Author Topic: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards — SHIPPING  (Read 98592 times)

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Offline norbauer

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Greetings fellow Topre nerds! After a long IC and a lot of R&D and feedback, I'm happy to say that I'm now ready to ask folks to join me in building my dream keyboard project: a luxury after-market housing for the RealForce TKL keyboards from Topre in Japan.  :D

Due specifically to GeekHack discussions, it has a USB-C detachable cable, a winkeyless option, a hard anodizing option, and a number of other features that wouldn't have been there if it weren't for the encouragement, support, and ideas of GH members like perniciouspony, richard912, exitfire401, fine_italian_leather, avid, dgneo, and many others. Thank you!











More info at the GB page.

Price is $259, with optional special finishes. I'm sorry that this one is a bit more expensive than my prior GBs for the Novatouch housings, but this one simply has been and will be a more expensive design to manufacture due to the unusual sculpted design profile of both case and risers, the custom-engineered PCB, etc. Understanding that it would cost a bit more, I intentionally made this one fancy. :)

The GB runs to December 31 at midnight, but there is an advantage to joining early, as orders may ship in batches if we go significantly over the MOQ (which is 100), and in any case I always ship in the sequence in which orders were received.

Concerned about proximity to Christmas shopping season? I know; I just didn't want to wait until 2018 to run this. For whatever it's worth, the Shopify platform I use to organize orders takes Paypal, which means that most people can use Paypal Credit and get six months without interest or payments. I know this only because I have been in similar situations in the past and used it. ;) I don't make any money from your using this; I just thought I would mention it.
« Last Edit: Wed, 08 August 2018, 15:15:37 by norbauer »

Offline ghostjuggernaut

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 10:47:21 »
Approval bump  :thumb:

As always, CAVEAT EMPTOR.

Offline hayt

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 10:52:53 »
Have been anticipating this drop for a long time now! Can't wait :D :D

Edit* - going in for the Aerospace Alu for my 87u (soon w/ 60g BKE redux domes). Love the design aesthetic of this case.

Double Edit* - now I don't know, ****, I want the black ano III too
« Last Edit: Wed, 29 November 2017, 08:22:46 by haytorious »

Offline pr0ximity

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 10:56:47 »
Top-mounting the plate entices me quite a bit, do you notice a difference in the typing feel compared to the stock mounting? In the kustoms world top-mounting is all the rage (aside from sandwich mounts, of course).

Since you reverse-engineered the plate, any chance of running a GB for plates in different materials? An ABS plate would bring the Realforce a lot more in line with the HHKB in terms of feeling and sound, and a thick polycarbonate one would be very interesting indeed.

Offline metalliqaz

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:00:26 »
What exactly makes something hard anodized?  It is somehow more resistant to scratches?

Offline ghostjuggernaut

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:01:56 »
I have no idea which color to choose, but the question of joining is nonexistent.

Offline Data

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:12:32 »
Wow, great, great design.  I love that subtle taper on the case.

Alas, I do not own a RealForce or I would be all over this.

Offline clickstops

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:15:16 »
Agreed that the taper is awesome.

Might have to find a white 55g 87u in the next couple months... that main image looks fantastic.

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:26:50 »
What exactly makes something hard anodized?  It is somehow more resistant to scratches?

Hard anodizing has a significantly increased oxide layer thickness, meaning you'd have to scratch through more material to get down to the bare aluminum. The amount grown on the surface is so thick, actually, that it throws of threading tolerances, so all the holes have to be masked off by hand before they go in the tank.

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:42:16 »
Approval bump  :thumb:

Thanks so much!

I have no idea which color to choose, but the question of joining is nonexistent.

I should probably make some better thumbnails of the powder coat colors.

Here are some links to higher-res shots of these same finishes from my Novatouch project

Enigma Black


Venice Beach


Retro Refrigerator


Royal Wrinkle


Galaxy Console


Monte Carlo Red


Astrophysical Purple


Enigma Gray


Space Station White



Offline PerniciousPony

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:44:10 »
I've seen a few people discussing whether or not an 87u would work with the blockers.  The 87u does indeed work with the blockers with some modification.  This is an 87u with blockers. And here is another picture with blockers 

Here is an 86u with blockers.  The 86u is more symmetrical, but the 87u will work as well.  AFAIK every realforce model should work with the blockers.  The 86/87/89/91u boards all have the same 1u key locations that align with the blockers.

Offline ghostjuggernaut

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 11:55:39 »
Approval bump  :thumb:

Thanks so much!

I have no idea which color to choose, but the question of joining is nonexistent.

I should probably make some better thumbnails of the powder coat colors.

Here are some links to higher-res shots of these same finishes from my Novatouch project

Enigma Black
Show Image


Venice Beach
Show Image


Retro Refrigerator
Show Image


Royal Wrinkle
Show Image


Galaxy Console
Show Image


Monte Carlo Red
Show Image


Astrophysical Purple
Show Image


Enigma Gray
Show Image


Space Station White
Show Image


Im tempted by wrinkle black since its the same PC that I had on my dethkish.  But galaxy console looks pretty great too.

Offline omgar

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 12:08:51 »
Excellent work! Putting myself down for one now and a second in the future. Is "aerospace aluminum" the same color pictured here?

Also, will there be other color/coating options in the future? I'd love a color like this or a light bronze option

 :)

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 12:28:02 »
Excellent work! Putting myself down for one now and a second in the future. Is "aerospace aluminum" the same color pictured here?

Yes! Sorry if that wasn't clear. I guess the ethereal lighting and bokeh make it look plausibly white.

Also, will there be other color/coating options in the future? I'd love a color like this or a light bronze option

 :)

The closest to the first color you selected would simply be "Space Station White." And, sadly, I don't think light bronze is likely in the future. I've had varying results when trying to get good color matches like that in anodizing with all the (many!) vendors I've tried, so I've decided to try to play it safe and stick with colors that I know don't usually lead to QC issues.

Offline Lansky

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 12:36:25 »
It looks absolutely stunning!

I'm in for a tactical black as soon as the EU proxy has been set up.  :D
Norbaforce 88UB (BKE Heavy, silenced), Singa R2 (Retooled MX Blacks w/ 68g CWW springs), LZ GH V2 (V1 Zealios 67g)

Offline DALExSNAIL

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #15 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 13:41:58 »
Looks great! Was thinking of going royal wrinkle, but the pic showed in this thread made it look a little too rough sadly.

So either enigma black or Hard ano black are the choices  :-X

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 13:50:48 »
Looks great! Was thinking of going royal wrinkle, but the pic showed in this thread made it look a little too rough sadly.

So either enigma black or Hard ano black are the choices  :-X

Sorry for the confusion, but that pic is actually of a rougher black wrinkle than will actually be used in the GB; it just happened to be the only black wrinkle finish pic I had on a keyboard. This pic probably shows better what the actual finish looks like from the powder shop I'll be using:


Offline DillonHightower

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 13:52:53 »
Dam, I can not decide between space station white and royal wrinkle. Decisions are hard theese days.
            

Offline DALExSNAIL

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 13:57:13 »
Looks great! Was thinking of going royal wrinkle, but the pic showed in this thread made it look a little too rough sadly.

So either enigma black or Hard ano black are the choices  :-X

Sorry for the confusion, but that pic is actually of a rougher black wrinkle than will actually be used in the GB; it just happened to be the only black wrinkle finish pic I had on a keyboard. This pic probably shows better what the actual finish looks like from the powder shop I'll be using:

Show Image


Royal Wrinkle it is then!

Offline ReadmeDotTxt

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 13:57:21 »
Beautiful work, as always. Sorely tempted to stretch my budget and shoot for that endgame 87u!

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 13:59:44 »
It looks absolutely stunning!

I'm in for a tactical black as soon as the EU proxy has been set up.  :D

The EU proxy (MyKeyboard.eu) prices should now be showing up at checkout. Please somebody give it a try and let me know if it works/makes sense. :)

Offline xondat

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:01:05 »
Good luck Norb :thumb: Would pick one up if I wasn't making my own. :-*

Offline dubious

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:02:47 »
Looks great! Was thinking of going royal wrinkle, but the pic showed in this thread made it look a little too rough sadly.

So either enigma black or Hard ano black are the choices  :-X

Sorry for the confusion, but that pic is actually of a rougher black wrinkle than will actually be used in the GB; it just happened to be the only black wrinkle finish pic I had on a keyboard. This pic probably shows better what the actual finish looks like from the powder shop I'll be using:

Show Image



ahhh damn, I really liked the extra 'wrinkly' look!  :D still tempting though...

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:05:01 »
Beautiful work, as always. Sorely tempted to stretch my budget and shoot for that endgame 87u!

Haha. Thanks (and sorry)!

For whatever it's worth, unlike the Novatouch cases, I'm not sure how feasible multiple runs of this one will be since it has lots more custom components (PCB, custom-molded rubber feet, etc.) and as a result has more challenging MOQ/logistics requirements. If I can afford to do so, I might over-order by a few to have some to sell in my store after the GB is delivered, but in terms of multiple GBs, I think this one would be more of a challenge to do at small quantities. So, I'm not trying to nudge anybody into getting one, but I just figured I'd say up front not to expect another run fast on the heels of the first round, even though I was able to do that with the Novatouch cases when people asked.

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:05:57 »
Looks great! Was thinking of going royal wrinkle, but the pic showed in this thread made it look a little too rough sadly.

So either enigma black or Hard ano black are the choices  :-X

Sorry for the confusion, but that pic is actually of a rougher black wrinkle than will actually be used in the GB; it just happened to be the only black wrinkle finish pic I had on a keyboard. This pic probably shows better what the actual finish looks like from the powder shop I'll be using:

Show Image



ahhh damn, I really liked the extra 'wrinkly' look!  :D still tempting though...

I think it still looks pretty wrinkly, especially when light at an angle, but they shop is using a higher-quality wrinkle powder which throws off tolerances less and is more durable. This is much preferable, believe me. :)

Offline DALExSNAIL

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:07:25 »
Is the black on the site the hard ano?

If so it makes the decision a bit harder lol

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:07:33 »
Good luck Norb :thumb: Would pick one up if I wasn't making my own. :-*

Thanks! I can't wait to see yours too. It is not a zero-sum game in the world of RealForce cases; the more the merrier, I say! We Topre army shall together conquer the keyboard world. :cool:

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:07:47 »
Is the black on the site the hard ano?

Correct.

Offline typischt

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #28 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:16:29 »
It looks absolutely stunning!

I'm in for a tactical black as soon as the EU proxy has been set up.  :D

The EU proxy (MyKeyboard.eu) prices should now be showing up at checkout. Please somebody give it a try and let me know if it works/makes sense. :)

I just tried it out as a test (since I'm still not sure about the color :D), but I think it didn't work.. I'm guessing you would see the price in Euro, correct?

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #29 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:18:32 »
It looks absolutely stunning!

I'm in for a tactical black as soon as the EU proxy has been set up.  :D

The EU proxy (MyKeyboard.eu) prices should now be showing up at checkout. Please somebody give it a try and let me know if it works/makes sense. :)

I just tried it out as a test (since I'm still not sure about the color :D), but I think it didn't work.. I'm guessing you would see the price in Euro, correct?

No, the price is still in USD. Once you enter your address—assuming that address is in the EU—and click through to the final page, it should show you two shipping options: a direct international express and a domestic EU proxy option.

Offline Lansky

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #30 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:35:23 »
No, the price is still in USD. Once you enter your address—assuming that address is in the EU—and click through to the final page, it should show you two shipping options: a direct international express and a domestic EU proxy option.

It looks like it works here.



Norbaforce 88UB (BKE Heavy, silenced), Singa R2 (Retooled MX Blacks w/ 68g CWW springs), LZ GH V2 (V1 Zealios 67g)

Offline typischt

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #31 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:58:54 »
No, the price is still in USD. Once you enter your address—assuming that address is in the EU—and click through to the final page, it should show you two shipping options: a direct international express and a domestic EU proxy option.

It looks like it works here.

Show Image

Okay, I see. It worked with an address from another EU country.. So, I guess I will figure out the color first and then contact you, Norbauer. :)

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 15:00:32 »
No, the price is still in USD. Once you enter your address—assuming that address is in the EU—and click through to the final page, it should show you two shipping options: a direct international express and a domestic EU proxy option.

It looks like it works here.

Show Image

Okay, I see. It worked with an address from another EU country.. So, I guess I will figure out the color first and then contact you, Norbauer. :)

It should be set up to work for every EU country except Iceland, so just let me know if it isn't coming up for your country. I probably just need to tweak a setting or something if not. :)

Online child

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #33 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 15:11:45 »
Should it also work this way when checking out via Paypal?

Offline pr0ximity

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #34 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 15:27:33 »
Top-mounting the plate entices me quite a bit, do you notice a difference in the typing feel compared to the stock mounting? In the kustoms world top-mounting is all the rage (aside from sandwich mounts, of course).

Since you reverse-engineered the plate, any chance of running a GB for plates in different materials? An ABS plate would bring the Realforce a lot more in line with the HHKB in terms of feeling and sound, and a thick polycarbonate one would be very interesting indeed.

Bump  ;)

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 15:29:47 »
Top-mounting the plate entices me quite a bit, do you notice a difference in the typing feel compared to the stock mounting? In the kustoms world top-mounting is all the rage (aside from sandwich mounts, of course).

Since you reverse-engineered the plate, any chance of running a GB for plates in different materials? An ABS plate would bring the Realforce a lot more in line with the HHKB in terms of feeling and sound, and a thick polycarbonate one would be very interesting indeed.

Bump  ;)

I think a plastic plate would only work with a smaller keyboard like the HHKB. ABS and PC wouldn't have sufficient rigidity to hold up a full TKL's worth of switch housings, I would imagine.

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 15:30:46 »
Should it also work this way when checking out via Paypal?

Yes, I would imagine so, but let me know if not.

Online vinzlr

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 15:44:39 »
Just placed an order for astrophysical purple! Just checking, when do we think these will ship? I'm moving early january and so I might need to change my address. Will this be doable?

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 16:15:00 »
Just placed an order for astrophysical purple! Just checking, when do we think these will ship? I'm moving early january and so I might need to change my address. Will this be doable?

Most definitely after January, as the GB doesn’t even close until Dec 31 to allow people time to get in around the holidays. ;) However, I’m always happy to change anybody’s shipping address right up until I print the shipping label. So no worries there at all.

Offline bello2185

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #39 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 17:31:42 »
Well, my order is in! This, plus buying a sim racing setup, and also having a Steam sale isn’t doing my wallet any good. Payday better come fast. :p

Online vinzlr

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #40 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 18:40:49 »
Just placed an order for astrophysical purple! Just checking, when do we think these will ship? I'm moving early january and so I might need to change my address. Will this be doable?

Most definitely after January, as the GB doesn’t even close until Dec 31 to allow people time to get in around the holidays. ;) However, I’m always happy to change anybody’s shipping address right up until I print the shipping label. So no worries there at all.

Thanks! What's the best way to get ahold of you for this kind of thing? I see here you have PM's turned off so is there somewhere else I can send you my information + ask another question?

Offline richard912

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #41 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 18:53:10 »
Decisions, decisions . . . . what color to go for . . . .

Offline hayt

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 19:03:01 »
Hi Norb, is there any way we could get a pic of how the ano 3 black case will look with the standard black RF keyset? Since I have both a white and a black RF, I’m fairly torn on if I want to do white on silver or black on black.


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Offline nmur

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #43 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 19:05:29 »
yay ordered
wtb/wttf: greyscale bots, milk blue clack (t), blank blue realforce set

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #44 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 19:23:39 »
Just placed an order for astrophysical purple! Just checking, when do we think these will ship? I'm moving early january and so I might need to change my address. Will this be doable?

Most definitely after January, as the GB doesn’t even close until Dec 31 to allow people time to get in around the holidays. ;) However, I’m always happy to change anybody’s shipping address right up until I print the shipping label. So no worries there at all.

Thanks! What's the best way to get ahold of you for this kind of thing? I see here you have PM's turned off so is there somewhere else I can send you my information + ask another question?

If you look under my avatar right next to all my posts it has my email right there. :) You can also just reply to your order confirmation email.

Feel free to contact me anytime!

Offline chakku

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #45 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 19:34:31 »
Hi Norb, is there any way we could get a pic of how the ano 3 black case will look with the standard black RF keyset? Since I have both a white and a black RF, I’m fairly torn on if I want to do white on silver or black on black.


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Also in the same boat here, leaning toward black on black but worried it could look boring.

Offline norbauer

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Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #46 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 20:25:17 »
Hi Norb, is there any way we could get a pic of how the ano 3 black case will look with the standard black RF keyset? Since I have both a white and a black RF, I’m fairly torn on if I want to do white on silver or black on black.


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Also in the same boat here, leaning toward black on black but worried it could look boring.

I have a pic of the black keys 87U in a silver case. I'll try to edit together some pics tonight or tomorrow morning.

Offline braidn

  • Posts: 183
Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #47 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 20:44:52 »
Incredibly excited for this and psyched we have a GB thread to chat in. Likely going space station white with Black Keys and blue mods. Should be amaze

Offline nmur

  • ಠ_ಠ
  • Posts: 1430
  • Location: Sydney
Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #48 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 20:58:44 »
Incredibly excited for this and psyched we have a GB thread to chat in. Likely going space station white with Black Keys and blue mods. Should be amaze

yeah i know we're many months away from getting them but i've already planned out two keysets for silver ano case

white alphas/blue mods, both with labels
or
white alphas/pink mods, both blank
wtb/wttf: greyscale bots, milk blue clack (t), blank blue realforce set

Offline sodiumjoe

  • Posts: 85
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: the Norbaforce: after-market housing for RealForce TKL keyboards
« Reply #49 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 21:33:34 »
Just ordered, I hope the fc660c case is next!