THE SORA COVER review — The best keyboard acrylic dust cover!

User avatar
leech

07 Mar 2019, 13:44

tags: hard plastic, acrylic clear glass, anti dust protection, protective cover hood guard cap roof protector

0. Introduction
Finding a fitting hard cover for our big keebs has always been a pita and custom-built ones would usually cost over EUR90 in gemani, if you found an acrylic glass shop willing to take a custom order. The SORA COVER is a custom-sized acrylic glass (plexiglass, Plexiglas®) cover which I configured online and ordered for my 1999 IBM Model M mechanical keyboard. Since the IBM Model M is the biggest keeb, the cover automatically fits all smaller keebs! Without coupon code i paid only EUR37 plus shipping and the product ticks all the boxes in my book, so i thought you might consider it as well. On a side note, Sora acrylic glass display cases have been popular for years among hobby builders/collectors of model cars/trains/ships/boats/planes/helicopters/etc and it's through them that i was pointed in this direction. I just wanted a fitting acrylic cover but none of the mass-produced covers on the market would fit! So I ended up with an acrylic cover, made-to-measure, Made in Germany.

I. Unboxing, specs
I posted a 12min :oops: unboxing video on youtube, here are some screenshots from it for your convenience.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the youtube and in this OP i did not remove the BLUE protective films from the acrylic glass parts. Normally the user would remove them before the assembly and have a CRYSTAL CLEAR product after the assembly. If you are familiar with plexiglass products, they are always shipped with the protective films on, same as unboxing your brand-new smartphone screen! :cool:

The big package was delivered by DHL:
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Inside the package was another cardboard package, thus providing two sheets of double duty cardboard for extra protection during transport. Other contents were a FREE screwdriver, a small bag with screws'n nuts, and paperwork (invoice, packing slip, instruction sheet, printout of my submitted notes):
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Here a closeup of the FREE screwdriver and the spare hardware which i put in a small zipper storage bag together with a diy identification label lol. The screwdriver features a magnetic tip, which comes in handy during product setup:
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The acrylic parts are taped securely so that they wouldn't rattle or slide against each other during transport:
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All other acrylic keyboard covers come in 2.0mm or 2.5mm wall thickness, which is totally sufficient for the purpose. You might get lucky and find a retail product with 3.0mm wall thickness, which would be super rare. This Germany-made product has a whopping 4.0mm wall thickness omfg:
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A thick-walled protector has mainly advantages. But one of the disadvantages could be the weight, 0.94kg. Personally i don't mind the heft, and my desk and tables aren't complaining ;). Neither are my keyboards. Since my SORA COVER doesn't ride on the keyboard itself but is supported by the same desktop, it doesn't matter if the product is heavyish:
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The most important spec is the size, i.e. the inner dimensions. You could confirm that the IBM Model M has the dimensions (in cm) LxWxH 49.0x21.0x5. So i specified the inner dimensions (in cm) to be 50x22x6. Note that the minimum length (for L, W, or H) one can specify is 6cm and that the three numbers must be integers. In other words, i could not have chosen 50x22x5 or 49.4x21.5x6.7. I could have chosen 49x21x6 but that would have been a snug fit:
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II. Assembly
The SORA COVER is composed of five parts (front, rear, top, left side, right side), with each part clearly having an outside face and inside face. One can identify the outside face side by the drilled holes for the countersunk screws. So determining which part docks to which spot is kindergarten, no guesswork:
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On the following photo one can see how the TRANSPARENT-BLUE protective film is about to come off, peel off, from the upper corner of the front panel:
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The photos show how the parts/screws/nuts are mounted (installed), easy-peasy procedure. If you believe seeing 'rough finishes' around the drilled holes and the precision-laser cut holes, then it's actually the micro-torn protective film (foil) what you are seeing. Underneath the film the surface finish (and edges) of the acrylic parts are impeccable and crystal clear, of course:
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III. Random pics and thoughts :mrgreen:
So why didn't i remove the BLUE foil (protective film)?? (Don't worry/wonder, in future i am going to remove it eventually and share updated photos of my crystal clear SORA COVER, no problem. Just for the time being i prefer to leave it on, and here is why.)
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Firstly, i like the color BLUE (or TRANSPARENT-BLUE)! It reminds me of the blue sky on a clear sunny day. So lovely, thanks! :evilgeek:
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Secondly, if the cover protects the keyboard, then what protects the brand-new cover against scratches, please? ;)
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Apart from pets dancing on it, the covered keeb can also function as rack, tablet, tray: i leave stuffz on it, maybe eat food items from it.
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Thirdly, it is "easier" to clean, i.e. wipe off the cover. Meaning, I could use any primitive rag, even with some rubbing alcohol (if needed) ...
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... and wipe off any **** without being worried about scratching the mint condition finish.
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Dusting off or wiping off the plexiglass cover will eventually become integral part of your regular cleaning routine.
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It is challenging to not scratch up a bare smooth plexiglass finish. Special care (microfibre cloth, water/soap, no alcohol) is required omg.
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So if you don't want to deal with "special care" when it is cleaning time, you could leave the TRANSPARENT-BLUE protective film on, too!
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Lastly, for the purpose of the video/review the BLUE hue helps the viewer see stuff, discerning details. Removing the protective film would make the parts look TRANSPARENT-CLEAR and we would see **** on my photos! :shock:
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IV. One size fits all
With the IBM Model M being the biggest mechanical keeb in my home, all others do fit too! Of course, 55x22x6 cm³ is a bit oversized, kinda overkill for most modern mechanical keyboards. :D

LEOPOLD:
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AJAZZ:
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EVERGLIDE:
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IBM MODEL M:
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V. Conclusion
What are the advantages of the SORA COVER?
  1. full disassembly possible; great when storing away, or moving places
  2. easy to repair; custom spare parts available for order at friendly pricing
  3. very hefty construction, should last a lifetime
  4. the top of the cover can be abused as rack / tablet / tray, without harm. Don't be shy! 8-)
  5. with the protective film on, it's especially "easy" to clean: scratch-resistant cover then!
  6. high quality Made in Germany, ready availability, reasonable affordable price shipped, service and support directly from the manufacturer, great communication
  7. custom-built according to your specs (LxWxH in cm, rear cable cutouts in mm); the only/best place for any IBM Model M version
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It's funny/silly how hard i had tried to DIY build my own keeb covers in the past. I REALLY needed (and wanted) one. - Why? Because it REALLY is dusty at my place, argh! I vacuum my place at least 2x per week to feel at ease and be clean. Btw the TRANSPARENT-BLUE protective film also lets me see dust on the cover very easily. A great reminder of my next cleaning session thx! :roll:

FYI the company owns several homepage redirect-URL's and it doesn't matter which one you use because the pricing is the same:
  1. www.sora.de (German)
  2. www.sora-shop.com (English)
  3. www.sorashowcases.com (English)
  4. www.display-cases.eu (English)
  5. www.massvitrinen.com (German)
HOW TO ORDER. On your chosen Sora-owned website look for keyword "Plattenspielerhaube" (in German, or "Custom Turntable Cover" in English) because that's the correct page for configuring a cover for a computer keyboard because a traditional keyboard, like a vintage record player, would need the dust cover to have a cutout for the power cable at the rear. :duck:

So the "Plattenspielerhaube" web configurator lets you specify one cable cutout. If you need two or more cutouts, specify them in your email order. The company doesn't charge for cutting additional cutouts. They are friendly and very obliging. So nice! You'll need several cutouts at the rear, if you want to be flexible and use the cover for various mechanical keyboards ("universal cover", see IV. One size fits all).

Hope you like this acrylic dust cover as much as I do, cheers! :)

User avatar
leech

Yesterday, 15:22

All right, now almost three months later I decided to remove the original blue protective films from either side of the five parts. Why now? Because after all the handling of the SORA COVER including my wet cleaning of it (it is way easier and straight forward to clean a cover than to clean a keeb ;) — of course feel free not to clean your keeb cover, it's up to you!) the film started to peel off at various edges on its own, prolly due to water ingress (see capillary effect). I knew that auto-peeling would occur. Now we know that with my cleaning habits i found it acceptable to leave the blue protective film on for three months!

I must admit that i prefer the transparent look! What you're actually seeing here is not the sora cover with all protective films removed hehe:
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I had removed the blue protective film (which is non-adhesive btw) from either side of the six parts, true. Then i bought book wrapping foil (the adhesive transparent kind) and plastered the outside of the sora cover with it. The best quality adhesive book wrapping foils are made by geman manufacturers X-Film and Aslan with typical thickness of 80mu. The Pro Office product with 65mu was a cost effective alternative:
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While it was easy to plaster the outside in an air bubble free manner, the plastered film does not look fully transparent until i use my finger nail to press it harder against the acrylic part. Maybe you can spot what i wrote there with my finger nail:
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Generally speaking, if you plaster a perfectly transparent glass window with an adhesive foil, the end result will be a less clear transparency because of the adhesive. Anyway, i found the corners of the sora cover a bit too square-edged (sharp) so i rounded them off with a nail file. I did the same with the edges of the cable cut outs. A cable cutout with sharp edges is no good for a cable. A bit hard to see but you get the point:
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Would i prefer a thinner lighter less expensive mass-produced acrylic dust cover made out of 1 piece (1 part)? I guess so 100 :roll: . But none of them fits the IBM Model M! If you are able to source a commercial acrylic dust cover which does fit the IBM Model M as well, then please shoot i am all ears. Until then i continue to live a happy life with my THE SORA COVER. :mrgreen:

:lol:

User avatar
hansichen

Yesterday, 17:45

Wow, I totally missed this thread, thanks for bumping it with your update and for sharing your experiences. This looks like a very solid choice as a keyboard cover (as you mentioned it can be fairly difficult to find covers for vintage "oversized" boards or modern smaller boards). And it's even nicer that 'we' can source it locally.

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