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X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

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dr_st
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X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#1 Post by dr_st » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:07 am

My girlfriend is studying Russian and wanted her Thinkpad to have a trilingual keyboard. Since Lenovo offers no such option, we took her X61 to a keyboard customization shop and engraved Russian on the English/Hebrew keyboard.

The end result looks rather nice. Much better than stickers. Now I just hope that the paint lasts. :D

Image
Last edited by dr_st on Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#2 Post by LegendaryKA8 » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:16 pm

That's rather nice... I wish there were some services here that did that... at the very least I could refresh a keyboard with the letters worn off. I'm pretty picky about my TP keyboards and have replaced several older ones with brand new replacements... not cheap. :(
ThinkPads:T21(retired), X200(retired), T500(busted) T400(retiring), T430(upcoming)
Other: Dell Precision M6700(desk hog)

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#3 Post by t140568 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:52 am

That does look very nice, indeed.

I can't help but wondering... is there really a shop dedicated to keyboard customization?
Some call me...Tim.
Present:
T420 - i7-3632QM/250gb SSD/16gb/FHD via converter board/AW-CB160H AC/Coreboot/Internal Logitech Unifying Receiver
T500 - C2D-P8700/64gb SSD/6gb/WUXGA

Past: X61T || X60T || R50 || X30 || T30 || A31p || 3xx || 600E || Intellistation Z Pro

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#4 Post by dr_st » Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:08 am

t140568 wrote:I can't help but wondering... is there really a shop dedicated to keyboard customization?
Yes, and in fact much more than one.

Many Israelis like to take advantage of significantly lower laptop prices in the US (and some countries in the far east, like China/Thailand), buy laptops on their trips and bring them back. Many of these would like to get Hebrew on their keyboards, and engraving is usually far cheaper than replacing the keyboard with an official localized one. In fact, for certain models not sold in Israel, such a localized keyboard may not even exist.

Furthermore, the ethnicity here is much more heterogeneous than in the typical country. With about 20% arab population, and additional 20% of the population who are immigrants (mostly from Russia and ex-USSR countries), there is interest in adding additional languages to laptop/desktop keyboards.

Overall, the demand is sufficient for the businesses to thrive.

And they also do other keyboard customizations, for instance assigning special labels for the keys, for application-specific macros (i.e. music-editing, gaming, etc.). Although these are probably are only about 2% or less of the total customization jobs.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#5 Post by t140568 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:19 pm

Wow. Very cool. I guess I didn't expect such diversity.

I'd love to get the Windows symbol removed from my desktop keyboard and have something more Linux-oriented.

Also, how much does a customization like you have cost?
Some call me...Tim.
Present:
T420 - i7-3632QM/250gb SSD/16gb/FHD via converter board/AW-CB160H AC/Coreboot/Internal Logitech Unifying Receiver
T500 - C2D-P8700/64gb SSD/6gb/WUXGA

Past: X61T || X60T || R50 || X30 || T30 || A31p || 3xx || 600E || Intellistation Z Pro

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#6 Post by dr_st » Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:22 pm

I paid $35. I've seen prices between $25 and $40. :)
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#7 Post by Utwig » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:12 am

I learned to type in Russian by looking on keyboard layout on paper. So none of my keyboards (TP USB keyboard, T42p, X61T) have Russian letters but I type in Russian on all of them. It would be fun to have a Thinkpad with blank keyboard :).

There are no engraving services here, you can buy stickers but those would spoil the feel and aesthetics of my Thinkpads.
T540p, T420s, T400, R61, X61t, T60p, T42p, A21p

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#8 Post by dr_st » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:27 am

Utwig wrote:There are no engraving services here, you can buy stickers but those would spoil the feel and aesthetics of my Thinkpads.
Been there, done that. :P

Most of my keyboards, like yours, don't have any Russian letters on them (including all my Thinkpads), but I type Russian blindly pretty OK, but not nearly as fast as English, and not as fast as Hebrew. I still end up hitting the key next to the key I need fairly often, especially when it comes to the edge keys (the ones at the right ends of rows, which are non-letter symbols in the standard English layout).

What bothers me is that my brain seems to have been stuck for the past several years, and my Russian typing skills have hardly improved. I'm starting to doubt whether I will ever go to "the next level".
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#9 Post by fasteez » Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:46 pm

awesomely beautiful, reminds me of a giant hp48, nice color scheme .. and quite cheap too.

X60s 1702-YAB `L2400 | T61 7659-12U `T7300
X32 2672-KJG `750 | X31 2672-CBG `705 |X41 | X41t 1867-A44 `758
[fs] x61s 3GB, 100GB, Batt+AC ... dead mobo & lcd
[sold] x60 T2400 1Gb wlan|eth

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#10 Post by crashnburn » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:39 pm

Nice.

It would be nice if you could share the contact info of any of these who could / would offer their services by mail / parcel. :)
T61 8892-02U: 14.1"SXGA+/2.2C2D/4G/XP|Adv Mini Dock|30" Gateway XHD3000 WQXGA via Dual-link DVI
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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#11 Post by Utwig » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:12 am

I improved my Russian typing skills by adding lots of chat contacts who write in correct Cyrillic (most people from ex SU do, most people who moved out don't). There are also programs for improving typing: Windows: Typingmaster is not free and I'm not sure if it supports Russian. Linux: KDE has a learn to type game/utility and it supports different languages that KDE supports. It's free, if you have many Thinkpads you can install Linux with KDE one one of them and drill typing every day.
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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#12 Post by dr_st » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:43 am

Recently I was doing some testing on my X32 vs X61, so here is a rare photo of them side-by-side (click for bigger).
Image

You can see the different approach to trilingual keyboards - X32 on the left uses stickers, X61 has the keyboard engraved, as was shown in the earlier photo. The problem with stickers (other than they visibly look like an add-on and not an integral part of the machine), is that the paint will smear / get erased after several years of heavy use. Not that this X32 is expected to see such use...
dr_st wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:27 am
What bothers me is that my brain seems to have been stuck for the past several years, and my Russian typing skills have hardly improved. I'm starting to doubt whether I will ever go to "the next level".
And I am pleased to say that after 10 more years, I am at least somewhat better at typing Russian blindly than I used to be. :lol:
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#13 Post by Vopu » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:40 am

This looks insanely beautiful, neat and tidy for sure. i think they use laser engravers don't they ? I have seen laser engraving done on top covers but never knew on key caps How long should one last , is it a repeat process to refresh the lettering after certain time ? Also , have you seen/(can it be done) a braille keyboard with this method ? :roll:

experimental engraving done here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z_p2BT_y4U

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#14 Post by dr_st » Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:14 am

Vopu wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:40 am
This looks insanely beautiful, neat and tidy for sure. i think they use laser engravers don't they ? I have seen laser engraving done on top covers but never knew on key caps How long should one last , is it a repeat process to refresh the lettering after certain time ? Also , have you seen/(can it be done) a braille keyboard with this method ? :roll:
This one is not laser engraving, but a mechanical engraving with ink-filling of the grooves. I had it done in one of the most experienced, recommended shops that do this kind of thing, and the fact that 11 years later it still looks great, the ink hadn't faded or chipped off, is a testimony of the quality of their work.

I checked, and it looks like they do offer laser engraving now (mostly for backlit keyboards), which costs more than twice of a regular engraving. So far I haven't found anyone here adding braille to keyboards with this method, though.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#15 Post by Vopu » Sat Oct 24, 2020 7:10 am

dr_st wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:14 am
and the fact that 11 years later it still looks great, the ink hadn't faded or chipped off, is a testimony of the quality of their work.
Well, for 35$ you really can't complaint can you :) And again this really looks awesome. Well done you.
dr_st wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:14 am
I checked, and it looks like they do offer laser engraving now (mostly for backlit keyboards), which costs more than twice of a regular engraving. So far I haven't found anyone here adding braille to keyboards with this method, though.
One would think due to the process of engraving say mechanical or laser , braille should not work as the letters/symbols are carved to caps then filled with ink as braille is designed to be a raised surface symbols against a flat base yet i have no idea if one in need can also feel the engraving instead of protrude letters/symbols for touch. A friend asked me about this a long time ago and as far as i could search back then, stickers or the transperent overlays were the only options other than specially designed braille keyboards/readers/note takers or smart displays. A use of technology on improving the disabilities of millions in need with special needs has always been fascinating to me.
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Re: X61 - adding third language to the keyboard

#16 Post by Nicci00 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:53 pm

wow, keyboard engraving, that's really nice. I've been thinking of rigging something like that with my university's hacker-space CNC machine, I prefer the Latin American layout that is sadly quite rare for mechanical keyboard keycap sets (don't blame them, Latin America is quite a small market for 'luxury' computer products like that), so I was thinking of using the CNC machine to mill out symbols on blank keycaps, and use acetone-free nail polish to color the lettering. Nice to know someone in the world actually does that.

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