden tactility than their "tactile" counterparts, allowing tactile elements to suddenly and harshly give way. Beyond the actual feeling of this being the case, the sound of the click itself can play a part in amplifying this perceived tactility, it makes typing into a more involved experience. To put it one way, it makes it seem like "DAMN, IM REALLY DOING SOMETHING" when I'm typing on clicky switches vs linears and tactiles. It's a guilty pleasure of sorts, one that I don't want to impose onto others when it might be preferable to not be making a racket, but when I'm on my own, I feel that it enhances the experience.

I can agree with this. What I am really after is the razor sharp thwack of tactility, but a good click is just a nice bonus.

I also don't want to bother others in the office. Back in the day when I had my own office, I used to bring one of my Model M's to work, but now that I work in an open office I would feel too much like a prick if I did that.

Instead I just started using a first gen Ducky One with MX Clears and O-rings today. it's not my favorite board by a long stretch, but it sure as hell beats the short travel rubber dome Logitech board work provided.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 21:47

Muirium wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 17:36
Precisely. I love a good sharp clicky board too. Model F is the very best at this, but blue Alps, Space Invaders and Montereys (SMK) are very almost as good, and each quite different. Beamspring is a clicky joy, but the boards themselves are so strange I never really feel at home there. The Kishsaver, meanwhile, my goodness. What a flier!
I've never owned either a Model F or a Beamspring, but I have test typed on them. I absolutely love the key feel of them, but I find that the weird layouts on Model F's, and the insane height and even weirder layouts of beamsprings and their odd rounded caps really throw me off to the point where I have trouble using them.

This is why Model M's have been my long term favorites.

Give me a Beamspring or Model F with a full IBM Enhanced layout and I'll take it in a heartbeat.

I'll miss the hard ping-free "thwack!/clack!" sound of my Model M's but for the feel of an F or beamspring it would be worth it, and I'd put up with the ugly pinging sound.

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mattlach

05 Feb 2019, 21:49

mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 21:38
I've driven many VW's over the years. Every single one of them has been a disappointment. Their only selling point - to me - has been their relatively low price. To each their own I guess. :p

To be honest though, I haven't really been impressed by the BMW's I've driven either. One of the worst cars I ever drove was a ~2013 BMW 528. The thing was a dog, really under-performed, had terrible controls, many software bugs, and for a brand that markets itself based on handling, really underwhelmed in that regard.
To follow up on this, my favorite road feel of any car I've driven was my 2004 Saab 9-5 Aero with a 5 speed manual transmission. It was an absolute joy to ride, with the most precise steering I've ever felt in any vehicle. It was a shame it was front wheel drive, but other than that it sat perfectly on the road and cornered with rigidity and grace.

Loved that thing. Such a shame the company is gone.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

06 Feb 2019, 00:09

mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 21:47

Give me a .... Model F with a full IBM Enhanced layout and I'll take it
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11102&start=

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Hypersphere

06 Feb 2019, 00:17

fohat wrote:
06 Feb 2019, 00:09
mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 21:47

Give me a .... Model F with a full IBM Enhanced layout and I'll take it
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11102&start=
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=13796&hilit=Model+Mara

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mattlach

06 Feb 2019, 00:37

Hypersphere wrote:
06 Feb 2019, 00:17
fohat wrote:
06 Feb 2019, 00:09
mattlach wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 21:47

Give me a .... Model F with a full IBM Enhanced layout and I'll take it
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11102&start=
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=13796&hilit=Model+Mara
Yeah, I'e seen that thread, and I'm following it.


It definitely solves a few of my wants (NKRO, and switches I like).

For a while they were also talking about making custom 3d printed buckling spring stems with MX compatible tops. Would be awesome to print them in a clear plastic, and then custom mount some LED's for backlighting on the inside of the top case.

Sadly I think they ran into issues holding tolerances on the stems, so they wouldn't snap. I think the ridges resulting from 3D printing meant the insides weren't smooth enough. (I wonder if they were printed on their sides, so the lines wind up in the vertical orientation on the stems instead, if this would work.)

Time will tell. Hopefully this project crosses the finish line.

The only downside is I'd have find and use two XT keyboards as donors for parts, which seems like an awful shame.

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