Author Topic: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates (Update Jan 29)  (Read 4451 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline aesigner

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
[IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates (Update Jan 29)
« on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 13:11:17 »
Interest Check for Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates

Hi everyone, Iím interested in selling custom cut Sorbothane sheets and custom plates and wanted to gauge the interest in these services/products.




TLDR: If youíre interested in custom cut Sorbothane sheets, please fill out this form:
https://forms.gle/cBTZcfqsK6diACsR6

If youíre interested in custom cut plates, perhaps in a different material or layout, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/Ezf5S21AXQGU5mAM9

Sound Clips of Before/After Sorbothane Sheets
Drop CTRL with Halo Clears
Before (No Sorbothane Sheets Installed):
https://clyp.it/tgpypsa3?token=0cbd6af4a4f58f6e9f5c73dc2a4e3b32

After (Sorbothane Sheets Installed):
https://clyp.it/cggppved

KBDFans 60% Tofu with YOK Holy Pandas
Before (No Sorbothane Sheets Installed and Switches are UNLUBED)
https://clyp.it/zi0y5ajc?token=b74c68f07aec089993c239b9c7ada8a5

After (Sorbothane Sheets Installed and Switches are LUBED so itís not an entirely accurate comparison):
https://clyp.it/jmukrto2?token=2c7ad0e34e3b5be45cb5b8833b6cfaef

How I Stumbled On This Idea
In the process, I learned that people used foam, shelf liner, or other dampening materials inside of their keyboards to help improve the sound of their keyboard. I found that the material Sorbothane was hailed by some as the ultimate solution to helping reduce pinging and bought a few sheets. I quickly ran into the problem of cutting the material. I did hours of brainstorming and research and ended up 3D printing a stencil and using an X-Acto knife to try to make the necessary precise and accurate cuts. It got the job done and fit but didnít produce perfectly accurate or precise cuts. In this process, I found out about waterjet cutting and submitted requests for quotes for numerous waterjet cutting services and received quotes that ranged from $200-$658.34 to cut Sorbothane sheets for a single keyboard. Mind you, these were all quotes in which I was supplying the Sorbothane sheets myself so the quotes were purely for the cost of cutting the sheets. Needless to say, this was way out of my budget which is why I opted to cut the sheets myself.

Photos showing the process I went through to cut my own Sorbothane sheets:
https://imgur.com/a/cQYS8f1

I learned about Wazer, a company that makes a desktop waterjet cutting device that was able to cut various rubbers and metals. However, this machine new is listed at $9,999 and while it is much cheaper than other industrial waterjet cutting machines, it is still quite expensive. I received an email today expressing that they are launching a new program for refurbished devices for $6,499. I am unable to independently afford this but I was hoping that I would be able to launch a pre-order for custom cut Sorbothane sheets and plates to help me afford this machine.

Okay, So What?
If youíre like me and were seeking a solution to help reduce the pinging/sound of your keyboard and wanted pre-cut sheets of Sorbothane to line your keyboard with, I am interested in purchasing a machine that would allow me to provide this service. Please fill out this form to help me gauge interest and decide whether or not to continue to pursue this idea.

Additionally, if you are interested in custom cut plates of virtually any material, waterjet cutting is able to cut a myriad of materials that are unable to be laser cut.

If there is enough interest, my next step is to test/validate my idea. I am by no means the first one to attempt waterjet cut Sorbothane sheets. I was told that Manofinterests has attempted something similar and encountered issues. Sorbothane is quite a gummy material that can be difficult to cut cleanly. However, I have a few ideas I want to implement to attempt to circumvent/resolve these issues. Among them are to 1. Freeze the Sorbothane sheets, and 2. Squash them between two thin plywood sheets to prevent any flexing/deformation of the sheet while being cut. I am not personally aware of these techniques being attempted but if you happen to know more about this or have tried this before, I am all ears and happy to hear about your experience.

The company selling the waterjet machine offers a service where they allow you to submit your own material and design to test cut. My first step would be to submit files to see if these techniques are effective at cutting Sorbothane cleanly and to a degree where I feel confident selling pre cut sheets of it. I have been able to cut by hand Sorbothane sheets for my own keyboards and while they fit and work, the cuts are not clean enough for me to offer to others. Upon testing and validating these techniques to effectively cut Sorbothane sheets, I would then launch a pre-order/group-buy for people to purchase either pre cut sheets of Sorbothane or custom plates. I currently have the CAD files for my two personal builds, KBDFans 60% Tofu and Drop CTRL Low Profile and would need to CAD additional files for other keyboards. I currently utilize 2-3 sheets of Sorbothane, 1-2 sheets below the PCB (not terribly complex), and 1 sheet between the PCB and Plate (quite complex to account for the switch and stabilizer holes). While the best process would be to hand measure with caliper all the dimensions, CAD, and 3D-print or 2D print shapes to test fit, I should also be able to have people submit scanned images of their plate and interior of their keyboard and create CAD files from those (provided the interior design of the keyboard is not terribly complex). I would be able to cut custom plates with customer provided CAD files or scanned images of plates in their desired layout. Alternatively, I would also be happy to borrow someone elseís keyboard to make the measurements by hand with a caliper and test and ensure the sheets fit perfectly.

Timeline for this Project
In the scenario enough people are interested, I anticipate the test cutting period to take about a month (End of February), the purchase and setup of the machine to take another month (March), and the CADing and actual cutting of peopleís Sorbothane sheets to vary depending on the popularity of the design (April and Later). KBDFans Tofu 60% and Drop CTRL board sheets would ship first as I have the CAD files for those boards already. Any alternate designs would take additional time to CAD and cut which could very easily take an additional month to a few months.

What Kind of Pricing Should I Expect?
In short, Iím still figuring this out. Depending on the level of interest, I may be able to order materials in bulk and receive a discount. However, custom Sorbothane sheets will certainly cost more than MKUltraís foams so if you are budget conscious or want to support a great guy, Iíd recommend you visit his site and support him :)

Background
A little background on me, Iím 22 years old living in the Bay Area. I just graduated from UCSD (UC San Diego) with a double individual major in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Product Design. I stumbled upon the custom mechanical keyboard community while building a desktop PC for my father. He said he liked my current mechanical keyboard (a Logitech G610 with Cherry Red switches) and in the quest to find a replacement keyboard, I thought to myself, why not build a custom keyboard. I naively thought I could save a few pennies only to later discover how expensive this hobby is. However, I fell in love with this community and immediately began devouring keyboard content and working on my own builds (so far I own a KBDFans 60% Tofu w/ YOK Holy Pandas, Drop CTRL w/ Vintage Blacks, and a Topre Realforce R2 w/ BKE Light Domes).

How Can I Trust You?
While everyone I have met in this hobby and community has been incredibly kind and amazing, I am well aware of those who run unfulfilled group-buys and essentially scam people of their hard-earned money. Thereís not much I can say and I feel that it will be my actions that will build and earn your trust. Trust shouldn't be given but rather earned. What I can say is that for me personally, there is no greater feeling in the world than building and delivering a product to a satisfied customer. This feeling does not exist if the customer is not excited and satisfied with their purchase. Just the thought of delivering a ****ty product and having someone regret their purchase is a fear I have and something I will work hard to avoid.
« Last Edit: Wed, 29 January 2020, 18:03:06 by aesigner »

Offline Rob27shred

  • Posts: 1194
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Insane in the Membrane! 👻
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 13:55:38 »
Interesting ideal for sure seeing how crazy people are going for MKultra's custom cut foams. Although that would bring me to my next point, the foam MKultra uses is IME about 80% as effective as sorbothane at sound dampening while having a much, much lower material cost. So while sorbothane is a superior product I & many others in the community find it's pricing well beyond the point of diminishing returns, making me prefer the high density foam over it. On top of that Mkultra is looking for someone to help split the load of work since demand has been so overwhelming. So honestly you may want to get ahold of him & bounce some ideas off each other. Because while I do think you have a good ideal, you could also be setting yourself up for a big mess with the material you want to use & the way you want to go about procuring the machinery. Anyways just some food for thought, GL with this man!

Offline lolafineday

  • Posts: 314
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 14:26:27 »
Interesting ideal for sure seeing how crazy people are going for MKultra's custom cut foams. Although that would bring me to my next point, the foam MKultra uses is IME about 80% as effective as sorbothane at sound dampening while having a much, much lower material cost. So while sorbothane is a superior product I & many others in the community find it's pricing well beyond the point of diminishing returns, making me prefer the high density foam over it. On top of that Mkultra is looking for someone to help split the load of work since demand has been so overwhelming. So honestly you may want to get ahold of him & bounce some ideas off each other. Because while I do think you have a good ideal, you could also be setting yourself up for a big mess with the material you want to use & the way you want to go about procuring the machinery. Anyways just some food for thought, GL with this man!
He sums up what I wanted to say. Tooo expensive for something that is basically same thing.

Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk


Offline aesigner

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 14:28:53 »
Interesting ideal for sure seeing how crazy people are going for MKultra's custom cut foams. Although that would bring me to my next point, the foam MKultra uses is IME about 80% as effective as sorbothane at sound dampening while having a much, much lower material cost. So while sorbothane is a superior product I & many others in the community find it's pricing well beyond the point of diminishing returns, making me prefer the high density foam over it. On top of that Mkultra is looking for someone to help split the load of work since demand has been so overwhelming. So honestly you may want to get ahold of him & bounce some ideas off each other. Because while I do think you have a good ideal, you could also be setting yourself up for a big mess with the material you want to use & the way you want to go about procuring the machinery. Anyways just some food for thought, GL with this man!

Thank you for your advice/feedback :). I haven't tried high-density foam before but I can definitely see your point regarding cost and point of diminishing returns. I did see MKUltra's post and I believe his issue now is having enough laser cutters to meet his demand. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with him at the Bay Area Meetup and he was incredibly kind and gracious. I also agree that there is a high risk which is why I wanted to conduct an interest check to gauge the community's opinions and see if there is a need. In the very likely scenario that not enough people are interested to warrant this service/product, I'll return to the drawing board to try and come up with some other ideas to that hopefully benefit/are useful to the community.

Offline cijanzen

  • Posts: 596
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 14:57:10 »
I wonder if a cricut could work to cut foam or sorbothane. Might have to bug my wife and borrow hersÖ

Anyways, I like the idea and MKUltra needs some help fulfilling the demand for this!

Offline KingOfMemes

  • Posts: 831
  • Location: Murica, the best country in the world
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 15:06:42 »
Can you custom cut butyl?

Offline Nevermore012

  • Posts: 91
  • Location: Houston, Tx
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 15:10:18 »
i don't know if you can make the plate fir e6-v2 board, i actually don't have plate file also, but what bay area you located? California or houston, texas??

Offline kawhi

  • Posts: 12
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 16:05:19 »
really loving that the community is focusing more on sound dampening and quieter acoustics. I need to think about my answers to your form but I am definitely interested. if the cost is high perhaps it would be more worthwhile to focus on the most high-end customs, or even working directly with those gb runners

Online rondg

  • Posts: 488
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 16:17:17 »
The username field on the sorbothane form is checking the input if it's a valid email...

Offline aesigner

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 16:43:07 »
Can you custom cut butyl?

Yes butyl rubber can be cut on the waterjet. If it's heavily requested, I would be interested in experimenting with it

Offline aesigner

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 16:45:49 »
i don't know if you can make the plate fir e6-v2 board, i actually don't have plate file also, but what bay area you located? California or houston, texas??

It's definitely possible to make a custom plate for any board. However, the cost and time associated with CADing a plate would need to be offset by a general demand for it. If enough people want it, it should be doable. If it's a one-off, it might be more expensive. And I am located in California :)

Offline aesigner

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 18 January 2020, 16:46:52 »
The username field on the sorbothane form is checking the input if it's a valid email...

My apologies for that. I should have fixed it to where entering your email/contact info is optional. Try refreshing the pages?

Offline segami

  • Posts: 22
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 19 January 2020, 02:53:14 »
Interested in custom plates and filled out the form. Good luck!

Offline aesigner

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 19 January 2020, 18:15:07 »
Interested in custom plates and filled out the form. Good luck!

Thank you :) I know it's a long shot but I'm hoping there are enough people interested to make project possible

Offline aesigner

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Re: [IC] Custom Cut Sorbothane Sheets and Plates
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 29 January 2020, 17:56:14 »
Thank you everyone who filled out the forms and showed support for the project. I am incredibly grateful for all of your support and I had the honor of speaking with MKUltra for advice over lunch and as such, have a few updates.

I received 38 responses for custom-cut Sorbothane sheets for a myriad of keyboards and layouts and 10 responses for custom cut plates. Unfortunately, this is not enough to justify the purchase of a $6,500-$10,000 waterjet cutter. Moreover, many people mentioned keeping prices low or similar to MKUltra which is near impossible as waterjet cutting is an incredibly expensive process both in terms of the machine, upkeep, and materials cost. Operating a waterjet cutter costs anywhere between $25-$50 an hour and cutting Sorbothane sheets (approximately $25-$35 in material cost) would total approximately $50 which is already higher than many people were willing to pay. There would also be the risk of relying upon a single machine and effectively having production halted if ever there were any issues with the machine. I will keep the Google forms open for future submissions but at this time, it does not look like waterjet cutting is a feasible project for me at least now financially. Alternatively, I would strongly recommend purchasing MKUltra foams as I am told the foam affords great acoustic dampening properties for a much lower price and operating a laser cutter is cheaper than operating a waterjet cutter.

If you're deadset on cutting Sorbothane sheets for your keyboard, feel free to reference the Imgur album of how I 3D-printed stencils to cut Sorbothane sheets for my own builds. You don't need a 3D printer and can just use an XACTO knife to cut along pre-drawn lines. I simply used a stencil to try and keep the lines as consistent, accurate, and precise as possible. Cutting sheets to go between the PCB and case are generally pretty simple as it generally only requires cutting out a few screw holes. However, cutting sheets to go between the plate and PCB are much more difficult and time-consuming. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. I'm sorry I couldn't provide pre-cut Sorbothane sheets for everyone who replied on the forms. I am attempting to look for cheaper and more economic alternatives (i.e. anything but a waterjet cutter) to try and figure out a way to cut Sorbothane sheets and will post any updates as they come.

For those interested in custom cut plates, I have since learned that there are places that offer custom plate cutting. While waterjet cutting is a great tool for custom cut places as it is able to cut virtually any plate material you can imagine (i.e. brass, steel, aluminum, POM, polycarbonate, carbon fiber, etc.), there isn't enough interest at this moment for me to afford the purchase of such a machine. Perhaps someone else in the community offers/will be able to afford and offer such a service.