[IC] DCS Alps Pingmaster (7/28 Update! Completely Revamped Kits! Again!)

Important Update (7/28): So after a bit of deliberation, we have decided to really make the set as faithful as possible to the Pingmaster, taking inspiration from both the Chinese and Japanese variants. This means that we have combined the text and icon modifiers into one base kit, but we think the set looks great, and we hope you do too!

We’re also looking to do one or two renders, but unfortunately, because no one has the DCS profile modeled out, the renders will need to be in Cherry profile

Hi Everyone!
Fredington (from Geekhack) and I would like to introduce you to DCS Alps Pingmaster!

Like many in this hobby, I discovered Alps switches and ended up loving them. But unfortunately, there isn’t that much choice for Alps lovers when it comes to keycaps. It seems like the only choices are Tai Hoa sets (but dolch is always out of stock), the sets from those two GBs from back in the 2010’s, or a yellowed vintage set. And good luck finding a set with a single zero keycap for the numpad. Honestly, as a fan of Alps switches, I kind of just want a new keycap set haha

GH Thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=107021.0

A few key things about this set:

  • The set is PBT with Dye-sublimated legends
  • We went the PBT route since Alps keycaps in Doubleshot ABS tend to have an issue of very fragile stems, and SP informed us that because the PBT Alps keycaps are single shot molded, fragile stems shouldn’t be an issue
  • The longer spacebars (6u, 6.25u, 6.5u, 7u) will be in ABS as the PBT spacebar is known to warp pretty badly
  • (UPDATE: 7/28)We have gone back to one base kit; this time, with both text and icon modifiers, to be more faithful to the Pingmaster keyboard, incorporating elements from both the Japanese and Chinese variants
  • (UPDATE: 7/28)We included full compatibility for JIS layouts
  • The set was inspired by the IBM Pingmaster because I’ve always liked the Japanese Alps keycaps.
  • All Modifiers will have MX mounts for stabilizers

Geekhack IC Thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=107021.0

If you are interested in this set,please fill out this form here! There also may be a question regarding future sets :wink:

Kits:

Base Kit


After even more deliberation, we felt it was best to make the set more faithful to the Pingmaster, but incorporating both text and icon modifiers into the base kit, using inspiration from both theChinese and Japanese variants
The legends have also been changed to more accurately reflect the Pingmaster legends. Specifically, we moved the English legends from the top left, to the bottom left

JIS


Offers full JIS layout compatibility; accents included

Numpad


We initially wanted the base kit to include everything, but due to the legends, it got a bit pricey. So we split out the Numpad to make it more affordable.

Split Spacebars


We added a Split Spacebar kit for more compatibility with various layouts. Please note which spacebars are marked as ABS

Other Considerations:

  • We wanted to include relgendables in the GB, but they only offer them in a couple of PBT colors. And because the tooling was made for ABS, the PBT tends to shrink
  • We really wanted to try to include a Big Ass Enter, but unfortunately, it’s just not possible right now

Standard SP Color Codes:

  • Alphas: GKK
  • ABS Spacebars: Color matched to GKK (in the event that we can’t color match, this will be GSL )
  • Modifiers: GDE
  • Blue Accents: BFD
  • Pink Accents: RCA

Special Acknowledgements:

  • Thank you again to Fredington for creating the fonts, kits, and just being a pleasure to work with
  • Thank you to kidviddy and konstantin for helping Fredington with the new text and icon modifiers
  • Thanks to ai03 for giving us his blessing. It was genuinely a mistake that this set looks like his SimpleJA keycap set; we honestly forgot that he had already created a PBT set with Katakana sublegends

To-do’s:

  • Gather feedback (done)
  • Possible polling (done)
  • Finalize kits (done)
  • Finalize colors (done)
  • Pricing (in progress)
  • Renders (in progress)
  • Vendors (in progress)
  • GB Date

Changelog (Posted on GH on 6/18)
7/28/20

  • Revised modifiers to both text and icon to be more in line with Japanese and Chinese Pingmaster variants
  • Revised kits from separate Alphas and modifiers, back to one Base Kit
  • Added full JIS layout support
  • Finalized color codes

7/4/20

  • Revised legends so English Alphas sit on the bottom left, being more in line with the Pingmaster’s legends
  • Broke out Alphas, Icon Mods, and Katakana Mods
  • Unfortunately, had to remove the BAE kit

6/25/20

  • Added Icon Modifiers Kit
  • Broke out accents to be combined in other sets
  • Included standard accents in Base Kit
  • Included Icon BAE keys with accents in BAE Kit
  • Broke out ISO into its own kit, and included accents and Icon ISO Enter Keys with accents
  • Added Split Spacebars Kit (note: Similar to the base kit, the longer 6u and 6.5u spacebars will be made in ABS)

6/19/20

  • Confirmed that the spacebars will be ABS
6 Likes

dat big ass enter tho. These probably aren’t for me, but they are awesome and I hope they do well!

Big Ass Enter key…
When your ISO needs ISO🙂

Commented on GH and I’ll comment on here. This is a kick-ass set. I’m looking forward to it and very much endorse the BAE! Thank you for doing it!

2 Likes

If memory serves me correctly, there are a few different ways that BAE keys are made. I remember the push to make a GMK one for mx but it never went through because of this reason. Some Mx BAE are stem centered and some are slightly offset. Are all Alps BAE keys stabilized and mounted the same way? I have not clue, honestly.

Here’s an example I have on hand

3 Likes

Yea definitely. We’re waiting on pics/samples from SP to get a sense of where the mounts are because no one seems to know lol

Oh niceee…I did read somewhere that SP tends to put their stab mounts closer to the stem mount, but I’m honestly unsure

not to mention I have an ortek board with a BAE and it uses mx mount costar stabilizers (acutally, it uses 2 on the one key). Standards, people. Why is this so hard?? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

1 Like

Based on feedback, we separated the Alphas from the modifiers to give people a choice between Icon and Katakana mods

Also, we unfortunately had to remove the BAE =/

What?! NOOOO!! That was the best part!! :sob: :sob: :sob: :sob:

This looks like it would be lots of fun to use, but how does ine acquire decent alps switches to use with it in the first place?

can buy used on r/mechmarket

I like the new old stock switches a lot. Can usually find yellow linear and white clicky new.

To me, even the simplified white clicky alps feel nice. Although your best best bang for your buck is finding new old stock “pine” white switches. They show up occasionally. I like them better than the coveted blue Alps.

Yup, to add to @pixelpusher you can also look on ebay for old Alps boards, and all you need to do is desolder them off of that board. You can typically get a ton of Alps switches for much cheaper

Just some quick notes:

  • Amber Alps and Brown Alps are getting harder and harder to find, and their market price reflects that
  • Blue Alps are typically highly sought after as there is a general consensus that they have the best sound and feel. That’s obviously very subjective; I actually like Amber Alps a bit more because I prefer a higher weighting
  • If you dig linears, yellow and green alps are very nice, but they’re also getting harder to find and are starting to command higher prices. So if you prefer linear switches, I recommend getting white alps, and “linear-izing” them. All you need to do is remove the click-leaf.

ughh I know…I’m sorry; I was super bummed when I found out too =/

(also, apologies that I haven’t been active here; work has been crazy)

1 Like

Yeah you know I’m gonna be in it to win it :slight_smile:
Looking forward to this!

1 Like

Updated the kits back into one base kit that includes both alphas and modifiers as we decided to combine both text and icon mods from the Japanese and Chinese variants of the Pingmaster

We think this is more faithful to the name, and honestly should have been this way from the beginning. And we understand if people are disappointed, but we hope you like the changes as much as we do

Just went through a big headache with my Alps Throwback set, so I completely understand the ABS Space Bars now. lol The PBT bars were almost 2mm too short.

I mentioned this in a few different threads, but I wonder if there is any way we could convice SP to update their space bar mold. It lacks the supports to stop the cap stem from going too far into the Alps switch. So, if you mash your space bar down a bit too far, it makes contact with the switch housing and doesn’t return all the way. Really just a quality of life fix since you can be intentional when putting it on, but it takes a few tries to get it right.

1 Like