Alps Key Caps Where?

Go-Kart

22 Feb 2021, 21:13

Evening all,

I'm new to the community and I'm so far loving my recent discovery of Alps switches. With contemporary MX switch keyboards, getting compatible key caps is so easy. However, when I see an old board with Alps switches but missing key caps, I shy away from buying it since I have no clue where to get Alps mount key caps from.

Where does one find such things? And other vintage key caps or key caps compatible with more exotic switches for that matter? Must we resort to hacking up lesser boards!?

Jan Pospisil

22 Feb 2021, 21:47

There are like two doubleshot sets by Tai Hao you can get new, and some of the caps won't fit on vintage boards.
Other than that...yeah, pretty much you need to harvest from old boards.

Go-Kart

22 Feb 2021, 22:01

Ah, thank you. Guess I should keep an eye out for said lesser boards.

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Darkshado

22 Feb 2021, 23:13

There's also Matias which offers some sets and blanks.

Go-Kart

23 Feb 2021, 09:02

Ah excellent. Thank you both. It's so easy with modern MX keyboards!

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Muirium
µ

23 Feb 2021, 13:18

I’ve a few Alps mount oddballs besides those Apple Extendeds I told you about:

Acer 6312 with semimechanical Acer switches but a nice set of Alps mount PBT caps
Zenith Supersport SX 386 keyboard with Alps integrated dome switches and pristine Alps mount doubleshots

The Acer might be useful. UK ISO winkeyless layout. Some pics on the DT wiki:

wiki/Acer_6310_series#6312_T4U.2FUK

The Zenith laptop board is an old project via the Venerable Beardsmore. I never did get around to converting it. Lovely caps and surprisingly capable switches though.

Go-Kart

23 Feb 2021, 14:23

Do you know, I missed out on one of those Acers yesterday. Put 99 p on it and forgot about it. Someone got it for £1.04 at the last second; I wasn't paying attention...

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fohat
Elder Messenger

23 Feb 2021, 15:08

Go-Kart wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 14:23

I wasn't paying attention
Use Auction Sniper. Works great and costs next to nothing.

Go-Kart

23 Feb 2021, 15:26

fohat wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 15:08
Go-Kart wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 14:23

I wasn't paying attention
Use Auction Sniper. Works great and costs next to nothing.
I'm kind of happy when I miss out on things though; it helps the bank account recover :lol:

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Polecat

23 Feb 2021, 17:14

Go-Kart wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 14:23
Do you know, I missed out on one of those Acers yesterday. Put 99 p on it and forgot about it. Someone got it for £1.04 at the last second; I wasn't paying attention...
Be aware that the stabilizers are "backwards" on Acer 6311/6312 keyboards, with the wires attached to the cap instead of the plate, so those won't work on most Alps keyboards.

Other pitfalls with Alps caps are the position of the stem on CapsLock and ISO Enter keys, and the guide pin(s) on the spacebar and BAE Enter keys. And of course the size of the shift, backspace, and bottom row keys.

Go-Kart

23 Feb 2021, 17:28

Ah, very good! Yes, I've actually experienced something similar on an Apricot Maxi Switch board. Supposedly MX compatible but the stabiliser set-up was alien to me. And keys such as the ISO Enter and 2U Backspace had zero stabilisation. Bizarre for me only recently coming to vintage keyboards from the oh so standardised contemporary offerings.

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Reimu64

23 Feb 2021, 21:56

Go-Kart wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 14:23
Do you know, I missed out on one of those Acers yesterday. Put 99 p on it and forgot about it. Someone got it for £1.04 at the last second; I wasn't paying attention...
I thought this sounded familiar because I recently paid £1.04 for an Acer 6512 yesterday lol
Honestly just bought it because I wanted to try the switches on that board :D

You can try your luck with this Dell AT102W: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-AT102W- ... 4689525456
The caps are laser etched ABS, so not the best quality and will yellow over time, but these look nice enough imo.

Go-Kart

23 Feb 2021, 22:23

Reimu64 wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 21:56
Go-Kart wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 14:23
Do you know, I missed out on one of those Acers yesterday. Put 99 p on it and forgot about it. Someone got it for £1.04 at the last second; I wasn't paying attention...
I thought this sounded familiar because I recently paid £1.04 for an Acer 6512 yesterday lol
Honestly just bought it because I wanted to try the switches on that board :D

You can try your luck with this Dell AT102W: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-AT102W- ... 4689525456
The caps are laser etched ABS, so not the best quality and will yellow over time, but these look nice enough imo.
Haha, well done sir! I should have put more on it or at least paid attention. Acer dome with slider? I was curious about the switches too and was half thinking that the caps would be useful for something else. I saw that Bigfoot too. How much should one pay for a Bigfoot these days anyway? I understand the 97, 92 and 90 are similar enough to each other to be considered the same board. I'm tempted to grab one when I see one going for what I think is a reasonable price but I'm new to this and don't really know what a reasonable price is yet.

I just got an NTC KB-6153EA with White Alps. I bought it because it was listed to have Blue Alps but it was listed wrong. Is it still worth £50? (6/10 condition maybe with scratches to back plate and damaged cord.)

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Reimu64

23 Feb 2021, 23:18

Go-Kart wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 22:23
Reimu64 wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 21:56
Go-Kart wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 14:23
Do you know, I missed out on one of those Acers yesterday. Put 99 p on it and forgot about it. Someone got it for £1.04 at the last second; I wasn't paying attention...
I thought this sounded familiar because I recently paid £1.04 for an Acer 6512 yesterday lol
Honestly just bought it because I wanted to try the switches on that board :D

You can try your luck with this Dell AT102W: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-AT102W- ... 4689525456
The caps are laser etched ABS, so not the best quality and will yellow over time, but these look nice enough imo.
Haha, well done sir! I should have put more on it or at least paid attention. Acer dome with slider? I was curious about the switches too and was half thinking that the caps would be useful for something else. I saw that Bigfoot too. How much should one pay for a Bigfoot these days anyway? I understand the 97, 92 and 90 are similar enough to each other to be considered the same board. I'm tempted to grab one when I see one going for what I think is a reasonable price but I'm new to this and don't really know what a reasonable price is yet.

I just got an NTC KB-6153EA with White Alps. I bought it because it was listed to have Blue Alps but it was listed wrong. Is it still worth £50? (6/10 condition maybe with scratches to back plate and damaged cord.)
I remember being lucky about a year ago and I snagged one for £10 from someone on GH. The caps were yellowed and the plate was rusting away, but the switches were clean, just to give you an indication. I'd personally bid up to £60 on that one, but that's just me. I like that it uses a standard full layout making Alps builds a touch easier if you want Windows keys. You can also make the switches linear or clicky very easily. It's a versatile board. There's also plenty of these around, so even if you miss this one, there's probably going to be another on sale next week or so.

Also, congrats on the White Alps purchase. I was actually eyeing that one too, but I remember it having a one unit backspace which I never grew to like.

Go-Kart

24 Feb 2021, 09:24

Yeh, that's kind of what I thought. I already have two Bigfoots so I'm reluctant to bid on others but I guess if I need caps/switches...

Thanks for the advice.

justn0rth0fn0rmal

25 Feb 2021, 07:21

FWIW Signature Plastics will sometimes produce custom alps abs keycap sets, ( for example DCS Yuri). Although their stabilized keys have mx style stabilizer mounts. And their DCS alps set are pretty thin compared to vintage pbt alps keycaps.

Go-Kart

25 Feb 2021, 22:21

MX stabiliser mounts? So they're more for contemporary Alps-based builds?

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Polecat

26 Feb 2021, 03:02

Tai Hao Alps sets have MX stabilizer mounts on the spacebar, but normal Alps stab mounts on the other stabilized keys. Datacomp, Monterey, and I think Focus had MX stab mounts on some (not definitely not all) of their Alps BAE Enter keys. There are probably others, but those I've run into personally. I haven't seen an Alps set with MX mounts on all the stabilized caps, but it may exist.

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