Do I need to screw mod my Model M?

ZyBeR

20 Jun 2020, 11:49

Guys - I've got a Model M (my first) which seams to be in great condition, but I just took it apart and a bunch of the plastic rivets have fallen off. After reading a long thread about screw/bolt modding here on DT I felt like it could be a long a tedious project (especially the drilling part and getting the holes straight). So if possible I would like to avoid that.

How do I know if my board is "good enough" or if it needs a screw mod? Just pushing on the plate don't show much, if any flex but maybe that's not what we're trying to fix?
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Weezer

20 Jun 2020, 12:11

"Good enough" is subjective. How do the keys feel when you type on them? Do any of the keys feel mushy? Do any catch on other keys? It's up to you whether it's time to add some screws or bolts based on how the keyboard feels to you. If every key feels good, then doing a bolt or screw mod may not be necessary.

If certain areas don't feel quite right, adding a couple of screws could take anywhere from 10-15 minutes if you just touch up those areas. If you'd like to invest a couple hours of time you could pop all the remaining rivets out and add a bolt or screw to every hole where a rivet goes. If you decide to add screws or bolts you will need to drill out a pilot hole for each one you decide to add. When I bolt modified my keyboard I didn't really have an issue getting the holes straight. As long as you eyeball it alright it's not a huge deal, but do be cognizant of screw or bolt head clearance since if you have giant screw or bolt heads sticking out of the bottom of the barrel plate, it won't sit properly in the case. Also while using screws is considerably more convenient, if you have to unscrew and rescrew the screws several times they will eventually wear out the plastic, which is why I personally prefer flathead bolts and low profile nuts over screws.

Hope this helps!

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inmbolmie

20 Jun 2020, 13:04

My policy:

All the keys sound and feel the same ---> OK
Not uniform keyfeel, too pingy or too mushy ---> Partial screw mod
The thing falls apart or comes from a swamp ---> Complete screw mod

In your case it seems that there are much less rivets in the bottom rows and in the numpad zone, so check that areas.

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ddrfraser1

20 Jun 2020, 13:31

I agree with the previous comments. For me, I would compare the clickiness of a key in a tight area to the rest of the board. Anything lest than an nice crisp click and the whole thing needs a bolt mod IMO. Yes, it takes a while but it's not as difficult as you might think. As with any worthwhile keyboard mod, it's a cathartic and rewarding experience. Good luck!

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fohat
Elder Messenger

20 Jun 2020, 16:31

I do a full bolt mod every time because, after a dozen of them, it is no big deal to me.

It would be surprising if you don't have "soft spots" in those areas where multiple adjacent rivets are missing.

ZyBeR

20 Jun 2020, 18:16

Thank you for all, very helpful replies.

After further investigation it's only on the outer part of the numpad the plastic plate if flexing.
All guides I've seen have covered modding all rivets, could I do a partial screw mod?

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Weezer

20 Jun 2020, 23:30

For sure. If you don't want to or don't have the time then a partial screw mod could work just fine. It's all about whether the keyboard is enjoyable for you to use, so if it's working great for you then no need to go crazy on a project you're not quite ready to do. Just be gentle as you drill out the pilot holes and screw in the screws so more rivets don't pop off.

Dikkus

21 Jun 2020, 04:47

It's a very simple process, even someone as clumsy as me was able to do one with the encouragement of the users here. I think the best part of doing a bolt mod -- aside from making the board more serviceable -- is the opportunity to replace the thick rubber mat with a thin latex mat from Unicomp, as recommended by fohat. It really does make the board far more crisp and satisfying.

And, yes, a partial screw mod is pretty common.

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ddrfraser1

21 Jun 2020, 05:43

Dikkus wrote:
21 Jun 2020, 04:47
It's a very simple process, even someone as clumsy as me was able to do one with the encouragement of the users here. I think the best part of doing a bolt mod -- aside from making the board more serviceable -- is the opportunity to replace the thick rubber mat with a thin latex mat from Unicomp, as recommended by fohat. It really does make the board far more crisp and satisfying.

And, yes, a partial screw mod is pretty common.
Do you have a link to that thread and also the latex mat on unicomp’s website?

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PlacaFromHell

21 Jun 2020, 05:44

ddrfraser1 wrote:
21 Jun 2020, 05:43
Dikkus wrote:
21 Jun 2020, 04:47
It's a very simple process, even someone as clumsy as me was able to do one with the encouragement of the users here. I think the best part of doing a bolt mod -- aside from making the board more serviceable -- is the opportunity to replace the thick rubber mat with a thin latex mat from Unicomp, as recommended by fohat. It really does make the board far more crisp and satisfying.

And, yes, a partial screw mod is pretty common.
Do you have a link to that thread and also the latex mat on unicomp’s website?
I just removed the mat and my keyboard feels amazing now. You can simply take it apart.

Dikkus

21 Jun 2020, 05:54

PlacaFromHell wrote:
21 Jun 2020, 05:44
ddrfraser1 wrote:
21 Jun 2020, 05:43
Dikkus wrote:
21 Jun 2020, 04:47
It's a very simple process, even someone as clumsy as me was able to do one with the encouragement of the users here. I think the best part of doing a bolt mod -- aside from making the board more serviceable -- is the opportunity to replace the thick rubber mat with a thin latex mat from Unicomp, as recommended by fohat. It really does make the board far more crisp and satisfying.

And, yes, a partial screw mod is pretty common.
Do you have a link to that thread and also the latex mat on unicomp’s website?
I just removed the mat and my keyboard feels amazing now. You can simply take it apart.
Yeah, I've seen some people get rid of the mat entirely, which probably is just as good if not better than the thin latex mat. Though I have seen some concerns insofar as to whether or not it reduces the lifespan of the membrane. I'm not sure how valid those concerns are.

As far as where you can get the latex mat on Unicomp's website - I'm pretty sure you have to directly request it from them via support. I believe Unicomp refers to it as a "blanket." It's 10 bucks. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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PlacaFromHell

21 Jun 2020, 08:11

Dikkus wrote:
21 Jun 2020, 05:54
Yeah, I've seen some people get rid of the mat entirely, which probably is just as good if not better than the thin latex mat. Though I have seen some concerns insofar as to whether or not it reduces the lifespan of the membrane. I'm not sure how valid those concerns are.

As far as where you can get the latex mat on Unicomp's website - I'm pretty sure you have to directly request it from them via support. I believe Unicomp refers to it as a "blanket." It's 10 bucks. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I think the only purpose is distribute the pressure evenly as the rivets can't just do the same force than screws. Considering that model F's work fairly similar and they don't have any kind of dampener, supposing that that's the actual argument against taking it out, shouldn't be a concern. The keyboard feels more solid and the sound is quite better.

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robo

23 Jun 2020, 20:36

I've never bolt/screw modded either of my M's, one is a 1989 unit I've used almost daily since 2005, the other is an almost NOS 1993 SSK. Both have a handful of rivets missing but I can't detect any problems in actual functionality or feel.

Also, after reading about various issues with keyboards not fitting back into the case properly after screw/bolt modding I was scared off.

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ddrfraser1

23 Jun 2020, 20:38

robo wrote:
23 Jun 2020, 20:36
I've never bolt/screw modded either of my M's, one is a 1989 unit I've used almost daily since 2005, the other is an almost NOS 1993 SSK. Both have a handful of rivets missing but I can't detect any problems in actual functionality or feel.

Also, after reading about various issues with keyboards not fitting back into the case properly after screw/bolt modding I was scared off.
Nah, don't be scared. I've never screwed up an M or F so bad I couldn't fix it. Sometimes the screws end up being a bit too long in some places but you can just dremmel them off. You'll have to do it one day :D

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