[IC] the Norbaforce Mark II

I’m currently deep in R&D on a new version of the Norbaforce, my after-market upgrade housing for the Realforce 87U family of keyboards by Topre. It’ll likely still be a while before I’m able to nail down logistics and offer them again, but I’m far enough along at this point to gauge interest and invite some feedback. :slight_smile:

UPDATE: This product is now available.

Planned changes/upgrades

  • Support for the R2 family of RealForce keyboards in addition to the 87U family (this requires my developing and including two different break-out PCBs, one for each family)
  • New Cerakote finishing options
  • Better USB-C support (cables with USB connectors should work on both ends)
  • An (optional?) steel rear cover plate to increase the overall weight and reduce interior sound transmission without the addition of foam.
  • Other minor internal technical improvements, primarily to make assembly more straightforward.

Otherwise, it should be identical to the (apparently much-beloved) Round 1 design.

I’m currently debating whether or not to offer anodizing, so that is an important question in the survey. Anodizing has been a source of enormous QC issues (i.e. delays) for me in every past production run I’ve ever done, and I’m seriously considering getting away from it entirely. Feedback would be appreciated.

My current planned bill of offerings is:

  • Aperture
  • Royal Wrinkle
  • a third textured powder coat TBD
  • Retro Refrigerator (matte Cerakote)
  • Space Station White (matte Cerakote)

Frankly, I went way overboard with the number of SKUs and finishes in the first round, which led to something of an operational nightmare–with me having to disappoint a few people by having to cancel their orders due to shortfalls. Therefore, I’m sternly keeping to my resolve not to have more than just a handful of well-curated finishes on this new production. (It’s much better to have to choose from fewer finish options than to get attached to one that, for whatever reason, ends up not being available after a long wait.)

I look forward to hearing any and all feedback!



Well now I might just have to buy a realforce! :wink::sweat_smile:

I am so in on this!

I would consider cerakote or anodized finishes. Based on what I’ve seen of the previous enclosures, I would be interested in seeing all the finishing options you come up with.

I’ll probably buy an R2 just to be part of this mark II. I’m very happy with my 2 previous norbaforces, I just want to make sure I have a backup if one ever breaks down.

I would happily buy a space station white to go with my tactical black r1 norbaforce.

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I’m potentially interested even though I have a R1 Norbaforce. After feeling the steel backplate on the H6 it’s hard to go back to the aluminum one on the Norbaforce.

Does anyone have a photo of what this looks like on a keyboard in person?

I’m more of a fan of the matted look but I’m torn because I love the color black on the norbaforce

I purchased an R2 because I saw you were going to do the run and i hope you still do. If the anodizing is too much of a pain you should just let it go. People need to understand how hard it is to run a GB let alone ship and process all the units. And I would love that TBD to be Purple. Thank you again for doing this for us I’m sure everyone appreciates it!

I would definitely be in if there’s an annodized option, though I totally get why you might not want to offer it. But, while I’m sure they’re worth every penny, your powder-coat options tend to be prohibitively expensive for me, so having a cheaper option would help out a ton.

I’d also be curious about a cerakote option, would the price of those be similar to powder coating? Or perhaps a bit cheaper?

Either way, I have an 87U in my drawer patiently waiting, so hopefully I can make something work :slight_smile:

As of now, Realforces don’t quite seem to be my thing - but damn, I’m excited to see a combo of a Norbaforce Mark II and DSA After School 1992.

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Would Mark II fit Realforce TKL RGB?
I don’t know if the interior dimensions are the same as R2 - if someone could chime in - thanks

Joined to post in this thread. As an owner of a R2 and recent purchaser of an Aperture Heavy-6 I really hope this happens. I would be good with powder coat or Cerakote, but have some firearms where the Cerakote hasn’t held up as well as I would have liked. Perhaps it was an application issue, idk. I trust whatever direction you go with will meet your discerning standards.

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Actually, if I do offer anodizing, it would likely be at a higher price than I have offered in the past, since the lower pricing I offered in the past just caused me to lose tons of money. When the reject rate for a particular finish is around 50% (which is not uncommon in my experience, and I’ve tried like 12-15 anodizing vendors on multiple continents), it means I should have been charging double what I actually did. :frowning: All things considered, anodized parts have frankly ended up costing me considerably more per unit (both in terms of dollars, labor, and stress) than powder–even though on the factory invoice, it’s theoretically much cheaper.

Cerakote is non-trivially more difficult to apply than powder and the material itself is also considerably more expensive, so Cerakote would be an upgrade cost compared to powder. The advantage is that it is more durable in most circumstances and makes it possible to get good cosmetic results with solid (and non-texture) colors, which is much more of a challenge with powder. I’ve also had to deal with really high reject rates on solid colors in the past like Retro Refrigerator and Space Station white powder, which is why I’m currently exploring the Cerakoting option, since those colors are much beloved and I don’t want to give up on trying to achieve them.


this is an image from the other forum (@hervuli… ) the lighting looks awfully bright, perhaps @Ryan could comment if it looks darker in person

Unfortunate to hear but I understand. Appreciate the response, I’ll keep an eye on this regardless.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Yeah, that’s not really quite how it looks in person. The image is somewhat over exposed. It’s really just looks like a matte black, with a subtle texture on close inspection.

This video is helpful:

I’m 100% in for a white version. Will this support the limited edition versions of the R2? Any knowledge if those have different dimensions or anything?

Super excited about R2 compatibility because I can finally get a Norbauer case on Topre with Cherry stems. (I could never source a Novatouch)

My only regret about the Norbaforce is getting the tactical black anodized finish instead of the purple.

I would love to see purple or orange for R2.

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