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HairlessMonkeyBoy

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  1. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Omar.B in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    The Glorious GMMK customized with Kailh Box White switches would be a good choice. It's very obvious with these switches when you press a key. My wife has the TKL version and loves it.
     
    https://www.pcgamingrace.com/products/gmmk-full-brown-switch

  2. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Eschew in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    From this thread by @Eschew
     
     
    Basically they reduce the travel and modify the bottom out feeling of the key switches. You don't need them, and most people don't use them.
  3. Agree
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to connorkincaid in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    Thank you so much!
     
    Appreciate the link to the other thread as well, looks extremely helpful. 
  4. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to Eschew in An Introduction to Custom Mechanical Keyboards   
    An Introduction to Custom Mechanical Keyboards
     
    [0.0] Table of Contents (Navigation: CTRL-F)
    [1.0] Introduction -- Purpose
             [1.1] Frequently Asked/Anticipated Questions
             [1.2] Proof-Reading, Fact-Checking, and Contributions
    [2.0] Keyboard Sizes, Profiles, and Layouts
             [2.1] Sizes
             [2.2] Profiles
             [2.3] Mechanical/Physical Layouts
             [2.4] Functional Layouts
    [3.0] Pre-Built Mechanical Keyboards
    [4.0] Custom Mechanical Keyboards
             [4.1] Parts
             [4.2] Compatibility Check
             [4.3] Tools
             [4.4] Assembly
             [4.5] Firmware and Software
             [4.6] Designing Your Own Keyboard
             [4.7] Maintenance and Cleaning
    [5.0] Switches
             [5.1] Clicky, Tactile, and Linear
             [5.2] Parts
             [5.3] Tools
             [5.4] Flavors
             [5.5] Preferences and Opinion Pieces
    [6.0] Online Vendors and Marketplaces
    [7.0] All Finished!
             [7.1] Special Thanks!
             [7.2] Related Reading & Other Material
             [7.3] Auto-Rejected Suggestions
             [7.4] Bibliography
             [7.5] Revision History - Last Updated: 05/27/2021
     
     
    [1.0] Introduction -- Purpose
    To consolidate the basics of building custom mechanical keyboards into one place on the forums, and to explain the topic in layman’s terms. The emphasis here is on custom mechanical keyboards, although some sections may also be applicable to other keyboards.
     
    What does this thread cover?
    Section 1.0 serves an introductory role and aims to provide a bird’s eye view of the covered topics.
    Section 2.0 provides some background info applicable to keyboards in general.
    Section 3.0 presents some justifications for both pre-built and custom mechanical keyboards.
    Section 4.0 covers the basics needed to build, set up, and care for a custom mechanical keyboard.
    Section 5.0 covers the basics related to choosing and customizing mechanical keyboard switches.
    Section 6.0 lists some legitimate sites to purchase custom keyboards and keyboard parts from.
    Section 7.0 contains some closing notes and the standard logistical things that go into a primer/guide.
     
    [1.1] Frequently Asked/Anticipated Questions
     
    [1.2] Proof-Reading, Fact-Checking, and Contributions
     
     
    [2.0] Keyboard Sizes and Layouts
    Here follows a visual introduction to keyboard sizes, profiles, and layouts, along with some key generalizations (teehee).
     
    [2.1] Sizes
    Keyboard size is based on the length of the keyboard compared to a full-sized one. The most common sizes are full-sized (100%), tenkeyless/TKL (80%), and compact (60%). The number and types of keys available for each size varies between keyboards, with generalizations being less applicable once you dip into the compact zone.
     
    Full-Sized (100%)

    104 Keys (ANSI), 105 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Yes Special/Edit Keys: Yes Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: Yes  
    1800-Compact

    104-81 Keys (ANSI), 105-82 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Most System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Perhaps Special/Edit Keys: Perhaps Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: Yes  
    Tenkeyless/TKL (87%, 85%, or 80%)

    87 Keys (ANSI), 88 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Yes Special/Edit Keys: Yes Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (75%)

    82/83/84 Keys (ANSI), 84/85 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Yes Special/Edit Keys: Yes Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (65%)

    65-70 Keys (ANSI), 65-70 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Special/Edit Keys: Some Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (60%)

    61 Keys (ANSI), 62 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Special/Edit Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Navigation Keys: No Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (40%)

    40-50 Keys (ANSI), 40-50 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes (No Number Row, Some Typographical Symbols) Modifier Keys: Some System Keys: Perhaps Function Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Special/Edit Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Navigation Keys: No Numeric Keypad: No  
    [2.2] Profiles
    Keyboard profile is the vertical shape of the keyboard, as in, the heights of each row of keys relative to one another. Note the angle of the backplane, as well as the heights and shape (sculpted/angular or uniform/flat) of each key row.
     

    Curved: Backplane is curved, keycaps are sculpted and at the same height. Contoured/Sculpted: Backplane is angled, keycaps are sculpted and at different heights. Staircase: Backplane is angled, keycaps are slightly sculpted and at the same height. Flat: Backplane is level, keycaps are level and at the same height.  
    [2.3] Mechanical/Physical Layouts
    Mechanical layout is the physical arrangement of keys on the keyboard, and is different from functional layout (Section [2.3]). The most common layouts are ANSI, ISO, and JIS (JIS won’t be covered here). Variants and other layouts do exist besides the ones listed below.
     
    Note: U refers to an arbitrary unit of measurement. For instance, if 1U is the length of a standard key, 2U will be roughly double that length.
     
    ANSI (American National Standards Institute)

    2U Backspace Key 1.5U Tab Key 1.75U Caps Lock Key 2.25U Enter/Return Key 2.25U Left Shift Key, 2.75U Right Shift Key 1.25U Alt Keys Backtick/Tilde Key: Below Esc Key, Beside 1 Key Hashtag Key: Between 2 and 4 Key At Symbol Key: Between 1 and 3 Keys Backslash/Pipe Key: Above Enter/Return Key  
    ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

    2U Backspace Key 1.5U Tab Key European Enter/Return Key 1.25U Left Shift Key, 2.75U Right Shift Key 1.25U Left Alt Key, 1.25U Right Alt Gr Key Backtick/Negation Key: Below Esc Key, Beside 1 Key Pound Symbol Key: Between 2 and 4 Key Hashtag/Tilde Key: Between Apostrophe/At Symbol and Enter/Return Keys Backslash/Pipe Key: Between Left Shift and Z Keys  
    Ortholinear/Matrix

    Matrix “Stagger”: Non-Staggered Keys All 1U Keys (Except Spacebar)  
    Ergonomic

    Columnar Stagger (Picture) or Symmetric Stagger (Not Pictured)  
    [2.4] Functional Layouts
    Functional layout is the firmware-mapped arrangement of keys on the keyboard, and is different from mechanical/physical layout (Section 2.3). The most widely used layout is QWERTY, but other layouts and variants of these layouts also exist and may be more popular in certain countries.
     
    QWERTY

     
    QWERTZ

     
    AZERTY

     
    Dvorak

     
    Colemak

     
     
    [3.0] Pre-Built Mechanical Keyboards
    Hesitant about dishing out the time, money, and energy for a custom? Not to worry, pre-builts are always an alternative. Sure, pre-builts can get a lot of flak from the custom keeb community, but hey, different keystrokes for different folks. At the end of the day, if your keyboard satisfies you, then I'd say your opinion is valid.
     
    As always, exceptions, niche cases, and workarounds exist.
     
    Generally speaking, what do pre-built mechanical keyboards offer that custom ones don’t?
    Plug n’ Play: No additional tools and no assembly time needed to get your board up and running. Built-In Multimedia Controls: Convenient. Also, neat party tricks. USB Passthrough: When you have too many dongles and not enough ports. RGB Ecosystems: Sync your battlestation’s lights! Assuming that you’ve bought your keyboard, mouse, headset, and other peripherals from the same brand. Customer Support/Warranties: If your keyboard has a problem, make that problem someone else’s problem. YMMV when it comes to actual helpfulness, however.  
    Generally speaking, what do custom mechanical keyboards offer that pre-built ones don’t?
    Customization Options: The sky is the limit! Actually, store availability and your wallet are. But! If you have some D.T. tools and the know-how, the possibilities broaden even further. Customizability ranges all the way from hardware to firmware: aesthetics (case, keycaps, lighting effects), acoustics (click and clack), feeling (actuation, tactility, lubrication), re-programmability (layers, macros), etc. Quality Parts: Say no to scratchy knockoff switches, and forget about keycap wear and sticky keys. Invest some time and money into your parts, and you can build a daily driver that’ll last you for years. Easier Parts Repair: Picking your own parts means you’ll know exactly what’s going on in your build. Usually. If a keycap’s broken, the case gets horribly scratched, or the cable frays, you’ll be able to source individual parts or compatible alternatives from online vendors quite easily. Not so for pre-builts, since brands often don’t sell individual proprietary parts. Easier Parts Replacement: Are you fickle of heart and bored of your board? Thinking of switching things up? Or did some keycaps capture your interest? The hardest thing you’ll have to do is shop for physically compatible parts. Want to do the same with a pre-built? You’re pretty much married to that case. And good luck trying to find keycaps that’ll fit that non-standard stem and/or bottom row.  
    ...You can probably tell where my bias lies. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Additional Resources
    Keycap Layout and Size Chart: A visual guide to standard and non-standard OEM keyboard layouts. Useful reference for choosing keycaps that will be compatible with the listed pre-built keyboards.  
     
    [4.0] Custom Mechanical Keyboards
    Got your mind set on building a custom mechanical keyboard? Sweet! Then you’ll want to know about its parts, the tools needed for the build, and the assembly process. After the build, you might want to check out any firmware or software you’ll need, and well as maintenance and cleaning tips and tricks.
     
    [4.1] Parts
    A good place to start before building anything is to know what parts make up your build, and to find out whether said parts are compatible with: one, your needs, and two, other parts.
     
    Printed Circuit Board/PCB
    Simply put, a printed circuit board is a non-conductive board with circuitry (traces, most often made of copper) and components that are etched or soldered onto it. The components determine what basic and additional features the PCB will offer. Some PCBs also have designs or useful legends silkscreened on to them.
     

    Standard PCB: A PCB equipped with a microcontroller, a diode for every switch, and a mini-USB or USB-C connector. RGB PCB: A PCB also equipped with LEDs by every switch socket and an LED driver chip to light up the scene. Some RGB PCBs also support neat sound-controlled/coordinated RGB. Hot-Swappable PCB: A PCB also equipped with hotswap sockets that allows switches to be installed and removed from the board without any soldering or desoldering.  
    For a more in-depth explanation of the function and purpose of a PCB's electronic components, please check out mini_cardboard: a 4% keyboard build log and how keyboards work by @minibois!
    Section [1.2] - [1.4]: On microcontrollers, matrices, switches, resistors, and diodes. Section [2]: On PCB design, microcontroller firmware, and traces. Section [11]: Glossary of frequently used terms related to keyboard electronics.  
    Case
    A case offers some basic physical shock- and water-resistance for the board’s delicate internals, and also adds some flair to your build. Every case should come with mounting holes that align with the keyboard’s PCB.
     

    Acrylic: Solid material that’s easy to maintain. Semi-transparent variants can pair up with RGB PCBs for interesting lighting effects unattainable with wood or metal cases. Wood: Solid material with a very distinct aesthetic thanks to its wood grain. Durability and color retention as time passes might vary depending on the type of wood and finishing used. Anodized Aluminum: Solid, weighty, and durable. Often coated with a protective matte layer.  
    Mounting Plate
    A mounting plate is a flat sheet of material -- commonly stainless steel or aluminum, but also plastics and carbon fiber -- that rests above the PCB and holds a keyboard’s switches in place. Different materials offer varying levels of flexing and affect the keyboard’s clack, or the sound produced when the switch bottoms out. The general rule of thumb is denser mediums create higher-pitched sounds.
     
    Note: Mounting plates are often not essential for a keyboard with PCB-mounted switches, but can improve the switches’ stability and avoid misaligned switches (for the OCD-sensitive, like yours truly).
     

    Brass: Very stiff and dense material. Produces higher-pitched clacks. Stainless Steel: Very stiff and dense material. Produces higher-pitched clacks. Aluminum: Fairly stiff and dense material. Produces higher-pitched clacks. Carbon Fiber: Lightweight material. Produces higher-pitched clacks. Acrylic: Stiff material. Produces lower-pitched clacks. Polycarbonate: Stiff material. Produces lower-pitched clacks. ABS: Softer material. Produces more muted clacks. FR4: Softer material. Produces more muted clacks. POM: Softer, flexible material. Produces more muted clacks. Plateless: No material. Produces slightly quieter, fainter clacks than plated counterparts.  
    Plates may be mounted in a number of different ways in a keyboard, to varying degrees of stability and convenience.
     

    (Click to Enlarge.)
    Source: Custom Keyboard Mounting Styles from Thomas Baart.
     
    Switches
    The mechanical switch is a contained unit responsible for the feel and clicks (or lack of clicks) of the keyboard. In terms of compatibility, switches can be divided into PCB-mounted switches and plate-mounted switches.
     

    Plate-Mounted Switches: Switches secured in place by a mounting plate, has only three pins. Usually offers more stability than PCB-mounted switches. PCB-Mounted Switches: Switches secured in place by the PCB, has at least five pins. Two of these pins are plastic-molded prongs, and for some switches, can be snipped off to irreversibly convert a PCB-mounted switch to a plate-mounted switch.  
    Note that keyboard parts compatible with one switch may not be compatible with other switches. For example, an MX-compatible PCB has a specific pin layout for MX-style switches, and will not accommodate Alps switches (exceptions exist, of course).
     
    The world of switches is deep and vast, and deserves its own segment (Section 5.0).
     
    Stabilizers
    A wire stabilizer, outfitted on larger (2U+) keycaps, is a stiff wire designed to keep the entire keycap steady and level during a keypress. Often, the wire fits between two pegs that are connected to the keycap, but in Cherry MX “leveling mechanisms” (i.e. stabilizers™) the wire rests between two mini-switch-thingies that either clip into or are screwed directly into the PCB.
     

    Plate-Mounted Stabilizers: Stabilizers with housings that clip into the mounting plate. These are installed after the mounting plate has been attached to the PCB, and mounting plates must have specific cutouts to be compatible with plate-mounted stabilizers. PCB-Mounted Stabilizers: Stabilizers with housings that clip into the PCB. These are installed before the mounting plate is attached to the PCB, and PCBs must have specific holes cut out to be compatible with PCB-mounted stabilizers. Most mounting plates with rectangular stabilizer cutouts will be compatible with PCB-mounted stabilizers. Screw-In Stabilizers: Stabilizers with housings that screw into the PCB. These are installed before the mounting plate is attached to the PCB, and PCBs must have specific holes cut out to be compatible with screw-in stabilizers. Most mounting plates with rectangular stabilizer cutouts will be compatible with PCB-mounted stabilizers. Costar Stabilizers: Stabilizers with a wire that hooks into the keycap. Most commonly found on older keyboards.  
    Stabilizer sets usually come in sets of 4 × 2U stabilizers, plus either a 1 × 6.25U or 1 × 7U spacebar stabilizer, fit for compact and TKL layouts. Full-sized and 1800-compact keyboards will require 5 to 7 × 2U stabilizers, plus a 1 × 6.25U or 1 × 7U spacebar stabilizer. Some custom ortholinear and ergonomic keyboards use 1 to 4 × 2U stabilizers (e.g. Planck, Ergodox), while others do not use stabilizers entirely (e.g. Corne, Dactyl Manuform).
     
    Keycaps
    Keycaps are the covers that fit over a switch’s stem and that make physical contact with your fingers during a keypress. Different keycap selections can completely overhaul a keyboard’s aesthetics, thanks to the myriad of keycap materials, shapes, and designs that are available.
     
    Note: Keycap mounts are not universally compatible with all types of switch stems. The most common mount is the MX-style mount (cross-shaped), but other types exist as well.
     

    ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): Plastic with a smooth texture and slightly glossy look. Surface layer often rubs away with prolonged use, resulting in ‘ABS shine.’ Also, gradually discolors when exposed to sunlight/UV light -- discoloration is most noticeable on white keycaps. PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate): Hard and durable plastic with a somewhat rough, grainy surface texture and a matte finish. Surface layer is more resistant to ‘shine,’ and does not discolor with light exposure. POM (Polyoxymethylene/Acetal): Hard, durable, and dense plastic with a semi-opaque, smooth finish. Surface layer is more resistant to ‘shine.’ PC (Polycarbonate): Durable plastic with a smooth, transparent surface. Surface layer is more resistant to 'shine,' and does not discolor with light exposure. Resin: Viscous substance solidified into a rigid, plastic-like material with a smooth, glossy finish. Usually molded around unique, hand-sculpted miniatures to preserve the piece’s delicate details while maintaining keycap functionality -- think, museum display cases. SLA/Stereolithography Resin: Rigid plastic-like material with a smooth finish. Often used in 3D printing to create unique, highly-detailed, limited-run designs. Metal: Hard, durable, and very dense material with a smooth texture and shiny, reflective finish. Probably a smudge magnet, based on pure speculation. Whole keysets are difficult to find outside of Etsy commissions. Rubber: Soft, dense material with an opaque, textured (usually cross-hatched) surface. Appears to be a rubber sleeve fitted around a plastic shell?  
    Keycaps also come in a variety of profile shapes, and whether a keyboard is high-profile or low-profile depends partly on the height of its keycaps; the other deciding factor is switch type. Sculpted keycaps have a slight angle built into the keycap, while uniform keycaps are flat.
     

    Standard/OEM Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a level surface. Cherry Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a level surface and a slightly lower profile and shorter height compared to OEM profile keycaps. DCS Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a level surface, quite similar to Cherry profile keycaps. SA Profile: High-profile, sculpted keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap. KAT Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap, has a slightly lower profile and shorter height compared to SA profile keycaps. MT3 Profile: High-profile, sculpted keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap, slightly different than SA profile keycaps. MG Profile: High-profile, sculpted keycaps with a very visible concave indent. MDA Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a gently curved surface. DSA Profile: Uniform keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap. XDA Profile: Uniform keycaps with a larger surface area compared to DSA profile keycaps. Keycaps.info: For a more in-depth and slightly more quantitative comparison of keycap profile shapes and heights. Options to toggle between Cherry MX or Choc spacing, or to add and remove specific keycap profiles, are available.
     
    Legends refer to the inscriptions or designs on a surface. The type of printing used for keycap legends affects its visual quality and durability. Most legends are printed on the surface of the keycap, but side-printed options are available as well. Some blank keycaps eschew legends entirely (hehe, Eschew).
     

    Pad Printed: Keycaps with legends inked directly onto its surface. Decent visual quality, but the ink wears away easily from frequent contact. Laser Etched: Keycaps with legends marked onto the surface with a laser. Decent visual quality with straight lines, but not with solid fill areas (e.g. arrowheads, Windows symbol). Laser etching may also fade away on keycaps susceptible to ‘shine.’ Laser Printed: Keycaps with legends marked onto the surface with a laser and ink filled in the lasered grooves. Decent visual quality, but the ink can stain easily and the laser etching may fade away on keycaps susceptible to ‘shine.’ Laser Engraved: Transparent keycaps that are coated in an opaque paint, with legends lasered off from the opaque surface coat to create transparent characters. Often used for backlit keycaps. Decent visual quality, but the surface coat may wear away from frequent contact, revealing the transparent keycap beneath. Dye Sublimation: Keycaps with legends permanently stained in the material, just beneath the surface. Decent visual quality for dark dyes on lighter surfaces, but ineffective for lighter-colored lettering on darker surfaces. Quite long-lasting, and resistant to ‘shine.’ Double-Shot: Keycaps with legends molded from one piece of plastic, while the rest of the keycap is molded in another piece. Contrasting colors offer decent visuals, and because the legends are made of molded plastic rather than removeable ink, ‘shine’ isn’t an issue. Side-Printed: Keycaps with legends printed on one of its vertical sides, with the legends facing the user. Blank: Keycaps without any printed legends.  
    Keys may be illuminated in single or multiple colors if the keyboard’s PCB supports LED/RGB functionality. Some keycaps take advantage of LED/RGB lighting with backlit legends, LED windows, or translucency.
     

    Backlit/Shine-Through: Keycaps with transparent legends that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Windowed: Keycaps with a small, transparent section that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Pudding: Keycaps with an opaque top surface and semi-opaque walls that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Resembles the two layers of a flan pudding, hence the name. Jelly: POM keycaps with a semi-opaque surface that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Has a very soft and muted color when illuminated. Translucent: PC keycaps that are clear and sometimes tinted, revealing both the switch and the LEDs underneath.  
    Sound Dampeners
    Sound dampeners are optional additions and fit around either the switch’s or keycap’s stem to soften the clack of the keyboard. Clacks are different from clicks; the former refers to the dull, muted sound produced when the switch bottoms out, whereas the latter refers to the sharp, high-pitched sound produced by a clicky switch.
     

    O-Rings: Rubber rings that fit tightly around the keycap’s stem, reducing both the keystroke’s clack and travel distance. Mostly recommended for rounded keycap stems; mileages may vary with other switch stems. Diameter: Diameter is tied to stem compatibility. Recommended diameters are 5mm for MX-style keycaps and 7mm for Topre-style keycaps. Thickness: Thickness is tied to keystroke travel distance, with thicker rings greatly reducing travel distance. Thicknesses can range from 0.2mm up to 2.5mm. Hardness: Hardness, rated along a Shore A durometer scale, is tied to keystroke mushiness and clack softening. Lower hardness (30A - 40A) are softer in both feeling and sound, while higher hardness (70A - 80A) are firmer and less effective for sound-dampening. Soft-Landing Pads: Rubbery material with a circular cut-out that fits loosely around the switch’s stem, reducing the keystroke’s clack and cushioning the bottom out. Silencing Clips: Plastic casings that clip over the top of the switch, reducing the keystroke’s clack and cushioning the bottom out. Compatibility is mostly limited to MX-style switches and thinner keycaps.  
    Other ways to dampen keyboard noises, vibrations, and ping-y clacks exist, including but not limited to: gasket-mounted plates, sound-absorbing foam, soft rubber feet, etc.
     
    Cabling
    Most, if not all, wired custom mechanical keyboards use the USB 2.0 standard and HID subprotocol. USB 3.0 is quite rare on keyboards, and the max signaling rate increase from 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps usually has a very negligible observable impact.
     
    Wireless customs also exist, but are far less common compared to wired ones.
     

    Plain Cabling: Cables that use plastic cable jackets. Comes in straight and coiled variants, and the only differences seem to be aesthetics and total cable length. Paracorded Cabling: Cables with a layer of lightweight nylon wrapped over its cable jacket, often in a braided pattern, that lends it additional durability. Double-Sleeved Cabling: Cables with an additional layer of PET sleeving wrapped around its nylon cord and cable jacket, often in a braided pattern, that lends it additional durability and rigidity.  

    USB Type-A Connector: One-way connectors. USB Type-C Connector: Reversible connectors. Micro-USB Connector: One-way connectors. Mini-USB Connector: One-way connectors. Aviator Connector (4-pin or 5-pin): Connectors fitted part-way on a cable for convenient attachment and detachment, and as a fashion statement. Wireless: Relies on Bluetooth/USB receivers, often operates at 2.4 GHz frequencies.  
    For those interested in custom cabling, cable vendors recommend keeping the total cable length below 9 ft (≈ 2.7 m) for keyboards with high power requirements, or below 13 ft (≈ 4 m) for all other keyboards. Longer cables may have issues delivering power to the board, and certain features (e.g. LED brightness, specific keys) may be diminished or disabled. Keyboards with high power requirements include: Drop CTRL, Drop ALT, Drop Shift, Ducky One 2 Mini, K-Type NOTE, and HHKB Keyboards.
     
    [4.2] Compatibility Check
    Aftermarket keyboard parts are a mixed bag of standardized (e.g. switches) and non-standardized parts (e.g. PCBs). Comb through the shopping cart with one last compatibility check before hitting that checkout button!
    If in doubt, the keyboard community here is more than happy to help! It's as easy as creating a thread in the Peripherals sub-forum. 😁
     
    PCB
    With Case: Does the case fit the PCB's form factor? (If Applicable) Does the PCB's mounting holes align with the corresponding screw holes in the case? With Mounting Plate: Does the mounting plate fit the PCB's form factor and physical layout? With Switches: (If 5-Pin Switches) Does the PCB's switch sockets have holes cut out for the plastic legs of 5-pin switches? With Stabilizers: (If PCB-Mounted Stabilizers) Does the PCB have holes cut out for the screws of PCB-mounted stabilizers?  
    Case
    With PCB: Does the case fit the PCB's form factor? (If Applicable) Does the PCB's mounting holes align with the corresponding screw holes in the case?  With Mounting Plate: Does the case fit the mounting plate's form factor? How is the plate mounted to the case? (If Applicable) Does the plate's mounting holes align with the corresponding screw holes in the case?  
    Mounting Plate
    With PCB: Does the mounting plate fit the PCB's form factor and physical layout? With Case: Does the case fit the mounting plate's form factor? How is the plate mounted to the case? (If Applicable) Does the plate's mounting holes align with the corresponding screw holes in the case? With Stabilizers: (If Plate-Mounted Stabilizers) Does the mounting plate have holes cut out for the clips of plate-mounted stabilizers?  
    Switches
    With PCB: (If 5-Pin Switches) Does the PCB's switch sockets have holes cut out for the plastic legs of 5-pin switches? (If 3-Pin Only PCB) Recall that for 5-pin switches, the two plastic legs on either side of the central plastic nub may be cut off to be compatible with 3-pin only PCBs.  
    Stabilizers
    With PCB: (If PCB-Mounted Stabilizers) Does the PCB have holes cut out for the screws of PCB-mounted stabilizers? With Mounting Plate: (If Plate-Mounted Stabilizers) Does the mounting plate have holes cut out for the clips of plate-mounted stabilizers?  
    Keycaps
    With PCB Layout: Examine the PCB's physical layout(s) carefully, and pay special attention to the Modifier and Bottom Row keys. Does the PCB's Bottom Row come with a 6.5U Spacebar (Standard), a 7U Spacebar (Tsangan), or does it follow a different arrangement? Does the keycap set come outfitted with the adequate Modifier, Bottom Row, and other keycaps for the desired physical layout?  
    Cable
    With PCB: What USB connector will fit in the PCB's USB port? USB Type-C, micro-USB, mini-USB, or something else?  
    [4.3] Tools
    If the right parts are chosen, the entire assembly process can be toolless. Disassembly, however, will always require a few tools - assuming you’d like to keep your parts free of dings and scratches.
     
    Main tools are prioritized below, followed by alternatives and optional items in indented bullet-points.
    Soldering Iron: A 40W - 60W soldering iron with a stand is recommended for occasional or one-off soldering work. Irons with lower wattages may create bad solder joints. Digital Soldering Station: A soldering station equipped with a soldering iron, a stand, a temperature control, and a tip cleaner/wet sponge. Recommended for frequent soldering work, but a fair bit more expensive than your standard soldering iron. Soldering Gun: A gun loaded with a soldering iron and solder, operates at high wattages, outputs a lot of heat, and has no temperature control. Not recommended for circuitry and mechanical keyboard building. Desoldering Pump/Solder Sucker: Solder suckers come in plunger (spring-loaded piston) and bulb (rubber bulb, Teflon tip) variants, and they both work by vacuum-suctioning up heated solder. Desoldering Braid/Wick: Fine copper wire woven into a flat braid, removes heated solder via capillary action. Desoldering Gun: A gun loaded with an electric vacuum pump. Costs a pretty penny and a little overkill for mechanical keyboard building, but saves you some stress and headaches. Solder: A metal alloy that with low melting point that is melted to form joints between two metal connections. For mechanical keyboards, a solder diameter of 0.8mm (0.031”) is generally recommended. 63/37 Sn-Pb (Tin-Lead): Melts at 183°C (361°F). Roisin-core solder may produce toxic, irritating fumes. 60/40 Sn-Pb (Tin-Lead): Melts at 188°C (370°F). Roisin-core solder may produce toxic, irritating fumes. Lead-Free Solder: Compared to leaded solder, is more expensive, has a higher melting point, flows slower, and may also produce toxic, irritating fumes. Soldering Fume Extractor: Draws solder fumes away from the user with fans. Not necessary if you keep your work area well-ventilated. Very overkill for a one-off build, but probably useful for frequent soldering work. Screwdriver: A #1 Phillips screwdriver (i.e. your standard screwdriver) should be compatible with most custom cases, which often use M2 screws to secure the PCB to the chassis. Keycap Pullers: Keycap pullers lock their loops/prongs around a keycap and remove them with a pull. They most commonly come in wire puller and plastic ring variants. Wire pullers are highly recommended over plastic pullers, as the latter is more prone to leaving unsightly marks on keycaps in the removal process. Twist Ties/Paper Clips: A low-cost, ghetto, but perfectly functional solution. Possibly better than plastic ring pullers. Switch Puller: Switch pullers work similarly to keycap pullers, by locking their tips around a switch’s bottom housing and removing the desoldered switch with a pull. They come in tongs-like or ring-like variants, and are usually all-metal or have metal tips.  
    [4.4] Assembly
    The fun part! A clean, clutter-free, and organized workspace is recommended. Here’s the How-To.
     
    Note: Testing parts are completely optional, but are useful for troubleshooting or sanity checks.
     
    1. PCB and Screw-In Stabilizers
    If using PCB-mounted and screw-in stabilizers, install those in the PCB before attaching the mounting plate. Align the stabilizer prongs with the holes in the PCB. Orientation is important. Slide the prongs on the wire-side into the larger stabilizer holes first, then gently but firmly push down on the opposite side until the housing lies flush against the PCB. For screw-in stabilizers, install the stabilizer screws on the opposite side of the PCB. Testing LED/RGB: The PCB’s LEDs can be tested simply by plugging it into a powered USB port and watching the board automatically illuminate. Testing PCB Keys: With a pair of tweezers and Keyboard Checker, each key can be tested by touching the tweezers to the two pads (ring-like holes) that each switch’s pins align into.  
    2A. Standard PCBs - Mounting Plate, Plate-Mounted Stabilizers, Switches, Solder, and Case
    Pre-heat the soldering iron up to 350°C - 370°C (662°F - 698°F). Clean and iron the tip, if necessary. Align the four switches that fit into the four corners of the keyboard on the mounting plate, and fit the loose, unsoldered plate-plus-switches assembly on the PCB. If aligned properly, each switch’s pins should fit into their corresponding holes on the PCB. Testing Keycap Alignment: Before the switches are soldered in, fit a few keycaps on the switches, preferably on some switches in a row, to check that the switches are fitted properly and that the keycaps will be aligned neatly. Solder each switch to the PCB by pressing the soldering iron tip to the PCB pad, making contact with the switch’s pin, and drawing the solder towards the heated tip. A good solder joint will have a concave, cone-like shape. If using plate-mounted stabilizers, install those into the mounting plate. Align the stabilizer wire and housings with the holes in the plate. Orientation is important. Slide the stabilizer wire under the mounting plate on the side with the small indented holes first, then gently but firmly push down on the opposite side until the housing clips into the mounting plate. Once the four corner switches have been soldered in and the stabilizers have been installed, repeat the soldering process with the rest of the keyboard’s switches. Testing Keys: Each key can be tested with Keyboard Checker by pressing down on each switch. Fit the soldered PCB-plus-switches assembly into the case, aligning the mounting plate and PCB’s mounting holes with those on the case. Screw the soldered assembly to the case with some M2 screws (usually 4 or 5 screws) and a #1 Phillips screwdriver. If the case is a two-piece construction (top and bottom), attach or screw the top frame over the bottom base.  
    2B. Hot-Swappable PCBs - Case, Mounting Plate, Plate-Mounted Stabilizers, and Switches
    Fit the PCB and mounting plate into the case, aligning the PCB and mounting plate’s mounting holes with those on the case. Screw the PCB-plus-plate assembly to the case with some M2 screws (usually 4 or 5 screws) and a #1 Phillips screwdriver. If the case is a two-piece construction (top and bottom), attach or screw the top frame over the bottom base. If using plate-mounted stabilizers, install those into the mounting plate. Align the stabilizer wire and housings with the holes in the plate. Orientation is important. Slide the stabilizer wire under the mounting plate on the side with the small indented holes first, then gently but firmly push down on the opposite side until the housing clips into the mounting plate. Align each switch’s pins with their corresponding holes on the PCB, and press down firmly. It should install with a dull click. Double-check that the switch is level against the plate. Repeat the process with the rest of the keyboard’s switches. Testing Keys: Each key can be tested with Keyboard Checker by pressing down on each switch.  
    4. Keycaps and Sound Dampeners
    Fit any sound dampeners over their respective keycap or switch stems. Fit each keycap over its corresponding switch’s stem and press down firmly. Testing Keyboard: Each key can be tested on Keyboard Checker. Typing Test: Test your WPM with your newly assembled keyboard on Typing.com.  
    [4.5] Firmware and Software
    Firmware coordinates inputs and directives between the physical keyboard and applications or software installed on the computer. Whether a keyboard supports custom firmware, and which custom firmware is compatible with the keyboard, will depend on what microcontroller is installed on the PCB. Some custom firmware support different lighting effects, multiple layers, re-programmable keys, and additional features.
     
    Software, on the other hand, is handled entirely by the computer and can offer other features that firmware lacks.
     
    Note: The lists below are not all-inclusive.
     
    Firmware
    Animus Family Firmware: GitHub EasyAVR: GeekHack Thread, Deskthority Wiki Page, GitHub Kiibohd Controller: GitHub QMK: Website, GitHub TMK: GeekHack Thread, GitHub VIA: Website, GitHub Vial: Website, GitHub  
    Software
    AutoHotkey: Website  
    [4.6] Designing Your Own Keyboard
    For those interested in making their keyboard truly custom.
     
    Custom Design Guides
    Sorted by alphabetical order. Preferably LTT forum content and curated by yours truly, but I’ll entertain suggestions recommending outside sources if requested by reputable members. (Shoo, bots and shills.)
    mini_cardboard: a 4% keyboard build log and how keyboards work by @minibois  
    [4.7] Maintenance and Cleaning
    Owning anything means a certain responsibility is attached to said ownership, and a mechanical keyboard is no different. Keep your custom keeb in tip-top condition with some regular maintenance and cleaning.
     
    Note: Running your custom mechanical keyboard through a dishwasher is generally not recommended. Domestic water isn’t pure H2O and contains other salts and impurities. Plastic materials will likely be fine, but metallic components (copper traces, stabilizer wires, switch springs, etc.) exposed to water and impurities will almost certainly corrode.
     
    General Maintenance
    Compressed Air: Used to blow the dust, crumbs, and other tiny nasties from all the teeny-weeny spaces in your keyboard. Mini/Computer Vacuum: Used to remove dust, crumbs, and other tiny nasties from all the teeny-weeny spaces in your keyboard. Damp Microfiber Cloth/Disinfectant Wipe: Used to wipe down the keyboard’s exterior. Dry Cloth: Used to dry the keyboard from a wet wipe. Paper towels are an alternative, but note that cheapo towels tend to leave fluffy particles behind.  
    Cleaning Keycaps
    Warm Soapy Water: Soak keycaps in a bowl of warm, soapy water for 45-60 min, then rinse and dry them off. Denture cleanser tablets will work as well. Alcohol (Isopropyl, Acetone, Etc.): Not recommended. Some ABS and PBT plastics, as well as legends, can discolor or will degrade from concentrated alcohol. Household Cleaners: Only recommended if heavily diluted. Both ABS and PBT plastics, as well as legends, will discolor or degrade from concentrated cleaners.  
     
    [5.0] Switches
    If the PCB makes up the brain of your mechanical keyboard, its switches make up its soul. It’s that feeling you get when you start typing on your keeb, and everything just... clicks. Or clacks. Or bumps.
     
    What follows is a rundown of clicky, tactile, and linear switches, as well as a mechanical switch’s parts, related tools, and flavors. An introduction to optical switches has also been included.
     
    Note: This primer/guide will not cover modding switches.
     
    Optical Switches
    Optical switches, similar to mechanical switches in exterior but functionally different from them, utilize light to register keystrokes.
    Horizontal Light (e.g. Gateron KS-15, LIGHT STRIKE): Within the switch is a horizontal beam of light. At rest, the beam’s path is blocked. When the switch is pressed, the beam’s path is clear, the light reaches a sensor, and a keystroke is registered. Vertical Light (e.g. Aimpad, Flaretech): Within the switch is a vertical beam of light. At rest, the beam travels its full distance (100%). When the switch is pressed, the beam’s path shortens, a sensor reads the change in position (e.g. 75%), and a keystroke is registered. Because different values may be read by the sensor (i.e. 0-100% vs. ON/OFF), users are given more “analog” control over input (e.g. a character’s walking speed). For a visual demonstration of the two optical switches in action, please watch this wonderful video by Techquickie:
    An industry standard for optical switches doesn’t seem to exist as of yet. This means that, in terms of compatibility, a PCB that is compatible with one set of optical switches may not be compatible with optical switches from another manufacturer, and are almost certainly not compatible with mechanical switches. Most optical switches adopt MX-style stems, however, and should be compatible with MX-style keycaps.
     
    [5.1] Clicky, Tactile, and Linear
    Mechanical switches can be sorted into three categories: clicky, tactile, and linear. The categorizations are based on the auditory and tactile feedback the user experiences when the switch is pressed.
    Clicky: Switches with an audible click, and no tactile bump. Tactile: Switches with a tactile bump, comes in both clicky and non-clicky variants. Linear: Switches with neither an audible click nor a tactile bump.  
    Sounds
     
    [5.2] Parts
    Mechanical switches are generally composed of the same parts, give or take a few pieces. That’s not to say that all switches are the same -- switch manufacturers often add tweaks to the base template to create their own unique switch flavors. Note that the generalizations below are based on Cherry MX mechanical switches.
     

     
    Housing
    The housing is made up of an upper housing and a bottom housing. Together, they form the plastic cuboid enclosure that keeps the switch’s parts contained. While it serves a protective purpose, offering some basic physical shock-, water- and dust-resistance for its internals, it also works in tandem with the switch’s spring to provide a consistent and comfortable typing experience.
    Standard Housing: Switches with opaque, often black, housings. SMD-LED Compatible/RGB Housing: Switches with transparent housings that can be illuminated from underneath by LEDs.  
    Leaf
    The leaf consists of two metal contacts that sit in the bottom housing. At rest, the contacts do not touch one another. When the key is pressed, the contacts touch, an electrical circuit is completed, and a keystroke is registered.
     
    Stem
    The stem determines the tactility, stability, and smoothness of the switch. For custom keyboards, the most common and widely compatible stem is the MX-style cross-shaped stem, but similar variants and not-so-similar others also exist.
    Stability/Wobbliness: A characteristic usually affected by gaps between the stem and housing, or the stem and keycap. The more airtight the gap is, the more stable the typing experience will be. Smoothness/Scratchiness: A characteristic largely affected by the friction between the stem and leaf. Smoother stem materials and lubricants can mitigate switch scratchiness.  

    Tactile: Switches with a small bump or indent on the wing of the stem. When the switch is pressed, the stem slides against the leaf, and the uneven surface of the stem’s wing running against the leaf creates the tactile typing sensation. Linear: Switches with a straight wing stem. When the switch is pressed, the stem glides evenly against the leaf for a smooth, non-tactile typing sensation. Clicky: Switches with a sharp typing sensation and an audible click. Stem shapes vary, as the characteristic click sound may be produced by different mechanisms. Click Jacket/Sliding Collar (Pictured Above): A separate plastic piece that is connected to and fits around the bottom of the stem. In its default position, the wings of the click jacket rest against the leaf. When the switch is pressed, the stem pushes down on the click jacket and it shoots straight down to produce a sharp typing sensation and an audible click. Clickbar (Not Pictured): A metal, spring-like piece with an elongated horizontal bar that sits just under the stem's leg. When the switch is pressed, the stem's leg pushes down on the clickbar and it springs back up against the switch's housing to produce an audible click.  
    Spring
    The spring is a metal coil that sits under the stem, and is related to a switch’s actuation force -- the force needed to press down on a switch and to register a keystroke. As a hard and fast rule, heavier springs have higher actuation points. The exact actuation force required for each weight is a little more difficult to determine, as each manufacturer seems to follow their own standards.
     
    Lubricant
    Lubricants aim to reduce the friction between the switch’s stem and leaf/spring to create a smoother-than-default typing experience. They are completely optional, although many enthusiasts will swear by them and some switches may come pre-lubed from the factory.
     

     
    Note: Using random household liquids and cooking oils as switch lubricants is not recommended. They may gum up switches, leave sticky or rancid residue behind, attract dust and other particles, or produce other unpleasant results.
    Thin Lube: Lubricants with lower viscosity. Recommended for switches. Thick Lube: Lubricants with higher viscosity. Recommended for stabilizers.  
    Naming Conventions
    Digits, Grades: Lubricants labelled with lower digits are less viscous. For example, Tribosys 3203 will be less viscous (i.e. thinner) than Tribosys 3204. 10x: Lubricants that are oils. An example is Krytox GPL 104. 20x: Lubricants that are greases. Examples are Krytox GPL 205 and Tribosys 3204. g0: Grade 0 lubricants with a smooth consistency. Recommended for switches and stabilizers.  
    Switch Lubrication Guides
    The process is precise; lubricants should only be applied to areas of the switch that would most benefit from lubrication. Also, results may vary. Lubricants will adhere to some switches better than others.
    How I Lube MX-Style Mechanical Keyboard Switches by @sowon Switch Lubing Guide by @geo3  
    Switch Films
    Switch films, also optional additions, aim to reduce switch wobble. They sit inside the switch, sandwiched between the switch's upper and bottom housings. The end result is a more consistent typing and acoustic experience, as well as a duller clack.
     

     
    [5.3] Tools
    Main tools are prioritized below, followed by alternatives and optional items in indented bullet-points.
    Switch Opener: A small device outfitted with protrusions that are designed to lift the upper housing from the bottom housing of a switch, opening the switch up. Simply align the switch into the opener and press down. Tweezers/Flathead Screwdriver: Both tools may be used to open switches by pushing up from under the upper housing’s clips, but this method is less convenient than a switch opener and carries the risk of damaging the switch’s housing if used recklessly. Tweezers: A pair of tweezers are highly recommended for handling tiny switch parts, especially if you plan to lubricate your switches. Also, it minimizes the amount of finger oils and grime you leave on them. Small Brush (For Lubing): Any small paintbrush with bristles small enough to slide into a switch’s nooks and crannies will do. Not necessary if you don’t plan on lubricating your switch.  
    [5.4] Flavors
    Every person’s tastes are a little bit different, and mechanical switches come in a variety of flavors. Some switches sharing the same stem type even have cross-compatible parts, for those who like a little from column A and a little from column B.
     

     
    The switch specifications below (contained in spoiler tags) have been described as advertised by the manufacturer, but the user’s actual experience might vary. Also, while an effort has been made to include switches that are commonly available, the list is not all-inclusive.
    Type: Classification as clicky, tactile, or linear. Mounting: Compatibility as PCB-mounted or plate-mounted, or whether both options are available. Actuation (cN): Force required to register a keystroke. Pre-Travel (mm): Distance required to register a keystroke. Total Travel (mm): Distance required to bottom out the switch. NDA: No Data Available. (?): Educated Guesses.  
    Alps Stems

     
    Switches with a cuboid stem. Some switches may be difficult to acquire outside of Group Buys (Section 6.0).
     
    MX Stems

     
    Switches with a cross-shaped stem. Some variants enclose the stem in a bracketed or boxed structure, or have hollow central poles.
     
    Topre/NIZ EC Stems

     
    Electrocapacitive switches with a cylindrical-shaped slider that relies on rubber domes for tactility. Incompatible with mechanical keyboards. Generally not available for sale as individual switches, although replacement rubber domes may be purchased and swapped into existing Topre/NIZ EC boards.
     
    [5.5] Preferences and Opinion Pieces
    With hundreds and thousands of options available on the market, choosing the right switch can be a daunting task for first-timers. How do you know which one is the one for you?
     
    Here I echo the old adage: “You’ll never know unless you try.”
     
    Head out to your local brick-and-mortar store, and test the waters out with some pre-built keyboards. That small exercise will usually help narrow down the choices between clickys, tactiles, and linears. Chances are, however, that you’ve seen a switch online that’s caught your eye, and said switch can’t be found in your local area. In that case, stoke that interest by finding out more about it. Look for reviews from others that have shared their opinions on said switch, so you know what to expect. Listen to some sound tests, and perhaps try out some switch testers to find out whether you like how it sounds and feels.
     
    Don’t forget, the purchase isn’t the be-all and end-all of things. If your choice doesn’t live up to your expectations, there’s nothing stopping you from trying again with another set of switches.
     
    Opinion Pieces
    Sorted by alphabetical order. Preferably LTT forum content and curated by yours truly, but I’ll entertain suggestions recommending outside sources if requested by reputable members. (Shoo, bots and shills.)
    Cherry MX Black Review by @sowon Cherry MX Blue Review by @sowon Cherry MX Brown Review by @sowon Gateron Blacks vs Kailh BOX Black vs Cherry MX Black Review by @LukeSavenije Gateron INK Black Review by @sowon Gateron Red Review by @sowon Gateron Yellow Review by @sowon Input Club Hako Violet Review by @sowon Kailh BOX Jade Review by @sowon KBDfans X MITO Laser Switch Review by @sowon NovelKeys Cream Review by @sowon YOK Purple Trash Panda Review by @sowon ZealPC Sakurios Review by @sowon ZealPC Tealio V2 Review by @sowon ZealPC Zealio V2 Review by @sowon ZealPC Zilent V2 Review by @sowon  
     
    [6.0] Online Vendors and Marketplaces
    Custom mechanical keyboards are a fairly niche market, which means most parts are purchased via select routes -- in this case, online. Listed below are where most source their custom keeb parts from.
     
    Only vendors and marketplaces for custom keyboards and keyboard parts will be covered, with a bias for stores accessible from the U.S. Some stores offer international shipping, and for those, I’d strongly advise reading through their shipping policies before placing an international order -- the customer is usually responsible for any import duties and fees. For pre-builts, I’d suggest looking at Amazon, Newegg, or Microcenter.
     
    Group Buys
    What is a Group Buy (GB)? Simply put, a niche within a niche. In some cases, a product -- often keycaps, switches, or keyboards -- will be greenlit for production or distribution only if a number of buyers show interest and a minimum cash goal is reached. Think, Kickstarters. Group Buys may be organized by an organization like Drop, or by individual community members like on GeekHack.
     
    Note: Group Buys are not guarantees. Be aware that there is a risk associated with placing a deposit on a product not yet confirmed for production or distribution.
     
    Vendors
    Sorted by Region and Essentials, Keyboard Modding, Switch Modding, Accessories, and Others.
     
    Artisan Vendors
    Vendors offering custom work or limited-run and expensive products, often through Group Buys.
    Sorted by Region and Essentials, Keyboard Modding, Switch Modding, Accessories, and Others.
     
    Group Buys
    Sites that monitor the status of active, upcoming, and finished Group Buys.
    KeycapLendar Keycapsets.com MechGroupBuys SLeeKeyboards  
    Marketplaces
    Purchase at your own discretion.
    Aliexpress Amazon Banggood eBay Etsy GeekHack KeebTalk r/mechmarket  
     
    [7.0] All Finished!
    Thanks a bunch for your interest! I’ve tried to keep the primer/guide concise (read: to-the-point) and bias-free where possible, but if I’ve missed something, if you spot a spelling/grammatical error, or if you have any suggestions, please leave a reply. I’ll keep the thread up-to-date when I find new info, for as long as I’m available. Hopefully someone, somewhere, will find this thread useful?
     
    If you’ve managed to build your own custom mechanical keyboard with the help of this primer/guide, congratulations! Treat your lil’ or biggun keeb well, and it’ll serve you just as well. 😁👍
     
    Join the Mechanical Keyboard Club and show off your keebs! #KeebWeebClub
     
    [7.1] Special Thanks!
    @geo3 for their excellent Switch Lubing Guide, for vendor and firmware suggestions, for providing a link to some keycap profile comparisons, and for answering my doubts about the Winnja store! @sowon for their excellent Switch Lubing Guide and beautifully-written Switch Reviews! @LukeSavenije for their Gateron vs Kailh vs Cherry Blacks Switch Review! @Dissitesuxba11s for providing a list of vendors and an OEM layout reference! @bowrilla for bringing the QWERTZ keyboard layout to my attention! @seon123 for pointing out misinformation under the 1800-Compact and Stem - Clicky entries, for bringing film switches to my attention, and for vendor suggestions! @kelvinhall05 for contributing to the list of vendors! @minibois for their thorough-yet-accessible mini_cardboard Build Log/Guide!  
    [7.2] Related Reading & Other Material
    Priority given to written material, followed by videos; sorted in alphabetical order. Preferably LTT forum content, but I’ll entertain suggestions recommending outside sources if requested by reputable members. (Shoo, bots and shills.)
     
    [7.3] Auto-Rejected Suggestions
    Suggestions that I will not cover. However, if someone else has made a well-written and informative guide on these topics, I’d be more than happy to consider adding it to the thread.
     
    [7.4] Bibliography
     
    [7.5] Revision History - Last Updated: 05/27/2021
  5. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from connorkincaid in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    From this thread by @Eschew
     
     
    Basically they reduce the travel and modify the bottom out feeling of the key switches. You don't need them, and most people don't use them.
  6. Agree
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from SorryClaire in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    From this thread by @Eschew
     
     
    Basically they reduce the travel and modify the bottom out feeling of the key switches. You don't need them, and most people don't use them.
  7. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to connorkincaid in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    I think I'm gonna go with the GMMK! Looks pretty awesome, and pretty much exactly what I'm looking for I think. 
     
    @SorryClaire
    @HairlessMonkeyBoy
     
    Thank you so much guys!!!
  8. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to SorryClaire in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    maybe you should bother to read spec.
     
    K70 does come in a more clickier blue, but only in black unfortunately. But OP wont mind it anyway, so its what it is. But imo, i would +1 that GMMK frame, or an EPOMAKER GK68. The latter usually always in stock (its original or ripoffs off alibaba/amazon), comes in white, silver, purple, and black, and its hotswappable and comes with a kailh kit option depending on where you shop.
  9. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from connorkincaid in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    The Glorious GMMK customized with Kailh Box White switches would be a good choice. It's very obvious with these switches when you press a key. My wife has the TKL version and loves it.
     
    https://www.pcgamingrace.com/products/gmmk-full-brown-switch

  10. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Slottr in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    The Glorious GMMK customized with Kailh Box White switches would be a good choice. It's very obvious with these switches when you press a key. My wife has the TKL version and loves it.
     
    https://www.pcgamingrace.com/products/gmmk-full-brown-switch

  11. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from minibois in Keyboard Recommendations? Programming/Gaming   
    The Glorious GMMK customized with Kailh Box White switches would be a good choice. It's very obvious with these switches when you press a key. My wife has the TKL version and loves it.
     
    https://www.pcgamingrace.com/products/gmmk-full-brown-switch

  12. Agree
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from LAwLz in Starlink dishes go into “thermal shutdown” once they hit 50°C   
    Tin foil made from aluminium is called aluminium foil.
     
    The reason why aluminium foil cools off so quickly after removing it from heat, is a function of the high surface area to volume ratio and the high conductivity of Aluminium.
     
    Basically, the thinness of the foil results in a low volume, and therefore a relatively low amount of stored energy. That low amount of energy is very quickly dissipated into the environment by the high surface area and high conductivity of the aluminium.
  13. Agree
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to Centurius in what is the best sorage?   
    That's an unanswerable question as it depends on your usage. Just an OS, a couple of lighter games and a lot of media files? You'll want a small SSD + HDD. A lot of games that you play regularly? A single larger SSD will be a noticeable improvement. And those are only two of the many use cases possible so you'll really need to give more info on what you plan to do.
  14. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to TiltedV2 in On-board graphics not displaying.   
    To reiterate,  I am positive I have the i5 10400. Not the 10400F
  15. Agree
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to Levent in Is there a Tier list for fans?   
    I dont think any of us own hardware than can tier fans. Fans are really hard to tier up imo (that is why I am kind of hoping that GN would fix that with their fan testing setup). On that note, I cannot recommend Arctic's fans enough, they are great.
  16. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Kilrah in On-board graphics not displaying.   
    This response doesn't quite indicate that you understand the intent of the question.
     
    The 10400 has an iGPU, and so you can enable multi-monitor in the BIOS and plug a second monitor into the motherboard as you have done.
     
    However.
     
    The 10400F does not have an iGPU. And therefore you cannot connect a second monitor to the motherboard.
     
    The "F" version is a lower cost version of the 10400.
     
    So, are you absolutely sure you do not have the "F" version?
  17. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Slizzo in What to do with my old graphics card?   
    Try to think of any friend or family that you might give it to or sell it to at a reasonable price. If you don't have any of those, then sell it for as much as you can get for it to a stranger on FB marketplace.
     
    The market conditions that have lead to the current GPU shortage are not your fault. It is therefore not unethical for you to sell your GPU to someone at it's current market value. It would be silly for you to do otherwise.
  18. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to Kilrah in On-board graphics not displaying.   
    You don't have a 10400F by any chance?
  19. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Alexsheff93 in Starlink dishes go into “thermal shutdown” once they hit 50°C   
    Tin foil made from aluminium is called aluminium foil.
     
    The reason why aluminium foil cools off so quickly after removing it from heat, is a function of the high surface area to volume ratio and the high conductivity of Aluminium.
     
    Basically, the thinness of the foil results in a low volume, and therefore a relatively low amount of stored energy. That low amount of energy is very quickly dissipated into the environment by the high surface area and high conductivity of the aluminium.
  20. Informative
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from whm1974 in Starlink dishes go into “thermal shutdown” once they hit 50°C   
    Aluminium is one of the most thermally conductive materials...
     
    https://thermtest.com/thermal-resources/top-10-thermally-conductive-materials
  21. Agree
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from mr moose in Starlink dishes go into “thermal shutdown” once they hit 50°C   
    Tin foil made from aluminium is called aluminium foil.
     
    The reason why aluminium foil cools off so quickly after removing it from heat, is a function of the high surface area to volume ratio and the high conductivity of Aluminium.
     
    Basically, the thinness of the foil results in a low volume, and therefore a relatively low amount of stored energy. That low amount of energy is very quickly dissipated into the environment by the high surface area and high conductivity of the aluminium.
  22. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Eigenvektor in Can I upgrade from a GTX 1050 TI to a RTX 3060 without problems?   
    @MaxtheHusk can you provide the model of your PSU? Without this information we can't tell you, since the wattage is borderline.
  23. Like
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from Mystic user in Need Power supply suggestions   
    Go with this, which was already suggested by @Spotty& @seon123:
     
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/NGCrxr/corsair-hx-platinum-850w-80-platinum-certified-fully-modular-atx-power-supply-cp-9020138-na
  24. Agree
    HairlessMonkeyBoy got a reaction from IIIIIIIIII in Need Power supply suggestions   
    Go with this, which was already suggested by @Spotty& @seon123:
     
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/NGCrxr/corsair-hx-platinum-850w-80-platinum-certified-fully-modular-atx-power-supply-cp-9020138-na
  25. Informative
    HairlessMonkeyBoy reacted to Juular in SSD TIER LIST   
    Bigger hole in your wallet ?
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