Author Topic: Why don't PBT manufacturers straighten spacebars at the factory?  (Read 2302 times)

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Offline Pylon

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 696
There are numerous reliable ways to straighten a warped PBT spacebar, ranging from using boiling water to heat guns to using the heated bed of a budget 3D printer.

The process seems straightforward:
1.) Heat up the spacebar to about 90 C.
2.) Hold the spacebar down against a flat surface, using weights, some sort of clamp, or just your hands.
3.) Let the spacebar cool down slowly back to room temperature.

An industrial tool to straighten a bunch of spacebars at once would be pretty straightforward to make - you get two straight and flat hunks of metal, put a bunch of spacebars in between them, clamp the two pieces together, and put it in an oven (or install cartridge heaters into the hunks of metal), heat it up, and let it cool back down. Yet, ePBT and (to a lesser extent) Infinikey still ship warped spacebars. My ePBT Royal Alpha set had some very warped spacebars (that were thankfully easily fixed using Maarten's 3D-printer method). Why in 2020 is still an issue?

Offline gnho

  • Posts: 115
  • Location: ATX/US
Re: Why don't PBT manufacturers straighten spacebars at the factory?
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 08 August 2020, 00:32:33 »
Because the issue may occur during the shipping process... I suspect that these caps don't get a lot of AC...

Offline jamster

  • Posts: 807
  • Location: Asia
Re: Why don't PBT manufacturers straighten spacebars at the factory?
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 08 August 2020, 00:34:00 »
At a guess: Because the manufacturer has weighed up the cost of extending their production and QC process* against the cost of annoying some fraction of their retailers and end customers, and decided to take the second option.

*Which would probably also increase price and affect sales.

Offline jackrabbit

  • Posts: 14
Re: Why don't PBT manufacturers straighten spacebars at the factory?
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 08 August 2020, 17:32:36 »
At a guess: Because the manufacturer has weighed up the cost of extending their production and QC process* against the cost of annoying some fraction of their retailers and end customers, and decided to take the second option.

*Which would probably also increase price and affect sales.

I think this is it. Every company has a never-ending list of "issues" they could fix, from product issues, to internal/organizational issues, to supply chain, etc. There is not enough time or money to fix everything, so it is ALWAYS a game of choosing what to focus on. There are entire schools of techniques dedicated to calculating the most important issues to prioritize (Statistical Process Control, 6 Sigma, etc.). the slightly warped spacebars must not be a high enough priority for them to fix. Other things are taking up their time.
"I like my keyboards thunderous and my plates stiff." -Maledicted

Offline jamster

  • Posts: 807
  • Location: Asia
Re: Why don't PBT manufacturers straighten spacebars at the factory?
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 09 August 2020, 21:54:24 »
I think this is it. Every company has a never-ending list of "issues" they could fix, from product issues, to internal/organizational issues, to supply chain, etc. There is not enough time or money to fix everything, so it is ALWAYS a game of choosing what to focus on. There are entire schools of techniques dedicated to calculating the most important issues to prioritize (Statistical Process Control, 6 Sigma, etc.). the slightly warped spacebars must not be a high enough priority for them to fix. Other things are taking up their time.

I would have said that QC issues such as warped space bars are just symptomatic of the race-to-the-bottom that you find in so many markets, only this seems to be a well known and recurring issue with ludicrously expensive GMK runs as well. I have to assume that it's a deliberate decision on the part of manufacturer to allow this to happen, until they perceive that the cost of allowing it to continue outweighs the cost of fixing it.

Offline Riverman

  • Posts: 275
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Why don't PBT manufacturers straighten spacebars at the factory?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 10 August 2020, 11:54:07 »
I had a Tai Hao set that had a slightly warped space bar.  Despite it looking a little off, it worked perfectly on any keyboard I put it on.  I eventually straightened it using a heat gun and a roofing square, but after that, it would jam on one of my keyboards.  It made me wonder if they warp at the factory while still on a jig that keeps the stems aligned, and straightening it pushed the stems out of alignment?  I have no idea how these things are made, though, so that's just a wild guess.