Improved space bar stabilizer

Improved space bar stabilizer

Postby jac_goudsmit » May Sun 03, 2015 2:32 am

The instructions in the Superboard III manual for mounting the space bar aren't very clear (and there are no pictures to help you do it), and I couldn't get it to work very well that way.

The problem is that the keyboard switches are designed to be mounted on a metal frame (as well as the circuit board of course), and the stabilizer bar that's included in the kit is supposed to be held in place with little brackets that would be attached to the frame, too. The video at this location shows what I mean.

The Superboard III manual tells you to basically tie the stabilizer bracket to the circuit board with the two included pieces of wire, but this doesn't work very well. The stabilizer should only be allowed to hinge (not slide back and forth), and it should be tied down to the frame, not to the circuit board.

I tried to find an easy way to mount the stabilizer in a place where it's supposed to be, using only the parts included in the kit (Apollo 13 style ;) ) In short, I cut up one of the small IC shipping tubes that came with the kit, and made it so the stabilizer is held in place so it can only hinge, not shift.

This is the result:
small 2015-04-26 16.36.36.jpg
Nailed it! :)
small 2015-04-26 16.36.36.jpg (88.54 KiB) Viewed 11341 times


My space bar feels just as comfortable as the rest of the keyboard, even if I hit it off-center or even near the edge.

The forum won't let me post more than 3 pictures per post, so I have to spread the instructions out over the next few posts.

You will need:
  • A small DIP IC shipping tube; the kit normally comes with one or two of these, containing the smaller (300mil) chips and/or sockets.
  • A sharp blade, preferably with a sharp tip
  • The wire that came with the kit, to attach everything to the circuit board
  • Steady hands (or a good emergency kit :twisted: )

(continued below)

===Jac
Last edited by jac_goudsmit on May Sun 03, 2015 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Step 1

Postby jac_goudsmit » May Sun 03, 2015 2:34 am

The kit comes with two inserts that you push into the bottom of the space bar. As you can see in the following picture, they are slightly asymmetric: one side extends just a little further from the center than the other. The side that extends further should be towards the top of the keyboard (i.e. towards the other rows of keys) when the space bar is mounted onto its switch.

The space bar is also slightly asymmetric: the side that's towards you is slightly higher than the side that's towards the other keys.

The picture shows a side view of the space bar (as seen from the right hand side of the keyboard) and the inserts.
Superboard space bar_0.jpg
Superboard space bar_0.jpg (13.37 KiB) Viewed 11339 times
Last edited by jac_goudsmit on May Sun 03, 2015 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Step 2

Postby jac_goudsmit » May Sun 03, 2015 2:37 am

Use a sharp blade to cut a piece off one of the small IC shipping tubes that came with the kit. It should be about 1cm / 0.5inch long. The actual length of the piece isn't critical but it should be a little longer than the distance between the mounting holes in the circuit board.

Superboard space bar_1a.jpg
Superboard space bar_1a.jpg (6.95 KiB) Viewed 11240 times


Cut the piece lengthwise along the folds at the bottom, and discard the top part. It's not a big deal if the cuts are a little rough. If you don't like it, just start over; you should have plenty of tube (I had to do this about 3 times before I got it right 8) )

Superboard space bar_1b.jpg
Superboard space bar_1b.jpg (8.1 KiB) Viewed 11240 times


Cut a slit in the top of the plastic. Basically you're cutting off the top "bridge" of plastic. Make sure the width of the slit matches the thickness of the stabilizer bar as closely as possible. When you put the stabilizer bar in the slit, and make sure it doesn't extend above the top, but doesn't sink down too deep either.

Next, poke a hole in the top that's just big enough in diameter for the wire that came with the kit. The exact location of the hole is not very critical.

Superboard space bar_1c.jpg
Superboard space bar_1c.jpg (9.67 KiB) Viewed 11240 times


You just made a bracket for one side of the stabilizer. Make another one exactly like it for the other side.

(continued below)
===Jac
Last edited by jac_goudsmit on May Tue 26, 2015 12:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Step 3

Postby jac_goudsmit » May Sun 03, 2015 3:06 am

Here's another view of the side of your brackets.

Superboard space bar_2a.jpg
Superboard space bar_2a.jpg (17.83 KiB) Viewed 11239 times


Superboard space bar_2b.jpg
Superboard space bar_2b.jpg (8.11 KiB) Viewed 11239 times


If you mounted the space bar onto the switch, take it off.

Put the stabilizer into the slits of the brackets, with the holes for the wires towards the front edge of the PCB, and use the wire included with the kit to mount the pedestals onto the PCB. The stabilizer should be stuck in place in the slits. The slit should work as a hinge; the slit should be small enough to hold the stabilizer in place: it should not be able to slide from front to back or up and down (sideways sliding is okay) and the wires should hold it down.

See following sketch.

Superboard space bar_3a.jpg
Superboard space bar_3a.jpg (29.34 KiB) Viewed 11238 times


To mount the space bar, carefully attach it to the stabilizer first, simply by moving it left and right around the stabilizer bar. You may have to pull the ends of the stabilizer bar apart a little bit. Then push it onto the switch.

As long as the stabilizer can only hinge (and perhaps slide from left to right but not front to back or up/down), the space bar should operate as smoothly as the one in a regular keyboard. You should be able to hit it in every place and it should go up and down straight and smoothly.

===Jac
Last edited by jac_goudsmit on May Tue 26, 2015 1:24 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Improved space bar stabilizer

Postby jac_goudsmit » May Sun 03, 2015 3:27 am

(Reserved for future additions)
Last edited by jac_goudsmit on May Tue 26, 2015 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improved space bar stabilizer

Postby jac_goudsmit » May Sun 03, 2015 3:47 am

(Reserved for future additions)
Last edited by jac_goudsmit on May Tue 26, 2015 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improved space bar stabilizer

Postby vbriel » May Fri 08, 2015 5:56 pm

I'm playing with my 3D printer now to see if I can't make something.
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