Beamspring Factory process - How to

SneakyRobb

16 May 2019, 16:24

Hi,

I am making a thread to document the construction of new beamspring keyboards. I will collect designs, files and processes here.

I have worked with wcass and DMA bouncing ideas off of them. Obviously they have both been a big help.

Main imgur collection here
https://imgur.com/gallery/x0B4aZV

So far I have managed to produce a cherry mx conversion for my 3278 into a 60% Ansi Keyboard.
uVy1nQq.jpg
uVy1nQq.jpg (209.28 KiB) Viewed 285 times


(I have DSA "ice" keycaps now to replace the space and modifiers I borrowed from a quckfire. I know they look bad)0

Most keys do not actually need the stabilizers as beamsprings almost never bind. I have been adjusting the 3d printed stems in order to get the stabilizers to work well. https://imgur.com/bBQUrR5 https://imgur.com/aCJ01Hi

Costar stabilizer bent bars hit the return spring and are not the best.

ansi board
https://imgur.com/uVy1nQq

https://imgur.com/eh1pliL
https://imgur.com/XhMJYPZ

https://imgur.com/gWW6Otx
https://imgur.com/PCRSdSG


I have opted so far to use 2 layer PCBs because they are easier to make. This is the model m variant.
https://imgur.com/TENGvNg
https://imgur.com/NijT3hI


Conversions so far have been straight forward. As you need a plate and a pcb along with the DMA controller.

For the production of new components I am less developed.

Currently I am working to perfect a 3-piece 3d printed plastic stick screw. I have music wire of 0.025 inch thickness.
I have been able to wrap the wire around the stick to make new return springs. This is somewhat time consuming but it works.
The stick has 3 lengthwise pieces. The 2 outer ones have the screw guide and the middle one doesn't. I will upload this file soon.

What you do is wrap the wire around and then remove the middle stick to remove the other pieces, and there you go new return spring.

Here is a basic idea of the mechanism. It is a guide to get the winding right, and then it disassembles.
https://imgur.com/a/gWKzwPS

I will update on the progress of these springs this weekend.


For the switch plate foot, black carbon 3d printed plastic seems to work somewhat. It is obviously capacitive. It doesn't matter what you make the barrel assembly out of.

For the beamspring itself, the steel is 0.015 inches thick spring steel and you can cut it with scissors. (Don't ask me how I know this.)

The beamspring itself is reasonably easy to make with a press as it is just a shape with a hole in the middle. I am currently trying to perfect my punch press in order to make larger quantities of new springs.

The thicker flyplate has been an issue.

I will continue to update this post in the future with files etc. Let me know if you have any questions or input.
Last edited by SneakyRobb on 16 May 2019, 20:12, edited 5 times in total.

John Doe

16 May 2019, 16:34

Splendid job. Hope to see more process going on.

By the way, if there are extra original beam spring caps to sell, PM me.😬😬😬

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Monster-Toys

16 May 2019, 18:23

Very cool project! (thx for making this thread :) )

"The beamspring itself is reasonably easy to make with a press as it is just a shape with a hole in the middle. I am currently trying to perfect my punch press in order to make larger quantities of new springs."

Especially this sounds great. :) (count me in for the first ordering round^^).

Did you think of converting to something else then capacitive sensing? I try to figure out ways to convert my switches to "normal" switches. CS is (at least in my beamspring) quite a diva and disassamble the beamspring every other day and clean it to avoid severel "hickups" is annoying.
I have several ideas for it but did not try them yet (the easiest beeing to tape a thin selfmade foam and foil pad to the flyplate. It requires another plate between switches and pcb, tho).
Doing it with custom housings could be more "elegant" (conductive plate on top of the flyplate and contacts where the flyplate rests when the switch is pressed (the two cylinders in the original) + two legs for through hole soldering).
But maybe i am just crazy. :oops:

SneakyRobb

16 May 2019, 18:53

Monster-Toys wrote:
16 May 2019, 18:23
Very cool project! (thx for making this thread :) )

"The beamspring itself is reasonably easy to make with a press as it is just a shape with a hole in the middle. I am currently trying to perfect my punch press in order to make larger quantities of new springs."

Especially this sounds great. :) (count me in for the first ordering round^^).

Did you think of converting to something else then capacitive sensing? I try to figure out ways to convert my switches to "normal" switches. CS is (at least in my beamspring) quite a diva and disassamble the beamspring every other day and clean it to avoid severel "hickups" is annoying.
I have several ideas for it but did not try them yet (the easiest beeing to tape a thin selfmade foam and foil pad to the flyplate. It requires another plate between switches and pcb, tho).
Doing it with custom housings could be more "elegant" (conductive plate on top of the flyplate and contacts where the flyplate rests when the switch is pressed (the two cylinders in the original) + two legs for through hole soldering).
But maybe i am just crazy. :oops:
Hi thanks. Again I must credit heavily wcass and DMA as well as red for his videos. Shoulders of giants.

I believe in other projects as well as the DMA commonsense thread people have looked into other sensing methods, pad and foot sizes and the such. You can have some variation I believe, but I am not sure. I am just working in the physical rearranging of the keys/pcb as well as production of switch pieces. There are a bunch of threads that I have seen that I have used as reference. So my board wasn't developed in a vacuum by a longshot.

There is the fext project for converting the model m to use model f components as well.

I don't see why you couldn't make a foil and foam system. It would require the work though. I have not had a problem with the CS system itself. I had my 3278 setup with no dust shield for well over 2 years with no malfunction both with both xwhatsit and dma. So I would strongly suggest trying to figure out why your system is having the issues that it is.

There is definitely room for elegance here. Wcass designed a cool case for the "HHKB" variant he designed.

My sandwhich design was more to just get a working system up and running using the commonsense. It is quite... rough.

DMA

Yesterday, 23:05

Sorry for hijacking the thread, SneakyRobb.
Monster-Toys wrote:
16 May 2019, 18:23
CS is (at least in my beamspring) quite a diva and disassamble the beamspring every other day and clean it to avoid severel "hickups" is annoying.
What are your symptoms? Keys not registering, repeats, something else?

What are your thresholds? Must be about quarter to halfway between "not pressed" and "pressed" levels.

-- check/fix thresholds before going below --

Do you have connection to the metal parts of the keyboard to the ground?
If you do - please PM me photos of the kit and all wires between it and the keyboard visible.

SneakyRobb

Today, 04:31

DMA wrote:
Yesterday, 23:05
Sorry for hijacking the thread, SneakyRobb.
Monster-Toys wrote:
16 May 2019, 18:23
CS is (at least in my beamspring) quite a diva and disassamble the beamspring every other day and clean it to avoid severel "hickups" is annoying.
What are your symptoms? Keys not registering, repeats, something else?

What are your thresholds? Must be about quarter to halfway between "not pressed" and "pressed" levels.

-- check/fix thresholds before going below --

Do you have connection to the metal parts of the keyboard to the ground?
If you do - please PM me photos of the kit and all wires between it and the keyboard visible.
Hi, No worries.

Very half baked update.

I will make this process easier in the near future. This is my tinkering update.

Spring progress. This is for the return springs. Not the beamsprings.
https://imgur.com/gallery/fMzgf8r

So I spent today trying to make return springs. I had some success.. but will need more work.

I had a concept of a 3d printed piece of plastic and it basically didn't work Which is good.

For this you need to use music wire. And a long 1/2 inch hex bolt. A piece of wood and some other hardware.

0.025inch thick music wire. You can use any brand/source>
Example https://www.amazon.com/PRECISION-METALS ... way&sr=8-5

A piece of wood to attach everything to.


This is basically what I modeled my process after.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhQBz6q ... e=youtu.be

I managed to make some smaller springs and will be able to soon make full size springs. I forgot to get a 1/2 nut so made some smaller ones. Most of them were average/poor. I showed the best one.

Basically. you need a piece of wood as a base. You will use 2 wingnuts on bolts to hold 2 plates of metal together. You sandwhich the music wire between the pieces of metal to compress it and not allow it to back up. It lets you keep up the tension.

You thread the wire through the nut and screw it down on the bolt. You then rotate the bolt and the wire takes on the spring shape. Then when done cut the wire and unthread it.

As you can see in the images I managed to make a smaller spring. It has decent spring characteristics and the newer 1/2 inch ones will function perfectly fine.

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