Some bolt modding questions

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 04:27

Hey all, I'm about to embark on my first bolt mod. There are many different guides on the internet insofar as the process is concerned and it seems everyone tends to do things at least a little differently.

My question is, would you consider it easier for a first timer to only do a partial disassembly? In this video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsJvKGXGG-M
it seems this guy uses the backplate holes as a guide with which to drill. To my eyes, this seems easier than a full disassembly and drilling from the barrel plate. Or am I wrong, and this is riskier than it seems? Just a bit concerned on the best way to do this -- my M is an SSK and it isn't like I can be provided replacements from Unicomp should I crack the barrel plate, which I hear is a potential risk.

Cheers.

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kokokoy

06 Sep 2019, 05:58

Learned it the hard way, did my first bolt mod on my SSK (full disassembly) and ended up cracking the barrel plate on the center; pressed the drill to hard on the last few rivets. Luckily the cracked remained in the center and didn't reached either end. When I heard and saw the crack, it hit me, that its curved. :lol:

If I have to do it again, I'll still go with full disassembly but will remember to put support when drilling on the middle rivets. I think going full is much cleaner, gives you a chance to properly wash the plate which also ensure any of the bits of the plastic from the drilling is out at one go.

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 06:22

kokokoy wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 05:58
Learned it the hard way, did my first bolt mod on my SSK (full disassembly) and ended up cracking the barrel plate on the center; pressed the drill to hard on the last few rivets. Luckily the cracked remained in the center and didn't reached either end. When I heard and saw the crack, it hit me, that its curved. :lol:

If I have to do it again, I'll still go with full disassembly but will remember to put support when drilling on the middle rivets. I think going full is much cleaner, gives you a chance to properly wash the plate which also ensure any of the bits of the plastic from the drilling is out at one go.
Appreciate the response, it's good to hear from the experience of others. Did you use a hand drill?

The SSK I have was NIB so no cleaning (I think) should be necessary, which is one of the reasons why I'm considering only a partial disassembly.

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kokokoy

06 Sep 2019, 06:30

Oh NIB that changes it then. Hehe..

Yup just a hand drill.

Fkazim

06 Sep 2019, 11:39

I would say since your SSK is NIB just dont do any bolt mod you know the old saying if it ain't broke don't fix it but no seriously if it is NIB it will most likely have no rivets broken at all. I have done bolt mods and screw mods on IBM Model M's. One of the model M's I restored had 22 broken plastic rivets i did actually make a restoration log on that exact keyboard.

Generally with model M's if they have 3 or 4 broken plastic rivets I don't bother doing any bolt/screw modding 10 missing rivets I would say is getting to the point of needing a bolt mod. Then finally 15 to 20 missing rivets I would say bolt mod/screw mod is needed for sure.

With all this being said if you are missing some rivets and you are dead set on bolt modding it do a partial bolt mod only replacing the broken rivets but as I said above 4 or even 6 missing rivets won't do anything to the keyboards functionality

Here is the link to the restoration of one of my IBM Model M's I also show the screw/bolt mod process in that thread.

Link: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21739
Last edited by Fkazim on 06 Sep 2019, 11:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Muirium
µ

06 Sep 2019, 11:46

Give the board a tilt, side to side, and listen for bits of plastic running around inside. My NIB SSK has several broken rivets. They can and will do that, all by themselves, with time.

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 13:05

I should have specified, even though it's NIB it's in dire need of a bolt mod. The rivets on the left side are busted as that cluster of keys is entirely unresponsive and not tactile. You can hear the many broken rivets floating around in there, like skittles.

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adamcobabe

06 Sep 2019, 13:20

If you decide to do a bolt mod, I highly recommend using a soldering iron with an old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill. Use the tip to melt a bit of the plastic for each hole. If you don't, it's very easy for the drill to slip off the smooth plastic and make a janky shredded-up, poorly angled hole. Also, as others have mentioned, make sure to be super careful with the barrel plate. Depending on the generation, they can be pretty fragile. Later generation versions have beefed up supports. Early models can be folded very easily and can snap into multiple pieces. If you do end up snapping one in half (as I did) you can order replacements from Unicomp. But that kinda ruins the vintage authenticity a bit, eh.
Last edited by adamcobabe on 06 Sep 2019, 13:24, edited 1 time in total.

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 13:24

adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:20
If you decide to do a bolt mod, I highly recommend using a soldering iron with a old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill. Use the tip to melt a bit of the plastic for each hole. If you don't, it's very easy for the drill to slip off the smooth plastic and make a janky shredded-up, poorly angled hole. Also, as others have mentioned, make sure to be super careful with the barrel plate. Depending on the generation, they can be pretty fragile. Later generation version have beefed up supports. Early models can be folded up very easily and can snap into multiple pieces. If you do end up snapping one in half (as I did) you can order replacements from Unicomp. But that kinda ruins the vintage authenticity a bit, eh.
My SSK is from 1992, so one of the early blue labels. Unfortunately if I break the barrel plate that's probably it for me -- I contacted Unicomp about replacement parts for the SSK and they said they're all out.

Wazrach

06 Sep 2019, 13:28

Dikkus wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:24
adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:20
If you decide to do a bolt mod, I highly recommend using a soldering iron with a old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill. Use the tip to melt a bit of the plastic for each hole. If you don't, it's very easy for the drill to slip off the smooth plastic and make a janky shredded-up, poorly angled hole. Also, as others have mentioned, make sure to be super careful with the barrel plate. Depending on the generation, they can be pretty fragile. Later generation version have beefed up supports. Early models can be folded up very easily and can snap into multiple pieces. If you do end up snapping one in half (as I did) you can order replacements from Unicomp. But that kinda ruins the vintage authenticity a bit, eh.
My SSK is from 1992, so one of the early blue labels. Unfortunately if I break the barrel plate that's probably it for me -- I contacted Unicomp about replacement parts for the SSK and they said they're all out.
I know it sounds a bit rudimentary, but surely you can just SAW the numpad off a fullsize M's barrel plate?

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 13:31

Wazrach wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:28
Dikkus wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:24
adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:20
If you decide to do a bolt mod, I highly recommend using a soldering iron with a old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill. Use the tip to melt a bit of the plastic for each hole. If you don't, it's very easy for the drill to slip off the smooth plastic and make a janky shredded-up, poorly angled hole. Also, as others have mentioned, make sure to be super careful with the barrel plate. Depending on the generation, they can be pretty fragile. Later generation version have beefed up supports. Early models can be folded up very easily and can snap into multiple pieces. If you do end up snapping one in half (as I did) you can order replacements from Unicomp. But that kinda ruins the vintage authenticity a bit, eh.
My SSK is from 1992, so one of the early blue labels. Unfortunately if I break the barrel plate that's probably it for me -- I contacted Unicomp about replacement parts for the SSK and they said they're all out.
I know it sounds a bit rudimentary, but surely you can just SAW the numpad off a fullsize M's barrel plate?
I thought about that as well, though I've never done such a thing.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

06 Sep 2019, 13:35

Unicomp—incompetent as they are—do in fact sell SSK barrel plates. They just don't know what they are.

https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/CVSET

Select: Frame 84 key. I bought one myself. Sold it just recently.

As for sawing a regular barrel plate… nah. Case mods are one thing, but the barrel plate is directly involved in key feel. Sounds like a recipe for a fuck-up.

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 13:41

Muirium wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:35
Unicomp—incompetent as they are—do in fact sell SSK barrel plates. They just don't know what they are.

https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/CVSET

Select: Frame 84 key. I bought one myself. Sold it just recently.

As for sawing a regular barrel plate… nah. Case mods are one thing, but the barrel plate is directly involved in key feel. Sounds like a recipe for a fuck-up.
Wow, thanks. I guess the customer service guys were incorrect. Still, hopefully it doesn't come to buying one :)

One of the other reasons I want to do this on a partial disassembly -- like on the video I showed -- is that I've heard it gives the barrel plate some more support while working on it.

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adamcobabe

06 Sep 2019, 14:08

If you're only doing a partial mod, then a partial disassembly is obviously the only way. Full disassembly gives you the ability to clean the barrel plate better. It also makes it possible to cut the leftover rivets flush. Super dusty specimens are hard to clean between all the barrels. Blue badge models should have the drainage channels and extra supports. It'll probably be much less fragile than a first gen.

One other suggestion. If the rivets under the back sticker are broken, don't try to completely remove the label. It always goes wrong. You'll just destroy the sticker and scratch up the metal. I'd recommend just shaving off a section of the sticker to get to the broken rivets instead. Trust me, much less ugly.

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 14:14

adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 14:08
If you're only doing a partial mod, then a partial disassembly is obviously the only way. Full disassembly gives you the ability to clean the barrel plate better. It also makes it possible to cut the leftover rivets flush. Super dusty specimens are hard to clean between all the barrels. Blue badge models should have the drainage channels and extra supports. It'll probably be much less fragile than a first gen.

One other suggestion. If the rivets under the back sticker are broken, don't try to completely remove the label. It always goes wrong. You'll just destroy the sticker and scratch up the metal. I'd recommend just shaving off a section of the sticker to get to the broken rivets instead. Trust me, much less ugly.
Thanks for the advice, it's very helpful.

Wazrach

06 Sep 2019, 14:24

Muirium wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:35
Unicomp—incompetent as they are—do in fact sell SSK barrel plates. They just don't know what they are.
I haven't dealt with them all that much, but the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Troy spent a lot of time helping me customise my keyset. I'll be showing it off soon when I get the (hopefully) painted case from the autoshop. :P

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fohat
Elder Messenger

06 Sep 2019, 14:57

Dikkus wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:31
Wazrach wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:28

I know it sounds a bit rudimentary, but surely you can just SAW the numpad off a fullsize M's barrel plate?
I thought about that as well, though I've never done such a thing.
Yes you absolutely can. Make a clean cut and it works fine.
Also, even if it is cracked somewhat, the new screws will keep it all tight and together.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

06 Sep 2019, 15:00

adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:20

I highly recommend using a soldering iron with an old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill.
I have tried that method, but it pushes up a rim of plastic that may or not be balanced.

Easier and more precise is to use the smallest spherical burr tip in your Dremel.

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adamcobabe

06 Sep 2019, 15:11

fohat wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 15:00
adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:20

I highly recommend using a soldering iron with an old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill.
I have tried that method, but it pushes up a rim of plastic that may or not be balanced.

Easier and more precise is to use the smallest spherical burr tip in your Dremel.
Nice! If you have a Dremel, that's a good idea.

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 15:14

fohat wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 15:00
adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:20

I highly recommend using a soldering iron with an old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill.
I have tried that method, but it pushes up a rim of plastic that may or not be balanced.

Easier and more precise is to use the smallest spherical burr tip in your Dremel.
What do you think about drilling from the holes in the backplate? To my eyes that seems like it would be easier than drilling into slippery plastic. I mean, the holes are already there for you to guide yourself, right?

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fohat
Elder Messenger

06 Sep 2019, 15:31

Dikkus wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 15:14

the holes are already there for you to guide yourself, right?
I learned the Sandy55 method and that is what I have always done.

In that scenario, after cutting off the broken end of the rivet, you want to shave the top of the "mesa" into a smooth flat plane. That shaft is perhaps 3 mm in diameter, and you are looking to drill out a 1.5mm hole through the center to create a hollow cylinder for your 2mm machine screw to go in.

Drilling blind into a rough surface that was obscured by sheet metal would be very hard to do precisely unless you have a very accurate drill press (I don't), but if you aren't concerned with preserving the integrity of the shafts or the alignment "crescents" (Sandy's term) then a crude screw addition would work.

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adamcobabe

06 Sep 2019, 15:32

Dikkus wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 15:14
fohat wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 15:00
adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:20

I highly recommend using a soldering iron with an old sharp tip to melt some pilot holes for the drill.
I have tried that method, but it pushes up a rim of plastic that may or not be balanced.

Easier and more precise is to use the smallest spherical burr tip in your Dremel.
What do you think about drilling from the holes in the backplate? To my eyes that seems like it would be easier than drilling into slippery plastic. I mean, the holes are already there for you to guide yourself, right?
Yeah, I personally think it would be much harder with the backplate attached. The hole you are drilling is quite small, much smaller than the opening in the backplate. It won't guide you in any way or help you drill straighter.

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swampangel

06 Sep 2019, 17:34

adamcobabe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 15:32
Dikkus wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 15:14
What do you think about drilling from the holes in the backplate? To my eyes that seems like it would be easier than drilling into slippery plastic. I mean, the holes are already there for you to guide yourself, right?
Yeah, I personally think it would be much harder with the backplate attached. The hole you are drilling is quite small, much smaller than the opening in the backplate. It won't guide you in any way or help you drill straighter.
I think it's fine to leave the backplate attached, but it's true that it won't help you at all.

I've done a partial screw mod (leaving the backplate on, only drilling to replace broken rivets, freehand with a hand drill) and it's very easy to mess up, have the drill slide to the side, and make that particular rivet location unusable for a screw.

This isn't a huge deal -- there are plenty of rivet locations and the screws give you pretty fine control over the tension -- but you really should use the dremel or soldering iron strategy to prepare the rivet locations first. And make sure to tape off your drill bit at the appropriate depth if you don't want to drill straight through the plate.

More info here if you haven't seen it viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9169&start=

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JP!

06 Sep 2019, 17:56

Dikkus wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:24
My SSK is from 1992, so one of the early blue labels. Unfortunately if I break the barrel plate that's probably it for me -- I contacted Unicomp about replacement parts for the SSK and they said they're all out.
Seriously...#$%! I have a pretty much nos ssk with a crack all the way through the center of the barrel plate.

Edit: I didn't read the other posts :lol:
Muirium wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 13:35
Unicomp—incompetent as they are—do in fact sell SSK barrel plates. They just don't know what they are.

https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/CVSET

Select: Frame 84 key. I bought one myself. Sold it just recently.

As for sawing a regular barrel plate… nah. Case mods are one thing, but the barrel plate is directly involved in key feel. Sounds like a recipe for a fuck-up.

Dikkus

06 Sep 2019, 23:21

Appreciate all the advice, friends. I have decided to do it the normal and appropriate way with a full disassembly; hopefully I'll be able to report my success by Sunday or Monday.

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Coco

07 Sep 2019, 03:27

Good luck with the bolt mod!

Dikkus

07 Sep 2019, 21:11

So I did the disassembly today, which was relatively painless, but once I got to the barrel plate I realized -- just my luck -- there's already a crack in it. This is before drilling.

Pic:
Image

Do you guys think I can still work with this, or should I just get a new one from Unicomp?

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JP!

07 Sep 2019, 21:34

Get a replacement but use this one for practice.

Dikkus

07 Sep 2019, 21:47

JP! wrote:
07 Sep 2019, 21:34
Get a replacement but use this one for practice.
Yeah, I suppose since I'm already this far I might as well. I've seen some people say that theirs works fine even with a crack after a bolt mod, we shall see.

Wazrach

07 Sep 2019, 22:08

Dikkus wrote:
07 Sep 2019, 21:47
JP! wrote:
07 Sep 2019, 21:34
Get a replacement but use this one for practice.
Yeah, I suppose since I'm already this far I might as well. I've seen some people say that theirs works fine even with a crack after a bolt mod, we shall see.
There's no reason why it shouldn't work - I suppose it's like a crack in the case. It's there, you know about it, it will probably bug you, but won't affect the usability of the keyboard.

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