[WIP] G80-3000 TKL mod

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CRi

18 Sep 2015, 20:41

Hi everyone :)

So I bought two G80-3422LAMIT from acolombo's group buy and I'm doing a TKL mod on one of those.

A little backstory about why I want to make this mod, for those who care ;)
Spoiler:
I have a small man cave (just a workbench actually, until I can move in a roomier home) where I like to tinker with electronics and other DIY projects...
I managed to cram a small computer in there but I don't really have the space for a full-size keyboard and the mouse next to it. At least, that's a very good excuse to make this mod :lol:
Besides, I think it's a very good way to combine my passion for tinkering with my (new) passion for mechanical keyboards.
I'll try to make a clear build log / guide for those who would like to do the same 8-)

Now, enough chit chat, let's start to mod this keyboard !

1. Top cover
1.1 Cutting the top cover
We'll start with the top part of the keyboard, we'll first plan where we need to cut.
We want the width of the right border (the one we'll cut) to be equal to the left border.

There are ribs at the back of the top cover... basically, we need to keep the rib located at the left of the numpad, and cut the one at its right (when watching the keyboard from the front, so actually the first picture is reversed).
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Using a fine-toothed hacksaw, we'll begin to cut the top cover. We'll go slow so we'll have the straightest border as possible:
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The first cut is done:
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Both cuts are now done:
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On that picture, you can see the tools required until now. The cutter is used to to deburr the edges after the cut. A sanding pad with 240 grit sandpaper is used to sand the edges until they're perfectly straight and smooth.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture after sanding :?
Basically, on the left side of the keyboard, you want to sand the edge flush to the rib. On the right side, we have cut the rib so we just want it to be straight.

1.2 Gluing the top cover
We need to lay the top cover on a flat surface (front side facing down) and glue booth part with cyanoacrylate (also known as CA glue or Super Glue). Use the glue sparingly, only one drop on each corner and one in the middle is enough. If something is not aligned, you can then easily disassemble it and glue it again properly.

We can see that the result is not bad... except maybe I beveled the edges a little too much, but that shouldn't be a problem.
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The CA glue was great to do a quick assembly, but we now need to assemble it more strongly with epoxy glue. I decided to use JB Weld because I had it on hand.
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1.3 Preparing the top cover for painting
We'll now use filler to make the top cover smooth. I used some Milliput Standard because I had some, but any body filler should be suitable.
After applying a first coat of epoxy, I noticed some low spot and added a second coat.
We then have to sand it using medium (240 then 400 grid) sandpaper.
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The next step is to "paint" the top cover with primer. We apply two or three very thin coat of primer, waiting around 15-20 minutes between each coat.
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The result is not bad but not perfect. The line between both parts was still a bit visible, and the texture was smoother in the sanded spots than in the untouched zones.

To fix these minors problems, I sanded the front cover and will apply another coat of primer.
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But for now, the weather is very rainy in here, and I don't have a place to paint inside...

Meanwhile, I began to work on the bottom cover and will describe that in a future post.

I hope you enjoyed this first post, don't hesitate to comment and tell me if I can improve something :D

CRi
Last edited by CRi on 02 Oct 2015, 11:44, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
CRi

18 Sep 2015, 20:42

2. Bottom cover
2.1 Cutting the bottom cover
I might not have planned that part enough so let me explain what should be done.

The bottom of the keyboard can't be cut in a straight line like the top, we have to cut it like this :
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The part in red must be removed. The part in yellow will be filled later with epoxy.
You might ask why we need to cut in such a odd shape?

First of all, we can't cut straight into the feet, we have to cut around it. For the bottom part, at first it's not obvious... so let's look at the back of the cover :
Image

We can see that there is a recess at the bottom, where the top cover will clip in the bottom one. That's where I made a mistake, so we'll hate to fix that later.
In fact we need to keep all the parts highlighted in green.

Here I have cut the right side of the keyboard. As you can see the bottom part (left of the picture) was cut straight...
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The left side has now been cut too:
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The fitting is quite nice:
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That's when I realized that I need the recess at the bottom of the keyboard :evil:

So we need to cut another square part with the recess:
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2.2 Gluing the bottom cover
Like the top part, I decided to use a few drops of CA glue to hold the parts in place.
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But this time I chose not to use JB Weld, mainly because of it's curing time. I also read about "ghetto epoxy", a mix of CA glue and baking soda and I wanted to try that.

I applied some glue and then sprinkeld some baking soda over it. Repeat this a few time to build layers, and the result is very strong and bonds very well to plastic.
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2.3 Preparing the bottom cover for painting
I had some issues to make the top cover really smooth so I decided to bevel the edges of the plastic before using the epoxy filler:
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We then fill the "trench" and the unneeded holes with Milliput:
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I had some trouble with the Milliput, at first there wasn't enough so I added a second layer... there there was too many and it was hard to sand properly (hence the scratches you see on the plastic) :|
If I ever had to make that again, I think I would use automotive body filler, and apply a more generous amount... I think that would be easy to sand flat.
Last edited by CRi on 01 Oct 2015, 22:29, edited 1 time in total.

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CRi

18 Sep 2015, 20:42

Reserved

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CRi

18 Sep 2015, 20:42

Reserved

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CRi

18 Sep 2015, 20:42

Reserved

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002
Topre Enthusiast

18 Sep 2015, 22:55

Very nice and clean work so far. I'll be watching this thread for updates.
Certainly your cuts and gluing is much cleaner than my attempt :)

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Muirium
µ

19 Sep 2015, 00:12

Same here. I have two of them, so I'm thinking of giving one the TKL chop. But I quite like the texture and finish on the case. Considering doing everything but the paintjob, and just living with as best an epoxy putty scar as I can!

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ramnes
ПБТ НАВСЕГДА

19 Sep 2015, 05:27

Awesome work so far. :)

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CRi

20 Sep 2015, 18:02

Muirium wrote: Same here. I have two of them, so I'm thinking of giving one the TKL chop. But I quite like the texture and finish on the case. Considering doing everything but the paintjob, and just living with as best an epoxy putty scar as I can!
Yes that's annoying me too, I hoped to use epoxy only on a small 1mm join between both parts but that didn't turn out too well. Even if I made a proper cut, the surface of the keyboard is not perfectly flat so you have to use some filler if you don't want to have an uneven surface.

User avatar
CRi

20 Sep 2015, 18:04

002 wrote: Very nice and clean work so far. I'll be watching this thread for updates.
Certainly your cuts and gluing is much cleaner than my attempt :)
ramnes wrote: Awesome work so far. :)
Thank you :P

I hope I'll have some time tomorrow to write the second part of this guide.

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CRi

01 Oct 2015, 22:37

Sooooo many things and so little time... :oops: :roll:

I finally posted the beginning of the mod of the bottom part in post 2 !

The next post will speak about making both parts of the keyboard perfect with some spray filler, to smooth out the last small defects... but that is still in progress and it's now too cold in here to use that product :evil:

If the weather does not allow me to work on those parts, I guess I'll start to mod the PCB, even though I haven't received all the parts yet...

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scottc

02 Oct 2015, 14:43

Nice! This is great. I love the detail. I'll keep this as a reference for when I get around to doing this. :)

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CRi

11 Oct 2015, 22:47

I'm really annoyed that I don't have time to post updates more often :cry:

Anyway, here is a quick teaser of the work in progress !
DSC07424.JPG
DSC07424.JPG (730.64 KiB) Viewed 2169 times
The PCB is cut to size and the missing tracks have been fixed... if is fully functional with a PS/2 to USB adapter. I also moved the caps lock and scroll lock leds under their respective key.
I'm now waiting for my chinese order to arrive, when I have received my arduino pro micro, I'll install Soarer's firmware.

The case has been painted with body filler. In theory, I should now lightly sand the filler and paint it for good... but I'm still not 100% satisfied with the current result :|

One thing worries me, I didn't use plastic primer on the top cover... I later learned that I should have, and I used some for the bottom cover.
Maybe someone has some experience in painting plastic parts and could give me an advice about that?

andrewjoy

11 Oct 2015, 23:57

That has to be the best case cut i have ever seen , good show sir !

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scottc

12 Oct 2015, 00:26

Beautiful! Looks absolutely seamless, pun quite rightfully intended. I need to get on this ASAP!

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