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Modding Modding a keyboard with a new face?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by m0ng0lh0rde, 28 Jun 2008.

  1. m0ng0lh0rde

    m0ng0lh0rde New Member

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    Here's what I'm looking to possibly do:

    I've currently got an old IBM Model M keyboard, and I'd like to give it a bit of a new look. I don't feel like buying a new keyboard, as I love the feel and sound of the M. Yes, I've looked at Das Keyboard, I also don't feel like spending ~$120 on a keyboard.

    So, here's what I've been thinking of doing. I'd like to replace the top part of the cover, the portion around the keys, with clear plexi, or lexan, and possibly paint it (from the inside) I have *no* plastic forming skills, other than what could be accomplished with a Dremel and glue, and no access to any vacuum forming gear. Nor do I want to pay a company to make a new cover (price is an object)

    Any thoughts on how to go about this? I don't mind too much if my new cover is more squared off than the current version (section around the keys curves, the front edge curves down)

    Thanks,
    Jason
     
  2. InSanCen

    InSanCen Buckling Spring Fetishist

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    As a fellow Model M lover (Erm... sounds like a pr0n site for people with a car fetish!), go for it.

    I want to do mine in alu (Recast all the keys etc... and mount the guts of it).

    Whatever you do, I'll watch the thread with interest.

    There are plenty of idea's in the main project logs section or bending Plexi. Generally for a straight edge, but the Model M shouldn't provide many challenges... tight bend on the front, and a gentle bend on the face).
     
  3. m0ng0lh0rde

    m0ng0lh0rde New Member

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    The way I'm looking at it, I figure a minimum of 4-5 peices of plexi.
    One for the main top body.
    One for the curved section around the actual keys
    and one each for the left, right and top sides.

    Possibly, getting thick enough plexi, I might be able to simply "mill" (read sand / grind / file) the front curve. A quick blast from a torch should likely smooth it out, and make it "pretty."

    The key section would be easier (shallow curve), but getting some sort of a template to get the bend right might be a bit of work.

    The sides and top would be the easiest bits...
     
  4. sotu1

    sotu1 Ex-Modder

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    i know what you mean about keeping an old keyboard. my logitech is older than my pc by a few years. all i did was take it apart, swapped the green LEDs for white ones, then sprayed the body casing a metallic dark blue. put it back back together and hey presto. simple mod, but effective. it colour matches my mouse and pc too. give the keyboard plenty of coats of paint and clear coat, because it gets ALOT of wear. mine still hasn't rubbed out yet, and i painted it a couple of years ago. didn't mod the individual keys cuz i cant find replacement decals for the individual letters cheaply enough.
     
  5. CobraMods

    CobraMods Gettin there slowly

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    dry transfer lettering might be able to handle the key portion for ya
     
  6. clocker

    clocker Shovel Ready

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    Letraset/Chartpac and the ilk would wear off in a matter of days, if not hours.
     
  7. CobraMods

    CobraMods Gettin there slowly

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    not if covered by a coat of clear after they are applied =o)
     
  8. lost_modder

    lost_modder New Member

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    I have a clicky M on my main rig! Also just found some in storage at work. They need cleaned badly and have some missing letter caps replaced. Have you thought about cutting up the face of a new keyboard and fitting it to the M? Throwing out another idea.
     
  9. m0ng0lh0rde

    m0ng0lh0rde New Member

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    Nah, new keyboards are much smaller, on average, than the mighty M!

    I've got a second M stuck in the closet, the alignment key in the PS/2 connector was broken off, so I've got a template I can use, and still keep my regular keyboard. Hopefully, this weekend, I'll dig out the door to the closet (stuff piled in front) so I can get it out...
     
  10. the_crippler

    the_crippler {}

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    I would probably build an open box for the "frame" of the keyboard (all parts but the key section) and sand the front smooth and round. For the key section, get the thinest sheet of plexi you can find, and use a heatgun/powerful hair drier/torch to bend it. Mold? Find yourself another M keyboard 9not too difficult) and pop it off the keys - then, you can just use it's existing curve bend it down on.
     
  11. m0ng0lh0rde

    m0ng0lh0rde New Member

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    The advantages of having 3 Ms in the house...

    I've actually done some looking on making bends in lexan, and one guy had good luck bending in a toaster oven, set to 350. Once he took the lexan out, it bent smoothly and easily. I figure what I might do is either toast a piece of lexan, pull it out (oven mitts a must!), and use the "spare" M as a guide.

    Also, the metal tray the key assembly is mounted to, is the same curve, so I could always separate the two, and use the tray, just put it in the toaster oven with the lexan, maybe gently clamp them together to get the bend, and then heat it so it forms and holds...
     
  12. Lunn1

    Lunn1 New Member

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    if you have such a nice rig why dont you go buy a really nice keyboard?
     
  13. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    Never used an M have you? It's just an all around nice keyboard.
    John
     
  14. E.E.L. Ambiense

    E.E.L. Ambiense Acrylic Heretic

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    I've got one laying around somewhere too. I love the old-school 'clickity click' of the keys too. Reminds me of the film "War Games". :hehe:
     
  15. the_crippler

    the_crippler {}

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    When they took away my M at work so that I could have a "better" keyboard, it took me about a month to get used to how flippin' quiet it is. I hate it.
     
  16. Lunn1

    Lunn1 New Member

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    i graduated from a small high school, ive had my fair share of them....i just like backlight keyboards and stupid little gadgets, like the G15

    LOL
    [​IMG]
     
  17. JaYp146

    JaYp146 New Member

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    Just thought I'd poke in to say that I, too, love my Model M keyboard (clicking away on one right now as we speak :D). Would love to see some modding ... I've considered giving mine the Das Keyboard treatment (black paint with naked keys), possibly adding a small/thin USB hub beneath the board.

    Anyway, let's see some results ... or ideas! :)
     
  18. Ending Credits

    Ending Credits Bunned

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    The worst money I've ever spent was probably the £40 I spent on my Zboard. The thing is inferior to a £5 cheapo one for goodness sake. (I guess I'd miss being able to play 4 note chords on Frets On Fire though.)
     
  19. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    Last edited: 14 Aug 2008

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