Author Topic: Buckling Spring Floss Mod  (Read 19283 times)

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Online skcheng

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« on: Fri, 30 April 2010, 22:52:05 »
Got a tip today from fellow Geekhacker Phoenix.   So.....you don't like the springy twang of the IBM Buckling Spring.  Yearn for a soft and quiet actuation but like the precise feel and typing speed of the good ol' buckling spring?  Don't feel like messing with grease??

Here are the directions given to me from Phoenix:

I tried a silencing mod on the model m that's easy and actually works.

Use fluffy floss, cut the fluffy part into uniform sections of
slightly less than spring length, hold the spring straight, gently
inert floss sections into the spring, and you are done. The residual
vibration of the spring is greatly reduced. Now the key sounds more
like Alps.

I also tried folding and inserting twice as much (I used a long and
thin piece of plastic to push the center of the floss section in
first). Now it sounds kind of like Cherry brown. It's that quiet. I
also tried using a washer from the wheelwriter in addition to this,
which further dampened the bottoming out noise. Didn't have time to do
it to the whole board, but I highly recommend that you try it. Huge
difference, and key registration is absolutely unaffected (at least on
mine). Should work on the Model F, too. Much less hassle than the
"little piece of foam in the spring near the hammer" thing people did
according to one of the patents online.


So floss is one thing that I have a LOT of and in various types.  

Enter.......Super Floss!!!  



Super Floss is something that I dispense frequently in my office for aiding in cleaning under implant restorations, bridgework, large embrasures etc...   The floss has a thin, stiff leader segment, followed by a soft, spongy region and then some stiff, but more standard dental floss.  

The spongy region is what you want to use:



Simply chop off a piece around the length of the buckling spring and insert into the center of the spring.  That's it.  When you're done, it should look like this:



Closer up:



Now the keyboard thocks and the higher pitched "ping" is completely gone.   The actuation is somewhat damped in my opinion, but Phoenix didn't seem to feel any difference.  Maybe it's because I had some extension of the floss past the uppermost height of the spring.  

Now it's quiet, and soft.  Difference is NOT subtle.   Preference is another thing.  I've come to expect the good ol' buckling spring ping.  Just seems odd typing on a dampened IBM buckling spring board.    According to Phoenix, doubling up on the foamy floss will soften the sound/feel to something similar to Cherry browns.  I don't doubt it.  

Try it.  It's clean, simple and easily reversible.  If you don't like it, simply remove with a toothpick or other small implement.   I used college pliers to pick out the spongy floss.    Use SHARP scissors  (I used small surgical scissors) to cut the floss cleanly.  Otherwise, the floss frays and it won't simply drop into the center of the spring.  

Tomorrow I'll perform the mod on an entire Space Saving Mini and report back.  

Fun mod!!!  Give 'er a try and post results.  

skc

Offline wellington1869

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 30 April 2010, 23:10:01 »
fascinating mod, great pics, awesome write up :)

btw can you post a sound sample (with and without mod) when you get a chance?

I can totally see this working, tho in comparison to the silicon grease mod, I imagine dental floss mod would be much much quieter.  With silicon grease mod one can "tune" both the sound level and the feel by increasing or decreasing the size of the grease blob. My guess is that the dental floss mod's results might be more radical than that. (As you said, "the difference is not subtle".) And that said, if I were looking to quiet down my M, I'd most definitely try this mod on for size.

Thanks for the great writeup, sk!

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Online skcheng

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« Reply #2 on: Fri, 30 April 2010, 23:19:34 »
Quote from: wellington1869;177725
fascinating mod, great pics, awesome write up :)

btw can you post a sound sample (with and without mod) when you get a chance?

I can totally see this working, tho in comparison to the silicon grease mod, I imagine dental floss mod would be much much quieter.  With silicon grease mod one can "tune" both the sound level and the feel by increasing or decreasing the size of the grease blob. My guess is that the dental floss mod's results might be more radical than that. (As you said, "the difference is not subtle".) And that said, if I were looking to quiet down my M, I'd most definitely try this mod on for size.

Thanks for the great writeup, sk!



I just tried stuffing more floss in there and you can completely deaden the sound.   I mean, we're talking Topre quiet.  

What do I need to do to provide sound samples??   I guess I need a mic (can you recommend one?) and a link to the sound bar that everyone here uses.  

Thx,

skc

Offline wellington1869

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 30 April 2010, 23:27:05 »
Quote from: skcheng;177735


What do I need to do to provide sound samples??   I guess I need a mic (can you recommend one?) and a link to the sound bar that everyone here uses.  


re: mic:  I simply use a relatively well reviewed computer external microphone (it sits on the desk, 1/8" plug, tho they have usb ones too obviously). The same mic i use for skype, basically. I dont think you really need to spend a lot of money on it if you dont want to; mine cost $10 and sounds good enough to give people a rough sense of the sound difference.  I dont think anyone's expecting Cd quality results or anything.

Alternately if you have a digital voice recorder for instance, just use that. Prop it up above the keyboard and go nuts.

Some people have used the built-in mic in their computers but I guess i'd avoid that if possible, at least with an external mic you can place it at the right distance after some testing of the results.

People have different ideas about the best mic placement. If its too close to the keyboard, you pick up extraneous irrelevant noises from the keystrokes and the differences in sound (mod/no-mod) become hard to detect. If its too far, same problem. The idea is to place it in such a way that the two recordings (with mod/without mod) to your ears "demonstrate" the difference in the sound as you perceive them. Nothing scientific about this, just use your judgement I think.

Re: the sound bar, I believe it appears automatically when you upload an mpg file. Just upload an mpg as an attachment to a post, just like you'd do with a pic. The sound bar is generated automatically.

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Offline phoenix

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 03:40:11 »
Nice photos, skc! I look forward to the sound samples.

I recommend cutting the floss a little shorter than the spring minus hammer stem. Roughly 14 mm is good. If you want to insert bifolded floss for slightly stiffer but even quieter clicks, use 28 mm. That way the floss doesn't stick out of the spring when you put the cap on. If you have too much floss sticking out, the spring might not align well with the little dimple inside the key cap stem.

With 1x floss the keys are free of high-pitch reverberation. It's a good balance between silence and key feel. With 2x floss it may be too stiff and muffled for some people.

Unicomp should find a cheap supplier for the material that the floss is made of or something similar and make this a $10 option. QuietClick and SilentClick, maybe?
« Last Edit: Sat, 01 May 2010, 03:46:39 by phoenix »

Offline clickclack

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« Reply #5 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 03:50:47 »
What an interesting idea! I suppose some light string or thin/unwinded yarn would work too. A strip of tissue, a pubic hair, belly button lint... wait... a what?

Good job guys, I bet this is a great mod!
:)
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Offline ch_123

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« Reply #6 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 04:19:06 »
Ripster's recording of the Model F is as accurate as I've ever heard, but yeah, most of the other ones miss most of the sound.

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« Reply #7 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 06:11:07 »
Quote from: webwit;177764
Nice! I don't care for sound samples using cheap microphones myself. They cover a limited frequency and all keyboards sound alike for me. Example: try to find a good sound sample of the Model F's refined ping.



Do you have a good mic that you would recommend?  So that I can add to the current list of input devices jammed into all of my available USB ports?  Currently I have two trackballs, two mice and three keyboards LOL.

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« Reply #8 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 06:17:00 »
Quote from: phoenix;177759
Nice photos, skc! I look forward to the sound samples.

I recommend cutting the floss a little shorter than the spring minus hammer stem. Roughly 14 mm is good. If you want to insert bifolded floss for slightly stiffer but even quieter clicks, use 28 mm. That way the floss doesn't stick out of the spring when you put the cap on. If you have too much floss sticking out, the spring might not align well with the little dimple inside the key cap stem.

With 1x floss the keys are free of high-pitch reverberation. It's a good balance between silence and key feel. With 2x floss it may be too stiff and muffled for some people.

Unicomp should find a cheap supplier for the material that the floss is made of or something similar and make this a $10 option. QuietClick and SilentClick, maybe?



SuperFloss isn't cheap and I buy bulk samples to hand out.  Took me three strands to cover one row of keys.   Super easy to remove.    

The end result is a feel that is totally different than a regular Model M key feel.   Almost rubbery.  And soft.   But I miss the sound.......

Offline didjamatic

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 07:26:40 »
Best Model M mod I've seen.  Silicone grease is a sloppy mess, can be inconsistent and is not easily reversible.  I would never buy a Model M that has had grease.  But this mod is nice and clean and requires only pulling caps, I love it!
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« Reply #10 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 08:48:24 »
Quote from: didjamatic;177800
Best Model M mod I've seen.  Silicone grease is a sloppy mess, can be inconsistent and is not easily reversible.  I would never buy a Model M that has had grease.  But this mod is nice and clean and requires only pulling caps, I love it!



Try it Didj.   Let me know what you think??

Offline Mental Hobbit

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 09:19:03 »
Did the same a while ago using pieces of ordinary rubber rings. Works well too.
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Online skcheng

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« Reply #12 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 10:00:41 »
Quote from: ripster;177815
Or use foam.   From SCTony's mod in the AT&T patent post.  The concept is simple - you're trying to dampen the vibrations.
Show Image


One of the reasons I like my mike setup is because I run it through a decent mike preamp.  Not a big fan of USB mikes.
Show Image



The Super Floss mod is easier.   And probably eaiser to undo.  

What mike setup do you use??  I could use a good mike and mike preamp setup.

skc

Online skcheng

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« Reply #13 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 10:09:57 »
Quote from: ripster;177819
Specifics are in the megasound sample post.  I just had the equipment  lying around from guitar stuff.  USB mikes may have gotten better since the last time I looked.

Okay.  I'll look around to see what I can come up with.   Can't be a real Geekhack without the ability to post sound samples  :)
« Last Edit: Sat, 01 May 2010, 11:53:46 by skcheng »

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 11:25:34 »
Quote from: ripster;177815
The concept is simple - you're trying to dampen the vibrations.


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/v/TCeD_6Y3GQc&hl=en_GB&fs=1&">http://www.youtube.com/v/TCeD_6Y3GQc&hl=en_GB&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385">[/youtube]
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Offline aegrotatio

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« Reply #15 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 23:45:15 »
Wow, I knew there was a good use for that fluffy floss I accidentally bought.  Thanks, I'll try this on one of my Model Ms.
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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #16 on: Sat, 01 May 2010, 23:54:00 »
few random things --
--sk, can you post sound samples of both 1x and 2x inserts?
--in my view no need to go nuts on recording setup because the average computer speaker wont reproduce it anyway.
--But hey, couldnt hurt, so if you have the time and money, sure, go nuts with the recording quality.
--yarn/wool string -- i wonder if that would work; if it did, its cheap and readily available.
--never had any issues with inconsistent sound quality with the grease mod (ie, from key to key?), but yea its not "fully" reversible.
--longevity of this mod is a question; how will floss or yarn or etc hold up in sound dampening characteristics after, say, 6 months of use? I guess some time will tell.
--the more methods there are available to dampen/mute mechanical boards, the better; personally i'm now curious about how different materials (like yarn) might work when stuffed into these springs. Could get quite creative in selecting and trying different materials, actually.  They'd probably give slightly different results, each of which would suit different people better or worse. So yea, the more methods there are (and sound samples/results uploaded and reviewed), the better for everyone.

thanks again sk; this kind of opens up a new branch of 'research'  ;)
« Last Edit: Sun, 02 May 2010, 00:35:47 by wellington1869 »

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Offline wellington1869

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« Reply #17 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 00:13:17 »
i had one other question for anyone who does a trial implementation of this mod. Regarding tactility: is it reduced or eliminated?
As I understand it, the tactile *feel* of the click on the buckling spring requires the spring to buckle. Does it still buckle with the same violence with floss or yarn inside it? Arent you affecting *both* feel as well as sound?  With the grease mod (when applied moderately) you dont really affect feel. There the spring is still free to buckle violently, its the reverberations (on both plastic and steel spring) that are dampened a lot.

btw, see this old thread investigating the source of the buckling spring's sound/feel.

also, just fyi, to compare this mod with: I tried at one point covering the outside of the spring with a thin latex sac. And Rippy tried plastidip at one point. (ie, all this was on the outside of the spring, tho SK is trying to stuff the inside of the spring now, which is interesting). But in those experiments the general consensus seemed to be that if the spring doesnt buckle you're going to lose both feel as well as sound. Does it still buckle with tactility with floss or yarn?
« Last Edit: Sun, 02 May 2010, 05:46:27 by wellington1869 »

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Offline EverythingIBM

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« Reply #18 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 02:24:18 »
To make this "floss" mod more successful, I'd advise people to use the two-piece key set. I plucked some keys off of my model F, placed them on my model M, and noticed they were a lot more clattery than the two-piece keys for some reason. Although, they are a lot more responsive and feel more crisp. Strange how a two-piece cap system can be so different.
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Offline phoenix

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 06:02:22 »
I finally did this to all the keys on my Model M Mini. To try something new I did it with Ultra Floss instead of Super Floss :)

http://www.amazon.com/Oral-B-Ultra-Floss-Dental-Original/dp/B000GGJCFW (less than $5 at CVS.)

Unlike Super Floss, Ultra floss comes in long, 18-inch (0.45m) strands. One pack gives you 55 yards = 50 meters. I only needed 3 strands for the whole board. It is about 2/3 as thick as super floss, so I cut them slightly longer, roughly 15~16mm, to fill the spring.

Since it's thinner, it doesn't remove as much reverberation but enough to make a difference. The click is still very present, and I can safely say that key feel is unaffected.

CVS has its own store brand fluffy floss that's less than $3 a pack. It looks thicker than Super Floss, so I don't know if it will go into the spring as easily, but it's the cheapest thing to try.

Update: Ultra Floss works great on the Model F. Only tried a few keys. The echo of spring bouncing back is gone and nothing else is affected. 15mm is good.
« Last Edit: Sun, 02 May 2010, 06:13:20 by phoenix »

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« Reply #20 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 06:53:18 »
Quote from: ripster;177819
Specifics are in the megasound sample post.  I just had the equipment  lying around from guitar stuff.  USB mikes may have gotten better since the last time I looked.



Hey Rip,

I went back and listened to your sound samples and I think they are pretty much SPOT ON!!!   That's really pretty cool.   I need to get a good Mic setup in order to produce some instructional videos.   I'm researching what to get right now.  

In the meantime, do you have any Super Floss?   If so, could you please provide a sound sample?   It's so weird typing on a quiet Space Saving Mini.  I feel like saying, "this thread is worthless without Rip's sound clip"  :))

Meanwhile, I'm typing right now on an HHKB2 Pro and I keep hitting ``` instead of backspace/delete  LOL.   Otherwise, this is a REALLY cool little board......albeit a little small.   Already getting used to the layout and the key feel.    I'm not sure why this board feels so different from my Realforce 87U??   Still don't like the "almost Otaku" keys...especially on a board with an unusual layout.  

skc

Online skcheng

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« Reply #21 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 06:55:18 »
Quote from: aegrotatio;177997
Wow, I knew there was a good use for that fluffy floss I accidentally bought.  Thanks, I'll try this on one of my Model Ms.



Have you tried it yet??  What do you think??   Do you like it better?   I've simply come to the conclusion that it's different.   I'll keep my one board muffled.   Very effective, very simple mod.  

In the meantime, Super Floss is a really great floss......if you have larger embrasures or any bridgework.   Otherwise, regular floss or dentotape probably work just fine.

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« Reply #22 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 07:00:34 »
Quote from: skcheng;178085
Have you tried it yet??  What do you think??   Do you like it better?   I've simply come to the conclusion that it's different.   I'll keep my one board muffled.   Very effective, very simple mod.  

In the meantime, Super Floss is a really great floss......if you have larger embrasures or any bridgework.   Otherwise, regular floss or dentotape probably work just fine.


According to some recent study, only 10% of dental patients actually floss on a regular basis.   So I say this to patients.  Floss three teeth and smell the floss.   If it smells nice and fresh, then you probably don't need to floss :)

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« Reply #23 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 07:07:37 »
Quote from: EverythingIBM;178018
To make this "floss" mod more successful, I'd advise people to use the two-piece key set. I plucked some keys off of my model F, placed them on my model M, and noticed they were a lot more clattery than the two-piece keys for some reason. Although, they are a lot more responsive and feel more crisp. Strange how a two-piece cap system can be so different.


If you look closely at the Model F keys vs the Model M keys, you'll see that they're a little different.   The Model F keys sort of rotate and wobble a bit and the cylinders themselves are separate pieces that also wobble and spin slightly.   A much more fair comparison would be Model M one-piece vs. Model M two-piece keycaps.  

I prefer the Model M one-piece caps for a variety of reasons......mostly because I find them more responsive and crisp.  They're also easier to clean, remove, install etc....

Maybe we could get Rip to post some sound clips of one piece vs. two piece Model M caps?   They sound different too.  

In the meantime if anyone out there prefers the two piece keycaps, please PM me for a trade.   I look for Space Saving Minis these days with the one piece keycaps.   Seems random how IBM decided which caps go on which boards??

Offline clickclack

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« Reply #24 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 07:12:03 »
Quote from: skcheng;178088
According to some recent study, only 10% of dental patients actually floss on a regular basis.   So I say this to patients.  Floss three teeth and smell the floss.   If it smells nice and fresh, then you probably don't need to floss :)


This is perhaps one of the best quotes I have seen on geekhack!!! I just saw it randomly while scrolling the thread, it's just beautiful... ok I seriously need to go to bed...

*thumbs up again for the mod!!!!* =D
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« Reply #25 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 07:15:39 »
Quote from: wellington1869;178000
few random things --
--sk, can you post sound samples of both 1x and 2x inserts?
--in my view no need to go nuts on recording setup because the average computer speaker wont reproduce it anyway.
--But hey, couldnt hurt, so if you have the time and money, sure, go nuts with the recording quality.
--yarn/wool string -- i wonder if that would work; if it did, its cheap and readily available.
--never had any issues with inconsistent sound quality with the grease mod (ie, from key to key?), but yea its not "fully" reversible.
--longevity of this mod is a question; how will floss or yarn or etc hold up in sound dampening characteristics after, say, 6 months of use? I guess some time will tell.
--the more methods there are available to dampen/mute mechanical boards, the better; personally i'm now curious about how different materials (like yarn) might work when stuffed into these springs. Could get quite creative in selecting and trying different materials, actually.  They'd probably give slightly different results, each of which would suit different people better or worse. So yea, the more methods there are (and sound samples/results uploaded and reviewed), the better for everyone.

thanks again sk; this kind of opens up a new branch of 'research'  ;)



Hey Welly,

I asked Rip if he would post a sound sample if/when he has the time to do so.   The difference is really not subtle.

I haven't tried doubling up on the floss yet, but I'm happy with just one piece inside the spring.  

I think trying to put yarn down the spring would be a total PITA.   The Super Floss has some tension to it, so it simply drops down the spring as long it was cut cleanly.   Can't be any easier than that.

skc

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« Reply #26 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 07:28:40 »
Quote from: clickclack;178091
This is perhaps one of the best quotes I have seen on geekhack!!! I just saw it randomly while scrolling the thread, it's just beautiful... ok I seriously need to go to bed...

*thumbs up again for the mod!!!!* =D



Hey.....I saw your response over on the off topic Health Care thread.  Thanks for the taking the time.   I promise to respond thoroughly at some point today.   I find that most people don't have a clue with regards to health care.  Hell.....most of my patients count on "us" to provide info regarding benefits, max allowed, and half the patients don't even know the difference btwn dental and medical benefits LOL.  

So when patients complain to me that we need to overhaul healthcare and then proceed to tell me that our government should and will foot the bill (!@$@%@????), I immediately attempt to divert the conversation over to mechanical keyboards. :)

On another note, when do I get some keys dammit  :))

I'd like to pay a premium for some prototypes, one-offs, and some hand signed collectibles.   Have money for keycaps......will spend!!  

skc

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« Reply #27 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 07:35:12 »
Quote from: phoenix;178068
I finally did this to all the keys on my Model M Mini. To try something new I did it with Ultra Floss instead of Super Floss :)

http://www.amazon.com/Oral-B-Ultra-Floss-Dental-Original/dp/B000GGJCFW (less than $5 at CVS.)

Unlike Super Floss, Ultra floss comes in long, 18-inch (0.45m) strands. One pack gives you 55 yards = 50 meters. I only needed 3 strands for the whole board. It is about 2/3 as thick as super floss, so I cut them slightly longer, roughly 15~16mm, to fill the spring.

Since it's thinner, it doesn't remove as much reverberation but enough to make a difference. The click is still very present, and I can safely say that key feel is unaffected.

CVS has its own store brand fluffy floss that's less than $3 a pack. It looks thicker than Super Floss, so I don't know if it will go into the spring as easily, but it's the cheapest thing to try.

Update: Ultra Floss works great on the Model F. Only tried a few keys. The echo of spring bouncing back is gone and nothing else is affected. 15mm is good.



I forgot about Ultra Floss.   Would be easier to use for mod purposes.   And you won't have a ton of fishing leads left when you're done.  

I want to know how to increase the sound levels on my Model AT F.   I was typing on mine yesterday just cracking myself up at how loud it is.   My wife thinks I've lost it  :)    Dammit......I keep hitting ``` instead of Backspace on the HHKB2.  

On another note.......STOP PROCRASTINATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Just took me 5 minutes to find the Caps Lock LOL.  

Nothing like messing with a new keyboard first thing on a Sunday morn.  The simple pleasures in life.

Offline EverythingIBM

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 16:26:31 »
Quote from: skcheng;178090
If you look closely at the Model F keys vs the Model M keys, you'll see that they're a little different.   The Model F keys sort of rotate and wobble a bit and the cylinders themselves are separate pieces that also wobble and spin slightly.   A much more fair comparison would be Model M one-piece vs. Model M two-piece keycaps.  

I prefer the Model M one-piece caps for a variety of reasons......mostly because I find them more responsive and crisp.  They're also easier to clean, remove, install etc....

Maybe we could get Rip to post some sound clips of one piece vs. two piece Model M caps?   They sound different too.  

In the meantime if anyone out there prefers the two piece keycaps, please PM me for a trade.   I look for Space Saving Minis these days with the one piece keycaps.   Seems random how IBM decided which caps go on which boards??


You could... uh... always order some from unicomp.
But I like two-piece keys.
Keyboards: '86 M, M5-2, M13, SSK, F AT, F XT

Online skcheng

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Buckling Spring Floss Mod
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 02 May 2010, 20:13:20 »
Quote from: EverythingIBM;178239
You could... uh... always order some from unicomp.
But I like two-piece keys.


Unicomp only has two piece standard beige/grey Model M keys.   And as Chuck always reminds me, once they run out, they will be much more expensive than they are now.  

I know a lot of Geekhackers prefer the two piece keys.