Author Topic: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout  (Read 9269 times)

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Offline E TwentyNine

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AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 11:36:35 »
You've seen the mod done here: http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=48288.0 and all the great mods it links to in the first post.

Thought I'd give it a go, with a slightly different twist.

This mod takes a stock AT F and does the following:
  • Swaps out the big enter key for an ANSI enter key + a 1.5x backslash key
  • Swaps out the 1.0x backslash and 1.0x backspace key for a single big backspace key
  • Replaces the AT spacebar with a Model M spacebar and adds an extra modifier key to each side of the spacebar
  • Relocates original key wire mounts from unused key to above spacebar key, reusing internal spacebar wire as external one
  • Changes the left side function keys to have Esc and F1-F8
  • Rearranges the numberpad into an inverted-T cursor key cluster and the navigation six pack, plus F9 - F12
  • Will be using a teensy/soarer converter once I get it in the mail...

I'll just skip to the things that are a little different about this compared to other mods.  What I did for the wire mounts was drill two holes above the spacebar at the same locations as on an M (slightly lower), and pull two mounts from the numpad and relocate them there:



On my first attempt I tried to remove the old mounts while retaining the plastic so I could "mushroom melt" it down to mount it like it was originally:



That did not work.  So instead I epoxied them:



Positioning the new key barrels was simple:



Simple except for my outstanding rotary tool skills getting that opening just right...

Now, the changes to the side keys.  On the left I need an Esc key.  And I need it to be by itself.  Just how I'm wired from decades of typing on M's, I sometimes keep my left hand there and having two keys instead of one there doesn't feel right to me.  So on the left side here's the layout:



And on the right side, again, I'm used to an SSK, I like having space around the cursor keys, so this is the layout I chose:



Generally speaking, the inside of the F is really a pleasure to work with.  Everything just falls into place nicely and I button it back up in seconds.  I may mess around more with key locations.

Here's how the spacebar wire looks with the keyboard buttoned up:



My rotary tool skills are only challenged by my wire bending skills.  The spacebar is just as crisp as the other keys now, I'll have to get another wire and do it cleaner, but even with my crooked wire setup, it works great.

I had to trim the case to either side of the Alt keys to get clearance, and again, my tools skills left something to be desired, but decide to leave it as is for now.

Finally, I had some white on black keys available, so decided to dress it up a bit.  The black also makes the missing keys less blatant to the eye:






I know on the standard key layout the tilde key and the backslash key are supposed to be the same color as the alphanumerics.  I think it looks better if they match the other keys along the sides.

As for what's next, I've checked all the new keys on a computer with a native PS/2 port, everything registers with unique bios scancodes, just need to get that soarer hooked up.

Also considering a layout of something above the backplate to mask the missing keys better than electrical tape.  When it gets warmer I'm going to disassemble the whole thing, paint it, and see what else I can think of.

Thanks to wcass for the keyboard template which was great even if my cutting skills were not.

Thanks to soarer for, well, everything, and to YakMN for answering questions on his build, and everyone else who posted the threads he linked to.




Daily driver: SSK or Tenkeyless IBM AT
1984 Model M Industrial Prototype ⌨ 1992 Black Oval Industrial SSK ⌨ 1982 5251 Beam Spring ⌨ 89 Key "SSK" ⌨ M13 triplets

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 11:41:18 »
Very interesting mod! Thanks for sharing.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 11:51:47 »
Huh, I didn't realize it would be that easy to mod an AT F to a different layout. That's really cool. Thanks for posting this, I wanna get my hands on an AT F to try this out now :D.
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Offline JPG

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 11:54:46 »
Nice mod. Just for my personal information, how does the pcb detects the new keys?
IBM F122, IBM XT F X2, IBM AT F (all Soarer converted), Filco Camo TKL Browns

Offline E TwentyNine

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 12:05:46 »
Nice mod. Just for my personal information, how does the pcb detects the new keys?

The pcb is already set up to detect the two alt keys.  As the F-122 has those keys I'm guessing there's some design crossover there.

Same is true for the rearranged keys on the number pad for the barrel which is normally unused by the 0 key.
Daily driver: SSK or Tenkeyless IBM AT
1984 Model M Industrial Prototype ⌨ 1992 Black Oval Industrial SSK ⌨ 1982 5251 Beam Spring ⌨ 89 Key "SSK" ⌨ M13 triplets

Offline E TwentyNine

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 22 December 2013, 17:37:31 »
Well, got my teensy, hooked it all up, and now have a fully functional F "SSK".  Typing on in now.

I could even map the numberpad secondary layer and get that going, but I never use that even on a real SSK.

If anyone happens to want to do this at some point in the future, here is my config file used to remap the keys.

* ATF_SSK.SC (1.51 kB - downloaded 180 times.)

Thanks a million Soarer, setting up the configuration was dirt simple.
Daily driver: SSK or Tenkeyless IBM AT
1984 Model M Industrial Prototype ⌨ 1992 Black Oval Industrial SSK ⌨ 1982 5251 Beam Spring ⌨ 89 Key "SSK" ⌨ M13 triplets

Offline berserkfan

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 25 December 2013, 11:31:30 »
you have me absolutely salivating over this.

unfortunately my technical skills are too lacking...
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline YakMN

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 05 January 2014, 23:10:20 »
Very cool! I have to say, the black keys look frickin' awesome. I have a dream keyboard layout with white-on-black keys for ones that are gray on a standard Model F/M/etc. How on earth did you get black keys? I asked unicomp, but they said they can't do anything with white text.

Great idea to re-use the plastic stabilizer holders.

Have you thought about using a very thin plastic sheet, black, and punching circles in it for the barrels? It might make the dead spaces you have at the right and left look a bit better. Maybe even black construction paper.

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 08:08:12 »
Have you thought about using a very thin plastic sheet, black, and punching circles in it for the barrels? It might make the dead spaces you have at the right and left look a bit better. Maybe even black construction paper.

Black construction paper will not look right, it needs rigidity. Black painted cardboard would be better, if nothing else.

I would be inclined to populate the blank spots with keys, even if they did nothing (leave out the hammers or something like that).
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"You've got to deny, deny, deny, and push back on these women," he said. "If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you're dead. That was a big mistake that you made. You didn't come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness. You've got to be strong. You've got to be aggressive. You've got to push back hard. You've got to deny anything that's said about you. Never admit."

Offline E TwentyNine

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 08:32:35 »
The black keys come from an M-13.

My initial plan was to get the case from another keyboard and "transplant" the piece above the cursor keys.  So the non-key areas would be case color, not black.

I may rearrange the key layout a bit still so I haven't done anything permanent.

Either way I want the height of the area where the keys aren't to be level with the case, like on an M or any similar keyboard.

Daily driver: SSK or Tenkeyless IBM AT
1984 Model M Industrial Prototype ⌨ 1992 Black Oval Industrial SSK ⌨ 1982 5251 Beam Spring ⌨ 89 Key "SSK" ⌨ M13 triplets

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 08:57:05 »

Either way I want the height of the area where the keys aren't to be level with the case, like on an M or any similar keyboard.


In that case, I would cut a filler piece out of wood (or even styrofoam) to infill the space, and cap it with something, anything.

A $1 junk beige keyboard from a thrift store comes to mind, find a flat piece the size you need, and make the cap. Cut the edges straight, round them off a bit, glue it to your filler block, and if you keep the gap small it will look pretty natural.

You could also make flat smooth "caps" to epoxy to the tops of key stems (might have to grind them down somewhat) and make infill caps that could go anywhere (after you put the barrels back in).
Trump gave some private advice to a friend who had acknowledged some bad behavior toward women. "Real power is fear. It's all about strength. Never show weakness. You've always got to be strong. Don't be bullied. There is no choice.
"You've got to deny, deny, deny, and push back on these women," he said. "If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you're dead. That was a big mistake that you made. You didn't come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness. You've got to be strong. You've got to be aggressive. You've got to push back hard. You've got to deny anything that's said about you. Never admit."

Offline mougrim

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Re: AT Model F ANSI/Spacebar/Alt conversion and SSK-ish key layout
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 18 May 2014, 09:55:42 »
Hmmm... interesting mod. So far I'm happy with stock layout, but what you've done looks cool...
Daily driver: IBM AT Model F
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