Author Topic: Model AT F Tour!  (Read 13453 times)

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Online fohat.digs

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Re: Model AT F Tour!
« Reply #150 on: Thu, 22 August 2013, 08:46:47 »
Until Soarer came along, F-122s were all but unusable and sold cheap because there was zero demand, with some small supply.

He made them easy, about 2 years ago, and people (such as myself) gushing about them made them seem more desirable.

For several months there was little action, until a few dozen Geekhackers started using them and getting excited. The ball started rolling and has been gaining momentum for a solid year now.

With the demand whipped up into a froth, and the supply basically the same as it ever was, the market is completely transformed.

I would love to get another one for a steampunk project I have in mind (all I need is the internal plates, I would be happy with a severely damaged one, hint hint) but I doubt that we will be seeing them for under $100 any more. $200 is not an unfair price for a good one, given their rarity, in my opinion, and I get tired of people around here whining about their price when I see things like individual key caps selling for even more than that.

So, I am still completely flummoxed that you bozos let poxeclipse's treasure trove come and go without even the slightest hint of excitement. Anybody who let that awesome stash pass them by should just shut the f*ck up while kicking themselves continuously.
James McGill Buchanan decided he needed to influence policy at a deeper level. In the ensuing years, he sought to lead an economic and political movement in which he stressed that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential” to mask efforts to protect the wealthy elite from the will of the majority. In September 1973, Buchanan held the inaugural meeting of the International Atlantic Economic Society, arguing for the need to “create, support and activate an effective counterintelligentsia” to reshape the way people thought about government. He believed the center-left controlled academia and “effectively indoctrinated political actors in both parties,” MacLean writes. To fight back, conservatives needed to develop new surrogates who could be “indoctrinated” in turn with right-wing ideas, and then “mobilized, organized and directed” to disseminate them.
Seeing the name eventually led her to rooms full of documents that made clear how “operatives” had been trained “to staff the far-flung and purportedly separate, yet intricately connected, institutions funded by the Koch brothers and their now large network of fellow wealthy donors.” - Nancy McLean 2017

Offline snoopy

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Re: Model AT F Tour!
« Reply #151 on: Thu, 22 August 2013, 09:07:09 »
I recently bought a AT F and overall paid a lot for it (shipping to ger + import taxes + maybe not the best deal on us ebay). I really liked it, the feeling is awesome. I think it is that, what I initially expected a Model M to feel, before I got my first M.

I used it for some days, did a lot of remapping with ukelele and keyremap4macbook and a flossmod. But i didn't really get used to the layout. Missed some dedicated arrows and some other keys on their normal position. So i switched back to ssk and never touched it again. Maybe I should give it another chance.

I think a mod would help (small spacebar, normal backspace) but I'm currently too lazy and got a huge workload and other projects. The 2 ssks I wanted to restore are waiting since month for me.

Perfect would be a combination of ssk and AT F. But that's only a dream.

Don't know what to do... another chance, mod it, put it in a box and put it to the rest of my keyboard collection that I never use, sell it,...

It's really a conflict. the nice look and esthetic and good standard layout of the ssk vs the awesome feeling of the F

snoopy (typed on SSK)

Offline AKIMbO

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Re: Model AT F Tour!
« Reply #152 on: Wed, 18 September 2013, 16:05:38 »
Just checking in to see if mashby posted his review yet XD
Mkawa Beta SSK | IBM SSK | IBM Model AT F | IBM F 122 | IBM Unsaver | LZ-GH (62g ergo clears) | HHKB Pro2 Type-S | HHKB Pro2 | Realforce 87U-Silent (55g uniform) | Leopold FC660C | Omnikey 101 (blue alps) | Kingsaver (blue alps) | Zenith ZKB2 (green alps)

Offline mashby

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Re: Model AT F Tour!
« Reply #153 on: Tue, 24 September 2013, 08:50:15 »
As a huge fan of the buckling spring mechanical switch, I was very eager to try out this keyboard and jumped at the opportunity to get on the tour. I’ve waxed poetically here and here about how much I love typing on “Clacky”, so no need to rehash. Suffice to say that I love the switch and was very curious how different the Model AT F differered from the Model M.

About The Board
The IBM Model AT F is the most famous keyboard of the Model F Series released by IBM and was the first keyboard to use the buckling spring mechanical switch. The series was started in 1981 and the Model AT F was released in 1984. The Model F was a successor to IBM’s beam spring technology which allowed IBM to reduce the overall weight and cost of manufacturing over it’s previous keyboards. It featues 84 keys in a much different layout than what most people have grown accustom to with the later 101 standard estabilshed by the Model M series.


Ready To Roll by cpkey, on Flickr

Key layout isn’t the only difference between the Model F and the Model M, the buckling spring itself is different. In a nutshell, a buckling spring switch consists of a spring attached to a hammer which is housed in a plastic barrel. The basic design is the same in both models, but with the F, the barrels are individually mounted, the hammer is larger and uses capacative contacts to activate a key, versus the membrane used in the Model M. For more information on the differences, I highly recommend Deskthority’s Wiki Entry on the subject.

Just as the Model F introduced cost savings from previous versions, the later Model M introduced even further cost savings. Given that my only experience with the buckling spring has been with later models, having the opportuinity to try an earlier model was quite enticing. Would the older Model F be superior to it’s less expensive siblings, or were the cost savings just a by product of refining the technology?

It’s A Tank
The keyboard arrived during the first week of June, 2013 and the first thing I noticed was the weight - the keyboard is a *tank*. Granted, I’ve grown accustomed to the size and weight of a 60% compact keyboard, so any keyboard is going to look-and-feel substantionally larger and heavier, but this board exceeded my expectations. I wish I had weighed the keyboard while I had it, but at any moment I expected it to transform into an Autobot and tell me I had to save the world from the Decepticons.


Feet Closeup by cpkey, on Flickr

One of the best examples of the weight is the way the “feet” are designed. There are huge flat knobs on each side of the keyboard which raise and lower the feet to change the pitch of the keyboard. Most people are familar with the flimsly feet that flip out from the bottom of your keyboard, but these levers lock the feet into place with a solid “thock” when you move them. It’s amazing.

Once I got over the shock of the weight, I set about connecting it to my iMac and taking her for a spin. AKIMbO included an adapter that allowed me to connect the keyboard via USB and after the customary quick setup that initates with all new keyboards I plug in, I was off to the races and typing away.

The Feel
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve typed on my Model M and unfortunately, I had loaned Clacky to fellow GH member, Kaporkle so that he could create a 3d render, which is coming along nicely. This was unfortunate because I didn’t have a recent frame of reference to refer to. All of my other keyboards were ALPS or Cherry MX and thus I had to rely on older sense memory that may not be the most accurate. I couldn’t do a side-by-side comparision. That being said, I did type on my beloved Model M for many years and used it off-and-on over the past year, so my previous typing expereince wasn’t too far in the distant past.

If I had to sum up the feel in one word? Snappy.


The feel of the Model F had a certian pop to it that is hard to describe. It reminded me of the Model M, but if felt much more repsonsive and the return on the keystrokes seemed faster. The key caps are identical to the Model M key caps, so there wasn’t much difference in that regard in terms of feel, or texture, but the responsiveness from the springs was really, really nice. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I actually prefer the Model F to the Model M.

It’s not quite perfect though. I did noticed that there was a pronouced “ping” sound when typing. As I typed on the keyboard, I could hear the sound of the spring ringing as I typed. If I were going to put this keyboard into my main rotation, I would probably do the floss mod to reduce this sound. If it changed the feel too much then I would remove it, but reducing this extra ping would be a high priority for me.

The other thing I would change is to reduce the spring tension on the spacebar. AKIMbO left the spacebar un-modded, thus as it was originally intended and that thing was a monster. I’m a big fan of heavy switches. My main board uses Cherry MX-Black and MX-Dark Grey switches, but I had to completely spank the spacebar to get it to actuate. It felt like I was attempting to play slap bass. I’m glad he sent it out un-modded because I don’t know that I would have believed just how heavy it was without trying it.

Usability
What caused me to stop using my Model M was the fact that it lacked a Winkey. The Model F of course lacks this key as well and it also places the Alt, Control and Caps Lock key in different places. Given that I’ve become a huge fan of the 60% layout, those are really the only keys that affected me when using the keyboard in terms of placement.


For basic typing, I really had no issues with the layout, with the notable exception of the backspace. With the Model F, it’s a 1x key and I found myself accidentially hititng the “\” key quite a bit. I might be able to adjust to it over time and as long as I wasn’t doing a lot of editing that required control, win, or alt keys, I think I would have no problems using this keyboard. Alas, any aspect of my computing experience requires using the winkey constantly and the control and alt keys are a close second, so I don’t think I could make this a primary board.

Conclusion
I freaking love this keyboard switch! It may be 30-years old, but I don’t know of any switch produced since that has matched the feel and responsiveness of the Model F buckling spring. If you like a clicky switch, then in my opinion, this is the gold standard. The Model M is a close second, which is big words coming from me, because before this keyboard tour, I always believed the Model M buckling spring to be the best. What can I say? We have a new king in town! Well, in *my* town at least.

If you'd like to see a comparison of what the switch sounds like, I did a quick sound sample video comparing standard Cherry MX-Blue, Jailhouse Blue and the Model F in the video below.


Unfortunately, as fantastic as the switch is, the 80’s layout is a deal breaker. There is simply no way that I could use this keyboard on a regular basis. Layout and missing keys render this form factor unusuable in my everyday work. That doesn’t mean I can’t dream though. I’ve now modified my fantasty keyboard – 60% ANSI 125 with Model F buckling spring switches. If such a keyboard were ever to exist, there is no doubt in my mind that I would move heaven and earth to put it under my fingertips.

Special Thanks
I am very appreciative of AKIMbO for being so generous with a true gem of a keyboard and for being so patient for my review. He provided me with a very unique experience that will plauge… err... haunt… umm... influence every other keyboard I ever type on. Thank you.

Should he decide to ever launch a subsequent tour, I highly recommend that you take full advantage and sign up. In fact, you might have to fight me for a spot on the list because I might just have to give her another whirl!

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Model AT F Tour!
« Reply #154 on: Tue, 24 September 2013, 09:48:02 »
I have seen so many videos of Mashby's arms in typing videos on this forum, that I can recognize his posts by those hairy beasts.
Wish I had some gif or quote for this space, but I got nothing

Offline Parak

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Re: Model AT F Tour!
« Reply #155 on: Tue, 24 September 2013, 10:57:16 »
Unfortunately, as fantastic as the switch is, the 80’s layout is a deal breaker. There is simply no way that I could use this keyboard on a regular basis. Layout and missing keys render this form factor unusuable in my everyday work.

Well, it is modable to a relatively better layout with some effort. See here.

That doesn’t mean I can’t dream though. I’ve now modified my fantasty keyboard – 60% ANSI 125 with Model F buckling spring switches. If such a keyboard were ever to exist, there is no doubt in my mind that I would move heaven and earth to put it under my fingertips.

It does exist, but is essentially unobtainium at this point and nonconvertible with current means. Effort at this point is far better spent on making new capacitive buckling spring bits (controller, barrels, flippies, etc) in order to create new layouts..

Offline AKIMbO

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Re: Model AT F Tour!
« Reply #156 on: Tue, 24 September 2013, 20:29:34 »
Nice review mashby!

The layout can be changed to approximate a more modern version.  I've done just that to my personal AT F (see below).  You can get even closer to a modern layout (six pack, arrow keys, etc.) with a F 122 and Soarer's adapter. 


Mkawa Beta SSK | IBM SSK | IBM Model AT F | IBM F 122 | IBM Unsaver | LZ-GH (62g ergo clears) | HHKB Pro2 Type-S | HHKB Pro2 | Realforce 87U-Silent (55g uniform) | Leopold FC660C | Omnikey 101 (blue alps) | Kingsaver (blue alps) | Zenith ZKB2 (green alps)