Projects, Group Buys, Vintage and others
Duck Octagon V1
Red Scarf II (SOLD)
Wang Model 724 (Alps)
IBM Model M
Duck Octagon V1This was my first group buy keyboard that I built. Kit designed and made by my favorite KB maker "Duck" from Korea. The build is shown here with the Symbiosis SA key-set. It was put together with modded Cherry MX Greens, stickered, and respringed with 78g gold springs from Zeal. Each switch was fully lubricated and each switch has LED lighting. I wanted to try something unique with the LED lighting. The lighting is red for alphabet keys, green for numeral and function keys, blue for the arrow keys, and white for the modifiers. The "flip" key has a UV LED. I need to get a photo of the keyboard lit up. I also documented the build process as a guide for anyone who was new to building keyboards and posted it on my old site. This is the only keyboard that I don't think will ever be sold because it was the first I made. I was lucky because just "winging" the switches turned out to be some of the best ones I have; or at least I am very used to them and enjoy the feel. The numpad shown in pictures was a KR group buy that I got to try to match the Octagon. This was built back when there were way fewer choices as far as custom switches went. This link will bring you to the original build guide. http://www.lootkeys.com/legacy/projects/octagon
Red Scarf II (SOLD)The Red Scarf II was my second group buy build. Even though I no longer have this keyboard, I want to document all of my builds. As you can see I went with a polycarbonate case and a bright blue LED theme. I also went with the Hyperfuse GMK key-set. I was very happy with the build, but sold it shortly after because I wasn't using it often and wanted to invest in another build. Some highlights were the SIP sockets I installed so it would be easy to swap out lights, as well as fully lubed and stickered switches. It went to a member of the geekhack forum years ago.
Duck BlackbirdThe Blackbird was my next build and another from Duck. This is a bit more unique as far as customs go because it is a near full size keyboard. The only keys missing from this one are the cluster normally positioned above the arrow keys, here replaced with just a two key cluster instead of 6; as well as the function (F1-F12) keys. It is a nice solution to have a slick keyboard with a numpad. I think it looks great with the Terminal GMK key-set shown in these pictures. The only flaw that bothers me with this build is the small gap in the spacebar where there is a 0.25 size area to the left of the spacebar. As can be seen in the pictures the spacebar and to its left is just a bit off and needs to be reconfigured. This is a fairly easy fix but I would have to resolder the spacebar switch and possibly the modifiers on bottom left as well and I have not felt the need to do that yet. When I first put it together I accidentally got a small crack in the translucent plastic, and I finally found a replacement for that and it is on its way to me. I will consider this keyboard done after I have replaced that cracked piece and fixed the spacebar but it is very nice to type on as is. I must admit to slacking a bit on the switches as I went with Gateron Blues, and only lubed the sterns. This keyboard was put together back when there were not nearly as many switch choices out there in the community. The switches have a nice feel but are fairly loud and clicky. Another fun keyboard from Duck.
Norbaforce AstrophysicalMade by Norbauer & Co. A keyboard company that is serious about quality and details. I have always enjoyed typing on a Realforce Topre keyboard. This is not so much a full custom kit as a case to transfer/upgrade a Realforce keyboard into. This keyboard is in excellent condition. It is a 45g Realforce with Keyclack V2 Silencing Rings. I also have the original box. It is a very hefty keyboard and has a very luxury feel to it. My pictures do not do justice to the paint job. If you click on the view more button it will take you to the Norbauer website where you can learn more.
Wang Model 724 (Alps)Wang Laboratories was a computer and technology company located in Lowell, Massachusetts. I don't live to far from there, and can remember the company from when I was younger. That is what pushed me to grab a bit of nostalgia and history when I purchased this keyboard from ebay. I was pleasantly surprised when I felt how great the switches felt to type on. This keyboard has Salmon Alps Complicated Switches (SKBM). They are a tactile key and when you feel a quality alps switch you realize that when it comes to OEM keyboards they just don't make them like they used to. Back in the late 80s / very early 90s when these were manufactured keyboards were designed to last a lifetime, and you can tell a lot of thought went into their design and construction. One of my favorite features is the multiple angle legs as well as the piezo speaker that transforms it into a faux clicky keyboard! I didn't take a photo of the legs but that is what the dials on the side of the keyboard are. You pull out and twist them into the position you want. I had planned on possibly scavenging the keyboard just for the switches but will never do that now, as I love the design, unique keycaps, the way too many function keys, and the light blue legends that are found on some of the keys. If you see one of these old Wang keyboards kicking around, I highly suggest giving it a try.
IBM Model MThis vintage IBM keyboard is well known as one of the best ever made. It has a unique switch design called Buckling Spring that has a great feel and sound. This particular model has been modded to a PS/2 connector but most originally came with the 5 pin AT connector and would be bundled with early IBM personal computers. They are absolute tanks with a steel plate and thick plastic, thankfully there are plenty of them still around so it is not impossible (though not cheap) to find one. This is a really enjoyable keyboard but make sure you aren't using it in an area where its loud clicking and clacking won't be a problem. There has been a lot said about the Model M over the years, and all I can add to the conversation is my experience. I have no complaints, and do think it is worth the price-tag. That strong stable feel when typing is very nice. I have it connected to a vintage Windows 98 PC and it goes along with the old school computer theme quite well. If you look closely at the tag it seems this one was made on the 8th of October 1990. It still feels like brand new and that is a testament to how well made these are.