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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:46 am

Back in mid-August I'd received an email from Lau (aka MtnBuffalo) concerning a status update over the future production of his fantastic C64 keyboard replacement - the Mechboard64. I didn't publish any of the contents then as I presumed the news would soon spread.
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I've got a lot of C= keyboards I've collected over the years. The Mechboard64 is easily the best available for the Commodore 64.

It's come to my attention today that several people in the C64 hardware scene are not aware that the project has been put on-hold for possibly as long as two years and maybe more.

After having received my Mechboard in early 2019 and assembling it (I combined mine with the Reloaded MK2, and a never used Kickstarter case) I quickly realized that this keyboard was easily one of the top keyboards in my entire C= collection. The build is exquisite, and typing on a C64 - what was once a pain for me - now felt better than almost all of my modern machines.

I contacted Lau after putting my first one together and asked to be put into the next pre-order batch. I wanted to get a second Mechboard with a different set of switches (maybe the Cherry MX blues to spice things up; I'd gone with the yellows the first time as I wanted the closest to original as possible).

Then in August, those of us on the pre-order list found out the tough news.

MtnBuffalo (emphasis added):
The initial plan was to start the next batch production in the fall and then continue with the second batch early next year. However, since I had you sign up for the pre-order list, things have changed. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make those two batches as planned. Real life issues (including my day job) have carved more into my sparse spare time than expected and later this year I will start renovating our 80 year old basement. The latter will take up to 2 years to complete, so the keyboard production is not expected to commence until late 2021 at the earliest. At that time, there will hopefully be a solution for the missing keycaps so the MechBoard64 can be shipped fully assembled. Either Phase5 has delivered (though it seems somewhat doubtful!) or someone else have gone through the trouble of making new keycaps for us all.

I’m truly sorry that I cannot deliver the keyboards as I had hoped.
He does go on to say that he plans on revisiting the project after getting some of his more important jobs done around the house. "At that time I will make sure that there are enough keyboards for everyone who wants one."
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The yellow switches are less clicky, and the closest to original out of the options available. That being said this doesn't feel like a normal C64 keyboard. It is 100% pro.

The fact that Lau hasn't completely cancelled the project gives me a huge dash of hope for the future. And he's right: it would be very cool to get the Mechboard again when, say, Jim Drew's new keycaps are actually available at the same time. That's one of the holy grails in the Commodore 64 hardware world: A completely new machine from top to bottom. And the keyboard is a huge part of that in making the dream come true.





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