My First Model M Project

User avatar
Go-Kart

24 Mar 2021, 19:20

So I got hold of this a few weeks ago; my first Model M. As you can see, the poor thing looks like it's been flung down a flight of stairs and then left in a garden for a while. While I'm not wishing to attempt what one would term a "restoration", I do wish to largely bring up to scratch. I've cracked it open, given everything a good scrub and now I am planning my next move.

Aside from the obvious clean, bolt mod and replace missing parts, I wished to ask some advice on my plan. Firstly, I'd say half of the springs have a little rust on the top or the bottom. Does the matter for any reason, whether it be function, feel or acoustics?
Secondly, shortly after getting that M I ended purchasing a pristine M122 from a diligent sole who had already done all the work to it, so I feel I already have a great example of what a good buckling spring board should sound and feel like. Thus, the plan for my beat up M isn't just repair but light modification. I'm thinking quieter and lighter? The custom keyboard enthusiast in me is thinking, lube the inner barrels of the barrel plate, lube where the flippers make contact with the barrel plate, lube the springs and grease the stabilisers. I've seen on YouTube some have greased buckling springs to great effect but I can't find much detail about the lubricant used, longevity and/or possible negative effects of such a mod. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience of this? I've heard the floss mod is popular but I'm more familiar with using lubricants for such a thing with my experience of modern keyboards.
Thirdly, can one purchase lighter Model M springs? I heard one of the reasons people prefer Fs to Ms is the slightly lighter key feel. I don't have a Model F but I do have two Ms! Again, does anyone have any advice or ideas regarding this?

I kind like that my Model M looks a bit beat up but I'm willing to put the work in to get a great sound and typing experience out of it so far as I can.
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User avatar
Muirium
µ

24 Mar 2021, 22:12

Nice wrist rest. (Wouldn’t catch me using one, but.)

The thing to watch out for in lubes is they don’t attack the membrane. Those thin flexible plastic sheets are absolutely necessary for the keyboard to function and I’d imagine they wouldn’t take kindly to many solvents. There’s also the silver ink to watch out for. It’s on the inside surface of the two outer sheets, so a little protected, but break any of that and you’re not typing again.

People say Model Fs are lighter to the touch. I don’t find them to be myself, and I’ve several of both. Setting aside the extra vintage weighted spacebars on ATs and XTs, the rest of the keys feel about as heavy to me. But they are much sharper, and LOUDER, you notice instantly!

But just what kind of merry fool would ever bother bolt modding an entire M122, I wonder? :roll:

User avatar
E TwentyNine

24 Mar 2021, 22:27

Go-Kart wrote:
24 Mar 2021, 19:20
The custom keyboard enthusiast in me is thinking, lube the inner barrels of the barrel plate, lube where the flippers make contact with the barrel plate, lube the springs and grease the stabilisers.
Don't do this. You'll just attract dirt everywhere, you don't need it, and it will only make the keyboard mushier.

It's simply not necessary.

User avatar
Go-Kart

24 Mar 2021, 22:36

Muirium wrote:
24 Mar 2021, 22:12
Spoiler:
Nice wrist rest. (Wouldn’t catch me using one, but.)

The thing to watch out for in lubes is they don’t attack the membrane. Those thin flexible plastic sheets are absolutely necessary for the keyboard to function and I’d imagine they wouldn’t take kindly to many solvents. There’s also the silver ink to watch out for. It’s on the inside surface of the two outer sheets, so a little protected, but break any of that and you’re not typing again.

People say Model Fs are lighter to the touch. I don’t find them to be myself, and I’ve several of both. Setting aside the extra vintage weighted spacebars on ATs and XTs, the rest of the keys feel about as heavy to me. But they are much sharper, and LOUDER, you notice instantly!
But just what kind of merry fool would ever bother bolt modding an entire M122, I wonder? :roll:
Do you know, that wrist rest was a new acquisition and just when I've found one that I like the look of, I don't end up using it! I'm trying this thing out called "typing lightly"; some guy told me about on the internet :D I think I'm warming to it, floating technique and all that.

Thanks for the warning about lubes. I have an array of the standard stuff but I'll do my homework on which, if any, may cause harm.

:lol: That bolt modded M122 got it's first Go-Kart remap this afternoon! Though you talk about the volume of Fs, I can't in good conscience use this thing late at night, I feel sorry for my neighbours below even with my improving technique!
E TwentyNine wrote:
24 Mar 2021, 22:27
Go-Kart wrote:
24 Mar 2021, 19:20
The custom keyboard enthusiast in me is thinking, lube the inner barrels of the barrel plate, lube where the flippers make contact with the barrel plate, lube the springs and grease the stabilisers.
Don't do this. You'll just attract dirt everywhere, you don't need it, and it will only make the keyboard mushier.

It's simply not necessary.
Oh dear. Mushier too? Even if I'm a fan of more rounded tactility? Or is it more a case of me trying to make it something it's not?

Rayndalf

24 Mar 2021, 23:39

Go-Kart wrote:
24 Mar 2021, 22:36
Oh dear. Mushier too? Even if I'm a fan of more rounded tactility? Or is it more a case of me trying to make it something it's not?
The tactility comes from the spring compressing and buckling, not a slider rubbing against a the contact leaf (Cherry MX) or a seperate leaf (Alps), so lube won't do much unless you do something crazy. On the plus side that means that the mechanism is extremely resilient and won't stop clicking (MX blues) or feel terrible (most other switches) as it gets dirty. Both F XTs I've tried (one with a rust backplate, one with dry rotted foam) felt the same and felt good.

There was one M variant called the "quiet touch" or something and the barrels were full of a thick petroleum based grease (not exactly a lubricant when it comes out like petroleum jelly), but they are rare and often need a bit of clean up.

User avatar
Darkshado

25 Mar 2021, 04:50

A bit of surface rust on the springs shouldn't be a huge problem, but since you're doing a bolt mod... Also, the space bar one needs to be twisted back into shape or preferably replaced.

Speaking of space bar, you have a yellowed ABS one; you could replace it with a PBT one that will match your other "pearl" caps.

Sound wise, you could grease the stabilisers and add sound deadening material inside the case while a floss mod will dampen spring ping.

User avatar
Go-Kart

25 Mar 2021, 14:04

Thanks for everyone's input!

So, floss mod more sensible. Greasing the stabilisers ain't a terrible idea. Bit of acoustic material inside the case. And then just repair/replace the rest the parts that require it? I think that's my game plan then.

However, leave my ABS space bar alone! I like the weathered look of this one. I believe ABS space bars were indicative of U.K. made Ms too. It all adds to the personality of the board in my book. The wire mount on the space bar is damaged but I'm hoping to rescue it with super glue.

Tahoma

25 Mar 2021, 15:23

Another potential mod for quieting a Model M is to put small paper disks between the spring and the key.

I did this briefly on one key to help nudge a bent spring back into shape. It also had the side effect of reducing sound a few dB.

It got me to thinking about the potential to sound-reduce a Model M in a fully reversible way. My thinking (but not doing) got to the point of considering generating a bunch of brightly colored paper disks by using a hole punch on a small stack of AstroBright paper or card stock.

User avatar
Go-Kart

25 Mar 2021, 19:11

Interesting, and certainly worth an experiment.

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