Beam Spring 104+SSK Reproduction Project! First Batch In Stock, Shipping early next year after New Model F Project

xxhellfirexx

31 Aug 2021, 05:12

XMIT wrote:
31 Aug 2021, 03:00
Two concerns.

1. The included key caps look like double shot SA profile. SA is a far cry from the sphericals that originally shipped on these boards. MT3 is a better approximation.

2. What metal alloy are you choosing for the beam springs? IBM chose something special back in the day. I haven't seen any discussion on this (maybe I missed it).
#2 can be a tough problem to solve as noted in Keystone project's latest post.

Unfortunately, there have been some metallurgical issues with the beam spring development: the beam fatigues and breaks too quickly.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/le ... ts/3275349

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inmbolmie

31 Aug 2021, 09:40

Wintermute1974 wrote:
30 Aug 2021, 17:43
daphnis wrote:
30 Aug 2021, 16:26
Interesting! I would buy this if [...]
Yes, yes, yes, but are you not excited at all by the very fact that modern beamsprings exist?
This is big news. Many of us have either tried a beamspring keyboard at a meetup or bought a single switch off eBay. Now there's a chance to get something even better than retrofitted new old stock.
The best part is that if this goes well, being Beam Spring discrete switches I can see a future where you also somehow can get from these switches custom layouts in the same way you can do now with Cherry etc. That would allow to design very hipster custom keyboards with them.

You only would need a design for the underlaying capacitive sensing PCB and the top plate with the switch holes properly aligned. I'm sure there are other practical issues but essentially that is what a Beam Spring keyboard is.

This doesn't make sense today because to make that you basically have to scavenge parts from the expensive vintage units, but would make sense with a new source for Beam Spring switches.

daphnis

31 Aug 2021, 12:54

Wintermute1974 wrote:
30 Aug 2021, 17:43
Yes, yes, yes, but are you not excited at all by the very fact that modern beamsprings exist?
I've never tried a beam spring, so I'm more curious than excited.

Admiral

31 Aug 2021, 21:18

Oh my God I just found out about this project. Ellipse you are a madman! Is there a new website or will these be available to buy on the modelf website? And can you tell me what the difference between the 104 and 84 key versions are? I am guessing it's like the full size minus the number keypad?

Will we get photos of the 84 key or did I miss it?

And after using your Model F for over a year I can say I am really pleased with it. Such great keyboards truly, so I am really excited about these.

Either way I think I'm definitely interested in the 104 key not sure yet if I want one of each.

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digital_matthew

31 Aug 2021, 21:25

Admiral wrote:
31 Aug 2021, 21:18
Oh my God I just found out about this project. Ellipse you are a madman! Is there a new website or will these be available to buy on the modelf website? And can you tell me what the difference between the 104 and 84 key versions are? I am guessing it's like the full size minus the number keypad?...
84 key is basically an SSK.
xxhellfirexx wrote:
31 Aug 2021, 05:12
XMIT wrote:
31 Aug 2021, 03:00
Two concerns.

1. The included key caps look like double shot SA profile. SA is a far cry from the sphericals that originally shipped on these boards. MT3 is a better approximation.

2. What metal alloy are you choosing for the beam springs? IBM chose something special back in the day. I haven't seen any discussion on this (maybe I missed it).
#2 can be a tough problem to solve as noted in Keystone project's latest post.

Unfortunately, there have been some metallurgical issues with the beam spring development: the beam fatigues and breaks too quickly.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/le ... ts/3275349
That's a good point. Has any testing been done on the longevity of these switches, Ellipse?

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Pete

01 Sep 2021, 02:54

XMIT wrote:
31 Aug 2021, 03:00


1. The included key caps look like double shot SA profile. SA is a far cry from the sphericals that originally shipped on these boards. MT3 is a better approximation.

I desperately want spherical keycaps. I just love the feel of that profile. I’ve been trying to find some compatible with my buckling spring keyboards (the ones from Ellipse) but no luck. Hopefully someone will produce spherical caps for this new beam spring project.

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Pete

01 Sep 2021, 02:56

xxhellfirexx wrote:
31 Aug 2021, 05:12


#2 can be a tough problem to solve as noted in Keystone project's latest post.

Unfortunately, there have been some metallurgical issues with the beam spring development: the beam fatigues and breaks too quickly.

Is there a test rig that can stress the mechanism with millions of presses?

Ellipse

01 Sep 2021, 20:40

Regarding the keys, the boards will be sold without keys installed or bundled, so you can choose either my keys or order other available keys separately, since there are so many MX compatible key sets to choose from. Since the MT3 key set is available to order, for example, you can order those instead but I don't expect to bundle products that can be ordered widely elsewhere.

Only if there's enough interest in my suggested keys will they be offered as an option.

Admiral the first post on the thread shows the F104 and FSSK designs. The FSSK pictured has no keys installed and lacks the number pad on the right side.

Pete the standard Cherry MX type sets should work with the beam spring keyboards since I made them to work with MX keys. I believe that Signature Plastics has offered spherical double shot key sets in the past.

I know that IBM beam springs sometimes (rarely) have a failure point in a very small percentage of the thin flipper parts like the first photo here: viewtopic.php?p=491824#p491824

Because of this I've had to buy several IBM beam modules from orihalcon (many years ago) to replace the bad ones.

As with the Model F repro project I do not discuss specific PBT variations, metal alloys for the springs, etc. I did have the original IBM Model F springs analyzed at a material analysis lab early on in the process, and as posted a few years back I ordered and tested more than 50 variations of springs made with various alloys and heat treatment settings to pick the one with the best sound and performance.

However in my 1+ years of beam testing there has not been a single failure of this part (I call it "Beam metal part for Beam barrel") for my new beam repros. I think that the quality of the steel alloys today should be much better than what was available in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the beam spring keyboards were manufactured. Going back in my old emails this was a specific point of discussion with the factory to source a material that could withstand lots of stresses.

In my research it seems that part of the operational longevity of the "Beam metal part for Beam barrel" involves the way it is securely attached to the white beam barrel part. If it is too loose or the "dot" of material below the barrel is not sufficient in coverage width, the Beam metal part for Beam barrel will have too much of the force of bending in too small an area and it will be more likely to crack. I worked with two factories (one failed to produce and assemble adequate parts) to spend a lot of time trying to get this right. They tried several different attachment methods. You can see a photo in the first or second post of this thread.

I also expect to order thousands of extras of the Beam metal part for Beam barrel and the white beam barrel part so that this potential point of failure can be replaced in the future. My design allows the replacement of just these parts so that the beam keyboards can continue functioning.

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raoulduke-esq

01 Sep 2021, 22:23

Ellipse wrote:
01 Sep 2021, 20:40
However in my 1+ years of beam testing
Sound test when?

Admiral

02 Sep 2021, 10:13

Ellipse wrote:
01 Sep 2021, 20:40
Admiral the first post on the thread shows the F104 and FSSK designs. The FSSK pictured has no keys installed and lacks the number pad on the right side.
Oh I'm blind. Thanks

Icemanrec

03 Sep 2021, 12:43

this sounds amazing :) i cannot wait to receive the invoice

TheLagMaker

08 Sep 2021, 12:19

...at last. The keyboard I've been expecting for years. A modern Beamspring that is not over-expensive. Not that I am not satisfied with the Fs I bought from you, but I consider the Beamsprings to be even better: better tactile response, less noise. So I filled up the form.

One thing has me a bit worried, though: the sound level. I found out some time ago that my ears cannot stand long typing sessions on a very loud keyboard anymore (when I type, I feel weird vibrations in my ears that I didn't feel before). So I second what others in this thread have said: a video comparing the sounds of your new Beamspring with an original one would be very welcome.

copper4eva

10 Sep 2021, 20:56

Made an account just to post on this. Only reason why I didn't buy one of the new model F keyboards was because I refuse to go to a layout without at least function keys. Kind of ironically happy I didn't get one anyways, cause I can afford this one instead.

Really happy you decided to go for a modern layout. I hope ISO gets enough attention to actually be made. And a large terminal layout would also be cool, but I'm not holding my breath on that. If a terminal layout does happen, I would prefer the function keys be separated into 2x4 blocks, rather than one huge 2x12 block. That's one complaint I have about my Unicomp PC-122.

Above all, I hope I managed to get on the wait list in time lol.

https://drop.com/buy/drop-matt3o-mt3-32 ... keycap-set
This is the keycap set I would consider for this. I hope we get more concrete details soon, so I can commit to both the keyboard, and what keycaps (layout wise) I need to get.

Oh and almost forgot. I would also love to see a nicer case too. Something similar to the cases used in the model F project. But this isn't as big of a deal to me. I'm more worried about getting ISO.

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Ludovician

11 Sep 2021, 07:20

So it's an 84-key rather than an 87? If so, what is it missing? The board on page 1 looked like a standard 87-key TKL so I'm unsure.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

14 Sep 2021, 14:00

The keyboards are clearly a 104 and 87 key layout. Perhaps people are saying 84 because the old SSK is an 84-key keyboard and people are more used to that.

hifiguy99

15 Sep 2021, 05:23

+1 for someone who will order one if it comes with a beefier, vintage case at current pricing.

Tonyv_73

15 Sep 2021, 16:46

Can't wait for this to happen. Im happy with the full keyboard layout, however I really wish it would have the function keys on the left hand side. Imagine a beamspring f107 or AT style. That would look awesome

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0100010

26 Sep 2021, 17:32

Wonder if one can take an F62 'HHKB' PCB, a 104 beamspring board, add new plates and case...

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0100010

26 Sep 2021, 18:04

Seriously though, the 104 bottom row and ANSI field 'makes sense', since most all key caps 'will just work' (though I prefer 1.5x mods / 7x spacebar on the bottom row).

Also for ISO or HHKB layouts, beamspring is not near as modular as Model M or F, without custom keycaps and 'blank' switches (diff PCB / plates / top case).

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Pete

29 Sep 2021, 00:39

The Cherry MX compatibility is a great feature for me since I like experimenting with different keycaps and profiles.

infundibulum

30 Sep 2021, 18:39

What size spacebar fits with the new Beam Spring? 6.0u? 6.25u?
So excited for this project and to see what kind of cases we can build around it in the future.
I've signed up; your work is amazing Ellipse.

cjmegatron81

02 Oct 2021, 03:45

Thank you for this work! Absolutely amazing!!

culiandralin

03 Oct 2021, 21:02

How am I just now seeing this?! Yes, please!

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raoulduke-esq

04 Oct 2021, 01:48

If I send $5 can we please get a sound test??

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