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The Unlife Aquatic
Jun 17, 2009

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.


Banner By Nondescript Van

Welcome to the new 2017 edition Keyboard Megathread! A lot has changed in the world of keyboards since the last OP in 2009 and it was just about time for a reboot. If you’re looking for quick picks for your couch media setup or don’t want to bother with this mechanical keyboard business, skip right to section 8. If you’re looking for recommendations on entry level mechanical keyboards, go to section 9. And remember:

Slurps Mad Rips posted:

Just wait until you have friends begging you to not buy another keycap set or keyboard. Tears rolling down their face with each key press as you enter your credit card information and click purchase. You'll start to scratch hatch marks into your old CODE keycaps to count the days until the signature plastics run completes. 3 months after your purchase you'll buy another keyboard. You'll tell yourself the typical lies "This is my end game", "I'm a millennial. Why save for the American dream when I can have a rewarding hobby instead?", and "I won't NEED to buy another keyboard after this". But you will. You'll always buy one. Your friends won't try to stop you. They're long gone. They lost you when you dropped 4 grand on an Signature Plastics SA Avocado Toast themed keycap set so that the group buy wouldn't fail. It won't even arrive until 2023. But it doesn't matter. You've become a true keeb weeb.

You have been warned.

Table of Contents

1. What Is A Mechanical Keyboard?
2. Why Should I Buy A Mechanical Keyboard?
3. Keyboard Jargon
4. PS/2 vs. USB
5. Switches
6. Keyboard Sizes
7. Should I Buy This Keyboard?
8. Non-Mechanical Quick Picks
9. Mechanical Quick Picks
10. Links And Resources



1. What Is A Mechanical Keyboard?

Most keyboards on the market use something called “rubber dome over membrane" designs. When you press a keycap you squish a small rubber dome inside, and it presses two membrane sheets together to complete a circuit. They work, but they’re not great. For one thing, they feel a little bit like typing on pudding. For another they can harden or soften as they age, changing the amount of force needed to actuate the key or killing the key outright. Rubber dome keyboards don’t last that long compared to mechanical keyboards either. The average rubber dome is rated for two million keystrokes. Cherry switches are rated for fifty million.


Pictured: A diagram of a Cherry MX Red actuating.

Mechanical keyboards typically (but not always) have you pressing down on a spring, and once you hit the key’s actuation point it completes a circuit with a small metal leaf attached to the switch itself. This makes them more reliable, responsive, and just outright better feeling.

2. Why Should I Buy A Mechanical Keyboard?

The same reason you buy a good pair of shoes.

Yeah you can get by with something for twenty dollars from Wal-Mart, but it's just getting by. If you're reading this thread you're probably a programmer or IT person, or someone who just generally uses computers often. And computer use is at it's core, keyboard driven. Mechanical keyboards help you type faster, more accurately, and more comfortably which makes the whole cycle of using a computer easier and more satisfying. And honestly, it just feels good. There's something about the way crunchy switches feel under your fingers, the click when a switch hits it's actuation point. It’s satisfying in a way a cheaper keyboard never can be. And there's so much customization, a keyboard can be as unassuming or bold as you like. You can buy a 70 dollar Magicforce 68 and get along just fine or construct monster that looks like a decker’s wet dream. Just look at some of these awesome things:


By Weedle

Weedle posted:

KBParadise V60 with Tai Hao Miami keycaps and custom cable from mechcables.com.


By Wasabi The J


By Nondescript Van

Nondescript Van posted:

well as for customizing, there is a lot you could do, such as buy a pcb in a groupbuy from korea, buy some hard to find (at the time) MX White switches from some dude in Germany, then never finish your own case




By Brightman

Brightman posted:

I got a WASD V2 with Browns that I customized on their site, some keys being blank was an error on my part when futzing with the template but it works out (unless anyone else is typing on it).Of course having that at home for a few months made my work keyboard feel like poo poo (a cautionary tale?) so I got a CODE with Clears and got some Vortex PBT Doubleshot keys in company colors. I did get an F8 key for this a bit after I took the photos, so no more double F9s. The main issue with those keys now is being white they show dust really well, so keeping them looking clean is futile. Well that and the backlights don't really work out with them but I don't really care about backlighting, especially at work.


By unpronounceable

unpronounceable posted:

This is a Cooler Master Quickfire XT with browns. I was pretty boring with the custom caps since I have little colour sense, but I really like the front printing.


By The Deadly Hume

The Deadly Hume posted:

OK, keycap porn - this is quite an old image, from not long after I got hooked into this stupid hobby. To begin with I got about three different coloured Tai-Hao sets and cobbled together this monstrosity.


By Brownie

Brownie posted:

So my MAX KEYS Miami SA doubleshot ABS set came in today and it feels great! Really happy with it on my poker 3 with clears. So thanks for the help guys, you were right and these key caps don't feel cheap at all.

ugh i'm going to be so poor because of this loving hobby weird obsession

If you post your own custom board, I may add it here! (with your permission)

3. Keyboard Jargon

There’s a fuckload of buzzwords in this weird little hobby, and this is just some basic terminology so you know what we’re talking about.

Switch: The bit you’re actually using to type. When you press a keycap you’re actuating the switch under it.

Linear Switch: Linear switches just go straight up and down. There’s no tactile feedback except bottoming out the switch.

Tactile Switch: Tactile switches have a small “bump” around the actuation point, and release a soft clicking noise. The most popular sort of switch.

Clicky Switch: When you think of mechanical keyboards, you’re probably thinking of something with a clicky switch. Like tactile switches there’s a “bump” but it feels a bit crunchier and instead of a softer clicking noise they release a loud, sharp click. Really lets you share the joy of mechanical keyboards or annoy the poo poo out of people because they’re noisy as hell.

cN: Centinewton, the unit of force used to describe how hard you have to press a switch to actuate it. The lightest mechanical switches tend to be 30 to 40 cN, and the heaviest are around 90 cN. Rubber dome keyboards are usually around 60 cN. If a keyboard lists it’s actuation force in grams they’re roughly (within about 2%) equal to cN.


Pictured: A Plank Ortholinear Keyboard. Most of us think they’re silly too.

100/80/60/40%: Shorthand for a keyboards overall size. What this means is expanded on in Section 6.

ABS: The most common type of plastic used to make keycaps. Most mechanical keyboards you buy will have Doubleshot ABS keycaps standard. ABS keycaps tend to lose their texture quickly, and become smooth and slimy feeling.

PBT: The good poo poo when it comes to keycaps. If you want to improve your keyboard, buying PBT keycaps is an excellent first step. PBT keycaps last longer, muffle the sound of the keystroke a little bit, and don’t yellow with age like ABS. Doubleshot PBT is best, and dye sublimation techniques make the longest lasting legends on it. Hydro printing makes for flashy keys, but wears out quickly.


Pictured: WASD O-Rings

O-Rings: Mechanical keyboards are generally loud little fuckers, sometimes by design and sometimes just as a quirk of their engineering. And sometimes your roommates, co-workers, or spouses just can’t take it. O-Rings are one of the simplest solutions, a little piece of rubber placed on the keycaps stem to make the downstroke quieter. However, they make the keypress much “squishier” and the general consensus is it fucks up the whole typing experience. Not as popular these days because there are new solutions coming out like sound dampening clamps or specially designed quiet switches.

Stem: Where switch and keycap meet. Generally the stem will match the switch type – Cherry and clones will have Cherry stems, and Topre switches will have Topre stems. Exceptions exist though, there is at least one model of Topre keyboard with Cherry stems, for example.

Stabilizer: Longer keys, such as shift, enter, and the space bar will have stabilizers under them. With Cherry and Cherry clones they will usually be either Cherry style stabilizers, which are simply empty stems, or Costar stabilizers, which are a thin metal rod.

Rollover: How many keys you can press at once and be sure the system is registering them all. 6 key rollover is common on cheaper boards, and most better boards have 20 or N-key rollover. You’ll know if this matters to you.

4. PS/2 VS USB

In the past, this mattered a lot more. BIOS fuckery often required a PS/2 keyboard, and N-Key Rollover was mostly a PS/2 affair. Nowadays, most BIOS are fine with USB keyboards and N-Key Rollover is available on higher end USB keyboards.

5. Switches

There are three major types of switches I’ll talk about in detail here, they’ll cover about 90% of the keyboards you see on the internet. Cherry, and Cherry clones, Matias and Alps clones, and Topre switches. No matter the switch, I strongly encourage you to try before you buy. Trying an actual keyboard is best, but that's not always possible - that's why some companies make switch testers.There are switch testers for Cherry and Matias (Looks like they've gone out of business, sorry!). Sorry there was only one Topre tester on the market, and seems to be out of production now. If you live in LA you can stop by Elitekeyboards to try out Topre switches, but that’s the best I can offer you.

Cherry

Cherry and Cherry clone switches are easily at least half the market, or maybe even 2/3rds of it. They’re the standard all other switches are compared to. You can identify Cherry and Cherry clone switches by their plus-shaped stems. They’re divided into three major lines I’ll go over. The linear line, the tactile line, and the clicky line.

Cherry Linear Switches



Examples: Cherry MX Red (45 cN), Cherry MX Black (60 cN)

The simplest mechanical switches. They just go straight up and down when you press, with no tactile feedback until you bottom out the switch. This makes them a little bit quieter as Cherry switches go, but noise level varies based on keyboard design. Linear mechanical switches are very easy to accidentally press, as the trigger force is low and there is no tactile feedback to stop the key’s actuation. This is especially true of the Cherry MX Red, which only has an actuation force of 45 cN.

Cherry Tactile Switches



Examples: Cherry MX Brown (45 cN), Cherry MX Clear (60 cN)

Tactile switches incorporate a small “bump” when you hit their actuation point and a soft click. They can be a bit louder than linear switches, but not very in most cases. (Once again, keyboard construction plays a big role) Tactile Cherry switches are the most popular type of mechanical switches, and you can find virtually any mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Browns or clones of them. Goons typically recommend the Cherry MX Clear, a somewhat heavier version of the Brown.

Cherry Clicky Switches



Examples: Cherry MX Blue (50 cN), Cherry MX Green (80 cN)

Made to emulate the feel and sound of IBM’s buckling spring keyboards, Clicky switches have the bump of tactile switches (though somewhat crunchier, at least in my experience), but add separate piece of plastic that loudly strikes the bottom of the switch housing when it actuates. This gives them a very loud, sharp click. When you’re thinking of mechanical keyboards you’re probably thinking of someone on a Cherry MX Blue keyboard hitting a 100 WPM and making an unholy racket. As a small note, if you play twitch games you might want to avoid clicky switches. They take a little bit longer to recover from their last input than other Cherry switches. For the average user this probably doesn’t matter, but it’s worth noting.

There are more Cherry switches, a lot more, but they’re all based on these three archetypes.

A Quick Word On Cherry Clones

Cherry clones are extremely common, especially on lower quality mechanical keyboards but they’re not all bad. If you want a very specific switch weight and feel there’s probably a Cherry clone set up just the way you like it.

Good: Gateron, KBTalking, Zealio, Kalih

Meh: Greentech, Razer

Nope: Otemu

Matias/Alps Clones

Matias are the largest producer of Alps clone switches. Alps switches were switches similar in design to Cherry switches produced by a Japanese company, Alps Electric. They were well regarded, and when they left the mechanical keyboard business clones sprang up quickly. Matias and Alps clone switches have rectangular stems with two nubs on each side. Outside that, Alps clones can vary wildly and I will only be describing the three switches produced by Matias for simplicity’s sake.

The Matias Linear has a red stem and is similar to the Cherry MX Red, as they have the same linear action and both require 35 cN of force to actuate. The only major difference is the Matias Linear is somewhat quieter. The Matias Quiet Click has a gray stem and is a quieter equivalent to the Cherry MX Clear, requiring the same actuation force of 60 cN but feeling more like a Cherry MX Blue. The Matias Click has a white stem and is similar to the Blue or Green switches of Cherry but the sound of the a keystroke is even louder.

Topre



Topre switches rely on a unique mechanism somewhat similar to the design of rubber dome keyboards. Under each key is a rubber cup fitted over a small coiled conical spring. They have a very small bump towards the top of the keystroke and then smooth sailing. When the key bottoms it produces a distinctive, quiet thock that, to me at least, sounds a bit like rain on a roof. They come in 35g (about 35 cN), 45g (about 45 cN), and 55g (about 55 cN). Topre switches have round stems.

Buckling Spring

A beloved older design, the IBM Buckling Spring switch is a bit of an odd duck. Most mechanical keyboards use springs that compress under pressure. Instead, a buckling spring bends outwardly, striking the side of it’s housing when it reaches it’s required actuation force. The heaviest switch you’re likely to ever encounter, at a whooping 90 cN. And as a bonus, when someone tries to murder you for the racket these things make, you can use the keyboard as a bludgeon to murder them because they are built like loving Gameboys. Unicomp is the only company producing new buckling spring keyboards right now.

6. Keyboard Sizes

Pictured from Top To Bottom, a 100% keyboard, 80% keyboard, 60% keyboard, and 40%. The monster on the bottom right is an Ergodox. Props to Nondescript Van for providing this image.

The other major factor in picking out a mechanical keyboard is the size. There are a lot of little oddities in each category but mechanical keyboards generally fit into a few size classes: 100%, 80%, 60%, and 40%.

100%

This generally refers to fullsize keyboards. The greatest variety of mechanical keyboards exist at this size, and you can generally find any set of features you like in this size class. They also tend to be the heaviest, least portable boards, as well as the priciest.

80%

80% keyboards (more commonly referred to as "TKL" or "Tenkeyless") generally remove the numpad, drastically cutting down the frame’s size and weight. They’re great if you want to keep more desk space open to you and don’t use your numpad very often. You can almost always find the same features of a 100% in an 80%, and for a little less too. There are some 80% keyboards that have alternative configurations, such as removing the six key cluster and arrow cluster and retaining the numpad.

60%

60% keyboards usually cut off the arrow cluster, six key cluster, and function row. Because they remove so many keys, almost all 60% keyboards have macros to access them through function keys, usually replacing one or both of the shortcut keys in the bottom row and firmware or external software for programming macros. You can generally find 60% keyboards with quality construction a little bit cheaper than 100% or 80% keyboards, and they’re highly portable.

40%

The smallest category of mechanical keyboards in more than one way. 40% keyboards cut the number row and adopt shortened keys to obtain the smallest frame possible. There are basically two choices at the size, the Vortex CORE and the Planck Ortholinear Keyboard DIY kit (pictured earlier in the article). The CORE is the more traditional of the two. The Planck almost completely eschews larger keys, leaving only an option for a double or single key length spacebar. The concept behind the behind doing this is to make every key be equidistant from a finger, minimizing finger strain.

7. Should I Buy This Keyboard?

This is general shopping advice for any mechanical keyboard, if you want quick picks you can keep scrolling. There’s a few big companies that consistently put out great boards you should start with these companies. if you don’t know quite what you want these are good companies to start with: Vortex, Varmillo, Code/WASD, MK, Matias, Topre, Leopold, and Ducky

What the frame is made of? Cheap plastic? Aluminum? High grade plastic? It’s a keyboard and you’re a fuckin goon, it’s gonna get messy. So check how difficult reviewers say it is to clean. The other major thing that’s often overlooked is the backplate. The backplate is the bit of the keyboard your switches are actually mounted on. The backplate material determines how much the keyboard moves under each keystroke, how much the keyboard flexes. Flex is the quiet killer of a quality typing experience, there’s no use paying for mechanical switches if the keyboard frame is going to bend under every keypress. Plastic is the worst, aluminum is middle of the road, and steel is best.

Also pay attention to the way the USB plug fits into the keyboard, some keyboards incorporate 90 degree turns for whatever reason and it will murder your cables if you move the keyboard too often. If you’re buying a 60% or 40% keyboard, check out the macro programming and it’s shortcuts before you buy and make sure you at least understand the basics. If it’s an RGB keyboard that relies on firmware over an external app, make sure you understand it.

8. Non-Mechanical Quick Picks

You don’t want a mechanical keyboard? Just getting something to use on the couch for your media setup? That’s cool. This section is for you.

The Logitech K400 has an integrated trackpad if you’re into those. Pretty reliable. 27 USD

The Logitech K360 is a little bit cheaper if you don’t particularly care for the trackpad. 20 USD

The HP K3500 will get you by if you want a 100% sized wireless keyboard. 30 USD, 15 with Prime.


9. Mechanical Quick Picks

These are some good starter boards. I tried to pick something from each of the major size categories. If nothing stands out to you, you can always ask the thread for more advice. You should still use a switch tester or even better, use an actual mechanical keyboard, before you buy anything if you can.


The Magicforce 68 70 USD

The cheapest keyboard I’m going to recommend here. 70 USD from Amazon right now, and Massdrop will often run drops closer to 50. It has a decent aluminum frame, and pretty alright construction for something this cheap. You can find it with Cherry Blues, Reds, and Browns. Massdrops of it have a much wider variety of selectable switches, including Greens, Blacks, and Gateron clones. You can get them somewhat cheaper with Otemu switches at your own peril.


The MK Disco 119 USD

MK is mechanicalkeyboards.com’s inhouse brand. They licensed Ducky, a superb Chinese manufacturer, as their OEM. The Disco uses KBTalking switches which have been getting strong reviews. Pretty much the cheapest decent quality RGB keyboard you’re going to find outside of Massdrop.


The MK Fission 119 USD

“RGB” branding is something of a misnomer. There are lights in the frame that light up the sides in RGB, but the backlights for the keys are white. Another Ducky OEM board with a steel backplate and excellent construction. Comes in a dizzying variety of Cherry switches. An excellent full size board.


WASD 104 Key with Cherry MX Clears 165 USD, more with options

One of the most commonly recommended keyboards in thread. The fullsize WASD board with Cherry MX Clears is a drat fine way to start your keyboard collection.


The KBTalking Next 80 USD

KBTalking makes excellent Cherry clone switches, but this is their own first outing. At 80 USD it's the cheapest decent quality fullsize I could find.


The KBParadise V60 89-119 USD, depending on switches/LEDs

You want a 60% keyboard? Your options are a little more limited. The big players in that space are Leopold, Varmillo, KBParadise and Vortex. This is about the cheapest of them, though sometimes Massdrop runs Poker 2s for about the same price point with more customization options. Good build quality, but no backlighting unless you pay extra.

10. Links And Resources

The Deskthority Wiki – A great source of information on various switches. If you see some screwball switch you can’t ID, it’s probably listed here.

Mechanicalkeyboards.com – The biggest retailer for mechanical keyboards and their accessories in the USA. Has fast, free shipping on most keyboards, an excellent selection, and a decent support department.

MyKeyboard.eu - A European alternative to MK.com. Their selection isn't as good and you can only buy with PayPal, but the shipping rates are much less murderous for those of you across the Atlantic.

Massdrop – A bulk buy site that can often get you good prices on amazing boards, flashy keycaps, and various other accessories. The shipping times are murderous, and their customer support is not great though.

zFrontier - A new groupbuy site inspired by Massdrop. They mostly sell keycaps, they've been getting good reviews from goons so far.

Max Keyboard's Layout Charts - Alternate layouts are common in mechanical keyboards, and it's good to check your layout before you buy custom keycaps.

- Various keycap profiles.

The Unlife Aquatic fucked around with this message at May 18, 2018 around 03:25

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The Unlife Aquatic
Jun 17, 2009

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

Reserved for future use.

The Unlife Aquatic
Jun 17, 2009

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

This is a good start, but I'd like to come back and add to this. I'd like to do a bit on DIY kits (ergodox, whitefox, some resources on how to put a KB together on your own) and get a little more in depth on customization. There were some new custom keycap selling/massbuy sites I didn't get and I'll add them if you post them. Maybe expand the bit on decent membrane keyboards.

I'd also love to add anyone's customized keyboard to the OP, with a little quote if you like.

The Unlife Aquatic fucked around with this message at Jun 30, 2017 around 01:36

Nondescript Van
May 2, 2007

Gats N Party Hats


Nice.

As for a diy section, I'm in the process of finishing up a board I designed and just need to handwire it so I'll post a write up on that at some point if anybody is interested in doing it the hard and expensive way (in my case, but it can be much cheaper).

The Unlife Aquatic
Jun 17, 2009

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

Do it and I'll clean it up and add it to either the OP or the second post with thanks to you for your help.

ColHannibal
Sep 17, 2007


I would change 80% to Ten Key Less (TKL) I have never heard them referred to "80%" keyboards.

NTRabbit
Aug 15, 2012

i wear this armour to protect myself from the histrionics of hysterical women

bitches

Constellation I posted:

Both the Ducky and the CM are good. I'd probably lean towards the Ducky since it doesn't require software to manage the lighting. (unless you really want sophisticated lighting profiles)

Cheers

surebet posted:

switch testers are usually going to be a bit more expensive and while they're nice to have in certain contexts, i can't argue for one here. go to your local staples or something that has demo mechanical keebs on the floor and go touch them.

then push your budget a bit more and get a code w/ clear switches:
http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index....e-keyboard.html

I'm in Australia, so I don't have a Staples. I've got one place nearby that stocks Cooler Master, Corsair, and Steel Series,, but no guarantees they'll have any on display.

Also, the 87 key code w/ clear switches is sold out, and so is the 104 key

NTRabbit fucked around with this message at Jun 30, 2017 around 04:43

Wasabi the J
Jan 23, 2008

About 10 gigs worth of women's butts


Rumors about Nigerian My Little Zebra pornography should be forwarded to:


I forgot my keeb was in the OP.

The Unlife Aquatic
Jun 17, 2009

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

Wasabi the J posted:

I forgot my keeb was in the OP.

It's a drat fine keyboard too.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

On the subject of custom keyboards (maybe?), does anyone know of options for programmable utility/accessory keypads? I.e. little sets of extra keys that can be used for custom purposes, without interfering with normal keyboard scancodes. Preferably something cheap and not bulky.

GokieKS
Dec 15, 2012

Mostly Harmless.


nielsm posted:

On the subject of custom keyboards (maybe?), does anyone know of options for programmable utility/accessory keypads? I.e. little sets of extra keys that can be used for custom purposes, without interfering with normal keyboard scancodes. Preferably something cheap and not bulky.

I have both a Max Keyboard FALCON-8 and a RAMA M10-A (the one Massdrop drop they've had is still the only time it's been officially available, I think). Both had some pretty major teething issues (my first MAX-8 refused to work under recent versions of macOS, and there are tons of people who have problems getting their M10 being recognized by the programming app), and the configuration tools for both leave quite a lot to be desired in many ways, but they do work.

I'm not sure they'd fall under the "cheap and not bulky" criteria though (well, the RAMA absolutely does not).

On another note, still pretty happy with my Leopold FC980C with the Cherry 1800-esque 90% layout, even if I do find myself annoyed by the lower right Alt/Ctrl/Fn block (but not enough to give up the arrow keys, obviously, which was the whole reason for getting this layout in the first place).

If it wasn't for the Input Club Kira that I'm waiting on, I'd probably go buy another FC980M (the one with Cherry MX instead of Topre, also almost half the price) to replace the CM Masterkeys Pro M that I'm using on my gaming PC.

GokieKS fucked around with this message at Jun 30, 2017 around 15:41

teethgrinder
Oct 9, 2002



Soiled Meat

I have the Falcon 8 ... it was pretty cheap to assemble myself.

It works, but the configuration app is just dreadful. I'm spoiled by the on-the-fly macros of my Poker 2. (It's why I've been itching to get a Pok3r ... I hit the 15 keystroke limit on the 2 quite often.) I've put longer macros I use often on the Falcon 8 (as well as play/pause missing from the Poker 2) but it's such a chore.

GokieKS
Dec 15, 2012

Mostly Harmless.


Yeah, programming the Falcon is definitely a "do this once and get it right because you will never want to do it again" type thing.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Falcon 8 looks okay, I'll order one of those to check out.

teethgrinder
Oct 9, 2002



Soiled Meat

Good opportunity for novelty caps

Only registered members can see post attachments!

GokieKS
Dec 15, 2012

Mostly Harmless.


Heh, I want to put some novelty caps on mine (right now it just has a bunch of random blank colored caps that I got as part of the WASD tester kit I bought ages ago), but first I need to figure out what to do with it. After getting the RAMA, which took over the "exerting occasional control over WoW on the other computer" use, it's thus far been acting as arrow keys for when I want to use them, which honestly is a really dumb use (and one I won't need when I replace the CM Masterkeys M).

Constellation I
Apr 3, 2005
I'm a sucker, a little fucker.

The Unlife Aquatic posted:

This is a good start, but I'd like to come back and add to this. I'd like to do a bit on DIY kits (ergodox, whitefox, some resources on how to put a KB together on your own) and get a little more in depth on customization. There were some new custom keycap selling/massbuy sites I didn't get and I'll add them if you post them. Maybe expand the bit on decent membrane keyboards.

I'd also love to add anyone's customized keyboard to the OP, with a little quote if you like.

For massbuy sites/AliExpress sellers who started their own sites the ones I know of are:

https://en.zfrontier.com/
https://kbdfans.myshopify.com/
http://www.ymdkey.com/

I've ordered from all 3 and have had good experience with KBDfans. I have a group buy waiting on YMD and Zfrontier, so we'll see but those two have pretty good reputation on reddit. (YMD more on their AliExpress store, their website is still super new)

The Electronaut
May 10, 2009


Constellation I posted:

For massbuy sites/AliExpress sellers who started their own sites the ones I know of are:

https://en.zfrontier.com/
https://kbdfans.myshopify.com/
http://www.ymdkey.com/

I've ordered from all 3 and have had good experience with KBDfans. I have a group buy waiting on YMD and Zfrontier, so we'll see but those two have pretty good reputation on reddit. (YMD more on their AliExpress store, their website is still super new)

I've done two key cap sets through zFrontier, no issues there.

Brightman
Feb 24, 2005

I've seen fun you people wouldn't believe.
Tiki torches on fire off the summit of Kilauea.
I watched disco balls glitter in the dark near the Brandenburg Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like crowds in rain.

Time to sleep.


The Unlife Aquatic posted:

I'd also love to add anyone's customized keyboard to the OP, with a little quote if you like.

I got a WASD V2 with Browns that I customized on their site, some keys being blank was an error on my part when futzing with the template but it works out (unless anyone else is typing on it).



Of course having that at home for a few months made my work keyboard feel like poo poo (a cautionary tale?) so I got a CODE with Clears and got some Vortex PBT Doubleshot keys in company colors.





I did get an F8 key for this a bit after I took the photos, so no more double F9s.

The main issue with those keys now is being white they show dust really well, so keeping them looking clean is futile. Well that and the backlights don't really work out with them but I don't really care about backlighting, especially at work.

surebet
Jan 10, 2013

avatar
specialist




ground flooring this!

all hail the new keeb thread!

NTRabbit posted:

Also, the 87 key code w/ clear switches is sold out, and so is the 104 key

clears are a rarer switch, but they're not unicorn rare either, they should be back in stock shortly

surebet fucked around with this message at Jun 30, 2017 around 19:04

The Electronaut
May 10, 2009


Anyone have experience with Cherr/Gatistotles and in comparison with blues/greens? I want do build with some and a spring in the green range for maximum clicky, for work of course.

NTRabbit
Aug 15, 2012

i wear this armour to protect myself from the histrionics of hysterical women

bitches

surebet posted:

ground flooring this!

all hail the new keeb thread!


clears are a rarer switch, but they're not unicorn rare either, they should be back in stock shortly

Does it ever show up for cheap on this Massdrop place? $150 yankee funbucks with an extra $49.90 for the cheapest shipping, or $258 dollarydoos all up, is a little bit beyond stretching my budget

Thirst Mutilator
Dec 13, 2008


NTRabbit posted:

Does it ever show up for cheap on this Massdrop place? $150 yankee funbucks with an extra $49.90 for the cheapest shipping, or $258 dollarydoos all up, is a little bit beyond stretching my budget

They've had the CODE full-sized and TKL before with Clears, but IIRC it wasn't ~that~ much cheaper, maybe like $20 off at full discount.

Good OP, OP.

LionArcher
Mar 29, 2010



I never knew about the Vector Race 3 until this morning, and now I must have it. I've been a blue guy, but now I'm unsure about them versus clears. I have a sample key switch thing, and I've noticed the clear switch feels heavy. As a writer, anyone have a strong case of why clears are better than blues? I work in a home office.

NTRabbit
Aug 15, 2012

i wear this armour to protect myself from the histrionics of hysterical women

bitches

Thirst Mutilator posted:

They've had the CODE full-sized and TKL before with Clears, but IIRC it wasn't ~that~ much cheaper, maybe like $20 off at full discount.

Depends what the shipping is as well, because if it's down around the $20 mark, then that's a pretty hefty $50 saving all up, which drops it back under $200 dollarydoos

Thirst Mutilator
Dec 13, 2008


LionArcher posted:

I never knew about the Vector Race 3 until this morning, and now I must have it. I've been a blue guy, but now I'm unsure about them versus clears. I have a sample key switch thing, and I've noticed the clear switch feels heavy. As a writer, anyone have a strong case of why clears are better than blues? I work in a home office.

They're tactile switches like browns but heavier. A fair share of people who try/use browns but complain about how easily they actuate often find clears more preferable.

Also, maybe 3 years ago they were harder to come by (I think the CODE website advertises them as 'rare'). That isn't the case anymore, but mech keyboard members love the niche/rare.

surebet
Jan 10, 2013

avatar
specialist




NTRabbit posted:

Does it ever show up for cheap on this Massdrop place? $150 yankee funbucks with an extra $49.90 for the cheapest shipping, or $258 dollarydoos all up, is a little bit beyond stretching my budget

yes!



this was for a wasd version without keycaps; i'd argue heavily in favor of always going the capsless route if you can live without backlighting.

the code keyboard is the same basic wasd but with backlighting, however i've yet to see the code be offered without caps. effectively, if you're going to ditch the caps, backlighting is going to cost you ~$40.

Thirst Mutilator
Dec 13, 2008


surebet posted:

yes!



this was for a wasd version without keycaps; i'd argue heavily in favor of always going the capsless route if you can live without backlighting.

the code keyboard is the same basic wasd but with backlighting, however i've yet to see the code be offered without caps. effectively, if you're going to ditch the caps, backlighting is going to cost you ~$40.

WASD and CODE backplate construction differ slightly, but not enough to matter if you didn't care in the first place. They're both solid boards.

axeil
Feb 14, 2006

I got a new dance for y'all I call it the Philly Special


Wedge Regret

Hey guys,

Thanks all for your help in the old thread. After I got my switch tester today I decided I really like the soft feel of the MX Reds so I got a Ducky Shine 6 with Cherry MX Red caps. Excited for it to show up!

The Unlife Aquatic
Jun 17, 2009

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

axeil posted:

Hey guys,

Thanks all for your help in the old thread. After I got my switch tester today I decided I really like the soft feel of the MX Reds so I got a Ducky Shine 6 with Cherry MX Red caps. Excited for it to show up!

Excellent, I used to have a Corsair K70 RGB with Reds for gaming. They're a really great switch if you just absolutely want the smoothest, fastest keystroke.

Hed
Mar 31, 2004



Fun Shoe

Thanks for the thread! The Matias switch tester link in the OP seems to 404 for me and I don't see it on that site's store at all.

The Unlife Aquatic
Jun 17, 2009

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

Hed posted:

Thanks for the thread! The Matias switch tester link in the OP seems to 404 for me and I don't see it on that site's store at all.

Thanks, marked as busted for now. I'll see if I can find another Matias tester.

unpronounceable
Apr 4, 2010

You mean we still have another game to go through?!


Fallen Rib

The Unlife Aquatic posted:

I'd also love to add anyone's customized keyboard to the OP, with a little quote if you like.


This is a Cooler Master Quickfire XT with browns. I was pretty boring with the custom caps since I have little colour sense, but I really like the front printing.

literally this big
Jan 10, 2007



Here comes
the Squirtle Squad!


Does Microsoft not make their Sidewinder X4 keyboard anymore? I got mine for $40 new, and it's by far the best keyboard I've ever used, and has everything I could ask for in a gaming keyboard.

surebet
Jan 10, 2013

avatar
specialist




The Unlife Aquatic posted:

I'd also love to add anyone's customized keyboard to the OP, with a little quote if you like.

random media & info dump from other threads

keycap profiles


signature plastics (in gorton modified sa) versus gmk (in oem cherry)


more cherry diagrams





if you want to rebuild a standard set, http://cherryamericas.com/product/mx-series-2/

my maxkey stuff


common layout differences
http://www.maxkeyboard.com/mechanic...size-chart.html
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/

some retailers to mention:
https://shop.tai-hao.com/
https://www.massdrop.com/
http://pimpmykeyboard.com/keysets/
https://en.zfrontier.com/
http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index....e-keyboard.html

some random round 5/6 boards (not mine)


my standard five figgie travelling excel number cruncher setup w/ model m

Khorne
May 1, 2002

Goonstone Champ x2

Is Ducky actually a quality brand? In my experience, their poo poo breaks within 2 years. It happened with two separate keyboards that sat on my desk and didn't take any abuse. One of them the frame broke but it was otherwise usable and the other it just stopped working after only working intermittently. Part of the issue was the micro usb port, the solder job was atrocious. I fixed that, but it still didn't work. Part of it could be both were the cheapest tenkeyless available in 2010-2011. The plastic right below the keys is paper tier. You could press it with a pen and deform it. Back then you had to order from taiwan/hong kong to get them.

In contrast, I have a cheap leopold and the only thing that has broken are commonly used keycaps. After a while they start popping off while typing or playing games. That's pretty normal for the level of use I put it through over the 5 1/2 years I've owned it, I guess, no real complaint there. I think there's an issue with the switch in my a key as well because it repeats after being held down far less than any other key. But again, this is after an insane amount of use that most people wouldn't put a keyboard through in 20 years.

I'm kind of looking to purchase another tenkeyless keyboard with mx browns. I'm open to suggestions, if it came with great keycaps and o-rings preinstalled I'd be up for paying a decent premium. Things I dislike are media keys and backlighting. I suppose I could just get a filco or wait until leopolds are in stock somewhere if I want the same keyboard for less.

Khorne fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2017 around 17:18

GokieKS
Dec 15, 2012

Mostly Harmless.


The first mechanical keyboard I got was a Ducky, and it's still going strong, though it hasn't been my primary keyboard for a long time now (was my work keyboard for a while, and is now my work-laptop-at-home-docking-station keyboard). I know a couple of people who also own at least one Ducky, and none have any any problems either.

NTRabbit
Aug 15, 2012

i wear this armour to protect myself from the histrionics of hysterical women

bitches

surebet posted:

yes!



this was for a wasd version without keycaps; i'd argue heavily in favor of always going the capsless route if you can live without backlighting.

the code keyboard is the same basic wasd but with backlighting, however i've yet to see the code be offered without caps. effectively, if you're going to ditch the caps, backlighting is going to cost you ~$40.

Alright thanks, I've found it on massdrop and hit request, so we'll see if it comes up again soon and for how much; pity it's not backlit, but I guess I can't have everything. Then, to find some PBT caps I like for less than the price of a second keyboard...

People more attentive than I link good keys or alternative good boards here when they're live on massdrop, right?

NTRabbit fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2017 around 16:24

teethgrinder
Oct 9, 2002



Soiled Meat

Holy expensive: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdr...stom-keycap-set

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TenaciousTomato
Jul 17, 2007

Until I went to the temple, where the High Priest asked me what my name was, and I said, 'Snoop Dogg.' And he looked me in my eyes and said, 'No more. You are the light; you are the lion.'



I've never been a keyboard sperg but got dam those are sexy. $150 for some caps?

I get where you all are coming from now, it's tough to resist

TenaciousTomato fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2017 around 22:06

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