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Welcome To the Customized Mechanical Keyboard Life

04/23/2019 11:37:20 | Views: 128


Article of www.popularmechanics.com: The tools we use most often should, ideally, be of the highest quality possible, making your most repeated actions pleasant and not tiring. The same as someone who drives screws every day needs the best drill, if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, you should invest in a mechanical keyboard.

Welcome To the Customized Mechanical Keyboard Life

Most keyboards use rubber domes that rest underneath each key to provide resistance and spring. On mechanical keyboards, each key has a precision spring and a piece of metal that opens and closes to register each keystroke. It feels like a gated gear shifter: decisive and satisfying. Each keystroke produces an audible click. Mechanical keyboards are typically wired for minimal latency. They’re also more expensive and durable. It’s best to start by customizing a factory keyboard. You can modify it later, or use its design to inform your next, more ambitious build.

Step One: Pick a Size

Most keyboards from companies like Apple or Dell waste space on keys you might never use, like a dedicated number pad or function keys. Pick a layout that fits with the kind of typing you do most often.

Sixty-percent keypads, such as the Vortexgear Pok3r, pictured, are as minimalist as you can get, with no arrow keys or function keys, just letters, numbers, and modifiers. The advantage is a streamlined look that takes up very little desk space. If you need a full number pad, try a 104-key keypad, such as the Matias ­Tactile Pro. They’re big and wide, and they come with every key you could need. The choice for most people is the 87-key configuration. A keyboard like the WASD V3 87-Key is an ideal medium for people who would miss arrow keys and function keys for stuff like pausing music.

Step Two: Choose Your Switches

The switch is the internal mechanism that moves whenever a key is depressed. There are several main designs, each with a different sound and tactility. The biggest switch manufacturer is Cherry, which classifies its products by color. Since ­Cherry’s patents expired in 2014, other companies have started making their own switches, but most of those follow similar color classification. One move is to get a sample strip with every option and see what you like, then order a keyboard with those keys. It’s an imperfect test, but it will help you feel out what you like and don’t like. 

Cherry MX Red keys give you a slight click from the external casing hitting the base. They’re easy to engage without much force, which makes them good for gaming, but tough for typing. Cherry MX Brown are middle-ground keys. They’re fairly quiet, with a barely noticeable bump while you type. They require more force to engage than Reds, making them good for both gaming and typing. If you really want to annoy your coworkers, go with Cherry MX Blue keys, which have a slider inside that produces a loud, high-pitched click sound. They require the most pressure to engage, but give you a really satisfying click.

Step Three: Live Your Dreams

From here, you can start going deep into forums and subreddits on customization. Start with custom key covers. For example, replacing the F and J keys with a cover that has a deeper, narrower concave is a slick way to orient your fingers. The biggest marketplace for these kinds of parts is Massdrop.com. Go crazy.

It’s durable, completely personalized, and, unlike standard keyboards, a joy to use.


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