Monday, November 13, 2017

Another Selectric III Dvorak Keyboard Layout

I refurbished this Selectric III and converted the keyboard to a Dvorak Simplified layout. You can read about the procedure I use to convert the keyboard here>

It's important to me to retain the dual-velocity operation when changing the keyboard layout. Otherwise, the punctuation characters will strike harder than intended and cut the paper. I custom modify the velocity vane so that it prints with the proper impression force as designed.

This machine made an ideal candidate since it was in great cosmetic condition and it saw very little actual use as it was manufactured in April, 1986, near the end of Selectric production. Starting with a nice machine helps, but I still did a full refurbishment process including chemical wash, synthetic lubrication, new sound reduction foam and much more. I try to make every machine as new again as possible. 

This machine was commissioned by a customer, so it's already on it's way to a new home.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Raven Black IBM Selectric III - SOLD

Here's a great IBM Selectric III that I just refurbished. It was the pick of the litter before I started with very little use. Completely cleaned with a chemical wash to remove sticky, hardened grease and oil, then relubricated with synthetic oil and grease and key failure items upgraded to provide years of trouble-free service. All adjustments were checked and corrected as necessary to make it type like new again.

It has a 15" platen, Error Correction and the wonderful Selectric "touch" keyboard that everyone loves. It is a Dual-pitch (10 and 12 cpi) typewriter that uses 96-character elements for the Selectric III.

New sound reduction foam installed for quiet operation. I have basically remanufactured every aspect of this machine, inside and out. It looks and functions just like new. This is a commercial quality, business class machine that is ready for years of service.

Extras Included:

New Black Vinyl Cover
Printed Owner's Manual

Come see and type on this beautiful machine and you'll be hooked!

  • Dual-Pitch Correcting Selectric III, model 6705
  • Completely Refinished in Raven Black
  • Freshly Cleaned, Lubed and Adjusted
  • New Sound Insulating Foam
  • Ready To Use

Sunday, August 27, 2017

IBM Personal Typewriter

This is the IBM Personal Typewriter. I know, it's a confusing name because when people talk about them, they don't mean it's their personal typewriter, that's the name IBM gave to this model. Some people call it the Personal Selectric, but that's not the official name. This model was only made for about 2 years, starting in late 1982 and ending in 1984. It has a lot in common with the Selectric II as it uses 88-character elements, but it also has the ribbon design that was introduced on the Selectric III.

This is a prime example in like-new condition. It was nearly un-used when I got it, but had been stored for many years and had frozen stiff. After a chemical wash to remove all the hardened grease and oil, it was relubricated with synthetic oil and grease to restore that like-new feel. Various upgrades were preformed to make it perform flawlessly for years.

After lubrication, all functions were checked and adjustments were made as necessary. This machine had barely been used, so it was in nearly perfect condition.

The old deteriorating foam was removed and replaced with new to make it run as quiet as new. Many repairmen remove the foam and either leave it out or replace it with something else. The correct foam matters and really makes a difference in the sound of the machine.

This machine was obviously someone's personal machine as the set-up date was Christmas Day 1982.

It has also been repainted in the original colors. This the only color combination these machines came in. There were no optional colors.

This is a 12-cpi, single-pitch machine, as they all were. Dual-pitch or other cpi spacing was not offered on this model.
This machine is so nice, I'm really thinking about keeping it, but I will accept offers.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Pearl White Dvorak SIII Conversion - SOLD

Here's the Selectric III Dvorak conversion that I've been working on. It turned out better than I expected. It's painted Pearl White with a Black bottom, which was not a color that was normally available on Selectric III models. I chose this color combination due to the custom nature of this machine.

The machine has been fully re-conditioned with a chemical wash, necessary parts replacement including a new aluminum cycle clutch pulley, complete lubrication with synthetic lubricants and all adjustments checked and corrected. On top of all this, the keyboard was converted to ANSI Dvorak layout. A new velocity vane was installed to correct for the relocation of the low-velocity keys which isn't done in most conversions by others. This makes the machine type just like IBM engineers intended.

The ribbon was also converted on this machine to the more common and less expensive SRS version, instead of the "bicycle" ribbon it originally had. Switching the ribbon types was no easy task, but the SRS ribbon is much cheaper and much easier to purchase, so I went the extra mile on this one for longevity's sake.

The case was stripped of the old deteriorated foam, cleaned and painted this beautiful Pearl White. New sound-reducing foam was installed in the factory locations.

A normal re-condition job on a Selectric takes me about 20 - 25 hours. Nothing is left un-checked. Because of the extra work to convert the keyboard to ANSI Dvorak, this one has a substantial additional amount of time in it, plus the additional parts required that are not commonly available.

It's a beautiful, custom-built machine that will be a pleasure to own and type on. I will be documenting the details of the conversion as soon as I can.


Monday, July 24, 2017

IBM Selectric Dvorak Keyboard Conversion Procedure

Due to interest in the procedure to convert an IBM Selectric keyboard layout to a Dvorak layout, I decided to give it a try and document the procedure I used. Before now there hasn't been much info online about how to do it and there have been lots of unanswered questions. Although it is pretty straightforward to do this conversion, I would suggest that only someone familiar with the IBM Selectric attempt it. Selectrics are much more complicated than they first appear and proper, exact adjustments, made in the right order are critical for correct operation.
ANSI Dvorak Keyboard

 I started with a Selectric III model, mainly because of the keytop design. The keytops are different on Selectric I and II models for each row, making moving them around problematic. Each row is the same on a Selectric III so moving the keytops around doesn't change the angle. It is also a good idea to choose a machine with the SRS (1299095) ribbon design instead of the "210" or "bicycle" ribbon since they are more expensive and harder to find.
SIII with the SRS 1299095 Ribbon

Because of the unique keyboard input method on an IBM Selectric, it is possible to re-arrange the keyboard in any configuration you want and still use a standard type element.  No special element is required for the Dvorak conversion shown here. You will still be able to choose from any typestyle that is available for the Qwerty layout.
ANSI Dvorak Keyboard
There are 44 character keys on a Selectric I or II and 46 on a Selectric III made for the US market. Some Selectric III's have 48 keys for non-US markets so be aware of this.  The illustration above is for a Selectric I or II. I added the extra two keys for a US-model Selectric III. Those keys won't be moved anyway, but I added them to avoid confusion. The five keys that are shaded in the illustration above are low-velocity characters and don't strike as hard as the other characters to prevent puncturing the paper.

Notice that each key has a position number (0 through 43 in this illustration). These numbers will be helpful later, but realize I did not number the extra keys since they won't be moved. To the left of each key position I wrote the current character from the Qwerty arrangement as an aid.

Start with a working machine to make this process go easier. Resolve any problems with the machine first before attempting this conversion.
Use a Service Manual and Adjustment Parts Manual to become become familiar with part names, operational theory and adjustments.
1. Remove the Margin Rack and Margin Bail. The keylevers won't be completely removed, only flipped upward to access the Character Interposers.
2. Remove keylever upstop rod.
3. Remove spacebar and spacebar rod.
4. Gently work keys from under Shift keycaps and flip keylevers to rear.
5. Use a sharpie to mark interposer numbers every 10 positions on bracket. Refer to the keyboard image above to determine the interposer positions.
Position Numbering

6. Refer to the list below. These are the only interposers that you need to remove. The remaining interposers will remain in their original positions.

Position    QWERTY    DVORAK
1    Q     “
4    Z    :
5    W    ,
6    S    O
8    X    Q
9    E    .
10    D    E
12    C    J
13    R    P
14    F    U
16    V    K
17    T    Y
18    G    I
20    B    X
21    Y    F
22    H    D
24    N    B
25    U    G
26    J    H
29    I    C
30    K    T
32    ,    W
33    O    R
34    L    N
36    .    V
37    P    L
38    ;    S
39    -    ¼
40    /    Z
41    ¼    ?
42    '    -

7. Remove restoring springs only from interposers that will be rearranged. Take note of the color of each spring in its position.

8. Remove Snaprings from Interposer rod and gently work the interposer rod to the right as you insert another temporary rod from the left to maintain the positions of the interposers that will not be removed.

9. Remove only the inteposers that will be rearranged, laying them aside and arranging them on a marked board. Pay attention to which position each interposer is removed. Be careful not to mix them up as they are not marked individually. I laid them out with each character written below.

10. This is what it will look like when the interposers that will be rearranged are removed.
Remaining Interposers are not rearranged.

 11. Follow the new layout pattern and insert each character interposer in the correct numbered position. (ex: " ' goes in position 1). Follow the numbered order and refer to the illustration and list to make sure you install each interposer in its new correct position.
12. Insert the interposer rod as each interposer is inserted, removing the other rod as you go. Be careful not to bend the flat Inteposer Latch springs as you insert the interposers.
Cycle machine by hand if necessary to make sure none of the interposers are tripped and the machine is between cycles. If an interposer gets latched down, it will make installing the others more difficult.
13. Reinstall Interposer Restoring Springs. Be careful to install correct tension spring in each position.

The springs are different for the two upper rows versus the two lower rows on the keyboard. If the springs get mixed up, the keyboard will not have the correct feel.

14. Center the interposer rod when all interposers are installed and then install the snaprings on each end.
15. Remove Velocity Vane and bracket.
16. Modify the Velocity vane or install a WT (World Trade) model vane. Because most of the punctuation will be moved to the left side of the keyboard, the vane will have to be replaced or lengthened to reach the necessary low-velocity interposers. One method is to use the velocity vane from a German-Swiss keyboard model as it is a full-width velocity vane. The WT Vane is item 21-327 in the APM, part number 8168649. You will also need the Bellcrank for it, item 21-406 in the APM, part number 8170727 or 1141835.
WT Velocity Vane

Close-up of Vane Fingers

WT Velocity Vane Bellcrank

The other method is to modify your existing vane. I'll go into detail on this because I know finding the special vane will be difficult.
Original QWERTY Velocity Vane

There is a second location for the velocity vane bracket on the left side of the keyboard. Move the existing bracket there and make your existing vane longer to reach it.

I cut the existing vane to the left of the right finger. The black marks indicate where I need the fingers to line up with the low-velocity interposers.

I removed the un-needed fingers and made a new set of fingers from an old keylever.

Then using a hardened fulcrum rod I had, I ground flats on each end to fit it to the ends of the existing vane.

Once I fitted it for length, I soldered it and made sure that it remained straight and that the fingers line up properly.

Once installed, it looks like this.
Left Side
Right Side

17. Check velocity vane operation and adjustment.
18. Remove Keytops from keylevers that are being rearranged. Notice the A and M keys are not moved.

 19. Remove Repeating Keylever and modify or replace with a normal keylever for that row. If you don't have a replacement third row keylever, then just cut or break off the repeating lug extension.

20. Lower keylevers and install keylever upstop rod.
21. Install keytops in the new layout.
22. Test that the correct character prints for each keylever in the new arrangement. I just hand-cycled the machine to see which character was selected on the element for verification.
23. Reinstall Spacebar and Spacebar Rod.
24. Reinstall Margin Rack and Margin Bail and adjust.
25. Test all machine functions.
26. Reinstall covers and test again.

Happy Dvorak Typing!