Hello all! I am looking to get the unicomp model M but just wondering if anyone does any modding like regular mx / topre? Such as lubing the sliders to make it even smoother, and is it recommended? What other mods do people do?
I’ve personally never tried it, but you can check out this mod: Dental floss mod - Deskthority wiki
Lubing the springs should be a easy job and when can you go wrong with that. If it makes a big difference is something else.
Hi! As @Reimu64 linked, the dental floss mod is a fairy common modification designed to limit the spring ping if you don’t like it. It can be effective although it can change the key-feel depending on the thickness and length of the floss you use. But thankfully, it’s easily reversible.
Lubrication can also be used for dampening spring ping, dampening stabiliser rattle and making keycaps a bit more smoother. Lubing the spacebar stabiliser is generally a common and safe mod to do (I use white lithium grease when I do this for my Model Ms), but lubing anything that involves the switch mechanism or at least inside the key barrels themselves can possibly be ‘untenable’. Model Ms are membrane-driven keyboards, so any lube that accidentally or otherwise ends up at the bottom of the key barrel may cause issues down the road. I remember a few cases where I’ve heard it has, although I admit I don’t have any stats to go by since this sort of lubing on Model Ms is uncommon. That said, it has been done and at one point Lexmark (a previous OEM of Model Ms) even made factory-greased Model Ms (called “Soft Touch” models) in the mid '90s.
As for other mods people do, the big and very important one to keep in mind is ‘screw modding’ or ‘bolt modding’. The internal Model M assembly is held under tension via melted plastic rivets that can invariably break over time - something likely influenced by handling and environmental factors as well as ‘manufacturing lottery’. When a sufficient number of the rivets break in a localised area of the assembly, the diminished tension will lead to at first spongy key-feel and eventually the keys will stop working. A screw or bolt mod fixes this issue. Thankfully, Model Ms can last for decades without issue but some people may decide to implement a screw or bolt mod preemptively. It’s not so much as hard to do, just time consuming and fiddly to get the tension right. Key-feel might change slightly as a result, but the keyboard should then last for indeed decades. A user somewhat active on my subreddit, /r/ModelM, has made an excellent photo guide on Model M restoration that includes this sort of modding.
And finally as a ‘soft mod’, you can get custom keycaps from Unicomp!