F62+F77 orders now open! New Kishsaver+Industrial Model F Keyboards

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Hypersphere

23 Feb 2016, 22:08

@Ellipse: Regarding the "ultra-compact" case, just to reiterate my preference and to add a consideration regarding the bezel:

"I am in favor of the smallest case that is consistent with excellent structural strength and no interference with the proper action of the switches and keys."

But in addition,

I am in favor of just enough additional bezel to hide the metal tabs.

Thanks.

Ellipse

24 Feb 2016, 03:19

Yep Hypersphere the designed case is the smallest possible while still having great structural strength.

The black set I ordered from Unicomp last month also has noticeable shine.

It may have something to do with aging one-piece molds and/or tooling used to make the black keys. My understanding is that the surface texture on the keys is something that the molds and/or injection molding machines can adjust while the molds are being made or while the tooling is being set up (not sure) - A shiny texture may indicate an issue with this equipment.

My preference is for the extra textured surface and deep bold, black, one-piece XT key caps. I have looked into making XT style keys for this project, maybe after this project is finished up.

Instead of digital (?) dye sublimation I'd prefer to make the one piece caps the way IBM did, presumably with old-style template overlays. This way is probably more expensive because of the extra tooling requirements but I don't think digital is up to the task.

Maybe after this project ends we can look into one piece caps more? My guess is the set of caps would probably cost at least $125 each given all the tooling for the old fashioned dye sub and the molds. Maybe we could start small and just make tooling for the regular 1U keys? Then we could get it to around $100 just for the XT legend style 1U keys.

User avatar
Techno Trousers
100,000,000 actuations

24 Feb 2016, 05:59

A new source for BS caps would be more than welcome. I hope you can branch out from the regular pebble & pearl color scheme, though. Heck, be adventurous and make the world's first double shot ABS caps for BS! 8-)

User avatar
Muirium
µ

24 Feb 2016, 10:58

ABS on buckling spring is blasphemy. Ever seen those horrible yellowed spacebars on AEKs? Some Greenock made Model Ms have them too. Awful! A pretty smile ruined by yellow teeth!


@Ellipse: XT caps are fairly easily found. BUT! Their layout forces us to mix later IBM or even Unicomp mods with them. If you could make Model M sized mods in XT quality dyesub, you would have something much more desirable than a second source of alphas on your hands. I'd definitely try that while you're at it.

andrewjoy

24 Feb 2016, 11:12

Mixing XT with older IBM caps or caps form a 122F is not so bad , my primary 122 that i use in work has that and at a glance you cannot tell the difference , the awesome feel of the 1 part caps is worth it.

I checked with unicomp by the way , they did make a new mould for 1 part caps , however to get them made in the standard colour we would need to place an order for 20,000 keys as they only have them in the modifier colour, that would cover over 320 62 key F's !

idollar
i$

24 Feb 2016, 11:25

Ellipse, a question for you ...

Have you tried to mix your new flippers and the original ones in a single xwhatsit-keyboard ?
As the new material may not have the same electrical characteristics, I was wondering that the single voltage threshold of the xwhatsit may not allow such a mix.

Thanks

User avatar
Hypersphere

24 Feb 2016, 15:28

Regarding caps, I am okay with high quality black blanks for the mods and spacebar, and "pearl" alphas. All preferably one-piece, but I don't mind the two-piece caps.

For now, if Unicomp is unable to produce high-quality black blanks, I will try some iPoly dye.

andrewjoy

24 Feb 2016, 15:40

Its pebble ( the modifier colour) that they have in 1x1 )

if you want pearl then you need to order 20,000 caps.

User avatar
Ratfink

24 Feb 2016, 18:41

Oh really? I bet an industrial gray board with pebble/black keys would look pretty slick. Maybe I should try that this May.

User avatar
Hypersphere

24 Feb 2016, 20:00

Well, I finally overcame my indecision and placed an order for an F62 and F77. I went for the standard black case and standard printed keycaps for each. I also went for the HHKB-style split Backspace and split Right Shift for each keyboard.

I might order another F62 with the compact case after I see how these turn out. I would also like to get blank black keycaps if Unicomp is able to produce high-quality sets. Alternatively, I might try using iPoly to dye some sets starting with caps from vintage boards and/or Unicomp.

For the F77, I have a hybrid design for the right-side block that combines the navigation island with numeric keys (see image below). I am hoping to be able to have a NumLock key to toggle between navigation keys and numeric keys, but if this does not work, I could perhaps set up a second Fn layer.

BTW, for my order, I paid with PayPal, and everything worked smoothly with no issues (except for the cries of pain from my anguished wallet).
F77-Hypersphere.jpg
F77-Hypersphere.jpg (81.17 KiB) Viewed 1363 times

andrewjoy

24 Feb 2016, 20:10

andrewjoy wrote: Its pebble ( the modifier colour) that they have in 1x1 )

if you want pearl then you need to order 20,000 caps.

So who is up for a 1 part group buy !

User avatar
0100010

24 Feb 2016, 22:42

andrewjoy wrote:
andrewjoy wrote: Its pebble ( the modifier colour) that they have in 1x1 )

if you want pearl then you need to order 20,000 caps.

So who is up for a 1 part group buy !
Only if you include blank black right shifts and 7x white spacebars.

Ellipse

25 Feb 2016, 00:59

Andrew I expect to be ordering at least 200 key sets (over 20,000 keys) for this project, so I will try to get them all one piece which was my goal from the beginning of the project. Everyone ordering a Unicomp key set will get the full 104 (?) key set. I will also ask Unicomp if they can make the legends a little bolder than usual. We will see what they can do!

Hypersphere did you want me to ask unicomp about the possibility of front printing and custom right block "Insert 7", "Home 8" etc. printing for your key set? I don't know what they can do.

User avatar
bubblebobbler

25 Feb 2016, 01:40

I'd be interested in hearing Unicomp's response to the side-printing question regardless of if that is what Hypersphere is after

User avatar
Hypersphere

25 Feb 2016, 15:00

Ellipse wrote: Andrew I expect to be ordering at least 200 key sets (over 20,000 keys) for this project, so I will try to get them all one piece which was my goal from the beginning of the project. Everyone ordering a Unicomp key set will get the full 104 (?) key set. I will also ask Unicomp if they can make the legends a little bolder than usual. We will see what they can do!

Hypersphere did you want me to ask unicomp about the possibility of front printing and custom right block "Insert 7", "Home 8" etc. printing for your key set? I don't know what they can do.
Sure, might as well ask. If they cannot do it, I can improvise. Thanks!

EDIT: I just realized that as far as I am concerned, I do not need front printing. I can remember the Fn layer, and front printing makes the keys look too cluttered with symbols. So, for me, the only custom printing I would need is the keys in the right-side block on the F77, and these do not need front printing -- just top and bottom row on top of each key (as is done on the keys in the number-key row). However, other customers may wish to have some front-printed keys. Nevertheless, if Unicomp can do the front-printing at a good price, I might be interested in a set with this option.

I would be more interested in sets of blank black modifiers and black spacebars.

User avatar
alh84001
v.001

25 Feb 2016, 16:57

Hypersphere wrote: if Unicomp can do the front-printing at a good price, I might be interested in a set with this option.
I assume that then front-printing on blanks would be an option as well. This could (should?) then be a separate group buy alltogether.

User avatar
kekstee

25 Feb 2016, 17:10

Haha, it would be amazing if we could get Unicomp to produce one piece keycaps, or at least the 1u ones.
I rather doubt it though.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

25 Feb 2016, 17:24

More than amazing. Astonishing!

Ellipse

26 Feb 2016, 02:31

Does anyone know about dye sublimation printing? Is it possible for Unicomp to produce deeper black legends and/or thicker lettering on the legends?

User avatar
Techno Trousers
100,000,000 actuations

26 Feb 2016, 03:20

I seem to remember that someone on the forums helped Unicomp when they developed their new dyesub process (which led to their "small batch limited edition" keys like the Geekhack ones). For the life of me I can't remember who that was, though.

User avatar
Hypersphere

26 Feb 2016, 18:01

Ellipse wrote: Does anyone know about dye sublimation printing? Is it possible for Unicomp to produce deeper black legends and/or thicker lettering on the legends?
Deeper black might be desirable, but thicker lettering might not be an improvement.

Vizir

26 Feb 2016, 22:33

I'm not too keen on thicker lettering, since it seems they would tend to be more blurred.

Ellipse

27 Feb 2016, 00:58

Vizir my goal is to make the text ultra sharp and a little bolder, like on the XT keyboard. The differences are difficult to photograph but XT keys look great in person.

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

27 Feb 2016, 01:33

So in 2010 (left) I ordered a bunch of RGB keycaps from Unicomp, and two or three years later I got some more (right).
unicompcompare.jpg
unicompcompare.jpg (264.2 KiB) Viewed 1039 times
With Unicomp, I think that if you want good, consistent quality, you need to be all over them and stay that way for quality control.

Edit: After checking my old mails with Chuck from Unicomp, it could be that the left is from IBM NOS (unless it was from their own produced stock). So the right is possibly the only thing they are capable of printing now on blanks. Hopefully this is not correct. In any case, their current small-run on-demand print has been pretty horrible for some years now, in print and alignment (it's all over the place). You'll have to avoid that method, if possible.

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

27 Feb 2016, 02:01

Although I ordered my keyboards with blank caps, I wonder how you'll ship orders with no keycaps, which is an option ("Use your own keys"). The thing is, I've had IBM keyboards lying around all naked with no keycaps, and when you move them, the springs tend to interact with the barrels. Sometimes they stick to the barrels in an unnatural position, even getting damaged once or twice. The keycaps keep them neatly centered. How would you prevent shipping damage to the springs of naked keyboards?

REVENGE

27 Feb 2016, 10:37

webwit wrote: Although I ordered my keyboards with blank caps, I wonder how you'll ship orders with no keycaps, which is an option ("Use your own keys"). The thing is, I've had IBM keyboards lying around all naked with no keycaps, and when you move them, the springs tend to interact with the barrels. Sometimes they stick to the barrels in an unnatural position, even getting damaged once or twice. The keycaps keep them neatly centered. How would you prevent shipping damage to the springs of naked keyboards?
You could use a small foam insert to keep the springs isolated and fixed in place relative to the barrels.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

27 Feb 2016, 16:00

webwit wrote: when you move them, the springs tend to interact with the barrels. Sometimes they stick to the barrels in an unnatural position, even getting damaged once or twice.
The ends of the springs are surprisingly vulnerable (never work on them wearing a fuzzy sweater!).

I usually wrap keyboards for shipping in sturdy plastic. If that was tightly wrapped in a smooth sheet across the tops of the barrels it would probably protect them well enough.

User avatar
Spaceman1200

27 Feb 2016, 18:50

finally put my order in! F77 Industrial grey and split shift!

Ellipse

27 Feb 2016, 20:52

Yes - there are about 10-15 orders with the bring your own caps option (I thought this option would have been more popular). Yes some type of foam or large cell bubble wrap would work. They will all ship inside the protective thick styrofoam custom-made protective inserts, and maybe I'll add some extra foam or bubble wrap. I have shipped original IBM's without keys using large cell bubble wrap and have not received any word of damaged or misplaced springs.

We just crossed $65,000 in orders for the F62/F77 group buy (including shipping)!

The project has definitely exceeded expectations with over $65,000 in orders in the first month, so I will look more into making my own one-piece keys of the highest quality for this project. It is making less and less sense to put $10,000 towards Unicomp caps when those funds could go towards the one-piece XT quality production. The factory has dye-sub capabilities and equipment and is willing to take on keycap production. I would probably have to make all the molds because of the slight color difference in Unicomp/IBM Model M caps vs. XT caps.

Vizir

27 Feb 2016, 22:44

Ellipse wrote: The project has definitely exceeded expectations with over $65,000 in orders in the first month, so I will look more into making my own one-piece keys of the highest quality for this project. It is making less and less sense to put $10,000 towards Unicomp caps when those funds could go towards the one-piece XT quality production. The factory has dye-sub capabilities and equipment and is willing to take on keycap production. I would probably have to make all the molds because of the slight color difference in Unicomp/IBM Model M caps vs. XT caps.

awesome! i'd love some higher quality keycaps! would you open up ordering those as extras, too?

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