Tex 60% "Thin Lip" Aluminum Case and KBP V60MTS Keyboards

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Hypersphere

31 Aug 2015, 17:17

Based on accounts of installing the Tex aluminum case for 60% keyboards, I had erroneously assumed that the case would work on the KBP V60MTS keyboards (the ones with Matias switches). The version of case that I tested was the "thin lip" design.

I just found out the hard way that this will not work, unless you are willing to trust securing the case with only a single screw.

The keyboard PCB and plate fit into the case, and the USB connector and all 6 of the DIP switches are accessible through the cut-outs in the case. However, it appears that only one screw-hole is available though the PCB and plate -- the one just to the right of the spacebar. All the other mount points are blocked by the PCB and/or plate.

I do not have a KBP V60 with Cherry mx switches, but from what I have seen posted online, it appears that these keyboards can be installed in the Tex aluminum case for 60% keyboards, although accounts vary about the number of screws that can be used (3 to 5 out of a total of 6).

Although I have not tried other cases, I think that the mounting holes are the same in other cases for 60% keyboards, such as the Tex "fat lip", Vortex CNC, Vortex cast aluminum, and MKC.

Charger

01 Sep 2015, 19:54

I would probably just try to add more mounting points so you could use it

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Hypersphere

01 Sep 2015, 20:04

Charger wrote: I would probably just try to add more mounting points so you could use it
Interesting. Could you suggest ways of doing this?

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chzel

01 Sep 2015, 20:14

Get suitable length bronze standoffs and epoxy in place?

Charger

01 Sep 2015, 20:16

well you could drill and tap for stand offs or even just epoxy / jbweld some stand offs where they need to go.

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Hypersphere

01 Sep 2015, 21:22

There is one mounting post in the aluminum cases that lines up with an existing hole in the PCB and plate of the V60MTS. There are 3 additional posts that are potential candidates, but there are no corresponding holes in the V60MTS plate (I am not sure about the PCB). It might be possible to drill the necessary holes in the V60MTS if there are no conflicts with switches, stabilizers, or PCB circuitry.

I've been in touch with mechanicalkeyboards.com, and they have in turn been in touch with KBP. The engineers at KBP are looking into the feasibility of drilling the necessary holes and whether they might put these into future versions of the keyboard.

I suppose another alternative is to find places in the keyboard where holes could be drilled with no conflicts and then add the corresponding mounting posts to the case as suggested by Charger and chzel.

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Hypersphere

02 Sep 2015, 22:51

Here are pics from KBP sent to me by MK. There are 4 potential mount points in a standard aluminum case for 60% keyboards for the V60MTS. As shown in the illustration of case mounts, only #1 and #3 have no conflicts with essential components in the keyboard, and #4 is a "maybe".
V60MTS_CaseMounts.jpg
V60MTS_CaseMounts.jpg (584.02 KiB) Viewed 2338 times
Currently, the V60MTS keyboard has only one hole through the PCB and plate that lines up with a mounting post in the aluminum case (#3).
V60MTS_SingleHole.jpg
V60MTS_SingleHole.jpg (507.38 KiB) Viewed 2338 times
The KBP engineers are looking into the problem to see if it will be feasible for them to make the necessary openings in the PCB and plate so that at least 3 screws could be used to secure an aluminum case (#1, 3, and 4). In the meantime, I suppose those interested in putting the V60MTS into an aluminum case could try drilling the necessary holes in positions #1 and #4.

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infodroid

11 Dec 2015, 23:38

Hypersphere wrote: In the meantime, I suppose those interested in putting the V60MTS into an aluminum case could try drilling the necessary holes in positions #1 and #4.
MechKB.com have published a build log on drilling the holes in positions #1 and #4.

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Hypersphere

12 Dec 2015, 00:13

@infodroid: Thanks for this update! Unfortunately, however, it looks a bit tricky. I am going to give this some additional thought and planning before unleashing a drill or dremel on my V60MTS.

I also had a recent reply from KBP on this issue. They said that they will soon release a new batch of V60MTS boards that have two additional holes drilled (three holes total) for mounting the keyboard in an aluminum case.

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infodroid

12 Dec 2015, 01:07

Hypersphere wrote: I also had a recent reply from KBP on this issue. They said that they will soon release a new batch of V60MTS boards that have two additional holes drilled (three holes total) for mounting the keyboard in an aluminum case.
That is fantastic news!

I am hoping the new V60MTS boards will at least be easy to identify. So getting ahold of one won't be a lottery.

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chzel

12 Dec 2015, 01:16

I wonder why don't more boards stick to the de facto standard 60% hole pattern (pokerII)?
It would make both the cases and the keyboards more attractive to a bigger audience.

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ramnes
ПБТ НАВСЕГДА

12 Dec 2015, 01:52

I really hate the non centered mini-USB, though.

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Muirium
µ

12 Dec 2015, 02:25

Hmm… I quite like a corner USB port. Don't have a Poker, but I see it goes for the left, like I did in my first custom 60%.

Image

That image is from the wiki. While searching for it, I noticed how few Poker shots in general feature the cable attached. Always a temptation to detach the cable when photographing a board, I suppose.

My HHKB here has quite an irritating port location. Neither left, right, nor dead centre: but right behind the 8 key. That kind of asymmetry sets off my OCD spidey-sense… when I'm back there popping in the cable. Not on the same level as fullsize keyboard permanent paranoia, but an unforced error all the same.

Anyway, dead centred cables aren't my favourite either. I use my Realforce 87U as I do any keyboard with left/centre/right cable channelling: cable to the left, away from the mouse and better headed for its trip around my screen.

The best cable is no cable.

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Hypersphere

12 Dec 2015, 14:52

Regarding cable placement, I'm with Muirium on this one. The almost-center location of the USB connection on my HHKB is the only thing I don't like about the keyboard. I much prefer to have the connector on the left rear of the keyboard (as you face the board; i.e., the connector should be on the Esc-key side.

I also don't like cable routing underneath a keyboard with a recessed area for the connector. The recess never seems quite big enough, and the cable routing tends to be so snug that it makes switching boards more difficult than it ought to be.

As long as the keyboard is wired, I prefer a detachable cable. One of these days, I am going to install a USB connector on my RF87U. It would be easiest to do this with a center placement, but I am going to see if the connector can be placed near the Esc key.

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Stabilized

12 Dec 2015, 16:54

Hypersphere wrote: As long as the keyboard is wired, I prefer a detachable cable. One of these days, I am going to install a USB connector on my RF87U. It would be easiest to do this with a center placement, but I am going to see if the connector can be placed near the Esc key.
I remember Pexon promised us that he was working on a detachable cable kit for Realforces (like the Filco one), not sure what happened to that though...

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Muirium
µ

12 Dec 2015, 17:08

Socket placement would be tricky. Those cable channels are snug indeed, and don't leave much space to play with. Besides, the left and right exits actually come out the side of the keyboard, not the back. I don't think I'd want a USB socket there.

I have my 87U setup with the cable off to the left, and I'm loathe to change it as the grips inside the channels leave dents on that irreplaceable USB cable.

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infodroid

12 Dec 2015, 17:15

I don't like how USB connectors jut out the back of some keyboards. So with my 60% keyboards I use a cable with an angled mini-USB connector. Angled adapters are also quite handy, but a little more bulky than when integrated into the cable itself.

Both the POK3R and the V60 have mini-USB connectors that look to me upside down. So to have the cable veer to the right I had to get a cable with a left-angled connector. The cable now closely hugs the back of the keyboard and isn't really visible from the front.

Image

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Hypersphere

12 Dec 2015, 18:24

@Stabilized: Yes, Pexon does have detachable cable kits for the RF87U. They are similar to the ones for Filco boards. However, I don't like this solution, because it results in a dongle attached to the keyboard. I would prefer a flush-mount solution, but this will involve some cutting/drilling of the case.

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infodroid

05 Feb 2016, 00:08

Hypersphere wrote: I also had a recent reply from KBP on this issue. They said that they will soon release a new batch of V60MTS boards that have two additional holes drilled (three holes total) for mounting the keyboard in an aluminum case.
They did it. Looks like KBParadise delivered on their promise to drill these additional holes:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 337&type=3

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Hypersphere

06 Feb 2016, 19:15

Recently I also received confirmation from the US dealer, Mechanicalkeyboards.com (MK) that the latest shipment of KBP V60MTS boards now have sufficient mounting holes to enable the keyboards to be installed in standard aluminum cases.

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Hypersphere

27 Mar 2016, 23:27

This weekend, I installed a new version of the V60MTS-C into a TEX thin-lip aluminum case. I confirmed that this post-January-2016 version has 3 out of 6 mounting holes for these aftermarket cases.

I found that I didn't really like the sound of the keyboard in the aluminum case. It seems to raise the pitch so that the board sounds like it has Cherry mx blue switches instead of Matias-Click switches.

Therefore, I put the board back into its stock plastic case, but I put a layer of 1/8" silicone foam between the inside bottom of the case and the PCB. I haven't properly evaluated the effect of the foam, but the board sounds good to me with the foam installed and I intend to leave it there, at least for the time being.

For feet, I kept the bottom front anti-skid strips, but on the bottom rear corners, I added 3M self-adhesive round bumpers, 5/8" wide x 5/16" high. This elevates the board to a perfect typing angle for me -- it matches the angle of my HHKB with the legs fully extended.

To deaden the spacebar, I installed a blue O-ring on the switch and put narrow strips of self-adhesive anti-skid rubber (the same as used on the bottom anti-skid pads) inside the spacebar.

Keycaps: dye-sub alphanumerics from an IBM 5140 and blank black mods and spacebar from Matias, with two exceptions -- a red Esc (from SP I think, but I am not positive) and a white on black "menu" key from a Tai-Bao Dolch set to serve as my Fn key on the far right of the bottom row.

I use ATNsoft Key Manager in Windows 10 to remap the board to my liking (HHKB layout).

It surprised me that I preferred the stock plastic case over the aluminum with respect to the sound and feel of the board, but with the tweaks shown above, I am reasonably pleased with just about all aspects of the board. To make it even better, I hope that Matias will eventually have PBT caps for sale and that KBP will introduce a fully programmable version of the V60MTS-C.

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infodroid

28 Mar 2016, 00:04

Thank you for sharing your experience with the TEX thin-lip case. I am still curious whether adding silicone foam to the TEX case would have improved the acoustics for you.

I have a Matias Quiet Pro and a V60MTS-Q, and I was really surprised to find that the Quiet Pro sounds a lot lower pitched than the V60, almost muffled. Also, the V60 is a lot more "rattley". I still cannot explain it. The keycaps are similar between the two boards, both thin laser-etched ABS, so not likely the cause. I wonder whether the Quiet Pro has some sort of foam padding inside. Or maybe it is because the Quiet Pro case is a lot thicker.

Having said that, the stems on my Quiet Pro switches are grey white, whereas they are white grey on my V60, and I wonder whether there might be some subtle differences in the switches between the two boards.

Goes to show there are many factors that make a good keyboard, and not all of them obvious.

Edit: I got the slider colors backwards
Last edited by infodroid on 28 Mar 2016, 13:28, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Hypersphere

28 Mar 2016, 02:13

@infodroid: You said, "... the stems on my Quiet Pro switches are grey, whereas they are white on my V60, and I wonder whether there might be some subtle differences in the switches between the two boards."

It is my understanding that the stems on Matias-Click switches are white and on Matias-Quiet switches they are grey. If this is indeed the case, then you are looking at much more than a subtle difference!

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infodroid

28 Mar 2016, 03:26

Hypersphere wrote: It is my understanding that the stems on Matias-Click switches are white and on Matias-Quiet switches they are grey. If this is indeed the case, then you are looking at much more than a subtle difference!
If only it was that simple! But Matias really did change the stem color from white to grey.

I have not come across any reports of differences between versions of this switch with different stem colors. But it is certainly a possibility.

I also decided to double-check the Quiet Click stems I have. It turns out My Matias Quiet Pro has white stems while my 1st gen V60MTS-Q has grey stems. This makes sense, since the Quiet Pro was an older purchase.

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Hypersphere

31 Mar 2016, 17:40

@Inforoid: Thanks for clarifying things.

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