Longterm Daily Drivers

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Muirium
µ

08 Apr 2021, 10:58

Lalaland had me thinking about this in a PM just now, so I thought I'd recycle share my thoughts with the community at large. Sure, you're a collector and you've a metric butt-ton of boards. (Or you still aspire to, newbs!) But here's the question:

Which ones do you really use?

Which boards stand the daily test of time? Which boards do you really work up all your typing / gaming miles? What's your practical number one? Which board owns your sweet-spot?

I don't mean "just now" either. Which boards do you keep coming back to, year in year out, to get things done?

There's a difference here between the real dailies and the cherished showpieces with their mint switches and shine-free caps. Sure, the latter ones have their special charm as well, but you're not using those! You're not crazy! As if! :lol:

And there's also a difference from those "oh yeah, this thing's actually quite awesome, too!" keyboards you rediscover once in a while, waiting in their box. There's a reason they keep on winding back in storage, and you know it. Only some boards are so special they reign eternal! Only some become the precious few…

Anyway, here's what I wrote in PM, which includes my own answer. No surprises from predictable µ! TL;DR. :D
I took a good long time to gather many boards, because I truly am a cheapskate! Patience costs nothing, so I'm good at that.

Practically none of my stuff came from ebay. Mostly it's DT deals for me. Let's see if I can dig out a list…

Okay, here's one from 2015. Looking through the boards there, I've honestly not added much since then. That was the peak of my acquisition phase!

Since then, I won a Filco with silent reds (here's a video I made at the time with multiple comparisons) and grabbed a G80-3000 for showing off my Round 5 caps, so I'm not as Cherry free as I used to be. Oh, and there's that G81 which came with the Cherry dyesub caps you see on my Filco. So technically I have a Cherry MY board too, sealed in its cardboard sarcophagus!

Everyone who dives into this stuff goes through a mad hot phase when the whole keyboard world's your oyster and you gotta catch 'em all. I found out fairly quickly that nothing really beats IBM Model F and beamspring for me on the clicky side, and Topre on the tactile. I love a good monster loud metal board, and I adore a really silent, elegant damped oneness with cup rubber, too! Linears seldom speak to me.

So my daily driver's my original gangster Kishsaver at home, loud as hell and full of character!, and my silenced Bluetooth upgraded HHKB when I'm on location. Both are superb, keeping their crowns as my two apex boards now for many years.

But yeah, I'll dig out something for difference's sake quite often too. Among my secondary favourites is black space invaders. Those are chunky wild! They do it more for me than Alps, let alone clicky MX.
So, what about the rest of you? What's your 100,000++ mile keyboard of authentic choice?
Last edited by Muirium on 08 Apr 2021, 12:55, edited 1 time in total.

mode1ace

08 Apr 2021, 11:09

My current favourites:

an ISO SGI granite I rebuilt with ambers alps
an apple M0118 with orange alps
a custom using the aliexpress tkl case, blue alps and DCS yuri.

I don’t often use other boards for longer than a few days, those three I could each use forever without complaints.

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

08 Apr 2021, 11:11

mode1ace wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 11:09
My current favourites:
:lol: precisely not what this thread is about.

Lanrefni

08 Apr 2021, 11:18

My BFO-9000,since I built it all other boards have been boxed,except when I got carpal tunnel surgery,then I used a Laplace for a couple weeks as it's easier to type one handed on a small board.

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Muirium
µ

08 Apr 2021, 12:03

Surgery? Ouch!

Does get me thinking about what I'd do if I had to go without one hand for a while. That's probably the one scenario which would put me off 60%, because of all the chords. Guess I'd head to the MX silent red Filco and begin grumbling about its scratchiness while I appreciated it all the more at slower typing speed… :lol:
Wodan wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 11:11
mode1ace wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 11:09
My current favourites:
:lol: precisely not what this thread is about.
Well, I understand some people, like yourself, can't ever quite settle. As your profile says:
Main keyboard: Intense Rotation!!!
I do rotate things a bit, but the Kishsaver is nigh on impossible to resist for long! Even my beamspring can't dethrone it.

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

08 Apr 2021, 12:29

Muirium wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 12:03

Well, I understand some people, like yourself, can't ever quite settle. As your profile says:
Spoiler:
Main keyboard: Top Buss
Yeah seriously .. that's why I didn't post.
There's keyboard I've had on my desk for 6months+ and also keyboards I keep taking out of storage to use them again for a bit.

But "Longterm Daily Driver" sounds like something ONE or at best TWO keyboards can earn after giving loyal typing pleasure for years ...

Findecanor

08 Apr 2021, 12:39

At home, I still use the Phantom that I built in 2012.
Cherry MX Clear with lubrication and silencing clips. Lasered thick-walled Cherry PBT. 6u space bar!
Plastic "frankencase" made from BTC5140 upper and a Key Tronic lower, with other plastic pieces and putty and stuff. (my other hobby is mostly about building with plastics)
My own mods to bpiphany's firmware. (20% less power usage, different debouncing, tweaked USB)
It might need a cleaning, repaint, new lubrication ... and a new Space bar stabiliser bar that rattles less, but I always listen to music in headphones to offset my tinnitus, so I'm actually not that bothered by it.

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Muirium
µ

08 Apr 2021, 12:44

Your own mods to Bpiphany's?

I've a (hopefully temporary) spot of tinnitus just now actually. I swear it's not the buckling / beam springs! I've mostly just been on my MacBook Air the last few days. Usually my ears are sharp enough I can still hear bats, let alone cheapo power supplies. Model F is definitely pushing their tolerance! :lol: But actually, when it's my typing, Model F racket doesn't annoy me the way unavoidable background noises do. It reinforces the momentum of my flow. It's like I'm a runaway steam train!

When I have occasionally typed while listening to music, sharp tactility really helps.


@Wodan: Yeah, pretty much.

People like asking me what's my favourite keyboard, given I've been around the block a bit. I guess what they're looking for is an endorsement from someone a fair way ahead of them with experience. When you're starting out, you want to know you're not barking up the wrong tree. You want to know what really works.

My answer: HHKB. Or one of those Ellipse F62 remakes, if they hold up like the genuine article.

Wait, you're into full size? Uhh… maybe I've got one of those around here… some… where.

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shallot

08 Apr 2021, 12:47

Boards I keep coming back to:

Videowriter with SKCM Amber
NeXT Keyboard with SKCM Cream
Displaywriter beamspring

other boards get a look in now and then, some more than others, but those are my three that keep entering the rotation

Rayndalf

08 Apr 2021, 12:57

Kinesis Advantage. I buy other boards because they're fun to tinker with, collect, or restore, but I haven't seriously used any other board in the past 2-3 years.
It took some time to get comfortable, but I'm so glad I stuck with it.

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Muirium
µ

08 Apr 2021, 13:00

Now there's a sensible answer! I remember Webwit often banging on about his DataHand. Takes some learning, but once you're in, you're in!
shallot wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 12:47
NeXT Keyboard with SKCM Cream
Creamy NeXT? Nice! I've got a black Alps one. New old stock, and no wear yet from me because I still haven't gotten around to USB conversion. What adapter are you using?

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shallot

08 Apr 2021, 13:07

Muirium wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 13:00
What adapter are you using?
Self-made one with QMK/VIA - I will be polishing up the product and selling it soon

mode1ace

08 Apr 2021, 13:08

Wodan wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 11:11
mode1ace wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 11:09
My current favourites:
:lol: precisely not what this thread is about.
current, past and I expect future.

I have plenty of other boards I like, those are the ones I go back to.

kelvinhall05

08 Apr 2021, 13:38

Nothing will ever top my Focus 9000 especially once I've done all the mods I intend to. I'm extremely close to finishing a replacement calculator (just need to finish up the software), working on adding a beeper, have been running Avid video editing caps from an ADK for a long time now, plan to swap switches at some point, swapped lock LEDs for amber ones the other day, etc etc etc. This board is my darling and I can't see myself using anything else for a long period of time.

Rayndalf

08 Apr 2021, 13:48

Muirium wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 13:00
Now there's a sensible answer! I remember Webwit often banging on about his DataHand. Takes some learning, but once you're in, you're in!
It's my goal to try every "naive market failure" of the 90s, but I haven't found a DataHand yet. It's probably the holy grail of "this is a great idea that no one except nerds and people with debilitating injuries will buy".
I wonder how the recreation effort is going right now... I don't think I'll be finding an original anytime soon (and if I do I'm not sure I can afford it :lol:)

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Muirium
µ

08 Apr 2021, 14:36

Well here’s a few mentioned in this 1993 piece at tidbits:

https://tidbits.com/1993/03/01/apple-su ... -keyboard/

Not an article about ergo keyboards, but an article about ergo keyboard manufacturers suing the pants off one another! Ah, back when anyone thought there was money in that market. Simpler times.

Findecanor

08 Apr 2021, 15:01

Muirium wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 12:44
Your own mods to Bpiphany's?
Yeah, the firmware that he originally wrote for Phantom. It was very simple. Much smaller than TMK or QMK.

I have also written a USB firmware for a game controller adaptor that shares no code with that, TMK or PJRC's USB code. And I have started on a more generic HID firmware for multiple types of USB devices, but it has mostly been hacks and experiments. I don't really feel motivated and my attention span is short.

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robo

08 Apr 2021, 15:30

I don't have nearly the number of boards that some people have, nor are mine particularly exotic, but I've always come back to my Model M boards. I got my first full size 1988 Model M 16 years ago, and picked up a mint 1993 SSK about a year ago - the big Model M was basically my daily driver until I got the SSK, which replaced it. I have an F77 on order so we'll see how that fits in when it finally arrives. But I've used the Model M's for most of the last 16 years, with only brief dalliances with other boards:

I also have a mint looking Apple Extended Keyboard II, which I just couldn't love - maybe the switches have suffered with age, but they bind in a way that made them unenjoyable to use. I used it for about 6 months and gave up.

Also have a tenkeyless CoolerMaster board with MX browns and thick PBT keycaps, that I actually quite like. I filled the case with silicone to dampen the sound and make it heavier, and it's pleasant to use. But somehow I always go back to the buckling springs.

In the past I've used a granite SGI bigfoot, which was not bad, but which got dumpstered during an overzealous office cleanup at work (my boss threw out all the 'obsolete' equipment while I was on vacation). Also briefly owned a Topre board (RealForce TKL) which I did not like at all.

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Muirium
µ

08 Apr 2021, 16:48

Losing an SGI to the office elves is the very worst kind of fairytale. Those are classy boards. RIP.

For several years, my SSK was my favourite, too. Far better layout than my XT and something approaching the keyfeel. Kishsaver beat both of them hard, though. And that zinc case! It’s a champion.

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Thorogrimm

08 Apr 2021, 17:00

My first vintage keyboard was a Dell AT102W and it's stood the test of time. When I first had it, it was a mess and I've spent a LOT of time on it cleaning it, messing with the switches (which were surprisingly clean) and using it for all tasks. It's a great keyboard and I've used it without the tactile leaves, which was nice but not nearly as nice as the tactile mod which I did on it. The tactility is perfect now, and all it took was a paper clip inserted under the bend of the leaf to stretch it out a bit. I would love to get my hands on a black ISO Dell bigfoot, however. That's one on my wishlist.

My daily driver currently is the New Model M from Unicomp as I paid a lot of money for it.
Others in my collection (which is still pretty small) that I've used longterm are the Dell Quietkey and an Olivetti ANK 27-102 N.

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inmbolmie

08 Apr 2021, 18:25

Always returning to my regular M SSK. That with the F mechanism would be the perfect keyboard for me.

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Bjerrk

08 Apr 2021, 18:34

My Cherry G80-1800 with Kailh Polias, to be honest.

I am not even sure why. After using a more "interesting" keyboard for a while, returning to the G80-1800 is always comfortable.

I'm a basic bitch, I guess.

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

08 Apr 2021, 18:44

inmbolmie wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 18:25
Always returning to my regular M SSK. That with the F mechanism would be the perfect keyboard for me.
It's funny I actually have an FSSK now, but I don't use it much as I have my Unsaver and for some reason some of the keys feel inconsistent. It does feel like an F though, so maybe I would use it more if I tweaked the screws on the back for about 20 minutes.

The boards I always go back to at some point are my F122 and Unsaver. Although I should say UnSABRE instead, as I finally got around to decking it out in my SABRE airline caps:
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I do have another two that I use all the time but are new additions this year, my kingsaver with amber alps(this thing is in my top three favorite keyboards), and my 3276 that I restored.

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Muirium
µ

08 Apr 2021, 18:51

UnSabre is getting sufficiently Meta to make me almost Hyper. Nice board.

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ddrfraser1

08 Apr 2021, 18:55

There are three that I can’t wait to bring back on my desk. The first is this 0th generation model M that feels so delicious:

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The second is this realforce lubed up with BKE 55g – probably the smoothest and best tactile experience I’ve ever felt. (needs a white sb though :( )

48B5DA0F-DE02-404C-A829-96A743835F5C.jpeg
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The third is this aluminum behemoth, The IKBCMF108 with box pinks and MT3s:

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Perfect weight, perfect sound, perfect feel, and looks pretty damn good to boot. 10 out of 10.

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Thorogrimm

08 Apr 2021, 18:58

Bjerrk wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 18:34
My Cherry G80-1800 with Kailh Polias, to be honest.

I am not even sure why. After using a more "interesting" keyboard for a while, returning to the G80-1800 is always comfortable.

I'm a basic bitch, I guess.
I've seen people mod G80s and customise them with their own switches. Are they usually a retro test bed for those kinds of things? I nearly bought one at one point

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Myoth

08 Apr 2021, 19:01

Thorogrimm wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 18:58
Bjerrk wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 18:34
My Cherry G80-1800 with Kailh Polias, to be honest.

I am not even sure why. After using a more "interesting" keyboard for a while, returning to the G80-1800 is always comfortable.

I'm a basic bitch, I guess.
I've seen people mod G80s and customise them with their own switches. Are they usually a retro test bed for those kinds of things? I nearly bought one at one point
G80s are just great keyboards

micmil

08 Apr 2021, 19:11

I can't see myself shelving my ABKO K935 anytime soon. It feels great and is super quiet, so it's what I use for work. The only thing that could realistically replace it would be if I managed to snag the full sized version for a good price or lucked into a relatively inexpensive Topre board. If it's a day where I'm primarily going to be drafting rather than doing phone work I'll swap in my New Model M since the keypad makes some things a bit easier. That's another one that isn't going anywhere.

The longest-term daily driver I've had was the BTC 5130 that came with a Packard Bell computer my family bought in the early 90's. I think I used that thing until 2000-2001, somewhere around there. We had a few others but they all ended up being trash and swapped out not long after purchase. Once I got my own system I took that thing and left the plebs to fend for themselves.

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Go-Kart

08 Apr 2021, 19:28

It is odd for me as I've only owned the majority of my keyboards for a few weeks, and then one of them coming up to a year. My tastes are very much in a state of flux right now; there's so much to try!

However, despite all the new and interesting boards arriving of late, when they arrive, I give a poke and then dismantle them to clean, lube, etc.. This is the board that goes on the desk in between the testing/cleaning that I'd guess I lean on the most. The board that I decide to go with at the start of most days and that'd I'd point to as my daily driver; my Anykey. It actually got damaged in transit so I have to repair it every week or so. That's where my linearised Bigfoot or M122 pick up the slack but the functionality of the Anykey keeps it in the top spot. I really don't mind Maxi Switch D/S either. The space bar comes across a little stiff for me when typing anything serious but for general use, it is king.
Spoiler:
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I have yet to settle on a go to "essay" keyboard. I have a few projects on the go that could all take that spot. I've recently discovered the joys of Topre too.

The keyboard that I have racked up the most miles on though is this ugly little thing. I put it together not even a year ago when I had little spare money to invest in keyboard. I needed a new board but didn't want to settle for some terrible budget thing. It's composed of Razer Orange switches from a dead Razer Blackwidow Lite I got for free, an incomplete Pok3r chassis which I got for pennies, tidied together with a mismatch set of the cheapest PBT, shine through caps I could find. I spent the time lightly lubing every switch, greasing the stabs, band aid modding, etc. and it turned out great. It sounds great and is surprisingly nice to type on. I need arrow keys though so I keep it just for gaming now. However, I keep on trying to replace it for gaming and as my go to travel-friendly board but nothing that I've found can do both gaming and essays satisfactorily so this wee beast still gets pulled out for an hour or so for a cheeky bit of CoD after work each day.
Spoiler:
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lhutton

08 Apr 2021, 19:44

I usually wind up on some Model M long term on my PCs and an AEKII on the Mac. I don't mind lacking media keys.

I've got Model Fs, a few different versions of Alps and Alps clones and a few Cherry MX blue boards but the the Model Ms see the most use be it a classic or a Unicomp. Modern layout, fairly robust, good at annoying co-workers when or if we're ever back in an office again.

The AEKI has become super expensive and I had access to a lot AEKIIs from the schools that were chucking them a few years ago. Honestly I kind of like the springy bounce of the dampened Alps over the straight linear ones.

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