Author Topic: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop  (Read 87871 times)

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Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #400 on: Wed, 21 September 2016, 13:09:49 »

Black is an extremely sensible colour option ("It's the new black", after all) in terms of repeatability / consistency if nothing else.


I hope Apple doesn't sue me for stealing their color.


And those palm rests look gorgeous.

Thanks. I think the wood will warm up the look of the cold planet.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #401 on: Fri, 23 September 2016, 10:37:08 »
Yesterday wasn't a productive day but not for lack of effort.

Kurplop's kollision with unkontrollable kaos kulminating in kataclysmic katastrophes kombined with kurious konsequences, kalls into kwestion kurplop's kredentials for kompleting keyboard.   Kapeesh?

Yesterday wasn't a productive day for Planet 6.

It began early as I tried applying the mask to etch logo onto keyboard shell. Earlier tests with thick aluminum failed, probably because of the mass absorbing too much heat which prevented the toner from melting and transfering to the aluminum. So I preheated the shell in the oven to 350º with clothes iron ready to seal the deal.

Earlier experiences with transferring toner has taught me a few valuable lessons. 
1. Thoroughly soak paper before removing or some of the toner may adhere to the paper.
2. The iron has barely enough heat to do the job, even with thinner projects, so don't scrimp on ironing time.
3. Apply generous pressure. After heating, I use the iron's edge to burnish the paper.
4. If you use tape to locate paper, keep it  far enough away from artwork to allow iron to make good contact with transfer.

So what could go wrong?

I'm not sure, but it did.
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Several attempts, and the results weren't much better than this one. I think that the combination of dealing with the preheated part and the compound curves multiplied the difficulty factor. Resolved to get this thing anodized that day, I choose to just not etch P6 on the shell.

Now to the shop where new 6 gallon buckets, fresh distilled water, and battery acid are waiting alongside my surplus anodizing supplies and equipment.
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After re-sandblasting the area I prepped for the logo earlier, I carefully cleaned, degreased, and de-smutted the parts in appropriate solutions and at the correct temperatures. I prepped the anodizing tank, hooked up the power supply and set the constant current to 5.5 amps. Being careful not to touch the parts, I dipped the parts into the tank, dividing the pieces into  4 different groups to avoid overcrowding the tank.

I was confused when after 2 hours, the voltage only rose to about 10 from approximately 5. I thought that in the past it rose a quite a bit higher to maintain the current flow as the anodizing process increased resistance. It just seemed to stop at around 10. I removed the pieces after 2.5+ hours because I've read that after a certain time the anodizing process stops but the sulfuric acid continues to corrode. According to the 720 formula, given the surface area and amperage, it should have been complete after 130 minutes.

When I finally dipped the work in the dye, I was disappointed to find that it didn't take. None of the 4 batches took the dye. But why?

So, after about 18 hours of time on it yesterday, all I have is a pile of pieces which aren't black and may or may not be anodized and a bunch of questions about what went wrong. The possible culprits may be old supplies; most of the chemicals and the dye are from when I did the AlumaPlop. Could they have gone bad? I was careful not to contaminate any of the solutions and sealed the containers. I wondered if I didn't have a good electrical connection to the pieces or that my acid solution wasn't properly conducting electricity, but the cathode was bubbling aggressively enough to suggest otherwise– this was also supported by the readings on the rectifier.  I also waited about 1 to 2 hours between de-smutting and anodizing, but I don't think that could cause the issue either. One final possibility is that the aluminum alloy I used doesn't anodize well but it was 6061 which is pretty reliable. The aluminum wire bonding the pieces wouldn't take dye either.

I welcome any thoughts on the matter. I don't want to waste a lot more time stripping and re-doing it again to end up with the same results.

On the positive side, while I'm scratching my head on the anodizing problem I may try the etching process again.

 
« Last Edit: Fri, 23 September 2016, 23:21:16 by kurplop »

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #402 on: Fri, 23 September 2016, 11:11:54 »
I wonder if that dye looks it's efficacy after a certain amount of time. Or the chemicals in general.

And for some reason that voltage issue is really sticking out to me. But I don't know enough to comment on that part of the process....or much on anodizing in general.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #403 on: Fri, 23 September 2016, 12:15:45 »
I wonder if that dye looks it's efficacy after a certain amount of time. Or the chemicals in general.

And for some reason that voltage issue is really sticking out to me. But I don't know enough to comment on that part of the process....or much on anodizing in general.

Thanks for the thoughts. I've wondered about the dye. I ran a felt pen over the aluminum after the failed dyeing attempt to see if it would absorb the ink. It didn't but the surface was still wet so that may have affected it. I'll check again today. I was exhausted and frustrated last night.

I wish I knew how to test the quality of the chemicals. Both the degreaser and the de-smut appeared to work, based upon the water sheeting test after the degreaser and the color change after the de-smut.

Based on my observations, I've ruled out failure from the power supply because it seemed to respond properly. I know it was properly polarized, both by tracing the leads from the anode to the positive and the cathode to the negative and also the more plentiful hydrogen bubbling coming from the lead cathode. I varied the constant current from 4.5 to 6.5 amps treating approximately 1sq. ft. of area at a time for between 1.5 to almost 3 hours. The voltage began at about 4 volts and raised to roughly 10 when I removed the pieces. If the acid bath was bad I don't think I would have gotten as good continuity. I very briefly contaminated the acid when a steel clamp accidentally touched the surface for 1-2 seconds but other than that I took precautions to keep the bath pure. A weak link may be the attachments, aluminum wire tightly wound around the parts, but it's hard to believe at least some would not have worked. With the caps there were 62 pieces.

I could try the same thing again, buy new chemicals and try again, give up and Ceracote it, or really give up and use some old house paint I have laying around. I think it's green.

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #404 on: Fri, 23 September 2016, 14:12:10 »
Oh dear, it was all going so well!

I think a board this good with so many hours of labour involved in it's creation deserves better than house paint, though green would go nicely with the red ball...
                               
Ducky Zero, MX Reds    JD40, Jailhouse Blues           GH60
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Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #405 on: Fri, 23 September 2016, 14:21:18 »
I've recovered from the setback. I'm going to step back and then jump back in- no compromise. I'm just waiting until a clear path is evident.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #406 on: Fri, 23 September 2016, 17:15:00 »
I ordered some Ceracote H-146P Graphite Black and it will be here Wednesday. We have until then to figure out the anodizing problem or it goes to the paint booth and oven. Either way, I hope to spend some time getting the logo etching problem solved.

I should also have time to make the remaining PCBs by then.  Well maybe not. My wife just gave me the green light to redo 2 of our showers. That will take most of 2 weeks to tear out, reframe 2 partition walls, replace pans, new mortar beds, tile and install doors. It will be a fun diversion. 

Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #407 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 09:23:08 »
I don't know anything about anodizing, but I found a PDF for troubleshooting that might be useful: http://www.nmfrc.org/pdf/sf2005/sf051502.pdf. And here is a very short thread that touches on the problem of the dye not sticking: http://www.finishing.com/3600-3799/3679.shtml.

Here's to hoping. :thumb:

Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #408 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 09:45:43 »
Aaargh.  ****.

Working backwards from what you've said

The dye wouldn't take.

This implies either you have no / very thin anodize, the dye is bad, or the anodize came out of the bath already sealed (not sure if this can happen but if you got the process wrong somehow...)

As you say a pen wouldn't take on the surface either, we can probably discount the "bad dye" option.  Still, test the dye on something that definitely will take dye, to be sure, maybe?

That leaves the question "are the pieces anodized at all?".  Run a multimeter over it, the anodised layer should be non-conductive, and thick enough that your probe tips pushed against the surface can't penetrate through to the raw alu below.

If it's (properly) anodised, it could be that your process fouled up and the parts came out already sealed, which means you're into "strip and dip" time.  Or cerakote, you quitter you.  My money's on "it's not anodised".  If that's the case, "why not?".

You were getting at least some current through, the bubbling shows that.  Maybe a check with the same solution would be worthwhile, a piece of planet 6 scrap, and a multimeter inline, in 10A ammeter mode (*quick* test, no more than 5/10 seconds at a time).

Otherwise, chemicals.  You say you used the same chemicals as for the alumaplop, I'll discount them "going bad", or even getting contaminated, but are you sure you haven't just diluted an already diluted acid?
« Last Edit: Sun, 25 September 2016, 09:49:15 by tufty »

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #409 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 09:49:30 »
I don't know anything about anodizing, but I found a PDF for troubleshooting that might be useful: http://www.nmfrc.org/pdf/sf2005/sf051502.pdf. And here is a very short thread that touches on the problem of the dye not sticking: http://www.finishing.com/3600-3799/3679.shtml.

Here's to hoping. :thumb:

Thanks for sharing the resources, it's good to see that you're still around. I hadn't seen either article and they were good checklists. The one article applied to architectural finishes which use a different method for coloring because of the need for protection from the sun but still offered good reminders. A few things stood out as possibilities and in the end I think it had to be either the old materials or waiting too long between steps. I think that I'm going to go ahead and Ceracote the shell and other body parts. If I'm happy with the finish, I'll do the same to the caps. My biggest concern is the potential wear on the caps. I'm amazed how well the black anodize is holding up on the AlumaPlop, although the shell doesn't get the abuse the caps would get.


Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #410 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:00:02 »
Aaargh.  ****.

Or cerakote, you quitter you.

Mmmaaahhhnnnn. You didn't have to go and hurt my feelings.


Aaargh.  ****.

Working backwards from what you've said

The dye wouldn't take.

This implies either you have no / very thin anodize, the dye is bad, or the anodize came out of the bath already sealed (not sure if this can happen but if you got the process wrong somehow...)

As you say a pen wouldn't take on the surface either, we can probably discount the "bad dye" option.  Still, test the dye on something that definitely will take dye, to be sure, maybe?

That leaves the question "are the pieces anodized at all?".  Run a multimeter over it, the anodised layer should be non-conductive, and thick enough that your probe tips pushed against the surface can't penetrate through to the raw alu below.

If it's (properly) anodised, it could be that your process fouled up and the parts came out already sealed, which means you're into "strip and dip" time.  Or cerakote, you quitter you.  My money's on "it's not anodised".  If that's the case, "why not?".

You were getting at least some current through, the bubbling shows that.  Maybe a check with the same solution would be worthwhile, a piece of planet 6 scrap, and a multimeter inline, in 10A ammeter mode (*quick* test, no more than 5/10 seconds at a time).

Otherwise, chemicals.  You say you used the same chemicals as for the alumaplop, I'll discount them "going bad", or even getting contaminated, but are you sure you haven't just diluted an already diluted acid?

I may not have got the acid concentration perfect but I suspect it was pretty close. You've got me fired up to try more tests (after your callous comments) but I don't want to do them on the actual pieces themselves. I'm concerned that the tapped holes may become compromised if I do much more.

I appreciate your logical troubleshooting sequence, I just wish you would offered them sooner.    Sleeping on the job?

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #411 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:04:38 »
One other thing. If the concentration wasn't conducive to anodizing, I don't think I would have gotten so much bubbling. I inhaled enough hydrogen fumes to make me as high a a Graf Zeppelin.

Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #412 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:45:02 »
I inhaled enough hydrogen fumes to make me as high a a Graf Zeppelin.
If your next project isn't a 122 key contoured ergo board called "oh, the huge manatee"...

Yeah, sleeping on the job.  Sorry :)

I think you probably ought to see if it's anodised anyway.  Not sure how cerakote will stick to raw aluminium, and if it's still raw it will still be soft...

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #413 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 10:56:42 »
I inhaled enough hydrogen fumes to make me as high a a Graf Zeppelin.
If your next project isn't a 122 key contoured ergo board called "oh, the huge manatee"...

Yeah, sleeping on the job.  Sorry :)

I think you probably ought to see if it's anodised anyway.  Not sure how cerakote will stick to raw aluminium, and if it's still raw it will still be soft...

I will. I'm guessing that it's slightly anodized based on the fact that it did absorb some color and that the resistance did double. If my memory serves me well, I think the voltage got to about 17 on the AlumaPlop compared to 10, given the same current. I don't mind getting new chemicals and re dipping, I just don't want to re-wire 68 caps again. That was very tedious.

The Ceracote is supposed to adhere well to raw aluminum as long as it's prepped properly.


Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #414 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 12:45:46 »
I just don't want to re-wire 68 caps again. That was very tedious.
Eeek.  I can imagine.  I figured you'd done something like "drill a bunch of holes in a sacrificial aluminium plate", rammed the key stems in that, and anodised the lot in one hit, as it were.

Also, cerakote is gun technology, and gun technology is always cool.  Speshly when you're turning swords into plowshares, as it were.
« Last Edit: Sun, 25 September 2016, 12:50:54 by tufty »

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #415 on: Sun, 25 September 2016, 13:50:03 »
I just don't want to re-wire 68 caps again. That was very tedious.
Eeek.  I can imagine.  I figured you'd done something like "drill a bunch of holes in a sacrificial aluminium plate", rammed the key stems in that, and anodised the lot in one hit, as it were.

Also, cerakote is gun technology, and gun technology is always cool.  Speshly when you're turning swords into plowshares, as it were.

Unfortunately, nothing that elegant.
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I twisted the aluminum wire ends around the cap stems. About half sheared off as I tightened the loop. Part of the trouble is that the process is limited to aluminum or titanium. The aluminum is easily broken when twisted and doesn't  have any spring to it, both qualities make it troublesome to get a good mechanical bond. I had to redo about half but in the end I think I got a decent bond.


The upshot of all of this is that I get a chance to try out my super cool spray gun that I bought last year for spraying Ceracote.
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It will be the first time spraying such small work.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #416 on: Mon, 26 September 2016, 22:54:59 »
Just some recognition for our good friends at Ceracote. They said it would be shipped on Wednesday and tonight I get this message saying that it will be at my home Tuesday at 10:30AM.
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I still want to give the anodize and the logo etch one more try before moving forward, but it's always great when a company exceeds expectations. :thumb:

Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #417 on: Tue, 27 September 2016, 04:07:36 »
Thanks for sharing the resources, it's good to see that you're still around.

I'm cheering you on from the sidelines. ;)

I hadn't seen either article and they were good checklists. The one article applied to architectural finishes which use a different method for coloring because of the need for protection from the sun but still offered good reminders.

Yeah, I should have figured there were some differences. It's all just anodizing to me. 'Til next time.

A few things stood out as possibilities and in the end I think it had to be either the old materials or waiting too long between steps. I think that I'm going to go ahead and Ceracote the shell and other body parts. If I'm happy with the finish, I'll do the same to the caps. My biggest concern is the potential wear on the caps. I'm amazed how well the black anodize is holding up on the AlumaPlop, although the shell doesn't get the abuse the caps would get.

That's a sound idea. I'm looking forward to the update. Also, cool spray gun!

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #418 on: Tue, 27 September 2016, 09:08:47 »

I'm cheering you on from the sidelines. ;)
I thought I heard someone out there in the bleachers. :)  Thanks.

Were you the one in the short skirt with pompoms?  :eek:


 Also, cool spray gun!

It's no secret that I'm a tool lover and aficionado and I'm really excited about trying out this gun. I've got a lot of time in with paint guns, both HVLP and airless, and cheap and expensive. It is a delight just holding this one; it has a good weight and balance. The adjusting knobs and trigger suggest quality and control. My spraying  experience has been tilted towards higher volume, shooting from quart pots or 5 gallon buckets. I'll have to remember not to have too heavy a finger on the trigger.

I've spend some time last weekend routing trace paths for the pcbs and catching up on other little behind the scene details.




Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #419 on: Tue, 27 September 2016, 22:28:43 »
Well, I tried at least. 

I re-anodized the keyring and it did take the dye this time , but it was not perfectly consistent. I did learn a few things along the way. I used sodium hydroxide to strip the anodize and whether or not it fully stripped it, it sure did clean it up. I re-sandblasted it, degreased and de-smutted it. Before dipping it I added a little more acid for good measure fired up the DC and was getting better results. I dipped it in the dye and it partially took– kind of a very dark grey. I decided it wasn't worth it and decided to go with the Ceracote which came today. I think that  didn't fully strip the anodize and that led to the sub-par results.

Gave a final try at the logo etch. It was going well but at about half depth the mask started to dissolve.
149317-0

I sanded it out and discovered that the anodize did take after all. The skin was very hard and it took a lot of effort to cut through it. I may try to re-anodize the caps but I think the rest will be good without it.


Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #420 on: Wed, 28 September 2016, 23:51:18 »
Yeah, go ceracote.  I wouldn't even bother with trying the anodize again on the keys, just ceracote the lot.

After doing a test piece, obviously.

Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #421 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 04:26:38 »
Were you the one in the short skirt with pompoms?  :eek:

Don't give me any wacky ideas now...

I decided it wasn't worth it and decided to go with the Ceracote which came today.

Cerakote it is then. Just a final question before we leave the land of anodization; didn't you anodize the Alumaplop? That turned out well I think.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #422 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 09:21:56 »

Yeah, go ceracote.  I wouldn't even bother with trying the anodize again on the keys, just ceracote the lot.

After doing a test piece, obviously.


I decided it wasn't worth it and decided to go with the Ceracote which came today.

Cerakote it is then. Just a final question before we leave the land of anodization; didn't you anodize the Alumaplop? That turned out well I think.

I did anodize the Alumaplop and it turned out incredible. That is why the decision to not continue pursuing anodization was such a hard one to make. I will probably never know for sure what went wrong and will try again on other projects but I just don't have it in me to start from scratch again, especially when I'd have to strip everything before I could even start from scratch.


I rely heavily on the comments of my friends here to help me sort through the many decisions that inherently come with a project like this. In the end, it is me that makes the decision and lives with the consequences, but in so many ways you have influenced that decision. Because of that, at the risk of sounding codependent, thanks for giving me "permission" to Cerakote rather than anodize. Without your approval I would forever wonder if I was compromising the project even though the coating may be, in some ways, superior.


Getting rigging set up for spraying. I still have to re-prep the caps– degrease, sandblast, heat to 400º to draw out latent moisture and oils, degrease, then spray.
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Everything is getting black, but the ring caps look kinda nice natural. Although, maybe just a little too much.
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You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.



Probably not much progress on P6 until the weekend, I've got a bathroom tore up and need to get the shower finished soon.

Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #423 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 10:26:57 »
I did anodize the Alumaplop and it turned out incredible. That is why the decision to not continue pursuing anodization was such a hard one to make. I will probably never know for sure what went wrong and will try again on other projects but I just don't have it in me to start from scratch again, especially when I'd have to strip everything before I could even start from scratch.

Then I am up to speed. I guess I didn't realize the amount of work it took.

I rely heavily on the comments of my friends here to help me sort through the many decisions that inherently come with a project like this. In the end, it is me that makes the decision and lives with the consequences, but in so many ways you have influenced that decision. Because of that, at the risk of sounding codependent, thanks for giving me "permission" to Cerakote rather than anodize. Without your approval I would forever wonder if I was compromising the project even though the coating may be, in some ways, superior.

Aww. :D You know what's best. Your vision, your project.


You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.

The only thing I was thinking was "WOW". If you say there's something about the texture, I believe ya. But man, that looks so cool!

Probably not much progress on P6 until the weekend, I've got a bathroom tore up and need to get the shower finished soon.

Good luck with the building. Does the wife allow you free rein?

Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #424 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 10:43:06 »
Everything is getting black, but the ring caps look kinda nice natural. Although, maybe just a little too much.
They look great like that, IMO

Maybe better if they were anodized red to match the trackball no no no no no don't say that bad simon smack.  :D

You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.
Just barely.  Not as much as the way the whole thing makes the plastic ring around the trackball look scabby and cheap...

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #425 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 11:05:05 »
Good luck with the building. Does the wife allow you free rein?

I'm not quite sure if you're referring to the remodeling or the keyboard obsession. If it's keyboards the short answer is yes. The short but amplified answer is – she doesn't have to because I try to keep it in check.

After 40 years my wife and I have figured each other out. Years ago she looked at my interests as rivals to our other family concerns. At times she was probably right. I don't think I was ever irresponsible about it; that is to say, my priorities were generally in balance. The problem is that my mind was always somewhere else, whether I spent physical time or money on it or not.

For us, the breakthrough came when we realized how much we were really alike. She also has her interests which she is equally passionate about. She is very creative and prolific in her ability to create  things. When we each recognized this, it became easy to understand the others point of view. Now we tend to celebrate our similarities which express themselves in different ways. 

If you were referring to the remodel – she has a lot of confidence in my judgements because of my experience. That said, as with my customers, I would never make a design decision without her review and approval. She generally respect my opinions, particularly when it involves space planning and scale but is invaluable when it comes to colors and textures.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #426 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 11:28:27 »
Everything is getting black, but the ring caps look kinda nice natural. Although, maybe just a little too much.
They look great like that, IMO

Maybe better if they were anodized red to match the trackball no no no no no don't say that bad simon smack.  :D

You can see the inconsistent texture and color from the anodize on the ring.
Just barely.  Not as much as the way the whole thing makes the plastic ring around the trackball look scabby and cheap...

Thanks. Now you've got me thinking. I will probably wait on the ring caps until the rest is shot to see the effect. I'm torn.

I didn't see the 4 point type, red comment until I copied. Hah! I actually considered red accents but the red's value would have to be just right to work with the ball.
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Maybe I should use some  of my spare trackballs and mill new ring caps out of them. What do you think?

I think the new undamaged plastic chrome plated ring will look less scabby and cheap. I do want to soften the sandblast texture, at least around the trackball,  so that scrolling won't sand down my fingers. ( I already am having a hard time with finger health :-[)


Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #427 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 12:00:01 »
For those who want to see what's keeping me from P6
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Got it plumbed and pretty much lathed. I'm about to scratch the mortar bed and brown either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

A rare Kurplop selfie (I think it's my first, possibly the last) outside the shower area and ready to get to work.
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Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #428 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 17:02:12 »
(Attachment Link)
Why you are building a chicken coop in your shower is beyond me, but who am I to judge. ;D

A rare Kurplop selfie (I think it's my first, possibly the last outside the shower area) and ready to get to work.

Lookin' great! I corrected your misplaced parenthesis, by the way. :D Does this mean we can expect more selfies inside the shower area?! Kurt! I am not sure this is the right forum for that kind of content. Not that I... would know... of a forum or something... in particular... where it would be more suitable...  Hey, don't look at me funny like that.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #429 on: Thu, 29 September 2016, 17:24:41 »
(Attachment Link)
Why you are building a chicken coop in your shower is beyond me, but who am I to judge. ;D

It looks like we are going to have to start a new thread (for a more mature audience). I'll take some provocative Putin style pics and we'll watch the board light up.


(Attachment Link)
Why you are building a chicken coop in your shower is beyond me, but who am I to judge. ;D
What chicken wire?
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To be more accurate, what you saw wasn't chicken wire, it was pre-furred wire lath. Bigger hexagons and heavier gauge wire. It will still keep the weasels out.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #430 on: Sun, 02 October 2016, 21:16:17 »
Back on Task

I have the PCB trace paths almost done and will be burning them soon. That will allow me to do a test assembly of the alpha keys before applying the Cerakote.
* PCBw:ringrevised 10-3.pdf (892.6 kB - downloaded 50 times.)
I don't want to pre-finish everything then find I need to drill a hole or grind something that's in the way, since it can't be touched up after it has cured.
I did some further testing on the ring switches and am pleased with the feel.
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Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube so you can experience the sound and responsiveness, not that I'm done making adjustments. I had to put spacers between the ring plate and PCB to get the proper travel. Earlier I mentioned that I was considering various adhesives to attach the ring caps. They press fit so nicely, it won't be necessary to use anything.
« Last Edit: Mon, 03 October 2016, 17:20:47 by kurplop »

Offline iamtootallforthis

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #431 on: Sun, 02 October 2016, 21:18:57 »
Back on Task

I have the PCB trace paths almost done and will be burning them soon. That will allow me to do a test assembly of the alpha keys before applying the Cerakote.
(Attachment Link)
I don't want to pre-finish everything then find I need to drill a hole or grind something that's in the way, since it can't be touched up after it has cured.

 I did some further testing on the ring switches and am pleased with the feel.
(Attachment Link)
Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube so you can experience the sound and responsiveness, not that I'm done making adjustments. I had to put spacers between the ring plate and PCB to get the proper travel. Earlier I mentioned that I was considering various adhesives to attach the ring caps. They press fit so nicely, it won't be necessary to use anything.

I am really looking forward to seeing the completed board on video!

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #432 on: Sun, 02 October 2016, 21:36:24 »

I am really looking forward to seeing the completed board on video!

Thanks. I've been doing some video recording throughout the project and am planning to upload it one day.

 I was in the Home Depot parking lot the other day and saw an old 1955 Studebaker President. I was amazed at the styling considering what the other cars of that era looked like. It didn't take long before I was making parallels between Studebaker and my own projects. In spite of a good design and execution, Studebaker went out of business a decade later while other automakers flourished. Too much thinking outside the box? Limited market appeal? Poor management or promotion? Who knows. Maybe in another 60 years, one of your grandchildren will pull my Planet 6 out of an old abandoned barn and you can say, "Let me tell you sonny boy about how it used to be in those days. I was around to see the Model M, the Atreus, and I even talked to the nutty old bald headed guy who invented that crazy thing."
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« Last Edit: Sun, 02 October 2016, 21:39:00 by kurplop »

Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #433 on: Mon, 03 October 2016, 11:03:17 »
Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube
Never figured out how to upload to yotube either, I tend to use vimeo.  Less arsehole comments on vimeo, too.

Lookin' good, by the way.  Are you able to shower again?

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #434 on: Mon, 03 October 2016, 12:51:17 »
Lookin' good, by the way.  Are you able to shower again?
Thanks. The shower I'm working on now is in the 2nd floor bathroom. Nothing up there but my office and a spare bedroom. We have 3 baths downstairs so no sense of urgency to get it done.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #435 on: Wed, 05 October 2016, 06:05:38 »
I made a drawing showing the function of the ML switches, for those interested. It has 2 additional pins that can cause some confusion. The side pins act as a bridge to allow greater flexibility when mapping traces. The top and bottom, center pins are the ones directly connected to the switch mechanism itself.
* ML diagram.pdf (39.76 kB - downloaded 47 times.)

Many thanks to suicidal orange for helping me with the wiring and firmware on P6.

Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #436 on: Wed, 05 October 2016, 08:26:26 »
What chicken wire? To be more accurate, what you saw wasn't chicken wire, it was pre-furred wire lath. Bigger hexagons and heavier gauge wire. It will still keep the weasels out.

That's a cover-up if I ever saw one. :D

I think the new undamaged plastic chrome plated ring will look less scabby and cheap. I do want to soften the sandblast texture, at least around the trackball,  so that scrolling won't sand down my fingers. ( I already am having a hard time with finger health :-[)

What about it? Is it because of the mishap we got to read about before? How is it doing?

Makes me wish I knew how upload to YouTube so you can experience the sound and responsiveness, not that I'm done making adjustments.

You should be able to upload videos on Flickr. Give it a go, it would be lovely to see it in action.

I was in the Home Depot parking lot the other day and saw an old 1955 Studebaker President. I was amazed at the styling considering what the other cars of that era looked like. It didn't take long before I was making parallels between Studebaker and my own projects. In spite of a good design and execution, Studebaker went out of business a decade later while other automakers flourished. Too much thinking outside the box? Limited market appeal? Poor management or promotion? Who knows. Maybe in another 60 years, one of your grandchildren will pull my Planet 6 out of an old abandoned barn and you can say, "Let me tell you sonny boy about how it used to be in those days. I was around to see the Model M, the Atreus, and I even talked to the nutty old bald headed guy who invented that crazy thing."

I encourage you to test the waters. :) If Studebaker went from one of the four largest U.S. car manufacturers to bankrupt in ten years, management must have been inattentive.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #437 on: Wed, 05 October 2016, 15:11:30 »

What about it? Is it because of the mishap we got to read about before? How is it doing?

Thanks for asking. I wish I could say that my fingers are doing great but that wouldn't be true. The combination of the carpel tunnel release surgery and the accident has significantly reduced my left hands usefulness. The recovery on the other hand 3 years ago took almost a year to complete. This surgery left constant but hopefully not permanent severe numbness on all 4 fingers. This is odd because the median nerve typically carries the sensations of the thumb, the next 2 fingers, and part of the ring finger. I experienced a degree of this on the first surgery but about 1/3 of what I have now. The accident has visually healed but all 3 clipped fingers  feel like they have tight bandages around them except at the tips where it feels like there are needles sticking in them whenever I touch something.  Time should restore much of their function but it does make certain tasks difficult.
That's part of the reason I'm not in a big hurry to start my next job. I don't want to be seen performing at 50%.

You should be able to upload videos on Flickr. Give it a go, it would be lovely to see it in action.

I'll look into uploading to my flickr site. I didn't know I could post video's on it.

I encourage you to test the waters. :) If Studebaker went from one of the four largest U.S. car manufacturers to bankrupt in ten years, management must have been inattentive.

I've never had much of an entrepreneurial spirit, I definitely didn't start my business to be a businessman but rather to have control over what I was doing (something that endless regulations prevent you from having anyways), and provide value to my customers. I did okay and have a degree of financial security but never lost the working class mentality. I suppose my inattentive management style is what kept me from amassing a great fortune. :-[

Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #438 on: Fri, 07 October 2016, 01:48:18 »
I suppose my inattentive management style is what kept me from amassing a great fortune.

Nah, you'll probably find that what's stopped you amassing a great fortune is not starting with a great fortune in the first place.

Hope your hand gets better over time, that sounds nasty.  I'd say I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but that might be taken as "rubbing your face in it" :)

Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #439 on: Fri, 07 October 2016, 04:29:30 »
That's part of the reason I'm not in a big hurry to start my next job. I don't want to be seen performing at 50%.

Hopefully it will do good for the fingers to wait a while, too.

Hope your hand gets better over time, that sounds nasty.  I'd say I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but that might be taken as "rubbing your face in it" :)

Also, from kurplop himself: Losing the digital battle one digit at a time. It's that kind of awful funny...

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #440 on: Fri, 07 October 2016, 19:36:19 »
My personal favorite was a comment by njbair:

Quote from: kurplop on Wed, 27 April 2016, 12:52:36
Accident scene findings– It looks like my jointer's depth lock wasn't fully tight and it allowed the cut to go deeper as I fed the wood through. That explains why it grabbed the wood and shot it back. Still my fault for not checking.
Quote from njbair 
 Don't blame yourself, kurplop, this is no time for finger pointing (hahaha!)


I suppose my inattentive management style is what kept me from amassing a great fortune.

Nah, you'll probably find that what's stopped you amassing a great fortune is not starting with a great fortune in the first place.

Maybe, but more importantly, I don't seem to have inherited the desire to have that much money. When I paid off my house early several years ago, I increased my mortgage payment by roughly 4 times for the last 3 years. I remember thinking at the time, If I saved that same rate after I owned the deed, I'd be able to put away almost a million dollars before I retired. Instead I have saved much less (gross understatement). I reached a place of comfort and complacency. In my business, I always choose jobs based on the actual project and the customers I'd be working for; I don't think I ever choose to do one job over another based on which would be more profitable—not the best business plan.  It worked for me but I'm not sure I left a good business model for the guys that worked for me and later went on their own.

Planet 6 update

I did very little on P6 this week but expect a lot of progress this weekend.

I'm going to order some Cerakote "tungsten" to experiment with. See sample chip
150090-0
 I might use it on the ring caps if the tests turn out well. The ring caps in the picture are high because I didn't have the right spacers at the time. I have since then acquired them. When it's properly set, about 1/4 of the cylindrical part, now exposed, will be above the plate. Because the switches will be partially "loaded", total travel will be 2.5mm. 1mm pre-actuation and 1.5 after activation.

Offline tufty

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #441 on: Sat, 08 October 2016, 03:35:40 »
Oooh, that should give a nice subtle contrast.  Like your thinking.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #442 on: Sun, 09 October 2016, 04:36:15 »
Final PCB considerations

 Early in the project, I assumed I'd have a generous amount of room to fit all of the components into it. As I began whittling down the unnecessary depth in the interest of aesthetics, at times I wondered if I may have gone too far. When I changed the switches to the egg crate design, it took even more space.  In the back of my mind I wondered if I'd have trouble finding a place for the USB hub, which is necessary to avoid having 2 cables outside the case.

 I cracked open a CuteUSB mini hub to adapt it to fit into P6. I had earlier used the same hub on the AlumaPlop with success. Its small size made it a good choice but it still took up too much real estate in its stock form. It would fit but the cable ends would have been too bulky so I removed the sockets leaving only the leads.
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I found a good location to mount the hub by making a picture of the proposed PCBs and then placing it in the most logical place. I chose the location based on available height and cable positions.
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I'll add pads to mount the 8 incoming leads to the PCB, SMD style. The outgoing cable will attach directly to the hub, be clamped the body, and run through a hole in the back of P6.

I hope to print and burn the PCB's later today.

Offline nhopubrid

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #443 on: Sun, 09 October 2016, 04:49:57 »
What excellent Sunday reading. The second photo makes me want to do electronics work too.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #444 on: Sun, 09 October 2016, 05:01:30 »
What excellent Sunday reading. The second photo makes me want to do electronics work too.

Sure beats watching the US Presidential election news.

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #445 on: Sun, 09 October 2016, 05:27:40 »
This is going fast, I'll have another look now I get MLs - they're an interesting design that's for sure!
                               
Ducky Zero, MX Reds    JD40, Jailhouse Blues           GH60
Soarer controller

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #446 on: Sun, 09 October 2016, 10:42:54 »
Many of you don't know that suicidal_orange has been helping me work through some of my firmware and circuitry issues. He has bravely wandered down all of my trace paths to double-check my work and is walking   carrying me through the firmware process. Many thanks to him for his generous help.


I should take some time now to say a few things about Cherry ML switches; a switch that I have mixed feelings about and am using in spite of their drawbacks.

The good:
They are small. Great for portable designs or low profile applications. Especially good for closer spacing between switches.
They don't require a plate. Properly drilled holes in the PCB hold the switches rock solid.
Short travel. With only 3mm total travel (1.5mm to activation), the ML may be preferred in applications where reduced travel is desirable.
Built in continuity bridge (for lack of a better word).  The 2 outer, top pins connect internally to aid PCB design.

The bad:
They have a lower rated lifespan. 20,000,000 vs 50,000,000 cycles for MX switches.
They are more difficult to work on. Everything from the frail, tiny latches that hold the top and bottom together to the minuscule pieces inside make the MX a modifier's dream by comparison.
Limited available options. From caps to springs, there are few choices when you decide to go with the ML.
They are PCB only mounted. You need a PCB because there is no provision in the design for plate mounting. Yes, it is possible to glue them in place. I once tried to press them tightly into a plate but the pressure distorts the housing and can interfere with the switch operation


The worst:
Off center key presses can bind the switch. This can be a deal breaker for many. Some have had success with lubing but time seems to help the most. I've found used ML switches to be friendlier than new ones.


There are subjective qualities also like sound and feel which can't be rated:
 I really like the sound my ML's produce in my aluminum AlumaPlop. Different keyboard constructs will produce different tonal qualities. Except for the occasional sticky, off-center press, I even like the feel. The spring weight is nice as well as the shorter travel. I feel like I can type faster on it (Still slow by GH standards). One final thing is the 0.70" spacing of the switches. I like it but it may take some getting accustomed to. Yes, your custom board can be spaced the typical 0.75" but the gap between caps may not be desirable.


So why did I choose the ML for P6 when there are so many choices out there?
In the end it came down to 2 reasons—short travel and compact size.
With the tight 0.65" vertical spacing, It was difficult to make a cap that would fit over a more common switch and still fit in the reduced vertical space. I had done it successfully on an earlier keyboard but I wasn't satisfied with the top profiles that were necessary; there wasn't enough room between some of the switches, to depress one switch without accidentally touching the one below. The ML's allow the cap top to be smaller which helps this. The reduced travel helps even more with this.



Offline brizzzle

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #447 on: Sun, 09 October 2016, 11:19:49 »
Man, this has been a great thread to read. I can't wait to see more Cerakote.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #448 on: Sun, 09 October 2016, 11:33:21 »
Man, this has been a great thread to read. I can't wait to see more Cerakote.

Thanks and welcome aboard. If all goes well I should be ready to Cerakote next weekend.

Offline kurplop

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Re: Planet 6 - The start of a new keyboard by kurplop
« Reply #449 on: Mon, 10 October 2016, 12:02:22 »
I got the PCBs burned but still have to drill out for the pins and mounting screw.

I tried using magazine paper and the toner transferred pretty well. Unfortunately I have a bad spot on my printer and ended up with some holidays on several prints.
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I had to do a little scratching and filling but ended up with some decent traces in the end.
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