Zenith KBD17/163-73 Rebuild

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Willy4876

14 Jul 2019, 19:28

I recently picked up a Zenith ZBD17 with no switches, and a goldbadge Omni Key off of a fellow DT user //gainsborough.
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The plan was to put in some new old stock yellow pine Alps that I got off of Taobao a couple years ago. Instead of the original keycaps the board came with a set of ZKB2 doubleshots. This was a welcome addition but would also cause a minor problems later. As received, the front half of the case had been repainted in an industrial grey color and the mounting plate in a metallic red. I also picked up an old style black and gold Zenith lightning badge to replace the tree one.

After an hour or so of soldering I had the switches in and tested the board and it worked great. All was looking good.
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I reassembled the board and started to put the stabilizers and keycaps on. This was where I encountered the first issue. I noticed that I didn't have any of the plate side parts of the post stabilizers for the spacebar or enter key. I also didn't have all of the wire stabilizers for the alt and control keys.
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After messing around with the keys for a bit I concluded that the stabilizers on control and alt weren't really necessary. Similarly the post stabilizer didn't seem to be needed on the enter key as it didn't bind even when pressed from the top. The bigger problem however was the spacebar. The ZKB2 and the ZBD17 have the post stab in slightly different places (you can see in the picture above). As a result the ZKB2 stab wouldn't go all the way down on the ZBD17. My temporary solution was to cut off the post stabilizer.

At some point I will take one of the two plate side post stabilizers from the space bar of my Dell AT101w and add a new post to the spacebar, but in the mean time I can live with some slight wobble.
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That is the Zenith in its current state. I love the thing and it was a pretty fun little project to do. It is truly shocking how different NOS Alps are to worn ones. They are just so much better.
Last edited by Willy4876 on 15 Jul 2019, 03:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Wazrach

14 Jul 2019, 19:31

That looks tasty.

That red mounting plate reminds me of the first Model F I got, a custom Model F AT from just_add_coffee. That had metallic red vinyl wrap under the keys.

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Willy4876

14 Jul 2019, 19:33

Geez that must have really been something to behold. An IBM monolith with a little red peeking through.

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

14 Jul 2019, 20:17

Very nice, my dude - glad you had fun with the project!

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Wazrach

14 Jul 2019, 20:21

Willy4876 wrote:
14 Jul 2019, 19:33
Geez that must have really been something to behold. An IBM monolith with a little red peeking through.
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Chyros

14 Jul 2019, 21:35

Absolutely gorgeous. I've been tempted to restore my ZKB-2 at some point using just such an industrial grey colour scheme, and a black XT badge :D .

Similarly I'm still tempted to do a repro run of XT Zenith badges. They're just so good-looking :D .

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Wazrach

14 Jul 2019, 21:45

Chyros wrote:
14 Jul 2019, 21:35
Absolutely gorgeous. I've been tempted to restore my ZKB-2 at some point using just such an industrial grey colour scheme, and a black XT badge :D .

Similarly I'm still tempted to do a repro run of XT Zenith badges. They're just so good-looking :D .
I tried to get a badge-making company to make gold-on-black IBM badges for me, as I was happy with the metallic gold "Battleship" badge they made me. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that, nor is it cheap.

How would you achieve such a thing?

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Willy4876

14 Jul 2019, 21:57

Chyros wrote:
14 Jul 2019, 21:35
Absolutely gorgeous. I've been tempted to restore my ZKB-2 at some point using just such an industrial grey colour scheme, and a black XT badge :D .

Similarly I'm still tempted to do a repro run of XT Zenith badges. They're just so good-looking :D .
I'd love to have some even just as stickers. The black and gold just looks so good together.

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Chyros

14 Jul 2019, 23:40

Wazrach wrote:
14 Jul 2019, 21:45
Chyros wrote:
14 Jul 2019, 21:35
Absolutely gorgeous. I've been tempted to restore my ZKB-2 at some point using just such an industrial grey colour scheme, and a black XT badge :D .

Similarly I'm still tempted to do a repro run of XT Zenith badges. They're just so good-looking :D .
I tried to get a badge-making company to make gold-on-black IBM badges for me, as I was happy with the metallic gold "Battleship" badge they made me. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that, nor is it cheap.

How would you achieve such a thing?
No, it wouldn't be cheap, but surely somebody must be able to do it? Oo Even if it doesn't have the relief the original has....

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