Author Topic: Matias switches with MX stems?  (Read 19499 times)

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Offline Oobly

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Matias switches with MX stems?
« on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 03:22:38 »
Hi,

I know you developed your own variant of Alps switches, so do you think it's a worthwhile idea to try to make a new variant of slider for your switches with an MX keycap mount? It would increase the demand for your switches massively by allowing access to a huge range of aftermarket keycaps.

I am developing a couple of keyboards and the primary reason I am not choosing to use Matias switches is the lack of keycap options, despite the better feeling and lower price of Matias switches.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 04:15:20 »
Pretty sure it’ll take a drastic redesign to let the whole keycap circle fit in there: I think it may interfere with the switchplate and/or click leaf. (Though I haven’t looked too closely.)

At that scale of redesign, there are various more interesting things that could be done, adopting some ideas from other types of switches.

Matias: if you want to resurrect one of the most delightfully clicky switches ever, the Marquardt plate spring “butterfly” switch (ideally with a couple tweaks, making it slightly less stiff and swapping in an Alps/MX/something keycap mount), I’d be happy to send you a couple loose switches. ;-)
« Last Edit: Wed, 07 January 2015, 04:19:10 by jacobolus »

Offline vvp

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 05:09:09 »
I did not use Matias (or Alps) switches because of keycaps too.
They have a good price but they are almost useless for a hobbyist.

Offline dante

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 16:43:56 »
Fortunately for Cherry's sake, Matias hasn't figured out how to pull this off.

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 16:46:08 »
Not an ideal solution but mr. interface was working on adapters but they would obviously add to the switch height.

Offline Hypersphere

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 17:05:04 »
I like Matias switches so much that I have gone to considerable effort and expense to acquire vintage keyboards to harvest Alps-mount keycaps for my V60 Matias-switch keyboards.

However, I am quite sure that the relative lack of keycaps for Matias switches has discouraged many of those who might otherwise purchase Matias-switch keyboards. Selling some replacement ABS keycaps is somewhat helpful, but enthusiasts and others want PBT and preferably dye-sublimated legends on PBT in an OEM or Cherry stepped or sculpted profile.

So, what I am suggesting is rather than asking Matias to redesign their switches to accommodate Cherry mx keycaps, to encourage Matias and other companies to produce some high-quality keycap sets for existing Matias switches. Doubleshot ABS is a possibility, but I would much rather see dye-sublimated PBT.


Offline jacobolus

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 18:36:41 »
If Matias ends up making tooling for full thick PBT sets, I’d love to see someone figure out a way to bulk-buy a few hundred sets of white blanks and get some third party with a dye-sub setup (like IMSTO or who knows who) to print the legends.

I’m hoping 2015 will be a good year for new types of keycaps generally (new shapes, better legend designs, more switch mounts). My sense is that there’s growing awareness and interest.
« Last Edit: Wed, 07 January 2015, 18:38:49 by jacobolus »

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 02:27:31 »
Pretty sure it’ll take a drastic redesign to let the whole keycap circle fit in there: I think it may interfere with the switchplate and/or click leaf.
I think that was concluded in an earlier thread.

I think that if the switch was widened to fit a Cherry MX key stem then its feel could be adversely affected.

There are lots more different vintage Alps-compatible keycaps out there than vintage Cherry MX.
Personally, I think it would have been better if Cherry MX had transitioned to using Alps' keycap mount which was a more dominant standard at one time - then all modern replacement sets would already have been compatible with Matias.
Plus, with Alps it is possible to make 75% keycaps like Matias uses in the Ergo Pro and which were planned for the 60% keyboard.
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Offline bowji

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 02:32:16 »
I like this idea. Im in the process of collecting one of each switched keyboards and alps has been on the last of the list since the availability of after market keycaps. MX stemmed alps would be like the Novatouch, a board with new possibilities. Hope this can work out.
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Offline Oobly

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 05:54:21 »
Pretty sure it’ll take a drastic redesign to let the whole keycap circle fit in there: I think it may interfere with the switchplate and/or click leaf.
I think that was concluded in an earlier thread.

I think that if the switch was widened to fit a Cherry MX key stem then its feel could be adversely affected.

There are lots more different vintage Alps-compatible keycaps out there than vintage Cherry MX.
Personally, I think it would have been better if Cherry MX had transitioned to using Alps' keycap mount which was a more dominant standard at one time - then all modern replacement sets would already have been compatible with Matias.
Plus, with Alps it is possible to make 75% keycaps like Matias uses in the Ergo Pro and which were planned for the 60% keyboard.

I guess it would require a case redesign with more space for the slider + keycap stem. If I'm not mistaken, the mechanisms reside either side of the stem, so this should be feasible without changing any of the parts of the mechanism itself, just the case and slider design. Anyway, I think it's worth investigating at least, since keycap availability is a definite factor in many people's decision on which mechanical board to get. Not being able to put your favourite caps on a board sucks. Not to mention I have yet to see an Alps mount caps set that I REALLY like.

I'm interested in the switches, but not enough to buy a board that I can't change the caps on. I know that it is POSSIBLE to change the caps, but there aren't a lot of easily available options, let alone any that truly appeal to me. And keycaps are the interface between my fingers and the computer. They're important.

MX is the current standard. I mean, SP can and do make Alps mount caps and I know Matias is working on producing Alps mount sets to sell, but I have so far seen only one GB for Alps caps. How many MX keycap GB's are there? I don't think there's enough interest for producing anywhere near the variety we see in the MX caps market. And why split the market like that anyway if it's not really going to increase sales of your product.

IMHO, making MX keycap compatible switches will increase Matias' sales far more than making a few sets of their own keycaps.

There's a place for proprietary components and a place for standardised ones. IMHO, components that differentiate your product and make it unique should remain proprietary, but when it comes to interfaces, standardisation is king, whether it's an electronic connector (like MicroUSB) or a keyswitch stem. It gives the user options and users like to have options (as long as it's something at least some users would really want to do and it doesn't interfere with the primary functions of the product). They like to know that they CAN do a particular thing with the product even if they never actually do that thing.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 14:25:14 »
There's a place for proprietary components and a place for standardised ones. IMHO, components that differentiate your product and make it unique should remain proprietary, but when it comes to interfaces, standardisation is king, whether it's an electronic connector (like MicroUSB) or a keyswitch stem.
For 99% of people, keycap mounts are not a user-relevant interface, but just an implementation detail. The reason Alps and MX mounts (which both date from the mid-1980s) became popular on other types of switches in the late 80s and early 90s was because it let cheap manufacturers gain cheaper access to existing volume parts, not because users wanted to customize their keyboards. Then all the profit fell entirely out of the keyboard market, most vendors got out of the game, and pretty much only Cherry and Key Tronic were left with any volume at all. If the mechanical keyboard market continues to grow, I suspect we’ll start to see more new keycap mounts, like Logitech/Omron’s new one, from manufacturers who want to make keycaps with different shapes than what they’d get from Tai Hao or Costar or whoever.

I think it’s just dandy that Matias’s resurrected Alps-style switches use the same old Alps mount, switch shape, and pin locations, as there’s a whole big ecosystem of compatible parts from the 80s and 90s that gain new life that way. I have a pile of Alps-mount switches of various sorts that came on keyboards with wacky layouts, that I would love to be able to build into custom boards and need just a handful of new keycaps to make it work. Likewise, there are other Alps/Alps clone boards that have great cases and keycaps but worn out, broken, or otherwise unsatisfactory switches that can be swapped for brand new Matias switches and brought back to life.
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 January 2015, 14:31:18 by jacobolus »

Offline Hypersphere

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Re: Matias switches with MX stems?
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 11 January 2015, 10:57:18 »
There's a place for proprietary components and a place for standardised ones. IMHO, components that differentiate your product and make it unique should remain proprietary, but when it comes to interfaces, standardisation is king, whether it's an electronic connector (like MicroUSB) or a keyswitch stem.
For 99% of people, keycap mounts are not a user-relevant interface, but just an implementation detail. The reason Alps and MX mounts (which both date from the mid-1980s) became popular on other types of switches in the late 80s and early 90s was because it let cheap manufacturers gain cheaper access to existing volume parts, not because users wanted to customize their keyboards. Then all the profit fell entirely out of the keyboard market, most vendors got out of the game, and pretty much only Cherry and Key Tronic were left with any volume at all. If the mechanical keyboard market continues to grow, I suspect we’ll start to see more new keycap mounts, like Logitech/Omron’s new one, from manufacturers who want to make keycaps with different shapes than what they’d get from Tai Hao or Costar or whoever.

I think it’s just dandy that Matias’s resurrected Alps-style switches use the same old Alps mount, switch shape, and pin locations, as there’s a whole big ecosystem of compatible parts from the 80s and 90s that gain new life that way. I have a pile of Alps-mount switches of various sorts that came on keyboards with wacky layouts, that I would love to be able to build into custom boards and need just a handful of new keycaps to make it work. Likewise, there are other Alps/Alps clone boards that have great cases and keycaps but worn out, broken, or otherwise unsatisfactory switches that can be swapped for brand new Matias switches and brought back to life.
Very well said! I agree. (Typed on my new KBP V60 Matias Click keyboard with Matias mods and alphas from a vintage Alps-mount keyboard by IBM).