Leaf80 - Bolt modded Alps Plate Spring TKL

Delirious

03 Jul 2019, 05:45

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Greetings and welcome to part 3 of my build log series where I find obscure switch types and retrofit them into modern keyboards.

This will be the final part of the series regarding SKCP(Alps Plate Springs), with the previous two were TX84 and Omron75 respectively. With TX84 I applied the new trend of half plate and flex to SKCL greens, hopefully breathing new life into linear alps. With Omron75 I experienced with the 75% layout and most importantly, to research an old switch type in Omron B3G-S. Leaf80 is more traditional than the first two, SKCP series have some design flaws that need to be addressed and this build will showcase my way of fixing them. Once again this entire build will be written/typed with my new toy, Alps plate springs Leaf80.

History
-My first exposure with Alps Plate Springs came from Mattr and his build, I was in search of some good PBT set and Mattr suggested buying the P70/75 machine. Initially bought for just the caps, I fell in love with APS and decided to keep it as is, matching Mattr's to the teeth.
-Second exposure came from E3E, who has an appetite II pcb and he is still trying to find a case for it. Poor man.
-Third exposure came from the man himself, Hasu, with his resource about APS
-Fourth exposure came from Wingpad and his Saiph, this is the first APS tkl ever.
-Fifth exposure came from Snackthecat and his build.

Big special thanks to both Wingpad and Snack, Windpad gave me the pcb file, Snack then refined the pcb into what it is today, versatile in layouts and types of SKCP.

Finally, everything works out perfectly when Fox lab did their groupbuy for the Leaf80 tkl. APS operate with leaf jacket system and the Leaf80 is a perfect housing for it, both in aesthetic and namesake.
Last edited by Delirious on 03 Jul 2019, 15:12, edited 2 times in total.

Delirious

03 Jul 2019, 05:45

The Switches
- 3 types of APS: plate mount, battleship pcb mount, square pcb mount
- All have the same weighting of 45g
- All have the same internal parts
- Pcb mount types have extra pins for stabilizing and alignment

I am just repeating myself but Snackthecat did a great job documenting them, please refer to his build log for more info.


The PCB
1. Layout supports:
- ISO + ANSI
- 1.75u Rshift
- AEK top row
- AEK + WKL bottom row
- 3 positions of capslock
keyboard-layout(2).png
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2. Switch types supports:
In order to support pcb mount APS, 10 extra holes are added for bolt modding, and this is also the focus of this build. Both Wingpad's and Snack's builds utilize plate mount APS, Leaf80 is built entirely with pcb mount APS. Please see picture below for the holes in question.
APS_Footprint.jpg
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3. Building with battleship pcb mount APS:
At this point I am fully committed with powder lubing so the snow flakes you see in these pictures are just PTFE powder, nothing extra harmful.

The further-spaced pins are just stabilizers so I solder only 1 of the 2, because too much effort
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I use M2x8mm screws and nuts, the holes on the pcb could fit up to M3 screws. For spacer I use 3mm LED spacer in nylon.
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Spoiler:
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The Plate

The plate was cut by Sendcutsend, they do amazing work if you live in mainland US.
-1.2mm thickness
- stainless steel
- hand drilling for countersunk screw holes.
- plate purposes: to mount stabilizers and top.
Plate is not for switch alignments and mounting, plate is for case alignment. Think of this as reversed-tray mount: instead of mounting to the bottom tray, you mount it to the plate, then the plate mounts to the top case.
Except for a few dog bone switch cutouts for extra alignment, all the cutouts are larger than the actual switches so the plate could be taken off easily.
Due to the mounting system of the Leaf80, this is the most amount of metal I could take away, if I take away anymore metal, flex will come into play and I dont want that.
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Big thank to robotical for letting me borrow his stationary drill to countersunk the plate screws.
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Stabilizer problems:
PCB mount APS have taller bottom housings than the plate mount siblings, and they interfere with stabilizer bars.
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At this point I had 3 choices:
1. Use plate mount on long keys
2. Bend my own stabilizers with a u-shape in the middle, like cherry costar stabs
3. Shave the extruding parts on pcb mount APS

And I picked the third option because lazy
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Last edited by Delirious on 03 Jul 2019, 15:07, edited 3 times in total.

Delirious

03 Jul 2019, 05:45

The Diffuser
Most ppl use diffuser for RGB underglow, diffuser actually has another use: adding extra spacing. Because of the bolt mod I want extra gap inside, also bigger gap is nicer for clicky switches anyway. Big thank to senter for providing the Leaf80 file design so I could derive the spacer from it.
The inner checker pattern is to refrain it from breaking during transport.
I have the choice between plastic and wood and of course I have to go with wood because it fits the main theme. I stained the wood with dark oil, don't remember what it is because I did it at my buddy's house and I just grabbed whatever available.
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Using uniformed 2-piece cap right now, they are alright, will switch back to regular alps caps later.
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The Family
- P70 in g81-1000HAU case (Square pcb mount)
- P70 unmodded (Square pcb mount)
- IBM 5576 (plate mount)
- Leaf80 (Battleship pcb mount)

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Special thanks
- Snackthecat: the pcb designer, thank you for catering all my crazy needs. This pcb is fully compatible with modern custom kits, all rights reserve by Snack also, so if you guys want a gb of this pcb, he is the man to talk to.
- Wingpad: the original designer, super busy with life atm but he was cool enough to pass the file on, so I can look for the next guy
- Senter: super chill, just sent me the Leaf80 design without hesitation
- Robotical: let me borrow the drill
Last edited by Delirious on 03 Jul 2019, 17:16, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
SneakyRobb

03 Jul 2019, 16:38

Wow this is great. I have a bunch of platespring switches and am inspired to make a small custom board. Great job.

User avatar
Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

03 Jul 2019, 17:47

Holy crap, this is one of the coolest builds Iv'e seen as of late. I actually have a P70, but its in horrible condition but the switches still work and 5 are missing from the board. A TKL would be perfect for what I have.

Would there be any way to buy all these in a kit or would I have to do the same as you? (wishful thinking)

User avatar
User101

03 Jul 2019, 20:20

Redmaus wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 17:47
Holy crap, this is one of the coolest builds Iv'e seen as of late. I actually have a P70, but its in horrible condition but the switches still work and 5 are missing from the board. A TKL would be perfect for what I have.

Would there be any way to buy all these in a kit or would I have to do the same as you? (wishful thinking)
Can you part the floppy drive to me if you decide to use the P70 as a parts machine? Thanks!

User avatar
Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

03 Jul 2019, 21:29

User101 wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 20:20
Can you part the floppy drive to me if you decide to use the P70 as a parts machine? Thanks!
Unfortunately I do not have the floppy drive, only the keyboard module from the P70. I would be more than happy to grab the floppy if I'm ever let back in to Computer Reset.

Delirious

03 Jul 2019, 23:56

Redmaus wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 17:47
Holy crap, this is one of the coolest builds Iv'e seen as of late. I actually have a P70, but its in horrible condition but the switches still work and 5 are missing from the board. A TKL would be perfect for what I have.

Would there be any way to buy all these in a kit or would I have to do the same as you? (wishful thinking)
The pcb is compatible with A.87/B.87 custom kit, so you will need a shell first of all (LZ-CLS, TGR-Jane, No.1, TX84, etc....).
Secondly you will need to get a plate cut because each kit uses different mounting system.
Once you get those 2 together it's pretty much a go. The biggest question is whether snack has the time to produce more APS pcb.

User avatar
clickityClackity

04 Jul 2019, 01:35

So fucking cool, thanks for sharing

User avatar
User101

04 Jul 2019, 05:44

Redmaus wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 21:29
User101 wrote:
03 Jul 2019, 20:20
Can you part the floppy drive to me if you decide to use the P70 as a parts machine? Thanks!
Unfortunately I do not have the floppy drive, only the keyboard module from the P70. I would be more than happy to grab the floppy if I'm ever let back in to Computer Reset.
That make sense. Thanks anyway.
I have a P70 that is just a floppy drive away from working, tried to repair it but lol that thing is pretty dead.

User avatar
photekq
Cherry Picker

04 Jul 2019, 05:45

Immensely cool project. I really need to get my hands on a P70 - I've always been interested to try plate springs, and those keycaps are simply the best alps caps out there.

User avatar
Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

04 Jul 2019, 06:07

photekq wrote:
04 Jul 2019, 05:45
Immensely cool project. I really need to get my hands on a P70 - I've always been interested to try plate springs, and those keycaps are simply the best alps caps out there.
The keycaps are actually quite thin, so they aren't the "best" caps out there but I'd definitely say the material and printing is the best you can get for alps with those deep IBM legends. It's a shame because I have a P70 with 5 missing caps :cry:

Delirious

05 Jul 2019, 03:27

Redmaus wrote:
04 Jul 2019, 06:07
photekq wrote:
04 Jul 2019, 05:45
Immensely cool project. I really need to get my hands on a P70 - I've always been interested to try plate springs, and those keycaps are simply the best alps caps out there.
The keycaps are actually quite thin, so they aren't the "best" caps out there but I'd definitely say the material and printing is the best you can get for alps with those deep IBM legends. It's a shame because I have a P70 with 5 missing caps :cry:
Luck of the draw, so far all the multistation are plate mounts and 2-piece caps. For p70/75/7186, there are 2 types of pcb mounts:

- Square switch: thick caps, 06/89 and earlier, with 6 pins, 4 metals + 2 plastic
- Battleship switch: thin caps for alphas and Ctrl/Alt, thick caps for long keys and F/J/num5, 4 metal pins only.

User avatar
snacksthecat
✶✶✶✶

09 Jul 2019, 02:29

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Someone just picked up one of the spare pcbs. I think I should have one or two left if anyone's interested.

Delirious

10 Jul 2019, 01:35

snacksthecat wrote:
09 Jul 2019, 02:29
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Someone just picked up one of the spare pcbs. I think I should have one or two left if anyone's interested.
To follow up with snacks, here are the extra resources for those interested

Cutout hole should be 16x16mm each
1.
APS_Footprint.pdf
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2. US seller Hex Nuts
3. Hexagon Cross Wrench M4/M3/M2.5/M2
4. Nylon 3mm Spacer

5. US seller M2 x 8mm screws
6. M2 x 3mm brass standoff

7. US seller M2.5 x 8mm screws

niveker2

Today, 12:07

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I have one Alps Plate Spring keyboard left if anyone is interested. :)

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