Back from the dead: IBM's Model F mechanical keyboard revived

IBM’s Resurrected Iconic Model F Buckling Spring Keyboard Available For Purchase Online

A passionate keyboardist has brought IBM’s legendary “Model F” keyboard back to life that was first introduced in 1981 with the IBM PC 5150, but sadly reached the end of its “life cycle” just a few decades later. What made the Model F very special was it was the first keyboard to adopt the buckling spring technology developed in the 1970’s.

Now, Joe Strandberg, a long-time Model F owner and a Cornell University graduate has taken it upon himself to recreate the non-existent keyboards after spending months and around $100,000 for restoring them. He is currently taking pre-orders for his new Model F Keyboards Project although for a limited time.

“If you’re a writer, a programmer, someone who works in front of computer, you’re going to be there a good part of your day so why not type on the best?” he told Popular Mechanics. “This is something that IBM spent millions of dollars developing, getting the perfect layout, getting the perfect shape and technology.”

For those unfamiliar, IBM’s buckling spring switch technology was patented in 1978 and Model F was the first to adopt this type of switch. As the name suggests, there is a spring within each switch and it buckles when the key is pressed down. It then activates a small trigger on two plastic or conductive membranes pressed together, thereby closing the circuit and sending the signal. This type of switch provides incredibly tactile response that lets the user know when the key is pressed. Also, the Model F was made from durable materials, including more than five pounds of steel and other metals.

The project aims to initially deliver four types of different keyboards, which consists two variants of F77 Model F keyboard and two variants of F62 “Kishsaver” Model F keyboard.

“The order price for the keyboard is the price you will pay,” according to the website. “Unlike many crowdfunding projects, much of the production tooling and molds have already been paid for out of pocket and produced.”

The base configuration of each model starts from $325 and can go up to $399 if you want one with a custom serial number. The pre-orders for keyboards are open only till July 31, 2017. While the shipping date is yet to be announced, the first batch of the keyboards is already in production.

Source: Popular Mechanics

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