Hi-Profile PBT Dye-sub (the time has come)

Muirium wrote:Don't let the beamspring dream die already! Gah!!

that doesn't look half bad to me :) Anyway I want to test it first
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 12:39

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Good, good.

The thing with Beamspring is it's so distinctive. Easily the most recognisable "definitely not SA" of tall spherical profiles that I've tried. SA is nice enough to make a decent Topre HiPro clone already. But Beamspring has the flair. You'll see what I mean once you assemble a vintage tall sphericals collection of your own!
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 12:44

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I think that caps from IBM Selectric II typewriters are compatible with Beam Spring. This model of typewriter is plentiful on eBay and elsewhere.

Selectric_II_.png


If it would help, I could send a set that i have harvested. I would like to have the set returned if possible.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 14:31

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Stepped Shifts, Caps Lock, and a nice Backspace. Good find, Hyper!
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 14:46

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problem with those sets is that I miss a lot of key sizes.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 14:55

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Boards this old just didn't do modern layouts. They are older than ANSI and ISO!

Boards this old pre-date the drive to make everything cheap and shitty, too, of course. So the higher our desired standard to refer back to, the more work we (okay you) must do to synthesise a modern set of sizes.

I'm not sure what we're really missing. We can interpolate spacebars from the long originals. 1.25 and 1.5u mods can also be synthesised from we have. Same with long Shifts and ANSI Return. Depends on whether we want stepped or unstepped, mind. ISO Return we have. Numpad Enter? Well, the vertical Return key on the 3276 could cover that. Though it is convex. Could be funky!

No beamspring has a function row, so those caps must be a repeat of row 1, which makes sense.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 14:59

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Have we given up on Honeywell? I really like the look of the keycaps on the early- to mid-70s Honeywell boards.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:16

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if I have a bottom row 1.25 (for example) I can do a bottom row 1.50 (and vice versa). I definitely need not stepped shifts (any size). I need ANSI enter and ISO enter. Stepped capslock is a plus but not strictly needed. I need either tab or \|. Then a 2u R1. Function row can be done somehow, from R1 or from R3. I need just one spacebar. The others can be easily done. Of course I need 1u for each row. Having a vertical key would be a plus.

The Selectric above misses many of the needed keys.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:19

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Hypersphere wrote:Have we given up on Honeywell? I really like the look of the keycaps on the early- to mid-70s Honeywell boards.

I don't remember... are they sculpted?
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:21

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Nope. They're all uniform, alas. I have both a Honeywell and a Beamspring, and I much prefer the IBM. Honeywells are quite nice and just about as thick, though. Not that this means much to us when adapting the outer shape to our own manufacture!



Aye. The Selectic won't get you there by itself. But what about the 3276?

Image
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:21

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what miss from a 3276 is the bottom row which is pretty important. Unless we want to use R3 on the bottom row... or make the keys convex like the spacebar
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:25

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This thread's too quick for my picture searching! Here's another of the 3276. It does have some mods down there for us to work with:

Image

The wee single unit convex Alt is particularly cute! And scalable…
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:27

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not stepped mods :) we only have a very small alt key. Not that we can't work on the 3d model once scanned, but the less I let them touch those models, the better.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:30

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That little Alt is probably the only thing beamspring has for bottom row non-stepped mods. Back in those days everyone was like Andy and craved MOAR SPACEBARR!! Mods multiplied in the 1980s.

The only truly vintage board I can think of with a wholesome suite of mods is the Space Cadet:

Image

Trouble is, you will never find one of these for sale. So forget about losing its caps in China! I do think it might make a good illustration for what alterations to make on beamspring caps. They are both vintage after all.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:32

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I'm all for working on a 3276 and similar keys... if you guys let me have as many keys as you can knowing that: 1) you might not get them back (even if I'll do my best to have them back); 2) this PBT set might not come to reality due to a gazillion reasons
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:36

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Understood. I'm willing to assist with the cause. (With a definite eye towards Topre mount dyesubs of these in the future.) My 3276 has a few chipped keys but you'll be mostly after the mods and spacebar anyway:

Image

So pretty! Tell these guys to keep them out of the daylight. Between my spare grey/blue set, the 3276, and Hyper's Selectrics I think you've got a good start!
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 15:47

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So riddle me this, MX mount caps need a lot of clearance so the switch housing can enter it when it depresses. Does topre need the same clearance or can these be thick thick thick.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 16:05

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all interested parties should contact me privately to fix shipping details
SL89 wrote:So riddle me this, MX mount caps need a lot of clearance so the switch housing can enter it when it depresses. Does topre need the same clearance or can these be thick thick thick.

topre too needs quite some clearance
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 16:23

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Not all caps are created equal. I will post pics in a few min of some caps that survived being run over by a forklift moving 4000 pound box of scrap. They came off an old calculator of some sort. These are very thick!
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 16:51

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elecplus wrote:Not all caps are created equal. I will post pics in a few min of some caps that survived being run over by a forklift moving 4000 pound box of scrap. They came off an old calculator of some sort. These are very thick!

looking forward to seeing the pics elecplus!
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 17:23

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A bit munched on the end, but it survived amazingly well! This is the + key off an old calculator.
IMG_5131.JPG

IMG_5132.JPG
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 17:28

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poor little fella!
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 18:07

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matt3o wrote:all interested parties should contact me privately to fix shipping details

Done.
matt3o wrote:
SL89 wrote:So riddle me this, MX mount caps need a lot of clearance so the switch housing can enter it when it depresses. Does topre need the same clearance or can these be thick thick thick.

topre too needs quite some clearance

Yup. I got out my loose Topre switch from Mr. Interface's legendary switch sampler kit, and studied it side by side with MX. Both switches need to fit inside their caps quite a bit. Or rather, both caps need to clear the switch housing when depressed. There's not really that much thickness to play with down at the "skirt", as it slides around the switch. Plenty of room for weight up top, though. Like SA already does it.

Only the tallest of switches, like beamspring, allow for solid caps. Almost all designs out there like to reduce their overall height by using the space inside their keycaps. To allow for solid caps, you have to use a really long slider so that the full switch travel plus the cap mount itself is exposed when unpressed. Alps doesn't do this, nor MX of course, nor Topre. Buckling spring definitely not either! Beamspring's a very vintage odd one out.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 20:06

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Honeywell Hall Effect switches would be another example of a tall switch that permits use of a very thick keycap.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 20:12

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Aye, and just as old as beamspring. I think some of Cherry's vintage switches might have been the same way.

Lower profiles took over when that ISO standard (and likely others in America) decreed a maximum thickness for keyboards. Until that point, they were and huge and we liked it! (Well, I would have, if I weren't a babe in arms at the time…)
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 20:22

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Hopefully I'll get a chance to start posting photos of my (many) spherical key caps this weekend. I have all sorts of interesting thing in there.

I don't have a 3D scanner but I do have calipers.

Many of these extremely thick key caps - like Micro Switch, or ITW/Cortron, or Futaba linear - would work just fine with Alps or Cherry MX with an adapter. But, they would wobble.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 20:39

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Adapters are fun, but flawed. Native mounts are where it's at. Bring on the Topre!
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 20:42

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I propose to adopt the research insights of jacobolus. He wrote some articles about keycap profiles, on the background of the "essential question", which is: what can be an approximation to an ideal high profile concept, according to both the historical and ergonomical point of view?

Examples of preferable keycap profiles, according to jacobolus:
— Signature Plastics SA, uniform row 4
— Signature Plastics SA, uniform row 3
— Signature Plastics SA, uniform row 1 flipped

Let's take him into this discussion. Ask him!
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Unread post07 Jun 2015, 22:57

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Got a picture of what he suggests?

I vaguely remember his props and the lengthy discussion around them. But I'm blanking on the conclusions. A picture speaks much more concisely and memorably than a thousand words.

So long as its just like beamspring, we're cool…
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Unread post07 Jun 2015, 23:21

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@Muirium Yes, I missed definitive conclusions from him, too. But that's why we have to discuss it. I will send him a PM :-)
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Unread post07 Jun 2015, 23:23

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