This project was all about achieving the absolute best Alps Blue sound in a modern case. Typing experience and aesthetics were also important, but were still secondary. Lets start with the fun part, the build showcase video:
Alps switches sound best in plastic cases, ideally with a great deal of internal volume and good resonance. There aren't many cases out there better than the large vintage cases they come in for this, and so putting Alps into a modern case almost always compromises some of the legendary Alps typing sound for the configurability, form factor, and aesthetics of a modern custom keyboard.
The Lin Montage case was chosen for its frosted PC material and somewhat thin construction, along with aesthetics that match the overall planned build. It was paired with an aluminum plate, with significant flex cuts to slightly soften the harder metal bottom out.
Built, though, the case presented a challenge -- the thicker Alps build rested on the bottom of the case when top mounted, requiring a spacer to lift the top of the case to sufficient height. Lin himself helped me out with the dimensions needed for such a spacer, which I got machined and then pained to match the planned keycaps.
This machined polycarbonate spacer gave the build enough room to hang from the case top, and also increased case volume for better sound resonance. Also, since only the outside is painted, it allowed underglow transmission from the bottom to the top of the case.
The Alps SKCM Blue switches were some of the smoothest restored switches I've encountered, and they were individually cleaned and then lubed with Nyogel 760. This lube serves to remove the scratchy feeling and sound native to alps, but must be applied carefully to avoid binding and loss of click. The click leaf and face of the slider contacting it should be avoided entirely, and care should be taken to apply the absolute thinnest coat possible elsewhere. In this case, the result was excellent, with a slightly deeper and cleaner sound than stock, and a great key feel. 60cn springs were swapped into the alpha keys (stronger than stock), and 45cn were swapped into mods (lighter than stock).
With this being a PC case with an already very-custom plate, I cut the Karolingian crests into the plate under the WK blockers and above the arrow cluster. These were backlit with Adafruit LED panels, powered by the PCB's switch backlight circuit. The caps lock was wired to the smallest Ermine Tail logo, in between two function blocks. All of these backlit cutouts shine through the frosted polycarbonate case top when the keyboard is fully assembled, creating a toggleable glowing design when the keyboard is plugged in.