Summary: Model F orders continue shipping out, Passed ONE MILLION DOLLARS in orders, New Early Shipping Option without Keys, Reviews coming in, Sublimation Update, Second Container Ship, COVID-19 Slowdown, xwhatsit firmware update and new QMK firmware ported to xwhatsit Model F
**If you can help me by requesting early delivery of your order it would be much appreciated! Kindly see the last paragraph below for details before sending over your request.
Despite the current world events, I continue to mail out orders of Brand New Model F Keyboards, First Aid Kits, cases, and other parts. So far over 190 keyboards have gone out and reviews / photos of people’s new Model F keyboards have been coming in. Another 10-15 should be going out in the coming days, as of now (just finishing up the QC and getting the order contents together). Nearly every order that can go out, has gone out (not all unprinted keyboards have gone out as many are in the second container shipment – see below). We also reached a major milestone of over one million dollars in orders! Feel free to check the Deskthority and geekhack forum threads (linked to on the forums/press page of the project web site) to see all reviews, photos, and posts.
Some recent new Model F Keyboard posts, YouTube video sound tests/reviews, and written reviews from those who received their keyboards (list is being continually updated):
Update after 1 year of usage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEcAm6GQlps
Great series of videos showing different new Model F keyboard mods by DT user Twst (floss mod vs. no floss, buzzers, beepers, different solenoids, etc.): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh7FbPSydoafCYMgLrCfk1w/videos
A Deskthority user has added a solenoid to his Brand New Model F Classic Case Keyboard: https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=23707&p=462600&hilit=f62#p462600
New xwhatsit firmware update fixes an issue related to releasing the function key before another key – see some posts up from this one for the download: https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?p=461824#p461824
QMK firmware has been ported to xwhatsit Model F! Firmware is currently in the beta stage and current beta testers report everything 100% working so far, from what I have read. If interested, please post on the project thread and contact Deskthority user pandrew who has done the port.
The question on everyone’s mind: When is my keyboard shipping?
The answer is: it can now ship as soon as this month! with some caveats though – please see the “new option” below.
Second container ship: The factory has finally finished assembly and palletizing the keyboards. The second and final early bird round container shipment is set to ship in 1-2 weeks. Unfortunately there were significant delays due to the worldwide health crisis and factory shutdowns. Key factory personnel quarantined in Wuhan and elsewhere have since returned to work but a lot of assembly, QC testing, and packaging time was lost. Because of the unexpected extra QC time on my part, the factory reports that they finished installing test keys on every single keyboard in order to adjust bad springs (and then removing the test keys to test the next keyboard). With fewer spring adjustments needed, this should save me a few minutes per keyboard for the second batch of early bird keyboards.
Just about all orders that can possibly ship, have already shipped. Not all unprinted keyboards have shipped: the rest of the unprinted keyboards are in the second container shipment.
New option – I can likely ship your keyboard without keys within a couple weeks, or beginning in late June for keyboards arriving in the second container ship: Many people have been paying a small extra amount for separate shipping of printed keys when ready so I have been busy getting orders out in the mean time. Since the key sublimation requires more time, everyone is encouraged to request early shipping if they are fine installing the keys themselves (easy to do – I posted some YouTube videos on this and linked to them in some recent blog posts). The early bird/low serial priorities are still 100% in place for when the sublimation is ready.
If you ask me first, I can possibly ship your keyboard in 1-2 weeks with printed keys shipping separately, if you cover the extra charge (ask me for an international shipping quote; in the US feel free to order 10 units of the store item “$1 increments” and choose free/other shipping.) Check with me first though to make sure your keyboard is not in the second container shipment. Space bars and required stabilizer inserts for your keyboard(s) will be shipped out even if the rest of the key set you ordered is shipping later.
Sublimation update – mass sublimation expected to start in June. Given the huge number of orders so far and the amount of time I’ve recently realized it takes to QC each keyboard order, plus the longer than expected time it would take me to do each key set’s dye sublimation personally as planned, I am working with some keycap dye submination firms to take my keys and transfer sheets and take care of the work 100% to the sublimation standards I’ve already achieved, thus saving me time and allowing the orders to go out much faster than planned. This will ensure that the dye sublimation quality is up to my standards, as well as save the months of continuous dye sublimation I’d be doing – leaving me time to focus on the final QC and on getting orders out more quickly. This will help everyone’s orders to go out earlier than if I were to take care of them as originally planned, while using 100% the same materials that have produced the approved XT quality sublimation results so far (see recent blog posts for photos).
***For this reason I am sending out keyboards upon request without keys, in order to keep things moving. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this option to help me fill up the downtime by getting out orders before the keycaps finish mass sublimation. Those of you with other buckling spring (Model M or Model F) keyboards can use those keys for the time being, or order keys from Unicomp or eBay to use for the time being (everyone can still wait for their full order to be delivered in one package too). Please message me first if interested and I will let you know how many units of the store item $1 increments you’ll need to order for separate shipping of printed keys (likely 10 to 20 units, more for countries outside North America and Europe).
Once the sublimated keys come in I will be ramping up order fulfillment in order to get as many keyboards out each week as possible. I am hoping to have everything out by year end. Thanks again to everyone for their patience as we bring back these great keyboards.
And finally, some more technical tips and notes (am compiling them for a Model F online manual to be released in the future):
Regarding re-seating springs: just a note for those who come across the review that in nearly all cases you do not need to take apart the keyboard to fix keys that do not click or spend a few minutes pressing a troublesome key – I have posted some videos on this thread as well as on the web site blog detailing a quick spring adjustment and key re-seating guide that requires less than one minute per key to do. Very important to reattach the key as shown in these videos, with the keyboard positioned as shown in the videos (vertically, with the space bar row up). The goal is to have the spring touch the 12 o’clock position of the barrel when the keyboard is positioned that way. If the spring end is not positioned at 12 o’clock (per the video) and the spring does not touch the barrel, buckling error is more likely to occur.
Regarding squeaky space bars: that is nearly always the case of adjusting/slightly stretching or replacing the spring rather than due to the space bar stabilizer wire. This is something I test on all keyboards as part of QC but I hope to improve on this. On a similar note, especially with rattling space bar wires as well as to prevent the space bar from getting stuck on the end of the metal tab, I recommend pressing down on the metal tabs if you re-seat the space bar (after confirming no squeak and proper buckling when pressing the space bar). I do this as needed during QC. With the final production round, the metal tabs will be adjusted a bit to minimize the need to get them out of the way manually.