It's ZedTheMan here, and today I'm coming at you with something a little different from my usual workshop threads, that is, me not having workshop threads.
Today I'm coming at you with a beamspring restoration thread!
"But Zed!" you say,
"Aren't there already dozens of beamspring restoration threads?"
Yes, but this one is mine. And it has three beamsprings instead of the usual one!
Let us begin with the story of these keyboards.
In around 1982-1983 based on labels, these keyboards were created in Armonk, NY, USA for IBM, for use with the IBM 3101 line of terminal computers.
Their original owners apparently were big fans of paper clips, as when originally found, they had up to 15 or so clips per board.
Eventually, the terminals these originally were used with were presumably considered outdated and were replaced by newer models, and the keyboards managed to make it into the hands of a local collector of sorts of all kinds of vintage computing equipment.
Here, the keyboards sat, outside, on the porch, for roughly 20 years, enduring the weather of Colorado Springs.
Fast forward to the deskthority community discord, August 2019. The keyboards are found by the user LuckyBill, who is friends with the person who had the keyboards for 20 years, as he goes through their garage as a recycler. However, he was unable to identify the boards, and began the process of stripping them for parts. After 20 years, they were in a rather dirty shape, being exposed to the elements and paper clips for that long. In his quest to discern more about the keyboards, he had come upon the discord channel, and asked more about the keyboards.
The inhabitants of the discord channel naturally was enamored with the find of three beamspring keyboards, and asked all kinds of information regarding pictures and other keyboard condition things. Some were also interested in purchasing, me included. So I offered on the whole lot, and he accepted. (Thanks again Bill, I am very happy with these!)
Pictures from discord and subsequent conversations included, in no particular order.
On the day they are set to come in, the satisfaction of unboxing them myself was taken from me, as the family knew they were coming in and already set about to do so. They laid it all out for me, at least, and I do have pictures of this. They were packed very well!
Well, lets get to work, shall we?
Removed the caps and contamination shield, first one:
I can't believe my eyes, they're all relatively clean and not very rusty at all! (I mean, one is missing a few switches and caps, but that is okay, I shall be replacing them.)
The three musketeers:
20 years exposed to rain, snow, wind, and dust. And yet, IBM engineering persisted.
Those are some effective contamination shields, but away they must go!
One set of keycaps is cleaned, not pictured.
Added to the keyboard.
The next step, is to put one back together and give it a whirl. But how to do so? All I have now is an unconverted beamspring keyboard and some admittedly nice Porter.
It takes CommonSense.(And some not so common sense to continue with CommonSense, but then, these are beamsprings so the effort is worthwhile.)
It took me three tries to get the converter right, with the help from __red__, PancakeMSTR, kmnov2012, and members of the DT discord such as lbibass and SneakyRobb.
Pictured are attempts at making it work, all pictures are from unsuccessful attempts.
Just because I got one converted doesn't mean I am done by a long shot. I still need to clean the other keyboards' keycaps, replace foam on all of them, remove rust that is remaining, and disassemble, clean, and lubricate every switch, which comes out to over 250 beamspring switches. I also need to get solenoid drivers working, and assemble those using pcbs from kmnov and parts from digikey, as well as configure the other two cypress controllers to run commonsense. I've also purchased replacement switches from orihalcon to get all the remaining parts I needed for the keyboard missing parts, which was also in worse physical condition than the other two.
Stay tuned as I continue the restoration process.
Bonus picture of Grandpa Beamspring, Big Hoss F122, and Young Lad Model M