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Last post Author Topic: Mechanical Keyboards  (Read 13359 times)

Target

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2017, 08:45 PM »
ok, thats a decent recommendation, but I think I need to go a bit more teckonogical like...

It seems the major design choice when considering one of these things is the switch, and there's like a gazillion of them.  Some are loud, some aren't, some offer more resistance, some less, some are 'clicky', some aren't

And then there's the bits and pieces that go along with them, silencers, dampeners, stabilisers, flange diddlers, and so on

without spending a shirtload of money to buy all these things to test, how does one go about making a choice (the right choice?)

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2017, 09:22 PM »
curious about recommendations for a mechanical keyboard nooby.

I'm interested in getting a tenkeyless board (nothing as extreme as 40%!) but all these switches and options mean nothing to me, and spending $140+ a time to test a keyboard isn't in my budget

The most important things to look at when you get into the Mechanical Keyboard hobby (in my opinion) are the layout and the switches.  You've already said you want a TKL, so you just need to think about the switches.  The easiest ways to differentiate (though a bit simplistic) is tactile vs linear vs clicky and the actuation force.

tactile switches have a slight or pronounced bump on the stem, letting you feel it as you type.  linear switches are smooth from top to bottom.  clicky switches click as you type- like the old IBM keyboards.  The actuation force is the amount of pressure on the keys needed to actuate (activate) it.  There's a lot of keyboard science to them, and a lot is based on personal preference.

You can check this out to see an example: https://www.hyperxga...s/cherry-mx-switches

I like to use Brown (tactile) switches.  They are tactile with an actuation force of 45cN. 

As far as boards, it's going to depend on what your wallet can afford.

In the $150 range, I'd go for the code keyboard.

http://www.wasdkeybo...s/code-keyboard.html

It's functional, durable, and a common choice that I see for retail boards.

The Coolermaster is also a good board, and more readily available than the Code keyboards, as in, you can get it from Amazon.

http://www.coolermas...ards/quickfirerapid/

https://smile.amazon...board/dp/B01ITE93K6/
https://www.amazon.c...eyless/dp/B01D8ETGNQ

They're gaming keyboards, but I hear good things about them in general.

As far as the other things, I wouldn't worry about them for now.  In general, they are going to be aftermarket additions, so go with one of the stock switches (I'd suggest clears or browns), and ease yourself in.  If you want to modify it later for silence or better stabilizers, you'll at least know what you're dealing with at that point.

Let me know if you have further questions.

Deozaan

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2017, 12:22 AM »
I've recently heard about keeb.io as a source for some of these custom keyboard builds. Anyone here have any experience with them and their supplies?

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2017, 07:33 AM »
I've recently heard about keeb.io as a source for some of these custom keyboard builds. Anyone here have any experience with them and their supplies?

They are a place that you can get parts from, but they're more geared towards unusual keyboards.  There are a few places that you can get kits and such from, but in many cases they're going to be group buys, i.e. you pay in to buy the parts, they put it into production using that money (Think months, not weeks on this part), then after it's done, they ship it to you.

One place that I can recommend is KBDFans: https://kbdfans.myshopify.com/

Their prices are pretty reasonable, they sell kits, and assembly (not sure of the quality of the assembly), and they have a wide variety of stock.  The Orange and Black 75%, and the Gray and Blue one that I just put together have parts from them.  The only downside is that they're in China, so it can take a bit longer to get to you than domestic shops, and both of my orders were stopped by customs for some reason, that made it even slower to get to me.

https://www.aliexpress.com/ also has a wide variety of products, though it's a bit more iffy than KBDFans.  I've ordered from them and it was fine.  However, AliExpress isn't who you will be buying from- they sell store space to a variety of vendors.  AliExpress is just the middle man, which can be off-putting for many people.

tomos

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2017, 11:24 AM »
It seems the major design choice when considering one of these things is the switch, and there's like a gazillion of them.  Some are loud, some aren't, some offer more resistance, some less, some are 'clicky', some aren't

tactile switches have a slight or pronounced bump on the stem, letting you feel it as you type.  linear switches are smooth from top to bottom.  clicky switches click as you type- like the old IBM keyboards.  The actuation force is the amount of pressure on the keys needed to actuate (activate) it.  There's a lot of keyboard science to them, and a lot is based on personal preference.
[..]
I like to use Brown (tactile) switches.  They are tactile with an actuation force of 45cN. 

I have only ever used one mechanical keyboard, it has brown switches -- I'm very happy with them.

without spending a shirtload of money to buy all these things to test, how does one go about making a choice (the right choice?)

said keyboard cost me around 60 euros -- I just had a good look at amazon reviews, and went for the cheapest that got reasonable reviews (is a qwertz full keyboard from qpad, they dont seem to sell keyboards in the states, dont know about elsewhere)
Tom

Target

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2017, 06:03 PM »
thanks Wraith, nice write up (exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for) :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

I'm primarily a gamer so I'd probably want to retain the function keys, but i like the look of those code keyboards

sadly I'm not in the US, so with conversion and shipping that would round out closer to double the price on their site

The cooler masters might be worth looking into, but again with shipping and conversion they're getting pricey (had a look and can't seem to find that particular model locally either, damnit)


Target

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2017, 07:00 PM »
and today I see a 75% code keyboard on MassDrop that looks ideal - unfortunately I'm not in a position to capitalise (and I'm very wary of the potential shipping costs  :o)

Deozaan

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2018, 04:05 PM »

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2018, 05:03 PM »
My largest problem with that is the price.  It doesn't seem commensurate with the features and construction -  the full price they're expecting is $315 USD.  That's the price for a Korean Custom.

tomos

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2018, 07:00 PM »
and today I see a 75% code keyboard on MassDrop that looks ideal - unfortunately I'm not in a position to capitalise (and I'm very wary of the potential shipping costs  :o)
I missed that post:
maybe the costs vary for each drop, but I've seen shipping costs there of 16.99US$ to pretty much anywhere in the world (for a keyboard).

Click 'Join the drop', scroll down a little, select country, the shipping costs change automatically.
Tom

Deozaan

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2018, 09:13 AM »
My largest problem with that is the price.  It doesn't seem commensurate with the features and construction -  the full price they're expecting is $315 USD.  That's the price for a Korean Custom.

How else are they going to pay for all the backer perks? :P

Mizraim

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2018, 01:10 PM »
I have the bug. I just completed my first build of the Iris, a split, ortho-linear, 60% keyboard. I'm expecting my keycaps to be delivered today. I've already bought the PCB and case to make another one as parts aren't always in stock. This is a relatively new keyboard, (has only been out for a few months) so the supply/demand has yet to be ironed out.

I promise to get pictures on here once I get my keycaps put on, which will hopefully be taken tonight and uploaded tomorrow.

Price breakdown:
PCB and Plates/case - ~$50 - Found at keeb.io
LEDs and Resistors - ~$15 - The build guide recommends using 470s, but I used 220s on the resistors and 2x3x4 LEDs - LEDs Resistors *note: There are several choices. I got one that had several different types.*
Pro-micro and Header Pins ~$45 - I bought SparkFun pro-micros due to the high reviews they got. I've had friends spend $6-9 dollars on pro-micros and they ran into issues with ports breaking off after a single plug/unplug. These are about $20 each, (need one for each side) but they are sturdy. I'm sure that's not the case for all the pro-micros, but I want this to last and don't want to have to desolder/resolder a new pro-micro if one decides to break. Pro-micro
Switches - ~$20 - Gateron blues/browns. Browns for my alpha numeric, and blues for my modifier keys (shift, function, space, etc) Switches
Key caps - ~$70 - Split purchase between WASDkeyboards and MAXkeyboard. WASD had the color's I wanted, and MAX had the pricing and printing options I wanted.
Solder/flux

Add shipping/handling to this and I ended up around $215 or so.

It'll make more sense once I upload some pictures. I've typed in Dvorak for about 12 years, but I also game quite a bit. I got pretty tired of some games not allowing you to change the keymaps, so I built a gaming layer that removes that problem. I'm also left handed, so the games I can remap the keys, I usually bind on my 10-key. This keyboard isn't your standard, so I built a 10-key on a different Layer, and keep in mind that this is still very new to me, so I'm still tampering with the layers.

Base Layer: My Dvorak layout.
BaseLayer.pngMechanical Keyboards

Left Layer: Keys to allow for the 10-key while pressing the L-FN key.
LLayer.pngMechanical Keyboards

Right Layer: Keys to allow media and arrow keys while pressing the R-FN key.
RLayer.pngMechanical Keyboards

Game Layer: Left side of a standard Qwerty keyboard, with a few adjustments based on games I play.
Game.pngMechanical Keyboards

GLayer: Right side of a standard Qwerty keyboard while pressing the R-FN key to allow for the rest of the Qwerty access.
GLayer.pngMechanical Keyboards

Still a heavy WIP, but it's working so far. I'm pretty happy with the way I have things so far, but I know I still have room to adjust things. I also didn't include some of the less used keys like Print Screen and Pause Break, or Num-lock(Don't need that one anymore) Also, I have the ability to double tap the Shift key and it becomes a caps lock toggle. If I press and hold it, it's just the Shift key, so there are a lot of things like that, that I still need to get a feel for. I love being able to tweak things, somewhat simply, by modifying the firmware and reflashing my pro-micro.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 09:04 AM by Mizraim, Reason: Included hyperlinks to the sites where I made purchases. »

Mizraim

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2018, 01:12 PM »
I've recently heard about keeb.io as a source for some of these custom keyboard builds. Anyone here have any experience with them and their supplies?
Deozaan, I bought mine from Keeb.io. Only issue I have is the guy can't keep his new Iris in stock, so I had to jump on what was available when I could get it. Luckily, I like what I did get. You can sign up to be notified when he gets things back in stock. I'd love me a steel plated keyboard though... pretty! :Thmbsup:

Deozaan

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2018, 07:23 PM »
Thanks for posting about your setup. How'd you make those spiffy layer layout images?

Also, if you don't mind, it would be cool if you updated your post to add links to the various components you purchased for your setup, so everyone could see the individual parts that make the whole.

Mizraim

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2018, 10:35 PM »
Thanks for posting about your setup. How'd you make those spiffy layer layout images?

Also, if you don't mind, it would be cool if you updated your post to add links to the various components you purchased for your setup, so everyone could see the individual parts that make the whole.

http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/ I had to modify the Ergodox Preset to look like the Iris. I'll take the time to fix my original post to update it with links to the sites I shopped for parts.

But without further ado... here's my first homemade keyboard.

Introducing the Iris:
Both Sides.jpgMechanical Keyboards

With the lights out.
Lights off.jpgMechanical Keyboards

LEDs off.
No LED.jpgMechanical Keyboards

I had some more pictures taken, but apparently my phone decided today was the day to dump all my camera pictures.

tomos

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2018, 04:33 AM »
^ looks really good  :-*
Tom

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2018, 03:55 PM »
Looks beautiful  :Thmbsup:

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2018, 12:03 PM »
So for me, my layout preferences are a constantly evolving thing, iterating on what I like, and removing what I don't.  My current daily driver.

mycurrentdailydriver.jpgMechanical Keyboards

It's a new Clueboard v4.  I've been really liking the Clueboard for the 'superplate'. 

Going a bit into the plate and its purpose:  The plate is what holds the switches in place and can be made out of many different materials, and be mounted in many different ways.  You don't actually need a plate- you can use PCB mount switches and mount them directly to the PCB.  The result is a bit too bouncy for my case, and with how heavily I type, I just don't trust it- though there's really no evidence to support my lack of trust, in all honesty.  But the plate can be aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, brass, bronze - or really any semi-rigid metal - with varying degrees of support, resistance, and aesthetic appeal.  Similarly, there are many different ways to mount the plate in the case- the simplest being a sandwich case, where the plate forms the top.  There are also tray mount, bottom mount, and top mount variations.  The super plate is a combination of the top part of the case and the plate.  I really like the support it gives (did I mention that I type hard?) and the feel of the mounted switches. 

You can see the detail in the following image:

clueboard-case.jpgMechanical Keyboards

On to the layout- my current layout is merely an iteration on my prior ones, now having a split right shift, a split space, and a maximized bottom row.  My layers are set up as shown in the images below:

chuckdee_max_layout_0.pngMechanical Keyboardschuckdee_max_layout_1.pngMechanical Keyboardschuckdee_max_layout_2.pngMechanical Keyboards
Layer 0Layer 1Layer 2

I haven't assigned the extra spacebar to anything but a spacebar yet; I've been trying it out, to make sure that I don't hit it in normal practice as I theorized.  If I don't, I'll probably make it backspace or enter, and hit it with my other thumb to reduce travel.

It's a really interesting hobby- and I do believe it has increased my typing speed and accuracy, and my overall productivity.  I can measure the first two, but sadly, the only measure I have of the last is my work, and considering that it's just changed a bit in scope, I don't really have a good measure.

Ask any question that you will, and I'll try to answer :)

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2018, 12:06 PM »
Price breakdown:
PCB and Plates/case - ~$50 - Found at keeb.io
LEDs and Resistors - ~$15 - The build guide recommends using 470s, but I used 220s on the resistors and 2x3x4 LEDs - LEDs Resistors *note: There are several choices. I got one that had several different types.*
Pro-micro and Header Pins ~$45 - I bought SparkFun pro-micros due to the high reviews they got. I've had friends spend $6-9 dollars on pro-micros and they ran into issues with ports breaking off after a single plug/unplug. These are about $20 each, (need one for each side) but they are sturdy. I'm sure that's not the case for all the pro-micros, but I want this to last and don't want to have to desolder/resolder a new pro-micro if one decides to break. Pro-micro
Switches - ~$20 - Gateron blues/browns. Browns for my alpha numeric, and blues for my modifier keys (shift, function, space, etc) Switches
Key caps - ~$70 - Split purchase between WASDkeyboards and MAXkeyboard. WASD had the color's I wanted, and MAX had the pricing and printing options I wanted.
Solder/flux

I haven't gotten into handwiring yet... it's still a bit daunting to me.  I do have 2 different projects waiting on me, but I've been avoiding them in favor of PCB related project LOL :)  I am thinking about trying a 3-d printed Whitefox though...

Tuxman

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2018, 04:30 AM »
I bought a new toy. :)

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #45 on: August 20, 2018, 04:53 AM »
You might like this site: https://deskthority.net

They deal with vintage mechanical keyboards of all types.  Looks pretty clean- congrats!

Tuxman

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #46 on: August 20, 2018, 04:58 AM »
I know deskthority, but those guys are too esoteric.  ;D

However, regarding "vintage": The keyboard pictured above was built on August 7th, 2018. There is a "license plate" on its back, stating that.  :)

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #47 on: August 20, 2018, 05:24 AM »
Well, yes.  Mechanical Keyboards in general are esoteric, aren't they?

Ah... I get it.

https://www.amazon.c...yboard/dp/B01MDRT4L4

I didn't know that they were still making those.  TIL.

Well, vintage in function, if not manufacture LOL

Tuxman

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #48 on: August 20, 2018, 07:02 AM »
Made by the vintage ex-IBM employees with vintage ex-IBM patents on vintage ex-IBM machines, indeed.

In gaming communities mechanical keyboards are quite "normal", according to what I see on the shelves of tech stores.  :)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 10:26 AM by Tuxman, Reason: typo »

wraith808

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Re: Mechanical Keyboards
« Reply #49 on: August 20, 2018, 09:59 AM »
Yeah... but if you look in the mech keyboard communities, you'll see what Razer and Logitech are pushing are not in those communities.  Most gamers use it because people tell them they're better.  Oh... and the RGB.  Mustn't forget the RGB.