Dye sublimation update; availability of B stock printed key sets for shipment this month

Dye sub update: the very first production sublimated key sets have shipped! Here’s the factory report on the current shipment:

Approved production sets:
Regular printed ANSI US base key sets: 201
HKKB 6 key sets: 202
MAC 6 key text (non-icon) sets: 203
0 Ins 1U key (included on F77 keyboards configured with a printed new Model F key set): 225 keys

B STOCK – Old artwork/non-approved alignment:
Base sets: 50
HKKB and MAC sets: 25 each

UPDATE: B Stock sets now available to order at this link! First come, first served. There was an unexpected response to these extra sets and I don’t have many left but they can still be ordered for quick shipment; details below (this post will be updated as soon as the B sets run out, so if you see this text, B stock is still available!)

By ordering one of these “B stock” sets you will be one of the first to receive a printed key set, and is a good option to consider if you are not 100% picky on achieving IBM Model F standards of alignment as I am and would prefer to start using a printed key set as soon as possible.

The purpose of selling the B Stock is to cover the thousands of dollars in additional costs related to dye sub and express shipping of sublimated keys, so it will be sold at higher cost than a good quality set. The benefit is that you get a shipping priority (get your B Stock key set/sets months earlier) and you help support the project a little more through helping to cover the cost overruns.

After these sets I won’t be offering B stock at all. The factory will just replace any keys in a key set based on my tolerance specifications so that they won’t have to discard an entire key set.

I think allowing some people the option to help the project a little more helps avoid having to pass along price increases across the board (pun intended!). Same thing with pricing accessories and extra key sets higher to keep the base keyboard price as close to the original price as possible.

B Stock keys are all sold as is, with sublimation defects (non-approved, noticeably off alignment for some keys, slightly thicker/bolder artwork).

Pricing for the regular ANSI US key set will be a $30 premium per set to the regular $69 price ($99 total per set). Shipping costs just for keys and any other small in stock accessories will be free in the US, $16 in Canada and $20 worldwide. The HHKB and Mac sets will have an $11 premium ($35 total) and have the same shipping costs. And as noted before, no one can order any of the production sets in this batch for immediate shipment – they are all going to those who have been waiting.

After the keys are in hand I can start taking orders for the B stock.

To keep things (relatively!) simple, upgrades of previous key set orders are not available – has to be a new order.

The factory expects to send approximately 200 sets of each type (~200 ANSI US, ~200 HHKB, ~200 Mac) this week! This is far more than expected (the expectation was ~50). This means that an even larger number of single digit and low serials can start going out, so long as there are no other printed keys besides those three types of sets in the order. Here are the approximate number of low/custom serial keyboards by year, some of which do not have pearl/pebble printed ANSI sets.  Just the HHKB 6 key set, the Mac 6 key standard set (with the words printed, not with icons), and the regular US ANSI set are in the first batch. After CNY there will be more batches sent with the various other keys.

2016 63
2017 104
2018 106
2019 146
2020 135
2021 18
Total 572

To avoid further complications I will not accept “split split shipping” requests – all the printed keys someone ordered will ship in the same shipment.

I also asked them to include in the express mail shipment about 50 “B stock” non-approved key sets made during their testing – not up to my standards but not unusable. These sets are among the very first new Model F sets and have the slightly thicker artwork in the below link, and definitely a number of keys with less precise alignment, possibly worse or possibly better than what was in this photo: viewtopic.php?p=477782#p477782

In the interest of getting out as many printed key sets as possible, these “B stock” key sets are going to be made available for fast shipment (within several weeks) at a higher price to help cover the thousands of dollars in project cost overruns incurred just on items related to the dye sublimation, as well as help cover the significant express mail fees of shipping lots of keys by air mail.

In the interest of honoring the original priority from the beginning of the project (where feasible: single digit, then low serial, then all remaining keyboards), no one can order now any of the first batch of printed sets that are shipping.