(Model MF) Remodeling the Model M (aka.. the Mara)

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fohat
Elder Messenger

01 Feb 2019, 00:07

Muirium wrote:
31 Jan 2019, 22:32

That’s our sacrificial lamb of choice!
I don't know, people are getting weird about them and paying well over $100 each - beats me as to why.

The "Bigfoot" "Blue Switch" and other odd backwater Fs are the ones to chop.

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mattlach

01 Feb 2019, 00:22

fohat wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 00:07
Muirium wrote:
31 Jan 2019, 22:32

That’s our sacrificial lamb of choice!
I don't know, people are getting weird about them and paying well over $100 each - beats me as to why.

The "Bigfoot" "Blue Switch" and other odd backwater Fs are the ones to chop.
I did a quick search.

XT's seem to be going from $125 to $200, and you'd need more than one for this project.

I can only find one "blue switch" and it is going for $250.

I can't find anything called a Bigfoot.

User avatar
wcass

01 Feb 2019, 02:06

Model M barrels are the same as Model F barrels - so the barrel frame and case of any Model M can be used. You just need a new pad card, pivot plates, and controller. The discrete barrels of the AT, XT, and 122 allows rearranging the switches into ... pretty much any layout (just like Cherry/Alps) like my CSSK for example.

I think it would be great if we could work with Unicomp; like the way that AMG works with Mercedes.

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mattlach

01 Feb 2019, 02:13

wcass wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 02:06
I think it would be great if we could work with Unicomp; like the way that AMG works with Mercedes.
Has anyone ever tried to reach out to them?

DMA

01 Feb 2019, 03:33

mattlach wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 02:13
wcass wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 02:06
I think it would be great if we could work with Unicomp; like the way that AMG works with Mercedes.
Has anyone ever tried to reach out to them?
I do remember we have at least one Unicomp guy at this forum.

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wcass

01 Feb 2019, 04:07

I let them know that i would be happy to work with them anytime. I am also trying to get to more meetups and give folks a "hands-on" with the CSSK. It is very impressive in person.

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E TwentyNine

01 Feb 2019, 12:49

wcass wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 04:07
I let them know that i would be happy to work with them anytime. I am also trying to get to more meetups and give folks a "hands-on" with the CSSK. It is very impressive in person.
Someone from here did attempt to work with Unicomp - M'er Forever mocked up a modern SSK interpretation, and recall them saying they were going to come out with one? Nothing ever happened.

And that's something not too far off from current products. I have serious doubts anyone could convince them to spend any time on something as innovative as a modern cap keyboard.

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mattlach

01 Feb 2019, 19:36

mattlach wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 00:22
I did a quick search.

XT's seem to be going from $125 to $200, and you'd need more than one for this project.

I can only find one "blue switch" and it is going for $250.

I can't find anything called a Bigfoot.
hansichen wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 22:38
Ellipse charges 1$ per spring/flipper set and 1$ per barrel, and that stuff will ship in like 2021. At that price you can still buy most Model F boards and source these parts faster and cheaper :?
wcass wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 02:06
Model M barrels are the same as Model F barrels - so the barrel frame and case of any Model M can be used. You just need a new pad card, pivot plates, and controller. The discrete barrels of the AT, XT, and 122 allows rearranging the switches into ... pretty much any layout (just like Cherry/Alps) like my CSSK for example.

So, it would seem the most cost effective way of doing this is to buy the spring/flipper set from Ellipse (if he is selling them to anyone who wants them) use the barrels from the M (since we are using one as a donor for the case anyway)

At current prices, $1 per spring/flipper set is way cheaper than buying sacrificial Model F boards. Heck, even if you already own an F board, you are likely better off cleaning it up and selling it, and buying springs and flippers from Ellipse.

This - however - depends on if Ellipse is willing to sell just springs/flippers, his lead time isn't crazy, and his quality is as good as the originals from the early yo mid 80's.

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hansichen

01 Feb 2019, 20:04

A model F XT is around 100$ these days (that's like 1,2$ per set), with some patience you can find them for less as well. That's still worth it compared to some group buy with no end in sight imo.

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Muirium
µ

01 Feb 2019, 23:26

Do M barrel frames really work with F flippers?
If so, good job I’ve got a few SSK sized spares. Grabbed them before MF was even an idea.

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wcass

02 Feb 2019, 00:25

Muirium wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 23:26
Do M barrel frames really work with F flippers?
If so, good job I’ve got a few SSK sized spares. Grabbed them before MF was even an idea.
Yes, except ....

Reinforcement of the space bar stabilizer hold-down extends into the flipper area on some (not all) barrel frames. This is not an issue with the shorter M flippers, but is a potential problem if you want to switch to F flippers. I think idollar talks about this in his thread. IIRC, the solution is to trim that reinforcement with Exacto or Dremel.

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wcass

02 Feb 2019, 00:47

E TwentyNine wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 12:49
wcass wrote:
01 Feb 2019, 04:07
I let them know that i would be happy to work with them anytime. I am also trying to get to more meetups and give folks a "hands-on" with the CSSK. It is very impressive in person.
Someone from here did attempt to work with Unicomp - M'er Forever mocked up a modern SSK interpretation, and recall them saying they were going to come out with one? Nothing ever happened.

And that's something not too far off from current products. I have serious doubts anyone could convince them to spend any time on something as innovative as a modern cap keyboard.
M'er Forever's design would have required tooling for new case, barrel frames, new membranes, new controller, etc. All big outlays for potential ... one or two thousand new sales. They would be betting that they could sell enough to cover the "Minimum Order Quantity". I would suggest that they dip a toe into the "super premium" market and just make F pivot plates (flippers) and use existing case, barrel frames, back plates.

Since one keyboard uses about 100 pivots, they will reach the MOQ 100 times faster than MOQ for a new keyboard case. PCBs have a very low MOQ - I got 5 pad cards for $100 delivered. These were 4 layer, ENIG, keyboard size. I could have doubled the order for another $50.

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FXT
XT

02 Feb 2019, 15:43

Bigfoot and blue switch Fs seem to be the most common ones harvested.

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Laser
emacs -nw

02 Feb 2019, 15:45

In Europe, "even" a Bigfoot is a rare item. Every time I see somebody suggesting the Bigfoot sacrifice and I check their location, they're from US :)

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FXT
XT

02 Feb 2019, 15:47

To be fair they're still not very easy to find here either, but I've seen cheap ones out there before.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

02 Feb 2019, 16:23

Laser wrote:
02 Feb 2019, 15:45

In Europe, "even" a Bigfoot is a rare item.
All of them could realistically be considered "rare" except for the XT.

I haven't seen the numbers, but it is likely that at least an order of magnitude more XTs were produced than any other F, and, since many went to private consumers rather than commercial companies, those were less like to have been purged and trashed in company-wide upgrades.

What makes them good candidates for cannibalization are their dreadful configurations and layouts.

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Muirium
µ

02 Feb 2019, 16:27

Exactly. No one needs more than one stock XT, and even that might be one too many! They're one of those maddening boards that's half amazing, half awful. Mechanism and layout respectively.

There was a while when "blue switch" and Bigfoot Model Fs were showing up on DT with owners wondering what to do with them. This was before Xwhatsit's Model F controller. Didn't Soarer even have a stab at converting them? Anyway, they seemed to dry up about the time when they became most useful…

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fohat
Elder Messenger

02 Feb 2019, 16:46

Muirium wrote:
02 Feb 2019, 16:27

Anyway, they seemed to dry up about the time
About the time that the M/F project vacuumed up all the loose Model Fs in the world for parts.

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lot_lizard

12 Mar 2019, 02:31

Hey guys,

Apologize for the drought of news, but have waited to make a big drop of info. One impeding issue (along with our producers schedules) has been my transitioning to a new job. I have decided to move onto a new venture, and needed to get my head around what that availability for our project would look like going forward. Fortunately, it's given plenty of time to work out all of the original deals we had in place with our previous vendors (all but 2 will remain the same parts producer).

Unfortunately though, the fabricator of our steel plates is going to be the Hoover Dam on our production bandwidth. They have grown quite a bit since our last experiments (good for our friends), but means they have some large contracts now with zero opportunities to recalibrate tooling/machinery for our little run. I did get a full commitment from them that they would produce as many as we wanted the week of 9/9. It's a while off yet, and I debated running this through with another vendor, but we had to work out several growing pains before regarding the machinery settings (they live down the road so I assisted them onsite originally). All of the OG operators are still there, they still have all of the machine settings documented, and they still have our original files in-house (surprised me). So we are going to stick with them. It's really the only artistically manufactured pieces (sans springs if we do another run there), so the talent of those making does come into play.

I did take an inventory of everything I have already either produced myself or purchased from parts vendors and Cindy. All is well there. The goal (VERY achievable) would be to have everything packaged and ready per the order's BOM before the plates are even created. Receive the plates, load in the otherwise preloaded parcels, and ship out. I'm hoping @Wodan will be nice enough to receive our large Euro sea-freight shipment still and forward-on to reduce shipping costs for our friends across the pond.

Last time we had some momentum and everyone was closely following, so we only needed a small window of time to join the GB (like 3-4 weeks?!?). Now since we know a date for production to wrap up, we can make this a little less of scramble. I was thinking maybe 7/4 we start taking orders, and let it run for 6-8 weeks this time? Thoughts are very welcome. Again, apologize for the delay. Now that my life and our timing has some clarity, I will be on here much more frequently. I just didn't want a bunch of FAKE NEWS until we had something a bit more sticky.

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E TwentyNine

12 Mar 2019, 02:45

Thanks for the update. It's always possible they might have some unexpected availability before then, no? Still, it's not that far off.

Are you going to "revive" all the orders from the original group buy before opening it up to new buyers?

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lot_lizard

12 Mar 2019, 03:06

E TwentyNine wrote:
12 Mar 2019, 02:45
Are you going to "revive" all the orders from the original group buy before opening it up to new buyers?
For sure we are going to let the original folks have access to the one limited commodity we had... all the switches from the original F's that we either got from Cindy or the boards I was going to donate from my collection of F's that are beyond saving. I think everything else, we might just say reorder from scratch. I did throw together a website that I still have the code for that is tested and will facilitate the GB well (much better than our previous spreadsheet)
Techno Trousers wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 03:09
For those without cases, maybe the Model MF curved assembly could be mounted to a metal "frame" and left exposed? It would look pretty badass as a naked keyboard.
I actually would like to see something along these lines too. I unfortunately have spent maybe 10 hours total on this project since it was shelved (I will post those updates in the coming days... they are parts that would work well with @wcass's CSSK and solve our limited commodity barrel/flipper issue at the same time if I pony up for the molds).

One thing I do have is literally thousands of linear board feet of black walnut quarter sawn in my barn. Part two of this project was to always create a case for it. Something exposed/floating from various vantage angles off the desk. I would LOVE to get ahold of hobby CNC (or make one), and put all of that wood to use. The grain on it is beautiful. Someday maybe. Step one, finally get this jewel out.
DMA wrote:
13 Jan 2019, 03:25
Yeah, I'm around.
...
Still testing CS attached to an XTant every day (it's my primary driver).
More than a year already, if memory serves. It's quite stable - didn't have to recalibrate even once.
Crumbs getting under the flippers are the problem though. Make sure the perimeter of the assembly is airtight. :)
Hello my friend. That's great news. The 2-part foam (silicone around the cutouts) and sides being sealed up with our spacers come close. It is about as airtight as we can get. BTW... stop eating Cheetos at your desk!! :)

idollar
i$

12 Mar 2019, 09:19

Hello guys ...

(yes, I am back ... not in full as I am really busy, but I have logged in again).

The real stopper for the FSSK and FEXT are the flippers. I need to test if they can be 3d printed. This would allow to fully transform a model M into an F at a reasonable cost.

BTW: I keep typing with my FSSK, including this text :-)

gianni

12 Mar 2019, 20:58

3d printed? That other guy needed 2 years just to understand what plastic is needed. And now 4 years have passed and yet he doesn't know how to insert the springs.

Well. I'm not sure that guy is ahem, good at planning. Planning.

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kekstee

12 Mar 2019, 23:41

Looking to join this time around. I've seen more Fs since the last attempt at running this and would love those components in my SSK :)

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adamcobabe

13 Mar 2019, 13:18

I would love to join a GB too.

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tentator

13 Mar 2019, 16:51

I'm totally in.
and using my FEXT 01 with capsense here..
But fighting to have a space-fn layout working.. As soon as I manage will report back ofc.

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Hypersphere

14 Mar 2019, 00:45

@lot_lizard: To reiterate: I am "in" again for the packages I had requested last time. I assume that when you officially launch the new GB that we will each need to place our requests from scratch. Looking forward to the announcement.

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lot_lizard

14 Mar 2019, 04:55

Hypersphere wrote:
14 Mar 2019, 00:45
I assume that when you officially launch the new GB that we will each need to place our requests from scratch. Looking forward to the announcement.
I think so. Not that any of the offerings would change, but just to give everyone an opportunity to reboot. The online marketplace should make it much more straightforward on both ends as well. We could certainly open up earlier, but I don’t want to sit on everyone’s money if we can avoid it. Like we mentioned above, the switches will be made available to the original GB participants first before opening up to everyone that missed.

A potential exists that we might make switches this go round (but ZERO promises yet). We already got the springs right when we tried making 55g ones, so I have confidence there we can match the 65g originals (easier to do). If you think about the barrels as being on Cartesian coordinate plane turned as they would be we facing the board, we could take ~2mm off the front of Y plane. If we did, we have switches that would work on a flat profile as well where the rows need to be tighter. The flipper surface area only needs to be reduced by ~1mm on that same plane to still function without rubbing the barrel housing of switch in front of it. I will need to work with wcass, __red__, and DMA to know if the reduced flipper contact area is still enough to be electronically reliable. I know it is mechanically, but everything else is academic to me.

Also, the barrel design update would add a quarter circle to each corner so when the barrels are lined up 2x2, we have a full circle for tension screws to pass through if we ever want to tune dead spots in the middle of the board (would be needed for most flat plate designs unless you had plates as thick as wcass’s CSSK).

I’m not sure we’ll make switches yet, but we might as well make them extendable to all designs if we do. I should know more in the coming couple of month if this will be on the radar for the buy. I’ll post some renderings when I get back home to make the potential updates easier to follow.

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Hypersphere

14 Mar 2019, 15:12

@lot_lizard: Thanks for the very detailed reply! I have lost track of the former details on this project. However, I would hope that the original curved design would be used if at all possible.

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lot_lizard

14 Mar 2019, 15:55

Hypersphere wrote:
14 Mar 2019, 15:12
I would hope that the original curved design would be used if at all possible.
For sure... the curved replacement drop-in assembly will be the only one offered as part of this buy. The switch explanation above was just a VERBOSE thought out loud if we did decide to have switches made (not part of the original GB), we would make ones that worked for both the curved and flat plate profiles

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