IBM Model F XT restoration (Work in Progress; lots of images)

Aran.E99

21 Feb 2019, 15:18

On the weekend, I finally popped my Model F cherry - I grabbed it on ebay after the seller kindly opened the auction to offers. The pictures didn't show much other than some rust spots on the back plate and two cracks in the top plate. The only thing missing so far is a single spring.

The rear sticker indicates it's a 515x with the model number 1501105 and assembled in 1985. The original cable appears to have been replaced.
rear sticker.jpg
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Once I was finished typing on it, I opened it up to be greeted with a lot of powder (from the foam) and LOTS of rust - nice
corrosion.jpg
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This is possibly the worst rust I've seen in a keyboard, and I've had a lot of bad ones. I'm confident that this was, at some point in it's life, partially submerged in water. I began by taking the keycaps off so I could see the damage - the barrel plate is also rusted but not as bad (on the top, that is)
dust under caps.jpg
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Once all the caps were off, I separated the assembly with the help of some pliers. The goo from the foam and the rust made this difficult.
seperation.jpg
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flippers.jpg
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The foam was completely powder and goo meaning I need to make a new foam mat at some point
foam 2.jpg
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The rust is incredibly bad on the inside as well. I've started sanding it down but it will take a while before I'm finished. My goal is to spray everything with Polyurethane but I'm not sure how effective that would be.
rust on inside.jpg
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rust sanding.jpg
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Regarding the other hardware, I've currently got the barrels and keycaps soaking in soapy water and springs and bolts soaking in WD40. So far the springs are looking much better as they were coated in rust.
springs in wd40.jpg
springs in wd40.jpg (2.51 MiB) Viewed 918 times
--Day 2--
While the keycaps and barrels were drying off, I finished sanding the rust off the bottom plate. Unfortunately, I had to leave one spot because I would've had to destroy a sticker otherwise.
rust removed.jpg
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The barrel plate is frustrating as it's hard to sand. I'm also going to have to paint this part once I'm done sanding.
removing rust.jpg
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I also began removing excess epoxy from the case. It doesn't look pretty but at least it's functioning.
epoxy cured.jpg
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As it turns out, the WD40 didn't help the springs at all. Some of them are very rusty but still function.
rust.jpg
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--Day 3--
Decided it was time to begin painting the top plate so I started by sanding more of the paint off. The mouse sander I used didn't really help so I did more by hand.
sanding top plate.jpg
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Sadly nowhere had any enamel gloss type paint so I settled for some red rust-oleum stuff. I had a little bit of crappy cheap primer left so I used that to prime the plate.
Priming plate.jpg
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This morning, I decided to start painting it. It turned out alright but there are some drips visible which I will need to sand down once dried.
Paint dripping.jpg
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I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the bottom plate - I don't want to sand all the paint off of it but it's full of rust so I might have to. Optionally I may only paint over the rusted areas but this will look odd.
deep rust.jpg
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The foam is in the mail so hopefully sometime in the next few days I can get that cut and everything put back together.
Last edited by Aran.E99 on 24 Feb 2019, 16:12, edited 3 times in total.

Anakey

21 Feb 2019, 15:33

Nice, My Model F that i restored last year was made a day after yours. That backplate is certainly in poor condition, hopefully once the rust has been dissolved away and the plate coated it should be ok. your foam looks to have come off cleaner then mine did, getting the white stuff off the barrels was a tough challenge but it looks like yours came off without taking the white stuff with it. There is a file with a template for new foam. For the foam itself I used some leftover laminate flooring underlay however artist foam or similar will also work. For getting it back together you will need plenty of clamps and locking pliers to hold the sides of the case together whilst using a hammer to push the backplate into place.

Aran.E99

21 Feb 2019, 15:51

Thanks for the tips! what thickness do you suggest for the foam?

Anakey

21 Feb 2019, 16:02

you want it to be 2-2.5mm the main thing is the compressibility if you go too thin then the middle rows will not be secure enough due to less compression in the middle, if it is too thick then you will not be able to compress it enough for the baseplate. There are several threads in the past about foam for both Model F and beamspring boards, this one is pretty comprehensive viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8033 also link to a template file for when you do get some foam post213140.html#p213140

Aran.E99

21 Feb 2019, 17:01

much appreciated, I have ordered a sheet of foam that should work.

John Doe

23 Feb 2019, 16:42

I also face the intractable problem of the rusty springs, no helpful solution after searching whole forum.

Tried vinegar and WD40 also, still like shit.
B1E762CA-D323-406E-A0A5-3C7B22B8FB94.jpeg
B1E762CA-D323-406E-A0A5-3C7B22B8FB94.jpeg (2.09 MiB) Viewed 786 times
If you have good idea finally, really really appreciate it. :D :D :D

Aran.E99

23 Feb 2019, 17:44

Holy shit those are some of the worst springs I've seen! I considered trying a contact cleaner but it's very similar to WD40 so I doubt it would work. The corrosion seems really stubborn on the springs and other metals which is strange because vinegar normally works fine for me.

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JP!

23 Feb 2019, 18:23

Shit man. This is a project here. I would say try and find a product called Evapo-Rust. I use it all the time on springs, screws, etc. It works like magic (chelation) and isn't harmful to metal like acids and you won't have an issue with flash rust after derusting. Acids tend to take good metal along with the rust. Krud Kutter or Naval Jelly (phosphoric acid) are good products as well but cost more per ounce than Evapo-Rust. Once derusted you can apply some gun oil to prevent future rust. Your other options are to find another Model F or use some springs from a Model M.

John Doe

24 Feb 2019, 03:27

JP! wrote:
23 Feb 2019, 18:23
Shit man. This is a project here. I would say try and find a product called Evapo-Rust. I use it all the time on springs, screws, etc. It works like magic (chelation) and isn't harmful to metal like acids and you won't have an issue with flash rust after derusting. Acids tend to take good metal along with the rust. Krud Kutter or Naval Jelly (phosphoric acid) are good products as well but cost more per ounce than Evapo-Rust. Once derusted you can apply some gun oil to prevent future rust. Your other options are to find another Model F or use some springs from a Model M.
Thanks, JP!

I will try your method and reply when get any result.

Aran.E99

26 Feb 2019, 16:33

So today I've spent a bit (a lot) of time in Photoshop recreating the rear sticker. It isn't perfect and since I don't own an IBM dot matrix printer, the numbers aren't spot on but I'm pretty happy with it.
RearStickerWhiteBG.jpg
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pyrelink

26 Feb 2019, 23:25

Holy crap this is quite the project you got. Don't think I have seen a Model F so rusty. I am not sure the going rates of XTs these days but I hope the price you paid reflected the condition.

I like the sticker recreation though, one day I want to print a new metallic sticker to replace the one I lost on my f107.

Aran.E99

27 Feb 2019, 08:01

Thanks, I only paid about £27 for it which I feel is alright but in hindsight I could have offered less and got it. I doubt it will be worth a lot more once restored but al least it will work :)

andrewjoy

27 Feb 2019, 14:47

John Doe wrote:
23 Feb 2019, 16:42
I also face the intractable problem of the rusty springs, no helpful solution after searching whole forum.

Tried vinegar and WD40 also, still like shit.

B1E762CA-D323-406E-A0A5-3C7B22B8FB94.jpeg

If you have good idea finally, really really appreciate it. :D :D :D
Try Evapo-Rust

Aran.E99

01 Mar 2019, 18:44

Managed to get another F XT from the same seller. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. It might be even more rustier than the first. The top of the barrel plate has thick corrosion and the back plate is bent. If he gets any more I'm definitely asking for a lower price...

John Doe

01 Mar 2019, 18:49

Aran.E99 wrote:
01 Mar 2019, 18:44
Managed to get another F XT from the same seller. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. It might be even more rustier than the first. The top of the barrel plate has thick corrosion and the back plate is bent. If he gets any more I'm definitely asking for a lower price...
Imao, really need post some pics to show the shit.

Aran.E99

01 Mar 2019, 19:06

Surprisingly the springs (from what I saw) are really clean and the bottom pan looks clean but the internals look like they've been submerged in the ocean since 1986...
I mean how does this even happen to a keyboard?
rust.jpg
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MBS whoever they are (presumably the company that ripped out the IBM badge to replace it with their own)
MBS.jpg
MBS.jpg (1.55 MiB) Viewed 538 times

Aran.E99

02 Mar 2019, 16:05

Update on keyboard 2: definitely more rusted.......
rust plate.jpg
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The bottom plate is also bent in the corner (if anyone knows a good fix, please let me know!)
bent plate.jpg
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Oh, and the keycaps smell awful. A smell I can only describe as sadness. I don't know what I've gotten myself into but I don't like it...

John Doe

04 Mar 2019, 06:34

C0BBB33D-7AB3-4839-AA18-C9E723D21AC4.jpeg
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What I got after Vapor-Rust using, its really like magic, thanks guys.

Aran.E99

04 Mar 2019, 16:42

John Doe wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 06:34
C0BBB33D-7AB3-4839-AA18-C9E723D21AC4.jpeg

What I got after Vapor-Rust using, its really like magic, thanks guys.
Looking good, might try it myself at some point (when I can afford the stuff!)

John Doe

04 Mar 2019, 16:46

Aran.E99 wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 16:42
John Doe wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 06:34
C0BBB33D-7AB3-4839-AA18-C9E723D21AC4.jpeg

What I got after Vapor-Rust using, its really like magic, thanks guys.
Looking good, might try it myself at some point (when I can afford the stuff!)
This is what left after the rust removed. :lol: :lol: :lol:
2AE7FEE4-A4BA-4495-83C9-0757314C40BA.jpeg
2AE7FEE4-A4BA-4495-83C9-0757314C40BA.jpeg (1.78 MiB) Viewed 423 times

Aran.E99

04 Mar 2019, 23:32

Forbidden pineapple juice!

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Sangdrax

05 Mar 2019, 03:00

Great work, man. A lot of effort put into this project, and I can't wait to see the final result.

Aran.E99

05 Mar 2019, 12:23

Thanks, hoping to have it together in the next few days. The hole punch arrived but like the idiot I am, I forgot to order a 2-3mm one for the alignment lugs. The main holes are all punched out and hopefully correct. The bottom case is primed but I need to buy some white paint before I can continue on that.

Aran.E99

05 Mar 2019, 14:33

Okay so after placing all the barrels & flippers in, I managed to get everything clamped down. I hammered the plate until it was slid in place. I've noticed while putting on the keycaps that maybe 20 or so springs don't buckle at all no matter how I install the cap. Other keys feel very loose and not responsive and only buckle once bottomed completely out (different feel to the other one I have). I have a feeling this is related to the foam not being of proper tension but I'm not taking it apart again until I get a bar clamp.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

05 Mar 2019, 15:16

The "flippers" (pivot plates) have obviously jumped out of their tracks. I was able to open and close XTs a couple of times by hand before I started working on the big Fs, but nowadays I always use clamps.

Aran.E99

05 Mar 2019, 16:31

I thought it could be that but the flippers would be completely stuck if they had surely? all the flippers move fine but the keys feel extremely spongy and not responsive. Maybe I aught to invest in a bar clamp, take it apart and put it back together.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

05 Mar 2019, 17:17

There are different ways that they can become dislodged. The "ears" are supposed to lie in little troughs and one or both sides can come out. Or they can be misaligned completely.

Are you sure that the key stems are seated properly? That can take several tries, and sometimes you need to stand the keyboard up on the front or rear edge to get the springs to "flop" forward or back.

Aran.E99

05 Mar 2019, 17:34

Yup, I made sure to tilt the board back. Now that I think about it, completely removing the springs from the flipper might have caused it - I pulled a few springs with tweezers and re-seated them and that did the trick for most. It might explain why they actuate when bottomed out, too (or that could be completely normal and I have no idea what I'm talking about :p). Thank you for the advice, though!

Aran.E99

07 Mar 2019, 18:13

Hooked up my teensy converter I made using an old midi jack and everything worked well in Aqua apart from the occasional key getting stuck and sometimes not registering. I decided to close Aqua and open a text doc to type it's first words in many years. The result?:
oh no.PNG
oh no.PNG (29.49 KiB) Viewed 212 times

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kakan

07 Mar 2019, 18:56

wow they really did clean up nicely. And the text document is a sign

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