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mechanical keyboard kit

Mechanical keyboard Kit – A Shortcut To DIY Keyboard

There’s almost certainly a mechanical keyboard out there for everyone these days. But sometimes, the ready-made options don’t quite fit the bill; perhaps the keycaps are all wrong, or maybe you already have a set of switches that you want to install. That’s when the best DIY keyboard kits come into the picture.

By only purchasing the bare essentials, you can set up a keyboard the way you want without paying extra for switches or keycaps you don’t need. And, of course, assembling a mechanical keyboard kit is a lot more satisfying than buying something ready-made off the shelf. Want to get in on the fun? Read on.

Mechanical keyboard Kit

Today, this article is written to talk about mechanical keyboard kits- an important part of DIY mechanical keyboards.

Why to DIY mechanical keyboards?

I’m sure many of you are thinking, this custom keyboard stuff seems pretty intense, why in the world would I spend so much time making a custom keyboard?

Most people use their keyboards every day, whether that be for work, for gaming, or just browsing Reddit. The real question is, why not use a keyboard that’s hand-tailored for you?

Making the tools you use every day feel super comfortable and satisfying to use, will encourage you to use them even more and spend more time doing productive activities.

Not to mention, building a keyboard is a lot of fun. And addictive. Building your own keyboard is a fun, easy and oh-so-satisfying way to enhance your computing experience. Few things are as satisfying as building something with your own two hands. Never has that been more true in the world of mechanical keyboards, where building your own can enhance your daily computing experience. Thanks to big streamers like Taeha Types, more enthusiasts than ever have caught the keyboard bug and are itching to build their very own custom mechanical keyboard.

It’s an exciting prospect, but the idea of building your own keyboard can be intimidating. What should you buy? Where should you buy it? How do you know if it will all work together? It’s enough to push prospective builders away from ever taking the leap at all and instead hunting through pre-made offerings for a one-size-fits-all keyboard instead of something truly their own.

And What about beginners who are just looking to learn to build their custom keyboard mechanics, is there a quick solution to getting components that are widely available and easy to use?

Many new builders find all of these considerations overwhelming, which is why I always recommend purchasing a kit for your first build.

Actually, you can use a mechanical keyboard kit that is already very much on the market with a variety of prices. In general, the mechanical keyboard kit is a combination of the case, PCB, Stabilizer and plate components on the mechanical keyboard. You don’t need to buy components separately. Buying a mechanical keyboard kit is the easiest way to build your custom mechanical keyboard, as you only need to pair the switch and keycaps set.

Mechanical keyboard Kit

An introduction to mechanical keyboard kit

As we have mentioned, the mechanical keyboard kit is a combination of the case, PCB, Stabilizer and plate components on the mechanical keyboard. So next I will introduce the major parts of mechanical keyboard kit to you.

PCB (printed circuit board):

The PCB is lifeblood of your keyboard. It’s the brain and the central unit. The PCB you choose determines the size, features, and layout of your keyboard.

There are three main types of PCBs to look out for: standard, hot-swappable, and through-hole.

Standard PCB: The standard PCB is what most keyboards use. You will need to solder the switches to the PCB for the keyboard to work properly. It offers a lot of flexibility in terms of key placement, you can choose if you want a split spacebar among other cool options.

Hot-Swappable PCB: Hot-swappable PCBs are perfect for those who don’t want to solder. You simply press the switches into the PCB. They are very easy to swap out as no soldering is required either. Very fast and convenient to setup, although you are confined to the standard ANSI layout without cool options such as a split spacebar.

Through-Hole PCB: Not beginner friendly, but a fun way to have a cool keyboard to display and be proud of yourself. You have to solder in everything including the diodes, resistors, USB port, controller, and more.

And it is important for you to decide whether the PCB is hot-swappable or non-hot-swappable.

A hot-swappable PCBYou can easily attach and detach your switches. You simply snap in your switches, and to remove them, all you’ll need is a cheap switch puller. It takes 2 seconds. These generally only come in standard layouts (see below).
non-hot-swappable PCBRequires you to solder switches into it, which takes far more time and is a more permanent solution. (You can desolder switches to remove them, but you’ll have to take your entire keyboard apart, use a solder sucker, and it can be a pain). On the plus side, these “standard” PCBs often allow for more customizing. Want a split space bar or other weird configurations? It’s easier with these PCBs.

Case:

The case is what hold everything together and protects it from the elements. You can choose different case materials depending on how durable, aesthetic, or see-through you want your keyboard to be.

There are a few materials to choose from when it comes to the case of your keyboard:

MaterialDescription
PlasticThe cheapest option, it’s sturdy but lightweight. Might get scratched a bit easier, and will sound…ok.
AluminumAluminum is more expensive, but also stronger. These generally echo a bit more, often sounding “hollow,” (not necessarily a bad thing, it depends on your preference!)
AcrylicThese are similar to plastic cases, but often let a lot more RGB light through and come in several different colors! They’re not as durable as aluminum, but you’d never be able to tell the difference.
WoodSelf-explanatory. These are higher-end cases, but also beautiful!

In addition to all of the different material types we mentioned, there are also different mounting styles for keyboard cases.

Some of the different mounting styles include tray mount, top mount, bottom mount, sandwich mount, plateless mount, integrated plate, and gasket mount.

Plate:

The plate is an optional component, but it holds the switches in place and adds rigidity to the overall build. Definitely recommended. There are different materials and color choices.

These come in loads of different materials, like

  • Polycarbonate
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Way more.

Stabilizers:

The stabilizers determine how the larger keys will feel and sound when using the keyboard. Don’t overlook this component, they are incredibly important.

There are different types of stabilizers:

Stabilizer TypeDescription
Screw-inGenerally preferred. These screw right into your PCB, and are usually the most “stable” stabilizers. Less rattle = good for typing and for sound!
Plate-mountedStabilizers that attach to the plate, not the PCB. These aren’t as stable, and can often rattle or shake.
Snap-inRather than screwing in, these snap in. Again, these are less secure and aren’t preferred.

A lot of parts need to consider and decide if you want to DIY your perfect keyboard, right? It is really unfriendly for new beginners and the busy, so that is why I recommend for a mechanical ketboard kit.

Benefits of Using a Mechanical Keyboard Kit

You can more easily find PCB, Case, and Plate components for your custom mechanical keyboard. You just need to add Keycaps Set and Switch only. The stabilizer installed on the keyboard kit has a fairly good quality, this is better than trying to install your own stabilizer, especially if you have just learned to build a mechanical keyboard, therefore this will be a necessity for you to build your mechanical keyboard.

Huge availability

The availability of keyboard kits is a plus. Keyboard kits are always available wherever you are looking for them without having to work hard.

Buying one gets Three Components

You just need to buy a keyboard kit and get 4 main mechanical keyboard components. Namely Casing, PCB, Plate, and Stabilizer.

Mechanical keyboard Kit

Decide What mechanical keyboard kit you want

Before buying a mechanical keyboard kit, the hardest step is figuring out exactly what you want with your first custom mechanical keyboard. It’s wise to go over some basic considerations to make sure everything goes smoothly, and you wind up with a keyboard you’re happy with. Take the time to consider the following, and you’ll ensure a much smoother build process.

Basically, you’ll need to figure out what size keyboard you need.

Picking a size is a crucial step

The beauty of custom mechanical keyboards is that there are a ton of different keyboard sizes you can build.

This also makes it incredibly difficult to choose the correct size as you need to understand what all different sizes entail and if you find them comfortable or not.

We recommend you looking at our keyboard size guide if you’re a little confused by all of the different sizes.

Here is a quick overview of all of the different keyboard sizes:

• Full-sized: You usually can’t find this size for custom keyboards, it’s only used on pre-built keyboards. If you’re lucky you might be able to find a full-sized custom keyboard.

• 1800-Compact (96%): A super cool layout size that axes the navigational cluster and smushes the number pad with the rest of the keys. You can only find this size through group buys.

• Tenkeyless: A common layout that chops off the number pad but still keeps the rest of the keyboard layout.

• 75%: Similar to tenkeyless, except the navigational cluster is placed vertically to save space. Fun and comfortable to use.

• 65%: This layout removes the function row and keeps some of the navigational cluster. It’s also the smallest keyboard size that keeps the dedicated arrow keys.

• 60%: The most common custom keyboard layout. There is no function row, arrow keys, or navigational cluster. You can find parts a 60% the easiest.

• 40%: The smallest size that you can still type on. It’s basically a 60% keyboard except you remove the numeric keys. You’ll need to get used to typing on different layers to use this size. A very long adjustment period is required for a 40% layout.

• Macropad: Basically, a separate number pad that you can assign macros to. Very fun to use alongside your main keyboard.

Mechanical keyboard Kit

Best DIY keyboard kits at a glance

• Best Full-Size Keyboard Kit: Glorious GMMK features some older tech, but offers a lot of keyboards for a small price.

• Best 96% Keyboard Kit: Drop Shift boasts high-quality construction and full programmability for 96% lovers.

• Best TKL Keyboard Kit: Drop CTRL High-Profile has a matte aluminum finish and rounded edges that make it one of the best-looking TKLs available right now.

• Best TKL Kit Runner-Up: KPRepublic MKB87 is a more modest TKL kit that entices with a low price and Bluetooth connectivity.

• Best 75% Keyboard Kit: KBDFans KBD75 feels great right out of the box and has a wide variety of color options.

• Best 75% Kit Runner-Up: GMMK Pro has a rotary push knob, premium aluminum finish, and an aesthetically pleasing “exploded” layout.

• Best 65% Keyboard Kit: KBDFans KBD67 Lite is an excellent budget-friendly kit that punches above its weight class.

• Best 60% Keyboard Kit: Epomaker GK61XS is lightweight yet rigid, feature-packed yet compact—making it a great portable keyboard.

• Best HHKB-Style 60% Keyboard Kit: Drop + Tokyo Tokyo60 is one of the best and most affordable ways to get an HHKB-style keyboard.

Mechanical keyboard Kit

Conclusion

A mechanical keyboard kit can be a great way to build your own custom keyboard. A mechanical keyboard kit will include all the necessary components, minus the keycaps and switches. Buying a kit is much easier than sourcing each individual part, and it ensures that the stabilizer is already installed on the keyboard. If you are new to building a mechanical keyboard, using a kit is highly recommended.

With a mechanical keyboard kit, you can choose your own case, PCB, Stabilizer and plate components to create a keyboard that is perfect for your needs. In addition, mechanical keyboard kits are often much cheaper than buying a pre-built keyboard. As a result, they offer an excellent value for money. If you are looking for a new keyboard, then a mechanical keyboard kit is definitely worth considering.

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