Fan builds 40% custom IBM Model F miniature keyboard


Even having grown up using Commodore 64, Apple II and IBM PC, I have no fondness for mechanical keyboards. I’m happiest with a set of short-travel chiclet-style laptop keys under my fingers, but even I can feel drawn to the cult of mechanical keyboards by this impressive compact recreation of a IBM Classic Model F keyboard.

Although modern mechanical keyboards are inspired by the myriad of keyboards and input devices used in the 70s and 80s (for electric typewriters and early personal computers)there are two specific models that stand out as the driving force behind the current obsession with keyboards loud enough to wake the dead: the IBM Model F, and its successor, the Model M. Both used a patented buckling spring mechanism on the inside, combined with other moving components, including a small hammer, to produce a distinct feel and sound when keys are pressed. Some liked while others are happy that noise canceling headphones are now affordable and effective.

A member of the Office Forums who goes through “Durken” recently shared a custom version it looks like a perfect recreation of an IBM Model F keyboard, but scaled to 40% of its original size, losing the number pad and even the wide spacebar in the process. To make it look as close to the original as possible, Durken used keys with authentic buckling spring switches, and even referenced the PCB of a Model F in order to design their own more compact alternative. Jlike IBM, it has a slight curve when installed inside a 3D printed enclosure, which Durken has also heavily putty, sanded and painted to give it a perfect 80s beige finish.

Model D typing test

As if the loop’s spring-loaded switches weren’t loud enough already, Durken added an extra level of optional haptic feedback with the addition of a solenoid inside that fires whenever a key is pressed. is pressed, making the keyboard sound like a mechanical typewriter. To keep the solenoid function secret, it is secretly activated by pressing the IBM logo, which is normally nothing more than an aluminum sticker, but functions here as an additional mechanical button.


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