Author Topic: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything  (Read 57526 times)

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Offline CPTBadAss

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Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:44:17 »


So as some of the community is aware, Massdrop came out with a metal HHKB case. I asked to review it because I was just curious and I was willing to put aside my Topre bias to try it out. I had planned to write a review but unfortunately, the case isn't ready for market. The design isn't complete right now and I believe that at best, it's a proof of concept and MD ran an IC. Because the case isn't at final, market ready condition, I won't be writing a full review.

But I know some people have some questions. Please ask any questions you might have here and I'll answer them ASAP. I can compare it to an HHKB and I will do my best to describe feeling. Please keep in mind I'm not a Topre user or enthusiast typically.

I know there were some other discussions and questions asked in another thread. I can still make a typing video and take pictures.

I think reddit calls this an AMA? I'll answer questions for a week then send it onto livingspeedbump.
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:58:48 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline Bromono

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anythinig
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:44:54 »
So as some of the community is aware, Massdrop came out with a metal HHKB case. I asked to review it because I was just curious and I was willing to put aside my Topre bias to try it out. I had planned to write a review but unfortunately, the case isn't ready for market. The design isn't complete right now and I believe that at best, it's a proof of concept and MD ran an IC. Because the case isn't at final, market ready condition, I won't be writing a full review.

But I know some people have some questions. Please ask any questions you might have here and I'll answer them ASAP.

I know there were some other discussions and questions asked in another thread. I can still make a typing video and take pictures.

I think reddit calls this an AMA?

Pictures!

Offline dgneo

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anythinig
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:47:38 »
Is it really as boxy as it looks?

How is it comfort-wise to type on? It seems like with the raised front + extra lip it would be quite uncomfortable.

How's it sound? Hollow or solid?
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:48:14 »




Here's some initial pictures I took the night I got the board. I'll take some better ones later.

As you can see in the second picture, the bottom of the case is really really deep and has this huge hollow in it for no reason. So the case is quite big. I will take a comparison picture between this, a KMAC, and a Kingsaver to show the difference. As it sits on my desk, it's about SSK height.

Because it's got that huge hollowed out bottom, the board is really loud. As you can see caps can fit in there and I can put the top back on with no clearance issues. I can do a typing video to show an HHKB versus this. It's really loud and hollow sounding. Not my favorite sound to be honest.

Comfort-wise? I actually think it's not that uncomfortable. I type with my wrists raised and my keyboard tray is lower so it's in the right position. It reminds me of typing on an SSK.
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:52:48 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline dgneo

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:52:52 »

Because it's got that huge hollowed out bottom, the board is really loud. Like really loud. I can do a typing video to show an HHKB versus this. It's really loud and hollow sounding. Not my favorite sound to be honest.


This was my biggest concern, and it looks like you've confirmed it. Definitely looking forward to seeing the video, appreciate the review!

Good to know about it being roughly the same as typing on an SSK. I've used one previously at my old job, and I was a fan of it.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 07:55:25 »
Some reasons why I say this keyboard is a proof of concept at best:

- The coating is so so. It might be anodized but the coating thickness or dye isn't great.
- The screws were not off-the-shelf and had to come from China. When the screws arrived, the screwholes were not countersunk properly so the screws did not go through the top of the case far enough to engage the threads in the bottom of the case. This means I can't get the two halves to bolt together.
- I believe the design can use some refinement.
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 08:10:21 »
When you get some more pictures it would be great to see how the internals are mounted.

Offline Bromono

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 08:12:01 »
Some reasons why I say this keyboard is a proof of concept at best:

- The coating is so so. It might be anodized but the coating thickness or dye isn't great.
- The screws were not off-the-shelf and had to come from China. When the screws arrived, the screwholes were not countersunk properly so the screws did not go through the top of the case far enough to engage the threads in the bottom of the case. This means I can't get the two halves to bolt together.
- I believe the design can use some refinement.

I still would have grabbed one had it gone through. =(

I am excited that their is more and more innovation coming towards a final product though.

I am sure they can keep working it out. The hard part had to be the actual top case. the bottom shouldn't be that hard to recreate into something that is better-looking and not as loud as the gen 1

Offline dgneo

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 08:12:54 »
Out of curiosity, have you tried using it without the bottom attached at all? Seems like everything is mounted to the top plate (unless the USB controller is mounted to the bottom case), and would be much lower without the bottom (and ideally quieter as well).
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 08:13:30 »
I am sure they can keep working it out. The hard part had to be the actual top case. the bottom shouldn't be that hard to recreate into something that is better-looking and not as loud as the gen 1

I'd definitely agree that the top half was probably the hard part and it was machined well. I think at best the design is simple and at worst, it's lazy. It definitely could be refined.

Out of curiosity, have you tried using it without the bottom attached at all? Seems like everything is mounted to the top plate (unless the USB controller is mounted to the bottom case), and would be much lower without the bottom (and ideally quieter as well).

The controller is mounted to the bottom of the case.
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Offline jonathanyu

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 12:39:36 »
whats the weight of the case?

Offline demik

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 12:41:22 »
How long did it take you to hate this awful looking money grab?
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Offline Polymer

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 20:13:44 »
How does it feel typing on it?  More like a RF/660c or more like a HHKB?

For me the HHKB has a slightly softer feel (solid but softer) feel...With the switches being aluminum on the top rather than plastic and part of the case, curious to see how that has change the actual feel of the keyboard (although probably most of what we think of feel is sound). 

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 20:19:37 »
ASL?

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 20:26:08 »
favorite soundtrack?
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Offline ImpendingxDoom

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 05 November 2015, 20:41:30 »
In your honest opinion, what price point would make this worth buying?

Offline rowdy

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 04:06:04 »
HHKB sliders slide through holes in the top of the case, and this case has similar holes but through the top half of the metal case.

Can you see the sliders getting damaged rubbing against the metal all the time?
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 07:55:31 »
In your honest opinion, what price point would make this worth buying?

As it is, it's not worth buying. I strongly feel it's a proof of concept and shouldn't have been put on the market. It needs a redesign.

How long did it take you to hate this awful looking money grab?

It made me angry twice: When I got it and it didn't have screws. Then when the screws didn't bolt the case together. This happened inside a week.

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ASL?

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HHKB sliders slide through holes in the top of the case, and this case has similar holes but through the top half of the metal case.

Can you see the sliders getting damaged rubbing against the metal all the time?

How does it feel typing on it?  More like a RF/660c or more like a HHKB?

For me the HHKB has a slightly softer feel (solid but softer) feel...With the switches being aluminum on the top rather than plastic and part of the case, curious to see how that has change the actual feel of the keyboard (although probably most of what we think of feel is sound). 

I have an HHKB to compare to. That's all I've got. I don't think I've ever tried a 660c. The HHKB is much smoother and the tactile bump of the domes is much more prominent. The case has a bit less tactility and the sliders on metal cause it to feel a bit more....grindy and less smooth. Did I mention the metal case is loud as hell?

I don't think that there will be wear issues but there is issues with how it feels. It's just not as smooth.

whats the weight of the case?

I'll get a weight along with pictures and typing video ASAP.
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Offline sth

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 07:58:10 »
if it's not as smooth, i'd say theres a good chance that the added friction is indicative of it wearing out the sliders faster. i dunno how fast though.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 08:03:02 »
if it's not as smooth, i'd say theres a good chance that the added friction is indicative of it wearing out the sliders faster. i dunno how fast though.

Yeah but how much faster? Instead of 200 billion, do we instead get 199 billion keystrokes? Is it causing additional wear enough that it should make us worried? I don't really know.
« Last Edit: Fri, 06 November 2015, 09:14:44 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline heedpantsnow

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 08:27:24 »
Hey man when you take more pics, can you make sure you include some of the inside, how it all fits together?  Thanks!
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Offline WYW

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 09:09:48 »
Hello:
Do you put a leg on it while typing? the alluminum case looks so flat and seems hard to type in.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 09:14:28 »
Hello:
Do you put a leg on it while typing? the alluminum case looks so flat and seems hard to type in.

There's some feet on the bottom. Two rubber bumpons on the front and two aluminum machined ones on the back. I prefer keeping keyboards as flat as possible so the bumpons helped. Plus the case came with just the feet in the back so it slid all over.
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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 09:14:52 »
Thanks for the review CPT!

I am really thankful this drop didn't go through after reading it.

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 09:23:12 »
Is that a 5140 arrow in the first picture? :))

Sounds like the case was designed by someone who had never used an HHKB.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 09:26:56 »
Is that a 5140 arrow in the first picture? :))

Yeah. The 5140 keyboard sits on my kitchen table where I took that picture lol.
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Offline Joey Quinn

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 09:31:03 »


Is that a 5140 arrow in the first picture? :))

Yeah. The 5140 keyboard sits on my kitchen table where I took that picture lol.

At least yours is just the board.

Mine sits by the front door in its huge case because I don't have room to put it anywhere else.

People in the 1980s, in general, were clearly just better than we are now in every measurable way.

The dumber the reason the more it must be done

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 20:35:21 »
Massdrop's Page on the Case


Weight is 2 lbs 12.6 oz
















Thickness comparison: Kingsaver > KMAC LE > Massdrop HHKB case. I forgot to measure the thicknesses. Remind me to



Some things to note:

The lip between the cases isn't substantial enough in my opinon. The wall that stick up from the bottom of the case into the top of the case is both too thin and not tall enough. The land where the top of the case rests against the bottom isn't enough. I notice when I type the keyboard shifts slightly because of this.


Dunno what this is


Left shift isn't seating properly. It's sticking up slightly


Look carefully at this screw hole. See how there's exposed, not-red metal? That was from me lightly spinning a bolt against the case as I tried to bolt the halves together. I did not over-apply force in my opinion. I did not experience this on any of my metal cased keyboards such as the KMAC, Kingsaver, or IBM 6019284 4704 62key.

If you prefer an imgur album, here's the link

Here is a sound clip

Here is a typing video. Sorry for the shaky camera work.



I'm not feeling too well so this is all for tonight. Hence the potato pics. We'll let livingspeedbump take the nice pictures.
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Offline heedpantsnow

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Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 20:41:35 »
First of all I hope you feel better get some rest dude.

Thanks for the pics Captn. Especially the internal ones. I always like seeing how they fit these together.

While beggars can't be choosers, I do feel it is one of the ugliest, brick-like cases I've ever seen. The fact that it is aluminum is pretty much the only thing I like about it. Sigh.
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Offline a_ak57

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 21:10:04 »
That sound is...I'm not sure.  Thanks for the pics and video though.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #30 on: Fri, 06 November 2015, 21:22:42 »
I'm starting to think that maybe only the bottom should be metal. I'm not convinced the feeling was nice with the all metal case. I really don't like how light the HHKB is nor how I can push it around my desk.

And it's way too loud.

I should also say that the HHKB is from livingspeedbump and has the silenced o-ring mods. I think they're Hypersphere rings?
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Offline Polymer

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #31 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 04:03:19 »
It sounds like the keycaps are slamming against the case which is why it is clacking so much...Do Topre keycaps normally do that?  Doesn't seem like they do normally..

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #32 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 08:00:06 »
Maybe I should explain that I always always always bottom out when I type and I may have been hitting the keys a bit harder than usual to make sure the sound would be picked up.
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Offline absyrd

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #33 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 08:18:48 »
Maybe I should explain that I always always always bottom out when I type and I may have been hitting the keys a bit harder than usual to make sure the sound would be picked up.

Then you were doing the same on the hhkb plastic. :p
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Offline Polymer

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #34 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 10:08:37 »
Maybe I should explain that I always always always bottom out when I type and I may have been hitting the keys a bit harder than usual to make sure the sound would be picked up.

Well what I don't understand is it is hitting metal...which means the slider is lower than normal unless Topre normally has the keycaps slam against the top part of the switch or the housing...just seems odd...really odd...

Offline bazh

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #35 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 12:46:50 »
Hey CBA can you take a photo of the bottom of the upper case, I wonder what the down side of the switch top looks like and how they machine that :P

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #36 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 12:59:36 »
Hey CBA can you take a photo of the bottom of the upper case, I wonder what the down side of the switch top looks like and how they machine that :P

Uh....Maybe? I'm not feeling confident in doing this...I'll see what I can do but I might leave that for LSB to do. I'm not familar with disassembling HHKBs and I have a feeling I shouldn't be doing this on a prototype that isn't mine.
« Last Edit: Sat, 07 November 2015, 13:03:02 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline clacktalk

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #37 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 13:18:53 »
why are your fingers so damn strong, and what fitness routine would u recommend
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Offline hasu

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #38 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 15:51:50 »
Thanks for the review.
hmm, from Thickness comparison its thickness seems to be not so ridiculous unless Kingsaver and KMAC LE are ridiculous.
« Last Edit: Sat, 07 November 2015, 15:53:39 by hasu »
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Offline Neo.X

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #39 on: Sat, 07 November 2015, 21:28:20 »
I think the thickness is fine on a tkl keyboard, but it may be too much for a 60% keyboard.

And the typing sound...
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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #40 on: Sun, 08 November 2015, 07:27:26 »
Have you noticed any pingy sounds coming out of it? Something like here:

Also, have you tried lubing/silencing the sliders?

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #41 on: Sun, 08 November 2015, 13:43:08 »
Have you noticed any pingy sounds coming out of it?

There's no ping.

Also, have you tried lubing/silencing the sliders?

I'm not lubing or silencing anything.
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #42 on: Sun, 08 November 2015, 14:14:02 »
Teardown pictures. I didn't want to force the little barrel inserts out of the case. I left them in and I won't be trying to force them out again. They're clipped in and I wasn't comfortable with the amount of pressure I was putting on them.











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Offline Polymer

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #43 on: Tue, 10 November 2015, 18:40:05 »
Is the clanking sound happening when the slider comes back up or on the way down?

If it is on the way down, something is wrong w/ the design of the case..if it is on the way up, it needs a silence mod BAD...

Not sure whey they couldn't make it a bit more similar to the original HHKB case in size...but yeah, I have a feeling this saved me a ton of cash...

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #44 on: Tue, 10 November 2015, 18:47:15 »
Is the clanking sound happening when the slider comes back up or on the way down?

On the way down Polymer.
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Offline Polymer

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #45 on: Wed, 11 November 2015, 04:29:35 »
Is the clanking sound happening when the slider comes back up or on the way down?

On the way down Polymer.

UGH..that's what I thought..that's terrible....Do the normal topre keyboards have the keycaps hit the top of the switch on the way down?  That is the only way it makes that noise on the metal case..just seems odd...like top of the switch and where the switch comes up into the switch, that distance is bigger and allowing the keycaps to completely hit the case before it actually bottoms out....

Does the bottom out feel normal like a regular keyboard?  And when using the switches on their own, they don't clack right?

Offline demik

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #46 on: Wed, 11 November 2015, 08:39:13 »
How's the red? Very few companies nail the perfect red (like the lz gh, holy crap that "red" was horrible )
No, hes not around. How that sound to ya? Jot it down.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #47 on: Wed, 11 November 2015, 10:26:39 »
How's the red? Very few companies nail the perfect red (like the lz gh, holy crap that "red" was horrible )

You know what? I think it's really nice. It's a darker than a Chinese New Years lucky money envelope and has this shiny metallic look to it. It's not a good coating like...durability or thickness wise. But it looks nice.
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Offline livingspeedbump

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #48 on: Mon, 21 December 2015, 14:35:49 »
How's the red? Very few companies nail the perfect red (like the lz gh, holy crap that "red" was horrible )

You know what? I think it's really nice. It's a darker than a Chinese New Years lucky money envelope and has this shiny metallic look to it. It's not a good coating like...durability or thickness wise. But it looks nice.

Very much agree with Anson here. Very good color honestly.
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Offline livingspeedbump

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Re: Massdrop Metal HHKB Case - Ask Me Anything
« Reply #49 on: Mon, 21 December 2015, 14:54:04 »
So, here is a brief update on future plans and where we are at now. I've done a live stream and talked in numerous chats about this case and this seems to be the general consensus about what should be changed to make this a better product:

  • Angled Case - the angle is not only important aesthetically, but for ergonomics and comfort as well.
  • Plastic case - the metal top case/plate is actually extremely impressive. The milling work is very good, actually. The sound of the caps on that plate, god awful. Furthermore, the "feel" is all wrong. I think preserving the feel of the HHKB is very important here. I think the plastic plate really gives the HHKB a unique feel among the Topre boards, and keeping that same feeling is important. After a test unit with a plastic plate is made, we can address any further noise issues. There is a good chance the metal case with a plastic plate may accent the good sound of the HHKB. Obviously it will never be as quiet as a stock one.
  • Color - I really did enjoy the red of the sample case. That being said, it is not the best color to run at first. After the live stream, and talking about this project on chats a Dark/Gunmetal Grey seems to be the obvious choice color for the first run. This color will complement both white/black HHKB's and generally won't be a turn off to anyone. If a successful case is made, further colors can be added to future drops.
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