How To Diy Mechanical Keyboard
A mechanical keyboard uses individual mechanical switches for each key instead of the rubber dome or scissor switches that most standard keyboards use. Mechanical keyboards offer a better typing experience, improved durability, and a more customizable user experience.
Building your mechanical keyboard may seem daunting, but it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience with the proper guidance and tools.
Why Build a Mechanical Keyboard?
There are several benefits to building your mechanical keyboard rather than buying a pre-built one. Firstly, you can customize your keyboard, from the switches to the keycaps. You can also choose the layout that works best for you, whether a full-size keyboard or a smaller one. Additionally, building your keyboard is often more cost-effective than buying a pre-built one, especially if you are willing to research and find the best deals on parts.
Choosing Your Parts
Before you can start building your mechanical keyboard, you need to select the parts you will use. The main components of a mechanical keyboard include the case, PCB (printed circuit board), switches, stabilizers, and keycaps.
The case is the external shell of the keyboard and can come in various materials, such as plastic, aluminum, or wood. When choosing a topic, consider the size and layout of your keyboard and make sure the suit fits those specifications.
The PCB is the heart of the keyboard and connects all the components. When choosing a PCB, ensure it is compatible with your selected switches and has the desired features, such as RGB lighting or programmability.
Switches are the keyboard’s keys and come in various types, such as linear, tactile, and clicky. When choosing switches, consider the kind of typing experience you want and the sound level you are comfortable with.
Stabilizers keep larger keys, such as the spacebar, stable when typing. When choosing stabilizers, ensure they are compatible with your chosen PCB and switches.
Keycaps are the physical keys you will type on and can come in various materials and designs. When choosing keycaps, consider the layout of your keyboard and the compatibility with your selected switches.
Building Your Mechanical Keyboard
Once you have all your parts, it’s time to start building your mechanical keyboard. Follow these steps to make your keyboard:
Building the Case
Start by assembling the case, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to check the fit of the PCB and switches before continuing.
Installing the PCB
Once the case is assembled, it’s time to install the PCB. Make sure to solder the switches correctly and test the PCB before moving on to the next step.
After the PCB is installed, it’s time to add the switches. Make sure to align them correctly and test each button as you go.
Once the switches are installed, it’s time to add the stabilizers. Install them correctly and test each key to ensure it is stable when typing.
After the stabilizers are installed, it’s time to add the keycaps. Make sure to align them correctly and test each key to ensure it registers when typing.
Programming Your Keyboard
Once your mechanical keyboard is built, it’s time to program it to your liking. Many PCBs come with pre-installed firmware that you can customize using software such as QMK or VIA. This allows you to remap keys, create macros, and customize the lighting.
Understanding Different Types of Keycaps
Keycaps are an essential component of a mechanical keyboard that can significantly affect the look and feel of the typing experience. Many different types of keycaps are available, each with unique characteristics. Here are some common types of keycaps:
ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) keycaps are the most common type and are often included with pre-built mechanical keyboards. They are lightweight and have a smooth, shiny finish. However, they can wear down over time and become shiny and slippery.
PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) keycaps are more durable and long-lasting than ABS. They are denser and have a textured finish that provides better grip and resistance to wear and tear. However, they can be more expensive than ABS keycaps.
Double-shot keycaps are made of two layers of plastic that are molded together to create the lettering or symbol on the keycap. This creates a durable, long-lasting keycap that won’t fade or wear down over time. They are often made of PBT plastic and can be more costly than other types of keycaps.
Custom keycaps allow you to create a personalized typing experience tailored to your specific needs and preferences. They come in various materials, colors, and designs and can be a great way to add some personality to your keyboard.
The Advantages of Using a Mechanical Keyboard Over a Traditional Membrane Keyboard
Mechanical keyboards have become increasingly prevalent in recent years due to their many benefits over traditional membrane keyboards. Here are several of the main advantages of using a mechanical keyboard:
Mechanical keyboards are more durable and long-lasting than traditional membrane keyboards. The switches are rated for a particular number of keystrokes, often in the millions, and can last for many years with proper maintenance.
Mechanical keyboards provide a more comfortable typing experience than traditional membrane keyboards. The switches have a tactile feel and provide better feedback, reducing the strain on your fingers and wrists.
Mechanical keyboards offer a high level of customization that is impossible with traditional membrane keyboards. You can choose different switches and keycaps and customize the firmware.
Typing Speed and Accuracy
Mechanical keyboards can improve typing speed and accuracy due to the tactile feel of the switches and the reduced strain on your fingers and wrists. This can be especially beneficial for people who type for long periods or gamers who need fast and accurate input.
Mechanical keyboards offer a wide variety of options for customization and personalization. You can choose different colors, materials, and designs for the keycaps, case, and backlighting. This allows you to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing keyboard.
Mechanical keyboards produce a satisfying sound when typing, often described as “clicky” or “tactile.” This sound can be beneficial for people who need audible feedback while ordering and can also be a pleasant sensory experience for some users.
Overall, the benefits of using a mechanical keyboard over a traditional membrane keyboard are numerous. They offer durability, comfort, customization, improved typing speed and accuracy, aesthetics, and a satisfying sound. If you pay a lot of time typing or gaming, investing in a high-quality mechanical keyboard can significantly improve your overall experience.
Building your mechanical keyboard can be a fun and rewarding experience. By selecting your parts and programming your keyboard to your liking, you can create a personalized typing experience tailored to your needs. With the proper guidance and tools, anyone can build a mechanical keyboard and enjoy a more comfortable and customizable typing experience.