A complication is the lettering on the top of the caps - if I recolor the tan keys to grey, I will need to either protect those legends or redo them. Most of the keys have the exact right legend already, since the keyboard I am leveraging is from a keypunch and so was the keyboard used by IBM for the 1130. The IBM 029 keypunch set the standard in its day and that was the format copied by the makers of the keyboard I bought. However, a few need changes - keys like Int Req, EOF, Erase Fld, and <-- (back arrow) are not on the keyboard I bought and will need to be added.
I might use a mask and spray some paint to form the legends, then clearcoat all the keys to protect the lettering. On the other hand, the other keys have a very slight etching that was used to create the lettering, which may cause a clash when viewing the keyboard.
I do have to fill in or blank out the lettering on a few keys that become blanks on the 1130 - that should just involve a slightly deeper coat of the enamel paint. I need to experiment with the airbrush before I commit to a particular approach.
I set up the airbrush on Sunday and began to experiment, using one of the removed blue keycaps that are not needed on the final 1130 keyboard. The keycaps are ABS plastic, according to an employee at the Tap Plastic store in Palo Alto who looked at and tested one of the spare keycaps. The process I understand is needed is to degrease/clean them with mineral spirits, lightly abrade the surface with a Scotchbrite pad (plastic scouring pad), reclean with mineral spirits, spray on an adhesion promoter made for improving paint adhesion to plastic, then spray my enamel colors.
|Blue keycap painted with grey primer as a test - looks good|
|First try to create pebble texture grey metal surface|
The paints I am using on the keycaps are Testor Modelcraft enamels, a premium line made for hobbyists to paint plastic models, which are sprayed through an airbrush. I will mix them to get the colors I want, the blue and grey tones of the 1130 keyboard. For the metal covers for printer and light pedestal, I use Rustoleum American Accents stone texture and grey primer spray cans, and will use a grey color coat and a top sealer from their lineup.