Keymacs a reproduction of Symbolics 365407 keyboard

It may not be new to some of you, but I found something incredible to me when I was in vacation:
https://keymacs.com/

This is a crazy guy who made a Symbolics 365407 keyboard reproduction and selling it.
I am a total noob for ALPS keyboards but I can recognize when some hard work has been put into. To my knowledge the only guy who did something crazy like that was @Ellipse for the Model F reproduction.

The youtube channel is stunning as hell:

And look at those keycaps …
This man did polyurethane resin double shot at home that look nice like industrial ones by GMK or SP, one of the Youtube videos shows the making of one keycap, super impressive and instructive.
They are MASSIVE, specially the large stabilized keys that have no void space in them.

The price on the other end … but hey given the work done and the fact it is mostly done by hand it justify the price IMO.
Any Symbolics enthousiast wanting to take the plunge at 900$ ?

PS:
By looking at the videos, and later some links on the web, I discovered that ALPS switches were in fact factory lubed.
No one has been able to find a proper replacement … until now it seems.
It is called Nektar lube and is a mix of different oil/greases.
See this link for more details:
https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?t=23878&start=210

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Dude put in work on the build logs too! :heart_eyes: You know this guy cares.

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I’ve meant to do one of my build logs on this board, but real life has just been far too busy this year. And in this case, it wouldn’t really be a build log, as Keymacs has done all of the work - this one has brown Alps, cleaned and lubed with Nektar (a blend of NyoGel and OKS).

For now, this will have to do:

It bears repeating - one person designed and machined the case, designed the PCB, built the online tool for programming it, designed and double-shot the keycaps himself, and designed and produced the stabilizers. I believe the Alps switches are the only part of this board that he did not design and manufacture himself (although he did source the brown Alps, disassemble and clean them, and lube them himself). The entire project is nuts, in the best possible way.

I don’t have a personal typing video of this, but I’m 95% sure this video is the board I purchased, and even if it isn’t, I’m nonetheless willing to stand by that video as an accurate depiction of the sound of this board.

I agree with @Rico completely - this is expensive, especially if you opt for Alps and the full build by Keymacs - but if you’re a Symbolics enthusiast, this is it.

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I remember seeing this on Deskthority. Super awesome

Super nice purchase @jshufelt !

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Wow, what an amazing looking board.

It looks like it belongs on an executive’s desk at the Tyrell building…

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I configured one of these, definitely fetching a pretty penny, but goodness, looking at the pictures and design considerations made makes it supremely appealing.

While it is still hot, @Jae-3soteric recently made a build of his second (yes) Keymacs with brown ALPS.
Very interesting to see.

The link is here:

Hi! Thanks for posting the info about my project. I will probably put some more info here to those who are interested. So far, the main source of information about the project is on my DT thread.

Just a clarification: The keyboard is not a total reproduction like in the case of the new Model F. It is internally very different from the original. The original new-style Symbolics keyboards used either the Hi-Tek 725 series of switches (space invaders) in revisions A and B of the keyboard, or the ITW magnetic valve switches in the revision C.

When I decided to do the reproduction, I had no source of the original switches and manufacturing the switches was outside of my budget. The tooling and machinery to make the keycaps was too expensive already. Also, I just like Alps much more than either of the switches in the original Symbolics keyboards, so I redesigned the keyboard internally to be basically an Alps/Matias-compatible board with the same external appearance as the Symbolics original.

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It was a pleasure to post information in KeebTalk about your amazing work, and sorry for not having be totally accurate in the content.

PS:
I have been amazed at the incredible engineering work you put in making your own keycaps, seeing your recent video about making a spacebar was a real treat!

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Good news then: I have two more manufacturing videos in my buffer. I need to do the editing but hope to release them soon.

The spacebar is kind of special. The other keys are made with reusable moulds, so I do not have to go through all that process of making the silicone moulds every time. In case of the spacebar, each mould is used only once. This is due to the fact that I underestimated the expansion of the silicone after the first demoulding—another spacebar cast from the same mould would scratch against the control keys next to it.

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Great, can’ t wait for new videos!

The spacebar is giving you quite a lot of trouble it looks.

Yes, but it is something that can easily be fixed by making a smaller die. I am working on a new manufacturing process and will perhaps rework all the moulds anyway.

One of the challenges was the stabilization. I went through a number of stabilizer designs before I come up with the present solution. It is probably not definitive and will be changed in future revisions.

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With the latest restock of exclusive kits, this is my latest obsession… This keyboard is unbelievable.

How are folks who have this finding it? Does it take much effort to adjust your workflow to this key layout? I can’t pretend to have ever used a Symbolics keyboard before, but its history, what people say about the Alps experience, and the quality of this kit is really alluring!

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While this is a board I love the idea of much more so than the price, I applaud the engineering you put into this project! It’s a great looking board with a lot going for it :slight_smile:

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I am obviously biased :grinning: but when I bought the original Symbolics keyboard and converted it to USB, I was amazed how quickly I adapted. I am a heavy Emacs user, been using it almost for 25 years and started with the ancient Emacs 19. I always wondered why the key combinations in Emacs are ‘weird’. The most frequently used modifier key is Control which on modern keyboards is far away. With the Symbolics keyboard, the editor started making much more sense, the big Control keys next to the spacebar, plenty of modifiers,…

It still is a reduced form factor keyboard (no navcluster, no numpad, no classic F-keys) but probably the biggest in the world.

Thanks! The price is unfortunately a result of the kind of manufacturing I run. If it were a keyboard made with some standard keycaps, the price would be much lower but it would probably deviate from the original too much.

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