Homemade Mod&Lube Station for MX & Alps switches

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

17 Oct 2016, 08:47

I saw something like this on sale over at GH but neither wanted to pay the price nor the shipping nor the import tax and didn't want to wait!

So I went through a bunch of acrylic plates I had left from a grab bag and took the thickest plate I had left large enough to house 105 switches. I wanted to have enough slots even for a modern fullsize. Yes, I am still missing 4 slots for potential multimedia keys on Ducky keyboards but ... EH.

The main purpose I use this for is modding Vintage Blacks and MX Clears. Before getting this, I would often use the actual keyboard plate to prepare the switches and mod them in-plate. This failed greatly when I got a kit that doesn't support switch top removal ... it's also a bad solution since bottom row and stabilized keys often don't sit tight enough in their large slots to mod them properly.

Desgining the plate took just a few minutes with the KLE and the Swilkb Plate Builder http://builder.swillkb.com/ but I added some padding around the plate. Because my laser doesn't support more than 320mm width, I had to make the plate rather longer than wider. The 7x15 matrix was my first choice since it gives me exactly 105 slots (ISO Fullsize) and allows easy adding up of the slots (15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 105 ... even I can do THAT math)

Since I wanted clean cuts, I choose a lower laser power and slower cutting speed (6mm/s for the first run, 12mm/s 2nd+3rd) but had to do three runs in total to cut the whole plate properly. It took about 3h to cut the plate, 5mm acrylic plates are quite a job for such a small laser. Again, I didn't want to rush it since I will be using this plate a lot and wanted clean, thorough cuts. I smiply lifted the plate out of the laser after three passes and the cutouts remained inside - what a a dream.

The cuts have a slight angle, lasering so deep will result in a v-shaped cut with my machine. That's perfectly fine since the switches still slightly snap in on the "tighter" side fo the plate without locking in. They sit very tightly but can be pushed out of their slots gently when pushed from below. That is exactly what I wanted - a firm fit without the need for tools to remove them again.

I added some rubber feet to make sure the plate keeps the switches from the touching the table. Funny thing is when I push a switch down (putting the switch top back) the plate flexes a little and I can push the switch against the table and not into the plate. Turned out REALLY nice!

The plate doesn't hold the switches firm enough to let me open them while in the plate. Instead I pop them open like pistachios and then just place the switch bottom in the plate, do my modding and press the switch top back on. Here's some pictures of my first modding session, 105 vintage blacks got 45gr. springs, a hint of low viscosity oil on the spring and polycarbonate stickers. A real pleasure, all slots are great. I am VERY excited about how this turned out.

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User avatar
002
Topre Enthusiast

17 Oct 2016, 11:25

Nice one, man. Should remove a bit of the tedium involved with a task like that -- although if you're in the right frame of mind it can almost be therapeutic in some ways.

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hypkx
Chasing the Dream

17 Oct 2016, 11:34

Looks nice wodan, I use the method that you described popping them open with a screwdriver, but I just throw them on the table and didn't have such a pretty device.
How are the polycarbonate stickers, if I remind me right they were from a small group buy on reddit. Is there a noticeable difference in between the feeling of regular stickered switch and them?

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Alkhar

17 Oct 2016, 12:20

hypkx wrote: How are the polycarbonate stickers, if I remind me right they were from a small group buy on reddit. Is there a noticeable difference in between the feeling of regular stickered switch and them?
Bought mine here https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=80010.200, he only had extra in white colors.

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

17 Oct 2016, 16:13

002 wrote: Nice one, man. Should remove a bit of the tedium involved with a task like that -- although if you're in the right frame of mind it can almost be therapeutic in some ways.
Hell yeah, there's no other reason a same person would do this otherwise.


The polycarb stickers work pretty nice, much easier to apply than sticky-stickers and they give the switches a very tight fit.

Throwing all switch parts on little piles and then re-assembling them worked well for me for the longest time, the plate doesn't really give you better results but a much more efficient workspace instead. If I come across more 5mm acrylic plates I might offer some of these for sale. Any interest? Think taking into account the time it takes me to laser one of these, prices will probably be ~25€ per piece + shipping.

More pictures from the second batch of modded switches:
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User avatar
Alkhar

17 Oct 2016, 22:11

Maybe you can larger the side, so you can put 2 more feat on each side, so the acrylic plate does not bend/flexes ?

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

17 Oct 2016, 22:41

The bending/flexing is actually quite helpful, this way you can push a switch against the surface when pressing the switch top back on - gives you much better resistance.

Oh yeah and I can't go much wider. Maybe 10-15mm more is possible before I run out of x-axis ;)

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duynguyenle

17 Oct 2016, 23:50

€25 seems pretty reasonable for something like this

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Thumper
knock knock

04 Nov 2016, 20:03

Any chance you sell it / another one ?

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

04 Nov 2016, 20:19

I'll see if I can get suitable acrylic plates that fit into the laser. What I really hate is cutting/breaking large 5mm acrylic plates into shape...

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

09 Nov 2016, 16:23

Okay just ordered three acrylic plates to do a prototype production run. Thumper already signed up for one, the first two PMs I get for another one will be getting the other two.

Please note that I have not clue how many will actually come out well. I will only invoice when I finished them.
Price: 25€ + shipping

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cookie

09 Nov 2016, 16:32

Nice work!

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Thumper
knock knock

10 Nov 2016, 20:57

Wodan wrote:Okay just ordered three acrylic plates to do a prototype production run. Thumper already signed up for one, the first two PMs I get for another one will be getting the other two.

Please note that I have not clue how many will actually come out well. I will only invoice when I finished them.
Price: 25€ + shipping
^__^

Shihatsu

25 Aug 2018, 11:56

Imba necro ftw - with a purpose, though. I just clicked through various Wodan vids for edutainment purposes and stumbled over this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5hGHQwcFSc
In that particular video Wodan is referring to an ultra thick acryllic plate from tao bao - do anyone of you have a link to it?

User avatar
Khers

31 Aug 2018, 08:45

You mean something like this? I bought a 6x11 a while ago, works well.

Shihatsu

31 Aug 2018, 10:19

O god exactly this. Thank you very much, I was trying to find it on tao bao via google translate... Mind telling me which agent you used? Why the fuck is DT just so awesome... My wallet HATES you guys, you know that, do you?

:D

User avatar
Khers

31 Aug 2018, 12:21

I used superbuy, and had no issues at all, but the shipping out of China was a little expensive when compared to e.g. aliexpress, but nothing out of the ordinary. It just felt a little weird paying $25 shipping on a $10 item :D.

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