IBM Model F XT restoration log (Feat. 3D printed feet)

User avatar
green-squid

23 Jul 2018, 20:31

Boy.

I think this F may be the greatest board I'll ever own.
It was quite the journey to restore, but it was all worth it :)
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The Restoration

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This is how it all started. Snacksthecat offered to send me his dirty XT, free of charge (!) to me, since I can't afford Fs normally. I was so excited when I got that message! He also sent me a Matias switch tester.

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How the keyboard looked when it arrived. Quite a few rust spots and dirt!

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Backplate was actually in quite good condition!

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Now it was time to remove the switches. I was very relieved to find out that the foam was in excellent condition.

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Sorting the flippers and housings for cleaning,

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I cleaned the keycaps with baking soda. This is common with dirty IBM caps, due to the dirt stuck in the texture of the caps themselves.

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While the parts were drying, I got to the rust issue. After some tedious sanding, I got it to look all nice and shiny. I didn't paint it, because I have no way to make it look nice, while also having it not come off.

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Next up was cleaning the case. It was also quite dirty. I can't do anything about those deeper scratches unfortunately.

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This is why you never work on keyboards when it's almost midnight and you're pissed! I got it right the next day thanks to the help of my dad. ;)

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Lastly, I needed to deal with the feet. One was broken, and the other one was half broken. Superglue did a good job, but I wanted to look for alternatives.

I got in contact with a kind user named kj5kjm5 who 3D printed me replacement feet from a design I found online (and he even redesigned it a bit)! He also included an awesome keychain with all of this! Thank you Konstantin!

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Not a perfect fit, but it'll do. kinda wobbles around a bit. it's okay :)

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And here's the end result once again! I love this keyboard.

Can't wait to convert it to USB with a soarer. Hope you like it! Once again a big shotout to Snacksthecat, Louis (Myoth) for the replacement keycaps (if you're wondering, the FN keycaps are from an IBM Wheelwriter, and the blank white ones, I'm not sure about, probably Unicomp)
, Konstantin, the DT chat, and everyone I forgot to mention who made this possible!

Thank you guys! You rock!!!!! :)

Now, what will the next project be? :D

User avatar
Dingster

23 Jul 2018, 20:54

Nice restoration :D
Hopefully your sister wont mind the noise, huh? ;)

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digital_matthew

23 Jul 2018, 21:01

Looks great! Very happy you're able to get your hands on a Model F.

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

23 Jul 2018, 21:02

Putting some sweat into an item always makes if much more enjoyable. Good job! You should consider making the 3D print files public, if not already. It will help out others in the same boat.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

23 Jul 2018, 21:05

Model F is the definitive click. My first mech was an XT, too, and it’s still right up there with the best feeling of all the boards I’ve ever used. I’m lucky enough to have a Kishsaver (the super rare 60% format Model F) which I adore, but the XT sounds and feels just as good. You’ve found yourself the king.

Nice colours on those funky feet!

User avatar
green-squid

23 Jul 2018, 21:41

Dingster wrote: Nice restoration :D
Hopefully your sister wont mind the noise, huh? ;)
Hope so, she's stopped complaining now about the M! ;)
digital_matthew wrote: Looks great! Very happy you're able to get your hands on a Model F.
Thanks dawg! :)
snuci wrote: Putting some sweat into an item always makes if much more enjoyable. Good job! You should consider making the 3D print files public, if not already. It will help out others in the same boat.
Yep, it was awesome restoring it. The files are public, but Konstantin made some changes to it, so I hope he can release them somehow.
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2039445/
Muirium wrote: Model F is the definitive click. My first mech was an XT, too, and it’s still right up there with the best feeling of all the boards I’ve ever used. I’m lucky enough to have a Kishsaver (the super rare 60% format Model F) which I adore, but the XT sounds and feels just as good. You’ve found yourself the king.

Nice colours on those funky feet!
Thank you Murimium! This may be THE best clicky keyboard ever created.

User avatar
JP!

23 Jul 2018, 22:27

It looks like you were lucky and got one with good foam. Most of these XT's seem to have the foam that crumbles into dust. Nice job on sourcing replacement feet as well. Also if you have any worry about corrosion on the metal plate you can always apply a light coat of gun oil or lanolin.

User avatar
green-squid

23 Jul 2018, 22:29

JP! wrote: It looks like you were lucky and got one with good foam. Most of these XT's seem to have the foam that crumbles into dust. Nice job on sourcing replacement feet as well. Also if you have any worry about corrosion on the metal plate you can always apply a light coat of gun oil or lanolin.
Thank you! Yeah, I was quite the lucky duck. I do hope I never have to take apart the keyboard again for anything :lol:

User avatar
FXT
XT

27 Jul 2018, 20:44

Looks great. I can definitely vouch for the XT being one of, if not the best feeling keyboard ever made.

tigpha

29 Jul 2018, 19:17

Snacksthecat is a very generous guy! Warm welcome to the Model F club, Green-Squid. Definitely my favourite type of keyboard, by far -- my daily driver at home and at work.

User avatar
Clavius
IBM aficionado

02 Aug 2018, 20:52

Cool restore man! Typing on an XT now which I restored in the same fashion. Did have to replace my foam with 3mm neoprene because the old foam was rotten away to nothing. Funny to see yours held up so well.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

03 Aug 2018, 00:08

Clavius wrote:
Funny to see yours held up so well.
I have opened up probably 3 dozen Model Fs, and perhaps 7-10 of those had acceptable foam and maybe 3-4 of those had excellent foam.

In general, the XTs and ATs had much better foam, I assumed that since these were consumer products they were probably stored in houses after they were retired from service, while the commercial and industrial models were probably stored in warehouses.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

03 Aug 2018, 00:42

Dozens? I’ve been inside just two. My Kishsaver and my AT. Far from perfect, but passable in them both. Neither was a consumer board: the 4704 was a banking system before it wound up in Hong Kong and my AT was property of the State of Texas government until Cindy liberated it! They work fine anyway, each with different layouts than IBM intended. Though I expect they’ll need new foam eventually.

User avatar
elecplus

03 Aug 2018, 01:44

I was just going down memory lane today, Mu, thinking of you!

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

03 Aug 2018, 02:15

Muirium wrote:
Dozens?
I currently own 3 122-key terminals, a 107-key terminal, an F AT in pristine original condition, and an F AT in parts waiting to be re-assembled in ANSI mod with Alt keys. I also have a large and rather odd collection of parts but not enough to build another complete working keyboard.

xueyao

03 Aug 2018, 07:07

fohat wrote:
Muirium wrote:
Dozens?
I currently own 3 122-key terminals, a 107-key terminal, an F AT in pristine original condition, and an F AT in parts waiting to be re-assembled in ANSI mod with Alt keys. I also have a large and rather odd collection of parts but not enough to build another complete working keyboard.
This is how we are all like after going down the IBM rabbit hole.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

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