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SeanMcCammon C# .Net core 3 Software Developer

An Interest In Mechanical Keyboards

An Interest In Mechanical Keyboards

So, the title really says all you need to know. I have an interest in mechanical keyboards.

Well, it's probably worth doing the backstory first.

My first mechanical keyboard

So, my first mechanical keyboard arrived around 4 years or so ago. It was a QPad MK-80 which came with Cherry Blue switches. Quite clicky at the time. A freind of mine also bought a QPad keyboard, a different model with Red switches - but I loved the clickyness of the blue.

That keyboard lasted me for around 2 years, give or take a month or two. What happened was that the backlight on some of the keys went. It started with just the CTRL but soon went to a few. They told me that the only way to fix it was to send it back to them at a cost.

Without the backlight, you could not read the key. Then came my second keyboard, a Roccat Suora. I went for the RGB version this time, get some more colour.

Another great keyboard - this time though it had red switches.

I, again, loved the keyboard and it also lasted me for around 2 years, give or take a few months. However, one of the switches started to fail and some keypresses (it was the A key) started to get missed. Not great for typing.

So, second keyboard failed - and again the only fix was to send back and pay. So, I bought a 3rd mechanical keyboard. Cheaper one this time, which also had red switches and rgb.

For the price it was a great keyboard - but I have often thought about taking the other keyboards apart and looking at how I could fix.

Fast forward to today - or yesterday

So, these failures peaked my interest in how they work - but never pushed me over to actually look. A week or so ago I started to looked for a new keyboard, something that required less pressure to push down and actuate the key. Working from home has meant more typing on my mechanical keyboard - so I wanted something that would be less tiring on my fingers.

I had my eye on a few built consumer keyboards when I came across the barebone base for this Glorious GMMK keyboard. It said it had plug and play for switches - so I could choose my own switch. Choose my own keycaps - and was an easy entry into building my own.

So I decided to do it.

When the pack arrived I found it quite simple to start to build the keyboard out using the hotswap plug and play. I had chosen Bronze switches which required around 20g less pressure - so really pushed on with the build...

I wanted to get it built to start enjoying typing. I learnt 32 things while doing this.

  1. I was lucky that I bought a TKL keyboard which is about 80% of keys. That is lucky - because I got around 120 switches and a couple of them got bent pins as I put them in. They do come with a pin straightener if needed - but I just pushed on.
  2. The keyset I had bought was designed for the US keyboard. I have an International ISO one, so some of the keys were slightly wrong size. Though it worked out just 3, which I took off those 2 keyboards that did not work. The Enter key I had to use the numeric one - which was find as this keyboard has no numeric keyboard. Always check that you have the right keycaps
  3. This 3rd thing I learnt after building. Always check all your keys. Sometimes you may think the switch went in fine but one of pins may have bent. I had 3 dead keys while testing/using. Quickly removed the switches and just put new ones in. It may also happen that you have a dead switch. So always check.

I also leant one other things. I really enjoyed building my own keyboard.

The mechanical keyboard following

So, it seems that there is a big following/group of people that love to build their own mechanical keyboards. There are some fantastic keyboards I saw built.

I think I find myself moving that way. I think I am going to start looking at building more bespoke keyboards. It may take time. It takes money - though probably less that buying a top range consumer keyboard.

For me, it's just the creation of something that is my taste, something I will use. It's started that way with PC's - I built my second PC and never stopped. So, moving forward - you may see more images of keyboards I build... and more chatter on the parts and process for anyone interested.

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