Alps Opener

ZyBeR

19 Nov 2021, 10:26

Hi guys,

I've been into the Alps game for some years now, mostly interested in building modern customs with Alps switches. Usually I just open my switches with my finger (given I have some nails but as we all know that's not always the case) but after doing a full board worth of switches you can really feel it in your fingertips.

One of my other hobbies has been 3D printing so I've tested several different Alps opener designs but none of them has works well enough for me to use. A few months ago I made an investment into a Formlabs setup which has been running really nicely.
Two weeks ago sat down and did a re-mix of an open source design and took advantage of the Formlabs capabilities to reproduce objects with tight tolerances just to see how good I could make it.

Here is the result - an Alps opener that (for me) ticks most boxes.
Alps Opener-small.jpg
Alps Opener-small.jpg (161.83 KiB) Viewed 754 times
The idea was to make it so it would grab both the top housing and slider. It might look similar to what you have seen/tested before, but the differences are in the details.

Here is a video on how it works - I hope you like it :)
https://youtu.be/errgQIfzAhk

If anyone finds it interesting enough to want one I'm asking €10 + shipping.

User avatar
Palatino

19 Nov 2021, 15:14

Brilliant! I have to have one. I’ve fished out too many cocktail sticks from the insides of keyboards and scratched up too many housings with pliers not to love this. Does it work just as well with switches still soldered into the board?

CallmeJohn

19 Nov 2021, 16:31

What plastic is it printed in?

ZyBeR

20 Nov 2021, 12:14

Palatino wrote:
19 Nov 2021, 15:14
Brilliant! I have to have one. I’ve fished out too many cocktail sticks from the insides of keyboards and scratched up too many housings with pliers not to love this. Does it work just as well with switches still soldered into the board?
That requires a little different design due to the tool can't go down as far and grab the top housing as it can with loose switches.
I'll look into it and see if I can come up with something that works well. I'll make a reply here when I have something to show.

ZyBeR

20 Nov 2021, 12:24

CallmeJohn wrote:
19 Nov 2021, 16:31
What plastic is it printed in?
Here on the link below you can read more about the material I'm using, beside Green I can also offer it in clear on request - other high-end materials can be used but would add a lot of cost for little upside in this use case.
https://formlabs-media.formlabs.com/dat ... NUS-0P.pdf
(material properties are the same for green and clear)

For example the heat deflection temp. @ 66 psi is 73.1°C so it's should be safe to use/store in most places without worry about it deforming.

User avatar
Mattelec

20 Nov 2021, 14:10

What's the advantage comparing it to the open source one?

ZyBeR

20 Nov 2021, 18:34

Mattelec wrote:
20 Nov 2021, 14:10
What's the advantage comparing it to the open source one?
My personal experience is that it grabs and holds the stem and top housing in a way I haven't see before.

SK-8K

20 Nov 2021, 21:30

Is that one of those rare red ALPS switches in the photo?

User avatar
TheInverseKey

20 Nov 2021, 21:46

SK-8K wrote:
20 Nov 2021, 21:30
Is that one of those rare red ALPS switches in the photo?
Nope Orange Alps just the lighting looks off.

User avatar
hellothere

21 Nov 2021, 17:39

I have the version from Orihalcon. So, yeah, if you come up with a version that makes it easier to remove the top housing/etc. when the switch is still soldered on, I'd be very interested. ATM, the Orihalcon version works almost perfectly for me if the switch is desoldered, but when soldered, I need to use (plastic) tweezers to remove the top housing, etc. completely.

User avatar
ifohancroft

23 Nov 2021, 14:40

I'm also very interested. I'd definitely buy one in the future.

ZyBeR

23 Nov 2021, 19:17

I've made a few iterations to see if I could make it work with soldered in switches, but this design just isn't made for that task.
The tool can't get far enough down to grab the top housing and get enough grip to pull it up when the switch is mounted in a board.

A tool for mounted switches needs another design, which would be more complicated as it needs a way to grab and pull the top housing while still bending out the clips. This could possibly also be solved by pulling up the stem. From what I can think of right now this is two part design or you need tiny fingers.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

25 Nov 2021, 00:09

ZyBeR wrote:
23 Nov 2021, 19:17

The tool can't get far enough down to grab the top housing
That type of puller can work perfectly. "Captain" somebody made one several years ago and sold them in both plastic and metal. Later I think that Orichalcon also made them for a while.

From the photo, I think that the center leg (the "tongue" of the "E") is too wide to fit into the stem. On one of mine I shaved a mm (or more) off each side and then it fit properly.

User avatar
Menuhin

25 Nov 2021, 12:23

I also made an alsp opener by crafting it out of a plastic ruler - for popping out the parts of Alps switches when they were still soldered on the NeXT keyboard. I just brush cleaned and air-dusted the bottom housing while I ultra-sonic cleaned the other parts to freshen up this NeXT keyboard with undampened cream Alps.

I destroyed 100% of the PCBs that I desoldered - burning and pulling pads - so before I get a good enough desoldering gun or before I sharpen my desoldering skills to not damage anything badly, I shouldn't to perform any desoldering on any functional non-crappy keyboard again.

User avatar
ifohancroft

25 Nov 2021, 16:39

Menuhin wrote:
25 Nov 2021, 12:23
so before I get a good enough desoldering gun or before I sharpen my desoldering skills to not damage anything badly, I shouldn't to perform any desoldering on any functional non-crappy keyboard again.
I also came to this conclusion the hard way.

Thankfully, I destroyed just one off the shelf keyboard with MX switches that I no longer use. The problem was that I decided I'd keep all my mechanical boards I've ever owned (in good and working condition) and this one was no longer being made, also it was a Christmas gift from a close friend. Thankfully, I managed to finally find one like it and buy a replacement.

SK-8K

25 Nov 2021, 23:27

Menuhin wrote:
25 Nov 2021, 12:23
I also made an alsp opener by crafting it out of a plastic ruler - for popping out the parts of Alps switches when they were still soldered on the NeXT keyboard. I just brush cleaned and air-dusted the bottom housing while I ultra-sonic cleaned the other parts to freshen up this NeXT keyboard with undampened cream Alps.

I destroyed 100% of the PCBs that I desoldered - burning and pulling pads - so before I get a good enough desoldering gun or before I sharpen my desoldering skills to not damage anything badly, I shouldn't to perform any desoldering on any functional non-crappy keyboard again.
Get a soldering station with a temperature control. Old single sided PCBs burn up on all but the lowest temperature settings.

Post Reply

Return to “For sale”