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Rhienfo's Topre Thread

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Hello, I am writing this to discuss my first impressions on topre (AND SPOILERS) work on actually getting my favourite config of topre. This will be updated as everything progresses so there may be periods where nothing gets updated. Thanks for reading this thread :)

Log 1 - First impressions

At the most recent Melbourne meetup I finally got the chance to try topre for the first time, I really wanted to try it since people praise topre like itís the next gift to keyboards. I actually thought it wasnít even at the meetup, because I couldnít find it. There was a vintage table with a ďtype 2Ē M122 specifically (thanks admiral shark for telling me that on the model m discord) and some alps stuff (a m0110, a NEC PC-8801 with blue alps and a Cherry G80-11800 with old browns) but not one for topre so I almost missed them. But I managed to try a hhkb type s and a hhkb jp and my first impressions areÖ

It felt really off and didnít like it. Like it just wasnít that tactile and the bottom out was very weird, it was mushy but in a way that felt firm. It felt really weird in a way that I wasnít used to due to me only experiencing mx tactiles, and the only ones that I owned were glorious pandas from when I first joined the hobby, which on the stiff board that I was using creates a very hard bottom out which is why I found it extremely strange.

So I looked around for a bit and tried out a couple boards (Like the tgr 910, which I thought was nice) and then while going back around I saw a board that I must have missed cause I swear I didnít see it. It was an aftermarket case called the botanforce by rein, and it had 55g topre. So I tried it andÖ

It is exactly what I was looking for in topre. It was very satisfying from the limited amount I typed on it, it actually felt really tactile compared to the 45g and felt really nice. The bottom out was more noticeable in how refined it was especially compared to the mx tactiles and even 45g topre to some extent. Compared to my batch of glorious pandas they feel a lot less sharp which I like, I still like the sharp feeling of the mx tactiles on hand but I do want topre for that more rounded feeling which I havenít experienced.

So now that I know what I like I will starting to plan everything to get the proper topre keyboard for me.

Log 2 - Planning Stage

I think my plan is to buy a hhkb pro 2 stock and try it for a month or 2. I know that sounds counter intuitive considering my first impressions were not very good for them. Iím buying a hhkb specifically for 3 reasons.

1. Giving 45g topre a chance

As much as I wildly preferred 55g topre for my first impressions of topre at the meetup, I still feel that I should try topre like this before giving my full impressions. It was a first impression and that can change with extended use so Iím using just to see if it warms up to me.

Another thing is that I think my expectations of what topre would be clouded my judgement and made me not like it. I always thought that topre would be this extremely tactile experience, even at 45g so when I tried it and it wasnít as tactile as I thought, it may have ruined my first impressions.

2. The Layout

As much as Iím not the biggest fan of the topre domes, I love the layout of hhkb. I think itís perfect for me, split backspace and right shift is a must for me, It such a great change that feels right you know. Caps lock control is also extremely convenient as well and also feels right as well. HHKB arrows is also something that Iíve implement on my custom keyboard and it feels weird at first but you get used to it and it is nice as well.

In comparison the layout on the realforce isnít for me, the layout changes for me, especially stuff like split backspace and caps lock control are really important and would like to have that on most boards, especially since you canít reprogram the backspace to a lower layer on the realforce from what I am aware (maybe a via compatible pcb you could do but idk if thatís been done)

3. The Look

Also my favourite design is the hhkb pro 2 because of the engraving in the bottom right and I will most likely get the charcoal version with blanks cause it cool.

Once I get my hhkb and use it and come to conclusion I will start to completely mod it, here will be the definitive planned modifications.

Lubing the board
Replacement domes (55g realforce If I donít get used to 45g)
ARTISANS (pray for my wallet :()

I have heard that lubing topre is better so I will be doing that once I have decided on the proper domes.

Replacement domes are pretty explanatory, I read about opening up domes and since they are practically the same shape you can just insert 55g domes if needed. While I have seen some stores sell 55g realforce my best bet will be buying them off the aftermarket.

Artisans - Idk what artisans I want but I would really love a clack skull one day for my hhkb cause they look sooooooo cool.

Maybe modifications.

Enamel Engraving
Painting the case

I think an enamel engraving can really make the hhkb pop, but Iím not sure as I think the black on black pairs quite well with the og hhkb which I donít want to potentially ruin by doing a scuffed engraving.

Painting the case

Maybe this could be an option and I can paint the case blue/navy but again Iím not sure if I want to get rid of the aesthetic, I also feel that the black caps will clash with the blue without artisan modifiers I guess. Maybe another hhkb project could happen but I do want to have less boards so maybe not.

Definite not when it comes to mods

Aftermarket cases

I understand why some people do it, especially from a feel perspective but I feel it kinda defeats the purpose of buying a hhkb in the first place for my intentions at least. The whole point of this project is to modify the hhkb and document it, and I want to preserve the hhkb look in some aspects which is why I wonít be doing it. (I know this sounds kinda rambly but thatís just how I feel.

Well thatís about it, I have been searching through Japanese aftermarket sites to try and find the perfect hhkb in terms of looks, and once I order the one I want for a good price and it comes I will probably update the thread and talk about my first few days with it.

I have an HHKB on the way too! I'm planning to make artisan caps and probably custom mod sets again.

I will not comment on HHKB.
Being a topre lover (55g), I had...a few HHKBs in my life.
If you like it, good luck :)


--- Quote from: Raenbo on Thu, 24 August 2023, 11:43:38 ---I have an HHKB on the way too! I'm planning to make artisan caps and probably custom mod sets again.

--- End quote ---

That's awesome to hear, remember reading your making keycaps thread and seeing those mod sets. Maybe in the future I'll pick one up.

--- Quote from: phinix on Thu, 24 August 2023, 12:16:44 ---I will not comment on HHKB.
Being a topre lover (55g), I had...a few HHKBs in my life.
If you like it, good luck :)

--- End quote ---

Thanks, topre is very interesting when I tried it, which makes want to try it more :)

Speaking as someone with 5 HHKB builds in rotation including original and aftermarket cases, domes etc, I find BKE redux domes better than OG. I haven't tried deskeys domes but heard very good things about them too. Don't limit yourself to realforce domes if you're in pursuit of your 'endgame' configuration.


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