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RollinLower

Selfmade 60% mechanical keyboard!

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hello good people of the internet!

 

This is a buildog i'm doing on a homemade 60% mechanical keyboard. I'm doing this build because my current keyboard (BTC 5100C) is starting to fail, and i didn;t want to go out and buy a normal mechanical again. I'd rather just build it myself, so that it is just the way i want it! :) 

Also the failing of my current board means that typing this buildlog is literal hell, because sometimes random keys just don't register. 

 

Here's the parts list, everything is bought from Aliexpress.

Red means planned

Yellow means bought

Green means delivered at my place

 

Gateron Blue Switches

XD60 PCB

GH60 Solid wood case with wrist rest

LED hotswap plugs

LEDs in different colors

Cool Jazz Black/Gray Keycaps

Cool Jazz CherryMX PCB mounted stabilizers

Braided Mini-USB cable

 

 

So first things first: The Switches arrived! 

I went with Gateron Blue switches because i wanted to try something clicky this time, and these have a nice tactile bump. The compatibility with CherryMX keycaps is also definitely a plus!

I bought this whole bag for about 20 euro's. Definitely worth the 2 week wait before they where delivered :)

20180118_172357.thumb.jpg.f015facbe72d161ae0c75588d6546af9.jpg

So that is it for now. I'm still waiting on the rest of the parts, but according to the site most of them have arrived in my country by now! I'll keep updating this as parts start rolling in!


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Another day, another package from the far-off land of 

 

this time it's the LED hotswap-sockets that arrived. this is probably going to be the most fidgety part of the build, as i need to take apart every single switch, then put two of them in, then close the switch again. 

So just for scale, let me show you how big these things are. that's a regulat micro-SD card :P

schaal.thumb.jpg.c3c74b23a051f3b342f9c9f474727937.jpg

 

So i have to take apart each switch like this;

5a61de9da3db2_switchzondervoetjes.thumb.jpg.9902b1641cf65f6417a621abb8f53092.jpg

 

then insert two of those hotswap sockets;

5a61de9ae74dc_switchmetvoetjes.thumb.jpg.3a1cb0c1127c7c796e2e68ee18f6b240.jpg

 

and close the switch up again.

eindresultaat.thumb.jpg.4f3f21d663ba24f2a84e0fab63de70d8.jpg

 

yeah this might take a while. as always, more updates as parts come rolling in!


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, SCGazelle said:

are you opening each switch by hand?

yep, I don't have a switch opening tool so I kinda have to. :/


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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7 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

yep, I don't have a switch opening tool so I kinda have to. :/

you probably should get one. They're like $8 w/ free shipping from mechanicalkeyboards.com. Or something like this if you have a 3d printer accessible to you.


 

;(

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, SCGazelle said:

you probably should get one. They're like $8 w/ free shipping from mechanicalkeyboards.com.

i already finished putting the sockets in all of the switches tough. :P

i guess a tool could definitely be handy when performing maintenance tough, or if i ever want to add a lubricant.


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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8 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

i already finished putting the sockets in all of the switches tough. :P

i guess a tool could definitely be handy when performing maintenance tough, or if i ever want to add a lubricant.

yeah, I recommend getting one. How long did it take you to do it by hand?


 

;(

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, SCGazelle said:

yeah, I recommend getting one. How long did it take you to do it by hand?

i didn't keep track, tough i guess somewhere around 2-2.5 hours. it was definitely very tedious :P


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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Posted · Original PosterOP

update time! 

 

So two days ago i got a few parts in, namely:

-the case

-the positioning plate

-the keycaps

-the stabilizers

 

so basically, i have everything to make it look like a keyboard, but the most important part, the PCB, hasn't even arrived in my country yet. so eventough from the outside it might look finished, in reality nothing has been hooked up yet! :(

i couldn't wait for the PCB to see how it would look tough, so i put everything together as far as i could. 

 

First things first, the case. 20180121_150508.thumb.jpg.de5d9c14ecd7b0fc847df527db61d20d.jpg

now this thing is quality! i definitely did not expect something this nice from aliexpress. the wood is super thick ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)  and it looks even better in person!

 

next up is the posittioning plate and the stabilizers. i didn't take pictures of these before assembling everything, but these also seemed superb quality!

20180121_151102.thumb.jpg.5b303277ea27d28f14823ba0e2dc2c74.jpg

20180121_151133.thumb.jpg.62923f0ed38939dd6af026bb18c230d2.jpg

 

next are ofcourse the keycaps. i went with sideprint because it looks awesome, and it definitely helps make everything look sleek. 

now these arn't such good quality sadly. they will definitely need some cleaning up around the edges, and you can still see the break-off points from when they where cast. for only 3 euro's i can't really complain tough :P they even came wiht one of those wire-frame pullers!

20180121_151052.thumb.jpg.72010be5219fe3d0e256ccfbe2478bb5.jpg

 

now after putting everything together it kinda looks like this:

20180121_151202.thumb.jpg.e09e06f2cdd71d0f3068554619714702.jpg

20180121_151540.thumb.jpg.22c0391b72b9194abb06277f47421b5d.jpg

20180121_151554.thumb.jpg.18f3cf6327a6d8f229f320d7dae5ade3.jpg

 

it looks better then i ever anticipated! i love the monochrome keycaps on the wood case, and that red escape key definitely helps keep everything oldschool. makes me think if i even need LEDs in this. if anything, i think i'll keep the LEDs white only.

 

now ofcourse i'm not even halfway done with the project, eventough it may look finished from the outside. i still need to solder everything to the PCB, and then program the controller to include all the layers i want. 

for now she looks like this tough, and i'm definitely extatic with the results!

20180121_151605.thumb.jpg.927907872daf9f37a7eb76bedf370479.jpg

as always, more updates as the final parts come rolling in! :) 


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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I never understood why people liked these keyboards. Unless you are going to be taking them in your bag, why even bother?


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16 minutes ago, arnavvr said:

I never understood why people liked these keyboards. Unless you are going to be taking them in your bag, why even bother?

For gaming, having the extra arm space is amazing. I also thought 60% keyboard we're useless, but then I tried them and they were amazing. I still have a full size membrane keyboard for my excel work, but I definitely prefer 60% for gaming.

 

Back on topic, nice build. Love the ninja keycaps. So clean


Never trust a hug. Its just a way to hide your face - The Doctor (Sounds something like the grumpy cat would say)

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19 minutes ago, arnavvr said:

I never understood why people liked these keyboards. Unless you are going to be taking them in your bag, why even bother?

I have a 60% (Sentraq S60X w/ MX Clears) on my desk too and I like it. Part of the reasoning behind it actually becomes 'do I even need a full-size keyboard? because: 1. It's more space on my desk which I do take advantage of; 2. It's cheaper to build because it obviously takes fewer switches and other parts to build; 3. If you don't use the nav cluster, arrow keys or numpad much (which I don't at home gaming), why not? Even when I do need to use any of the keys not present, I know where I have mapped them too, so I can still get to them almost as quick. It's not perfect but, I love mine.


 

;(

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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 hours ago, SCGazelle said:

Is that one of the wrist rests that also works as a cover to put on top the keyboard to use it as a carrying case?

sadly no, it's just a solid slab of wood with some rubber feet under it. it is slightly shorter than the keyboard too actually.

20180122_073549.thumb.jpg.ed9b1d5ad4469a47cee2bfa7c8aeedcd.jpg


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 hours ago, arnavvr said:

I never understood why people liked these keyboards. Unless you are going to be taking them in your bag, why even bother?

truth be told, this is my first ever 60% keyboard aswell. i have had many TKL and 75% keyboards tough. (the one i'm typing this on is a 75% BTC5100C)

 

i have never in my life preferred to use the numpad over the regular number row on my keyboards. i don;t do any work with things like Excel, so i really won't need a dedicated numpad at all.

 

as for the function keys, well they can be remapped to another layer in the keyboard's software. not ideal obviously, but the 60% layout looks so much cleaner as opposed to the 75% layout imo that it is definitely worth the extra button press. ;)


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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4 hours ago, RollinLower said:

truth be told, this is my first ever 60% keyboard aswell. i have had many TKL and 75% keyboards tough. (the one i'm typing this on is a 75% BTC5100C)

 

i have never in my life preferred to use the numpad over the regular number row on my keyboards. i don;t do any work with things like Excel, so i really won't need a dedicated numpad at all.

 

as for the function keys, well they can be remapped to another layer in the keyboard's software. not ideal obviously, but the 60% layout looks so much cleaner as opposed to the 75% layout imo that it is definitely worth the extra button press. ;)

I love my 84 key keyboard. I can't imagine going back to a 104 with all that wasted space and my mouse in another country :D

 

I was used to the numpad like you, so I wanted a 96 key but couldn't find one. But I now realise that I don't miss it as much as I expected. I thought about getting one to put on the left side of the keyboard but my stupid Drevo Gramr swaps half the letters for a "numpad" when NumLock is on.


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Is building your own keyboard price competative with just buying one? I've never even thought of building a keyboard. Looks nice though :)


A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools - Douglas Adams

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Jekub said:

Is building your own keyboard price competative with just buying one? I've never even thought of building a keyboard. Looks nice though :)

absolutely, most definitely not lol. this thing is going to cost me about 180 euro's when done, but that doesn't even include any soldering equipment or stuff like that.

 

it's definitely a plus that you can make the keyboard exactly as you want it tough.


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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2 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

absolutely, most definitely not lol. this thing is going to cost me about 180 euro's when done, but that doesn't even include any soldering equipment or stuff like that.

 

it's definitely a plus that you can make the keyboard exactly as you want it tough.

That's not too bad. I spent £130 (aprox 150 euro) on my Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2013. It's not even RGB xD


A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools - Douglas Adams

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5 minutes ago, Jekub said:

Is building your own keyboard price competative with just buying one? I've never even thought of building a keyboard. Looks nice though :)

 

4 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

absolutely, most definitely not lol. this thing is going to cost me about 180 euro's when done, but that doesn't even include any soldering equipment or stuff like that.

 

it's definitely a plus that you can make the keyboard exactly as you want it tough.

Most keyboard that you buy in parts (PCB, case, switches...) will cost more than a complete one.

 

But I think I saved quite a bit of money by just buying a Drevo Gramr and putting in my own switches. Now I have a 75% keyboard for 40 dollars + the cost of 84 switches of your choice.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, DJ46 said:

 

Most keyboard that you buy in parts (PCB, case, switches...) will cost more than a complete one.

 

But I think I saved quite a bit of money by just buying a Drevo Gramr and putting in my own switches. Now I have a 75% keyboard for 40 dollars + the cost of 84 switches of your choice.

sounds like the best way to go in terms of cost-efficiency! was swapping the switches hard to do? i guess you just desolder them and solder in new ones right?


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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2 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

sounds like the best way to go in terms of cost-efficiency! was swapping the switches hard to do? i guess you just desolder them and solder in new ones right?

I used MX Blues I got from an old Blackwidow I bought used for about 35 dollars. Since it was a full-size keyboard I could afford to learn by trial and error and I did ruin a couple perfectly good switches.

At first I used solder wick but I quickly realised that wouldn't do so I got a solder sucker and it went a lot more smoothly.

 

But yeah, I desoldered the LEDs, switches, put in new ones and soldered them in along with the LEDs.


PC: CPU: Intel i7-4790 MB: Gigabyte B85N RAM: Adata 4GB + Kingston 8GB SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB GPU: XFX GTR RX 480 8GB Case: Lian Li PC-A05NB PSU: Corsair RM1000i KB: Drevo Gramr (modded with real Cherry MX Blues) Mouse: Logitech G502 Proteus Core Mousepad: Steelseries QcK Headphones: Sennheiser HD555
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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, DJ46 said:

I used MX Blues I got from an old Blackwidow I bought used for about 35 dollars. Since it was a full-size keyboard I could afford to learn by trial and error and I did ruin a couple perfectly good switches.

At first I used solder wick but I quickly realised that wouldn't do so I got a solder sucker and it went a lot more smoothly.

 

But yeah, I desoldered the LEDs, switches, put in new ones and soldered them in along with the LEDs.

that's usefull info actually, i was planning to use wick when i get to soldering this thing. should i get a sucker instead? i've done a bit of PCB soldering in the past, but never something on this scale :/ 


X399M Taichi - Threadripper 1950X - Titan X Pascal - GTX 1070 FE - Dominator Plats SE Contrast - InWin 301 - EVGA 850 G2 - Full Custom Watercooling

BlackMac Woody  60% Keyboard

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4 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

that's usefull info actually, i was planning to use wick when i get to soldering this thing. should i get a sucker instead? i've done a bit of PCB soldering in the past, but never something on this scale :/ 

I found out that wick is more useful at removing any solder that the sucker can't get rid off. But if you want to desolder 200-300 pins and have clean holes you can stick pins through the sucker is absolutely the way to go.

Especially the LED holes were pretty terrible with the wick and an absolute breeze with the sucker. If you do it right it seals against the PCB and pull solder out of the hole. My cheap wick only got rid of some solder on top and left the hole completely clogged.

 

I recently found the receipts I had for this stuff and I bought the wick on one day and the sucker about 5-6 days later after I almost lost my mind.


PC: CPU: Intel i7-4790 MB: Gigabyte B85N RAM: Adata 4GB + Kingston 8GB SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB GPU: XFX GTR RX 480 8GB Case: Lian Li PC-A05NB PSU: Corsair RM1000i KB: Drevo Gramr (modded with real Cherry MX Blues) Mouse: Logitech G502 Proteus Core Mousepad: Steelseries QcK Headphones: Sennheiser HD555
Phone: Samsung Galaxy S7
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