ISO to ANSI?

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

16 Feb 2011, 18:11

This topic is kinda directly directed at mass, since I know he has done this type of mod before. I hope he can help out a bit by providing some info :)

Anyway, I have dozens of ISO boards and I would like to convert them to ANSI. What is the best way to do this? What drills are required?

Thanks in advance!

User avatar
mass

17 Feb 2011, 01:14

[PART 1]

To be honest, I am about to start my first ISO to ANSI modification. :mrgreen:
I have done several Tenkeyless Mods for past few years but only started to do the actual layout Mod quite recently.

My Past Mod-works;
Cherry3000Saver
Cherry2100Saver
Black Cherry MX5000
I once did Apple Standard Layout Mod, but drilling wasn't involved. Just a few Dremel action. 8-)
Spoiler:
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From Kbdmania.net and OTD.kr, I could find few layout mod posts from the past and in part 1, I will introduce several methods which those people had tried.

As you'd imagine, it is essential to align and place key switches mm-perfect since it could leads to mis-alignment of keycaps and spaces: and also change in stroke feel(especially with the switch + stabilizers).

Most of the people who's done this modification suggest to use a full plate or partial plate to align switches in right position. Without using mounting plate, it all depends on holes you are going to drill and as you can guess, this is not easy without proper tools.

First of all, all the numbers can be found on CherryCorp. website.
Cherry-MX-PCB-Holes-01.jpg
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Cherry-MX-PCB-Holes-02.jpg
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NOW... WHERE and HOW???

1. A guy from Kbdmania made this hole guide by himself for the drilling. The middle hole's diameter is 4mm therefore he used equal sized bolts to fix the guide firm onto the PCB.
ISO-to-ANSI-Mod-guide.jpg
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2. Another guy from Kbdmania used a thin-flexible PCB strip to position the switch onto the modifying PCB, by measuring exact distance of switches using the strip. Unfortunately, detailed procedure wasn't explained :cry: .
ISO-to-ANSI-Mod-Flex-PCB.jpg
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3. Finally, OTD members made a 'group buy', few of below hole guiding plates which helps the key positioning.
I am not sure how many of these have been made and circulated but unluckly, I wasn't able to get it.
ISO-to-ANSI-Mod-guide-plate.jpg
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Since I couldn't get hold of those guiding tools, I decided to make my own hole guide.
With some help from a OTD member, toronet - I was able to draw a CAD version of Cheery MX ANSI holes.
Then I printed them on a transparent film like below.
Spoiler:
Picture-119.jpg
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Currently I am middle of modifying my MX2100 and MX1800, from ISO to ANSI.
I haven't yet drilled any holes for switches as I am waiting for tools to arrive within next few days.
Since I am on the job, I will update this post frequently.

In part 2, I will introduce some tools (filler, cutting tool, drills, spray-paint) I am using for the Mod. and also post few pictures of the process. Thanks for reading.
Last edited by mass on 29 Mar 2011, 02:48, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

17 Feb 2011, 01:22

This is already more info than I had ever hoped for. Thank you so much! Great stuff. Could you maybe share your CAD file to print on the clear foil? I would really appreciate it!

PS: That Black G80-5000 was yours!! That is one excellent mod, very risky, I would never have had the guts to do that, but the outcome is awesome. Did you think about maybe trying dye experiments (rather than paint) on the spacebar?

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

17 Feb 2011, 01:29

Lots of useful info! I like that hole guide. And the black Cherry 5000!

User avatar
Minskleip

17 Feb 2011, 01:56

Questions: what's the distance between the centre of the main drilling holes? And are the main mounting pins dead centre of the switch?

User avatar
nanu

17 Feb 2011, 02:02

Yes, the center post is dead center. This lets you conceivably mount a keycap in any direction. The side mounting pins are apparently centered along one axis.

I like how people leave the protective film on plastic and never remove it..
If you desoldered a PCB in partial or full and cleaned it up and sanded it wouldn't that work as a hole guide?
Last edited by nanu on 17 Feb 2011, 02:07, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Minskleip

17 Feb 2011, 02:07

nanu wrote:Yes, the center post is dead center. This lets you conceivably mount a keycap in any direction. So the mounting pins apparently are centered along one axis, just by eyeballing it.
Great, thank you! I don't have any accurate measuring tools, and I was optically fooled when looking at the pictures.

User avatar
mass

17 Feb 2011, 02:11

sixty wrote:Could you maybe share your CAD file to print on the clear foil? I would really appreciate it!
Sure, for me, I don't see a problem.
But I have to first ask toronet for his permission, I will get back to you as soon as he replys.
sixty wrote:That Black G80-5000 was yours!! That is one excellent mod, very risky, I would never have had the guts to do that, but the outcome is awesome. Did you think about maybe trying dye experiments (rather than paint) on the spacebar?
Well, Spacebar is the real pain and making this Mod. a Never Ending Story.
I am not sure what kind of plastic it is made of. I've heard some plastics such as ABS doesn't give best results with dye process. Also I cannot paint them as it has a sliding feature in itself. :cry:
BTW, Look at the condition of the MX5000 when I first received it from the seller. :o
I had no choice but to spay it.
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User avatar
mass

17 Feb 2011, 02:16

nanu wrote:If you desoldered a PCB in partial or full and cleaned it up and sanded it wouldn't that work as a hole guide?
Spot on! But I cannot afford to waste any ANSI cherry PCB though. :roll:

User avatar
nanu

17 Feb 2011, 02:36

And unless you like chronically breathing in lead dust you could use that once to make a reusable template from acrylic or something. In related news I just ordered a cheap (hopefully operable) drill press.

User avatar
mass

19 Feb 2011, 17:25

[Part 2]

Within this part I would like to introduce few of the tools I am using to block, drill holes and also few tips as well.

Some people are not bothering to block existing switch and stabilizer holes prior to drill new ones. But I've decided to block them first. I used P38 Car body filler as this stuff adheres well to most materials, also it dries fast and hard on most surface.
Image
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First, using masking tape, cover the area, around the holes you will block with the filler.
Image

Apply the filler to holes, but careful not to over fill as this will require more time to sand (or cut) down. The paste can be applied in several layers and the final layer should be just proud of the level required. Personally I didn't use a sand block, instead I used a sharp blade to level the surface after it is softly harden.
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I mostly use this filler when I cut and modify cases. It works as a good adhesive and also adds a good strength to the case by thickening the area around the cut.
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With Cherry G80-2100, Left-Shift won't need above process as it already has extra switch holes for placing a long-shift key caps. Thanks to Cherry! ;)
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After clean the surface of the blocked holes, don't forget to take a closer photo of the PCB pattern as you will require wire soldering around this area once new holes are drilled. New holes probably will break few patterns and it is essential you to link all the broken points with wires to get the keyboard works properly after the modification.

Next step is to place the clear hole-guide onto the block area. Do this with plenty of light around you so you can place the film exactly where it should be.
Image

Now you are ready to drill!

For more accurate drilling I did decided to get a drill press, and with a bit of research I did find proxxon hand tools vibrate much less than dremels and this cause significant difference when these tools were used with press stand.
(This link shows how dremels are failed to build a decent press stand for their hand tools.)

With these kind of job, I will need just around 10000~17000RPM and Proxxon 50EF and MB 140/B should do the trick..
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I am using my existing dremel drill bits and finally an automatic hole-punch would help a lot centering each drilling.
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Once the drill stand arrives I will try to post few pictures and movies of my own modification in Part 3.
Last edited by mass on 24 Feb 2011, 02:09, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
nanu

19 Feb 2011, 18:04

Very methodical. How do you intend to clamp the PCB in place for drilling? I have no workshop or workbench so am curious :D

Also, is that just a funny name? What makes a center punch "automatic"?

User avatar
mass

19 Feb 2011, 22:43

nanu wrote:Also, is that just a funny name? What makes a center punch "automatic"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_center_punch

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

19 Feb 2011, 23:00

Very nice work! This is exactly what I needed to know. I have never seen the filling method being used before, makes it very clean! Great job on your mod, be sure to post a picture of your final work :D

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

22 Feb 2011, 23:00

I ordered the same filler today. Will attempt my first mod when I find an affordable drill.

User avatar
mass

24 Feb 2011, 00:21

[Part 3]

Just have finished my mods. :D

Couldn't take enough pictures or video while working on it.

First of all,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhYxSGCWZec
Drilling Action!
I've been working on 2100 and 1800, and it seems 2100 PCB is much thicker and harder than 1800s' as 2100 PCB needed more RPM(17000-20000) to drill a 4mm hole. The video shows drilling few 1.5mm holes and in this case I could easily manage to hold the board on tight, but when drilling 3mm and 4mm holes, decent clamping tool would help a lot.
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[Tips]

1. Make sure you take all the photos of the boards' circuit pattern also from the top view. You probably need to take few jumpers prior to drill and you will need this photos to check where they all go back and soldered. Also you need to connect all the broken circuit patterns with wire after fitting switches.
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2. Before fitting switches into those new holes, don't forget to clear edges of new holes(specially with those holes for 4 pins) to prevent any short-circuit. Just turn and screw a wider drill bit few times on each hole. [/color]Link
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043.jpg
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[Result]
G80-2100 Enter and Backslash Mod.
G80-2100 Enter and Backslash Mod.
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G80-1800 Left-Shift Mod.
G80-1800 Left-Shift Mod.
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G80-1800 Enter and Backslash Mod.
G80-1800 Enter and Backslash Mod.
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And Finally, MX2100 Saver with Dolch Replicas;
DSC_0605.JPG
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Well, I am quite pleased with the result with my first key layout modification.
But if I get another chance to do it, I would use better bench drill rather than dremel or proxxon basic drill stands next time, also would use a firm clamping tool for drilling 3, 4mm holes. Hope this will give some ideas to anyone planning to try ISO to ANSI modfication in the future.

And good luck to you, sixty! ;)
Last edited by mass on 24 Feb 2011, 00:38, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
microsoft windows

24 Feb 2011, 00:24

Cool keys! I like those "Ice cube" style ones a lot.

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

24 Feb 2011, 00:46

Well done, looks fantastic!

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

24 Feb 2011, 01:05

Very nice results! It almost looks like a retail PCB. Very clean!

The 2100 looks like it needed quite a lot to get it working again, but I assume some of those are also for your tenkeyless mod. How many jumpers did you need to actually fix the PCB again (aside from those for your cut off numpad)?

User avatar
mass

24 Feb 2011, 01:22

sixty wrote: How many jumpers did you need to actually fix the PCB again (aside from those for your cut off numpad)?
Here is the closer pic of the pattern which were fixed. Around 10 I guess.
BTW tthe photo is up side down.
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User avatar
keyboardlover

24 Feb 2011, 01:29

That cherry key with the LED window is HAWT! Any idea where I could get one?

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

24 Feb 2011, 01:29

goldduck.jpg
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User avatar
mass

24 Feb 2011, 01:54

I am honoured, webwit. ;)
keyboardlover wrote:That cherry key with the LED window is HAWT! Any idea where I could get one?
Got those from a member of OTD.kr
It is actually not a LED key cap.
Spoiler:
Picture 156.jpg
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I just didn't put any label in it.[/color][/size]

[Edited on 29th Mar 2011]
My apology keyboardlover! misunderstood what you said. :o
Last edited by mass on 29 Mar 2011, 02:55, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

24 Feb 2011, 01:59

I saw those, also the colored ones.. I regret not having ordered some, they look great.

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microsoft windows

24 Feb 2011, 02:37

I wonder how clear one-piece keys would look on an IBM Model M keyboard.

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nanu

24 Feb 2011, 03:18

@mass: That Proxxon drills so smoothly! I see your drill stand also features that loose tool clamping handle. That really is a design flaw. In the youtube you linked part 2, that guy uses a rubber band and says another guy uses o-rings to keep it from dropping onto the workpiece and prevent pressing..

User avatar
mass

24 Feb 2011, 03:36

nanu wrote:@mass: That Proxxon drills so smoothly! I see your drill stand also features that loose tool clamping handle. That really is a design flaw. In the youtube you linked part 2, that guy uses a rubber band and says another guy uses o-rings to keep it from dropping onto the workpiece and prevent pressing..
It really is a design flaw, it is!!! :cry:
I didn't notice when I first watched the linked movie in Part 2, but as you spotted, I guess it is a problem everyone's facing after all. Also it slightly rattle a bit when I press the handle at beginning but it doesn't seem to be a problem once it starts to drill(just once at the beginning).
Other than that I was quite surprised to see how it handled the proxxon drill well steady enough.

User avatar
sixty
Gasbag Guru

25 Feb 2011, 07:20

Gonna turn this into a sticky, since its just that good!

ripster

26 Feb 2011, 16:23

Nice mod.
Minskleip wrote:Questions: what's the distance between the centre of the main drilling holes? And are the main mounting pins dead centre of the switch?

All the main holes should be .75" pitch exactly. One of those times when good ol' Imperial Rulez.

I recommend always doing this trick before buying a Laptop. Measured from left edge of "A" keytop. Laptop/Netbooks below 7" (93% of fullsize) I don't recommend.
Image

User avatar
microsoft windows

26 Feb 2011, 17:51

I wouldn't ever buy a laptop with Shitlet keys in the first place. Those things make my fingers want to cry.

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