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Switch lubing guide.

I've responded to more than a couple questions on here about lubing keyboards and since I have my last endeavor documented I though I'd write up a picture guide on how to do it.  I'm not doing it here but you can take this opportunity to do a spring swap if you want. Or even change the stem. You could go from a brown, to a red, to a blue switch, just by swapping the stem and spring. My switches here are Zealios, a special type of tactile Gateron switch similar to an MX Clear.

 

I don't claim this is the definitive method, but it's how I do it and that's worked out pretty well so far. 

 

First the tools and links to buy them: Switch openerLubeBrush. It also helps to have a tray to keep loose odds and ends in, like all your removed keycaps.

(Note on the switch opener, it is used for already soldered switches. If you are working with loose switches, either you have a hotswap PCB or you're lubing before you solder, then get something like this KBD Fans switch opener)

 

nNFPKce.jpg

 

Insert the switch openers into the two slots on either side of the switch. This works for Gateron and Cherry for sure, not for Kailh. Can't comment on other brands as I don't own any others.  Also this won't work if you have LEDs that go through the switch unless you desolder the LED first. If you have SMD LEDs (ones that reside under the switch) you should be good.

GR5qQlP.jpg

 

Pry with one tool in toward the switch (not downward but laterally across the keyboard) which will pop up one side.

aCtBuyS.jpg

 

Then flip that tool over and insert it under the switch top. We're not going to pry at all again on this side, it's just there to prevent this side from snapping back together and closing itself again. These guys snap closed really easily.

VQkpIO0.jpg

 

Next pry with the other tool, again across the board, not down or up. The second half will take about twice as much force to get open.

YGqxYbi.jpg

 

It may come off all together or just the top by it self. Just be careful when pulling stuff off that there is no tension on the spring as it can easily shoot itself across the room and disappear forever. 

Here we see just the top has been removed.

kgjL7hZ.jpg

 

Switch top, spring and stem. I put the spring inside the switch top like this so it can't roll away and get lost.

5dQ0MvH.jpg

 

Time to load up some lube on your brush. You just need a very small amount.  This here is probably a little much.

q6qi7v1.jpg

 

First I lube the center post in the switch bottom. This is what the spring rides on. So this step not only smooths out the feel of the switch, but also dramatically reduces pinging sounds from the spring. 

A0KQsKG.jpg

 

Also lube the two channels on either side. This is what the stem rides in. No need to reload your brush at this point.

UOR6VYg.jpg

 

Next lube the under side of the stem where it contacts the spring. Just in the circular channel, you don't need to lube that post. I do reload the brush with some more lube for this step, but only like 25% of what I put on initially. 

9S4vjcv.jpg

 

Now it's time to reassemble. Put the spring in first. It should feel different sliding in that it did coming off. It should feel softer and more velvety now.

9cVt9dx.jpg

 

Put the stem on top of the spring. Make sure the little arms on the stem face the electrical contacts. Those arms are responsible for separating the contacts and are what make the switch work at all. If it's backwards the switch won't operate. 

cgJhzF1.jpg

 

Next put the top back on the stem. The more steeply shaped side of the top should also face the electrical contacts. Press it down gently and it should easiy snap and clip shut. If it's not going on easily don't apply force, something is not aligned up and you might bend the metal contacts. Take it off and double check it's all aligned. 
a265ihy.jpg

 

Once it clips in to place you're done. Move on to the next one. If you get into a real rhythm you should be able to do 1 switch every 45 seconds. Also I use a single key cap to mark my progress so I don't lose my place. 

 

 

 

 

 

Addendum: Kail BOX Switches: 

BOX switches are already pretty smooth and don't benefit as much from lubing. Even so, the internals are different so here are the lube points if you do want to do it. I don't think you can open these if they are in a plate so you will need the KBDFans style opening tool that offers a Kailh opening side. KBD Fans switch opener 

 

 

IMG_20200712_160358.jpg

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Well done geo.

I am not a keyboard freak but this could come in handy.

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Oh my god, thank you so much for this guide. I really needed this.

 

Though I'm worried that my keyboard has LEDs that I would have to desolder, do you think there's a way to lube my switches without firing up the soldering iron? I just haven't soldered ever in the past.

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On 1/6/2018 at 9:34 PM, Energycore said:

Oh my god, thank you so much for this guide. I really needed this.

 

Though I'm worried that my keyboard has LEDs that I would have to desolder, do you think there's a way to lube my switches without firing up the soldering iron? I just haven't soldered ever in the past.

If for what ever reason you can't open your switch you can get at 2 of the lube points by pressing the switch down all the way. 

IMG_20171223_114240.jpg.6f580f926a6957c3c486180e1571d3c8.jpg

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2 minutes ago, geo3 said:

If for what ever reason you can't open your switch you can get at 2 of the lube points by pressing the switch down all the way. I'm not sure how much of a difference this will make as I think the center post is the most important one. 

snip

Thanks I will try that :)

 

Ewwww $8.50 international shipping on the lube :/

We have a NEW and GLORIOUSER-ER-ER PSU Tier List Now. (dammit @LukeSavenije stop coming up with new ones)

You can check out the old one that gave joy to so many across the land here

 

Computer having a hard time powering on? Troubleshoot it with this guide. (Currently looking for suggestions to update it into the context of <current year> and make it its own thread)

Computer Specs:

Spoiler

Mathresolvermajig: Intel Xeon E3 1240 (Sandy Bridge i7 equivalent)

Chillinmachine: Noctua NH-C14S
Framepainting-inator: EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid

Attachcorethingy: Gigabyte H61M-S2V-B3

Infoholdstick: Corsair 2x4GB DDR3 1333

Computerarmor: Silverstone RL06 "Lookalike"

Rememberdoogle: 1TB HDD + 120GB TR150 + 240 SSD Plus + 1TB MX500

AdditionalPylons: Phanteks AMP! 550W (based on Seasonic GX-550)

Letterpad: Rosewill Apollo 9100 (Cherry MX Red)

Buttonrodent: Razer Viper Mini + Huion H430P drawing Tablet

Auralnterface: Sennheiser HD 6xx

Liquidrectangles: LG 27UK850-W 4K HDR

 

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8 minutes ago, geo3 said:

Krytox GPL-205 should work. Or search geekhack.org for the exact blend of that lube. It's 2 types of Krytox in a specific ratio.  

Is this it?

Spoiler

image.png.a0d7e8ed8bc91565c3cbb19ed50282bc.png

Thank you so much! My reds just don't feel like reds anymore (after a water spill)

We have a NEW and GLORIOUSER-ER-ER PSU Tier List Now. (dammit @LukeSavenije stop coming up with new ones)

You can check out the old one that gave joy to so many across the land here

 

Computer having a hard time powering on? Troubleshoot it with this guide. (Currently looking for suggestions to update it into the context of <current year> and make it its own thread)

Computer Specs:

Spoiler

Mathresolvermajig: Intel Xeon E3 1240 (Sandy Bridge i7 equivalent)

Chillinmachine: Noctua NH-C14S
Framepainting-inator: EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid

Attachcorethingy: Gigabyte H61M-S2V-B3

Infoholdstick: Corsair 2x4GB DDR3 1333

Computerarmor: Silverstone RL06 "Lookalike"

Rememberdoogle: 1TB HDD + 120GB TR150 + 240 SSD Plus + 1TB MX500

AdditionalPylons: Phanteks AMP! 550W (based on Seasonic GX-550)

Letterpad: Rosewill Apollo 9100 (Cherry MX Red)

Buttonrodent: Razer Viper Mini + Huion H430P drawing Tablet

Auralnterface: Sennheiser HD 6xx

Liquidrectangles: LG 27UK850-W 4K HDR

 

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Just now, geo3 said:

That's the stuff. Not sure about that price though..... WTF?

That's in mexican peso (MXN), it's more like $20 US for the tube xD

We have a NEW and GLORIOUSER-ER-ER PSU Tier List Now. (dammit @LukeSavenije stop coming up with new ones)

You can check out the old one that gave joy to so many across the land here

 

Computer having a hard time powering on? Troubleshoot it with this guide. (Currently looking for suggestions to update it into the context of <current year> and make it its own thread)

Computer Specs:

Spoiler

Mathresolvermajig: Intel Xeon E3 1240 (Sandy Bridge i7 equivalent)

Chillinmachine: Noctua NH-C14S
Framepainting-inator: EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid

Attachcorethingy: Gigabyte H61M-S2V-B3

Infoholdstick: Corsair 2x4GB DDR3 1333

Computerarmor: Silverstone RL06 "Lookalike"

Rememberdoogle: 1TB HDD + 120GB TR150 + 240 SSD Plus + 1TB MX500

AdditionalPylons: Phanteks AMP! 550W (based on Seasonic GX-550)

Letterpad: Rosewill Apollo 9100 (Cherry MX Red)

Buttonrodent: Razer Viper Mini + Huion H430P drawing Tablet

Auralnterface: Sennheiser HD 6xx

Liquidrectangles: LG 27UK850-W 4K HDR

 

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  • 2 months later...
14 minutes ago, JoostinOnline said:

Do you know if this can be done with the Razer BlackWidow Chroma?  It has RGB lighting.

I've never taken apart a Razer board so I don't know. If you can open the switch somehow, then yes.

 

Are your switches the clicky variety? If so lubing the channels on either side may severely dull the click.

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17 minutes ago, geo3 said:

I've never taken apart a Razer board so I don't know. If you can open the switch somehow, then yes.

 

Are your switches the clicky variety? If so lubing the channels on either side may severely dull the click.

No, I've got Razer Yellow switches.  It's a copy of the Cherry MX Silver.  I got it because it's less scratchy than the Cherry MX ones, but I can still feel\hear it.  I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it does.  I'm used to membrane keyboards.  I was considering lubing it to help.  My key removal tool doesn't get here for two more days so I don't know if I can open the switch.  So far, I can't find any info about it online.

Make sure to quote or tag me (@JoostinOnline) or I won't see your response!

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8 hours ago, JoostinOnline said:

I got it because it's less scratchy than the Cherry MX ones, but I can still feel\hear it.  I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it does.

This is why a lot of people lube switches. That and ping reduction. 

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  • 3 months later...

If I were to remove the switch top along with the spring and stem, could I actually put in a spring and stem from a different switch? Let's say I get a Cherry MX Brown keyboard and I remove the top switch cover and take out the spring and stem as well. Then I take a spring and stem from a Cherry MX Red and put it in the open switch? Will it work or is the metal contacts different for all switches?

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1 hour ago, ThiccSon said:

If I were to remove the switch top along with the spring and stem, could I actually put in a spring and stem from a different switch? Let's say I get a Cherry MX Brown keyboard and I remove the top switch cover and take out the spring and stem as well. Then I take a spring and stem from a Cherry MX Red and put it in the open switch? Will it work or is the metal contacts different for all switches?

Yes you can. For the most part the housing and metal contacts should be identical within a manufacturer. And with some manufactures the parts are even interchangeable. Like Gateron and Cherry for example are almost 100% compatible with eachother.  One common thing enthusiasts do is to make Frankenstein switches by combining different switch parts from different manufactures to get a switch with characteristics not otherwise available. 

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  • 8 months later...

Hi, i lobed my springs and contact points on the stem keyboard felt really good, it felt like more expensive, and after like 5 days keyboard started to having same fell and same sound as before is there any way to prevent grease to like wear out to keep switch lobed for long time?

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3 hours ago, COF1 said:

Hi, i lobed my springs and contact points on the stem keyboard felt really good, it felt like more expensive, and after like 5 days keyboard started to having same fell and same sound as before is there any way to prevent grease to like wear out to keep switch lobed for long time?

What lube did you use? The stuff I used should last years.

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  • 10 months later...

Never lub the keys, in time they accumulate residue that will cause the key to malfunction 

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On 2/19/2019 at 4:25 AM, COF1 said:

Hi, i lobed my springs and contact points on the stem keyboard felt really good, it felt like more expensive, and after like 5 days keyboard started to having same fell and same sound as before is there any way to prevent grease to like wear out to keep switch lobed for long time?

Try using some higher end lubes with higher viscosity, ptfe and binder. Krytox greases are quite commonly used, mainly 200 series grade 0 lubes. 204G0 or Tribosys 3204 are good options and should stick quite well. Avoid lube mixes, mixing different grades of greases/oils will cause them to eventually separate. 

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21 hours ago, Constantin said:

Never lub the keys, in time they accumulate residue that will cause the key to malfunction 

Can you back that claim up? Lots of people have been lubing their switches for years and I've never heard of anyone experiencing this before.

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12 minutes ago, geo3 said:

Can you back that claim up? Lots of people have been lubing their switches for years and I've never heard of anyone experiencing this before.

My previous keyboard, the Corsair K95 RGB MX Brown was chattering, so i used the WD40 that have silicon in it and it solved the problem, then more and more keys were chattering and i continue spraying with the WD40 everything was well, i thought i found the magic spray, but after several months (7~8) the keys behavior started to change they start to get sticky and instead of one actuation point they were more typing was awful.

The best spray to clean the keys is the electronic contact spray.

Something like this.

 

 

20190509_162309.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Constantin said:

WD40

Contrary to what many people think, WD40 is not a lubricant in the true sense.

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Just now, noxdeouroboros said:

Contrary to what many people think, WD40 is not a lubricant in the true sense.

It is also a lubricant, it has silicone in it.

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Just now, Constantin said:

It is also a lubricant, it has silicone in it.

It's primarily a cleaning fluid/rust protector which evaporates.
 

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1 minute ago, noxdeouroboros said:

It's primarily a cleaning fluid/rust protector which evaporates.
 

Silicon does not evaporate 

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