Would it be possible for someone to recreate the SKCM blue alps switch?

consensual-penis

30 Oct 2019, 22:05

I'm really curious, since we have someone putting in the work to recreate the 4704 model f keyboards. What would stop someone from remaking the SKCM blue alps switch, or even Make something like one of the old northgate keyboards (with blue alps switches)?


it's almost 2020, Why has no one done this? (if it's possible)

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TheInverseKey

30 Oct 2019, 22:39

Talk to Matias LOL

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Chyros

30 Oct 2019, 23:31

Of course it's possible to recreate them, although it will likely take a fair bit of research, trail and error. However, Matias will never remake SKCM Blue (for the exact same reason Unicomp will not recreate the Model F).

Findecanor

30 Oct 2019, 23:45

What is it that makes the SKCM Blue special compared to other clicky SKCM Alps switches?

And what would it take to mod Matias Clicky to be better?

consensual-penis

31 Oct 2019, 00:42

Chyros wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 23:31
Of course it's possible to recreate them, although it will likely take a fair bit of research, trail and error. However, Matias will never remake SKCM Blue (for the exact same reason Unicomp will not recreate the Model F).
I would trust you in any endeavor involving keyboards, you should recreate blue alps!

and you told me on youtube that you had some plans for 50k subs, Hope you're prepared.

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abrahamstechnology

31 Oct 2019, 01:49

Matias clicky is not as good because of the polycarb housing. It's fine on the tactiles though.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

31 Oct 2019, 02:18

abrahamstechnology wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 01:49
Matias clicky is not as good because of the polycarb housing. It's fine on the tactiles though.
And why is that, exactly? Acoustic properties of polycarbonate?

To recreate a switch - any switch - takes a good microphone (and acoustic chamber), a really good pressure gauge, a quality calibrated pair of calipers and micrometer, a bunch of switches for samples, some destructive testing to determine the original polymers used, and careful analysis of all the parts.

Humans built it once, it can be built again.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

31 Oct 2019, 03:02

XMIT wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 02:18

Humans built it once, it can be built again.
But in the low-3-digit price range, in today's dollars?

samuelcable

31 Oct 2019, 03:05

consensual-penis wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 00:42
Chyros wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 23:31
Of course it's possible to recreate them, although it will likely take a fair bit of research, trail and error. However, Matias will never remake SKCM Blue (for the exact same reason Unicomp will not recreate the Model F).
I would trust you in any endeavor involving keyboards, you should recreate blue alps!

and you told me on youtube that you had some plans for 50k subs, Hope you're prepared.
How about a switch manufacturer instead

consensual-penis

31 Oct 2019, 04:33

samuelcable wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 03:05
consensual-penis wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 00:42
Chyros wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 23:31
Of course it's possible to recreate them, although it will likely take a fair bit of research, trail and error. However, Matias will never remake SKCM Blue (for the exact same reason Unicomp will not recreate the Model F).
I would trust you in any endeavor involving keyboards, you should recreate blue alps!

and you told me on youtube that you had some plans for 50k subs, Hope you're prepared.
How about a switch manufacturer instead
no, I want him to do it.

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Chyros

31 Oct 2019, 09:12

consensual-penis wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 04:33
samuelcable wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 03:05
consensual-penis wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 00:42
I would trust you in any endeavor involving keyboards, you should recreate blue alps!

and you told me on youtube that you had some plans for 50k subs, Hope you're prepared.
How about a switch manufacturer instead
no, I want him to do it.
It took Ellipse years and tens of thousands of dollars to do "just" a Model F, which is a much more easiliy recreatable switch design. I can't imagine how much time and money it'd cost to field the research and tooling to recreate SKCMAG.

That said, I'd happily help anyone who'd take on the task with testing and feedback :) . I've got a pretty decent feel and ear for them by now.
Findecanor wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 23:45
What is it that makes the SKCM Blue special compared to other clicky SKCM Alps switches?

And what would it take to mod Matias Clicky to be better?
Concretely, I prefer SKCM blue over SKCM white because of the lighter, smoother feel (presumably due to spring weight and lubricant) and less balky tactility (which is presumably because of the method or angle of the teeth bend/curve on the click leaf), and the sound is also better (housing materials used).

Matias needs to revert that stupid polycarb housing which is good for absolutely nothing (ever recall an RGB Matias board?), and ditch the crappy SKBM contacts for a proper switchplate (which should also get rid of their chattering problem). The last bit alone though they'd NEVER agree to do.

Examining the exact bend type and curvature of SKCM blue click leaves also really wouldn't hurt.

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Wazrach

31 Oct 2019, 09:30

Chyros wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 09:12
consensual-penis wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 04:33
samuelcable wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 03:05


How about a switch manufacturer instead
no, I want him to do it.
It took Ellipse years and tens of thousands of dollars to do "just" a Model F, which is a much more easiliy recreatable switch design. I can't imagine how much time and money it'd cost to field the research and tooling to recreate SKCMAG.

That said, I'd happily help anyone who'd take on the task with testing and feedback :) . I've got a pretty decent feel and ear for them by now.
Findecanor wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 23:45
What is it that makes the SKCM Blue special compared to other clicky SKCM Alps switches?

And what would it take to mod Matias Clicky to be better?
Concretely, I prefer SKCM blue over SKCM white because of the lighter, smoother feel (presumably due to spring weight and lubricant) and less balky tactility (which is presumably because of the method or angle of the teeth bend/curve on the click leaf), and the sound is also better (housing materials used).

Matias needs to revert that stupid polycarb housing which is good for absolutely nothing (ever recall an RGB Matias board?), and ditch the crappy SKBM contacts for a proper switchplate (which should also get rid of their chattering problem). The last bit alone though they'd NEVER agree to do.

Examining the exact bend type and curvature of SKCM blue click leaves also really wouldn't hurt.
Matias aren't exactly interested in making any improvements. I mean, for a start, where are those PBT keycaps they were on about...?

For me, one thing to make the switches better would be a reduction in switch wobble. I really didn't like the fact the switches would bind on off-centre key presses, which was almost impossible to avoid. The click was quiet but the upstroke rattle was even louder.

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Chyros

31 Oct 2019, 10:59

Wazrach wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 09:30
Chyros wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 09:12
consensual-penis wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 04:33


no, I want him to do it.
It took Ellipse years and tens of thousands of dollars to do "just" a Model F, which is a much more easiliy recreatable switch design. I can't imagine how much time and money it'd cost to field the research and tooling to recreate SKCMAG.

That said, I'd happily help anyone who'd take on the task with testing and feedback :) . I've got a pretty decent feel and ear for them by now.
Findecanor wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 23:45
What is it that makes the SKCM Blue special compared to other clicky SKCM Alps switches?

And what would it take to mod Matias Clicky to be better?
Concretely, I prefer SKCM blue over SKCM white because of the lighter, smoother feel (presumably due to spring weight and lubricant) and less balky tactility (which is presumably because of the method or angle of the teeth bend/curve on the click leaf), and the sound is also better (housing materials used).

Matias needs to revert that stupid polycarb housing which is good for absolutely nothing (ever recall an RGB Matias board?), and ditch the crappy SKBM contacts for a proper switchplate (which should also get rid of their chattering problem). The last bit alone though they'd NEVER agree to do.

Examining the exact bend type and curvature of SKCM blue click leaves also really wouldn't hurt.
Matias aren't exactly interested in making any improvements. I mean, for a start, where are those PBT keycaps they were on about...?
Exactly. Although they're doing very well in their niche (still not bad switches, considering their current competitors), they simply lack the ambition and/or strive towards perfection to make drastic changes (admittedly, it would probably also be economically unsustainable, but the PBT keycaps thing does show their thinking a bit more).

Findecanor

31 Oct 2019, 14:20

Chyros wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 09:12
Matias needs to revert that stupid polycarb housing which is good for absolutely nothing (ever recall an RGB Matias board?) [...]
As I recall, Matias had been the first with clear housings for SMD LED, with Cherry and the others copying Matias.
They did it for the locking keys. Previously, they had used a linear switch with LED instead of click leaf in Caps Lock, Num Lock/Clear and Scroll Lock/F14 ... and received complaints from users for the feel of those keys being different: Clear and F14 aren't locking keys on Macintosh.
Being first, they did not know any better at the time.

But what kind of plastic are the classic black housings made of?

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Chyros

31 Oct 2019, 14:39

Findecanor wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 14:20
Chyros wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 09:12
Matias needs to revert that stupid polycarb housing which is good for absolutely nothing (ever recall an RGB Matias board?) [...]
As I recall, Matias had been the first with clear housings for SMD LED, with Cherry and the others copying Matias.
They did it for the locking keys. Previously, they had used a linear switch with LED instead of click leaf in Caps Lock, Num Lock/Clear and Scroll Lock/F14 ... and received complaints from users for the feel of those keys being different: Clear and F14 aren't locking keys on Macintosh.
Being first, they did not know any better at the time.

But what kind of plastic are the classic black housings made of?
Yeah, I know that was the reason, but it's really not worth it IMO. Besides, they could've left the other switches the original plastic if that's all they wanted.

The top housings were ABS and later they switched to nylon (or the other way around, I can't recall off the top of my head anymore. Acetone test is your friend here). Bottom housing was always ABS IIRC.

spongebob1981

31 Oct 2019, 14:45

consensual-penis wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 22:05
I'm really curious, since we have someone putting in the work to recreate the 4704 model f keyboards. What would stop someone from remaking the SKCM blue alps switch, or even Make something like one of the old northgate keyboards (with blue alps switches)?


it's almost 2020, Why has no one done this? (if it's possible)
Of course it is doable. But it doesn't seem to be profitable so no one goes through the process of doing so.

Let's say I (or whoever here) solve every issue for you: find the materials used in the original, source the machinery and the molds... How much money would that cost me and would you pay that, even before start producing switches? How many switches and at what price would you need to sell to pay your investment and start making money?

We have a saying in our country:

"Would you (guy) fuck another guy for 10 bucks? No? 20 then? Still no? How about 10.000? You see: There are plenty of gays, It's people with enough money to convince you of it that are not as many"

Menuhin

31 Oct 2019, 15:55

And everyone said the old moulds and toolings for complicated Alps were lost. But since when and under whose hands were they lost. Could they be under someone's possession but they're not into make switches or that they don't like the design for some reason?

And how about the research notes or meeting memos for each incremental changes made to Alps Switches?

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Chyros

31 Oct 2019, 16:22

Menuhin wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 15:55
And everyone said the old moulds and toolings for complicated Alps were lost. But since when and under whose hands were they lost. Could they be under someone's possession but they're not into make switches or that they don't like the design for some reason?

And how about the research notes or meeting memos for each incremental changes made to Alps Switches?
From what I've understood from a contact I had at Alps, all tooling and documentation was simply disposed of. He himself was at the assembly line of the keyboards at the time, and he recently retired, so almost everyone is too old or too hard to get hold of now, too. But he looked around and said they had absolutely nothing left on the subject whatever.

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abrahamstechnology

31 Oct 2019, 16:48

I'm going to be messaging several switch companies to see if I can find one that can recreate SKCM and the estimated cost. Then we can go from there.

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Wazrach

31 Oct 2019, 16:59

abrahamstechnology wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 16:48
I'm going to be messaging several switch companies to see if I can find one that can recreate SKCM and the estimated cost. Then we can go from there.
That would be pretty exciting. I'd love to have a modern SKCL/SKCM board without any of the hassle. I was interested in trying the Datacomp Alps, as the brown switches sound pretty deep. Anyone tried Datacomp Reds?

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abrahamstechnology

31 Oct 2019, 17:17

Companies I've contacted so far:
Durock
Dongguan Fosen Electronics Technology Co., Ltd.
Yueqing Anhe Electronics Co., Ltd.
Hua-Jie
Kailh
Tai-Hao
Gateron
Alps themselves.

It may be a good idea to message these companies too to show there is interest in such a switch.

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Wazrach

31 Oct 2019, 17:59

abrahamstechnology wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 17:17
Companies I've contacted so far:
Durock
Dongguan Fosen Electronics Technology Co., Ltd.
Yueqing Anhe Electronics Co., Ltd.
Hua-Jie
Kailh
Tai-Hao
Gateron
Alps themselves.

It may be a good idea to message these companies too to show there is interest in such a switch.
Gateron gave us the Omnipoint Hall Effect switch which I'm currently typing on. Kailh gave us the clickbar. PLEASE. PLEASE remake Alps!

gipetto

31 Oct 2019, 18:11

why not alter an mx switch to feel like an alps instead to save on tooling costs. would it be possible to use an ultrasubminiature microswitch(mouse type) in a keyboard? mount it underneath the pcb so it actuates when unpressed.

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abrahamstechnology

31 Oct 2019, 18:39

Yueqing got back to me. Does anyone have detailed specs of an Alps SKCM blue switch?

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SneakyRobb
THINK

31 Oct 2019, 18:59

Menuhin wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 15:55
And everyone said the old moulds and toolings for complicated Alps were lost. But since when and under whose hands were they lost. Could they be under someone's possession but they're not into make switches or that they don't like the design for some reason?

And how about the research notes or meeting memos for each incremental changes made to Alps Switches?
Alps sadly does not have this information. If they did, they would not share it. I have asked 2 employees and they will not share even the most basic facts of anything that is not a currently for sale product. After multiple attempts and angles of attack my biggest success was to get them to admit that SKCMAG "existed."

I got a message that they were able to confirm that such a switch was "used in keyboards" but no longer produced. That was the most information I got.

Even if you ask them for information on lubricant inside of currently available switches you could buy right now, they will not tell you. Its a trade secret/confidential.
abrahamstechnology wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 16:48
I'm going to be messaging several switch companies to see if I can find one that can recreate SKCM and the estimated cost. Then we can go from there.
This is the only way to proceed. Luckily, this is the best place to start such a project.

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Wazrach

31 Oct 2019, 20:14

gipetto wrote:
31 Oct 2019, 18:11
why not alter an mx switch to feel like an alps instead to save on tooling costs. would it be possible to use an ultrasubminiature microswitch(mouse type) in a keyboard? mount it underneath the pcb so it actuates when unpressed.
It wouldn't really be an Alps switch then, would it? :P I suppose it's the housing and slider that give Alps switches their feel.

consensual-penis

31 Oct 2019, 22:04

I'm glad I made this post

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zrrion

31 Oct 2019, 22:11

No one is going to make a good ALPS clone at this point. It has almost nothing to do with the expense of switch production. ALPS switches just aren't compatible with any existing commercial products.

Take box, romer-g, and unicomp BS. All of them require unique tooling to make the switch itself. All of them offer something that the standard MX design doesn't, and only box switches are a successful switch line.

Box switches can be an additional option for existing MX boards and support all of the benefits of the MX design, while avoiding some of its flaws and adding benefits of their own. They have better clickies, they have similar tactiles and linears, their RGB is the same, they use the same plate, pcb, and caps. If you want a board with box switches you can use basically any existing board. That flexibility makes support from board manufactures very easy to get. They just have to stock the switch and put it in boards as needed.

Romer-g and Unicomp BS on the other hand can't do that at all. The decision to use either of these switches is really a decision to make a new keyboard entirely, or increase the complexity of the parts involved and of the assembly process. Doing that makes them way more expensive and no one wants to commit to that sort of expense. Unicomp does it because they don't have tooling costs, just operation and materials, and logitech made romer-g because the better backlighting would theoretically appeal to gamers. A new ALPS switch would be the worst of those 2 situations. You would need all new tooling for the switch and caps, but you would get a switch that was worse at RGB than existing switches and would leave gamers with little reason to get them. Gamers buy the majority of mechs, so if they wont buy them you better be at least be cheap, and a new ALPS keyboard certainly wouldn't be.

The only way to get an ALPS-like switch into modern boards is to make it MX compatible. Thats the standard the industry uses and no one outside of enthusiasts is going to want to support any non-standard switches that aren't bringing anything new to the table.

Fod

31 Oct 2019, 22:58

Wouldn’t SMK second gens be a good starting place for recreating complicated ALPS? Believe those came in MX mount and were just as good as genuine ALPS.

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abrahamstechnology

31 Oct 2019, 23:22

I don't see how RGB helps gamers at all.
The people who like RGB only do it because it was marketed as a high-end feature that "gaming" brands put on their more upmarket boards.Some well-done marketing can convince people to buy a board with quality switches rather than dime-a-dozen LEDs.

MX stems on Alps-style switches will never work. The entire shaft stabilizes the keycap. Things like Nexus sliders just make the switch rattly and wobbly.

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