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IBM Model M review (buckling springs)

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--- Quote from: ThoughtArtist on Fri, 02 February 2018, 23:16:09 --- I think the Model M is actually representative of IBM's general decline more than anything else about the company. (Maybe even representative of the decline of the West as well... I mean Unicomp is such a fall from grace. It can be depressing to think about, especially for Americans who saw IBM's and U.S.'s manufacturing decline first-hand)
--- End quote ---
Unicomp was not a fall from grace, by the time they were founded (1996), rubber domes had long since taken over and IBM had long been relegated to just another pc manufacturer due to their own bad decisions and corporate red tape. Their decline can easily be traced back to a time before foreign manufacturing was of significant impact, in fact in the late 70's they were almost the poster child for corporate red tape.


--- Quote from: rowdy on Mon, 29 January 2018, 19:41:23 ---Maybe from someone touch-typing on it for years (decades?) and resting/rubbing their fingers against the home keys hundreds of times every day.
--- End quote ---
Yes, i was thinking that at first too. And it may still be true. However the seller claimed that the 1999 keeb was hardly in use, he is geman so i am going to believe.  ;D
Also, the <5> Num key is exhibiting this smoothish surface too. What are the odds that the previous user(s) of the keeb did hardcore Num-ing to wear down just the <5> by touch-typing? Possible, yes. Probable, maybe not. That's why I've been wondering and asking here.

And even if you guys don't have smooth <F><J><5> keys, it could still be true that in 1999 the IBM UK factory released the keycaps as observed (1080p):

Oooh, that Industrial Model M  :eek:

I wasn't aware that my dad's iFixit 64 Bit Driver Kit (codename "iFixit Mako") contained a working 5.5mm nut driver solution for the IBM Model M plastic case disassembly, my bad! Anyway, after 4.0 months i finally got my own separate "ibm driver" (tags: 5.5mm, hex, nut, key, wrench, driver, screwdriver) in the mail hooray! It is the cheapest build on the market, branded Penggong Tools. You can find Penggong stuffz on GB/BG/DX/FT/AX/ebay/amazon, i got mine for 1.5US$ shipped from AX thru ChinaPost incl origin country tracking:

People on the internet said that the correct size would be "5.5mm". And while it is true that the nut size is exactly 5.50mm —i checked it with my digital calipers—, the actual size of the 5.5mm Penggong driver is 5.7mm, which means that the driver is notably bigger than the nut:

A driver with play is no good and will eventually *uck up the nut. So i inserted some duct tape in the driver to eliminate the play. Works like a charm:

I believe that my unit is special because it is a 1999 Model M and manufactured by IBM, not by Lexmark, Maxi Switch, or Unicomp. This has to be the latest original IBM production unit documented on the internet, and mine came with German layout (ISO), non-detachable PS/2 cord, drainage channels, detachable double keycaps, IBM blue logo.

The inside of the bottom plastic features the drainage holes, and one can see that the plastic mould got revised to cover up the loudspeaker grille:

There isn't much to see on the flip side… :

…well, except for the model sticker:

So there you have it. Mine is an original IBM 1999 model M!! :p
The inside of the top plastic features some numbers i have no idea maybe showing that the plastic itself was manufactured before 1999:

The weight of the top plus bottom plastic is 818g total, aha. The total weight of the entire keeb including the non-detachable PS/2 cable is 2035g. These numbers are higher than the ones stated in the OP's video  :-* :

The rivets being 19yrs old at the time of writing are all intact, so no geeky bolt mod is needed :blank: :

Let's check the sticker next to the rivets, oic:

From my measurements i am deducting that the nominal thickness of the metal sheet is 0.90mm, not 1.00mm:

Last but not least a quick look at the electronics:

The small white sticker from the right side was about to come off, so i stuck it on the metal sheet:

I stored the keycaps overnight in a bath of hot water+dishwashing detergent (powder) and the cleaning result was fantastic, all without any manual scrubbing action! :cool: That's because, unlike soap, the dishwashing detergent has active ingredients which attack the dirt and dissolve it chemically. Also, very interesting to note, my keycaps have a non-square base profile, the clipping sides are concave, not straight. I am not sure if they were produced in this deformed shape intentionally, all i can tell is that these double keycaps clip very firmly onto the keys and can't get easily detached by hand/fingers at all! :eek: So I exploit this 'welcome feature' when vacuuming the keeb with high suction power, 1x or 2x per week; while the CherryMX keycaps on my other keebs would get sucked off by the vacuum cleaner, these ibm1999 keycaps don't. Loving it:

And finally the infamous "gap" between the top and bottom plastic. Yes there has to be a standard gray 'channel/furrow' with no flex or play. The question is whether your gray channel is uniform/regular/small and fully closed at its bottom, or has black gaps in it and exhibits play/flex. Both the 2017 Unicomp and the 1993 refurbished Blue Logo units have such black gaps (=holes!) in the gray channel because of warped plastic. On my unit the plastic is not warped and there are no gaps or black holes in the small gray channel. Perfect build quality:

Last but not least the sound of the space bar. Mine produces a non-rattling deep thud, unlike Rhinofeed's unit. This is hard to capture in photographic form though :rolleyes:
Btw right now i am typing on the ibm with no double keycaps and I am liking it! The non-textured surface makes them easier to clean/wipe off and there is no chance that dirt could build up on the surface. There is also more space between the keys, which should help typing accuracy, because it is harder to hit 2 keys with 1 finger accidentally at the same time. Interestingly, i wouldn't say that these smaller smooth keys are also more slippery for the finger tips than with the double keycaps on. From my impression, it is the very texture of the double keycaps which makes them rather slippery than not, or let's say that the texture doesn't really help with reducing the slipperiness of keycaps made out of PBT. In comparison, my finger tips experience the best grip on coated ABS keycaps, for example Razor keebs or Filco keebs. But i can testify that such keycaps wear off and shine up fast. PBT keycaps are more durable in every respect but they are also less grippy, no matter whether the keycap surface is textured or not.

Nobody asked for this post, i know. But as teen skater they called me poser. Now as geek i guess i still am. ;D



hmm.. maybe it is 8695 normal maybe not. i am noticing that the right <SHIFT>-key is slightly lower than the next key to its left. it is hardly noticeable and prolly it is normal and it doesn't bother me because my right pinky sits on it ergonomically. just wanted to share this observation, could someone else confirm?

having said that, the left <SHIFT>-key is on the same level as the next key to its right. they are all leveled the same. So the (surface) level of the right <SHIFT>-key does stand out no pun intended.



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