What Are Your IBM Model F Preferences? (XT vs AT vs 122...)

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

29 Aug 2017, 11:10

0100010 wrote: There is a smaller beamspring than that, the model number escapes me. Was for a police car terminal from the 70s.

Edit : IBM 2976...
Yeah that would be the find...I've never seen one though.

Zobeid Zuma

29 Aug 2017, 23:29

Hypersphere wrote: Finally, XT keyboards are more plentiful and cheaper than AT boards. Overall, among Model F boards I have tried, I would give first place to the XT.
I also sort of feel like the XT is under-appreciated as compared with the more exotic Model F variants. I mean... The XT is super heavy duty, it's not too huge (the combined nav and number keys are pretty efficient), and the eccentric layout is not as hard to deal with as it may first appear. And as you noted, they aren't hard to find.

I've got to say, however, that the new reproduction F77 looks pretty close to my ideal keyboard layout. In fact, I'd say the Ultra Compact F77 with the aluminum case is about as modern as keyboard design gets.

User avatar
depletedvespene

30 Aug 2017, 01:04

Zobeid Zuma wrote: … the eccentric layout is not as hard to deal with as it may first appear.
I have to disagree. When it first came out, the XT's layout's right third reeked of poor design. I was a teenager and I found it pretty bad, so much that I still remember how much of an improvement the "enhanced keyboard"'s layout was. So, why use the XT layout when the much better "normal" one is around? (besides the key feel itself, that is)

IMHO, YMMV, of course.

orihalcon

30 Aug 2017, 04:30

seebart wrote:
0100010 wrote: There is a smaller beamspring than that, the model number escapes me. Was for a police car terminal from the 70s.

Edit : IBM 2976...
Yeah that would be the find...I've never seen one though.
Looks like a 3277 with only the 60% block.Wouldn't be too hard to make one since the caps already exist. Just cut the plate and modify Emdude's capsense PCB to only have that section and you'd be good to go. Just needs a custom case :)

xueyao

30 Aug 2017, 06:37

orihalcon wrote:
seebart wrote:
0100010 wrote: There is a smaller beamspring than that, the model number escapes me. Was for a police car terminal from the 70s.

Edit : IBM 2976...
Yeah that would be the find...I've never seen one though.
Looks like a 3277 with only the 60% block.Wouldn't be too hard to make one since the caps already exist. Just cut the plate and modify Emdude's capsense PCB to only have that section and you'd be good to go. Just needs a custom case :)
That's basically recreating the entire beamspring less the switch.

User avatar
0100010

30 Aug 2017, 14:14

We should do it. Create the B62 (beamspring 62)! Custom plates, case, PCB, xwhatsit.

User avatar
depletedvespene

30 Aug 2017, 14:27

0100010 wrote: We should do it. Create the B62 (beamspring 62)! Custom plates, case, PCB, xwhatsit
Why not go fully over the top with a B122 "beamship"? (or "battlestar", while we're at it)

User avatar
0100010

30 Aug 2017, 14:54

Suppose you could; but you would need more donor switches (IE, less total boards could be built) [unless we go all Ellipse and recreate new Beamspring switches].

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Mr.Nobody

21 Nov 2017, 03:03

There is a problem with AT layout; the backspace and Esc are adjacent, for several times, I hit the Esc key by accident and lost a whole page of text I'd keyed in, which's exasperating. Now, I've got Esc and Sys Req key swopped.

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purdobol

21 Nov 2017, 08:55

My personal endgame model F would be 122 version in battlecruiser housing (chyros terminology). With some additions. One day...

andrea-i

22 Nov 2017, 10:14

That's the thing with IBMs for me, they are never quite perfect and yet they are the best I have found.
I have an XT at home and model M at work.

The XT has a hideous layout but a very compact form factor and that retro look that I just love, clicky feel and force is absolutely spot on for me, here's a photo of mine: keyboards-f2/ibm-xt-almost-ended-my-game-t17664.html

The AT is bigger than the XT, making me wonder, well, I might just use a model M and spare me all the spacebar modding. In general there's something about the AT form factor that just doesn't appeal to me.

122 battleship, I could never have such a beast occupy the whole desk.

Model M, I find it a bit too stiff, like other members have reported as well, I like it, hate the numpad and the 90s look of its case, but in general for now is the best I could find on a budget.

Definitely an F77 would be the end game.

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

22 Nov 2017, 22:24

unsaver... but I am happy with my f107

nickg

20 May 2019, 20:26

right now my soft modded(sharpkey + auto hotkey) f AT, but i do want to see what I can do with the XT and auto hotkey too! when i get my f122 it'll probably be my main, if i like it even half as much as my gf does her unicomp model m 122.

also the hhkb layout on the f77 from elipse thats coming may be enough to usurp the 122 for me

Fkazim

03 Jun 2019, 15:46

I like the IBM Model F AT the best as it is much more compact and and has normal key sizing plus can be easily modified to a modern layout all that needs to be done is some custom key remapping and new keycaps or some relegendable keycaps. I know some really like the a dedicated nav cluster but for me using the num pad is no issue. Below is my modernised IBM Model F AT I use as my daily driver. The layout I have set gives me F11 F12 and all the media keys the image looks blurry in the attachment but it is actually not just do open the and it is perfectly clear. This image was posted in a different thread but thought it would be more appropriate here.
Attachments
IMG_20190603_110954.jpg
IMG_20190603_110954.jpg (186.09 KiB) Viewed 1014 times

User avatar
Darkshado

04 Jun 2019, 07:05

Lately it's been the F AT for me too, since it has the closest layout to a standard TKL once modded.
2019-06-04 00.33.23.jpg
2019-06-04 00.33.23.jpg (1.71 MiB) Viewed 977 times

Fkazim

04 Jun 2019, 15:31

Darkshado wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 07:05
Lately it's been the F AT for me too, since it has the closest layout to a standard TKL once modded.
2019-06-04 00.33.23.jpg
Wow that's quite the keycap set you got there also nice ISO mod have not seen more than one other ISO AT. I also like the TKL layout you have but I could never get used to having half my f keys on one side and the rest on the other side also I saw you got a model m space bar installed my I ask how hard that mod was to do. Either way looks great well done.

User avatar
Darkshado

05 Jun 2019, 06:59

Fkazim wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 15:31
Wow that's quite the keycap set you got there also nice ISO mod have not seen more than one other ISO AT. I also like the TKL layout you have but I could never get used to having half my f keys on one side and the rest on the other side also I saw you got a model m space bar installed my I ask how hard that mod was to do. Either way looks great well done.
Thanks! The alphas, arrows, and weird legends came from an Impressa (a.k.a. Wheelwriter) typewriter; num row, homing keys, guillemets, accents, symbols, Enter and function keys are from the Unicomp set I originally ordered for this board.

For your information: I set the upper-leftmost key to Super/Windows and the lower-rightmost one to Menu. The blanks do nothing for the moment. This effectively gives me all the keys from a TKL layout with no layering required.

I don't completely touch type the F-keys so their displacement isn't as big a deal as I thought at first, though I still reach for the top of the board on occasion and likely will keep doing so since this is one of many boards I use regularly.

For the space bar, take a look at my earlier write-up in this thread. Those pads send Set 3 codes, by the way. I trimmed the Alt caps I had, but in retrospect 1.25u caps with proper legends from Unicomp would probably look better.

ChocolateJollis

23 Jun 2019, 03:29

My first computer was an IBM PC 5150, meaning the Model F XT was my first keyboard. I've had countless keyboards since, including a number of rubber-dome mushboards, and a mixture of IBM, Lexmark, and Unicomp M's.

A couple of years ago, I nabbed a Model F XT and a Hagstrom converter (which IMO isn't terribly good), which is my daily driver in my office. My daily driver, connected to my laptop, is a black Unicomp custom classic, that has the Ctrl and Caps Lock keys swapped from the factory, and no Windows keys.

Both are nice boards, but the Unicomp feels sloppy and mushy compared to the Model F, and goes "thock" instead of "chit". Of course you all know these characteristics. Model F wins for me on both typing feel and layout, though I really want an F122--I use TN3270/TN5250 applications regularly, and the extra keys would be nice.

This, of course, is discounting my perpetual pining for a 5251 beamspring... but that's a bit rich for my blood.

User avatar
vometia
irritant

02 Jul 2019, 17:13

DustGod wrote:
25 Aug 2017, 09:16
How's gaming on a Model F? :)
I'm sure I've mentioned elsewhere about gaming on an M, which I only stopped as it tended to keep my other half awake. I found it perfectly amenable other than that, but I also speak as someone who is not especially adept at combat, nor reaction times, and who definitely sucks at any measure of dexterity like Mirror's Edge. But as not-especially-leet as I am, as a regular gamer and modder I'm more than happy to game on an M, or an MX Blue, or a Matias, or... well, as long as it's a decent keyboard, IMHO. NKRO and hair-trigger switches aren't a necessity for me and when it comes to switch pressure and what-not, the bad console port is likely to be a factor way before any self-respecting keyboard.

Fkazim

02 Jul 2019, 23:41

I game on my IBM Model F AT and it is absolutely fine no rollover issues its nice and clicky good key placement, normal key sizing once modified to an ANSI or in my case an ISO layout. Seriously if you like light clicky switches you can't really beat a Model F.
Last edited by Fkazim on 03 Jul 2019, 09:28, edited 1 time in total.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

03 Jul 2019, 03:12

Remember that Soarer originally embarked on his converter project in order to get NKRO over USB so that he could game on an F AT.

caiko

03 Jul 2019, 18:32

I game on a F-XT - works just fine! And in the heat of the moment its quite enjoyable to angrily smash-repeat a key after dying :P

I love and hate the Model F's so much - reason: there isn't a perfect one. For me it would be the F-77 with Function row on top and some fold-out feet. (i.e. cursors, nav cluster, and the 1 unit keys between alt/ctrl. I'm a programmer so I definitely have use for a 'windows' type key there.)

I would like to try an AT (can't find any!), but I just love the iron heft of the XT - not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.

The other, bigger types.. I would like to be able to reach my mouse.. 8-) (although, I still want to try the F107, so much METALLLL - hey Chyros, don't you wanna start doing tours of your house man? :P wanna touch it allllllll..)

Anyways, I managed to get the XT to be 'normal' by messing with the numpad + making ALT into CTRL and the key next to left shift into ALT + CTRL into windows key.
Spoiler:
IMG_20190703_183012.jpg
IMG_20190703_183012.jpg (2.22 MiB) Viewed 586 times

User avatar
Chyros

03 Jul 2019, 20:26

caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 18:32
I game on a F-XT - works just fine! And in the heat of the moment its quite enjoyable to angrily smash-repeat a key after dying :P

I love and hate the Model F's so much - reason: there isn't a perfect one. For me it would be the F-77 with Function row on top and some fold-out feet. (i.e. cursors, nav cluster, and the 1 unit keys between alt/ctrl. I'm a programmer so I definitely have use for a 'windows' type key there.)

I would like to try an AT (can't find any!), but I just love the iron heft of the XT - not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.

The other, bigger types.. I would like to be able to reach my mouse.. 8-) (although, I still want to try the F107, so much METALLLL - hey Chyros, don't you wanna start doing tours of your house man? :P wanna touch it allllllll..)

Anyways, I managed to get the XT to be 'normal' by messing with the numpad + making ALT into CTRL and the key next to left shift into ALT + CTRL into windows key.
Spoiler:
IMG_20190703_183012.jpg
Yeah my favourite is the F107, it's SO GOOOOD xD .

caiko

03 Jul 2019, 21:02

Chyros wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 20:26
caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 18:32
I game on a F-XT - works just fine! And in the heat of the moment its quite enjoyable to angrily smash-repeat a key after dying :P

I love and hate the Model F's so much - reason: there isn't a perfect one. For me it would be the F-77 with Function row on top and some fold-out feet. (i.e. cursors, nav cluster, and the 1 unit keys between alt/ctrl. I'm a programmer so I definitely have use for a 'windows' type key there.)

I would like to try an AT (can't find any!), but I just love the iron heft of the XT - not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.

The other, bigger types.. I would like to be able to reach my mouse.. 8-) (although, I still want to try the F107, so much METALLLL - hey Chyros, don't you wanna start doing tours of your house man? :P wanna touch it allllllll..)

Anyways, I managed to get the XT to be 'normal' by messing with the numpad + making ALT into CTRL and the key next to left shift into ALT + CTRL into windows key.
Spoiler:
IMG_20190703_183012.jpg
Yeah my favourite is the F107, it's SO GOOOOD xD .
:evil: :evil: :evil:
Easier to rob a bank than to find one of those now!

User avatar
Chyros

03 Jul 2019, 23:41

caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 21:02
Chyros wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 20:26
caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 18:32
I game on a F-XT - works just fine! And in the heat of the moment its quite enjoyable to angrily smash-repeat a key after dying :P

I love and hate the Model F's so much - reason: there isn't a perfect one. For me it would be the F-77 with Function row on top and some fold-out feet. (i.e. cursors, nav cluster, and the 1 unit keys between alt/ctrl. I'm a programmer so I definitely have use for a 'windows' type key there.)

I would like to try an AT (can't find any!), but I just love the iron heft of the XT - not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.

The other, bigger types.. I would like to be able to reach my mouse.. 8-) (although, I still want to try the F107, so much METALLLL - hey Chyros, don't you wanna start doing tours of your house man? :P wanna touch it allllllll..)

Anyways, I managed to get the XT to be 'normal' by messing with the numpad + making ALT into CTRL and the key next to left shift into ALT + CTRL into windows key.
Spoiler:
IMG_20190703_183012.jpg
Yeah my favourite is the F107, it's SO GOOOOD xD .
:evil: :evil: :evil:
Easier to rob a bank than to find one of those now!
Imagine how hard it was to rob a bank when those were still around! Image

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

03 Jul 2019, 23:50

caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 18:32

not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.
The AT still has the 2 internal of the 3 steel plates and probably weighs about the same as an XT.

caiko

04 Jul 2019, 00:41

fohat wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 23:50
caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 18:32

not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.
The AT still has the 2 internal of the 3 steel plates and probably weighs about the same as an XT.
Oh don't get me wrong, if I find one I'll get it - EU is a pain in the ass though. g'damn backwater :D

Fkazim

04 Jul 2019, 00:50

fohat wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 23:50
caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 18:32

not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.
The AT still has the 2 internal of the 3 steel plates and probably weighs about the same as an XT.
I think the AT is a little lighter but to be honest the plastic on the AT is far superior to the plastic used on the XT heres why.

1) The AT plastic is the same plastic used on the Model M (PVC) as this is the case the plastic is much more flexible meaning the AT is much less likely to get cracked and almost impossible to get faded over time.

2) The AT uses PVC plastic that is not painted meaning there is no chance of any paint flaking off or wearing off like it can on XT as that uses painted plastic which dirt really sinks into.

3) This one everyone may not agree with but the Plastic on the AT in my experience is easier to clean than the painted plastic on the Model F XT.

The only disadvantage to the AT's construction is that the bottom case is not made of metal and instead uses plastic with locking tabs along the bottom and screws along the top. Anyways that's just my findings and opinion.

Wazrach

04 Jul 2019, 13:25

Fkazim wrote:
04 Jul 2019, 00:50
fohat wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 23:50
caiko wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 18:32

not sure if I would like full plastic on the AT.
The AT still has the 2 internal of the 3 steel plates and probably weighs about the same as an XT.
I think the AT is a little lighter but to be honest the plastic on the AT is far superior to the plastic used on the XT heres why.

1) The AT plastic is the same plastic used on the Model M (PVC) as this is the case the plastic is much more flexible meaning the AT is much less likely to get cracked and almost impossible to get faded over time.

2) The AT uses PVC plastic that is not painted meaning there is no chance of any paint flaking off or wearing off like it can on XT as that uses painted plastic which dirt really sinks into.

3) This one everyone may not agree with but the Plastic on the AT in my experience is easier to clean than the painted plastic on the Model F XT.

The only disadvantage to the AT's construction is that the bottom case is not made of metal and instead uses plastic with locking tabs along the bottom and screws along the top. Anyways that's just my findings and opinion.
I disagree. I've had about 9 XTs and two ATs. The XT's plastic is much thicker and feels a lot tougher. It sounds dense when knocking on it. The AT and F122 seem to use the same kind of plastic, which is a lot thinner and more susceptible to cracks. I think they used slightly different types of plastic, as one AT shower streaking after cleaning with isopropanol, whereas the other one didn't. Of course, the cases are still prone to scratches and wear - simply scrubbing the case with a scourer was enough to wear away the paint.

It's very obvious that IBM were pinching pennies with the AT Model F, compared to the XT. The F122 is of course much heavier, but the case is still thin and brittle.

Fkazim

04 Jul 2019, 14:11

Wazrach wrote:
04 Jul 2019, 13:25
Fkazim wrote:
04 Jul 2019, 00:50
fohat wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 23:50


The AT still has the 2 internal of the 3 steel plates and probably weighs about the same as an XT.
I think the AT is a little lighter but to be honest the plastic on the AT is far superior to the plastic used on the XT heres why.

1) The AT plastic is the same plastic used on the Model M (PVC) as this is the case the plastic is much more flexible meaning the AT is much less likely to get cracked and almost impossible to get faded over time.

2) The AT uses PVC plastic that is not painted meaning there is no chance of any paint flaking off or wearing off like it can on XT as that uses painted plastic which dirt really sinks into.

3) This one everyone may not agree with but the Plastic on the AT in my experience is easier to clean than the painted plastic on the Model F XT.

The only disadvantage to the AT's construction is that the bottom case is not made of metal and instead uses plastic with locking tabs along the bottom and screws along the top. Anyways that's just my findings and opinion.
I disagree. I've had about 9 XTs and two ATs. The XT's plastic is much thicker and feels a lot tougher. It sounds dense when knocking on it. The AT and F122 seem to use the same kind of plastic, which is a lot thinner and more susceptible to cracks. I think they used slightly different types of plastic, as one AT shower streaking after cleaning with isopropanol, whereas the other one didn't. Of course, the cases are still prone to scratches and wear - simply scrubbing the case with a scourer was enough to wear away the paint.

It's very obvious that IBM were pinching pennies with the AT Model F, compared to the XT. The F122 is of course much heavier, but the case is still thin and brittle.
The AT uses the same plastic as the Model M it is thinner but not brittle, very flexible and less likely to crack. Where as the XT uses a thicker denser but more brittle plastic which is more likely to crack. Also it is painted meaning once the paint flakes off or wears off you are left with a yellow coloured plastic underneath.

My AT is made from the exact same plastic as my Model M's 1st gen's and 2nd gen's plastic for sure. Also the plastic on my F122 is the same painted plastic as on my XT

So this is how all the keyboards are in my experience

IBM Model M- Thin flexible PVC Plastic

IBM Model F AT- Thin Flexible PVC Plastic

IBM Model F XT- Thick Dense Painted Brittle Plastic

IBM Model F122- Thick Dense Painted Brittle Plastic

Attached below is an example how the Thick dense painted brittle plastic can crack. The keyboard in the picture 1 is an F122 and the keyboard in picture 2 is an XT. The whole seperation between the F keys and the Alpha numeric keys
Attachments
IBM Model F122 cracked.jpg
IBM Model F122 cracked.jpg (226.62 KiB) Viewed 409 times
IBM Model F XT cracked.PNG
IBM Model F XT cracked.PNG (59.5 KiB) Viewed 410 times

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