F104+SSK+122+62+77+50+Ergo orders now open! New Kishsaver+Industrial Model F Keyboards


01 Jul 2015, 05:59

2023 major project update: see this post for details


Now available to order: F104, FSSK, F122, F15, F50, and Split Ortholinear Ergonomic

Some models are offered in both Model M style and ultra compact style cases. All cases are metal, even though they were designed to match the IBM Model M case designs of old.

2022 update / for posterity:

Still time to customize your Brand New Model F Keyboard at www.ModelFKeyboards.com !

Important firmware note: if you are looking to update your firmware, always use the latest firmware from the above project web site! Re-download it if you downloaded it prior to May 2022. Older firmware downloaded before then may soft-brick the controller, requiring you to physically short the PROG pins on the controller. Not to worry, there is no known way to permanently brick your keyboard controller if you flash the wrong firmware file.

Success! Brand New Model F Keyboards finished production and started shipping at the end of 2019, after several years of factory delays as described in detail on the updates page of the project web site. So far more than 1900 F62 and F77 keyboards have shipped. The first batch of dye sublimated new Model F XT quality keycaps started shipping in Feb. 2021.

As of March 2022 the third container shipment is currently at sea, expected to arrive around month end, and then begins the process of wrapping up the remaining backlog of the early bird round, which had to be split into three separate container shipments (late 2019, early 2021, and early 2022).

Take a look at the most recent postings in this thread for the latest updates and discussion!

The web site is a go! Time to order your Brand New Model F Keyboard! $1.9 million + in orders so far (as of early 2022)!

Also I would like to give credit to the many (mostly) buckling spring-related projects that have given me inspiration and encouragement while working on the Brand New Model F Keyboards project. Please forgive me if I missed some projects that did not come to mind:

xwhatsit - modernized Model F and Beam Spring controllers, making the new Model F's and new Beam Spring keyboards possible
wcass - custom Model F projects (flat Model F "New Buckling Spring Design" and XTant) and Model F PCB designs
pandrew - Model F controller-related projects (new controller designs, QMK, and more)
Jesse and Kaia - Keyboardio project
Lot_Lizard - Model MF project
idollar - FSSK/FEXT projects
The Input Club team - various crowdfunded projects
fohat - Model F122 layout conversion guide
SneakyRobb interview with buckling spring inventor Dick Harris

older updates, 6/23/18 and prior
Please head to http://www.ModelFkeyboards.com to place your order! In general, keyboards ship out by the timestamp of your order - first in, first out!

I am updating this post using one of the fully tested prototype F77's!

Complete production status update 6-3-17 with photos and descriptions of how each part works:
https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/uncateg ... each-part/

* Basic keyboard models: F62, F77, Ultra Compact F62, Ultra Compact F77
* One-piece XT-style keycaps made from new molds, including Industrial SSK style blue keys - extra sets are also available separately
* Extra parts also available separately including Model F (AT) compatible barrels, flippers, cases, PCBs, inner foam, and inner assemblies
* Available layouts: ANSI: US and HHKB style with split backspace and regular non-split backspace. ISO: Vertical enter with a variety of international layout variants: Spanish, German, Nordic, French, UK, etc.

* Ultra compact cases
* keys
* buckling springs

* Boxes / outside foam packaging

* Die cast zinc cases (powdercoating is done too - the die cast cases are all finished!)
* key molds
* Inner assembly plates
* barrels
* inner foam
* flippers
* capacitive PCBs
* compact xwhatsit controllers
* case molds
* ribbon cables (to connect controllers to capacitive PCBs)

* Cases and other parts have been ordered, so please no major changes!

* Everything. I have ordered extra keyboards and parts for the early bird round, which will be ongoing while supplies last. Then there will be a final round for about a month after the early bird keyboards are delivered.

F62/F77 Prototype testing, brief teardown, and sound comparisons with original IBM keyboards

F62 / F77 features:
  • Only new parts will be used - not New Old Stock or used part pulls from other keyboards (you can use your original IBM/Lexmark/Unicomp caps - they will be compatible)
    Metal top and metal bottom case, like the original
    Metal top and metal bottom inner "sandwich" plates with interlocking tabs, like the original
    Model F barrels and full-size capacitive flippers, all injection molded for accuracy/durability (not 3D printed)
    2 mm foam like in my original F77
    Ships fully assembled at no extra charge - no further soldering will be required. You will put on the feet though!
    Cork-rubber feet, plus a small selection of rubber feet (cork-rubber feet like the PC XT Model F keyboard)
    Top and bottom case powdercoated in a color similar to the original "off white/beige" color, black, or similar to industrial gray (or you can pick your own color and pay extra for tooling)
    New buckling springs made to original Model F spring tolerances (ideally)
    Keys to be sourced from Unicomp (or you can provide your own keys). To use brand new one-piece dye sub keys instead, someone else would need to take on production of the keys.
    Layouts can be adjusted at the factory, or you can adjust them later for international versions
    Metal tabs attached to the top inner assembly for the Model M style spacebar stabilizer wire - no plastic pieces like in the original
    Packed like a new keyboard: in two custom white EPS foam shells and in a close-fitting brown double-walled cardboard box
    Fully assembled in China
    10 foot monoprice USB cable with ferrite core
    Extra barrels (AT-style) and capacitive flippers will be produced and made available for purchase separately (for other projects and for replacement parts)
    Any other suggestions?
After everyone interested has placed their order and sent payment, please be aware that it will be several months before your order arrives.

Working Prototype photos:
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inner.jpg (864.09 KiB) Viewed 153390 times
assembly1 (2).jpg
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Ultra Compact Case:
ultra compact F62 (1).jpg
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ultra compact F62 (2).jpg
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ultra compact F62 (3).jpg
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ultra compact F62 (4).jpg
ultra compact F62 (4).jpg (920.59 KiB) Viewed 144931 times
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Last edited by Ellipse on 02 Aug 2023, 21:04, edited 36 times in total.

User avatar
Cherry Picker

01 Jul 2015, 06:11

Impressive work! I'm sure I'd be in for an F77.


01 Jul 2015, 06:12

holymoly. if all of this is indeed true, have some of my newfound respect ellipse.

way to go!

P.S. It would be nice to have some transparent keytops. They shouldn't be terrifically hard to make in China for cheap.


01 Jul 2015, 06:25

Thanks dzhoou - I have to stay away from key cap tooling costs as that would make this keyboard even more expensive. Is anyone else willing to take on making high quality Model F compatible keys?

To make this project complete I would hope to make single-piece Model F keys with nice texture and deep black, thick legends, but this is for another year or for someone else :)
Last edited by Ellipse on 01 Jul 2015, 06:28, edited 1 time in total.

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01 Jul 2015, 06:27

Great work! I'd be definitely in when this starts sometimes. Self assembly would be good for all I assume?

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01 Jul 2015, 08:06

The CADs look amazing and judging by the features list this will be something to look forward to! Nice job!

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01 Jul 2015, 08:39


This is quite impressive. I would definitely be in for one, that's for sure.

User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 08:46

Wow. Im propably in for one or other. Still have to Make up my mind.

User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 08:58

I'm glad to see someone take this project on. I have always thought someone could do it. I think the demand for this is definitely there. I'm certainly interested.


01 Jul 2015, 10:04

This has to be a project of epic proportion, interest registered. Would love one.

User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 10:15

Can we get them in time for Kishmas?

If I can scrape the pennies together, yeah I'd surely like a 77 key. A 62 as well if I could ever squeeze it. Looks to be a magnificent project.

Anyone know a good dyesubber? Putting good caps on these will be a challenge. I'm already a bit short, and don't want to have to pile up a mountain of donors too.

User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 10:26

Interested in F77.

I just hope it doesn't end in a mess like GH60. Looks like there are a lot of moving parts here.


01 Jul 2015, 10:29

If it can get close to the quality of an original 62 i would be up for one.

Few small things

How are you getting the barrels made ? Will you make sure they are smooth as the originals and if not can a custom order be done and i send you original barrels ?


Buzzer and solenoid option

Are you going to do IBM style back label like on model F and Ms with birthday and serial number ?
Last edited by andrewjoy on 01 Jul 2015, 10:34, edited 1 time in total.


01 Jul 2015, 10:31

Muirium wrote: Can we get them in time for Kishmas?

If I can scrape the pennies together, yeah I'd surely like a 77 key. A 62 as well if I could ever squeeze it. Looks to be a magnificent project.

Anyone know a good dyesubber? Putting good caps on these will be a challenge. I'm already a bit short, and don't want to have to pile up a mountain of donors too.

Step 1

Buy an XT or Bigfoot

Step 2

Put caps on kishaver

Step 3


User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 10:33

Um, layout?

Also: shipping heavy boards around is especially likely to attract customs eye. I'd much rather ship components than great hulks.


01 Jul 2015, 10:38

Muirium wrote: Um, layout?

Also: shipping heavy boards around is especially likely to attract customs eye. I'd much rather ship components than great hulks.
send it to a proxy and pay them in the parts you don't want to rip it apart. ( talking of parts i have just parted out
a junker of a blue model M from IBM UK anyone need any parts ( mainly did it for springs to experiment with a model F :), and some inserts for my 122 #2 )
I need to ask unicomp if they can do 1 part caps never did get around to it

its there barrel inserts that are crap there caps are fine at least for the APL set i have


01 Jul 2015, 10:40

This is dope. Thinking of joining

User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 10:46

Putting "just" before a bunch of bother I don't want to do, doesn't make it much more appealing Andy…

What I'd really like is shiny new single piece thick inked dyesubs available for all my IBMs. That would be amazing. You've seen the horrific Unicomp Return key on my AT. It screams!

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01 Jul 2015, 11:01

Ouch, my wallet will take some hit in this !

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01 Jul 2015, 12:23

In for a 62-key if you can get the price point to the expected level. Seems like a long shot with the amount of tooling required? Will these be milled cases or cast like the originals? What material? I'm very worried about skimping on quality for what seems to me like a ton of manufacturing...

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formerly prdlm2009

01 Jul 2015, 12:53

Any chance that a working prototype could be produced before the group buy begins?

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01 Jul 2015, 12:54

vivalarevolución wrote: Any chance that a working prototype could be produced before the group buy begins?
This would also make me much more likely to go in for one.

User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 13:07

I thought about that as I was going to bed. Having at least proof of concept prototypes for each step would be important.

User avatar

01 Jul 2015, 13:24

Wow that looks so sick. Especially if you have an Industrial F77 or F62.
A prototype would be so nice to see, if it comes close to the real F77 then you did the most impressive project for me!


01 Jul 2015, 13:41

something i added as a note but will post here as well

Try to get the texture of the paint right :) it will look and feel way better if you do that.

User avatar
Offtopicthority Instigator

01 Jul 2015, 13:46

Ellipse wrote: After everyone interested has placed their order and sent payment (after pricing has been finalized), please be aware that production could take a month or maybe even a few months.
I would assume that production would take longer. We do know that you have owned the original and therefore know the very high quality build which would be a critical factor for me. Do you really think you can "approach" that quality?


01 Jul 2015, 14:01

Andrew-barrels will be injection molded, not 3d printed. I have specified they be smooth plastic. I will send them photos or maybe a spare barrel when I choose my manufacturer.

The expansion header will be present so it should be possible to add your own solenoid, buzzer, or LED lights.

No labels but it would be great if someone could take that on. Maybe a text based silver label with no logo.

Pr0ximity - the case will be die cast like the original if the tooling is not out of reach, or maybe CNC milled. I am considering standard powder coated zinc like the original or maybe anodized aluminum.

Regarding a prototype, yes I will be getting a prototype to make sure the parts fit. Not to worry, they will adjust the tooling if something does not fit. I have incorporated standard manufacturing tolerances into my designs and have done a preliminary CAD assembly.
But for some parts there cannot be a prototype made without tooling done, like for anything injection molded. I may order prototypes for just the main parts like top and bottom cover and top and bottom inner assembly and then test it with some of my existing F77 parts like barrels and flippers.

Seebart-yes it should be very high quality but nothing will ever be 100% the same as the original. China does not only make low end stuff nowadays. My contacts contract manufacture many of the industrial products designed by American companies. When you take an F77 apart it is built of standard components like zinc and steel formed with standard manufacturing processes like injection molding, die casting, slip rolling, and other metal forming. The original design had relatively wide tolerances compared to what could be achieved by modern manufacturing techniques today, so I have this extra leeway built into the design.


01 Jul 2015, 14:05

Ellipse wrote: No labels but it would be great if someone could take that on. Maybe a text based silver label with no logo.
I mean a serial number label like this

User avatar
Elder Messenger

01 Jul 2015, 14:08

The Quest for the Holy Grail.


01 Jul 2015, 14:21

If you can actually get manufacturers to produce the various individual parts (PCB, barrel plate, barrels, flippers, etc.), I think it only makes sense to offer the individual parts for sale to help mitigate fixed costs and meet MOQs.

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