Guide for Rebuilding an IBM Model F XT ?

Hi!
I'm quite new to all of this, so please do excuse my "noob-ness". :D

I recently received an IBM Model F XT keyboard.
It appears to be in very good condition. I've attached a photo.

However, it is quite dirty, and I want to take it apart, clean it, possibly dissemble it completely, replace the foam.
I'm not sure where to begin or even how to remove the keycaps properly.
I have watched Lucar's video (https://youtu.be/wPOe0Pmd3gs) several times, but am wondering if there is a set of systematic instructions on how to do this. Some of processes in the video are not quite clear, but it is indeed an outstanding video.

I'm guessing that a number of rebuild guides exist.

I also have a couple of other question, the ALT key does not make any 'click' noise at all. It depresses and springs up quite nicely, but it does not click. Is that normal? What might be wrong?

Also, in my typing test, the space key is indeed much too stiff. I just found these step-by-step instructions/video on how to do the key-mod: workshop-f7/model-f-improvement-dis-assembly-tips-and-space-bar-mod-t6982.html

Any other advice on modifying the space key?
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20181109_194929_HDR.jpg
Waxwood

Unread post10 Nov 2018, 02:24

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unxmaal posted a nice description of his rebuild here:

workshop-f7/ibm-model-f-xt-83-restoration-t17231.html

For replacement foam this one from McMaster-Carr has worked well for me:

https://www.mcmaster.com/8647K108
OldIsNew
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Unread post10 Nov 2018, 03:08

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Congratulations on your new keyboard. It looks quite tidy, indeed.

I get the impression, that replacing the foam has become a "must", through all the nice tutorials floating around.
Apart from a NOS keyboard, I have opened and cleaned 4 dirty XTs so far and none of them needed the foam to be replaced (although they were quite degraded - meaning you could sometimes brush off the upper layer of the foam, where it's visible).
The key feel and sound were the same (or even better actually), compared with the NOS board with intact foam.

If the keys work fine and the barrels sit tightly, I wouldn't open the two metal plates. If it's not broken, don't fix it.
Unless you really want to do something about the space bar. Then you have no other choice, I guess.

Concerning barrels: It's normal, that the barrels in the top left corner (F1, F2 etc.) are a bit loose, but that's because the one bracket of the barrel plate, that's bend differently than the others, is usually not tight enough. You can press the two plates together with your fingers and will see that the top left barrels are then tight as well. So you can correct that with pliers easily.

Concerning the Alt key: That's probably just, that the spring doesn't sit correctly in the keycap.
- Take the keycap off
- Tilt the keyboard up, so that the cable out of the case points directly downwards
- While holding it in this position, put the keycap back in
Last edited by AJM on 10 Nov 2018, 20:57, edited 1 time in total.
AJM
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Unread post10 Nov 2018, 19:35

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+1 on the leave the foam alone. I have 4 model Fs, all used, and never needed a foam replacement on any of them. If the foam needs replaced, sure go do it. But often it’s just fine.

I have been inside most of my Fs, though. Just not for foam. I like to explore their layouts.

Image

My Kishsaver went from this:

Image

To this:

Image

All just by opening it up and moving hammers and stabilisers between barrels. Well worth it!
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Unread post10 Nov 2018, 19:56

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@Muirium
Although the more ISOish layout of the original would be far more suitable for my language, I really admire the symmetry of your layout. Although I'm a friend of stepped keys - in this case it makes me wish for a CapsLock key without step, though. :D
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Unread post10 Nov 2018, 20:27

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The off-centre stem makes that one key difficult. The caps alter with the seasons, but the layout is evergreen. You’re right about its symmetry. I took my lead from the HHKB, of course, but with a better, fully symmetric bottom row thanks to IBM. Got to give it to them for allowing all this, way back then.
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Unread post10 Nov 2018, 20:34

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Hi, Thanks for the link. I will begin my rebuild over the coming weeks. I'll see if I can document the clamping process using C-clamps. I have a few dozen of them and am curious to see if it might make the dreaded reassembly easier.

How much of the foam should I buy? If I make a few extra foams for an XT, I wonder if anyone would be interested in purchasing them? Its probably not a lot of work to make 4 compared to making one once I have the template printed out and my punches and tools assembled.
Waxwood

Unread post11 Nov 2018, 22:41

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Waxwood wrote:I have watched Lucar's video (https://youtu.be/wPOe0Pmd3gs) several times, but am wondering if there is a set of systematic instructions on how to do this. Some of processes in the video are not quite clear, but it is indeed an outstanding video.

Do not follow the part where he's pulling off the spacebar! You should not remove it that way or you risk breaking off little tabs on the bottom side! Since you found my "spacebar mod" thread the real order is removing all keycaps except the spacebar and unhook it later from below when you have managed to get the plates separated.
JBert

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Waxwood wrote:
I'll see if I can document the clamping process using C-clamps.


If you have gone to the trouble to repaint your plate, the sliding is likely to scrape under the clamp feet unless you pad them with fabric or cardboard. My guess is that you are looking at 3mm-4mm sideways.

The spring clamps that I show in my 122 ANSI guide have the advantage of spring pressure rather than absolute clamping.
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Unread post12 Nov 2018, 15:04

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Waxwood wrote:Hi, Thanks for the link. I will begin my rebuild over the coming weeks. I'll see if I can document the clamping process using C-clamps. I have a few dozen of them and am curious to see if it might make the dreaded reassembly easier.

How much of the foam should I buy? If I make a few extra foams for an XT, I wonder if anyone would be interested in purchasing them? Its probably not a lot of work to make 4 compared to making one once I have the template printed out and my punches and tools assembled.

Neoprene foam or "art foam" varieties are very inexpensive and the art foam in particular is very easy to cut and punch. Rather than using a hammer and leather punches, I use a laboratory cork borer -- you press and twist rather than pound.

On my first XT refurbishing project, I used rather expensive silicone foam, which was not really necessary. In addition, I used 1/8-inch thick foam, which was thicker than required and made it very difficult to realign the plates.
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Unread post12 Nov 2018, 20:47

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