Unfinished Projects: What's blocking them?

@macclack started a thread about keyboard chores and while I was writing my reply, I was drifting off into my unfinished projects and what’s keeping me away from finishing them. So I thought, that should probably better go into its own thread. And here is it. :grin:

Here’s my list of unfinished builds, at least those where I mostly know where I want or wanted to go (not counting unused key cap sets or PCBs, etc.):

  • A MiniVan third party case from StrataKB where some of the plate webs were so thin that they broke on the first switch insertion. :frowning: For some reason I’m reluctant to write to the manufacturer, because that would be a rather unfriendly rant about how these plates could have ever worked for anyone. (Granted, it might have worked slightly better — if at all — for old, non-hotswap MiniVan PCBs. But with hotswap PCBs, the included plate is completely unusable, also because there’s no support from more than one side for any switch with a stab. Just recently I ripped out keycaps and switches for another project.

  • Two 60% builds in wooden cases with hotswap, a GK64 layout (i.e. a cursor key block in the lower right corner and 0.25u offset between all alphabetic key rows) and being fully programmable.

    • Still have to find a PCB with all these features.
      • The GK64 PCB itself is not not QMK-compatible.
      • There’s a DZ60 variant which supports the GK64 layout, but it is not hotswappable.
      • The hotswap DZ60RGB PCB does not support the GK64 layout.
      • I probably need to get a non-hotswap, fully programmable PCB (likely the non-hotswap DZ60) and make it hotswap with Millmaxes.
    • Nevertheless I put in a DZ60RGB PCB to get it at least into a usable state for now.
    • Haven’t even started the sister build of the project shown in the pictures: It is planned with the same PCB, but inside a wooden Datamancer case with lid.
  • A KBD19X where I started soldering in Millmaxes, probably destroyed one lane or so while doing so, and then also noticed that the plate doesn’t really work properly for hotswap sockets. I guess I have to order a second PCB and write off the money I paid for these Millmaxes. And then I’ll have to finally decide which switches go in — which doesn’t make it easier to continue on that project.

  • A not yet started Kira80 build, mostly because I want to gain more soldering experience before I touch that precious thing. Especially the KBD19X fuckup must not happen again with this build.

  • [DONE 2020-Apr-15] A not yet started JD40 full brass build — still have to figure out, if it’s suitable for making it hotswap with Millmaxes. Also I haven’t figured out which keycaps best go with brass.

  • A nearly finished Daisy with HHKB-style alumnium case (both from KPRepublic) which I haven’t yet managed to flash with a new firmware. All manuals just didn’t work (IIRC).

  • [DONE 2020-Apr-18] A not yet started BM43a from KPRepublic build whose “orange” case was more a rosé gold — not really pink, but definitely nothing I’d call orange. Not sure what to do with that. Maybe using it as guinea pig for a custom anodization service.

Some boards I initially forgot in this posting and added retroactively to it for completeness:

  • [2020-Apr-02] A local chance purchase for a Ginny kit (or Ginni, the developer seems to not to be able to decide; 10 keys and ASETNIOP layout) — haven’t built it yet as I haven’t yet decided if I want to try to make it hotswap with Millmaxes (has no case, so this might be difficult) or if not, which switches should go in. It is recommended to only use lightweight switches (or maybe even swap in 3rd-party springs around 20g) — due to having to press many switches at the same time quite often — and I mostly have medium to heavy weight switches in stock. Also not sure if should really start to use choc switches for that keyboard, because there’s not much choice in keycaps for choc switches.

  • [2020-Apr-18] A naked (unpainted) black TKC 1800 with green plate. Got it for a bit less than normal when a bunch of them were up on Massdrop a year ago or so. Planned with GMK >Terminal_ R2 (hence the green plate).

    Might become my next “home holidays” or weekend-during-COVID-19-lockdown build, but I just ran out of Millmax hotswap sockets, :cold_sweat: :cry: (Well, there are still enough left for another 40% build, but not for a full-size build.)

    Additionally I run out of my favourite switches (Zealios, Zilents, Kailh Box Royal, Kailh Box Navy and Kailh Box Jades), Still have a bag of nice and orange Healios, so I might just use them initially although they’re planned them for some build with orange keycaps.

    I ordered some more Zealios and Zilents at Massdrop’s leftovers shop “Yanbo’s Closet” about two or three weeks ago, but they’re not yet even shipped, probably due to COVID-19…

Hmmm, now that I’m writing that down, quite some of fuckups listed in here happened due to subpar quality from KPRepublic. Maybe I should stop shopping there. Then again, they often have this difficult to find stuff… :unamused:

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I ordered my BM43a from massdrop and the ‘rose gold’ one I got is hot pink :thinking:

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Ok, with KPRepublic I would have understood that there might be a translation error because colors aren’t always easy to translate. But for Massdrop it’s just, well, laziness?

Unfinished Projects: What’s blocking Manofinterests?

Southpaw FS: Switch availability(?) - although to be fair, I still need to choose what switches to use.

Jane v2 CE: Laziness - It’s practically ready to go

Bauer: Switch availability - waiting for gat ink restock

FR87: Laziness - It’s built up and has a switch top removable plate. I just need to get in and lube it up buttercup

Fjell: Switches: Switches - Need to decide what switches. I do have a 5mm polycarb plate I get to use :slight_smile:

Leaf60: Plate - I just got the alps plate file for this keyboard, I just need to get a plate made. Going to be a brown alps board :slight_smile:

IBM Pingmaster: Converter - Need to spend the time to learn how I can make a converter with a teensy cable

Cherry G80-1800 HEU: Decide - Keep this NiB beauty stock as cherry originally intended, or lube the switches (cherry mx clears) and stabs.

I probably have more than this as well that I need to remember. :thinking:

edit: more stuff I remember:

Norbaforce: Dome Swap - Need to swap out the BKE extremes with something a bit less extreme (like 55g or 45g).

HHKB Hybrid Type-S: Mod - Lube up and enjoy!

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So to sum up your issues… hotswap, lol. I love the concept of hotswap but hate it in practice – I rarely swap the switches (if ever), yet they attempt to get swapped, at least a few of them, every time I switch out keycaps. My DZ60RGB hotswap is extremely frustrating because the plate is held in by the switches, so it’s basically held in by the sockets – there is always the danger of lifting the plate when taking off a corner switch. I actually regret ordering a hotswap PCB for my Rama U80-A. I have enough keyboards now that I can keep a unique set of the switches, that I buy or make like a madman, in each one and just swap the boards when I want a different feel. I would assume you could do the same if that is appealing.

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Yeah I’ve been piling up unfinished projects myself lately. Mostly out of not having the extra time available. I’m still working for now with my buddy at a flip house of his, although my regular job is laid off because of Covid-19 till who knows when. So I might get the chance to finish these up yet.

Right now my unfinished/delayed projects are,

  • E6.5 desolder & rebuild with linear switches - This thankfully I did not get around to. Because in my procrastination to desolder the board & lube the batch of Gat Yellows I got for it, Exclusive opened up orders for fresh black E.65 PCBs, PC plates, & fresh o-rings for gasket mounting which I jumped on. Then Krelbit restocked on PE stems which I jumped on also. So now I get to keep my Holy Panda setup for it in tact & have a linear build I can just swap in!

  • Klippe-T build - Right now I got my ALPS64 build with browns in it, but I’ve been meaning to put that back into my ADK64 cases & put a MX build back in it. I still gotta choose between the Linjars or Gat blacks I got for that, but other than that I could’ve got on this awhile ago. I got all the parts, just haven’t had the motivation to do it yet.

  • Pingmaster conversion - This guy has sat on my shelf for over a year now. I really want to convert it to USB, but still need to do some more research to figure out how to do that with a Teensy + or Pro Micro.

  • Magnavox Videowriter conversion - I originally bought this to harvest the SKCM browns it came with. Thankfully I figured out a way to harvest them without desoldering so I can still convert the board to USB. This one will be much tougher than the Pingmaster from what I have read so far though.

  • Chicony KB-1560 AT-3 desolder & rebuild - Grab this on a whim off ebay since I thought it had MX clears, but they ended up being vintage whites before the used colorant with the stems on them. So far I’ve just cleaned it up & desoldered a few switches to get a look at them. What I want to do now is desolder the whole lot of switches off it & replace them with MX blacks so I can use it with a Soarer’s convertor (it’s 5 pin DIN).

I do have a few other ideas for projects I’d like to do, but that’s what is directly on my plate right now. Hopefully we all can get at least a few of our longstanding projects knocked out while stuck inside with this COVID-19 craziness!

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I like it for the Minivan Kumo. The board is so small that its way to try out new switches, you don’t have to buy a lot of switches. With 40 you can basically cover the whole board other than a few modkeys. Buy 30 switches and get all of the alphas and highvalue keys like spacebar/backspace and shift covered.

I got the plate and it is a little annoying changing the switches with the plate, but its better than no plate once you settle on switches because otherwise the switches roll themselves out of the sockets if you don’t have them snapped into a plate.

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Interesting. Obviously I love it. But I see your points.

I actually do a lot. Still curious on new switches, especially tactile ones. As @Vex mentioned, the MiniVan seems to be the perfect keyboard for it:

Yes, that’s one of the downsides. It’s part (but IIRC not the only part) of my KBD19X issue.

Had this with the MiniVan, too: Only started using the plate when I was sure which switches I wanted in there for quite a while. Damaged 4 of 46 switches while doing so (botched pins while inserting).

Never had this issue, though.

Nah, totally glad about the U80-A having been available with hotswap: I don’t know how it sounds and how the switches will affect the sound. Will likely experiment a while with it, also with the add-on dampener. Still not sure if it will be a rather silent or more “natural sounding” keyboard for me.

Not sure if I understood what you meant there.

Maybe this is what you meant:

I have a set of switch models where I know I can live with it if they’re soldered in (namely Zealios v2, Kailh Box Royal and Durock T1) which I usually have in stock for at least one fullsize keyboard and which I use for keyboards where hotswap doesn’t work.

Can’t confirm this. I basically ran all my MiniVans but one without plate. They only occasional get loose if you don’t plug in PCB mount (i.e. 5-pin) switches. But what’s worse: Having a (thick) plate which doesn’t support all switches from at least two opposing sides and than using plate-mount switches in hotswap sockets. Then the switches will tilt by themselves due to only being supported on one side. Happened to me with that StrataKB case in addition to the too thin and fragile webs. Wanted to use plate-mount Kailh Box Navies in there.

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Lubing+filming switches. It’s worth doing it imo, as it makes them feel much better, but it’s such a pain in the butt I have like 300 sitting here waiting to be lubed… I totally get why people pay people on /r/mm to do it now. Maybe I should check out this tiger show everyone is on about.

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I need to lube my 87u to put in my Mk.II Norbaforce

I’ve got an E-Spectro that scares the hell out of me. The polycarb back plate is right on the edge of shattering. I have all the components, including a very nice set of Taro caps that I won in a raffle, but the screw holes are cratered and the whole thing is dicey as fuck.

If I ever get up the nerve, it’ll have holy pandas and Taro, good stabs and everything is lubed and ready to go. I only have to get out the soldering gun and grab my balls. If I do get it together in one piece, this will never make it to a meetup. It’s far too fragile.

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Oh yeah I gotta lube mine too I keep forgetting

  • Filco MJ2:
    a.) I’d love to get my hands on JTK HSA Beige on Brown, but I missed that boat for now.
    b.) I’ll be swapping the Cherry browns for Kailh Box browns at some point.
    c.) I’m replacing the very bright blue LED’s with dim amber ones, and to make sure it works / maximize the durability of the mod, my dad will be helping me install a little voltage regulator he’d already designed for this specific purpose. Gotta wait for the virus to chill out for that one.

  • Another Filco MJ2:
    a.) Susuwatari… 2 years and counting, and production just started.
    b.) waiting to do some tests to see what sounds good with ABS MT3 in terms of switches. I don’t have any pictures of this build on here yet, but it has this interesting top-shell replacement.

  • Hades 68: I’m pretty set on getting this cerakoted light gray, but I may have to save instead and get a bidet.

  • Impact 500: (are you seeing a pattern? I like to kitbash budget commercial boards like mall Hondas) - I’d like to powdercoat the aluminum case beige, swap in some nice heavy linears, and finally have a good place to put SA Chocolatier.

  • V80: In its current state, this thing is hot garbage (not a good platform for silents, let’s leave it at that), but having such a generic design gives it potential. There are lots of cases and shells this thing is compatible with if you’re willing to drill a hole or two - but this one will live in the back of the closet for a while until some others are done.

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dang it’s been that long? I’m glad I didn’t go for that one…

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OOF, Matt3o’s post didn’t sound encouraging at all.

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yay we’re in the same boat lol. Let’s keep each other updated on our progresses (if we make any) :smiley:

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  • KBD67 (w/mini USB) - Need to find somebody to desolder the 205g0-lubed and spring swapped MX Zilents I have on there as I am really annoyed with this keeb. Love the layout, and I might try and put different switches in it eventually, but I really hate the mini USB connector and the keeb has horrible ping/resonance issues prob due to poor bottom mount design.

  • Tofu65 w/Tada68 - Need to find somebody to desolder the 205g0-lubed and spring swapped Tealios I have on there as I am really annoyed with this keeb. Keeb performs alright, but mini USB connector is so loose it won’t hold a cable properly. I may be done with tray mount.

  • Sell/curb alert - No room left in keeb storage location. Need to bag on Varmillio TKL w/ Gateron Browns, KUL-ES87 w/ MX Clears, maybe a two tone Pok3r w/ MX Blacks (black caps/white base), and GMK Dolch run by zFrontier a few years ago due to the fact it doesn’t have shifts I need for 65 boards (good with TKL though).

All the extra time I thought I would have without my normal 2 hour daily commute has been consumed by honey-do items.

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Hmmm, Mini-USB sounds as if desoldering and replacing the Mini-USB socket with a working one might be the smaller effort as Mini-USB sockets are less hard to solder as Mini-USB or even USB-C sockets.

You planned to do soldering work during your commute?!? :crazy_face: Ah, misread the “without” as “with”. Funny imagination, though. :slight_smile:

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This keeb has a long story behind it full of pain. It originally started as a Tada68 kit with original case and Box Navies. I also put out the dough for a custom SS plate so I could use PCB-mounted stabs without having to pull out the dremmel. The ‘2’ key went out on the PCB and one of the case screws stripped:

So I replaced the case with a Tofu65, bought a new Tada68 PCB, and replaced the switches with tuned Tealios. Worked great for a few months, then the mini connector got more loose. Replaced the cable, and that didnt help.

Sure replacing the connector is the right thing to do here, but tbh, I am kinda done with this keeb given all the issues. Instead of desoldering, I might just try to find somebody to buy this as is as a repair project.

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I thought the same but then I got a fjell, I think it really depends how it’s done. The fjell might be my favorite board to type on rn.

Dang you’re not liking either of these switches?

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