I’m happy to announce that I have completed my first ever mechanical keyboard build. Why did I choose this as my next project? I have no idea. Am I happy with the finished product? You better believe it. I know I blamed the custom cable in the last post here. But overall, I have to say I enjoy the feel and the response of a mechanical keyboard a lot better than my pre-built budget one. A LOT better.
What is a mechanical keyboard?
In case you are like me and had no idea what the difference was, a mechanical keyboard has a switch mechanism underneath each one of the individual keys. This is different than a membrane, or traditional, keyboard because in those they typically have a rubber or silicone mat underneath the keys. Once you type on a mechanical keyboard you will be able to tell the difference right away.
If you’re anything like me, you love to have choices when it comes to customization. Anything from changing the wallpaper on my screen down to the key cap color on my escape key. I like to customize most of the things I own.
With a mechanical keyboard you can change everything from the case to the switches to the keycaps themselves. Don’t like the response on your current switches? Change them from a tactile switch to a linear switch for a faster response time. In my case, I tend to write a lot, so I went with a Kailh box jade which has a very distinct and loud click with every key press. I figure it’ll help me catch mistakes in typing more audibly…ok who am I kidding, I wanted to hear the click clack of the key press.
If you want to learn more about cherry style switches head on over to the Cherry MX website.
If you’ve taken the time to read about all the different types of switches and are still at a loss for the type you want, there is a cherry switch tester available on Amazon.
The first thing you notice when you look at a keyboard. The one thing that takes up the most face real estate on a keyboard. There are many companies providing quality keycaps for any style, taste, color want, or profile you might want. Mix and match your favorite colors. Buy pre-made themes like the GMK Samurai. I went with the Akko Gear Neon set. Double shot PBT keycaps in an ASA profile. Noice. I wanted a retro synthwave feel and these keycaps did not fail to deliver.
Who could forget RGB. Some love it. Some hate it. I like it so I got it. You can customize from preset patterns to colors to hues to different color combinations at a time. Or you could turn it off and go non-lit for a little while. It’s all up to you.
All in all, I think building a mechanical keyboard was a great experience. In creating the custom coiled aviator cable for the keyboard, I learned how to solder. I like researching whatever hobby or project I get myself into, and if I pick up a new skill, even better! Since I picked my components and built this keyboard, I know exactly what went into the build. If there is an issue, which I feel confident won’t be a problem for a long time to come, I would be able to better pinpoint the problem and fix it. When I finished the build last night, I plugged the keyboard in and the RGB lights lit up alongside the smile on my face. I started to type away and decided to run another keyboard test.
The number 4 key was not registering at all. I took the keycap puller and removed the keycap followed by the switch itself. I had a bent pin on my jade switch. Good thing I had bought extras. I inserted a new switch carefully and voila! A working number 4.
The build itself feels sturdy and like it will last for a long time. Some consider this build a solid entry into the mechanical keyboard world on the budget side of things. I consider this an expensive first step ha-ha. If you don’t want to spend upwards of $200 or $300 on a fully custom build you can always opt for a plastic case instead of aluminum, an aluminum plate instead of brass, or save some money on the switch style.
I recorded the whole build and hope to have a video edited and up soon. If you’ve come this far, thank you for taking the time to join me!
As always, have a great day and stay safe.