Tsangan plate design files

WARNING: Beware that my plate design is missing tray-mount holes. See below for more details.

I just ordered a Tsangan POM plate from Ponoko. In doing so, I created a KLE JSON file then used http://builder.swillkb.com/ to style (Ponoko requires line color to be blue and line width to be 0.01mm) and generate SVG, DXF, and EPS files.

I’ve open sourced them here:
https://github.com/donpark/keyboard/tree/master/plate

Order details:

  • 15’‘x15’’ sheet of 0.62’’ inch (~1.5mm) POM (aka Delrin)
  • around $20 for the mat and $8 for the lasercut
  • they offered coupon code for $20 discount on mat for first order.
  • but shipping from SF to my house (30mi away) was $10 something.
  • final cost to me was $21 something.

This is my first order at Ponoko using these files so, if you want to order the same, please wait until I can confirm all is well by actually using the plate on a board.

UPDATE: The sheet was large enough to make 3 plates but I didn’t have time to pack the layout. Please share if you do.

UPDATE2: I was able to ask Ponoko to replace the original design with a packed version. This raised the cost by $12.27. I’ve updated the repo with tsangan-15x15.xxx files. No DXF file cuz I used Affinity Design to edit and there was no DXF export option.

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Yes please let us know how it goes. I’ve been wanting to try out a POM plate for awhile, but worry about swillkb or ai03’s plate generator accuracy. ai03 is supposed to be better on the accuracy & ease of use fronts, but while I have designed plates with both I have never pulled the trigger on ordering them as I was concerned whether or not the files I created would end up getting cut like I was assuming they would.

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POM plates arrived.

15x15 inch POM sheet arrived in a large package, sandwiched between cardboards. Laser burn marks, Batman!

Flipped it over and peeled off the adhesive paper on both sides. Most of the cutout pieces came off with the paper.

Burn marks are thankfully on the bottom side, not visible from front-side. As you can see, the layout is for Tsangan layout only and without open switch top notches because all of my Tsangan boards are hot-swappable.

POM sheet was 0.062 inches which is tad thicker than 1.5mm so switch latches to the plate on the slope. Feels acceptably secure however.


I was a bit worried about the stabs but the plate fits Tsangan perfectly (found a problem, see below). I think this PCB is the HTE60 from 1upkeyboards. It’s North-facing as you can see. :roll_eyes: Stabs are from KBDfans and rings from NovelKeys on the stabs are there to reduce titter-totter.

With switches installed. Zero issue. Holy Pandas. ZealPC Zilents v1 on the space bar. Keycaps are Cubic Jukebox filled with epoxy polymer for heft.

Final shot with keycaps on. Both are case-less boards with angled foam bottom. Bottom board with POM plate sounds real nice and thocky with softer bottom out. Lower pitched than brass plate. I still prefer the sound and feel of the brass plate but I like POM plate more than aluminum, carbon fiber, polycarbonate, or acrylic.

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What I’m going to do next is create a packed layout with 2 ANSI POM plate for my other boards and a universal layout open switch top plate as catch-all for others in the community.

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Thanks for the update! Looks like a POM plate just shot way up on my list of things to try. Also might finally get that ALPS plate with the SGI layout cut so I can finally show off that beautiful keyset!

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I just noticed that spacebar stab slots may need some adjustments. Spacebar key travel feels shorter as is, likely because there is not enough room for the stab wire to fully raised.

On my board, stab wires for Enter and Left Shift keys are on the South-side. Their key travel feels fine because current plate design has extra slit on the South-sdie. But stab wire for Spacebar is on the North-side which is I think the problem.

For now, I’m going to use Dremel to clear the path. After confirming the fix, I’ll update the design if I can. Maybe doable from KLE or swillkb. If not, I should be able to do it in code.

UPDATE: I chose to just cut up the part I wanted to remove then melt the excess (~160C). Turns out burn marks are only on the adhesive paper on the back-side that I completely forgot to remove. Doh.

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There is a huge mistake in the POM plates. Can you spot it? I didn’t even notice it just now. Yup. Holes for tray-mounted PCBs are missing. I expected swillkb to add them but didn’t check it. Dremel-time again.

You can’t be young again but you can be stupid at any age.

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Plate looks beat up after hacking around known issues but it works fine with no rattle. I only use 4 screws so I only had to cut 4 places.

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That really doesn’t look too bad considering

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Well, POM sheet was not consistent in how it reacts to cuts. Slowly increasing amount of pressure on small areas usually worked but certain areas result in cracking. In hindsight, I think heating the area being worked on may reduce cracking. Maybe a few seconds in the microwave? LOL Wish there was a readily accessible knowledge base for crafting POM.

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I’ve never worked with POM, so take this with a grain of salt. My gut instinct for cutting it would be to go to either a Rotozip that goes over 3K RPM with a plastic cutting bit or a high speed jigsaw with the highest tooth count blade I can get for it.

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Good tip there. Main problem for me was not having a proper workbench to fix the POM in place so I can use powertools on it without the thin plate flapping around all over the place. It slapped me twice!

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LOL! Hope it didn’t get you yoo bad bud, but yeah a proper workbench & set of clamps &/or vices to hold the material down I would consider necessary for cutting material. Also using the proper tools & blades not only makes your life easier, it is much safer. Oh well, learning the hard way, thus is life LOL! I’m glad you got working plates after all that though, gonna have to remember to add the screw holes when I go to get some cut.

BTW, how’s the feels with them?

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how’s the feels with them?

Feels nearly as nice as brass but sound is not as crisp. Not sure what I did wrong but it sounded pretty high pitched with acrylic case. I’ve been pretty underwhelmed with both carbon fiber and polycarbonate plates but POM plate is meeting expectations so far.

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I wanted to add my thoughts here as well.

Inspired by this post, I ordered a 1.5mm POM plate from Ponoko. I used plate files generated by Swillkb. Overall it was pretty affordable, material wise, from Ponoko. About ~25$ USD, however they charge 14$ to have some one “do the cutting”. With this, it puts the plate at about ~40$. I just did one, maybe @donpark got a better price since he did multiple. Not really GB rates, but such is the cost for a one-off.

I ran into issues of my kerf being off. My switch holes are slightly too big, so they don’t really grip as well as they should. Newer switches seem to be all right, but my desired switches for this build are pretty banged up. I ran into the same space bar issue that Don posted above. Easy fix though, I just used a metal file and created space. I wish I would have remembered this when ordering, but realistically I lack the skill to be able to edit the Swillkb plate file. I also discovered that since my plate was loose, and POM is so flex-y, the plate would not stay up. I was not planning on using foam between the plate and PCB, but ultimately I needed too.

All and all, I was able to get this working and I am pretty happy with the build so far. POM is super quiet. I am not even using silenced switches and I really impressed. Another aspect I noticed is that is seems like POM really takes a lot of “oomph” out of bottoming out. POM seems like the “vibranium” of plate materials. It is not a bad thing, but just something that I was not expecting. While I was trying resolve the issues with my POM plate, I briefly swapped in an aluminum one, and that one seemed more bounce-y. Like the switch would pop back more. POM seems like memory foam or something, stuff just gets absorbed. This is also my first tray mount with the center posts removed, so some of the experience could be do to that as well.

Cheers, just wanted to share my experience.

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Thanks for sharing @djmantis. I, like you, started with a template with only one plate but realized before submitting that available POM sheet size was much larger, large enough to accomodate three plates. So used a vector editor and placed multiple copies of the templates. It takes a bit of elbow-grease but manageable if you’re willing delve into details.

Thank you I’ve been looking for a Tsangan plate. I’ve got a friend who can print this out for me!

@donpark I was interested in trying this out. Thanks for the write up it helped me a lot.

Was there anyway you verified your files were accurate before sending them off to be cut?

How did you end up finding out how big the sheet was? (I couldn’t see it listed)

I noticed the prices shot up to around $50. I will see if I can track down a coupon or cut a bunch at once like you did.

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Nope. I’mma gambling man. :crossed_fingers:

Sheet size was available at the site so I created a SVG design document of that size then crammed as many copies of the plate SVG file as I could.

I don’t remember where I found the coupon code. It may have been in the email after signing up, good only for first order.

UPDATE: Delrin sheet size is here. Beware that 0.06in = ~1.524mm so some switches may latch on completely.
https://www.ponoko.com/materials/white-delrin

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Thanks Don!

I am working my way through the process. I wasted a bunch of time with builder.swillkb.com. Unfortunately while it mostly works there is a bug with the custom cut out feature where the cut outs just don’t work.

Decent reference to get a jump start on the different KLE layouts as starting from scratch is painful: https://drop.com/talk/947/physical-keyboard-layouts-explained-in-detail (it has a link to the JSON GitHub repo)

I am switching over to the AI03 plate editor https://kbplate.ai03.com/. I will still need to manually tweak the output files for some custom cut outs but should eventually work.

Also spotted black Delrin is a few dollars cheaper!

Edit:
You can double check measurements by jumping through these hoops (This is good for my sanity because they were way off):
KLE Editor -> AI03 Plate Generator -> AutoDesk online viewer (free) can be used to generate measurements.

(Now I need to pick up a digital caliper my non digital one just isn’t going to cut it.)

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