The purpose of this mod: to replicate the superior Model F internals in the superior layout and availability of the Model M.
The kit would include:
- (110x) Model F flipper (reproduction; not an original IBM part)
- (110x) Model F spring (reproduction; not an original IBM part)
- (1x) M2F PCB
- (1x) QMK xwhatsit Controller
The process would be fairly straight-forward, though bolt/screw mod experience would be a plus:
1: acquire an IBM Enhanced Keyboard (Model M with the standard 101-105 key layout)
2: disassemble the keyboard including the inner assembly (chopping off remaining rivets)
3: cut away a couple nubs on the underside of the M barrel plate to make room for some of the flippers (no big deal, it will still look and function the same and can always be reverted to an M)
4: put the new springs on the new flippers, put these in the barrel plate, and replace the membrane with the new PCB
5: reassemble the keyboard assembly; bolt/screw mod is necessary, I recommend bolt mod
6: attach the controller to the PCB (will probably need some basic soldering) and screw it into the back plate
Where I’m at right now:
The flipper: I made a precise 3D model of the flipper and fellow DT user SneakyRobb has been kind enough to print it with his resin printer; physically it seems to be working very well! It feels the same as an original IBM flipper. He doesn’t have conductive resin though, so it doesn’t work as an actual switch. Obviously, I will be using a different plastic for mass production; I have already decided on an excellent candidate but if you have any useful information feel free to let me know.
Here is a sound comparison between a flipper printed from my 3D model, and 2 original IBM flippers. Keep in mind this is not the material I will be using for the end product, and the flipper experienced some warping; SneakyRobb printed 2 of them and this is the less warped of the two (warping will not be a problem in mass production):
And a picture beside an IBM flipper (mine is the clear one):
The spring: I ordered a precise scale that should arrive soon; with the weight and physical measurements I should be able to find a spring steel alloy that will work.
The kit would be for the standard layout Model M (101-105 key) only; I will be happy to do a 122-key and SSK version if this project is a success.
Price would be $80 USD + plus shipping & applicable taxes/duties.
On the sound and feel of an M converted to an F: Those that have done a mod like this report same/very similar feel to a Model F with a sound that is closer to an F than an M. A different sound is expected because the sound is greatly influenced by the case (the construction of the Model M assembly is also a bit different, ex. no metal top plate). For example, an F XT sounds significantly different than an F122. Chyrosran's video on Model Fs is pretty informative:
Discord server: will make one if there is interest
If you are potentially interested in buying a kit, please fill out this quick survey: https://forms.gle/oz6EXbdKAtyEKZAu7
This is important; I need to know there is enough interest before this project can become a reality.