Author Topic: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log  (Read 8752 times)

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Offline CPTBadAss

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I really fell in love with clicky Alps switches but I don't like that most Alps boards came in the old school style cases. I'm more into the modern layouts (Like a Filco Zero) so I decided I'd mod my own. This is the first keyboard I've ever modded myself.

My plans for this board? I’m going to take the following three boards
  • Ducky 1087XM with Linear Black Alps clones
  • Dell AT101W with Tactile Black Alps
  • Focus FK-2001 with Clicky White Alps
And combine them into one board. The Ducky will provide the PCB, the Focus is going to provide the switches, and the Dell will provide the case/caps. I plan on cutting down and modding the case according to this guide.  Then I want to paint the case:


Either Valerie or Lakers from the Montana Gold Line of spraypaints.


6/15/13
I just completed Rev A:




I desoldered the switches from the Focus and Ducky following this video from WhiteFireDragon:


The Ducky switches were saved for either a future project or for sale/trade. They’re actually not that bad. The clicky white Alps were saved to swap into the Ducky PCB.


First, I stripped the caps off the Dell and set them aside.


Board before getting naked


Naked board


Caps


Second, I desoldered the switches off the Ducky PCB/plate.




Picture of the board, borrowed from khaangaaroo.


Board with the “top” removed


Closeup of the retaining screws in the plate


Closeup of the retaining screws in the back holding in the “top” and plate


Side view of the PCB/Plate/Switches pre-disassembly


PCB stripped off the plate with some switches removed. The switches have a tab that you press in and frees the switch from the plate. You press the tab in and then push the switch until it pops out.


Other side of the switch which has the other tab. The picture below is just the plate.






Third, I stripped the caps off the Focus and opened the case.



Board pre-teardown


Cap close up


Look at the flex in that board as I’m trying to take the caps off!


Naked board


Snap fit


Close-up of the controller


Close-up of the LEDs


PCB, plate, and switches flipped upside down


Plate and switches without the PCB, the plate was metal!


PCB top


Just the plate, also metal!


Closeup of the Linear Black Alps clones and Clicky White Alps switches

The pictures don't show it but half the legs on the Focus switches were bent over so I spent A TON of time rebending them so they stood up/out straight.

So now I have a bunch of loose parts: 2 PCBs, a bunch of switches and 2 cases. I took the white Alps and put them onto the Ducky plate, then press fit the PCB onto the plate.  The little legs on the back of the switch pass through the PCB. Unfortunately, I messed up one of the pin placements and bent it. This is causing the Delete key to not work properly. I believe  if I stick a piece of hookup wire into the hole down far enough, and solder the wire into place, I can still get functionality.


Example of my soldering job.


I burned the PCB right near the Delete key and you can see how the leg doesn’t pass through the PCB.

Then I put the caps from the Dell AT101W on to the board only to realize I lost some stabilizer inserts. That’s why the board has a mix of Dell AT101W caps and stock 1087XM modifiers.


Another shot of Rev A of the Tofu101

So I've been typing on it for the last hour or two. The clicky white Alps feel less crispy than they did when they were on the Focus board. The board works fine except for the Delete key.
« Last Edit: Sat, 15 June 2013, 21:39:30 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 21:20:18 »
What I need help with

- How do I fix the Delete key that I borked without de-soldering the entire board? 

Going to try and use a piece of hookup wire to fix it. Otherwise, I'm not sure it matters so much since I still plan on cutting the AT101W case down.

- When I hit Scroll Lock, there's a weird function layer similar to the layer that the Model F has. Does anyone have an information on this?


- Does anyone have a picture of the stabilizer insert and modifier from a Dell AT101W? 

Dubsgalore is shipping me a second AT101W. Thanks bro, I'm going to have the proper caps on this board finally.

- Does anyone know how to attach two halves of a keyboard case? See the picture below from this thread. 

Answer found here.

« Last Edit: Thu, 04 July 2013, 11:06:46 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 21:20:39 »
Next Steps
- Figure out how to attach the case if I'm cutting down the AT101W. I think epoxy or plastic weld or even JB weld might work.    Done, see above.

- Buy some Montana Gold spraypaint, primer, sandpaper and test it out on the Focus FK-2001 shell
- Cut down the case on the Dell AT101W
- Paint the case
- Mount the bare keyboard into the cutdown case
- Create a cutout for the female USB end
« Last Edit: Thu, 04 July 2013, 11:07:28 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline Glissant

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 21:26:34 »
Nice work, sai lo!
I've always wondered if you could do that with switches and you have just shown me that it is. Excellent write up and the pictures complement the article well.
Is it just me or is the youtube link borked?

Too bad about the stabs and the bent switch pin, but I'm sure you'll have all that sorted in no time ^^.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 21:29:18 »
Hm, Youtube link works fine for me. It's just WFD showing us how to use the desoldering bulb from Radio Shack :D

Thanks Dai Lo <3
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Offline AKIMbO

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 21:31:49 »
Whenever I solder ALPs switches into a PCB I always rebend the pins on the switches first.  I put the switches in on the backside of the PCB....it seems to align them better than if I attempt to straighten them out by hand.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 21:34:13 »
I spent AGES rebending the legs on those switches. I'm a little mad that I messed up the Delete key too! But thanks for the hot tip Akimbro ^__^
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Offline TheFlyingRaccoon

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 22:24:16 »
So this is what you've been working on. Looking good so far!
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 22:30:17 »
Looking good so far! ;D

Are you sure the ducky pcb will work with the dell case? The gap between the F row and the other rows looks larger on the dell than on the ducky. You might have to cut up the pcb and solder on some wires.
« Last Edit: Sat, 15 June 2013, 22:42:35 by Photekq »

Offline tipo33

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 22:31:01 »
I'm loving it!  Cant wait to see the case mod plans.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:04:11 »
Looking good so far! ;D

Are you sure the ducky pcb will work with the dell case? The gap between the F row and the other rows looks larger on the dell than on the ducky. You might have to cut up the pcb and solder on some wires.

No I'm not sure, I'm going to test it and if it doesn't work, I'll shave down the Dell case.

I'm loving it!  Cant wait to see the case mod plans.

Thanks Tibro!

So this is what you've been working on. Looking good so far!

Yup, I finally got to a place where I was happy in showing it off. Feels good to mod a board and have it work. Especially after I burned the **** out of the PCB haha :D
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:06:55 »
You could always cut the PCB in two pieces below the F row and then wire the broken traces together. Would mean the case would have to be modded less and would probably turn out nicer.

Offline alaricljs

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:10:56 »
For the funky Scroll Lock layer (Num Lock!) just look at that pic of the Ducky board in your post.  Right Alt + Scroll Lock is actually Scroll Lock, whereas Scroll Lock is the Num Lock layer toggle.  Also, Right Alt + Menu key is the the win-key lockout toggle.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:11:13 »
Whole point of me getting the Ducky PCB was to avoid this since I have no idea where to wire the traces to. I'm more comfortable with modding the case unless I can get more info. There's enough in this project that I don't know enough about as it is. Not sure how much more risk I wanna take on. Plus I'm already heavily modding the case.z

alaricljs: That's what I get for not actually looking at my pictures haha. Thanks for the info.
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:22:58 »
Whole point of me getting the Ducky PCB was to avoid this since I have no idea where to wire the traces to. I'm more comfortable with modding the case unless I can get more info. There's enough in this project that I don't know enough about as it is. Not sure how much more risk I wanna take on. Plus I'm already heavily modding the case.z

alaricljs: That's what I get for not actually looking at my pictures haha. Thanks for the info.
Are the traces not visible on the ducky? Of course I fully understand if you don't want to cut up the PCB, I would just personally rather cut up the PCB than add another cut to the case. Regardless of how you do it I hope you find a solution or better yet that it works without a mod  ;D
« Last Edit: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:25:20 by Photekq »

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:25:54 »
I don't know what traces are so even if I look at the PCB, I can't help you.
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:28:34 »
The lines that connect the solder points in the below picture are traces :


Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:30:06 »
So if I cut the PCB, how do I connect them? Just some hook-up wire? Don't understand how to connect to the actual trace.
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:31:17 »
So if I cut the PCB, how do I connect them? Just some hook-up wire? Don't understand how to connect to the actual trace.
When you cut the PCB you'd obviously be cutting some traces. Just reconnect those traces with wires. I'm not actually 100% on how to solder the wires on but I know that it can be done quite simply. I think you just clean the trace with flux and simply solder the wire on.

In the end you'd just have one large pcb, a gap and a small (f-row) pcb. The gap would be bridged with wires.
« Last Edit: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:33:48 by Photekq »

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:36:56 »
Hm ok. The only issue is that I want to keep this board plate mounted so I think I'll have to shave down the case. But that's good info for future projects. :D
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:41:54 »
Hm ok. The only issue is that I want to keep this board plate mounted so I think I'll have to shave down the case. But that's good info for future projects. :D
I'm not familiar with the boards you're working with but I'm almost certain that you could keep it plate mount even after chopping the pcb. Both pcbs should just be held in plate by the switches. Anyway doesn't matter. Modding the case is just as good  ;D

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:52:27 »
How would I keep it plate mounted if I cut the PCB? I'd have to cut the plate up as well in order to move the Function row up
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:53:33 »
Will you not be using the dell plate? I may be completely wrong because as I said I have no experience with these boards but I wouldn't have thought that the ducky plate would work with the dell case. The plate is usually designed specifically for a certain case.
« Last Edit: Sat, 15 June 2013, 23:56:54 by Photekq »

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:25:33 »
I just realized what you meant by all your questions before. I was going to shave down the Dell case to fit the Ducky plate and PCB. But you meant that I should use the Dell plate and cut up the Ducky PCB to fit it.  Hm...I wasn't thinking of using the Dell Plate before but, that's not a bad idea. I was going to cut the Dell case up anyways and I figured I'd just cut it into three parts and make it fit the Ducky Plate/PCB.
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Offline calavera

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #24 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:30:44 »
If you cut up the dell case into three sections in order to bring the function slot closer do you know for sure the shorter side will match and close up perfectly?

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:33:16 »
No I dont...Beginning to think I might have to cut up the Ducky PCB to fit the Dell plate. Or maybe just step up and learn how to direct wire the Dell PCB and just cut that down.
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:35:06 »
I would highly recommend using the dell plate over the ducky one. It's made to fit the dell case. As long as you can cut the pcb and plate then the mod should go smoothly  ;D

Offline calavera

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:37:32 »
Yeah, it's easier to go with Dell PCB/plate and re-wire disconnected traces manually. While you're at it you might as well go all out and wire everything to a teensy controller if you can. Not sure if you have the equipment to do that though.

But of course the most easiest way is to just keep it ducky PCB/plate with the switch of your choice in the ducky case.  :-[
« Last Edit: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:41:08 by calavera »

Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:42:58 »
I don't think cutting the dell pcb is a good idea. There is probably a lot of chips etc on the numpad area. You'd need to hide the whole numpad area inside the case for it to function.

I would choose one of the following :

Dell case, dell plate, ducky pcb
Dell case, dell plate, no pcb, direct wiring teensy

But of course the most easiest way is to just keep it ducky PCB/plate with the switch of your choice in the ducky case.  :-[

^this. In the OP you said you liked the look of the filco zero. Doesn't the ducky look more like this than the dell?

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:47:10 »
While you're at it you might as well go all out and wire everything to a teensy controller if you can. Not sure if you have the equipment to do that though.

Do you mean direct wire and control it with a Teensy? It's a cool idea and I'd love to learn but feature creep is setting in on this project now. I'd rather just cut up and mod what I have now. Next project can be a direct wire.

I don't think cutting the dell pcb is a good idea. There is probably a lot of chips etc on the numpad area. You'd need to hide the whole numpad area inside the case for it to function.

I would choose one of the following :

Dell case, dell plate, ducky pcb
Dell case, dell plate, no pcb, direct wiring teensy

But of course the most easiest way is to just keep it ducky PCB/plate with the switch of your choice in the ducky case.  :-[

^this. In the OP you said you liked the look of the filco zero. Doesn't the ducky look more like this than the dell?

Why can't I cut up the PCB? The mod I linked to did it so I should be able to as well if I direct wire the traces back together. The Ducky case looks better but the quality of the case is absolute ****. Same thing with the caps. The only thing I bought the board for was the PCB and plate.
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Offline Photekq

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:50:50 »
Why can't I cut up the PCB? The mod I linked to did it so I should be able to as well if I direct wire the traces back together. The Ducky case looks better but the quality of the case is absolute ****. Same thing with the caps. The only thing I bought the board for was the PCB and plate.
I was wrong about the dell PCB. I thought there may have been some chips on the sections you were cutting off but after looking at the guide I realise there isn't.

The simplest thing to do would be to just cut the dell pcb/plate/case and mod the switches. You could also cut up the ducky pcb how I mentioned before and use it with the dell plate but it would probably be easier to just use the dell pcb.

Offline calavera

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #31 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 00:56:03 »
Cutting the dell PCB doesn't look like a big problem if you look at the pic. All the controller stuff is above the function row so only a few traces need to be re-wired. You really have two logical choices here:

1. dell pcb/plate + dell case
2. ducky pcb/plate + ducky case

Mixing up the internals to another case is just a pain in the ass.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #32 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 01:00:27 »
Hm, I was just looking at the case and it seems like it'd be a pain to deal with the mismatched sizes, like you guys have been saying...Kinda wish I thought this through more before I sunk a day's worth of work into this Ducky swap.
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Offline calavera

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #33 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 01:02:32 »
lol

btw, how do you get a custom title below your username?

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #34 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 01:09:20 »
Shhh, it's a secret  ;)
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Offline calavera

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #35 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 01:11:12 »
you should change it to: measure once, cut twice.  :))

j/k

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #36 on: Sun, 16 June 2013, 01:12:51 »
Gonna change it to "**** it, we're doing it live".

Tired of measuring, i do that **** all day at work. At home, I just want to make moves and learn from my mistakes xD
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #37 on: Mon, 17 June 2013, 16:15:42 »
Not sure how I missed this other than I wasn't on much Saturday!

This is above and beyond awesome captain, I am starting to think I want an ALPS board!!

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #38 on: Thu, 04 July 2013, 11:02:38 »
So I've changed my mind and I'm probably still going to go through with the case cutdown. The_Beast and fohat.digs said that a Model M case can be attached/glued together with epoxy and wire acting as rebar. Does anyone know if the AT101W is the same material as the Model M case?
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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #39 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 00:08:55 »
I have an AT101W. I haven't taken the case apart yet, but I can tell you that it definitely feels less sturdy than my Model M's case.

I just had an idea that I bet would work better than fohat.digs' epoxy solution, if there's enough of a gap between the inside of the case and the plate/PCB.

The AT101W case is made out of ABS plastic, right? Go down to your local home supply center and get some of that ABS cement that's used to join ABS pipe. Take some of the scrap section you're cutting out of the case and cut it into sections that you glue over the inside of the seam like patches all the way down. I feel like that would be really strong because there would be a lot of surface area holding both sides of that seam together.

This is all theoretical, of course, so I'd recommend doing a small scale test with some of your plastic before you start.

Oh shoot, I just looked up "plastic repair with ABS cement," and of course there are some great pointers out there. I guess motorcyclists use it to repair fairings. If it's strong enough for that job, it definitely ought to work wonders for a keyboard case!  :p


Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #40 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 00:13:23 »
Also... Before starting you may want to try running some tests to make sure the AT101W case is actually made out of ABS (I'm pretty sure it is). Can't wait to hear how it works out!

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 06:46:16 »
Thank you Techno Trousers! I'll be sure to report back and let you know what I find. Seems like kind of a waste to buy all this acetone just to try a little on plastic. Isn't nail polish remover just acetone?
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Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 09:47:09 »
Yes, and there's another kind, but they should be labeled so you know you're getting the right one.

Offline Thimplum

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #43 on: Fri, 19 July 2013, 17:02:22 »
More board mashups!
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #44 on: Fri, 19 July 2013, 17:06:18 »
Hehe. I might have someone design me an acrylic case so I might spare the AT101W from a grisly fate. Been busy with other stuff though so we'll see.
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Offline Thimplum

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #45 on: Fri, 19 July 2013, 17:28:37 »
Or maybe you can get a case 3d-printed from Titanium!
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #46 on: Fri, 19 July 2013, 17:32:21 »
Who's Titanium?
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Offline Thimplum

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #47 on: Fri, 19 July 2013, 17:39:43 »
Fail. The element Ti is NOT a proper noun.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #48 on: Fri, 19 July 2013, 17:51:14 »
Um, ok. I thought you were trying to be helpful, guess not.
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Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: CPTBadAss' Tofu101 (Custom TKL Alps Build) Keyboard Build Log
« Reply #49 on: Sat, 20 July 2013, 19:30:21 »
Hey, CPT, how is your project coming along? I guess you haven't attemped the ABS welding yet?