Author Topic: Greetings from Norway  (Read 2748 times)

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Offline qeebored

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Greetings from Norway
« on: Wed, 24 February 2021, 05:57:11 »
Hi all,

I'm a keyboard enthusiast, or rather a writing utensil enthusiast from Norway. I got my first HHKB Lite (PD-KB100W) in 2001, and even though the lite model is a membrane rubber dome, I instantly fell in love with the layout. I didn't get a proper mechanical keyboard before 2016 when I bought a Logitech G410 with Romer-G switches.

Last year I wanted a smaller keyboard than TKL, so I upgraded to an HHKB Pro 2. I instantly regretted that I didn't buy the non-lite(?) model in 2001. Right after this purchase, I found the ortholinear Planck and Preonic, and since the asymmetric staggered key layout had bothered me since I first started with computers, I got a Planck with Cherry MX brown switches. I wasn't thrilled by the switches, so I got some Zealios V2 62g instead this year. I like the tactile bump's crispness and the operating smoothness, but the activation point after the bump is annoying A*. I tend to release the key before the activation point when writing, missing a ltter. Besides, I have a Varmillo VA21M keypad with Cherry MX blue. I like these switches better than brown, but not as good as Zealio. I'm currently switching between using the HHKB and the Planck, I like both for different reasons.

I think a 4x12 ortholinear grid layout with Topre switches (or similar) would be the perfect keyboard for me right now, but 550 USD plus shipping and taxes for the Thock Conundrum is slightly above my budget at the moment. I want to try out Model M, and the new Model F seems like an exciting project. At last, I also want to test out a split, column-staggered keyboard. And there are so many switches and keycap profiles I want to try...

I'm fond of handwriting and want to find pens and pencils I enjoy using; these are the other writing utensils I'm enthusiastic about. I want to have the best tools for transferring my thoughts to a storage medium.

A month ago or so, I found this forum and have been lurking until now. It seems like a good place for information about new and exciting projects and an essential resource for everything about keyboards.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 02 March 2021, 16:27:04 »
Hey qeebored. Welcome to Geekhack. That's a clever username.

I'm not a tactile guy, but you'll find that MX brown is something people seem to either love or hate around here.

Topre switches sure are nice, even to clicky people like myself.

You can find Model Ms for relatively cheap from time to time on Ebay. Unfortunately, the days of cheap Fs seem over. It is especially sad because the Model F is what finally got me interested in anything other than my trusty old MX blue and red Corsair K70s. Otherwise, hopefully, once the apocalypse has passed, you'll be able to find a meetup in your area to go to.

I know I have seen at least a few others with an interest in pens on here. I can't think of their usernames offhand. I imagine I don't have more of an interest than I do in part to my horrendous penmanship.

You've found the right place for the things you seek.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 04 March 2021, 13:22:28 »
Thanks for the warm welcome!

I thought I was a tactile guy, but after testing MX blues, I do want to explore clicky ones too. The actuation point closer to the tactile point was something I liked with the blue, and disassembling both a MX brown and Zealio made me understand why the actuation point is after the bump on these style of switches. I did some "youtube research", and the Box Jade or Navy seems to be popular, and had a sound I can enjoy, and also seemed to have a decent tactile feedback. I ordered a tester board just so I can try them out before deciding. I should probably get another hot swap keyboard so I don't wear out the sockets at my switch switching rate. I hope this plague will pass soon so meetups can be arranged again. I would love to test more variations than I can afford myself.

Even though I don't like the browns particularly, I don't really hate them either. They are OK, better than the rubber domes I get at work. I could have continued to use them, but I do want something better than just OK. 

Thanks for the tip to be on lookout for model Ms at Ebay. I will keep my eyes open when my credit card has cooled down a bit more. I'm also considering a Model M from Unicomp, as I like their effort to keep the legacy alive.

I'm currently waiting for a Kyria kit in the mail... I haven't decided on the switches yet. I think I will solder on Chocs to get a low profile keyboard, but I'll wait for the testers so I can get an impression of the key feel.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 04 March 2021, 15:37:29 »
Thanks for the warm welcome!

You're very welcome. I'm glad to see another prospective clicky enthusiast joining our ranks (I literally just responded to another). We seem to be the minority around here.

I thought I was a tactile guy, but after testing MX blues, I do want to explore clicky ones too. The actuation point closer to the tactile point was something I liked with the blue, and disassembling both a MX brown and Zealio made me understand why the actuation point is after the bump on these style of switches. I did some "youtube research", and the Box Jade or Navy seems to be popular, and had a sound I can enjoy, and also seemed to have a decent tactile feedback. I ordered a tester board just so I can try them out before deciding. I should probably get another hot swap keyboard so I don't wear out the sockets at my switch switching rate. I hope this plague will pass soon so meetups can be arranged again. I would love to test more variations than I can afford myself.

They say that hysteresis was something that was desirable from an engineering perspective when the MX blue switch was designed. It was easier to design a switch that didn't unintentionally register a single press as multiple presses if actuation came noticeably after the tactile event.

Jades and navies are both excellent switches. I would add box pinks to that list as well, now that I have some. The navies are pretty stiff if you're new to relatively tactile clicky switches, and they're higher pitched than jades and pinks. Their tactile event is perfectly balanced against the return spring though, and they're wonderfully crisp and smooth. The jades are the most tactile and feel a little sluggish on the upstroke, but I have never had one fail to return and actually prefer them over the rest of the family because of their combination of tactility, bassy sound, and overall characteristics that make them seem to me to be the closest MX compatible to Alps SKCM.

A cheap/throwaway hot swap board is a wise idea. Make sure it has the type of hot swap sockets most compatible with the majority of switches you want to try. So far, in your case, that's probably Kailh at the moment.

If you already liked MX blue, you're in for a treat with those box switches.

You and me both. I have never been to one myself. Thankfully, I have tried almost all of the switches I care to regardless. Some of the fancy boutique tactiles would be nice, to say I have tried them.

Even though I don't like the browns particularly, I don't really hate them either. They are OK, better than the rubber domes I get at work. I could have continued to use them, but I do want something better than just OK.

I can't say I agree. I would rather use a bargain bin Chinesium dome board than MX brown. They say that once they're worn in they're much better, but to me the ones I have tried have all just felt like scratchy reds. This is all hotly contested in this community though. There are some old dome with slider boards that feel, to me, almost as nice as Topre, so there are cases in which I would rather have a dome board than even MX blue.

You've got so many interesting things to discover in this regard, for your own tastes of course.

Thanks for the tip to be on lookout for model Ms at Ebay. I will keep my eyes open when my credit card has cooled down a bit more. I'm also considering a Model M from Unicomp, as I like their effort to keep the legacy alive.

In that case, you're just in time. they just began production on a reproduction of the IBM Model M SSK for the first time. I may eventually snag one myself. Ellipse's new Model Fs are wonderful by the way, and the way F AT and F122 prices are going ... you're probably getting a better value for your dollar that way anyway.

I'm currently waiting for a Kyria kit in the mail... I haven't decided on the switches yet. I think I will solder on Chocs to get a low profile keyboard, but I'll wait for the testers so I can get an impression of the key feel.

That certainly looks interesting. I'm not normally into the whole ortho thing, but that one's definitely a great idea. Chocs are what the box family's famous click bars were originally designed for. They feel much the same as their bigger box brethren, which is a pleasant surprise for low profile clicky switches.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 05 March 2021, 11:00:56 »
They say that hysteresis was something that was desirable from an engineering perspective when the MX blue switch was designed. It was easier to design a switch that didn't unintentionally register a single press as multiple presses if actuation came noticeably after the tactile event.

I think the hysteresis is more about the distance between the actuation point and reset point rather than the tactile event. If I understand correctly, the click jacket on MX Blues was originally designed for hysteresis, as it offsets the reset point from the actuation point, and the clicky sound was a by-product of this. I think the operation of the click jacket is one of the reasons I like the blue, though, as the jacket "shoots" down past the actuation point after the tactile point and registers as a keypress. I tend to pull back the finger when I feel the tactile bump, thereby missing a keystroke if I'm too quick when typing using the Zealios.

The clickbar on the box switches don't work in the same way, as these have a notch on the opposite side of the electrical switch that presses down the bar until it slips. Analyzing the force curve for the Box Jade, I think the tactile curve is falling steeply enough and the actuation point is close enough to the tactile point so I don't miss keys with these ones. I'm looking forward to see whether the analysis is correct. I haven't found a force curve for the Zealios, but it wouldn't surprise me if the actuation point is at least 0.5 mm, maybe closer to 1 mm from the tactile point.

Jades and navies are both excellent switches. I would add box pinks to that list as well, now that I have some. The navies are pretty stiff if you're new to relatively tactile clicky switches, and they're higher pitched than jades and pinks. Their tactile event is perfectly balanced against the return spring though, and they're wonderfully crisp and smooth. The jades are the most tactile and feel a little sluggish on the upstroke, but I have never had one fail to return and actually prefer them over the rest of the family because of their combination of tactility, bassy sound, and overall characteristics that make them seem to me to be the closest MX compatible to Alps SKCM.

I haven't thought about the pinks before, how are these in comparison with jade? I hope they are present in the switch tester that is on its way. My first thought was that the jades were most interesting, but then I realized that I don't really know what I like yet. I thought I liked only tactile switches, but then I found out that I also liked clickies. I think I like light switches, but I haven't really tried any heavy switches, so I might like them too.


I can't say I agree. I would rather use a bargain bin Chinesium dome board than MX brown. They say that once they're worn in they're much better, but to me the ones I have tried have all just felt like scratchy reds. This is all hotly contested in this community though. There are some old dome with slider boards that feel, to me, almost as nice as Topre, so there are cases in which I would rather have a dome board than even MX blue.

You've got so many interesting things to discover in this regard, for your own tastes of course.

I guess I'm too inexperienced to have established a strong opinion on the topic, lacking a reference for comparison. I didn't think the cheap HP keyboard at work was so bad before, but after getting accustomed to Topre and Zealios, I won't use the old keyboard for any extent of time anymore. It felt more fatiguing to type on now than I remember from before.

I'm definitely looking forward to experience more keyboard goodness.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 05 March 2021, 11:45:48 »
They say that hysteresis was something that was desirable from an engineering perspective when the MX blue switch was designed. It was easier to design a switch that didn't unintentionally register a single press as multiple presses if actuation came noticeably after the tactile event.

I think the hysteresis is more about the distance between the actuation point and reset point rather than the tactile event. If I understand correctly, the click jacket on MX Blues was originally designed for hysteresis, as it offsets the reset point from the actuation point, and the clicky sound was a by-product of this. I think the operation of the click jacket is one of the reasons I like the blue, though, as the jacket "shoots" down past the actuation point after the tactile point and registers as a keypress. I tend to pull back the finger when I feel the tactile bump, thereby missing a keystroke if I'm too quick when typing using the Zealios.

Yes, you're correct. I'm not a big fan of tactiles, so I have never tried the fancy boutique ones besides 55g Topre, unfortunately.

The clickbar on the box switches don't work in the same way, as these have a notch on the opposite side of the electrical switch that presses down the bar until it slips. Analyzing the force curve for the Box Jade, I think the tactile curve is falling steeply enough and the actuation point is close enough to the tactile point so I don't miss keys with these ones. I'm looking forward to see whether the analysis is correct. I haven't found a force curve for the Zealios, but it wouldn't surprise me if the actuation point is at least 0.5 mm, maybe closer to 1 mm from the tactile point.

Box clickies have actually been observed to sometimes actuate just before the tactile event, if you press them down right to where tactility begins and jiggle them without the click tacking place. It took me a while to even observe this in testing on a just a few switches on a board once someone mentioned it to me, so it makes me wonder if it begins once they've gotten some wear on them.

Jades and navies are both excellent switches. I would add box pinks to that list as well, now that I have some. The navies are pretty stiff if you're new to relatively tactile clicky switches, and they're higher pitched than jades and pinks. Their tactile event is perfectly balanced against the return spring though, and they're wonderfully crisp and smooth. The jades are the most tactile and feel a little sluggish on the upstroke, but I have never had one fail to return and actually prefer them over the rest of the family because of their combination of tactility, bassy sound, and overall characteristics that make them seem to me to be the closest MX compatible to Alps SKCM.

I haven't thought about the pinks before, how are these in comparison with jade? I hope they are present in the switch tester that is on its way. My first thought was that the jades were most interesting, but then I realized that I don't really know what I like yet. I thought I liked only tactile switches, but then I found out that I also liked clickies. I think I like light switches, but I haven't really tried any heavy switches, so I might like them too.

Pinks are a good compromise if you like the click bar mechanism and the bassy sound of jades, but think that jades are too tactile/heavy overall for your tastes. They're the only other switch in the family that's relatively low pitched that has a less pronounced tactile event, due to its intermediate size click bar.

I can't say I agree. I would rather use a bargain bin Chinesium dome board than MX brown. They say that once they're worn in they're much better, but to me the ones I have tried have all just felt like scratchy reds. This is all hotly contested in this community though. There are some old dome with slider boards that feel, to me, almost as nice as Topre, so there are cases in which I would rather have a dome board than even MX blue.

You've got so many interesting things to discover in this regard, for your own tastes of course.

I guess I'm too inexperienced to have established a strong opinion on the topic, lacking a reference for comparison. I didn't think the cheap HP keyboard at work was so bad before, but after getting accustomed to Topre and Zealios, I won't use the old keyboard for any extent of time anymore. It felt more fatiguing to type on now than I remember from before.

I'm definitely looking forward to experience more keyboard goodness.

Cheap OEM boards from HP and Dell are pretty terrible, yeah. I just dislike them less than MX brown. They're smoother.  :p All preference. Yeah, some stiff cheap domes do feel surprisingly heavy once you've used some particularly comparatively light mechanical switches (most MX and clones) for a while.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 06 March 2021, 07:52:23 »
The clickbar on the box switches don't work in the same way, as these have a notch on the opposite side of the electrical switch that presses down the bar until it slips. Analyzing the force curve for the Box Jade, I think the tactile curve is falling steeply enough and the actuation point is close enough to the tactile point so I don't miss keys with these ones. I'm looking forward to see whether the analysis is correct. I haven't found a force curve for the Zealios, but it wouldn't surprise me if the actuation point is at least 0.5 mm, maybe closer to 1 mm from the tactile point.

Box clickies have actually been observed to sometimes actuate just before the tactile event, if you press them down right to where tactility begins and jiggle them without the click tacking place. It took me a while to even observe this in testing on a just a few switches on a board once someone mentioned it to me, so it makes me wonder if it begins once they've gotten some wear on them.

That's interesting, and I can understand how and why it happens. As the tactile event itself is not involved in the actuation, I guess that switches with the notch on the looser side of the manufacturing tolerances can have an offset to the click in both directions; both later and earlier. I don't think a later click is so noticeable, though.

I haven't thought about the pinks before, how are these in comparison with jade? I hope they are present in the switch tester that is on its way. My first thought was that the jades were most interesting, but then I realized that I don't really know what I like yet. I thought I liked only tactile switches, but then I found out that I also liked clickies. I think I like light switches, but I haven't really tried any heavy switches, so I might like them too.

Pinks are a good compromise if you like the click bar mechanism and the bassy sound of jades, but think that jades are too tactile/heavy overall for your tastes. They're the only other switch in the family that's relatively low pitched that has a less pronounced tactile event, due to its intermediate size click bar.

Thanks for the tip. I am a bit concerned about the return force on the jades, as I tend to not bottom out the switch and might start the return of the switch were the force curve shows close to zero. I imagine that when bottoming out, the switch will have some momentum on the return due to the speed to get over the force of the click bar, and without this momentum it might get stuck. Unfortunately, the box pink is not among the switches in the tester I ordered, but it looks like an interesting option. I will keep it in mind.
 
I can't say I agree. I would rather use a bargain bin Chinesium dome board than MX brown. They say that once they're worn in they're much better, but to me the ones I have tried have all just felt like scratchy reds. This is all hotly contested in this community though. There are some old dome with slider boards that feel, to me, almost as nice as Topre, so there are cases in which I would rather have a dome board than even MX blue.

You've got so many interesting things to discover in this regard, for your own tastes of course.

I guess I'm too inexperienced to have established a strong opinion on the topic, lacking a reference for comparison. I didn't think the cheap HP keyboard at work was so bad before, but after getting accustomed to Topre and Zealios, I won't use the old keyboard for any extent of time anymore. It felt more fatiguing to type on now than I remember from before.

I'm definitely looking forward to experience more keyboard goodness.

Cheap OEM boards from HP and Dell are pretty terrible, yeah. I just dislike them less than MX brown. They're smoother.  :p All preference. Yeah, some stiff cheap domes do feel surprisingly heavy once you've used some particularly comparatively light mechanical switches (most MX and clones) for a while.


I was surprised over how much my impression of the HP keyboard had changed after using my HHKB and Planck exclusively over the last year or so. And yes, I noticed that the browns were a bit on the scratchy side before switching to Zealios V2.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 07 March 2021, 03:18:41 »
I haven't thought about the pinks before, how are these in comparison with jade? I hope they are present in the switch tester that is on its way. My first thought was that the jades were most interesting, but then I realized that I don't really know what I like yet. I thought I liked only tactile switches, but then I found out that I also liked clickies. I think I like light switches, but I haven't really tried any heavy switches, so I might like them too.

Pinks are a good compromise if you like the click bar mechanism and the bassy sound of jades, but think that jades are too tactile/heavy overall for your tastes. They're the only other switch in the family that's relatively low pitched that has a less pronounced tactile event, due to its intermediate size click bar.

Thanks for the tip. I am a bit concerned about the return force on the jades, as I tend to not bottom out the switch and might start the return of the switch were the force curve shows close to zero. I imagine that when bottoming out, the switch will have some momentum on the return due to the speed to get over the force of the click bar, and without this momentum it might get stuck. Unfortunately, the box pink is not among the switches in the tester I ordered, but it looks like an interesting option. I will keep it in mind.

It is pretty hard not to bottom out on jades. The force required to overcome the tactile event pretty much sends you right to the bottom once you overcome it. I literally have never been able to get them to not return properly though. The apprehension of many in this regard seems unfounded to me. I just tried a good 20-30 times on various switches on this very board to carefully release immediately after the tactile event and the jades snapped right back every time.

Yeah, I have never seen box pinks in a tester, unfortunately. It makes no sense given they're one of the best of the family.

I can't say I agree. I would rather use a bargain bin Chinesium dome board than MX brown. They say that once they're worn in they're much better, but to me the ones I have tried have all just felt like scratchy reds. This is all hotly contested in this community though. There are some old dome with slider boards that feel, to me, almost as nice as Topre, so there are cases in which I would rather have a dome board than even MX blue.

You've got so many interesting things to discover in this regard, for your own tastes of course.

I guess I'm too inexperienced to have established a strong opinion on the topic, lacking a reference for comparison. I didn't think the cheap HP keyboard at work was so bad before, but after getting accustomed to Topre and Zealios, I won't use the old keyboard for any extent of time anymore. It felt more fatiguing to type on now than I remember from before.

I'm definitely looking forward to experience more keyboard goodness.

Cheap OEM boards from HP and Dell are pretty terrible, yeah. I just dislike them less than MX brown. They're smoother.  :p All preference. Yeah, some stiff cheap domes do feel surprisingly heavy once you've used some particularly comparatively light mechanical switches (most MX and clones) for a while.


I was surprised over how much my impression of the HP keyboard had changed after using my HHKB and Planck exclusively over the last year or so. And yes, I noticed that the browns were a bit on the scratchy side before switching to Zealios V2.

Outemu browns are even scratchier, somehow. I like to think of MX (and clones) as the Honda Civic of mechanical switches. They get you from A to B every time, reliably/predictably. They're no frills, but they just work.
« Last Edit: Sun, 07 March 2021, 22:49:37 by Maledicted »

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 07 March 2021, 19:24:09 »
I haven't thought about the pinks before, how are these in comparison with jade? I hope they are present in the switch tester that is on its way. My first thought was that the jades were most interesting, but then I realized that I don't really know what I like yet. I thought I liked only tactile switches, but then I found out that I also liked clickies. I think I like light switches, but I haven't really tried any heavy switches, so I might like them too.

Pinks are a good compromise if you like the click bar mechanism and the bassy sound of jades, but think that jades are too tactile/heavy overall for your tastes. They're the only other switch in the family that's relatively low pitched that has a less pronounced tactile event, due to its intermediate size click bar.

Thanks for the tip. I am a bit concerned about the return force on the jades, as I tend to not bottom out the switch and might start the return of the switch were the force curve shows close to zero. I imagine that when bottoming out, the switch will have some momentum on the return due to the speed to get over the force of the click bar, and without this momentum it might get stuck. Unfortunately, the box pink is not among the switches in the tester I ordered, but it looks like an interesting option. I will keep it in mind.

It is pretty hard not to bottom out on jades. The force required to overcome the tactile event pretty much sends you right to the bottom once you overcome it. I literally have never been able to get them to not return properly though. The apprehension of many in this regard seems unfounded to me. I just tried a good 20-30 times on various switches on this very board to carefully release immediately after the tactile event and the jades snapped right back every time.

Yeah, I have never seen box pinks in a tester, unfortunately. It makes no sense given they're one of the best of the family.

That's good to hear. I'm looking forward to the tester shows up, I have big hopes about the jades. And I hope that I will find some surprises among the switches. The question is whether my coworkers will start throwing heavy things at me after a few lines of code... At least it's not a model F with a solenoid.

I can't say I agree. I would rather use a bargain bin Chinesium dome board than MX brown. They say that once they're worn in they're much better, but to me the ones I have tried have all just felt like scratchy reds. This is all hotly contested in this community though. There are some old dome with slider boards that feel, to me, almost as nice as Topre, so there are cases in which I would rather have a dome board than even MX blue.

You've got so many interesting things to discover in this regard, for your own tastes of course.

I guess I'm too inexperienced to have established a strong opinion on the topic, lacking a reference for comparison. I didn't think the cheap HP keyboard at work was so bad before, but after getting accustomed to Topre and Zealios, I won't use the old keyboard for any extent of time anymore. It felt more fatiguing to type on now than I remember from before.

I'm definitely looking forward to experience more keyboard goodness.

Cheap OEM boards from HP and Dell are pretty terrible, yeah. I just dislike them less than MX brown. They're smoother.  :p All preference. Yeah, some stiff cheap domes do feel surprisingly heavy once you've used some particularly comparatively light mechanical switches (most MX and clones) for a while.


I was surprised over how much my impression of the HP keyboard had changed after using my HHKB and Planck exclusively over the last year or so. And yes, I noticed that the browns were a bit on the scratchy side before switching to Zealios V2.

Outemu browns are even scratchier, somehow. I like to think of MX (and clones) as the Honda Civic of mechanical switches. They get you from A to B every time, reliably/predictably. They're no frills, but they just work.

That was my main reason for getting the browns in the first place. I had no idea about the switches, so I aimed for a "reference tactile". I got the impression that many switches that feel scratchy got a better feel with lube, but I have yet to try this..

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 07 March 2021, 23:09:31 »
That's good to hear. I'm looking forward to the tester shows up, I have big hopes about the jades. And I hope that I will find some surprises among the switches. The question is whether my coworkers will start throwing heavy things at me after a few lines of code... At least it's not a model F with a solenoid.

I imagine you'll find any of the clicky switches of the box family to be a dramatic improvement over MX blue in all categories. The only problem will be determining which one you like the most of the lot.

That could always change, you could upgrade to a Model F with a solenoid.  ;D

I don't have a solenoid in it (yet) but I do routinely use an F107 in the middle of a school library. Nobody seems to mind, and I have asked.

That was my main reason for getting the browns in the first place. I had no idea about the switches, so I aimed for a "reference tactile". I got the impression that many switches that feel scratchy got a better feel with lube, but I have yet to try this..

Yeah, with MX browns its fans usually either say that they need to be worn in, lubricated, or some combination thereof. I tend to agree with the crowd that thinks that any switch that needs breaking in or non-factory lubrication is fundamentally deficient. The thing with MX brown though is that there's also a lot of argument from a crowd that claims they're something entirely unique in the world of tactiles, an "ergonomic" switch that has only so much tactility as is necessary to inform the typist when actuation occurs ... or something of the sort. I've never really ever been able to figure out how that actually necessarily makes them either ergonomic or unergonomic. That's how Cherry marketed it on release, for whatever that's worth.

At the end of the day, people seem to tend to either love or hate them.

Personally, I think MX clears are a lot smoother right out of the gate, with a defined tactile event at normal typing speed without any modification.

Offline KaijuTypu

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 08 March 2021, 08:44:20 »
Hej! Nice to see someone else who is interested in keyboards as writing tools primarly! I'm new to geekhack also and wondered if there would be anyone else who has a similar approach.

I do a lot of note taking and typing for my studies, having progressed from wood mitsubishi hi-uni 2B pencils and a unicomp ultraclassic to a rotring 800 with the same mitsubishi lead (in 0.5mm) and a custom mkb. I've also started using a TWSBI fountain pen and am trying different inks, though this is primarily for letter writing and filling out forms.

Haven't had the chance yet but want to spend some time properly digging through posts for trying to make something that really feels like typing on buckling springs with modern parts. I think I saw somewhere that many thought box whites are pretty close.
« Last Edit: Mon, 08 March 2021, 09:45:10 by KaijuTypu »

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 09 March 2021, 14:09:47 »
That's good to hear. I'm looking forward to the tester shows up, I have big hopes about the jades. And I hope that I will find some surprises among the switches. The question is whether my coworkers will start throwing heavy things at me after a few lines of code... At least it's not a model F with a solenoid.

I imagine you'll find any of the clicky switches of the box family to be a dramatic improvement over MX blue in all categories. The only problem will be determining which one you like the most of the lot.

That could always change, you could upgrade to a Model F with a solenoid.  ;D

I don't have a solenoid in it (yet) but I do routinely use an F107 in the middle of a school library. Nobody seems to mind, and I have asked.

A model F would be a great addition to the collection, but the originals are a bit on the expensive side these days. The New Model F project looks nice, though. I have it on my wishlist.

I think many overestimate how bothersome a clicky keyboard is for others. The sound level quickly falls with distance and are absorbed by the inventory, and the high pings and clicks are dampened more quickly than the low-frequency "thocks"


That was my main reason for getting the browns in the first place. I had no idea about the switches, so I aimed for a "reference tactile". I got the impression that many switches that feel scratchy got a better feel with lube, but I have yet to try this..

Yeah, with MX browns its fans usually either say that they need to be worn in, lubricated, or some combination thereof. I tend to agree with the crowd that thinks that any switch that needs breaking in or non-factory lubrication is fundamentally deficient. The thing with MX brown though is that there's also a lot of argument from a crowd that claims they're something entirely unique in the world of tactiles, an "ergonomic" switch that has only so much tactility as is necessary to inform the typist when actuation occurs ... or something of the sort. I've never really ever been able to figure out how that actually necessarily makes them either ergonomic or unergonomic. That's how Cherry marketed it on release, for whatever that's worth.

At the end of the day, people seem to tend to either love or hate them.

Personally, I think MX clears are a lot smoother right out of the gate, with a defined tactile event at normal typing speed without any modification.

I don't really know about this "ergonomic" argument. A preference is often not a rational choice, but the mind tries to explain the preference rationally afterwards. I've heard the ergonomic argument used about orthos also, and even though I like typing on orthos, I don't think they are better or worse than an ordinary layout in protecting against finger strains or fatigue.

Offline retoid

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 09 March 2021, 14:24:02 »
Velkommen!

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 09 March 2021, 14:33:09 »
Hej! Nice to see someone else who is interested in keyboards as writing tools primarly! I'm new to geekhack also and wondered if there would be anyone else who has a similar approach.

I do a lot of note taking and typing for my studies, having progressed from wood mitsubishi hi-uni 2B pencils and a unicomp ultraclassic to a rotring 800 with the same mitsubishi lead (in 0.5mm) and a custom mkb. I've also started using a TWSBI fountain pen and am trying different inks, though this is primarily for letter writing and filling out forms.

Haven't had the chance yet but want to spend some time properly digging through posts for trying to make something that really feels like typing on buckling springs with modern parts. I think I saw somewhere that many thought box whites are pretty close.

Hei, I'm happy there are more of us. I'm not a good writer by any measure, but I like to be inspired by the tools.

I'm always using pen and paper for taking notes, as research shows that handwritten notes increases the both the memory and understanding of the topic. I primarily uses a Rotring 600 these days for lecture notes, and a Fischer AG-7 space pen for meeting notes.
In addition I use a Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoint pen with red ink for proof reading and making notes in papers I read. I want to use a contrasting color for these types of notes.  The last 6 months I've been using a reMarkable tablet with a Lamy AL-star EMR for note taking. There is a trade-off between pen feel and convenience with the tablet, but it is close to the feeling of writing on paper.

As for a fountain pen, I used both a fountain pen and a dip pen before, and while it was a pleasant feeling of the split against the paper, I never got really comfortable using it, so for practical reasons I went back to ballpoints.

I have yet to try a buckling spring keyboard, but I imagine the key feel is quite good with those. Maybe a bit stiffer than what I'm used to, though.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 09 March 2021, 14:36:42 »
Velkommen!

Takk!

More Norwegians here?

Offline retoid

  • Posts: 109
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 09 March 2021, 14:44:11 »
Velkommen!

Takk!

More Norwegians here?

Jepp, er norsk men var født i USA. Bodde is norge i flere år men bor i USA nå igjen.

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 09 March 2021, 15:35:44 »
That's good to hear. I'm looking forward to the tester shows up, I have big hopes about the jades. And I hope that I will find some surprises among the switches. The question is whether my coworkers will start throwing heavy things at me after a few lines of code... At least it's not a model F with a solenoid.

I imagine you'll find any of the clicky switches of the box family to be a dramatic improvement over MX blue in all categories. The only problem will be determining which one you like the most of the lot.

That could always change, you could upgrade to a Model F with a solenoid.  ;D

I don't have a solenoid in it (yet) but I do routinely use an F107 in the middle of a school library. Nobody seems to mind, and I have asked.

A model F would be a great addition to the collection, but the originals are a bit on the expensive side these days. The New Model F project looks nice, though. I have it on my wishlist.

I think many overestimate how bothersome a clicky keyboard is for others. The sound level quickly falls with distance and are absorbed by the inventory, and the high pings and clicks are dampened more quickly than the low-frequency "thocks"

I have seen F ATs go for less than the new F62 or F77s still, but the layout isn't for everyone. I'm typing on one right now. Ellipse's 4704 recreations are wonderful. The zinc cases could be used to anchor large tanker ships.

I agree. Even the highest-pitched switches seem to be of no concern to the vast majority of people I have asked, even when used within 10 feet in the same room. I still think even that still only comes down to pitch, because not a single person has ever said they bothered hearing something like SKCM blue Alps.

That was my main reason for getting the browns in the first place. I had no idea about the switches, so I aimed for a "reference tactile". I got the impression that many switches that feel scratchy got a better feel with lube, but I have yet to try this..

Yeah, with MX browns its fans usually either say that they need to be worn in, lubricated, or some combination thereof. I tend to agree with the crowd that thinks that any switch that needs breaking in or non-factory lubrication is fundamentally deficient. The thing with MX brown though is that there's also a lot of argument from a crowd that claims they're something entirely unique in the world of tactiles, an "ergonomic" switch that has only so much tactility as is necessary to inform the typist when actuation occurs ... or something of the sort. I've never really ever been able to figure out how that actually necessarily makes them either ergonomic or unergonomic. That's how Cherry marketed it on release, for whatever that's worth.

At the end of the day, people seem to tend to either love or hate them.

Personally, I think MX clears are a lot smoother right out of the gate, with a defined tactile event at normal typing speed without any modification.

I don't really know about this "ergonomic" argument. A preference is often not a rational choice, but the mind tries to explain the preference rationally afterwards. I've heard the ergonomic argument used about orthos also, and even though I like typing on orthos, I don't think they are better or worse than an ordinary layout in protecting against finger strains or fatigue.

Yes, I feel the same way in this regard. There can be some astonishing levels of mental gymnastics used to justify some of the popular opinions floating around. We have a thread for that.  ;D

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 10 March 2021, 06:00:34 »
Velkommen!

Takk!

More Norwegians here?

Jepp, er norsk men var født i USA. Bodde is norge i flere år men bor i USA nå igjen.

Kult, jeg har kun vært i USA en gang, i Las Vegas, men det er vel hele sjelen til USA der.  Men for å være litt seriøs, så kunne jeg tenkt meg å oppleve mer av USA enn bare LV. Og så er det nok litt billigere med frakt på mekaniske tastaturer fra ebay...

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 10 March 2021, 06:12:45 »
A model F would be a great addition to the collection, but the originals are a bit on the expensive side these days. The New Model F project looks nice, though. I have it on my wishlist.

I think many overestimate how bothersome a clicky keyboard is for others. The sound level quickly falls with distance and are absorbed by the inventory, and the high pings and clicks are dampened more quickly than the low-frequency "thocks"

I have seen F ATs go for less than the new F62 or F77s still, but the layout isn't for everyone. I'm typing on one right now. Ellipse's 4704 recreations are wonderful. The zinc cases could be used to anchor large tanker ships.

I agree. Even the highest-pitched switches seem to be of no concern to the vast majority of people I have asked, even when used within 10 feet in the same room. I still think even that still only comes down to pitch, because not a single person has ever said they bothered hearing something like SKCM blue Alps.

I have yet to hear Alps in real life (I think), but they sound nice on recordings. Listening to recordings of switch sounds can give an impression of them, but it's not the same as the listening experience with the keyboard in the same room. Right now I'm making a bucket list of switches and keyboards I should try some times, and Alps are among those. BTW, isn't Matias switches an Alps clone?

I don't really know about this "ergonomic" argument. A preference is often not a rational choice, but the mind tries to explain the preference rationally afterwards. I've heard the ergonomic argument used about orthos also, and even though I like typing on orthos, I don't think they are better or worse than an ordinary layout in protecting against finger strains or fatigue.

Yes, I feel the same way in this regard. There can be some astonishing levels of mental gymnastics used to justify some of the popular opinions floating around. We have a thread for that.  ;D

Haha, thanks for the link to the unpopular keyboard opinions. It looks like 110 pages of fun, thought provoking, informational and interesting opinions there.  :thumb:

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 10 March 2021, 08:27:54 »
A model F would be a great addition to the collection, but the originals are a bit on the expensive side these days. The New Model F project looks nice, though. I have it on my wishlist.

I think many overestimate how bothersome a clicky keyboard is for others. The sound level quickly falls with distance and are absorbed by the inventory, and the high pings and clicks are dampened more quickly than the low-frequency "thocks"

I have seen F ATs go for less than the new F62 or F77s still, but the layout isn't for everyone. I'm typing on one right now. Ellipse's 4704 recreations are wonderful. The zinc cases could be used to anchor large tanker ships.

I agree. Even the highest-pitched switches seem to be of no concern to the vast majority of people I have asked, even when used within 10 feet in the same room. I still think even that still only comes down to pitch, because not a single person has ever said they bothered hearing something like SKCM blue Alps.

I have yet to hear Alps in real life (I think), but they sound nice on recordings. Listening to recordings of switch sounds can give an impression of them, but it's not the same as the listening experience with the keyboard in the same room. Right now I'm making a bucket list of switches and keyboards I should try some times, and Alps are among those. BTW, isn't Matias switches an Alps clone?

Indeed. To me, the feel is really the biggest thing though too. SKCM blue switches that are in good shape are wonderfully crisp and buttery smooth.

Correct. Matias switches are clones of simplified Alps (SKBL/SKBM series vs SKCM/SKCL[complicated]). Simplified Alps switches don't have a stellar reputation, but I think the currently-manufactured Matias switches made by Gaote (who also make Outemu switches) are the best they've ever been. They're not quite as nice as complicated Alps in any given category, but I don't think they're far behind. I would take them over box thick clicks, just barely.

I don't really know about this "ergonomic" argument. A preference is often not a rational choice, but the mind tries to explain the preference rationally afterwards. I've heard the ergonomic argument used about orthos also, and even though I like typing on orthos, I don't think they are better or worse than an ordinary layout in protecting against finger strains or fatigue.

Yes, I feel the same way in this regard. There can be some astonishing levels of mental gymnastics used to justify some of the popular opinions floating around. We have a thread for that.  ;D

Haha, thanks for the link to the unpopular keyboard opinions. It looks like 110 pages of fun, thought provoking, informational and interesting opinions there.  :thumb:

No problem. I had a feeling you would have some fun with that.

Offline retoid

  • Posts: 109
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 10 March 2021, 10:59:54 »
Velkommen!

Takk!

More Norwegians here?

Jepp, er norsk men var født i USA. Bodde is norge i flere år men bor i USA nå igjen.

Kult, jeg har kun vært i USA en gang, i Las Vegas, men det er vel hele sjelen til USA der.  Men for å være litt seriøs, så kunne jeg tenkt meg å oppleve mer av USA enn bare LV. Og så er det nok litt billigere med frakt på mekaniske tastaturer fra ebay...

Ahh haha, LV er sin city her i USA hehe. Forhåpentligvis så får vi reise til andre land litt lettere igjen, så du kan få sjangsen til å besøke litt mer av USA.
Ja sant det, frakten er billigere :D
Jeg savne Norge, det har vært noen år nå siden jeg fikk besøke sist.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 11 March 2021, 13:20:05 »
A model F would be a great addition to the collection, but the originals are a bit on the expensive side these days. The New Model F project looks nice, though. I have it on my wishlist.

I think many overestimate how bothersome a clicky keyboard is for others. The sound level quickly falls with distance and are absorbed by the inventory, and the high pings and clicks are dampened more quickly than the low-frequency "thocks"

I have seen F ATs go for less than the new F62 or F77s still, but the layout isn't for everyone. I'm typing on one right now. Ellipse's 4704 recreations are wonderful. The zinc cases could be used to anchor large tanker ships.

I agree. Even the highest-pitched switches seem to be of no concern to the vast majority of people I have asked, even when used within 10 feet in the same room. I still think even that still only comes down to pitch, because not a single person has ever said they bothered hearing something like SKCM blue Alps.

I have yet to hear Alps in real life (I think), but they sound nice on recordings. Listening to recordings of switch sounds can give an impression of them, but it's not the same as the listening experience with the keyboard in the same room. Right now I'm making a bucket list of switches and keyboards I should try some times, and Alps are among those. BTW, isn't Matias switches an Alps clone?

Indeed. To me, the feel is really the biggest thing though too. SKCM blue switches that are in good shape are wonderfully crisp and buttery smooth.

Correct. Matias switches are clones of simplified Alps (SKBL/SKBM series vs SKCM/SKCL[complicated]). Simplified Alps switches don't have a stellar reputation, but I think the currently-manufactured Matias switches made by Gaote (who also make Outemu switches) are the best they've ever been. They're not quite as nice as complicated Alps in any given category, but I don't think they're far behind. I would take them over box thick clicks, just barely.

Where can I find keyboards with complicated Alps? I've heard about the Alps, but I don't really know where to start to look for one to use. I guess I have to find a vintage board, but are there any that can be used with modern computers?  I have just been focusing on keyboards and switches that are still produced, but I have a feeling that the best vintage switches are at least as good as, if not better than contemporary switches for typing.

I also like the concept of leaf spring switches, but I have no idea about how to get a usable keyboard with this type.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 11 March 2021, 13:23:22 »
Velkommen!

Takk!

More Norwegians here?

Jepp, er norsk men var født i USA. Bodde is norge i flere år men bor i USA nå igjen.

Kult, jeg har kun vært i USA en gang, i Las Vegas, men det er vel hele sjelen til USA der.  Men for å være litt seriøs, så kunne jeg tenkt meg å oppleve mer av USA enn bare LV. Og så er det nok litt billigere med frakt på mekaniske tastaturer fra ebay...

Ahh haha, LV er sin city her i USA hehe. Forhåpentligvis så får vi reise til andre land litt lettere igjen, så du kan få sjangsen til å besøke litt mer av USA.
Ja sant det, frakten er billigere :D
Jeg savne Norge, det har vært noen år nå siden jeg fikk besøke sist.

Jeg får satse på at det snart går an å reise igjen. Du får besøke Norge en gang også. Har du familie her?

Offline retoid

  • Posts: 109
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 11 March 2021, 13:28:12 »
Velkommen!

Takk!

More Norwegians here?

Jepp, er norsk men var født i USA. Bodde is norge i flere år men bor i USA nå igjen.

Kult, jeg har kun vært i USA en gang, i Las Vegas, men det er vel hele sjelen til USA der.  Men for å være litt seriøs, så kunne jeg tenkt meg å oppleve mer av USA enn bare LV. Og så er det nok litt billigere med frakt på mekaniske tastaturer fra ebay...

Ahh haha, LV er sin city her i USA hehe. Forhåpentligvis så får vi reise til andre land litt lettere igjen, så du kan få sjangsen til å besøke litt mer av USA.
Ja sant det, frakten er billigere :D
Jeg savne Norge, det har vært noen år nå siden jeg fikk besøke sist.

Jeg får satse på at det snart går an å reise igjen. Du får besøke Norge en gang også. Har du familie her?

Ja, mor mi bor i Stavanger, så har jeg flere søskenbarn som bor rundt omkring Rogaland også. Det håper jeg også, hadde vært godt å besøke igjen :)

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 11 March 2021, 14:26:53 »
Where can I find keyboards with complicated Alps? I've heard about the Alps, but I don't really know where to start to look for one to use. I guess I have to find a vintage board, but are there any that can be used with modern computers?  I have just been focusing on keyboards and switches that are still produced, but I have a feeling that the best vintage switches are at least as good as, if not better than contemporary switches for typing.

I also like the concept of leaf spring switches, but I have no idea about how to get a usable keyboard with this type.

SKCM white Alps boards are not uncommon on Ebay and generally sell for $70-100. Generally, if a board doesn't have Windows keys, and it has Alps switches, they should be a complicated variant. This is by no means guaranteed though. SKCM blues ceased production in 1989, and are highly coveted, so finding any of those (even in terrible shape) for a reasonable price is not easy. Certain boards are guaranteed to contain them, most of them are not. The Leading Edge DC-2014 is an example of one that's never been found without SKCM blue Alps.

There are a few things you could consider to be leaf spring switches. Even Cherry MX blue has a leaf spring. Fujtitsu leaf springs are probably the most well-known. There are switches that contain both coil and leaf springs, including Alps switches and clones. The Deskthority wiki is your friend in finding information about vintage switches. Chyrosran22 has a lot of great videos on vintage switches as well.

Anything made today that contains Matias switches is compatible with complicated Alps switches, but I personally don't like the idea of harvesting them out of perfectly good keyboards. There are, unfortunately, not many Alps compatible boards or caps made today ... so custom plates and PCBs may be the best option in a lot of cases. LFK was making some great Alps PCBs, cases, and plates, but they seem to have vanished. KBParadise was selling kits without switches, but they're sold out and may never stock them again.

I think Matias' clicky switches are better than most SKCM white switches. The very earliest SKCM whites are practically just as nice as blues, but they could vary a lot in my experience, especially as time went on. They made the whites in various factories.

I don't think that there's a single modern clicky switch that is better than vintage clickies. For linears, I imagine the optical switches must hold their own against vintage switches. Box thick clicks and Matias switches come very close though. I have not yet encountered any tactiles I would take over Alps or a derivative, but because of how little I like every MX tactile I have tried, I haven't put a lot of effort into trying more of them.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 12 March 2021, 03:37:12 »
Ahh haha, LV er sin city her i USA hehe. Forhåpentligvis så får vi reise til andre land litt lettere igjen, så du kan få sjangsen til å besøke litt mer av USA.
Ja sant det, frakten er billigere :D
Jeg savne Norge, det har vært noen år nå siden jeg fikk besøke sist.

Jeg får satse på at det snart går an å reise igjen. Du får besøke Norge en gang også. Har du familie her?

Ja, mor mi bor i Stavanger, så har jeg flere søskenbarn som bor rundt omkring Rogaland også. Det håper jeg også, hadde vært godt å besøke igjen :)

Jeg har bare vært en gang i Stavangerområdet, men det er jo fint der. Jeg, kona og et par venner var på "roadtrip" og kjørte nedover vestlandskysten til vi kom til Stavanger for noen år siden. Det var mange "fine" veier på den turen; flott utsikt, men begge fjærene til forhjulene knakk i løpet av turen.

Offline qeebored

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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 12 March 2021, 04:31:20 »
Where can I find keyboards with complicated Alps? I've heard about the Alps, but I don't really know where to start to look for one to use. I guess I have to find a vintage board, but are there any that can be used with modern computers?  I have just been focusing on keyboards and switches that are still produced, but I have a feeling that the best vintage switches are at least as good as, if not better than contemporary switches for typing.

I also like the concept of leaf spring switches, but I have no idea about how to get a usable keyboard with this type.

SKCM white Alps boards are not uncommon on Ebay and generally sell for $70-100. Generally, if a board doesn't have Windows keys, and it has Alps switches, they should be a complicated variant. This is by no means guaranteed though. SKCM blues ceased production in 1989, and are highly coveted, so finding any of those (even in terrible shape) for a reasonable price is not easy. Certain boards are guaranteed to contain them, most of them are not. The Leading Edge DC-2014 is an example of one that's never been found without SKCM blue Alps.

There are a few things you could consider to be leaf spring switches. Even Cherry MX blue has a leaf spring. Fujtitsu leaf springs are probably the most well-known. There are switches that contain both coil and leaf springs, including Alps switches and clones. The Deskthority wiki is your friend in finding information about vintage switches. Chyrosran22 has a lot of great videos on vintage switches as well.

One of the reasons I haven't really started to dive into the Alps, is that I got the impression that they were hard to come by, especially the highly praised complicated ones. Maybe I just need to be armed with some knowledge about where to look to find good bargains...

You're of course right, most contact based switches use some form of leaf spring for the electrical contact point. It was the Fujitsu type I was thinking about, without a coil spring. I've watched a few of Chyrosan22's videos already, they certainly contain quality content.

Anything made today that contains Matias switches is compatible with complicated Alps switches, but I personally don't like the idea of harvesting them out of perfectly good keyboards. There are, unfortunately, not many Alps compatible boards or caps made today ... so custom plates and PCBs may be the best option in a lot of cases. LFK was making some great Alps PCBs, cases, and plates, but they seem to have vanished. KBParadise was selling kits without switches, but they're sold out and may never stock them again.

I think Matias' clicky switches are better than most SKCM white switches. The very earliest SKCM whites are practically just as nice as blues, but they could vary a lot in my experience, especially as time went on. They made the whites in various factories.

I don't think that there's a single modern clicky switch that is better than vintage clickies. For linears, I imagine the optical switches must hold their own against vintage switches. Box thick clicks and Matias switches come very close though. I have not yet encountered any tactiles I would take over Alps or a derivative, but because of how little I like every MX tactile I have tried, I haven't put a lot of effort into trying more of them.


Interesting. If I have understood correctly, the third letter (C/B) signifies whether it is a complicated (C) or simplified (B) switch? And the fourth, whether it is a linear (L) or a tactile/clicky (M)? In addition there are the stem colors.

For a newbie like me without much knowledge about the Alps generations and how to spot the differences, would you recommend Matias switches, as they probably will be better than white Alps I find? I assume that there are more of the later whites available than the earlier ones, so if I buy a randomly chosen white switch, the probability of ending up with a later generation is higher than the earlier gen.

The more I chat with you, the more I understand that I might have to get a new keyboard with Alps/Matias switches...

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
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Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 12 March 2021, 09:08:17 »
Where can I find keyboards with complicated Alps? I've heard about the Alps, but I don't really know where to start to look for one to use. I guess I have to find a vintage board, but are there any that can be used with modern computers?  I have just been focusing on keyboards and switches that are still produced, but I have a feeling that the best vintage switches are at least as good as, if not better than contemporary switches for typing.

I also like the concept of leaf spring switches, but I have no idea about how to get a usable keyboard with this type.

SKCM white Alps boards are not uncommon on Ebay and generally sell for $70-100. Generally, if a board doesn't have Windows keys, and it has Alps switches, they should be a complicated variant. This is by no means guaranteed though. SKCM blues ceased production in 1989, and are highly coveted, so finding any of those (even in terrible shape) for a reasonable price is not easy. Certain boards are guaranteed to contain them, most of them are not. The Leading Edge DC-2014 is an example of one that's never been found without SKCM blue Alps.

There are a few things you could consider to be leaf spring switches. Even Cherry MX blue has a leaf spring. Fujtitsu leaf springs are probably the most well-known. There are switches that contain both coil and leaf springs, including Alps switches and clones. The Deskthority wiki is your friend in finding information about vintage switches. Chyrosran22 has a lot of great videos on vintage switches as well.

One of the reasons I haven't really started to dive into the Alps, is that I got the impression that they were hard to come by, especially the highly praised complicated ones. Maybe I just need to be armed with some knowledge about where to look to find good bargains...

You're of course right, most contact based switches use some form of leaf spring for the electrical contact point. It was the Fujitsu type I was thinking about, without a coil spring. I've watched a few of Chyrosan22's videos already, they certainly contain quality content.

Knowledge and luck are a must to not pay an arm and a leg. I just took a chance on 240 blue Alps switches from somewhere in Asia. They came in and every single one of them is scratchy, totally useless without trying to clean and re-lubricate them all. Here's a list of some boards that are known to have been spotted with SKCM blue switches.

I have seen some of those Fujitsu boards around, but I have never pulled the proverbial trigger. Chyroosran22 goes by chyros around here and on Deskthority. He's fairly active and approachable.

Anything made today that contains Matias switches is compatible with complicated Alps switches, but I personally don't like the idea of harvesting them out of perfectly good keyboards. There are, unfortunately, not many Alps compatible boards or caps made today ... so custom plates and PCBs may be the best option in a lot of cases. LFK was making some great Alps PCBs, cases, and plates, but they seem to have vanished. KBParadise was selling kits without switches, but they're sold out and may never stock them again.

I think Matias' clicky switches are better than most SKCM white switches. The very earliest SKCM whites are practically just as nice as blues, but they could vary a lot in my experience, especially as time went on. They made the whites in various factories.

I don't think that there's a single modern clicky switch that is better than vintage clickies. For linears, I imagine the optical switches must hold their own against vintage switches. Box thick clicks and Matias switches come very close though. I have not yet encountered any tactiles I would take over Alps or a derivative, but because of how little I like every MX tactile I have tried, I haven't put a lot of effort into trying more of them.


Interesting. If I have understood correctly, the third letter (C/B) signifies whether it is a complicated (C) or simplified (B) switch? And the fourth, whether it is a linear (L) or a tactile/clicky (M)? In addition there are the stem colors.

You are correct. Blue and white are clickies. Other stem colors can vary as we start getting into simplified Alps and clones.

For a newbie like me without much knowledge about the Alps generations and how to spot the differences, would you recommend Matias switches, as they probably will be better than white Alps I find? I assume that there are more of the later whites available than the earlier ones, so if I buy a randomly chosen white switch, the probability of ending up with a later generation is higher than the earlier gen.

Matias switches are cheap and abundantly available. Their clickies aren't as nice as the very best of the best of SKCM whites, but unless they're very early you're kind of playing the lottery there anyway, even if they're all in perfect shape. If I have not yet mentioned it, there were concerns with quality control in regard to key chatter with Matias switches in the past. I believe, but cannot say for sure, that most (if not all) of this can be attributed to two likely sources:

1) The switches manufactured for Matias by Forward. These switches have black housings, like the original Alps switches. I own one of these boards, and it is the only one in which I have been able to experience chatter (outside of the brand new one I had, but this went away on its own within the first week).

2) Lax quality control/care in assembly of these switches in regard to contact leg alignment prior to soldering, which lead to such official troubleshooting suggestions as pressing business cards against the problem switch housings in an attempt to realign everything, and/or resoldering the switches yourself. It seemed, in my looking back through old threads, that this was more common in the old KBParadise-manufactured boards that contained Matias switches, and custom builds utilizing them.

I own roughly 9 or 10 boards that contain Matias switches now and all of the boards that contain Gaote-manufactured switches (the newer ones with clear housings) have worked perfectly for me besides the aforementioned chatter problems that went away within the first week of the one Matias-branded board I purchased new.

Take all of that as you will. Alps/Matias is not for everyone, given the extremely limited market demand, and thus their extremely limited customization options ... which is itself a cyclical problem. If we could rehabilitate Matias' name, there would be greater interest in caps, boards, plates, etc, which would drive more development and supply of such things, which could lead to more people taking the idea of recreating complicated Alps more seriously.

I sort of think the same way about Unicomp. I'm not a huge fan of membrane buckling spring to begin with, and I read that even their best modern attempts may not be quite as good as the earliest of IBM Model Ms, but they're a company that's at least trying to keep an otherwise dead switch type alive and are deserving of support.

The more I chat with you, the more I understand that I might have to get a new keyboard with Alps/Matias switches...

KBParadise are selling what they are touting as the "V80 Alps 2021 Final Limit Edition". This may well be their last offering of Alps boards, being the only mass market Alps board with standard keycap compatibility (although Tai-Hao is basically the only name in the game of Alps caps, and pickings from even them are currently slim). They're also compatible with any aftermarket case that's compatible with boards such as the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid, like these beefy monstrosities, if that interests you. I particularly like the layout, case, features, and mapping of Matias' own mini pro boards, but they don't offer any off-the-shelf clicky switches in any boards that don't have Mac layouts, colors, and caps anymore. I documented my findings on an easy way to at least change the layout to your liking with resistor swaps on the controller in this thread.

Offline retoid

  • Posts: 109
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 12 March 2021, 11:11:24 »
Ahh haha, LV er sin city her i USA hehe. Forhåpentligvis så får vi reise til andre land litt lettere igjen, så du kan få sjangsen til å besøke litt mer av USA.
Ja sant det, frakten er billigere :D
Jeg savne Norge, det har vært noen år nå siden jeg fikk besøke sist.

Jeg får satse på at det snart går an å reise igjen. Du får besøke Norge en gang også. Har du familie her?

Ja, mor mi bor i Stavanger, så har jeg flere søskenbarn som bor rundt omkring Rogaland også. Det håper jeg også, hadde vært godt å besøke igjen :)

Jeg har bare vært en gang i Stavangerområdet, men det er jo fint der. Jeg, kona og et par venner var på "roadtrip" og kjørte nedover vestlandskysten til vi kom til Stavanger for noen år siden. Det var mange "fine" veier på den turen; flott utsikt, men begge fjærene til forhjulene knakk i løpet av turen.

Uff! Fikk dere fiksa fjærene nokså raskt? Jeg har reisa en del rundt norge, og hele landet er skam fine! Det var kult at dere fikk kjøre nedover, road trips kan være ganske kjeke :D

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 14 March 2021, 14:48:36 »
Ahh haha, LV er sin city her i USA hehe. Forhåpentligvis så får vi reise til andre land litt lettere igjen, så du kan få sjangsen til å besøke litt mer av USA.
Ja sant det, frakten er billigere :D
Jeg savne Norge, det har vært noen år nå siden jeg fikk besøke sist.

Jeg får satse på at det snart går an å reise igjen. Du får besøke Norge en gang også. Har du familie her?

Ja, mor mi bor i Stavanger, så har jeg flere søskenbarn som bor rundt omkring Rogaland også. Det håper jeg også, hadde vært godt å besøke igjen :)

Jeg har bare vært en gang i Stavangerområdet, men det er jo fint der. Jeg, kona og et par venner var på "roadtrip" og kjørte nedover vestlandskysten til vi kom til Stavanger for noen år siden. Det var mange "fine" veier på den turen; flott utsikt, men begge fjærene til forhjulene knakk i løpet av turen.

Uff! Fikk dere fiksa fjærene nokså raskt? Jeg har reisa en del rundt norge, og hele landet er skam fine! Det var kult at dere fikk kjøre nedover, road trips kan være ganske kjeke :D

Jeg syntes bilen dro litt mot høyre, men tenkte ikke over det før jeg skulle på EU-kontroll etter ferien. Reparasjonen ville kostet mer enn bilen var verdt, så den ble levert til bilopphugger.

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 14 March 2021, 15:51:43 »
Where can I find keyboards with complicated Alps? I've heard about the Alps, but I don't really know where to start to look for one to use. I guess I have to find a vintage board, but are there any that can be used with modern computers?  I have just been focusing on keyboards and switches that are still produced, but I have a feeling that the best vintage switches are at least as good as, if not better than contemporary switches for typing.

I also like the concept of leaf spring switches, but I have no idea about how to get a usable keyboard with this type.

SKCM white Alps boards are not uncommon on Ebay and generally sell for $70-100. Generally, if a board doesn't have Windows keys, and it has Alps switches, they should be a complicated variant. This is by no means guaranteed though. SKCM blues ceased production in 1989, and are highly coveted, so finding any of those (even in terrible shape) for a reasonable price is not easy. Certain boards are guaranteed to contain them, most of them are not. The Leading Edge DC-2014 is an example of one that's never been found without SKCM blue Alps.

There are a few things you could consider to be leaf spring switches. Even Cherry MX blue has a leaf spring. Fujtitsu leaf springs are probably the most well-known. There are switches that contain both coil and leaf springs, including Alps switches and clones. The Deskthority wiki is your friend in finding information about vintage switches. Chyrosran22 has a lot of great videos on vintage switches as well.

One of the reasons I haven't really started to dive into the Alps, is that I got the impression that they were hard to come by, especially the highly praised complicated ones. Maybe I just need to be armed with some knowledge about where to look to find good bargains...

You're of course right, most contact based switches use some form of leaf spring for the electrical contact point. It was the Fujitsu type I was thinking about, without a coil spring. I've watched a few of Chyrosan22's videos already, they certainly contain quality content.

Knowledge and luck are a must to not pay an arm and a leg. I just took a chance on 240 blue Alps switches from somewhere in Asia. They came in and every single one of them is scratchy, totally useless without trying to clean and re-lubricate them all. Here's a list of some boards that are known to have been spotted with SKCM blue switches.

I have seen some of those Fujitsu boards around, but I have never pulled the proverbial trigger. Chyroosran22 goes by chyros around here and on Deskthority. He's fairly active and approachable.

Thanks for the link. Keyboard restoration isn't something I have considered yet, but by learning more about historical switch technology, it is tempting to start a project or two...

Besides, it's nice to see famous names frequenting the forums.  :)

For a newbie like me without much knowledge about the Alps generations and how to spot the differences, would you recommend Matias switches, as they probably will be better than white Alps I find? I assume that there are more of the later whites available than the earlier ones, so if I buy a randomly chosen white switch, the probability of ending up with a later generation is higher than the earlier gen.

Matias switches are cheap and abundantly available. Their clickies aren't as nice as the very best of the best of SKCM whites, but unless they're very early you're kind of playing the lottery there anyway, even if they're all in perfect shape. If I have not yet mentioned it, there were concerns with quality control in regard to key chatter with Matias switches in the past. I believe, but cannot say for sure, that most (if not all) of this can be attributed to two likely sources:

1) The switches manufactured for Matias by Forward. These switches have black housings, like the original Alps switches. I own one of these boards, and it is the only one in which I have been able to experience chatter (outside of the brand new one I had, but this went away on its own within the first week).

2) Lax quality control/care in assembly of these switches in regard to contact leg alignment prior to soldering, which lead to such official troubleshooting suggestions as pressing business cards against the problem switch housings in an attempt to realign everything, and/or resoldering the switches yourself. It seemed, in my looking back through old threads, that this was more common in the old KBParadise-manufactured boards that contained Matias switches, and custom builds utilizing them.

I own roughly 9 or 10 boards that contain Matias switches now and all of the boards that contain Gaote-manufactured switches (the newer ones with clear housings) have worked perfectly for me besides the aforementioned chatter problems that went away within the first week of the one Matias-branded board I purchased new.

Take all of that as you will. Alps/Matias is not for everyone, given the extremely limited market demand, and thus their extremely limited customization options ... which is itself a cyclical problem. If we could rehabilitate Matias' name, there would be greater interest in caps, boards, plates, etc, which would drive more development and supply of such things, which could lead to more people taking the idea of recreating complicated Alps more seriously.

I sort of think the same way about Unicomp. I'm not a huge fan of membrane buckling spring to begin with, and I read that even their best modern attempts may not be quite as good as the earliest of IBM Model Ms, but they're a company that's at least trying to keep an otherwise dead switch type alive and are deserving of support.

I hope that the keyboard enthusiast market can revive the market for good typing keyboards and switches, as many of the common mechanical keyboards today are marketed towards gamers. There has always been a market for premium stationaries, so I don't see why keyboards should be an exception.

The more I chat with you, the more I understand that I might have to get a new keyboard with Alps/Matias switches...

KBParadise are selling what they are touting as the "V80 Alps 2021 Final Limit Edition". This may well be their last offering of Alps boards, being the only mass market Alps board with standard keycap compatibility (although Tai-Hao is basically the only name in the game of Alps caps, and pickings from even them are currently slim). They're also compatible with any aftermarket case that's compatible with boards such as the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid, like these beefy monstrosities, if that interests you. I particularly like the layout, case, features, and mapping of Matias' own mini pro boards, but they don't offer any off-the-shelf clicky switches in any boards that don't have Mac layouts, colors, and caps anymore. I documented my findings on an easy way to at least change the layout to your liking with resistor swaps on the controller in this thread.

Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about the other switch options with the v80alps: Datacomp ALPS Blue and Fukka White? The price wasn' too bad, but I can't afford to get another keyboard right away...

I lookad at the thread you posted, modding the Matias keyboard. This looks as an interesting option, and the Mini Tactile Pro looks like a decent board. At least it looked better than the coming "60% keyboard"... Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot did they do with the bottom row?

I also thought about just getting the switches from Matias and make a custom build for my next project. Maybe a Let's Split or something similar, depending on how I like split boards such as the Kyria, which I'm currently waiting for.

Offline retoid

  • Posts: 109
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #31 on: Sun, 14 March 2021, 23:02:10 »
Ahh haha, LV er sin city her i USA hehe. Forhåpentligvis så får vi reise til andre land litt lettere igjen, så du kan få sjangsen til å besøke litt mer av USA.
Ja sant det, frakten er billigere :D
Jeg savne Norge, det har vært noen år nå siden jeg fikk besøke sist.
Jeg får satse på at det snart går an å reise igjen. Du får besøke Norge en gang også. Har du familie her?

Ja, mor mi bor i Stavanger, så har jeg flere søskenbarn som bor rundt omkring Rogaland også. Det håper jeg også, hadde vært godt å besøke igjen :)

Jeg har bare vært en gang i Stavangerområdet, men det er jo fint der. Jeg, kona og et par venner var på "roadtrip" og kjørte nedover vestlandskysten til vi kom til Stavanger for noen år siden. Det var mange "fine" veier på den turen; flott utsikt, men begge fjærene til forhjulene knakk i løpet av turen.

Uff! Fikk dere fiksa fjærene nokså raskt? Jeg har reisa en del rundt norge, og hele landet er skam fine! Det var kult at dere fikk kjøre nedover, road trips kan være ganske kjeke :D

Jeg syntes bilen dro litt mot høyre, men tenkte ikke over det før jeg skulle på EU-kontroll etter ferien. Reparasjonen ville kostet mer enn bilen var verdt, så den ble levert til bilopphugger.

Uff hahaha stakkars bil :D

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 16 March 2021, 14:04:13 »
Thanks for the link. Keyboard restoration isn't something I have considered yet, but by learning more about historical switch technology, it is tempting to start a project or two...

Besides, it's nice to see famous names frequenting the forums.  :)

You're welcome. The big thing with Alps is that restoration may not ever bring them back to feeling as nice as they did new. You're best off finding a board in as good of shape as you can.

Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about the other switch options with the v80alps: Datacomp ALPS Blue and Fukka White? The price wasn' too bad, but I can't afford to get another keyboard right away...

They sent me some samples of Fukka switches, and I believe I also ordered some on Aliexpress that weren't labeled properly just to try. My first impressions are that they're not quite as smooth or refined, but more tactile, and a little more high pitched. I haven't tried them in a board, but I think I like Matias switches more. I have considered ordering one of the Datacomp boards just to try the switches. I don't know where to procure them otherwise.

I lookad at the thread you posted, modding the Matias keyboard. This looks as an interesting option, and the Mini Tactile Pro looks like a decent board. At least it looked better than the coming "60% keyboard"... Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot did they do with the bottom row?

Matias has a tendency to do their own bizarre things with keyboard layouts. I love their mini pro layout, but it is proprietary. They did something similarly strange with the bottom row of their split ergo keyboards. KBParadise also makes a 60% with Matias switches, but it has no dedicated arrow keys. This is a dealbreaker for me.

I also thought about just getting the switches from Matias and make a custom build for my next project. Maybe a Let's Split or something similar, depending on how I like split boards such as the Kyria, which I'm currently waiting for.

It may turn out that you don't even prefer Matias switches to other alternatives, so you may want to at least try their switches from a sample pack or something before you commit. I can't say that I have ever met someone who likes clicky switches that doesn't prefer Matias to anything modern though in terms of feel and sound. Few are willing to live with the lack of MX compatibility though, and Matias' reputation for reliability is still tarnished (even though I think that this is no longer a problem).

Whatever you end up choosing to go with, good luck.

For modern switches, I'm sticking with Matias and box clickies myself. If I ever ended up switching out my gaming board from a K70, then I might try optical or hall effect linears. If anybody ever resurrects complicated Alps, or if the Silo Beam switches ever come out, I'll have to reevaluate.

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #33 on: Sun, 21 March 2021, 16:50:57 »
Thanks for the link. Keyboard restoration isn't something I have considered yet, but by learning more about historical switch technology, it is tempting to start a project or two...

Besides, it's nice to see famous names frequenting the forums.  :)

You're welcome. The big thing with Alps is that restoration may not ever bring them back to feeling as nice as they did new. You're best off finding a board in as good of shape as you can.

Ah, I see. It would be fun to experiment with various techniques for vintage switch restoration, though. I don't know the original keyfeel and I have too little excess time these days, so I think this will be a plan for the future.

Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about the other switch options with the v80alps: Datacomp ALPS Blue and Fukka White? The price wasn' too bad, but I can't afford to get another keyboard right away...

They sent me some samples of Fukka switches, and I believe I also ordered some on Aliexpress that weren't labeled properly just to try. My first impressions are that they're not quite as smooth or refined, but more tactile, and a little more high pitched. I haven't tried them in a board, but I think I like Matias switches more. I have considered ordering one of the Datacomp boards just to try the switches. I don't know where to procure them otherwise.

Thanks for the info. I think I will settle on Matias switches at first. If I like the typing experience, I can start looking for original Alps in good condition.

I lookad at the thread you posted, modding the Matias keyboard. This looks as an interesting option, and the Mini Tactile Pro looks like a decent board. At least it looked better than the coming "60% keyboard"... Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot did they do with the bottom row?

Matias has a tendency to do their own bizarre things with keyboard layouts. I love their mini pro layout, but it is proprietary. They did something similarly strange with the bottom row of their split ergo keyboards. KBParadise also makes a 60% with Matias switches, but it has no dedicated arrow keys. This is a dealbreaker for me.

After letting the initial horror settle, I started thinking whether it wasn't so bad idea with this spacious space, it can let the fingers relax in a more stretched out position and still reach the bottom row comfortably with the thumbs. It might need stabilizers in two dimensions, though.

I also thought about just getting the switches from Matias and make a custom build for my next project. Maybe a Let's Split or something similar, depending on how I like split boards such as the Kyria, which I'm currently waiting for.

It may turn out that you don't even prefer Matias switches to other alternatives, so you may want to at least try their switches from a sample pack or something before you commit. I can't say that I have ever met someone who likes clicky switches that doesn't prefer Matias to anything modern though in terms of feel and sound. Few are willing to live with the lack of MX compatibility though, and Matias' reputation for reliability is still tarnished (even though I think that this is no longer a problem).

Whatever you end up choosing to go with, good luck.

For modern switches, I'm sticking with Matias and box clickies myself. If I ever ended up switching out my gaming board from a K70, then I might try optical or hall effect linears. If anybody ever resurrects complicated Alps, or if the Silo Beam switches ever come out, I'll have to reevaluate.

Thanks for all your insights. I initially thought I liked tactile switches, because I like a tactile feedback and preferred something silent over something clicky. Now I have realized that clicky switches might be closer to the tactile feedback I actually like, where the activation point is closer to where the tactile event is. I'm still waiting for the switch tester with Kailh switches, but I have high hopes for the Jades: a light spring and a decent tactility (and the sound as a bonus...)

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 22 March 2021, 08:24:18 »
Thanks for the link. Keyboard restoration isn't something I have considered yet, but by learning more about historical switch technology, it is tempting to start a project or two...

Besides, it's nice to see famous names frequenting the forums.  :)

You're welcome. The big thing with Alps is that restoration may not ever bring them back to feeling as nice as they did new. You're best off finding a board in as good of shape as you can.

Ah, I see. It would be fun to experiment with various techniques for vintage switch restoration, though. I don't know the original keyfeel and I have too little excess time these days, so I think this will be a plan for the future.

I'll at least try myself with those blue Alps, especially if I get an ultrasonic cleaner. I have always wanted one of those for other purposes anyway.

Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about the other switch options with the v80alps: Datacomp ALPS Blue and Fukka White? The price wasn' too bad, but I can't afford to get another keyboard right away...

They sent me some samples of Fukka switches, and I believe I also ordered some on Aliexpress that weren't labeled properly just to try. My first impressions are that they're not quite as smooth or refined, but more tactile, and a little more high pitched. I haven't tried them in a board, but I think I like Matias switches more. I have considered ordering one of the Datacomp boards just to try the switches. I don't know where to procure them otherwise.

Thanks for the info. I think I will settle on Matias switches at first. If I like the typing experience, I can start looking for original Alps in good condition.

I think you'll love the feel. I haven't heard of anyone disliking it, although it may not end up being their absolute favorite. Everyone has different tastes.

I lookad at the thread you posted, modding the Matias keyboard. This looks as an interesting option, and the Mini Tactile Pro looks like a decent board. At least it looked better than the coming "60% keyboard"... Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot did they do with the bottom row?

Matias has a tendency to do their own bizarre things with keyboard layouts. I love their mini pro layout, but it is proprietary. They did something similarly strange with the bottom row of their split ergo keyboards. KBParadise also makes a 60% with Matias switches, but it has no dedicated arrow keys. This is a dealbreaker for me.

After letting the initial horror settle, I started thinking whether it wasn't so bad idea with this spacious space, it can let the fingers relax in a more stretched out position and still reach the bottom row comfortably with the thumbs. It might need stabilizers in two dimensions, though.

Which layout do you mean by this? Their 60% board has been in development for eons. I think Matias still plans on releasing it, but who knows.

I also thought about just getting the switches from Matias and make a custom build for my next project. Maybe a Let's Split or something similar, depending on how I like split boards such as the Kyria, which I'm currently waiting for.

It may turn out that you don't even prefer Matias switches to other alternatives, so you may want to at least try their switches from a sample pack or something before you commit. I can't say that I have ever met someone who likes clicky switches that doesn't prefer Matias to anything modern though in terms of feel and sound. Few are willing to live with the lack of MX compatibility though, and Matias' reputation for reliability is still tarnished (even though I think that this is no longer a problem).

Whatever you end up choosing to go with, good luck.

For modern switches, I'm sticking with Matias and box clickies myself. If I ever ended up switching out my gaming board from a K70, then I might try optical or hall effect linears. If anybody ever resurrects complicated Alps, or if the Silo Beam switches ever come out, I'll have to reevaluate.

Thanks for all your insights. I initially thought I liked tactile switches, because I like a tactile feedback and preferred something silent over something clicky. Now I have realized that clicky switches might be closer to the tactile feedback I actually like, where the activation point is closer to where the tactile event is. I'm still waiting for the switch tester with Kailh switches, but I have high hopes for the Jades: a light spring and a decent tactility (and the sound as a bonus...)

Matias' "quiet clicks" have some pretty sharp tactility, and are very quiet too. They seemed, to me, to be a little rough compared to their "linears" and clicky switches though. That doesn't seem to be universal though, since I have one used board that feels just as smooth as the others. Maybe they need a little wear to get to that point though.

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #35 on: Thu, 01 April 2021, 13:35:44 »
Thanks for the link. Keyboard restoration isn't something I have considered yet, but by learning more about historical switch technology, it is tempting to start a project or two...

Besides, it's nice to see famous names frequenting the forums.  :)

You're welcome. The big thing with Alps is that restoration may not ever bring them back to feeling as nice as they did new. You're best off finding a board in as good of shape as you can.

Ah, I see. It would be fun to experiment with various techniques for vintage switch restoration, though. I don't know the original keyfeel and I have too little excess time these days, so I think this will be a plan for the future.

I'll at least try myself with those blue Alps, especially if I get an ultrasonic cleaner. I have always wanted one of those for other purposes anyway.

That would be good for cleaning the parts properly. I also think it could be interesting to see if it is possible to laminate sliding parts of scratchy switches with a thin layer of low-friction material, to see if it is possible to restore the parts.

Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about the other switch options with the v80alps: Datacomp ALPS Blue and Fukka White? The price wasn' too bad, but I can't afford to get another keyboard right away...

They sent me some samples of Fukka switches, and I believe I also ordered some on Aliexpress that weren't labeled properly just to try. My first impressions are that they're not quite as smooth or refined, but more tactile, and a little more high pitched. I haven't tried them in a board, but I think I like Matias switches more. I have considered ordering one of the Datacomp boards just to try the switches. I don't know where to procure them otherwise.

Thanks for the info. I think I will settle on Matias switches at first. If I like the typing experience, I can start looking for original Alps in good condition.

I think you'll love the feel. I haven't heard of anyone disliking it, although it may not end up being their absolute favorite. Everyone has different tastes.

I do have a problem of choosing now.. I have a Kyria kit that I wanted to solder in choc switches, as I wanted a low-profile split keyboard. But after testing 6 different choc switches (red, white, brown, dark yellow, burnt orange, pale blue), I wasn't really enjoying any of them. I think the white were the best of the lot, but it lacked the tactility. Maybe choc jades will be better, because I liked the box jades.

The other keyboard kit I'm waiting for, is the Lumberjack GB, but this one only support MX-compatible switches.... So I wonder whether I should buy the V80ALPS, use the Kyria with Matias switches, or buy another kit to use with Matias switches... Hmmm...

I lookad at the thread you posted, modding the Matias keyboard. This looks as an interesting option, and the Mini Tactile Pro looks like a decent board. At least it looked better than the coming "60% keyboard"... Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot did they do with the bottom row?

Matias has a tendency to do their own bizarre things with keyboard layouts. I love their mini pro layout, but it is proprietary. They did something similarly strange with the bottom row of their split ergo keyboards. KBParadise also makes a 60% with Matias switches, but it has no dedicated arrow keys. This is a dealbreaker for me.

After letting the initial horror settle, I started thinking whether it wasn't so bad idea with this spacious space, it can let the fingers relax in a more stretched out position and still reach the bottom row comfortably with the thumbs. It might need stabilizers in two dimensions, though.

Which layout do you mean by this? Their 60% board has been in development for eons. I think Matias still plans on releasing it, but who knows.

It was Matias' 60% I was thinking about. But I think I'll either go for a V80ALPS, or a kit with Matias switches.

Matias' "quiet clicks" have some pretty sharp tactility, and are very quiet too. They seemed, to me, to be a little rough compared to their "linears" and clicky switches though. That doesn't seem to be universal though, since I have one used board that feels just as smooth as the others. Maybe they need a little wear to get to that point though.

I got the Kailh switch testers a couple of days ago, so now I tested all switches with all fingers on both hands, scoring them by the subjective key feel. That is, I tried to imagine it would be to type extensively on the switch with each finger and score them accordingly. I counted up the scores to see if there were any surprises. The box jade came out on top, followed by the box royal, navy and  box navy. This was the most tactile switches, so it wasn't a surprising results. But it was interesting to see the difference in comfort between the fingers and the difference between the hands.

The box royals had a similar feel to the Zealios I use, which means that the activation point is as annoyingly far away from the tactile event, as it is on the Zealios. What is this fetish with tactiles being on the start of the key travel? I noticed this on the rest of the kailh tactiles too. I don't need to know when I start the key press, but when the activation happens.

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 06 April 2021, 11:06:10 »
Thanks for the link. Keyboard restoration isn't something I have considered yet, but by learning more about historical switch technology, it is tempting to start a project or two...

Besides, it's nice to see famous names frequenting the forums.  :)

You're welcome. The big thing with Alps is that restoration may not ever bring them back to feeling as nice as they did new. You're best off finding a board in as good of shape as you can.

Ah, I see. It would be fun to experiment with various techniques for vintage switch restoration, though. I don't know the original keyfeel and I have too little excess time these days, so I think this will be a plan for the future.

I'll at least try myself with those blue Alps, especially if I get an ultrasonic cleaner. I have always wanted one of those for other purposes anyway.

That would be good for cleaning the parts properly. I also think it could be interesting to see if it is possible to laminate sliding parts of scratchy switches with a thin layer of low-friction material, to see if it is possible to restore the parts.

That may be a good idea if there's enough clearance for it to work. I haven't ever heard of anybody trying it.

Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about the other switch options with the v80alps: Datacomp ALPS Blue and Fukka White? The price wasn' too bad, but I can't afford to get another keyboard right away...

They sent me some samples of Fukka switches, and I believe I also ordered some on Aliexpress that weren't labeled properly just to try. My first impressions are that they're not quite as smooth or refined, but more tactile, and a little more high pitched. I haven't tried them in a board, but I think I like Matias switches more. I have considered ordering one of the Datacomp boards just to try the switches. I don't know where to procure them otherwise.

Thanks for the info. I think I will settle on Matias switches at first. If I like the typing experience, I can start looking for original Alps in good condition.

I think you'll love the feel. I haven't heard of anyone disliking it, although it may not end up being their absolute favorite. Everyone has different tastes.

I do have a problem of choosing now.. I have a Kyria kit that I wanted to solder in choc switches, as I wanted a low-profile split keyboard. But after testing 6 different choc switches (red, white, brown, dark yellow, burnt orange, pale blue), I wasn't really enjoying any of them. I think the white were the best of the lot, but it lacked the tactility. Maybe choc jades will be better, because I liked the box jades.

The other keyboard kit I'm waiting for, is the Lumberjack GB, but this one only support MX-compatible switches.... So I wonder whether I should buy the V80ALPS, use the Kyria with Matias switches, or buy another kit to use with Matias switches... Hmmm...

I haven't even tried the choc navies or jades, so I couldn't say how they compare to the full-size switches. What was it about the whites that you preferred over navy? Weighting? Clicky switches, in my opinion, almost universally make for more refined and satisfying tactile events than tactiles do. Alps and Matias are notables in the tactile world, but I would still take clickies that may not be my absolute favorite over the best of the tactile switches I have tried.

In my opinion, box jades are nearly as nice as Matias' clicky switches. For clickies, I think you would be happy with either if you like jades the most of the ones you've tried. You just might like Matias switches even more. We're living in a relatively good time for clicky switch options. Before those clickbar switches came out it was Matias (which were reportedly pretty unreliable in years past) or vintage boards. I think MX blue is good enough until you've tried a good clicky switch and then you can never touch them again, but I know people who are still able to somehow.

I lookad at the thread you posted, modding the Matias keyboard. This looks as an interesting option, and the Mini Tactile Pro looks like a decent board. At least it looked better than the coming "60% keyboard"... Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot did they do with the bottom row?

Matias has a tendency to do their own bizarre things with keyboard layouts. I love their mini pro layout, but it is proprietary. They did something similarly strange with the bottom row of their split ergo keyboards. KBParadise also makes a 60% with Matias switches, but it has no dedicated arrow keys. This is a dealbreaker for me.

After letting the initial horror settle, I started thinking whether it wasn't so bad idea with this spacious space, it can let the fingers relax in a more stretched out position and still reach the bottom row comfortably with the thumbs. It might need stabilizers in two dimensions, though.

Which layout do you mean by this? Their 60% board has been in development for eons. I think Matias still plans on releasing it, but who knows.

It was Matias' 60% I was thinking about. But I think I'll either go for a V80ALPS, or a kit with Matias switches.

I'm using a V80 right now. I ordered 2 of their "Final Edition" boards. One with the "linears" and one with the clickies. Both of those boards have been working great. I have been trying to put as much time in on the V80s as possible, because I know they've possibly had more reported problems in the past than the actual Matias boards. The one I'm using is a used one I got on Ebay with their tactile switches. I have two of the 3 in those beefy Aliexpress aluminum cases now. If it is a consideration, you can easily find neoprene sleeves for TKL boards on Amazon, which I got for all of them, and cap compatibility is not going to be a headache at all with a TKL either.

Matias' "quiet clicks" have some pretty sharp tactility, and are very quiet too. They seemed, to me, to be a little rough compared to their "linears" and clicky switches though. That doesn't seem to be universal though, since I have one used board that feels just as smooth as the others. Maybe they need a little wear to get to that point though.

I got the Kailh switch testers a couple of days ago, so now I tested all switches with all fingers on both hands, scoring them by the subjective key feel. That is, I tried to imagine it would be to type extensively on the switch with each finger and score them accordingly. I counted up the scores to see if there were any surprises. The box jade came out on top, followed by the box royal, navy and  box navy. This was the most tactile switches, so it wasn't a surprising results. But it was interesting to see the difference in comfort between the fingers and the difference between the hands.

The box royals had a similar feel to the Zealios I use, which means that the activation point is as annoyingly far away from the tactile event, as it is on the Zealios. What is this fetish with tactiles being on the start of the key travel? I noticed this on the rest of the kailh tactiles too. I don't need to know when I start the key press, but when the activation happens.

You like box royals more than navies, but jades more than either? Interesting. If you haven't ordered some, you may want to try to find a Matias switch sample back on Ebay. I have seen little testers that have one of each Matias switch on them as well, though they never seemed like a great value. Alps/Matias tactiles are about the only ones I'll use besides Topre.

I guess the situation was just perfect for me to report that Matias tactiles seem to tuned from the factory to actuate right at the bottom of the tactile event.

Personally, I wish more switches were like capacitive buckling spring. It seems to be mostly from the slightly different cap design of the capacitive buckling spring boards, even though the caps are inter-compatible with membrane buckling spring, but the tactile event (and as a result of the design, also the actuation point) are relatively low in the overall travel of the switch. It seems more natural to me and seems to help with accuracy compared to a lot of other switches, but I also mass everything down to the plate with gusto. I know some people seem obsessed with never bottoming out at all ... for whatever reason.

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #37 on: Tue, 06 April 2021, 17:28:14 »
That would be good for cleaning the parts properly. I also think it could be interesting to see if it is possible to laminate sliding parts of scratchy switches with a thin layer of low-friction material, to see if it is possible to restore the parts.

That may be a good idea if there's enough clearance for it to work. I haven't ever heard of anybody trying it.

Me neither, and I don't really know if it is possible at all. A thin layer of teflon coating, maybe sanding down the old piece to make room for the coating? I currently have neither the time nor the tools to investigate this further, so it has to be a project for the future.

I do have a problem of choosing now.. I have a Kyria kit that I wanted to solder in choc switches, as I wanted a low-profile split keyboard. But after testing 6 different choc switches (red, white, brown, dark yellow, burnt orange, pale blue), I wasn't really enjoying any of them. I think the white were the best of the lot, but it lacked the tactility. Maybe choc jades will be better, because I liked the box jades.

The other keyboard kit I'm waiting for, is the Lumberjack GB, but this one only support MX-compatible switches.... So I wonder whether I should buy the V80ALPS, use the Kyria with Matias switches, or buy another kit to use with Matias switches... Hmmm...

I haven't even tried the choc navies or jades, so I couldn't say how they compare to the full-size switches. What was it about the whites that you preferred over navy? Weighting? Clicky switches, in my opinion, almost universally make for more refined and satisfying tactile events than tactiles do. Alps and Matias are notables in the tactile world, but I would still take clickies that may not be my absolute favorite over the best of the tactile switches I have tried.

In my opinion, box jades are nearly as nice as Matias' clicky switches. For clickies, I think you would be happy with either if you like jades the most of the ones you've tried. You just might like Matias switches even more. We're living in a relatively good time for clicky switch options. Before those clickbar switches came out it was Matias (which were reportedly pretty unreliable in years past) or vintage boards. I think MX blue is good enough until you've tried a good clicky switch and then you can never touch them again, but I know people who are still able to somehow.

My experience was that the white chocs had a more defined tactile event, as the pale blue tactility was overshadowed by the coil spring tension.

I'm using a V80 right now. I ordered 2 of their "Final Edition" boards. One with the "linears" and one with the clickies. Both of those boards have been working great. I have been trying to put as much time in on the V80s as possible, because I know they've possibly had more reported problems in the past than the actual Matias boards. The one I'm using is a used one I got on Ebay with their tactile switches. I have two of the 3 in those beefy Aliexpress aluminum cases now. If it is a consideration, you can easily find neoprene sleeves for TKL boards on Amazon, which I got for all of them, and cap compatibility is not going to be a headache at all with a TKL either.

I like the thought of a xd75 with Matias switches, but it will cost me about the double of a V80. I like the ortholinear layout and the configurability, though. But getting a V80 for testing the keyfeel in an actual keyboard before I commit to building a kit is an intriguing plan.

Matias' "quiet clicks" have some pretty sharp tactility, and are very quiet too. They seemed, to me, to be a little rough compared to their "linears" and clicky switches though. That doesn't seem to be universal though, since I have one used board that feels just as smooth as the others. Maybe they need a little wear to get to that point though.

I got the Kailh switch testers a couple of days ago, so now I tested all switches with all fingers on both hands, scoring them by the subjective key feel. That is, I tried to imagine it would be to type extensively on the switch with each finger and score them accordingly. I counted up the scores to see if there were any surprises. The box jade came out on top, followed by the box royal, navy and  box navy. This was the most tactile switches, so it wasn't a surprising results. But it was interesting to see the difference in comfort between the fingers and the difference between the hands.

The box royals had a similar feel to the Zealios I use, which means that the activation point is as annoyingly far away from the tactile event, as it is on the Zealios. What is this fetish with tactiles being on the start of the key travel? I noticed this on the rest of the kailh tactiles too. I don't need to know when I start the key press, but when the activation happens.

You like box royals more than navies, but jades more than either? Interesting. If you haven't ordered some, you may want to try to find a Matias switch sample back on Ebay. I have seen little testers that have one of each Matias switch on them as well, though they never seemed like a great value. Alps/Matias tactiles are about the only ones I'll use besides Topre.

I guess the situation was just perfect for me to report that Matias tactiles seem to tuned from the factory to actuate right at the bottom of the tactile event.

Personally, I wish more switches were like capacitive buckling spring. It seems to be mostly from the slightly different cap design of the capacitive buckling spring boards, even though the caps are inter-compatible with membrane buckling spring, but the tactile event (and as a result of the design, also the actuation point) are relatively low in the overall travel of the switch. It seems more natural to me and seems to help with accuracy compared to a lot of other switches, but I also mass everything down to the plate with gusto. I know some people seem obsessed with never bottoming out at all ... for whatever reason.

I did this scoring system to see whether there were big differences between the fingers. The thought was that I could make a keyboard with the most comfortable switch for each finger if the differences were notable. I think the takeaway was that the same switches I prefered wifth the weaker fingers were among the prefered ones for the stronger fingers anyway.

I like the rounded tactlie feel of the royals, quite similar to the Zealios I'm using now, but the tactile event is right at the start of the key travel, far away from the activation point. This is something I don't like with the contemporary tactile switches. The navies were a bit stiff for my pinkies and ring fingers, so that drew the score down a bit for them. That the activation point is at the bottom of the tactile event seems to be perfect for me... Following your advice, I just ordered a Matias switch tester from Ebay. I'm looking forward to get an impression of these ones now.

I am considering to look for a Model F, but I have to be a bit careful with my spending... I have used a bit too mudh already, and have to save up a bit before going on a new shopping spree... 

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 07 April 2021, 10:29:59 »
I do have a problem of choosing now.. I have a Kyria kit that I wanted to solder in choc switches, as I wanted a low-profile split keyboard. But after testing 6 different choc switches (red, white, brown, dark yellow, burnt orange, pale blue), I wasn't really enjoying any of them. I think the white were the best of the lot, but it lacked the tactility. Maybe choc jades will be better, because I liked the box jades.

The other keyboard kit I'm waiting for, is the Lumberjack GB, but this one only support MX-compatible switches.... So I wonder whether I should buy the V80ALPS, use the Kyria with Matias switches, or buy another kit to use with Matias switches... Hmmm...

I haven't even tried the choc navies or jades, so I couldn't say how they compare to the full-size switches. What was it about the whites that you preferred over navy? Weighting? Clicky switches, in my opinion, almost universally make for more refined and satisfying tactile events than tactiles do. Alps and Matias are notables in the tactile world, but I would still take clickies that may not be my absolute favorite over the best of the tactile switches I have tried.

In my opinion, box jades are nearly as nice as Matias' clicky switches. For clickies, I think you would be happy with either if you like jades the most of the ones you've tried. You just might like Matias switches even more. We're living in a relatively good time for clicky switch options. Before those clickbar switches came out it was Matias (which were reportedly pretty unreliable in years past) or vintage boards. I think MX blue is good enough until you've tried a good clicky switch and then you can never touch them again, but I know people who are still able to somehow.

My experience was that the white chocs had a more defined tactile event, as the pale blue tactility was overshadowed by the coil spring tension.

That would make sense. Click bar switches almost universally have more tactility the weaker the spring is and the thicker the click bar is. Navies are a lot more tactile than whites though, due to the thick click bar. Pale blues, not so much.

I'm using a V80 right now. I ordered 2 of their "Final Edition" boards. One with the "linears" and one with the clickies. Both of those boards have been working great. I have been trying to put as much time in on the V80s as possible, because I know they've possibly had more reported problems in the past than the actual Matias boards. The one I'm using is a used one I got on Ebay with their tactile switches. I have two of the 3 in those beefy Aliexpress aluminum cases now. If it is a consideration, you can easily find neoprene sleeves for TKL boards on Amazon, which I got for all of them, and cap compatibility is not going to be a headache at all with a TKL either.

I like the thought of a xd75 with Matias switches, but it will cost me about the double of a V80. I like the ortholinear layout and the configurability, though. But getting a V80 for testing the keyfeel in an actual keyboard before I commit to building a kit is an intriguing plan.

At least they make an Alps plate for that one, they don't for any of their non-ortho PCBs, or I would have one of their boards. You used to be able to find Matias boards used on Ebay for $40-50. I think my combination of buying up all of the deals I find and fighting to try to clear Matias' name has driven their prices up. I'm not sure if it is the case in Norway, but if you were to buy one on Amazon, Amazon's return process is pretty painless. They usually have partner retailers all over where you could literally just bring whatever you want to return to them and they take care of boxing it back up and shipping it.

Matias' "quiet clicks" have some pretty sharp tactility, and are very quiet too. They seemed, to me, to be a little rough compared to their "linears" and clicky switches though. That doesn't seem to be universal though, since I have one used board that feels just as smooth as the others. Maybe they need a little wear to get to that point though.

I got the Kailh switch testers a couple of days ago, so now I tested all switches with all fingers on both hands, scoring them by the subjective key feel. That is, I tried to imagine it would be to type extensively on the switch with each finger and score them accordingly. I counted up the scores to see if there were any surprises. The box jade came out on top, followed by the box royal, navy and  box navy. This was the most tactile switches, so it wasn't a surprising results. But it was interesting to see the difference in comfort between the fingers and the difference between the hands.

The box royals had a similar feel to the Zealios I use, which means that the activation point is as annoyingly far away from the tactile event, as it is on the Zealios. What is this fetish with tactiles being on the start of the key travel? I noticed this on the rest of the kailh tactiles too. I don't need to know when I start the key press, but when the activation happens.

You like box royals more than navies, but jades more than either? Interesting. If you haven't ordered some, you may want to try to find a Matias switch sample back on Ebay. I have seen little testers that have one of each Matias switch on them as well, though they never seemed like a great value. Alps/Matias tactiles are about the only ones I'll use besides Topre.

I guess the situation was just perfect for me to report that Matias tactiles seem to tuned from the factory to actuate right at the bottom of the tactile event.

Personally, I wish more switches were like capacitive buckling spring. It seems to be mostly from the slightly different cap design of the capacitive buckling spring boards, even though the caps are inter-compatible with membrane buckling spring, but the tactile event (and as a result of the design, also the actuation point) are relatively low in the overall travel of the switch. It seems more natural to me and seems to help with accuracy compared to a lot of other switches, but I also mass everything down to the plate with gusto. I know some people seem obsessed with never bottoming out at all ... for whatever reason.

I did this scoring system to see whether there were big differences between the fingers. The thought was that I could make a keyboard with the most comfortable switch for each finger if the differences were notable. I think the takeaway was that the same switches I prefered wifth the weaker fingers were among the prefered ones for the stronger fingers anyway.

I like the rounded tactlie feel of the royals, quite similar to the Zealios I'm using now, but the tactile event is right at the start of the key travel, far away from the activation point. This is something I don't like with the contemporary tactile switches. The navies were a bit stiff for my pinkies and ring fingers, so that drew the score down a bit for them. That the activation point is at the bottom of the tactile event seems to be perfect for me... Following your advice, I just ordered a Matias switch tester from Ebay. I'm looking forward to get an impression of these ones now.

I am considering to look for a Model F, but I have to be a bit careful with my spending... I have used a bit too mudh already, and have to save up a bit before going on a new shopping spree...

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 12:45:31 »
I do have a problem of choosing now.. I have a Kyria kit that I wanted to solder in choc switches, as I wanted a low-profile split keyboard. But after testing 6 different choc switches (red, white, brown, dark yellow, burnt orange, pale blue), I wasn't really enjoying any of them. I think the white were the best of the lot, but it lacked the tactility. Maybe choc jades will be better, because I liked the box jades.

The other keyboard kit I'm waiting for, is the Lumberjack GB, but this one only support MX-compatible switches.... So I wonder whether I should buy the V80ALPS, use the Kyria with Matias switches, or buy another kit to use with Matias switches... Hmmm...

I haven't even tried the choc navies or jades, so I couldn't say how they compare to the full-size switches. What was it about the whites that you preferred over navy? Weighting? Clicky switches, in my opinion, almost universally make for more refined and satisfying tactile events than tactiles do. Alps and Matias are notables in the tactile world, but I would still take clickies that may not be my absolute favorite over the best of the tactile switches I have tried.

In my opinion, box jades are nearly as nice as Matias' clicky switches. For clickies, I think you would be happy with either if you like jades the most of the ones you've tried. You just might like Matias switches even more. We're living in a relatively good time for clicky switch options. Before those clickbar switches came out it was Matias (which were reportedly pretty unreliable in years past) or vintage boards. I think MX blue is good enough until you've tried a good clicky switch and then you can never touch them again, but I know people who are still able to somehow.

My experience was that the white chocs had a more defined tactile event, as the pale blue tactility was overshadowed by the coil spring tension.

That would make sense. Click bar switches almost universally have more tactility the weaker the spring is and the thicker the click bar is. Navies are a lot more tactile than whites though, due to the thick click bar. Pale blues, not so much.

If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I'm using a V80 right now. I ordered 2 of their "Final Edition" boards. One with the "linears" and one with the clickies. Both of those boards have been working great. I have been trying to put as much time in on the V80s as possible, because I know they've possibly had more reported problems in the past than the actual Matias boards. The one I'm using is a used one I got on Ebay with their tactile switches. I have two of the 3 in those beefy Aliexpress aluminum cases now. If it is a consideration, you can easily find neoprene sleeves for TKL boards on Amazon, which I got for all of them, and cap compatibility is not going to be a headache at all with a TKL either.

I like the thought of a xd75 with Matias switches, but it will cost me about the double of a V80. I like the ortholinear layout and the configurability, though. But getting a V80 for testing the keyfeel in an actual keyboard before I commit to building a kit is an intriguing plan.

At least they make an Alps plate for that one, they don't for any of their non-ortho PCBs, or I would have one of their boards. You used to be able to find Matias boards used on Ebay for $40-50. I think my combination of buying up all of the deals I find and fighting to try to clear Matias' name has driven their prices up. I'm not sure if it is the case in Norway, but if you were to buy one on Amazon, Amazon's return process is pretty painless. They usually have partner retailers all over where you could literally just bring whatever you want to return to them and they take care of boxing it back up and shipping it.

I tried to find good bargains on Matias boards on Ebay, but I didn't find so many good offers. I looked into the xd75, but I think they use their own firmware for that board that don't seem to be as good as QMK. The other plan is to make my own board. I thought about designing a split Gherkin (30%, as I think the Planck take up too much desktop area,) or an ortho three-split 75% (split into 6-3-6 columns with 5 rows each, or maybe an 85% split 6-5-6).

Matias' "quiet clicks" have some pretty sharp tactility, and are very quiet too. They seemed, to me, to be a little rough compared to their "linears" and clicky switches though. That doesn't seem to be universal though, since I have one used board that feels just as smooth as the others. Maybe they need a little wear to get to that point though.

I got the Kailh switch testers a couple of days ago, so now I tested all switches with all fingers on both hands, scoring them by the subjective key feel. That is, I tried to imagine it would be to type extensively on the switch with each finger and score them accordingly. I counted up the scores to see if there were any surprises. The box jade came out on top, followed by the box royal, navy and  box navy. This was the most tactile switches, so it wasn't a surprising results. But it was interesting to see the difference in comfort between the fingers and the difference between the hands.

The box royals had a similar feel to the Zealios I use, which means that the activation point is as annoyingly far away from the tactile event, as it is on the Zealios. What is this fetish with tactiles being on the start of the key travel? I noticed this on the rest of the kailh tactiles too. I don't need to know when I start the key press, but when the activation happens.

You like box royals more than navies, but jades more than either? Interesting. If you haven't ordered some, you may want to try to find a Matias switch sample back on Ebay. I have seen little testers that have one of each Matias switch on them as well, though they never seemed like a great value. Alps/Matias tactiles are about the only ones I'll use besides Topre.

I guess the situation was just perfect for me to report that Matias tactiles seem to tuned from the factory to actuate right at the bottom of the tactile event.

Personally, I wish more switches were like capacitive buckling spring. It seems to be mostly from the slightly different cap design of the capacitive buckling spring boards, even though the caps are inter-compatible with membrane buckling spring, but the tactile event (and as a result of the design, also the actuation point) are relatively low in the overall travel of the switch. It seems more natural to me and seems to help with accuracy compared to a lot of other switches, but I also mass everything down to the plate with gusto. I know some people seem obsessed with never bottoming out at all ... for whatever reason.

I did this scoring system to see whether there were big differences between the fingers. The thought was that I could make a keyboard with the most comfortable switch for each finger if the differences were notable. I think the takeaway was that the same switches I prefered wifth the weaker fingers were among the prefered ones for the stronger fingers anyway.

I like the rounded tactlie feel of the royals, quite similar to the Zealios I'm using now, but the tactile event is right at the start of the key travel, far away from the activation point. This is something I don't like with the contemporary tactile switches. The navies were a bit stiff for my pinkies and ring fingers, so that drew the score down a bit for them. That the activation point is at the bottom of the tactile event seems to be perfect for me... Following your advice, I just ordered a Matias switch tester from Ebay. I'm looking forward to get an impression of these ones now.

I am considering to look for a Model F, but I have to be a bit careful with my spending... I have used a bit too mudh already, and have to save up a bit before going on a new shopping spree...

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.   

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 15:35:33 »
I do have a problem of choosing now.. I have a Kyria kit that I wanted to solder in choc switches, as I wanted a low-profile split keyboard. But after testing 6 different choc switches (red, white, brown, dark yellow, burnt orange, pale blue), I wasn't really enjoying any of them. I think the white were the best of the lot, but it lacked the tactility. Maybe choc jades will be better, because I liked the box jades.

The other keyboard kit I'm waiting for, is the Lumberjack GB, but this one only support MX-compatible switches.... So I wonder whether I should buy the V80ALPS, use the Kyria with Matias switches, or buy another kit to use with Matias switches... Hmmm...

I haven't even tried the choc navies or jades, so I couldn't say how they compare to the full-size switches. What was it about the whites that you preferred over navy? Weighting? Clicky switches, in my opinion, almost universally make for more refined and satisfying tactile events than tactiles do. Alps and Matias are notables in the tactile world, but I would still take clickies that may not be my absolute favorite over the best of the tactile switches I have tried.

In my opinion, box jades are nearly as nice as Matias' clicky switches. For clickies, I think you would be happy with either if you like jades the most of the ones you've tried. You just might like Matias switches even more. We're living in a relatively good time for clicky switch options. Before those clickbar switches came out it was Matias (which were reportedly pretty unreliable in years past) or vintage boards. I think MX blue is good enough until you've tried a good clicky switch and then you can never touch them again, but I know people who are still able to somehow.

My experience was that the white chocs had a more defined tactile event, as the pale blue tactility was overshadowed by the coil spring tension.

That would make sense. Click bar switches almost universally have more tactility the weaker the spring is and the thicker the click bar is. Navies are a lot more tactile than whites though, due to the thick click bar. Pale blues, not so much.

If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

I'm using a V80 right now. I ordered 2 of their "Final Edition" boards. One with the "linears" and one with the clickies. Both of those boards have been working great. I have been trying to put as much time in on the V80s as possible, because I know they've possibly had more reported problems in the past than the actual Matias boards. The one I'm using is a used one I got on Ebay with their tactile switches. I have two of the 3 in those beefy Aliexpress aluminum cases now. If it is a consideration, you can easily find neoprene sleeves for TKL boards on Amazon, which I got for all of them, and cap compatibility is not going to be a headache at all with a TKL either.

I like the thought of a xd75 with Matias switches, but it will cost me about the double of a V80. I like the ortholinear layout and the configurability, though. But getting a V80 for testing the keyfeel in an actual keyboard before I commit to building a kit is an intriguing plan.

At least they make an Alps plate for that one, they don't for any of their non-ortho PCBs, or I would have one of their boards. You used to be able to find Matias boards used on Ebay for $40-50. I think my combination of buying up all of the deals I find and fighting to try to clear Matias' name has driven their prices up. I'm not sure if it is the case in Norway, but if you were to buy one on Amazon, Amazon's return process is pretty painless. They usually have partner retailers all over where you could literally just bring whatever you want to return to them and they take care of boxing it back up and shipping it.

I tried to find good bargains on Matias boards on Ebay, but I didn't find so many good offers. I looked into the xd75, but I think they use their own firmware for that board that don't seem to be as good as QMK. The other plan is to make my own board. I thought about designing a split Gherkin (30%, as I think the Planck take up too much desktop area,) or an ortho three-split 75% (split into 6-3-6 columns with 5 rows each, or maybe an 85% split 6-5-6).

You can try to contact Matias directly and ask to buy a defective board. They sold me for something like $30 shipped (in the continental U.S.). It seemed to me to be working entirely, it was just missing caps and stabilizers. It was beat up too.

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

Matias' "quiet clicks" have some pretty sharp tactility, and are very quiet too. They seemed, to me, to be a little rough compared to their "linears" and clicky switches though. That doesn't seem to be universal though, since I have one used board that feels just as smooth as the others. Maybe they need a little wear to get to that point though.

I got the Kailh switch testers a couple of days ago, so now I tested all switches with all fingers on both hands, scoring them by the subjective key feel. That is, I tried to imagine it would be to type extensively on the switch with each finger and score them accordingly. I counted up the scores to see if there were any surprises. The box jade came out on top, followed by the box royal, navy and  box navy. This was the most tactile switches, so it wasn't a surprising results. But it was interesting to see the difference in comfort between the fingers and the difference between the hands.

The box royals had a similar feel to the Zealios I use, which means that the activation point is as annoyingly far away from the tactile event, as it is on the Zealios. What is this fetish with tactiles being on the start of the key travel? I noticed this on the rest of the kailh tactiles too. I don't need to know when I start the key press, but when the activation happens.

You like box royals more than navies, but jades more than either? Interesting. If you haven't ordered some, you may want to try to find a Matias switch sample back on Ebay. I have seen little testers that have one of each Matias switch on them as well, though they never seemed like a great value. Alps/Matias tactiles are about the only ones I'll use besides Topre.

I guess the situation was just perfect for me to report that Matias tactiles seem to tuned from the factory to actuate right at the bottom of the tactile event.

Personally, I wish more switches were like capacitive buckling spring. It seems to be mostly from the slightly different cap design of the capacitive buckling spring boards, even though the caps are inter-compatible with membrane buckling spring, but the tactile event (and as a result of the design, also the actuation point) are relatively low in the overall travel of the switch. It seems more natural to me and seems to help with accuracy compared to a lot of other switches, but I also mass everything down to the plate with gusto. I know some people seem obsessed with never bottoming out at all ... for whatever reason.

I did this scoring system to see whether there were big differences between the fingers. The thought was that I could make a keyboard with the most comfortable switch for each finger if the differences were notable. I think the takeaway was that the same switches I prefered wifth the weaker fingers were among the prefered ones for the stronger fingers anyway.

I like the rounded tactlie feel of the royals, quite similar to the Zealios I'm using now, but the tactile event is right at the start of the key travel, far away from the activation point. This is something I don't like with the contemporary tactile switches. The navies were a bit stiff for my pinkies and ring fingers, so that drew the score down a bit for them. That the activation point is at the bottom of the tactile event seems to be perfect for me... Following your advice, I just ordered a Matias switch tester from Ebay. I'm looking forward to get an impression of these ones now.

I am considering to look for a Model F, but I have to be a bit careful with my spending... I have used a bit too mudh already, and have to save up a bit before going on a new shopping spree...

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 09 April 2021, 08:19:19 »
If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

That was my impression too after testing them, and it makes sense mechanically. I like the light spring and thick clickbar, though.

I'm using a V80 right now. I ordered 2 of their "Final Edition" boards. One with the "linears" and one with the clickies. Both of those boards have been working great. I have been trying to put as much time in on the V80s as possible, because I know they've possibly had more reported problems in the past than the actual Matias boards. The one I'm using is a used one I got on Ebay with their tactile switches. I have two of the 3 in those beefy Aliexpress aluminum cases now. If it is a consideration, you can easily find neoprene sleeves for TKL boards on Amazon, which I got for all of them, and cap compatibility is not going to be a headache at all with a TKL either.

I like the thought of a xd75 with Matias switches, but it will cost me about the double of a V80. I like the ortholinear layout and the configurability, though. But getting a V80 for testing the keyfeel in an actual keyboard before I commit to building a kit is an intriguing plan.

At least they make an Alps plate for that one, they don't for any of their non-ortho PCBs, or I would have one of their boards. You used to be able to find Matias boards used on Ebay for $40-50. I think my combination of buying up all of the deals I find and fighting to try to clear Matias' name has driven their prices up. I'm not sure if it is the case in Norway, but if you were to buy one on Amazon, Amazon's return process is pretty painless. They usually have partner retailers all over where you could literally just bring whatever you want to return to them and they take care of boxing it back up and shipping it.

I tried to find good bargains on Matias boards on Ebay, but I didn't find so many good offers. I looked into the xd75, but I think they use their own firmware for that board that don't seem to be as good as QMK. The other plan is to make my own board. I thought about designing a split Gherkin (30%, as I think the Planck take up too much desktop area,) or an ortho three-split 75% (split into 6-3-6 columns with 5 rows each, or maybe an 85% split 6-5-6).

You can try to contact Matias directly and ask to buy a defective board. They sold me for something like $30 shipped (in the continental U.S.). It seemed to me to be working entirely, it was just missing caps and stabilizers. It was beat up too.

I see that Matias only ships to US and Canada from their main store, as they rely on resellers for the rest of the world. It might be that they ship damaged goods internationally, though. I can send an email and ask.

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

KPrepublic has an Alps plate for the xd75 at their website, but not in their Aliexpress store for some strange reason.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

As the staggered layout is an artifact from the levers that connect each key to the mechanism at the end of the keyboard part, I have always thought it was strange that it still should be that way in electronic keyboards, so for me, an ortho layout made much more sense with the added bonus that the fingers move symmetrically on the keyboard when touch typing. But I think it is mostly an aesthetical argument rather than a practical or ergonomic one. I don't think it takes much time for the fingers to adapt to an ortho board, and I don't think they are better for the hands, so it boils down to aesthetics. 

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

I know how nice it feels to press a coil spring until it buckles, so I can imagine the buckling spring keyfeel is similarly very pleasant. At first I thought to get a Model M, but after watching some of Chyro's videos and listening to you, it seems that Model F is even more enjoyable to write on. Initially I didn't think they difference between M and F should be so huge, as the switchplate pressing on the membrane or the capacitive contact is not directly connected to the keycap. Is it a different bottoming out feeling, or is it the build quality that makes the biggest difference? 

I see many XT variants for about $400 on ebay, but it is far between the AT variants. Is the XT layout that difficult to use?

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 09 April 2021, 15:42:19 »
If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

That was my impression too after testing them, and it makes sense mechanically. I like the light spring and thick clickbar, though.

And that's, unfortunately, not a common trait in modern clicky switches. We're lucky to have the box family in terms of MX compatibility.

I'm using a V80 right now. I ordered 2 of their "Final Edition" boards. One with the "linears" and one with the clickies. Both of those boards have been working great. I have been trying to put as much time in on the V80s as possible, because I know they've possibly had more reported problems in the past than the actual Matias boards. The one I'm using is a used one I got on Ebay with their tactile switches. I have two of the 3 in those beefy Aliexpress aluminum cases now. If it is a consideration, you can easily find neoprene sleeves for TKL boards on Amazon, which I got for all of them, and cap compatibility is not going to be a headache at all with a TKL either.

I like the thought of a xd75 with Matias switches, but it will cost me about the double of a V80. I like the ortholinear layout and the configurability, though. But getting a V80 for testing the keyfeel in an actual keyboard before I commit to building a kit is an intriguing plan.

At least they make an Alps plate for that one, they don't for any of their non-ortho PCBs, or I would have one of their boards. You used to be able to find Matias boards used on Ebay for $40-50. I think my combination of buying up all of the deals I find and fighting to try to clear Matias' name has driven their prices up. I'm not sure if it is the case in Norway, but if you were to buy one on Amazon, Amazon's return process is pretty painless. They usually have partner retailers all over where you could literally just bring whatever you want to return to them and they take care of boxing it back up and shipping it.

I tried to find good bargains on Matias boards on Ebay, but I didn't find so many good offers. I looked into the xd75, but I think they use their own firmware for that board that don't seem to be as good as QMK. The other plan is to make my own board. I thought about designing a split Gherkin (30%, as I think the Planck take up too much desktop area,) or an ortho three-split 75% (split into 6-3-6 columns with 5 rows each, or maybe an 85% split 6-5-6).

You can try to contact Matias directly and ask to buy a defective board. They sold me for something like $30 shipped (in the continental U.S.). It seemed to me to be working entirely, it was just missing caps and stabilizers. It was beat up too.

I see that Matias only ships to US and Canada from their main store, as they rely on resellers for the rest of the world. It might be that they ship damaged goods internationally, though. I can send an email and ask.

Whoever I spoke with was pretty friendly when I contacted them. It definitely wouldn't hurt to ask.

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

KPrepublic has an Alps plate for the xd75 at their website, but not in their Aliexpress store for some strange reason.

Right, I was thinking their more standard Alps PCBs.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

As the staggered layout is an artifact from the levers that connect each key to the mechanism at the end of the keyboard part, I have always thought it was strange that it still should be that way in electronic keyboards, so for me, an ortho layout made much more sense with the added bonus that the fingers move symmetrically on the keyboard when touch typing. But I think it is mostly an aesthetical argument rather than a practical or ergonomic one. I don't think it takes much time for the fingers to adapt to an ortho board, and I don't think they are better for the hands, so it boils down to aesthetics. 

It seems to me that as you curl the other fingers of your hand to reach for a key, it often makes more sense to be on an angle than straight forward or back. My fingers just naturally move to about where one would type a key in a higher or lower column when curling my fingers one at a time. I'm sure not everyone is the same though. I have pretty long fingers.

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

I know how nice it feels to press a coil spring until it buckles, so I can imagine the buckling spring keyfeel is similarly very pleasant. At first I thought to get a Model M, but after watching some of Chyro's videos and listening to you, it seems that Model F is even more enjoyable to write on. Initially I didn't think they difference between M and F should be so huge, as the switchplate pressing on the membrane or the capacitive contact is not directly connected to the keycap. Is it a different bottoming out feeling, or is it the build quality that makes the biggest difference? 

I see many XT variants for about $400 on ebay, but it is far between the AT variants. Is the XT layout that difficult to use?

Which coil spring do you mean? I think that the springs in Topre switches are conical, and what buckles is the dome. Topre feels more like a really really nice rubber dome than it does a clicky switch of any kind.

I'm not sure of all of the reasons why a Model F feels so much better than an M. They did change the cap design, slightly, which causes a Model M to buckle and actuate higher than an F. Other than that, I can't imagine the membrane makes a huge difference, but I could compare them directly when I'm home. What always stood out to me was that the Model F was very smooth, and so long as everything is seated correctly, always consistent and crisp. Every Model M I have ever tried is a little scratchy by comparison, and if the plate sandwich isn't in perfect shape, some keys may feel wildly different from the others because the sandwich is held together by plastic rivets, which become brittle and break off over time and abuse. The sound of a Model M is also more muted because there's a lot more plastic involved. All variants of the F are a little higher pitched and pingy, but anything with a steel bottom chassis (like F122 and F XT) is more pingy than the others.

I can't even believe the XT sells for what it does now. The layout is totally unusable for me. My fingers do not naturally align with any of the steps on those stepped caps. I imagine someone who's used to ISO would mind it less than me. I can't do those ISO enter keys to begin with.

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #43 on: Mon, 12 April 2021, 07:10:37 »
If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

That was my impression too after testing them, and it makes sense mechanically. I like the light spring and thick clickbar, though.

And that's, unfortunately, not a common trait in modern clicky switches. We're lucky to have the box family in terms of MX compatibility.

I have the impression that much of what I like is not shared by the majority, which makes it harder to find good stuff off the shelf.

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

KPrepublic has an Alps plate for the xd75 at their website, but not in their Aliexpress store for some strange reason.

Right, I was thinking their more standard Alps PCBs.

The webshop seems to have Alps plates for the more normal staggered xd60/64 and Daisy 40. They seem to be available on their Aliexpress shop too now.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

As the staggered layout is an artifact from the levers that connect each key to the mechanism at the end of the keyboard part, I have always thought it was strange that it still should be that way in electronic keyboards, so for me, an ortho layout made much more sense with the added bonus that the fingers move symmetrically on the keyboard when touch typing. But I think it is mostly an aesthetical argument rather than a practical or ergonomic one. I don't think it takes much time for the fingers to adapt to an ortho board, and I don't think they are better for the hands, so it boils down to aesthetics. 

It seems to me that as you curl the other fingers of your hand to reach for a key, it often makes more sense to be on an angle than straight forward or back. My fingers just naturally move to about where one would type a key in a higher or lower column when curling my fingers one at a time. I'm sure not everyone is the same though. I have pretty long fingers.

The movements of the fingers (at least when touch typing the way its teached) are always going from right at the bottom and toward left at the top, which means that by keeping the hands at an angle to the keyboard, the left hand will have a nice angle to the finger travel, while the right hand will have to stretch straight out from the wrist. I don't really think these two movements make any difference ergonomically, and most are used to this asymmetric movement without noticing. I think it is more pleasant to type on something that is symmetrical, and as the mind are deeply involved in preferences, I do think this is a preference that stems from my preference for symmetry and no the actual typing experience.       

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

I know how nice it feels to press a coil spring until it buckles, so I can imagine the buckling spring keyfeel is similarly very pleasant. At first I thought to get a Model M, but after watching some of Chyro's videos and listening to you, it seems that Model F is even more enjoyable to write on. Initially I didn't think they difference between M and F should be so huge, as the switchplate pressing on the membrane or the capacitive contact is not directly connected to the keycap. Is it a different bottoming out feeling, or is it the build quality that makes the biggest difference? 

I see many XT variants for about $400 on ebay, but it is far between the AT variants. Is the XT layout that difficult to use?

Which coil spring do you mean? I think that the springs in Topre switches are conical, and what buckles is the dome. Topre feels more like a really really nice rubber dome than it does a clicky switch of any kind.

I was thinking about coil springs in general here, not in key switches. When I was a kid, I thought it was interesting to disassemble everything I came over, and the coil spring in pens was fun to play with, especially to press them between the fingers until they (usually) buckled. So I imagine the key force curve of the buckling spring is somewhat similar to this. You're right, the coil in the Topre switches are there for the capacitive sensing and have only a minor effect on the key press force, its the rubber dome that creates the tactility and the majority of the press force.


I'm not sure of all of the reasons why a Model F feels so much better than an M. They did change the cap design, slightly, which causes a Model M to buckle and actuate higher than an F. Other than that, I can't imagine the membrane makes a huge difference, but I could compare them directly when I'm home. What always stood out to me was that the Model F was very smooth, and so long as everything is seated correctly, always consistent and crisp. Every Model M I have ever tried is a little scratchy by comparison, and if the plate sandwich isn't in perfect shape, some keys may feel wildly different from the others because the sandwich is held together by plastic rivets, which become brittle and break off over time and abuse. The sound of a Model M is also more muted because there's a lot more plastic involved. All variants of the F are a little higher pitched and pingy, but anything with a steel bottom chassis (like F122 and F XT) is more pingy than the others.

I can't even believe the XT sells for what it does now. The layout is totally unusable for me. My fingers do not naturally align with any of the steps on those stepped caps. I imagine someone who's used to ISO would mind it less than me. I can't do those ISO enter keys to begin with.

The build quality can certainly be a factor. And I can see the disadvantage of of the XT layout and the challenge with the stepped caps. I think they look quite nice, though. I'm used to both ISO and ANSI layout, as most keyboards in Norway are ISO. The old HHKB lite that I've been using for 20 years before I got the Pro 2 is ANSI, though.

Have you tried the New Model F? As the price seems to be about the same for a New Model F and a old one, I was thinking about  which one I should save up for. Did the New Model F succeed with capturing the key feel of the old Model Fs? I hope the stock will last for a while, as I can't afford one for a few months at least.

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #44 on: Mon, 12 April 2021, 10:15:49 »
If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

That was my impression too after testing them, and it makes sense mechanically. I like the light spring and thick clickbar, though.

And that's, unfortunately, not a common trait in modern clicky switches. We're lucky to have the box family in terms of MX compatibility.

I have the impression that much of what I like is not shared by the majority, which makes it harder to find good stuff off the shelf.

I think the majority is busy fawning over the latest MX tactile clone switch that feels and/or sounds slightly different from something else.

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

KPrepublic has an Alps plate for the xd75 at their website, but not in their Aliexpress store for some strange reason.

Right, I was thinking their more standard Alps PCBs.

The webshop seems to have Alps plates for the more normal staggered xd60/64 and Daisy 40. They seem to be available on their Aliexpress shop too now.

Those boards are too small. I need dedicated arrow keys at a minimum, and it is hard enough to find MX caps for something in a 60% format that supports that. I imagine if they exist at all for Alps, it was a handful of custom GB sets and/or vintage boards long out of production, by coincidence.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

As the staggered layout is an artifact from the levers that connect each key to the mechanism at the end of the keyboard part, I have always thought it was strange that it still should be that way in electronic keyboards, so for me, an ortho layout made much more sense with the added bonus that the fingers move symmetrically on the keyboard when touch typing. But I think it is mostly an aesthetical argument rather than a practical or ergonomic one. I don't think it takes much time for the fingers to adapt to an ortho board, and I don't think they are better for the hands, so it boils down to aesthetics. 

It seems to me that as you curl the other fingers of your hand to reach for a key, it often makes more sense to be on an angle than straight forward or back. My fingers just naturally move to about where one would type a key in a higher or lower column when curling my fingers one at a time. I'm sure not everyone is the same though. I have pretty long fingers.

The movements of the fingers (at least when touch typing the way its teached) are always going from right at the bottom and toward left at the top, which means that by keeping the hands at an angle to the keyboard, the left hand will have a nice angle to the finger travel, while the right hand will have to stretch straight out from the wrist. I don't really think these two movements make any difference ergonomically, and most are used to this asymmetric movement without noticing. I think it is more pleasant to type on something that is symmetrical, and as the mind are deeply involved in preferences, I do think this is a preference that stems from my preference for symmetry and no the actual typing experience.

Yeah, I couldn't say. I just know that when trying to contort my fingers that way in any sort of typing position, it doesn't feel comfortable to me.

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

I know how nice it feels to press a coil spring until it buckles, so I can imagine the buckling spring keyfeel is similarly very pleasant. At first I thought to get a Model M, but after watching some of Chyro's videos and listening to you, it seems that Model F is even more enjoyable to write on. Initially I didn't think they difference between M and F should be so huge, as the switchplate pressing on the membrane or the capacitive contact is not directly connected to the keycap. Is it a different bottoming out feeling, or is it the build quality that makes the biggest difference? 

I see many XT variants for about $400 on ebay, but it is far between the AT variants. Is the XT layout that difficult to use?

Which coil spring do you mean? I think that the springs in Topre switches are conical, and what buckles is the dome. Topre feels more like a really really nice rubber dome than it does a clicky switch of any kind.

I was thinking about coil springs in general here, not in key switches. When I was a kid, I thought it was interesting to disassemble everything I came over, and the coil spring in pens was fun to play with, especially to press them between the fingers until they (usually) buckled. So I imagine the key force curve of the buckling spring is somewhat similar to this. You're right, the coil in the Topre switches are there for the capacitive sensing and have only a minor effect on the key press force, its the rubber dome that creates the tactility and the majority of the press force.

I remember playing with pen springs as well. Taking things apart for no reason other than to see inside is always fun. I just fixed up some old Koss K6/LC headphones from the 70s last night that had a short. They're a local company, so it made it all the better.

I'm not sure of all of the reasons why a Model F feels so much better than an M. They did change the cap design, slightly, which causes a Model M to buckle and actuate higher than an F. Other than that, I can't imagine the membrane makes a huge difference, but I could compare them directly when I'm home. What always stood out to me was that the Model F was very smooth, and so long as everything is seated correctly, always consistent and crisp. Every Model M I have ever tried is a little scratchy by comparison, and if the plate sandwich isn't in perfect shape, some keys may feel wildly different from the others because the sandwich is held together by plastic rivets, which become brittle and break off over time and abuse. The sound of a Model M is also more muted because there's a lot more plastic involved. All variants of the F are a little higher pitched and pingy, but anything with a steel bottom chassis (like F122 and F XT) is more pingy than the others.

I can't even believe the XT sells for what it does now. The layout is totally unusable for me. My fingers do not naturally align with any of the steps on those stepped caps. I imagine someone who's used to ISO would mind it less than me. I can't do those ISO enter keys to begin with.

The build quality can certainly be a factor. And I can see the disadvantage of of the XT layout and the challenge with the stepped caps. I think they look quite nice, though. I'm used to both ISO and ANSI layout, as most keyboards in Norway are ISO. The old HHKB lite that I've been using for 20 years before I got the Pro 2 is ANSI, though.

Have you tried the New Model F? As the price seems to be about the same for a New Model F and a old one, I was thinking about  which one I should save up for. Did the New Model F succeed with capturing the key feel of the old Model Fs? I hope the stock will last for a while, as I can't afford one for a few months at least.

I have an F77 as my profile picture, and I certainly don't even want to know what an original would cost me. I have at least another on order, but I got lucky and found that one on Ebay. It didn't come with caps though, so it has some 80s Model M caps on it. They were a little rougher than my other Fs until they wore in on the board. Other than differences that could be attributed to the Model M caps, the feel is indistinguishable from an original F. I don't have another 4704 with original Model F caps to compare against for sound, but I have an original F107 with Unicomp caps on it and they're indistinguishable from each other (besides maybe a slight difference in acoustics attributable to a difference in size/volume of the case. I actually found it funny that both the reproduction F77 and the original F107 took some liberal application of force for me to bend the zinc cases to be relatively flat. The new production cases are made of solid zinc. The originals were some kind of pot metal zinc alloy, so you're actually getting a better board than the originals in that regard. I have heard of the powder coating chipping off relatively easily, but I baby mine. Ellipse has said that the goal was more so to get a finish that cosmetically matched 80s powder coating (and it does look wonderful), so durability took a back seat.

You also don't need to worry about tracking down caps and stabilizers for a specific layout that's possible on a used board. F122s can be ANSI modded pretty easily, the F AT can with some dremeling/drilling to the plate (I consider this sacrilege and leave mine in the AT layout). An F62 or F77 can come straight from Ellipse from a layout of your choosing. The F AT, being in a mostly plastic case, is a little more muted and low-pitched than the rest of the family, which certainly has its benefits, and it has a classic aesthetic that was copied by almost every player in the game at some point in the 80s, but there's no question that a new production 4704 is a better value for the buck in terms of materials and finish with how insane prices for used boards are getting, even before getting into archaic layouts and interfaces.

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #45 on: Wed, 14 April 2021, 05:43:50 »
If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

That was my impression too after testing them, and it makes sense mechanically. I like the light spring and thick clickbar, though.

And that's, unfortunately, not a common trait in modern clicky switches. We're lucky to have the box family in terms of MX compatibility.

I have the impression that much of what I like is not shared by the majority, which makes it harder to find good stuff off the shelf.

I think the majority is busy fawning over the latest MX tactile clone switch that feels and/or sounds slightly different from something else.

I was almost trapped in the same fad, chasing MX clones. Luckily I got a red pill here...

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

KPrepublic has an Alps plate for the xd75 at their website, but not in their Aliexpress store for some strange reason.

Right, I was thinking their more standard Alps PCBs.

The webshop seems to have Alps plates for the more normal staggered xd60/64 and Daisy 40. They seem to be available on their Aliexpress shop too now.

Those boards are too small. I need dedicated arrow keys at a minimum, and it is hard enough to find MX caps for something in a 60% format that supports that. I imagine if they exist at all for Alps, it was a handful of custom GB sets and/or vintage boards long out of production, by coincidence.

Ok, I'm so used to the HHKB form factor, so I don't really mind accessing the arrow keys on the Fn layer. But different use require different accessibility to keys. 

The GBs is an interesting and frustrating aspect of the hobby (if I can call it that,) though. Interesting because there are many good ideas that get a production run, frustrating because the availability is so limited when there is a good product.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

As the staggered layout is an artifact from the levers that connect each key to the mechanism at the end of the keyboard part, I have always thought it was strange that it still should be that way in electronic keyboards, so for me, an ortho layout made much more sense with the added bonus that the fingers move symmetrically on the keyboard when touch typing. But I think it is mostly an aesthetical argument rather than a practical or ergonomic one. I don't think it takes much time for the fingers to adapt to an ortho board, and I don't think they are better for the hands, so it boils down to aesthetics. 

It seems to me that as you curl the other fingers of your hand to reach for a key, it often makes more sense to be on an angle than straight forward or back. My fingers just naturally move to about where one would type a key in a higher or lower column when curling my fingers one at a time. I'm sure not everyone is the same though. I have pretty long fingers.

The movements of the fingers (at least when touch typing the way its teached) are always going from right at the bottom and toward left at the top, which means that by keeping the hands at an angle to the keyboard, the left hand will have a nice angle to the finger travel, while the right hand will have to stretch straight out from the wrist. I don't really think these two movements make any difference ergonomically, and most are used to this asymmetric movement without noticing. I think it is more pleasant to type on something that is symmetrical, and as the mind are deeply involved in preferences, I do think this is a preference that stems from my preference for symmetry and no the actual typing experience.

Yeah, I couldn't say. I just know that when trying to contort my fingers that way in any sort of typing position, it doesn't feel comfortable to me.

Everyone has different proportions and different muscle strength (both absolute and relative), coordination, and different usage of the keyboard, so I think the best is to find something that is comfortable for oneself, not what others say should be comfortable. Of course, there are always some elements to the human anatomy and physiology that are common between humans, making some advises applicable to almost everyone (e.g. static stress to a muscle over time is bad.)

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

I know how nice it feels to press a coil spring until it buckles, so I can imagine the buckling spring keyfeel is similarly very pleasant. At first I thought to get a Model M, but after watching some of Chyro's videos and listening to you, it seems that Model F is even more enjoyable to write on. Initially I didn't think they difference between M and F should be so huge, as the switchplate pressing on the membrane or the capacitive contact is not directly connected to the keycap. Is it a different bottoming out feeling, or is it the build quality that makes the biggest difference? 

I see many XT variants for about $400 on ebay, but it is far between the AT variants. Is the XT layout that difficult to use?

Which coil spring do you mean? I think that the springs in Topre switches are conical, and what buckles is the dome. Topre feels more like a really really nice rubber dome than it does a clicky switch of any kind.

I was thinking about coil springs in general here, not in key switches. When I was a kid, I thought it was interesting to disassemble everything I came over, and the coil spring in pens was fun to play with, especially to press them between the fingers until they (usually) buckled. So I imagine the key force curve of the buckling spring is somewhat similar to this. You're right, the coil in the Topre switches are there for the capacitive sensing and have only a minor effect on the key press force, its the rubber dome that creates the tactility and the majority of the press force.

I remember playing with pen springs as well. Taking things apart for no reason other than to see inside is always fun. I just fixed up some old Koss K6/LC headphones from the 70s last night that had a short. They're a local company, so it made it all the better.

That is really cool. A few years ago I also had a Koss headset. I can't remember the type, but it was an inexpensive one that almost everyone had. Nice sound for the price. The K6/LC looks really cool. I like the linear potentiometers on the cups. 

I'm not sure of all of the reasons why a Model F feels so much better than an M. They did change the cap design, slightly, which causes a Model M to buckle and actuate higher than an F. Other than that, I can't imagine the membrane makes a huge difference, but I could compare them directly when I'm home. What always stood out to me was that the Model F was very smooth, and so long as everything is seated correctly, always consistent and crisp. Every Model M I have ever tried is a little scratchy by comparison, and if the plate sandwich isn't in perfect shape, some keys may feel wildly different from the others because the sandwich is held together by plastic rivets, which become brittle and break off over time and abuse. The sound of a Model M is also more muted because there's a lot more plastic involved. All variants of the F are a little higher pitched and pingy, but anything with a steel bottom chassis (like F122 and F XT) is more pingy than the others.

I can't even believe the XT sells for what it does now. The layout is totally unusable for me. My fingers do not naturally align with any of the steps on those stepped caps. I imagine someone who's used to ISO would mind it less than me. I can't do those ISO enter keys to begin with.

The build quality can certainly be a factor. And I can see the disadvantage of of the XT layout and the challenge with the stepped caps. I think they look quite nice, though. I'm used to both ISO and ANSI layout, as most keyboards in Norway are ISO. The old HHKB lite that I've been using for 20 years before I got the Pro 2 is ANSI, though.

Have you tried the New Model F? As the price seems to be about the same for a New Model F and a old one, I was thinking about  which one I should save up for. Did the New Model F succeed with capturing the key feel of the old Model Fs? I hope the stock will last for a while, as I can't afford one for a few months at least.

I have an F77 as my profile picture, and I certainly don't even want to know what an original would cost me. I have at least another on order, but I got lucky and found that one on Ebay. It didn't come with caps though, so it has some 80s Model M caps on it. They were a little rougher than my other Fs until they wore in on the board. Other than differences that could be attributed to the Model M caps, the feel is indistinguishable from an original F. I don't have another 4704 with original Model F caps to compare against for sound, but I have an original F107 with Unicomp caps on it and they're indistinguishable from each other (besides maybe a slight difference in acoustics attributable to a difference in size/volume of the case. I actually found it funny that both the reproduction F77 and the original F107 took some liberal application of force for me to bend the zinc cases to be relatively flat. The new production cases are made of solid zinc. The originals were some kind of pot metal zinc alloy, so you're actually getting a better board than the originals in that regard. I have heard of the powder coating chipping off relatively easily, but I baby mine. Ellipse has said that the goal was more so to get a finish that cosmetically matched 80s powder coating (and it does look wonderful), so durability took a back seat.

You also don't need to worry about tracking down caps and stabilizers for a specific layout that's possible on a used board. F122s can be ANSI modded pretty easily, the F AT can with some dremeling/drilling to the plate (I consider this sacrilege and leave mine in the AT layout). An F62 or F77 can come straight from Ellipse from a layout of your choosing. The F AT, being in a mostly plastic case, is a little more muted and low-pitched than the rest of the family, which certainly has its benefits, and it has a classic aesthetic that was copied by almost every player in the game at some point in the 80s, but there's no question that a new production 4704 is a better value for the buck in terms of materials and finish with how insane prices for used boards are getting, even before getting into archaic layouts and interfaces.

I have to confess that I couldn't withstand the pressure any more! After noticing that I was thinking of the Model F keyboard daily, and how it would be to type on, I ordered a new model f... Industrial gray F77 with full HHKB layout, pebble/pearl Colemak keycaps, and first aid kit... Without a solenoid, though.

Well, that means no other hobby related expenses for a while. I guess a keyboard with Matias switches has to wait until next year. 

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #46 on: Wed, 14 April 2021, 10:04:34 »
If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

That was my impression too after testing them, and it makes sense mechanically. I like the light spring and thick clickbar, though.

And that's, unfortunately, not a common trait in modern clicky switches. We're lucky to have the box family in terms of MX compatibility.

I have the impression that much of what I like is not shared by the majority, which makes it harder to find good stuff off the shelf.

I think the majority is busy fawning over the latest MX tactile clone switch that feels and/or sounds slightly different from something else.

I was almost trapped in the same fad, chasing MX clones. Luckily I got a red pill here...

I'm glad you weren't, there are enough MX drones out there as it is.  ;D

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

KPrepublic has an Alps plate for the xd75 at their website, but not in their Aliexpress store for some strange reason.

Right, I was thinking their more standard Alps PCBs.

The webshop seems to have Alps plates for the more normal staggered xd60/64 and Daisy 40. They seem to be available on their Aliexpress shop too now.

Those boards are too small. I need dedicated arrow keys at a minimum, and it is hard enough to find MX caps for something in a 60% format that supports that. I imagine if they exist at all for Alps, it was a handful of custom GB sets and/or vintage boards long out of production, by coincidence.

Ok, I'm so used to the HHKB form factor, so I don't really mind accessing the arrow keys on the Fn layer. But different use require different accessibility to keys. 

The GBs is an interesting and frustrating aspect of the hobby (if I can call it that,) though. Interesting because there are many good ideas that get a production run, frustrating because the availability is so limited when there is a good product.

I use hotkeys in spreadsheets relatively frequently, so I may be holding 1-2 additional keys while pressing the arrow keys, in varying combinations. Maybe I could make that work without dedicated arrow keys, but even the thought of it seems like more work than just having arrow keys. To each their own, of course. I also like being able to swap seamlessly between tons of random boards on a whim to keep switching up clicky switches, etc, so keeping my muscle memory as close to standard ANSI as I can is a plus.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

As the staggered layout is an artifact from the levers that connect each key to the mechanism at the end of the keyboard part, I have always thought it was strange that it still should be that way in electronic keyboards, so for me, an ortho layout made much more sense with the added bonus that the fingers move symmetrically on the keyboard when touch typing. But I think it is mostly an aesthetical argument rather than a practical or ergonomic one. I don't think it takes much time for the fingers to adapt to an ortho board, and I don't think they are better for the hands, so it boils down to aesthetics. 

It seems to me that as you curl the other fingers of your hand to reach for a key, it often makes more sense to be on an angle than straight forward or back. My fingers just naturally move to about where one would type a key in a higher or lower column when curling my fingers one at a time. I'm sure not everyone is the same though. I have pretty long fingers.

The movements of the fingers (at least when touch typing the way its teached) are always going from right at the bottom and toward left at the top, which means that by keeping the hands at an angle to the keyboard, the left hand will have a nice angle to the finger travel, while the right hand will have to stretch straight out from the wrist. I don't really think these two movements make any difference ergonomically, and most are used to this asymmetric movement without noticing. I think it is more pleasant to type on something that is symmetrical, and as the mind are deeply involved in preferences, I do think this is a preference that stems from my preference for symmetry and no the actual typing experience.

Yeah, I couldn't say. I just know that when trying to contort my fingers that way in any sort of typing position, it doesn't feel comfortable to me.

Everyone has different proportions and different muscle strength (both absolute and relative), coordination, and different usage of the keyboard, so I think the best is to find something that is comfortable for oneself, not what others say should be comfortable. Of course, there are always some elements to the human anatomy and physiology that are common between humans, making some advises applicable to almost everyone (e.g. static stress to a muscle over time is bad.)

For sure. I know I do a lot of weird things with keyboards that most people with shorter fingers would not. I don't use the number pad at all, I use the right shift key almost exclusively, I don't mind single unit backspace keys, I don't seem to mind keyboards of any height I have tried with my palms resting entirely on the surface of a desk, etc.


If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

I know how nice it feels to press a coil spring until it buckles, so I can imagine the buckling spring keyfeel is similarly very pleasant. At first I thought to get a Model M, but after watching some of Chyro's videos and listening to you, it seems that Model F is even more enjoyable to write on. Initially I didn't think they difference between M and F should be so huge, as the switchplate pressing on the membrane or the capacitive contact is not directly connected to the keycap. Is it a different bottoming out feeling, or is it the build quality that makes the biggest difference? 

I see many XT variants for about $400 on ebay, but it is far between the AT variants. Is the XT layout that difficult to use?

Which coil spring do you mean? I think that the springs in Topre switches are conical, and what buckles is the dome. Topre feels more like a really really nice rubber dome than it does a clicky switch of any kind.

I was thinking about coil springs in general here, not in key switches. When I was a kid, I thought it was interesting to disassemble everything I came over, and the coil spring in pens was fun to play with, especially to press them between the fingers until they (usually) buckled. So I imagine the key force curve of the buckling spring is somewhat similar to this. You're right, the coil in the Topre switches are there for the capacitive sensing and have only a minor effect on the key press force, its the rubber dome that creates the tactility and the majority of the press force.

I remember playing with pen springs as well. Taking things apart for no reason other than to see inside is always fun. I just fixed up some old Koss K6/LC headphones from the 70s last night that had a short. They're a local company, so it made it all the better.

That is really cool. A few years ago I also had a Koss headset. I can't remember the type, but it was an inexpensive one that almost everyone had. Nice sound for the price. The K6/LC looks really cool. I like the linear potentiometers on the cups. 

Koss does seem to get around, hopefully at least partly due to their quality and design standards. I don't know that anything about them is still made in my home state. I noticed that even the K6 had drivers from Singapore inside of them. Yes, I actually found the old-school potentiometers interesting enough to snap a picture of one before I stitched everything back up. The drivers are huge/weird too. They're something like 3.5 inches or 90mm. I'm not sure that I could find modern equivalents if I had wanted to try to upgrade them.

266514-0

I'm not sure of all of the reasons why a Model F feels so much better than an M. They did change the cap design, slightly, which causes a Model M to buckle and actuate higher than an F. Other than that, I can't imagine the membrane makes a huge difference, but I could compare them directly when I'm home. What always stood out to me was that the Model F was very smooth, and so long as everything is seated correctly, always consistent and crisp. Every Model M I have ever tried is a little scratchy by comparison, and if the plate sandwich isn't in perfect shape, some keys may feel wildly different from the others because the sandwich is held together by plastic rivets, which become brittle and break off over time and abuse. The sound of a Model M is also more muted because there's a lot more plastic involved. All variants of the F are a little higher pitched and pingy, but anything with a steel bottom chassis (like F122 and F XT) is more pingy than the others.

I can't even believe the XT sells for what it does now. The layout is totally unusable for me. My fingers do not naturally align with any of the steps on those stepped caps. I imagine someone who's used to ISO would mind it less than me. I can't do those ISO enter keys to begin with.

The build quality can certainly be a factor. And I can see the disadvantage of of the XT layout and the challenge with the stepped caps. I think they look quite nice, though. I'm used to both ISO and ANSI layout, as most keyboards in Norway are ISO. The old HHKB lite that I've been using for 20 years before I got the Pro 2 is ANSI, though.

Have you tried the New Model F? As the price seems to be about the same for a New Model F and a old one, I was thinking about  which one I should save up for. Did the New Model F succeed with capturing the key feel of the old Model Fs? I hope the stock will last for a while, as I can't afford one for a few months at least.

I have an F77 as my profile picture, and I certainly don't even want to know what an original would cost me. I have at least another on order, but I got lucky and found that one on Ebay. It didn't come with caps though, so it has some 80s Model M caps on it. They were a little rougher than my other Fs until they wore in on the board. Other than differences that could be attributed to the Model M caps, the feel is indistinguishable from an original F. I don't have another 4704 with original Model F caps to compare against for sound, but I have an original F107 with Unicomp caps on it and they're indistinguishable from each other (besides maybe a slight difference in acoustics attributable to a difference in size/volume of the case. I actually found it funny that both the reproduction F77 and the original F107 took some liberal application of force for me to bend the zinc cases to be relatively flat. The new production cases are made of solid zinc. The originals were some kind of pot metal zinc alloy, so you're actually getting a better board than the originals in that regard. I have heard of the powder coating chipping off relatively easily, but I baby mine. Ellipse has said that the goal was more so to get a finish that cosmetically matched 80s powder coating (and it does look wonderful), so durability took a back seat.

You also don't need to worry about tracking down caps and stabilizers for a specific layout that's possible on a used board. F122s can be ANSI modded pretty easily, the F AT can with some dremeling/drilling to the plate (I consider this sacrilege and leave mine in the AT layout). An F62 or F77 can come straight from Ellipse from a layout of your choosing. The F AT, being in a mostly plastic case, is a little more muted and low-pitched than the rest of the family, which certainly has its benefits, and it has a classic aesthetic that was copied by almost every player in the game at some point in the 80s, but there's no question that a new production 4704 is a better value for the buck in terms of materials and finish with how insane prices for used boards are getting, even before getting into archaic layouts and interfaces.

I have to confess that I couldn't withstand the pressure any more! After noticing that I was thinking of the Model F keyboard daily, and how it would be to type on, I ordered a new model f... Industrial gray F77 with full HHKB layout, pebble/pearl Colemak keycaps, and first aid kit... Without a solenoid, though.

Well, that means no other hobby related expenses for a while. I guess a keyboard with Matias switches has to wait until next year.



Between Matias and an F77, I think you made the right choice. You'll be able to find Matias boards forever, F77 will not always be in production, and there's nothing quite like a good capacitive buckling spring board. I think you'll love it. :thumb:

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #47 on: Thu, 15 April 2021, 12:20:44 »
If I remember correctly, the click bar is the same diameter for whites and pale blues, only the stem spring that is different.

I believe so. I'm not fan of pale blues, so I don't have that memorized. I don't think anything other than the standard thin and thick click bars existed at the time it was released though. That's what I was getting at. If you have a thin click bar and a heavy spring, you have the least tactility of the family.

That was my impression too after testing them, and it makes sense mechanically. I like the light spring and thick clickbar, though.

And that's, unfortunately, not a common trait in modern clicky switches. We're lucky to have the box family in terms of MX compatibility.

I have the impression that much of what I like is not shared by the majority, which makes it harder to find good stuff off the shelf.

I think the majority is busy fawning over the latest MX tactile clone switch that feels and/or sounds slightly different from something else.

I was almost trapped in the same fad, chasing MX clones. Luckily I got a red pill here...

I'm glad you weren't, there are enough MX drones out there as it is.  ;D

When I have some more available time, I want to try to design new switches with interesting tactililty. I have some thoughts that I want to explore, but I have to finish some other projects first to free up some time. And of course save up some money for prototypes after yesterday's F77-ing money dematerialization event.

I have never found anybody that makes an Alps plate for the xd75, or I would own at least one. I'm kind of confused as to why it even supports Alps switches if nobody bothered to sell a plate for them. I should really contact their support about that.

KPrepublic has an Alps plate for the xd75 at their website, but not in their Aliexpress store for some strange reason.

Right, I was thinking their more standard Alps PCBs.

The webshop seems to have Alps plates for the more normal staggered xd60/64 and Daisy 40. They seem to be available on their Aliexpress shop too now.

Those boards are too small. I need dedicated arrow keys at a minimum, and it is hard enough to find MX caps for something in a 60% format that supports that. I imagine if they exist at all for Alps, it was a handful of custom GB sets and/or vintage boards long out of production, by coincidence.

Ok, I'm so used to the HHKB form factor, so I don't really mind accessing the arrow keys on the Fn layer. But different use require different accessibility to keys. 

The GBs is an interesting and frustrating aspect of the hobby (if I can call it that,) though. Interesting because there are many good ideas that get a production run, frustrating because the availability is so limited when there is a good product.

I use hotkeys in spreadsheets relatively frequently, so I may be holding 1-2 additional keys while pressing the arrow keys, in varying combinations. Maybe I could make that work without dedicated arrow keys, but even the thought of it seems like more work than just having arrow keys. To each their own, of course. I also like being able to swap seamlessly between tons of random boards on a whim to keep switching up clicky switches, etc, so keeping my muscle memory as close to standard ANSI as I can is a plus.
[\quote]

I seldom work with spreadsheets. I mostly program and write reports and articles, so it is other keys I frequently use. Sometimes I need to punch numbers, though, but for this I use either a separate layer on the Planck with all keys I need comfortably placed, or a standalone keypad. Right now I swap between the HHKB and the Planck, but I have three more keyboards soon: Kyria (waiting for switches), Lumberjack (waiting for the PCB) and F77. I'm not a fast typer, so I don't notice any loss in speed ir accuracy when I change between normal and staggered keyboards.

I have a hard time wrapping my head conceptually around ortho boards at all myself. I think I feel physical pain just looking at pictures of them. Maybe I'm just some kind of caveman though. I hope you find a configuration that works for you.

As the staggered layout is an artifact from the levers that connect each key to the mechanism at the end of the keyboard part, I have always thought it was strange that it still should be that way in electronic keyboards, so for me, an ortho layout made much more sense with the added bonus that the fingers move symmetrically on the keyboard when touch typing. But I think it is mostly an aesthetical argument rather than a practical or ergonomic one. I don't think it takes much time for the fingers to adapt to an ortho board, and I don't think they are better for the hands, so it boils down to aesthetics. 

It seems to me that as you curl the other fingers of your hand to reach for a key, it often makes more sense to be on an angle than straight forward or back. My fingers just naturally move to about where one would type a key in a higher or lower column when curling my fingers one at a time. I'm sure not everyone is the same though. I have pretty long fingers.

The movements of the fingers (at least when touch typing the way its teached) are always going from right at the bottom and toward left at the top, which means that by keeping the hands at an angle to the keyboard, the left hand will have a nice angle to the finger travel, while the right hand will have to stretch straight out from the wrist. I don't really think these two movements make any difference ergonomically, and most are used to this asymmetric movement without noticing. I think it is more pleasant to type on something that is symmetrical, and as the mind are deeply involved in preferences, I do think this is a preference that stems from my preference for symmetry and no the actual typing experience.

Yeah, I couldn't say. I just know that when trying to contort my fingers that way in any sort of typing position, it doesn't feel comfortable to me.

Everyone has different proportions and different muscle strength (both absolute and relative), coordination, and different usage of the keyboard, so I think the best is to find something that is comfortable for oneself, not what others say should be comfortable. Of course, there are always some elements to the human anatomy and physiology that are common between humans, making some advises applicable to almost everyone (e.g. static stress to a muscle over time is bad.)

For sure. I know I do a lot of weird things with keyboards that most people with shorter fingers would not. I don't use the number pad at all, I use the right shift key almost exclusively, I don't mind single unit backspace keys, I don't seem to mind keyboards of any height I have tried with my palms resting entirely on the surface of a desk, etc.

I like to rest my palms on the table, so I did prefer low-profile keyboards. I changed my typing technique when I learnt proper touch typing, so now I'm not sure what I prefer any more. If I have a wrist rest, I'll use it, but I don't mind if I don't have it. I think the most important is variation, though. No matter how "right" a person types, it can always lead to pain if a position is held long enough. 

If you like rounded tactility, then you may want to look at Topre ... since I'm now also, again, coincidentally using a 55g Topre board. It is buttery smooth and refined. I just checked to see that actuation is just at the end of the tactile event. My preferences in tactiles are mostly for something as sharp as I can find, and Alps and Matias have pretty sharp tactility. And, of course, you don't get any sharper tactility than a clicky switch.

It would probably be best to try somebody else's buckling spring board at a meet once the apocalypse is over. A Model F of any kind is starting to become a major investment. I got my F XT with a cut cable for $40 just a year and a half ago or so. It is starting to become hard to find an F for less than $150 at all now, even if they're totally trashed and/or only half of the components. It is a shame because the F XT is what finally made me realize there were so much better options than MX.

What a coincidence, I'm currently typing this on a HHKB Pro 2 with 45g Topre. I really like the tactility and the sound of these switches, but I also want to explore more of the typingverse. Model F is on the wishlist, but I have to save up a bit before committing to this, the cost often doubles with shipping to Norway and taxes. It is hard to choose between buying several affordable keyboards or one expensive.

I don't think I have a huge preference when it comes to the sharpness of the tactile event, but I do prefer a more noticeable tactility, as I want to feel when the magic happens.

Nice. I haven't tried 45g Topre. 55g just so happened to show up used on Ebay in a configuration I find efficient (87u), so I snapped it up to try. I can confidently say that I would rather use Topre than any modern tactile I have tried besides Matias (hard to rank one above the other definitively, though I have a preference for Matias). I think I would say that about most moderately decent rubber domes though too outside of lubrication.

Yes, if you want as rounded a keyboard experience as you can find, capacitive buckling spring is a must. I hope you snag one for a song. the last F107 to sell on Ebay went for $2,400. That's like $1,000 more than I would bother shelling out for a beam spring, and it wasn't even in particularly great original shape. The XTs are still the most affordable, but that layout is unusable for a lot of people (including myself).

I know how nice it feels to press a coil spring until it buckles, so I can imagine the buckling spring keyfeel is similarly very pleasant. At first I thought to get a Model M, but after watching some of Chyro's videos and listening to you, it seems that Model F is even more enjoyable to write on. Initially I didn't think they difference between M and F should be so huge, as the switchplate pressing on the membrane or the capacitive contact is not directly connected to the keycap. Is it a different bottoming out feeling, or is it the build quality that makes the biggest difference? 

I see many XT variants for about $400 on ebay, but it is far between the AT variants. Is the XT layout that difficult to use?

Which coil spring do you mean? I think that the springs in Topre switches are conical, and what buckles is the dome. Topre feels more like a really really nice rubber dome than it does a clicky switch of any kind.

I was thinking about coil springs in general here, not in key switches. When I was a kid, I thought it was interesting to disassemble everything I came over, and the coil spring in pens was fun to play with, especially to press them between the fingers until they (usually) buckled. So I imagine the key force curve of the buckling spring is somewhat similar to this. You're right, the coil in the Topre switches are there for the capacitive sensing and have only a minor effect on the key press force, its the rubber dome that creates the tactility and the majority of the press force.

I remember playing with pen springs as well. Taking things apart for no reason other than to see inside is always fun. I just fixed up some old Koss K6/LC headphones from the 70s last night that had a short. They're a local company, so it made it all the better.

That is really cool. A few years ago I also had a Koss headset. I can't remember the type, but it was an inexpensive one that almost everyone had. Nice sound for the price. The K6/LC looks really cool. I like the linear potentiometers on the cups. 

Koss does seem to get around, hopefully at least partly due to their quality and design standards. I don't know that anything about them is still made in my home state. I noticed that even the K6 had drivers from Singapore inside of them. Yes, I actually found the old-school potentiometers interesting enough to snap a picture of one before I stitched everything back up. The drivers are huge/weird too. They're something like 3.5 inches or 90mm. I'm not sure that I could find modern equivalents if I had wanted to try to upgrade them.

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Interesting, I know that these potentionmeters are still found in electronic parts stores. The question is whether the size and stem will fit the slider handle. Thinking about it, the sliding pot might be logarithmic, though, as audio pots often is that. A 90 mm driver is huge, it certainly need a strong magnet for moving all that mass.

I'm not sure of all of the reasons why a Model F feels so much better than an M. They did change the cap design, slightly, which causes a Model M to buckle and actuate higher than an F. Other than that, I can't imagine the membrane makes a huge difference, but I could compare them directly when I'm home. What always stood out to me was that the Model F was very smooth, and so long as everything is seated correctly, always consistent and crisp. Every Model M I have ever tried is a little scratchy by comparison, and if the plate sandwich isn't in perfect shape, some keys may feel wildly different from the others because the sandwich is held together by plastic rivets, which become brittle and break off over time and abuse. The sound of a Model M is also more muted because there's a lot more plastic involved. All variants of the F are a little higher pitched and pingy, but anything with a steel bottom chassis (like F122 and F XT) is more pingy than the others.

I can't even believe the XT sells for what it does now. The layout is totally unusable for me. My fingers do not naturally align with any of the steps on those stepped caps. I imagine someone who's used to ISO would mind it less than me. I can't do those ISO enter keys to begin with.

The build quality can certainly be a factor. And I can see the disadvantage of of the XT layout and the challenge with the stepped caps. I think they look quite nice, though. I'm used to both ISO and ANSI layout, as most keyboards in Norway are ISO. The old HHKB lite that I've been using for 20 years before I got the Pro 2 is ANSI, though.

Have you tried the New Model F? As the price seems to be about the same for a New Model F and a old one, I was thinking about  which one I should save up for. Did the New Model F succeed with capturing the key feel of the old Model Fs? I hope the stock will last for a while, as I can't afford one for a few months at least.

I have an F77 as my profile picture, and I certainly don't even want to know what an original would cost me. I have at least another on order, but I got lucky and found that one on Ebay. It didn't come with caps though, so it has some 80s Model M caps on it. They were a little rougher than my other Fs until they wore in on the board. Other than differences that could be attributed to the Model M caps, the feel is indistinguishable from an original F. I don't have another 4704 with original Model F caps to compare against for sound, but I have an original F107 with Unicomp caps on it and they're indistinguishable from each other (besides maybe a slight difference in acoustics attributable to a difference in size/volume of the case. I actually found it funny that both the reproduction F77 and the original F107 took some liberal application of force for me to bend the zinc cases to be relatively flat. The new production cases are made of solid zinc. The originals were some kind of pot metal zinc alloy, so you're actually getting a better board than the originals in that regard. I have heard of the powder coating chipping off relatively easily, but I baby mine. Ellipse has said that the goal was more so to get a finish that cosmetically matched 80s powder coating (and it does look wonderful), so durability took a back seat.

You also don't need to worry about tracking down caps and stabilizers for a specific layout that's possible on a used board. F122s can be ANSI modded pretty easily, the F AT can with some dremeling/drilling to the plate (I consider this sacrilege and leave mine in the AT layout). An F62 or F77 can come straight from Ellipse from a layout of your choosing. The F AT, being in a mostly plastic case, is a little more muted and low-pitched than the rest of the family, which certainly has its benefits, and it has a classic aesthetic that was copied by almost every player in the game at some point in the 80s, but there's no question that a new production 4704 is a better value for the buck in terms of materials and finish with how insane prices for used boards are getting, even before getting into archaic layouts and interfaces.

I have to confess that I couldn't withstand the pressure any more! After noticing that I was thinking of the Model F keyboard daily, and how it would be to type on, I ordered a new model f... Industrial gray F77 with full HHKB layout, pebble/pearl Colemak keycaps, and first aid kit... Without a solenoid, though.

Well, that means no other hobby related expenses for a while. I guess a keyboard with Matias switches has to wait until next year.

Show Image


Between Matias and an F77, I think you made the right choice. You'll be able to find Matias boards forever, F77 will not always be in production, and there's nothing quite like a good capacitive buckling spring board. I think you'll love it. :thumb:

Thanks, I hope I will love it. It will certainly improve my passive-aggressive approach to open office spaces and online meetings. Jokes aside, most people at my work are working from their home office, so I can type as loudly as I want for now. I wonder about the delivery time, though. It seems that it might take some time.

One problem with this hobby, is that there is always something I want to try (and buy)...

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1698
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #48 on: Thu, 15 April 2021, 14:19:41 »
When I have some more available time, I want to try to design new switches with interesting tactililty. I have some thoughts that I want to explore, but I have to finish some other projects first to free up some time. And of course save up some money for prototypes after yesterday's F77-ing money dematerialization event.

Good luck, it is a competitive market (although much less so for modern clickies). We need as much innovation as we can get the way things currently are.

I like the way you put that, money materialization event. It makes it almost sound like some kind of inexplicable paranormal occurrence, for which you can obviously feel no guilt.  ;D

I seldom work with spreadsheets. I mostly program and write reports and articles, so it is other keys I frequently use. Sometimes I need to punch numbers, though, but for this I use either a separate layer on the Planck with all keys I need comfortably placed, or a standalone keypad. Right now I swap between the HHKB and the Planck, but I have three more keyboards soon: Kyria (waiting for switches), Lumberjack (waiting for the PCB) and F77. I'm not a fast typer, so I don't notice any loss in speed ir accuracy when I change between normal and staggered keyboards.

Yeah, everybody has different use cases. Even if I didn't have a specific need for dedicated arrow keys, I like not having any specialized mapping or muscle memory at all so that I can swap between weird/random old boards on a whim without missing a step. The F AT is a little bit of an exception, but most old boards have the 1u backspace and big ass enter.

Those are all pretty cool looking boards. I like it when a case tries to show off some of the guts.

I like to rest my palms on the table, so I did prefer low-profile keyboards. I changed my typing technique when I learnt proper touch typing, so now I'm not sure what I prefer any more. If I have a wrist rest, I'll use it, but I don't mind if I don't have it. I think the most important is variation, though. No matter how "right" a person types, it can always lead to pain if a position is held long enough. 

Yeah, that makes sense. I guess that makes me wonder if people who have weird non-standard typing techniques for which they look down at the board have less problems with carpal tunnel than people who are touch typists. I know I haven't had any problems with it, for whatever reason.

Interesting, I know that these potentionmeters are still found in electronic parts stores. The question is whether the size and stem will fit the slider handle. Thinking about it, the sliding pot might be logarithmic, though, as audio pots often is that. A 90 mm driver is huge, it certainly need a strong magnet for moving all that mass.

You would probably know better than I about that. I just know it did look similar to pots I have seen in a video or two about cleaning vintage audio equipment. I think it was an old stereo. I have found 90mm drivers (since the question crossed my mind of an upgrade, of course), but the magnets do look way bigger on those than on mine. Not sure if modern ones would even fit in the cup.

Thanks, I hope I will love it. It will certainly improve my passive-aggressive approach to open office spaces and online meetings. Jokes aside, most people at my work are working from their home office, so I can type as loudly as I want for now. I wonder about the delivery time, though. It seems that it might take some time.

One problem with this hobby, is that there is always something I want to try (and buy)...

I ordered my F77 from Ellipse with the "custom/low serial number option" close to a year and a half ago (when he announced boards would finally soon start shipping) with the hope of bumping in line. That board is still out in the ether somewhere, probably because I didn't ultimately choose any of the separate shipping options and have tacked on a lot of parts. That one's going to have the dark gray caps with black legends, which I'm reading haven't even started being produced yet.

The trying part wouldn't be so much of a problem if it made sense for people to finally be able to get out and do some meets again. Soon, I think.
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 April 2021, 14:22:13 by Maledicted »

Offline qeebored

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Norway
Re: Greetings from Norway
« Reply #49 on: Fri, 16 April 2021, 08:08:19 »
When I have some more available time, I want to try to design new switches with interesting tactililty. I have some thoughts that I want to explore, but I have to finish some other projects first to free up some time. And of course save up some money for prototypes after yesterday's F77-ing money dematerialization event.

Good luck, it is a competitive market (although much less so for modern clickies). We need as much innovation as we can get the way things currently are.

I like the way you put that, money materialization event. It makes it almost sound like some kind of inexplicable paranormal occurrence, for which you can obviously feel no guilt.  ;D

I don't plan to commercialize anything (at least not yet), I'm only doing it for fun. But I do hope I can make a switch that can be produced in the future and have a distinct operation, feel and sound. But mostly I hope I can make something that I can be amused of myself. Maybe they can be a one-of-a-kind piece of art?

I do believe in karma, though. Since so much money just evaporated before my eyes, with hardly any interaction from me, I hope that the universe will give something nice back to me later...  ;D

I seldom work with spreadsheets. I mostly program and write reports and articles, so it is other keys I frequently use. Sometimes I need to punch numbers, though, but for this I use either a separate layer on the Planck with all keys I need comfortably placed, or a standalone keypad. Right now I swap between the HHKB and the Planck, but I have three more keyboards soon: Kyria (waiting for switches), Lumberjack (waiting for the PCB) and F77. I'm not a fast typer, so I don't notice any loss in speed ir accuracy when I change between normal and staggered keyboards.

Yeah, everybody has different use cases. Even if I didn't have a specific need for dedicated arrow keys, I like not having any specialized mapping or muscle memory at all so that I can swap between weird/random old boards on a whim without missing a step. The F AT is a little bit of an exception, but most old boards have the 1u backspace and big ass enter.

Those are all pretty cool looking boards. I like it when a case tries to show off some of the guts.

I was lucky with the lumberjack. I saw the GB, and thought that the board looked quite nice and inexpensive. As the GB was going to last for a while, I thought I could wait before deciding to buy, but the following day I ordered one anyway, thinking that the price made it a no-brainer. I think the day after my order, the GB was closed due to the huge interest. They had planned for 100-150 boards, and suddenly they got that many orders in 2-3 days instead of a month.

I like that the functionality is a part of the visual characteristics of the things. I wish this was more common for other things also instead of hiding the functionality behind clean surfaces and straight lines. 


I like to rest my palms on the table, so I did prefer low-profile keyboards. I changed my typing technique when I learnt proper touch typing, so now I'm not sure what I prefer any more. If I have a wrist rest, I'll use it, but I don't mind if I don't have it. I think the most important is variation, though. No matter how "right" a person types, it can always lead to pain if a position is held long enough. 

Yeah, that makes sense. I guess that makes me wonder if people who have weird non-standard typing techniques for which they look down at the board have less problems with carpal tunnel than people who are touch typists. I know I haven't had any problems with it, for whatever reason.

That's a good point. I think many that are typing a lot and try to sit as "ergonomically" that they can, actually are creating more stress, and getting worse, they try even harder to maintain the same position as they believe it is "ergonomically correct". I don't have any data to support this, but the thought did cross my mind.

Interesting, I know that these potentionmeters are still found in electronic parts stores. The question is whether the size and stem will fit the slider handle. Thinking about it, the sliding pot might be logarithmic, though, as audio pots often is that. A 90 mm driver is huge, it certainly need a strong magnet for moving all that mass.

You would probably know better than I about that. I just know it did look similar to pots I have seen in a video or two about cleaning vintage audio equipment. I think it was an old stereo. I have found 90mm drivers (since the question crossed my mind of an upgrade, of course), but the magnets do look way bigger on those than on mine. Not sure if modern ones would even fit in the cup.

I hope you can find some nice upgrades. I saw that a discussion on the K6/LC mentioned that they sounded "distant", which I think can be from a mismatch between the mass of the movable parts and the force generated by the electromagnetic field, damping the high range while overshooting the mid range. Modern neodynium magnets are much stronger than old magnets, so if you find a new element of good quality I believe it can improve the sound quality quite a lot.

Thanks, I hope I will love it. It will certainly improve my passive-aggressive approach to open office spaces and online meetings. Jokes aside, most people at my work are working from their home office, so I can type as loudly as I want for now. I wonder about the delivery time, though. It seems that it might take some time.

One problem with this hobby, is that there is always something I want to try (and buy)...

I ordered my F77 from Ellipse with the "custom/low serial number option" close to a year and a half ago (when he announced boards would finally soon start shipping) with the hope of bumping in line. That board is still out in the ether somewhere, probably because I didn't ultimately choose any of the separate shipping options and have tacked on a lot of parts. That one's going to have the dark gray caps with black legends, which I'm reading haven't even started being produced yet.

The trying part wouldn't be so much of a problem if it made sense for people to finally be able to get out and do some meets again. Soon, I think.

I hope that there will be meetups soon. Even though Norway is a small country, there have been a couple of meetups before the plague. I just found out about it this year, but I plan to join one when society is opening up. Maybe I even have a Model F to show off.