Coca Cola or Pepsi, Cola Cao or Nesquick, standard cases or books, and mechanical or membrane keyboards. In terms of keyboards, there are two big user groups and we have already seen that there are those who would not change their mechanical keyboard for anything, and within this user group there are those who “got hooked” customizable mechanical keyboards.
Normally these keyboards are made and built according to a universal model, so it is not too complicated to find key kits to be able to leave them to our liking, although we will see that the personalization goes beyond changing the appearance. A very interesting option for those of us who spend eight hours (or more) a day using this device, because as we will see below, finding the most suitable formula in each case can be a one-way trip and an almost definitive farewell to another type of keyboards.
The most basic customization
The mechanics are not always keyboards that suit everyone and we have already seen point by point when it was at least worth trying to change. There, we have already seen the different elements that make up a key, which can distinguish certain customizable elements, let’s say more basic:
- The key (keycap)
- The switch
Speaking of the old, we currently find many key kits to be able to change those that come standard on a keyboard and give it color notes or even keys with a symbol or a drawing (or without anything, for tastes, colors). This is perhaps the easiest modification we can do without starting from scratch and without changing. switches, requiring an extractor and keys compatible with switch that our keyboard has as with the backlight, because otherwise it could cover it and not see this effect well.
Beyond the colors, we want to see what Equipment we love more. There are many options, among which we find ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, the one used in LEGO parts), PBT (polybutene terephthalate, more expensive but more resistant), resin or SLA, being the most common. first. If, for example, we prefer to focus on the long term and avoid the shine that usually appears due to wear, the most recommended will be PBT.
Another option that we have in the simplest customization is to reduce that “taca-taca” so characteristic of these keyboards (there are those who like it, but also those who prefer something quieter without losing the typing. that they offer). For this, there is shock absorbers or shock absorbers, which, as the name suggests, reduces the impact of the key on typing and is therefore quieter, and we can find kits containing more of these elements.
One of the most well-known brands in this field of customizable keyboards is WASD, which they told Applesfera about when offering solutions. for Windows and macOS. In this case, we can choose the distribution of the keys, the colors, the operating system, the icons on the customizable keys, the type of switch and the possibility of incorporating shock absorbers. Depending on that, we will stay at one price or another.
Another brand with a similar product is Max Keyboards. In terms of colors we can almost make a keyboard à la carte, also being able to choose one of the keys, the operating system, the switches And if we want stamps, and even upload our own template (in Illustrator or Inkscape file).
We can also take a look at Varmilo (hope we have some sales), which has models with a lot of colors and varieties (with compatibility for Windows and macOS and different sizes). The starting point gives us the choice between LED or Bluetooth backlighting, then we have many aspects to customize such as distribution, case decoration, color of keys and text, etc.
Design and build our keyboard
Another level of customization is literally zero. Of course, you need a certain level of knowledge in electronics and above all to thoroughly study each variable and what we want to achieve, both the distribution, the switches and the rest of the elements.
Basically we will need the following:
- PCB: this is the board with the printed circuit. We will have to monitor the distribution (USA, etc.), as the keys we can configure will be based on this.
- Shock absorbers or stabilizers
- Housing: the outer part. It must be compatible with the PCB.
- Plate: It is not a necessary base, but it offers strength. They are usually made of aluminum, steel or plastic, differing mainly in durability and strength.
- LED: they must also be compatible with the PCB. According to our choice, they can be installed without welding or not.
- Tools: soldering iron, tin, desoldering pump (optional), isopropyl alcohol, stainless steel scouring pad, screws.
If we dare this, maybe we can use some guides to know the steps and some tips. There are some very interesting YouTube videos in this regard, like those by Nate Gentile (in Spanish) or Linus Tech Tips (in English), which show and summarize all or part of the steps to achieve this.
“For the moment, I would never think of leaving this type of keyboard”
Among Xataka publishers, we have a 100% convinced use case of a custom mechanical keyboard. Here is Yúbal Fernández, director of Xataka Basics, who tells us about his experience after long searches in this curious world.
“I entered the world of custom mechanical keyboards almost by accident. In the past, I had used mechanical keyboards with good experiences, although there were things I didn’t like, like the fact that they were always focused on a full set of lights or that they were still wired. I switched to a bluetooth membrane keyboard and when its keys started failing I started to think about going back to the mechanics.
What I wanted was a quiet, wireless device. While exploring Reddit, I came to a sub totally dedicated to this type of keyboard, and there was no going back. I was never a DIYer, so making my own keyboard by parts was beyond my reach, but the second best option was to find a company that would do it for me with the parts I wanted. One of the best is Varmilo, and I bet on him.
This allows you to choose everything. I have a mechanical keyboard with Cherry Silent Black keys, a European ISO layout with Spanish keys with the colors and shape I chose, and the keyboard size I wanted. I had to choose between LED taillights and Bluetooth, and I opted for the latter. Having a month of battery life per charge, I couldn’t be happier.
The quality of materials and keys is far superior to that of gaming keyboards, considered the lowest ranges in the world. And I have exactly what I want, a mix of my favorite things about mechanical keyboards and other alternatives. I just couldn’t be happier with the decision, and right now I would never think of stepping out of this type of keyboard. ”
Of course, it is a very interesting alternative that can above all bring us benefits in the experience beyond aesthetics, if we consider the transition from membrane keyboards to a mechanical keyboard. Especially if the aesthetics player It doesn’t convince us either and we want something different and not a conventional white / black / gray.
Source : Engadget