Telecomet terminal

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kralcifer

02 Jan 2020, 00:48

I'm excited about this telecomet terminal that I purchased from ebay. I was hoping for some help on a couple of fronts

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retrobrite

I absolutely love the colored keycaps of this keyboard. I was wondering whether retrobrite works well on colored keycaps. i've only seen it in the context of the beige, gray type keycaps and keyboard cases. Is it safe to retrobrite colored keycaps?

keycap top:
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keycap bottom:
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quite a bit of difference in color and brightness.

Switch type

I'm trying to identify the type of switch used. Seems like micro switch hall effect or magnetic reed. I've never had a keyboard with either. I'd like to figure out how much cleaning I should do. I'm not against desoldering the switches if that's the best way to get at cleaning everything.

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User avatar
snacksthecat
✶✶✶✶

02 Jan 2020, 20:57

I have this same keyboard. Probably from the same seller even. I’ll look back at the pictures I took to jog my memory and share what I found out.

Off the top of my head:

#1 the keycaps did not take well to retrobrite. For instance, the apparent fading in color on the yellow caps didn’t even out much even as the some of the beige caps were getting burnt by the retro rite. I’m not the expert on retrobriting but this suggested to me that the discoloration on the colored caps might not be reversible.

#2 the key switches are ITW magnetic valve aka cortron. DMA just added support for mag valve switches to CommonSense but I’ve not yet been able to get it to work (though this was a few months back by now)

The other thing that I recall is the case is made of a very strange material. Some sort of pressure treated plastic or something. It almost looks like engineered wood. Mine had a large crack in it so I glued it together and repainted the case. Tried to match the color best I could cause it makes for a really cool look.

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kralcifer

03 Jan 2020, 06:04

Thanks snacks! I’d love to hear more and see your pics.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

10 Jan 2020, 21:57

Hi, The wood finish plastic reminds me of injection-molded structural-foam plastic. This method makes a strong-lightweight plastic part for little material very inexpensively. The molds can be pre-painted or textured to apply numerous surface textures to parts. You can easily give the part a very strange almost woodgrain like finish. It is used on things like Spirit-levels where you do not want to scratch surfaces like on fine cabinets. As well obviously for large structural plastic parts

Using this level today reminded me of this post as it has a similar surface appearance.

This is the level http://www.johnsonlevel.com/P/1880/Stru ... orpedoLeve
spirit level.jpg
spirit level.jpg (3.58 MiB) Viewed 1597 times

User avatar
kralcifer

26 Jan 2020, 07:27

Interesting. Thanks SneakyRobb!

User avatar
kralcifer

28 Jan 2020, 04:33

I think you are totally right SneakyRobb. It feels super light yet strong. snacksthecat said his was cracked. Maybe he can chime in on whether it looks like it had the injected bubbles in the middle part of the plastic.

Strangely, I strongly felt like that type of finish wouldn't clean up very well, and with soapy luke warm water and a light scrubber it did not. But my wife told me to try the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge we had at the sink and that was miraculous! It cleaned up super nice.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

28 Jan 2020, 04:45

kralcifer wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 04:33
I think you are totally right SneakyRobb. It feels super light yet strong. snacksthecat said his was cracked. Maybe he can chime in on whether it looks like it had the injected bubbles in the middle part of the plastic.

Strangely, I strongly felt like that type of finish wouldn't clean up very well, and with soapy luke warm water and a light scrubber it did not. But my wife told me to try the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge we had at the sink and that was miraculous! It cleaned up super nice.
Hey right on. It's just a guess based on what you and snacks said, but it makes sense to me. Glad to hear it cleaned up well.

User avatar
kralcifer

28 Jan 2020, 04:54

One other super weird thing was that I once again didn't look carefully enough and some of the font color came off on several keys. Surprisingly, there were doubleshot and non-doubleshot versions of the main alpha gray color and all of the other rich colors. I've never seen such inconsistency between keycaps. So I'm super sad that I need to figure out how to repaint the letters that lost their ink. I'm wondering if infilling with acrylic paint might work but the font groove is so tiny.

Check out these pics:

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User avatar
kralcifer

28 Jan 2020, 04:55

Here's a pic that shows how nicely the case cleaned up:

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andrewjoy

28 Jan 2020, 10:32

You could prob fill that back in with paint and a very fine sewing needle as a paintbrush. Dunno what type of paint but you want something quite thick , like modelling paints .

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SneakyRobb
THINK

28 Jan 2020, 16:15

kralcifer wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 04:55
Here's a pic that shows how nicely the case cleaned up:

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Those colours on the keys look like they are going to pop when its assembled. Very cool.

User avatar
robo

28 Jan 2020, 19:03

SneakyRobb wrote:
10 Jan 2020, 21:57
Hi, The wood finish plastic reminds me of injection-molded structural-foam plastic. This method makes a strong-lightweight plastic part for little material very inexpensively. The molds can be pre-painted or textured to apply numerous surface textures to parts. You can easily give the part a very strange almost woodgrain like finish. It is used on things like Spirit-levels where you do not want to scratch surfaces like on fine cabinets. As well obviously for large structural plastic parts

Using this level today reminded me of this post as it has a similar surface appearance.

This is the level http://www.johnsonlevel.com/P/1880/Stru ... orpedoLeve

spirit level.jpg
Thank you - I learned something today! I always thought that appearance indicated glass fiber reinforced plastic, but turns out that is something else (although it can also have a kind of 'fibrous' finish).

I remember brown colored structural foam used for a quasi-wood effect on some products from the 1970s and early 80s. I always thought it looked pretty awful in that context, but it's an interesting technique.

User avatar
robo

30 Jan 2020, 21:15

kralcifer wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 04:54
One other super weird thing was that I once again didn't look carefully enough and some of the font color came off on several keys. Surprisingly, there were doubleshot and non-doubleshot versions of the main alpha gray color and all of the other rich colors. I've never seen such inconsistency between keycaps.
I'm guessing that at low volumes it was more economical to engrave blank keycaps than create custom molds for doubleshot keys.

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kralcifer

31 Jan 2020, 05:20

I could see that if they were all that way or at least all one way for a given color. But for all the colors, some are doubleshot and some aren't. Pretty strange if you ask me.

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robo

31 Jan 2020, 19:16

kralcifer wrote:
31 Jan 2020, 05:20
I could see that if they were all that way or at least all one way for a given color. But for all the colors, some are doubleshot and some aren't. Pretty strange if you ask me.
Doubleshot for keys that were used in higher volume, engraved for ones that were produced in small volume for a limited run of boards? It doesn't seem strange to me.

User avatar
kralcifer

02 Feb 2020, 02:35

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I've taken some pictures of the keycaps since I was about to put them away after they've been drying for a week. Sorry about the horrible lighting. I need to work on figuring that out.

Here are all the keycaps. Roughly, all the doubleshot are on the left and all the non-doubleshot on the right with the exception of the doubleshot number keys.

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Here are some multiple letter doubleshots:

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And here are some multiple letter non-doubleshot white font. I guess they could be less common letterings.

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Here are a set that are non-doubleshot with black ink. It first I thought maybe there was yet a 3rd type like laser etched but I think black just didn't come off as easy as white during my cleaning. the EOM key however seems to be showing some missing black. So I'd guess these are etched just like the white ones that lost their ink.

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Here are some of the special character keys. The 4 on the left are double shot, the 6 on the right are non-doubleshot.

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And finally, the number row is the main one that got me confused about why they would ever do such a thing. 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 aroe doubleshot, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 0 are non-doubleshot.

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User avatar
kralcifer

23 Feb 2020, 01:41

Just wanted to share again on this one. I had the great fortune of meeting DMA at the Seattle winter keyboard meetup and he was kind enough to fix up my Telecomet with his wonderful CommonSense. I'm very thankful for all he did. It's finished up now and I used it all this week at work. It's a lot of fun. I feel like George Jetson loaned me his keyboard. It looks like it's levitating with it's tall rubber feet and space age design. It's trippy that the case has handholds on the side for picking it up with two hands. Subtle and cool.

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User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

23 Feb 2020, 23:37

robo wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 19:03
Thank you - I learned something today! I always thought that appearance indicated glass fiber reinforced plastic, but turns out that is something else (although it can also have a kind of 'fibrous' finish).

I remember brown colored structural foam used for a quasi-wood effect on some products from the 1970s and early 80s. I always thought it looked pretty awful in that context, but it's an interesting technique.
Yeah right on. It is really a weird material to handle. It feels disturbingly light and something about the weight gives your brain a slight moment of confusion when it feels really hard but also light. Because it doesnt scratch wood finishes, its also somehow very soft, but hard. It is really strange.

kralcifer wrote:
23 Feb 2020, 01:41
Just wanted to share again on this one. I had the great fortune of meeting DMA at the Seattle winter keyboard meetup and he was kind enough to fix up my Telecomet with his wonderful CommonSense. I'm very thankful for all he did. It's finished up now and I used it all this week at work. It's a lot of fun. I feel like George Jetson loaned me his keyboard. It looks like it's levitating with it's tall rubber feet and space age design. It's trippy that the case has handholds on the side for picking it up with two hands. Subtle and cool.

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Wow thats awesome. Nice colours. Good job and cool on DMA.

Those keycaps are neat in a way. Its kind of like a poor mans doubleshot. If you are able to make the indents deep enough in a good way and then fill them with paint, they should be quite durable in concept.

If we play a thought experiment though, it almost makes sense why it wouldn't catch on. To make each individual indent for each key, would require... individual molds. And if we are doing that, why not double shot?

The response to that might be to try to push in some typeset words just after molding while its still warm. and that almost seems like its what they did. The typeset wasnt very deep, so the paint, wore off.

I often think and ramble outloud...

nice restore!

User avatar
kralcifer

23 Feb 2020, 23:49

I love hearing your thoughts SneakyRobb, thank you. I still continue to wonder why a mixture of double shot and the indented and painted.

I dream that the colors could somehow match what the underside of the caps show but I don't think I'll retrobrite because I don't believe it'll work for these colored keycaps.

I am still interested in trying to fill in the indentions with white paint but haven't formed a plan yet. Someone mentioned paint on the end of a needle so I suppose I'll try that unless some better idea comes along.

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

23 Feb 2020, 23:59

kralcifer wrote:
23 Feb 2020, 23:49
I love hearing your thoughts SneakyRobb, thank you. I still continue to wonder why a mixture of double shot and the indented and painted.

I dream that the colors could somehow match what the underside of the caps show but I don't think I'll retrobrite because I don't believe it'll work for these colored keycaps.

I am still interested in trying to fill in the indentions with white paint but haven't formed a plan yet. Someone mentioned paint on the end of a needle so I suppose I'll try that unless some better idea comes along.
Right on.

Honestly this almost reminds me of filling in acid etchings/cast/machined indents on firearms. Something like enamel paint could work. I am not sure about the long term durability of it wearing though, as often on guns people fill in etchings on areas not constantly touched by fingers/hand oils.

This is a metal firearm, but I wonder if this method could work. Some of their solvents might be bad for the plastic though, but place to start researching. Maybe google terms like enamel fill plastic etching etc for searching
https://imgur.com/a/KDjmY

User avatar
kralcifer

25 Feb 2020, 16:46

Wow, that's a great imgur. Very detailed. At the Seattle winter keyboard meetup, a guy there had done some infilling on his metal cases. Same process I believe. Acrylic paint, wipe off the edges.

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