Numpad keycaps for an IBM Beam Spring 3278

User avatar
darkcruix

14 Sep 2018, 20:39

I am looking for numpad keycaps for my IBM Beam Spring 3278 like shown in the link below. If there are any tipps on how to get hold of these or similar ones, please let me know.
https://imgur.com/a/Ujdj6

Image

User avatar
JP!

15 Sep 2018, 15:40

Can I second that request? ;)

User avatar
vometia
irritant

15 Sep 2018, 17:03

If anybody would like to send me their beam-spring I'll see if I can find any numeric caps for it. If not then I promise* to send it back.

* ish.†

† okay, actually not.

User avatar
Sangdrax

15 Sep 2018, 17:22

The numpad numbers seem to have been pretty uncommon compared to the PF stuff. I know where you're coming from though, as I just made the same upgrade on my 3178 C2 with C4 caps.

User avatar
darkcruix

15 Sep 2018, 17:34

vometia wrote: If anybody would like to send me their beam-spring I'll see if I can find any numeric caps for it. If not then I promise* to send it back.

* ish.†

† okay, actually not.

LMAO :) The worst part about this geeky hobby is that there is never an end in sight (for me). I wouldn't put me into the category to restore vintage keyboards to become close to the original state. I am one of those who can't stop and want the vintage board to be as versatile and adjusted to my needs as possible. I just can't it let it go. I want my board to be the perfect beast.

User avatar
darkcruix

15 Sep 2018, 17:38

Sangdrax wrote: The numpad numbers seem to have been pretty uncommon compared to the PF stuff. I know where you're coming from though, as I just made the same upgrade on my 3178 C2 with C4 caps.
I can see me getting MX mount SA caps and cramp them into the stem.

https://pimpmykeyboard.com/sa-ice-cap-keyset/

User avatar
tron

15 Sep 2018, 18:09

darkcruix wrote:
Sangdrax wrote: The numpad numbers seem to have been pretty uncommon compared to the PF stuff. I know where you're coming from though, as I just made the same upgrade on my 3178 C2 with C4 caps.
I can see me getting MX mount SA caps and cramp them into the stem.

https://pimpmykeyboard.com/sa-ice-cap-keyset/
Maybe try closing the "ears" on the beamspring stems a bit to minimize stress on the mx mounts. Let us know how they fit if you decide to get the num pad. I tried Maxkey SA and the mounts seem too thin/small for beamspring stems.

User avatar
Sangdrax

15 Sep 2018, 19:29

You'll have to vertically cut the mounts of the keycaps anyway. Best to not muck with the beamspring stuff and modify the expendable caps instead. Personally, I'd cut the cap mounts with a dremel wheel until they fit, then fill in the excess space with resin or epoxy putty to make custom mounts that fit exactly.

User avatar
Bass

15 Sep 2018, 21:05

I also found one of these in my hauls, but immediately traded it to someone else. I prefer using my 3278 as a pseudo-TKL of sorts so I had no need for numpad keycaps. Unlike the one you pictured, the 0 keycap was also 2u like on a convential full sized board:

Image

I wouldn't use SA keycaps as replacements personally. To me they feel inferior to a beamspring / selectric cap when used side by side. They are a bit thinner and seem to shine much quicker (in my experience, at least). If you decide to look for the originals, I wish you the best of luck since they definitely are pretty hard to find. I have seen the particular one you pictured on reddit before, so you might want to try contacting them and see if they are willing to trade:

https://www.reddit.com/user/djjcast

User avatar
darkcruix

21 Sep 2018, 09:41

Quick update,

I tried multiple variants of keycaps. Below you can see pictures of a signature plastic keycap in SA R3 form factor and MX mount. It is not only the mount that doesn't properly fit, it is also the keycap shape which doesn't fit (I would need the SA R2).
IMG_2394.JPG
IMG_2394.JPG (448.95 KiB) Viewed 458 times
The other options are very limited to be honest. Due to the limited demand, I can't see any company is doing any molds for the beam springs. I wonder how many Beam Springs are still out there in the wild? How big is the market? Just looking into the 1U keys, there are already 4 molds required to get different rows done.
Last edited by darkcruix on 21 Sep 2018, 17:52, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
darkcruix

21 Sep 2018, 12:06

Below is a demo of the keys (MX mount Signature Plastic) put on the beam spring switches. Giving you an idea how they look. I also played with labels on original keycaps.
IMG_2403.JPG
IMG_2403.JPG (1.37 MiB) Viewed 414 times
IMG_2397.JPG
IMG_2397.JPG (538.89 KiB) Viewed 443 times

User avatar
Bass

22 Sep 2018, 07:38

The labels look pretty classy!

Wondering why you chose to go with R3 rather than R1 SA keycaps for the numpad and PF clusters, since the original beamspring keycaps in these parts of the board are also R1.

User avatar
darkcruix

22 Sep 2018, 10:33

Bass wrote: The labels look pretty classy!

Wondering why you chose to go with R3 rather than R1 SA keycaps for the numpad and PF clusters, since the original beamspring keycaps in these parts of the board are also R1.
I had to go for R1 as the relegendable keys are only available in this format. In all fairness, I have a hard time getting proper SA keysets in any row format. They are super rare, even with MX mount.
BTW: the ones from Signature Plastics have a strong enough MX mount and, when slightly heated with a hair dryer, will fit nicely on a Beam Spring mount. The original IBM keycaps are obviously in a complete different league.

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”