Anyone chopped a DSA spacebar before?

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10 Nov 2018, 17:29

My Wyse WY-30 keycaps reacted particularly badly to a retrobright. At first I thought it was solely the BOX Jade switches causing the stems to crack, until one of the keycaps literally shattered in my hand while trying to fix it. So, the keycaps definitely need replacement.

My plan is to use these DSA blank keycaps ... 11185.html

And for the spacebar, chop up the three spacebars included in the Full kit, and combine them into one 9.75u spacebar to fit the WY-30. Anyone ever done this before? I know that many of you have chopped up cases, but a spacebar?


10 Nov 2018, 21:43

I would guess that the real problem is that the Kailh BOX stems could have causes stresses that spread throughout the keycap. But what do I know.

I have only cut apart a space bar and transplanted stems into it, (and into other keycaps) ... but I have done a bit of model kit and keyboard case mods with ABS plastic.
I would use a razor saw with a tiny mitre box, a piece of L-profile aluminium with a sharp internal corner, sandpaper contact cement-glued to a block of metal with orthogonal edges (scrap piece from machine shop or metal shop or whatever), plastic tape and a precision-bottle of Poly Cement for model kits. (Humbrol and Revell are common brands. Long nose on the bottle)
Cut the segments with the razor saw in mitre box. Make the edges smoother using the sanding block, with the key still in the mitre box -- using tape on top of the sandpaper to prevent the block from sanding away from the mitre box itself.
The sanding block would also be used for shortening segments, because you would need to go back and forth to make it precise.
Glue the segments together inside your L-profile jig with Poly Cement applied only to the edges, and using the edge of the profile for alignment. Press the segments together carefully. The Poly Cement is mostly a solvent, solvent-welding the plastic together and it needs to evaporate for the plastic to harden. When welding and pressing together two pieces of plastic the total length will also be reduced a tiny tiny amount.
Reinforcing the inside with strips of plastic would not be a bad idea.
If you use PBT keycaps, there is no easily acquired solvent that can be used to solvent-weld it together as with ABS and you would need to use CA glue, which is a bit brittle and you would need a lot of reinforcement on the inside to prevent it from cracking. ABS is therefore probably better.
You would still get some ridges at the seams, not matter how careful and precise you are. And this process will take you several hours, maybe a weekend, a lot of cursing, and some key segments damaged beyond repair. (Buy spares!)

Or, you could replace the space bar with any other 8 or 9-unit space bar. They should have the mounts in the same places.

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