ibm beamspring 3278 with APL capsets find

Darwin

10 Dec 2019, 14:06

Hello, all DTers, glad to share something fascinating(to me atleast) after long-term benefiting a lot from the forum as guest. :lol:

Short story is couple days ago, a friend called me he got a huge vintage keyboard with strange caps and metal cover, with willing to sell it. So after somedays' higgling, I got the beamspring 3278 with APL caps.

The keyboard missed the "X" keycap and the Spacebar, but still in not bad condition if let me say. Anybody could do some help for the two keycaps? :D :D Case has lots of scratches but thats greedy to expect perfect after 30+ years, right?
Viewing from the front 1
Viewing from the front 1
2019_12_10_19_46_IMG_4725.JPG (2.22 MiB) Viewed 912 times
no too much rust I can find, thats the great part
Viewing from the front 2
Viewing from the front 2
2019_12_10_19_46_IMG_4726.JPG (1.91 MiB) Viewed 912 times
i prefer the legends of the numpad function caps
Viewing from the front 3
Viewing from the front 3
2019_12_10_19_47_IMG_4728.JPG (1.77 MiB) Viewed 912 times
losing the manual guide under door seems the most frustrating, upset moment
Caps 1
Caps 1
2019_12_10_19_47_IMG_4729.JPG (1.78 MiB) Viewed 912 times
"x" and "spacebar" were gone, sad
Numpad caps 2
Numpad caps 2
2019_12_10_19_47_IMG_4730.JPG (1.81 MiB) Viewed 912 times
patterns has become blurred
Viewing from back 1
Viewing from back 1
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no rust
Viewing from back 2
Viewing from back 2
2019_12_10_19_48_IMG_4732.JPG (1.92 MiB) Viewed 912 times
Rd 1977 CANADA, what does this mean?
Viewing from back 3
Viewing from back 3
2019_12_10_19_48_IMG_4733.JPG (1.94 MiB) Viewed 912 times
Made in 27 May, 1985? older than me
Screw gone somewhere
Screw gone somewhere
2019_12_10_19_48_IMG_4734.JPG (2.07 MiB) Viewed 912 times
Screw missing, fine, that's Okay, not hard to find replacement.
Springs
Springs
2019_12_10_19_49_IMG_4735.JPG (1.68 MiB) Viewed 912 times
as i can see, the stems and springs are still workding well
Profile
Profile
2019_12_10_19_49_IMG_4736.JPG (1.66 MiB) Viewed 912 times
side face legends

I don't have mind and time to take it apart now, but when I decide to get my hands dirty on restoration, I will share the process with more photos as a log.

English isn't my first language, so i guess there'll be some words failing to express what i wanna say for now and then. Pls let me know if that happens. Appreciate it.

kmnov2017

10 Dec 2019, 14:36

Great find! One of the best looking beamsprings out there in my opinion.
Just out of curiosity, where did you find this keyboard?

User avatar
JP!

10 Dec 2019, 14:52

Such a neat find! Beamspring APL is quite rare these days so finding these specific keys or any regular keys for that matter is quite impossible. You're best bet would be to somehow come across a second just like it ;) or a vanilla 3278/3279 to fill in the missing keys. I've only came across one other that had APL and also had the special colored numpad keys and it was a lot of money.


Image

Image

ntv242

10 Dec 2019, 15:14

The one in Thomas review is even usb converted, so you may possibly get this baby up and running for daily use. You can look into casting your own replacement cap i guess, would not be original but surely is special.

User avatar
inmbolmie

10 Dec 2019, 16:03

You can easily get black or grey replacement keycaps from an inexpensive IBM Selectric typewriter (can be found here in Spain in decent condition for about 20-30€). The spacebar will need modding If you want to add a stabilizer to it though.

White keycaps are much much more difficult to find, and white APL almost impossible I think.

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

10 Dec 2019, 16:22

Darwin wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 14:06
Hello, all DTers, glad to share something fascinating(to me atleast) after long-term benefiting a lot from the forum as guest. :lol:


2019_12_10_19_48_IMG_4732.JPG
Rd 1977 CANADA, what does this mean?
Hi,

Your keyboard was likely made in Don Mills/Toronto Canada

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqjWNgUI94E
Some images in the 20seconds to 2+ minute mark

There was a majorly huge IBM factory there that produced a large number of beamspring keyboards
Spoiler:
ibm Toronto.JPG
ibm Toronto.JPG (108.68 KiB) Viewed 828 times

User avatar
JP!

10 Dec 2019, 17:16

SneakyRobb wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 16:22
Hi,

Your keyboard was likely made in Don Mills/Toronto Canada

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqjWNgUI94E
Some images in the 20seconds to 2+ minute mark

There was a majorly huge IBM factory there that produced a large number of beamspring keyboards
Spoiler:
ibm Toronto.JPG
This must be IBM Mecca :shock:

Also there is one particularly interesting beamspring pictured which I've not seen before and reminds me of a IBM 4978 for the Series/1.
bs.jpg
bs.jpg (143.7 KiB) Viewed 798 times

John Doe

10 Dec 2019, 17:19

JP! wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 17:16
SneakyRobb wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 16:22
Hi,

Your keyboard was likely made in Don Mills/Toronto Canada

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqjWNgUI94E
Some images in the 20seconds to 2+ minute mark

There was a majorly huge IBM factory there that produced a large number of beamspring keyboards
Spoiler:
ibm Toronto.JPG
This must be IBM Mecca :shock:

Also there is one particularly interesting beamspring pictured which I've not seen before and reminds me of a IBM 4978 for the Series/1.

bs.jpg
Noticed that also, a beamspring never discoveried by someone here.

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

10 Dec 2019, 19:30

John Doe wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 17:19
JP! wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 17:16

This must be IBM Mecca :shock:

Also there is one particularly interesting beamspring pictured which I've not seen before and reminds me of a IBM 4978 for the Series/1.

bs.jpg
Noticed that also, a beamspring never discoveried by someone here.
Ah good catch JP! !

Yes I think it must have been great. The factory land was recently sold for redevelopment sadly.

I wish I had known of this event at the time. Was a sort of gathering of older worker from back in the day to meet before the facility closed. The company Celestica was to IBM sort of like what Lexmark/Unicomp was. They spun off/ took over the facilities of manufacturing after IBM left that market.

Don't know what happened to all the old keyboards there, maybe to museums or someone's collection. Sad. I could drive to the building but I don't think you can get inside it.

To go to that event and talk to those people.... that kind of institutional knowledge would have been great. What a shame.

The factory was gigantic and made a lot of hardware.

After a bit more reading, I am somewhat unsure now of how much of the beamsprings they made. I know IBM Canada made loads of typewriters and many beamspring cases do say Canada on them. It is hard to tell from the photos though.

I mostly have a small amount of doubt because I just saw a picture of a "Made in Armonk NY" sticker on beamspring with the "1977 CANADA" wording on it. I had always just assumed the Canadian factory made beamsprings... Regardless it is cool.


Darwin wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 14:06
The keyboard missed the "X" keycap and the Spacebar, but still in not bad condition if let me say. Anybody could do some help for the two keycaps? :D :D Case has lots of scratches but thats greedy to expect perfect after 30+ years, right?

I don't have mind and time to take it apart now, but when I decide to get my hands dirty on restoration, I will share the process with more photos as a log.

English isn't my first language, so i guess there'll be some words failing to express what i wanna say for now and then. Pls let me know if that happens. Appreciate it.
I may have a spare space bar for the displaywriter, but as others have said you may need to modify it. Not sure if same size.

User avatar
JP!

10 Dec 2019, 20:29

SneakyRobb wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 19:30
Ah good catch JP! !
:D You remembered the exclamation mark after my name!

I think an investigation may be in order. Might not be a bad idea to try and reach out to some old IBMers who spoke or attended this reunion.

Darwin

11 Dec 2019, 13:08

kmnov2017 wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 14:36
Great find! One of the best looking beamsprings out there in my opinion.
Just out of curiosity, where did you find this keyboard?
Thanks, it's found in recycle center, very close to be destroyed. But luckily saved by a vendor who happend to see.

Darwin

11 Dec 2019, 13:16

JP! wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 14:52
Such a neat find! Beamspring APL is quite rare these days so finding these specific keys or any regular keys for that matter is quite impossible. You're best bet would be to somehow come across a second just like it ;) or a vanilla 3278/3279 to fill in the missing keys. I've only came across one other that had APL and also had the special colored numpad keys and it was a lot of money.


Image

Image
Nice kbd, JP!!!

Actually I have no expectation to get another with similar caps as parts to repair, only somecaps to make it work will be fair enough for now.

Again, envy your kbd collection, i've to say. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Darwin

11 Dec 2019, 13:19

ntv242 wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 15:14
The one in Thomas review is even usb converted, so you may possibly get this baby up and running for daily use. You can look into casting your own replacement cap i guess, would not be original but surely is special.
I have some Xwhatsit controllers for ibm model f, but seems they're not compatible for beamspring. I guess i have to get some new somewhere, and somedays for the caps. Thanks,ntv.

Darwin

11 Dec 2019, 13:24

inmbolmie wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 16:03
You can easily get black or grey replacement keycaps from an inexpensive IBM Selectric typewriter (can be found here in Spain in decent condition for about 20-30€). The spacebar will need modding If you want to add a stabilizer to it though.

White keycaps are much much more difficult to find, and white APL almost impossible I think.

20-30€? That's dream price in my country, i guess. For the x cap, thats fine surely. But spacebar, no idea now...

Darwin

11 Dec 2019, 13:25

SneakyRobb wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 16:22
Darwin wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 14:06
Hello, all DTers, glad to share something fascinating(to me atleast) after long-term benefiting a lot from the forum as guest. :lol:


2019_12_10_19_48_IMG_4732.JPG
Rd 1977 CANADA, what does this mean?
Hi,

Your keyboard was likely made in Don Mills/Toronto Canada

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqjWNgUI94E
Some images in the 20seconds to 2+ minute mark

There was a majorly huge IBM factory there that produced a large number of beamspring keyboards
Spoiler:
ibm Toronto.JPG

I watched the video from the start to the end, lots of beamsprings. Exciting. :D :D :D

User avatar
JP!

11 Dec 2019, 14:33

Darwin wrote:
11 Dec 2019, 13:16
JP! wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 14:52
Such a neat find! Beamspring APL is quite rare these days so finding these specific keys or any regular keys for that matter is quite impossible. You're best bet would be to somehow come across a second just like it ;) or a vanilla 3278/3279 to fill in the missing keys. I've only came across one other that had APL and also had the special colored numpad keys and it was a lot of money.


Image

Image
Nice kbd, JP!!!

Actually I have no expectation to get another with similar caps as parts to repair, only somecaps to make it work will be fair enough for now.

Again, envy your kbd collection, i've to say. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Thanks lol but this particular beamspring is not mine and wish it was now. I just saved some pictures from the eBay listing.

Heikkonen

11 Dec 2019, 17:01

What a find! I like the layout in this one and case is marvelous. I would love to see this one being converted and running. Big cheers from FIN

User avatar
inmbolmie

11 Dec 2019, 18:29

Darwin wrote:
11 Dec 2019, 13:24
inmbolmie wrote:
10 Dec 2019, 16:03
You can easily get black or grey replacement keycaps from an inexpensive IBM Selectric typewriter (can be found here in Spain in decent condition for about 20-30€). The spacebar will need modding If you want to add a stabilizer to it though.

White keycaps are much much more difficult to find, and white APL almost impossible I think.

20-30€? That's dream price in my country, i guess. For the x cap, thats fine surely. But spacebar, no idea now...
The spacebar should work too with some modifications, read carefully this thread: viewtopic.php?t=20345, the only drawback is that won't be stabilized unless you mod it somehow

manisteinn

12 Dec 2019, 20:05

I could help you out with the spacebar and a blank white X key, shame for such a nice board to be incomplete :)

I've previously made resin casts of a few caps from my 3278, they're quite close to the originals:
Image
Image

The spacebar mold would require a lot more silicone (10€+ worth), but I'd be happy to do it for the cost of materials+shipping. Mine does have some shine on it so it wouldn't be perfect but it's not very noticable. IMO Selectric spacebars look a bit off due to the slight front curve (~4.8mm radius) clashing with the straight lines of the 3278 design.

Your front cover latch also appears to be broken, I could potentially cast that as well.

John Doe

13 Dec 2019, 02:06

manisteinn wrote:
12 Dec 2019, 20:05
I could help you out with the spacebar and a blank white X key, shame for such a nice board to be incomplete :)

I've previously made resin casts of a few caps from my 3278, they're quite close to the originals:
Image
Image

The spacebar mold would require a lot more silicone (10€+ worth), but I'd be happy to do it for the cost of materials+shipping. Mine does have some shine on it so it wouldn't be perfect but it's not very noticable. IMO Selectric spacebars look a bit off due to the slight front curve (~4.8mm radius) clashing with the straight lines of the 3278 design.

Your front cover latch also appears to be broken, I could potentially cast that as well.

You did a fantastic job, i even cann't recognise which one is original, especially the black pair.

Do you mind posting some pics about the keyboard after the DIY caps put on? Very curious.

manisteinn

14 Dec 2019, 12:44

Sure, here's a gallery with a few pictures: https://imgur.com/a/drMaAA9

I originally substituted the missing top row keys with blank white ones, but as I later got a blue keyset I replaced the entire top row with that. I still like the deep dish F/J keys too much to put blues on all alphas

I also made a pair of doubleshots by hand, see the gallery.
One (cat) by clearing the entire remaining outer surface, which was a pain and prone to alignment issues
The other (smiley) by drilling holes and routing a channel between them using a dremel, injecting from inside the cap. I believe this cap dislodged from the mold during the rapid pressurization because of air bubbles in the eyes, hence the black faded look. I later sanded it down for the current picture.
Both keys had a flawless surface texture and the high contrast you'd expect from doubleshots.

I'm planning to experiment with CNC engraving simple doubleshots later, the plan is to complete a blue keyset; the three missing keys and deep dish F/J.
The bold legends should work out but I doubt the thinner APL style caps would turn out well.
See this thread for some more mold related info

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