Omron75, the year of B3G-S omrons

Delirious

10 Jun 2019, 02:37

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The history:
This project has been slow-cooked for more than a year ago when I first picked up a Datavue with Cyan Omrons. I immediately fall in love with cyan omrons and decide to find another omron keyboard that is compatible with modern computers for daily use. Sadly it is easier said than done. I reached out to others for help and instead of helping, these guys were crazy enough to suggest that we should make a modern board for Omron B3G-S series. After a year of hoarding and R&D, the project is 80% complete, aka presentable for public viewings.

This thread serves as a personal wiki, I will go into details about my personal experiences with Omron B3G-S switches. And hopefully will have some uses for others as well.

Special thanks:
-Noobmaen,cumwagondeluxe, and Mike: Thank you for supporting me all this time, without your 100% blind faith there would never be any board let alone a custom Omron board
- maarten of www.maartenwut.com The pcb designer
- inachie: the second pcb designer that picked up the pace
- senter at foxlab as the manufacturer for the case.

Table of content:
1. Switch breakdown
2. Layout
3. Case design
4. The Build
Last edited by Delirious on 11 Jun 2019, 17:59, edited 7 times in total.

Delirious

10 Jun 2019, 02:37

Switch breakdown:

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These are the switches I personally own at one point or another.
- Tactile White: always has LED slot for top housing, commonly found in Sony Audio Units

- Linear White: commonly found in NCR board
- Linear Amber(heavy): commonly found in the same NCR board on the spacebar
- Linear Stripe Amber(light): commonly found in the same NCR board on the enter key

- Clicky Amber(heavy): commonly found in NTC boards, or sometimes Monterey KB101
- Clicky Cyan(light): commonly found in Focus FK-555 or Datavue Laptop


The Cons

- 3-pins over-engineering piece of shit switchplate:
Unless you have a professional desoldering gun, I do not suggest harvesting these switches. The pins are the smallest comparing to SKCL/M and MX. Not only that, a little bit overheating will immediately kill the switches. The fail rate for my harvested omrons are about 8%, which is absurdly high comparing to 2% for SKCL/M and 0.5% for MX. In one video Chyros mentioned that these switches are very finicky, I believe partly because the switchplate are made of very soft plastic, it is easy malleable thus permanently destroy the switchplates. I tried both high heat and low heat and the fail rate is still that high around 8-10% per batch. Coupled with the fact that they have 3 pins for no reason, you WILL fuck up.

- The absolute worst switch type for rework comparing to MX, SKCL/M, Model M, Model F, and Topre (please refer to the build section for this)

- The limitation of cap choices
B3G-S omrons are fatter, vertically, compare to SKCL/M. The thicker caps will not work properly with these switches. On the left are SKCL/M native caps and on the right are Omron native caps(all row 3)
1. AEK
2. Next Non-ADB (AE doubleshot)
3. Dell AT101 (AE dyesub)
4. IBM 5140 (IBM dyesub)

5. Sony BKE (Sony dyesub possbly)
6. NCR something something (Omron dyesub)
7. Datavue (Omron dyesub)
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5,6,7 are fully depressed with no problem for Row-3 caps
2,3,4 are not fully depressed for Row-3 caps because of the extra nubs inside the caps

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The pros:


- Consistency The number one thing that Alps will never get correctly
All housings are the same with branding on top housings
All stems of the same type are consistent in colors (I'm looking at you SKCM Blues)
All stems are perfectly symmetrical, no extra slit/cut like SKCM stems
All switchplates are blacks, despite how shitty these were designed, they are consistent

- Same springs as SKCL/M series: yes you can use aftermarket springs for these switches

- Softer plastic
The housing are made of softer plastic, most likely POM. Hence the bottoming sounds are not as harsh as the SKCL/M series. This in turn makes the linear whites an interesting breed.

- Longer travel distance than SKCM and NO BUMPS
This is a major win for linear B3G-S, absolutely no phantom bumps when you bottom out, couple with the softer plastic housing, this is the perfect stepchild between SKCL and MX if you're looking for shorter travel true linears with muted bottoming sounds.

- Tactile Whites makes sense
At first we were aiming for Linear and Clicky Omrons, but throughout the development phase we realize that Tactile Omrons are the true champion if you want to experience Omrons. The tactile leaves are clipped into the housings, so no matter how much abuses you put on Tactile Omrons, they will never start to click.
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Last edited by Delirious on 11 Jun 2019, 04:28, edited 5 times in total.

Delirious

10 Jun 2019, 02:37

Layout
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75% was the decision between Mike and I. At the time there was a void of custom 75%, and all of the 75% did not make sense to us. They all suffer from the boxy look because of the F-row. Then a few months later, I presented the fixed layout to Robotical, he liked it so much that he implemented in his Knight75 board. Ultimately, Omron75 is the fix for 75% whereas Knight75 is a TKL approach to 75%.
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Case Design:

The principles: Omron75 represents my thoughts at the time: I am not an innovator, I am a student of the game. I build and use many keyboards and I know what works and what does not work. Hence I applied those ideas into the board. Here are the specs for the Omron75:

- High end sandwich case (requested from Mike for his love of The Cheat TKL)
- Plastic middle piece for sound dampening (Monarch and VE.A)
- Exposed screws (for industrial look, SKB solidified this idea, it is a great design)
- Fixed cable only (because thicc og coiled cable)
- Conefeet/Risers for airgap (Monarch and Kmac)
- OG thickness (Realforce)
- Deceptively heavy

I was able to convince E3E and Siaw that Monarch is one of the best case for clicky SKCM's, Mike also thinks that my VE.A is one of the best skcm orange boards out there. We figure it has to do with the plastic inlay that helps with both the sounds and typing feels.
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Omron75 and its inspirations
Last edited by Delirious on 11 Jun 2019, 00:45, edited 2 times in total.

Delirious

10 Jun 2019, 02:37

The Build

Plate deadtrap
Ease of modification ranking(higher number the better):
10.
9. SKCL/M (can modify without desoldering)
8. MX (can modify without desoldering, a bit more awkward for switch opening)
7.
6.
5. Topre (1 dead switch requires opening up the entire board, with a screw driver only)
4. Model M/F (1 dead switch requires opening up the entire board, with screw driver and clamps)
3.
2
1. Omron B3G-S (cannot modify switch after soldered, 1 dead switch requires desoldering of the entire board, finicky switchplates)

Omron B3G-S switches clip onto the plate from below, and there is no way to unclip them unless you desolder the entire board, then turn the plate over, and unclip from underneath. With softer plate material, aka plastic, you can force pull your way, but with tougher plate material you have to desolder the entire board. To combat this problem, the plate for Omron75 are designed with cuts connecting switches of the same row. Instead of having every switch clip into the plate, only switches that fall onto the red line clip into the plate. To unclip the red-line switches, you just have to desolder one extra switch next to the red line
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Omron stab hooks are also deadtraps No way to take them out once they clip into the plate
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Dogbone stab hook cutout on plate Due to minimum cnc tip from the factory that I use, I have to use dogbone cutout to ensure the correct dimensions for the stab hooks
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The case in brass At first we want Stainless Steel, but SS pricing is not reasonable at all due to the difficulty of cnc SS.
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Case assembly
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Last edited by Delirious on 15 Jun 2019, 00:04, edited 1 time in total.

Delirious

10 Jun 2019, 04:38

Plate spacers are shorter than the polycarb mid piece to make sure the plate is rested on the polycarb mid piece only, no metal touching metal.

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Closed up of Cerakoted and Homage to Next Non-ADB
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Spoiler:
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If you made it this far, thank you for reading. For the full album, please use this link.

I am not happy with how the cone feet turn out, second prototype is coming with changes. And I will update this thread once it gets here.
Last edited by Delirious on 15 Jun 2019, 04:12, edited 2 times in total.

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Drclick

10 Jun 2019, 11:02

Very nice work!
My NOS tactile white swithces from taobao are more wobbly than alps sliders, how about yours?

Delirious

10 Jun 2019, 14:10

Drclick wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 11:02
Very nice work!
My NOS tactile white swithces from taobao are more wobbly than alps sliders, how about yours?
Sound about right, just by a tiny bit. Longer travel distance and softer housing material are the causes IMO

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Sup

10 Jun 2019, 19:14

damn that looks good.

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snacksthecat
✶✶✶✶

10 Jun 2019, 20:33

Excellent write-up. Your hard work paid off in the end result, for sure.

Also this warning hit home for me. I unknowingly ruined a good percentage of my board's micro switch SD sensors desoldering them the other day
Unless you have a professional desoldering gun, I do not suggest harvesting these switches. The pins are the smallest comparing to SKCL/M and MX. Not only that, a little bit overheating will immediately kill the switches.

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depletedvespene

10 Jun 2019, 20:59

Impressive. Can you talk a bit about the plate? It's certainly not a run-of-the-mill acrylic or aluminum plate...

Delirious

11 Jun 2019, 00:36

depletedvespene wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 20:59
Impressive. Can you talk a bit about the plate? It's certainly not a run-of-the-mill acrylic or aluminum plate...
Matte finish, 1.2mm Carbon Fiber plate

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depletedvespene

11 Jun 2019, 00:40

Delirious wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 00:36
depletedvespene wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 20:59
Impressive. Can you talk a bit about the plate? It's certainly not a run-of-the-mill acrylic or aluminum plate...
Matte finish, 1.2mm Carbon Fiber plate
Why was carbon fiber chosen?

Also, is that gray-on-gray plaid texture an inherent property of carbon fiber surfaces? 'cause I can imagine some people actually wanting cases looking like that... would that be a good or a bad idea?

Delirious

11 Jun 2019, 03:37

depletedvespene wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 00:40
Delirious wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 00:36
depletedvespene wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 20:59
Impressive. Can you talk a bit about the plate? It's certainly not a run-of-the-mill acrylic or aluminum plate...
Matte finish, 1.2mm Carbon Fiber plate
Why was carbon fiber chosen?

Also, is that gray-on-gray plaid texture an inherent property of carbon fiber surfaces? 'cause I can imagine some people actually wanting cases looking like that... would that be a good or a bad idea?
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Reason for CF: 40% sound and 60% look.

CF was something E3E suggested. The original goal for Omron75 is to replicate the typing experience of the Monarch and VE.A: tough plate resting on a plastic housing/inlay.

-Tough plate for the most consistency all across, some of the best boards are just regular OEM boards with steel plate (Leading Edge, Alps Bigfoot, F_AT,....) and we want to keep that tradition
-Plastic mid piece for warmer sound.

At first I was thinking of going for the typical aluminum or steel plate, however the plan of SS case didnt work out. Brass is "louder" in term of sounding comparing to SS, so I looked to CF to compensate for the sound.

I also tested the board with POM and ABS plate, and SS is going to be next on the list anyway. All of these amount to very little changes anyway because the B3G-S housings are very self-contained.

We all know the real reason is look.

The plaid texture is indeed the inherent property of CF. It actual serves a very practical purpose: to strengthen the material depending on the pattern. You can read all about the patterns here, each works best for different industry. For keyboard you probably want to start with something not so 3 dimensional, something that is tough enough but also easy enough to machine.

Without mid-piece
https://imgur.com/nznE1BG

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Applet

11 Jun 2019, 09:22

Wow :O This is such a beauty, great work! Really nice write up

Shihatsu

11 Jun 2019, 10:35

Would buy!

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alas

12 Jun 2019, 06:08

I'm trying to build some Omron customs myself, but I can't seem to find any loose amber B3G-S. I found those tactiles on Taobao, but the amber listing I found is apparently out of stock. (https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=573572735836)
Any ideas?

Primuds

12 Jun 2019, 15:04

Sweet build! Was wondering about why the cut-out enter key? Was it due to clearance? I'm pretty new here, so do pardon me if the question I asked is common knowledge around these parts.

Edit: Also, what was that IBM badged board you had in the inspirations?

Delirious

12 Jun 2019, 15:47

alas wrote:
12 Jun 2019, 06:08
I'm trying to build some Omron customs myself, but I can't seem to find any loose amber B3G-S. I found those tactiles on Taobao, but the amber listing I found is apparently out of stock. (https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=573572735836)
Any ideas?
I got ambers from trading my cyans, board to board. From what I heard, that source for NOS ambers has run dry a while back but the seller never bothers to update the listing. Maybe DrClick could find you another source for NOS ambers.

Amber omrons are heavier than SKCM Blues but not as extreme as SKCM ambers. In my opinion the heaviness comes from the longer travel distance and the lower click position, the clicks happen somewhere in the middle to the end, you experience the click mechanic as you exhaust the switches; very much different from the high to mid click mechanic from the SKCM counterparts.

I also highly recommend buying loose omron switches from Taobao, that would avoid desoldering altogether. I am glad to see B3G-S picks up steam lately, the timing is perfect. Good to see that I was not the only crazy one to appreciate such a hidden gem.

Primuds wrote:
12 Jun 2019, 15:04
Sweet build! Was wondering about why the cut-out enter key? Was it due to clearance? I'm pretty new here, so do pardon me if the question I asked is common knowledge around these parts.

Edit: Also, what was that IBM badged board you had in the inspirations?
The enter key comes from IBM 5140, which is actually a Big-Ass-Enter key, I chopped it up to fit standard ANSI layout.

The black board with IBM badge in the back is my TragicForce with skcm ambers, using LFkeyboards' pcb. You could say that it was the very first prototype of what I have envisioned for a sandwich board. 90% of all the ideas behind TragicForce tranfers over to Omron75. It was very instrumental and critical. You can see the whole album here.

Primuds

12 Jun 2019, 16:21

Are those the taihao white and black alps compatible keycaps? What do you think of them? I was thinking of getting those for a tkl I am building.

Delirious

12 Jun 2019, 17:39

I have to check, taihao uses support bars underneath the caps. Might not fully bottom out on Omrons for Row3

I don’t think there’s tkl pcb out there for omrons just yet. Omrons use alps mounting system for caps, but the electrical pinouts are not the same as SKCL/M.

DrClick has the 60% pcb readily available

Primuds

13 Jun 2019, 17:08

Ah, to clarify, I'm going to use alps switches I harvested from an AEK.

Delirious

14 Jun 2019, 01:03

Primuds wrote:
13 Jun 2019, 17:08
Ah, to clarify, I'm going to use alps switches I harvested from an AEK.
Oh, in that case you're are good. Those caps are made for SKCL/M specifically. The spacebar is a bit funky, it uses cherry system for stabilizer but the rest of the long keys use alps system. Make sure your plate supports it.

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InvidiousIgnoramus

15 Jun 2019, 16:17

I've had a board in near new condition with some clicky ambers in it for the longest time, but i've been mostly unable to use it since it's so large (A Wang 725 of some sort). I've been looking about for projects that would support these switches, and I have to say this one looks pretty good! Because of the nature of this project's support, I guess I wouldn't be able to use the keycaps (unless you dare attempt to add BAE support, haha).

Very interested if someone is able to find a source for NOS Ambers as well, since with my tooling i'd probably kill every single switch trying to desolder.

I'll be keeping an eye on this to see how it fares from here on out.

Delirious

16 Jun 2019, 01:50

InvidiousIgnoramus wrote:
15 Jun 2019, 16:17
I've had a board in near new condition with some clicky ambers in it for the longest time, but i've been mostly unable to use it since it's so large (A Wang 725 of some sort). I've been looking about for projects that would support these switches, and I have to say this one looks pretty good! Because of the nature of this project's support, I guess I wouldn't be able to use the keycaps (unless you dare attempt to add BAE support, haha).

Very interested if someone is able to find a source for NOS Ambers as well, since with my tooling i'd probably kill every single switch trying to desolder.

I'll be keeping an eye on this to see how it fares from here on out.

BAE's are pretty much just ANSI or ISO with additional support in forms of extra stabilizers or pipes. If you want BAE you just need to get a unique one-off plate. I attempted BAE before
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InvidiousIgnoramus

16 Jun 2019, 04:58

I took a look under my cap after what you said. It uses a standard ansi stab with a pipe support right where the |\ key switch would sit. it would be a little wobbly, but I think it might actually work without the barrel at all.

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