Renowned gaming brands like Razer, Corsair, HyperX, and others have influenced the market to embrace mechanical keyboards more than conventional ones.
Keyboards from such brands are the best in functionality and quality.
After seeing some mechanical keyboards from such popular brands, it is obvious that you want to build your own keyboard according to your choice and taste.
It is quite a task, but if you are looking forward to it, read this article until the very end.
Steps To Build Your Own Keyboard
Follow the outline, and in the end, you will have your keyboard made according to your tastes and preferences! A piece that you can’t get from the market.
Step #1 Choose and Purchase the Parts
Since it is completely DIY, you will need to get a hold of these –
- Mounting Plate
- USB Cable
#2 Choosing Components
- PCB – the PCB is the core of your keyboard. It sends the inputs to the CPU and controls the function of your switches. Choosing the PCB is tough, but it offers amazing customization options. Choose the PCB or layout according to your preference. You can opt for 60%, 75%, or even 80%.
- Case – When choosing the case, you will come across four options. You may opt for aluminum, wood, plastic, or clear acrylic. The case you pick should be the exact size of the PCB.
- Switches – You should consider buying the switches that can improve your typing skill or the ones you are comfortable with. Options are clicky, tactile, and linear. Do your part of research on these types of switches, and pick the one. You can also purchase a switch tester. And if you are confused, opt for a hot-swappable PCB. This will allow you to try new switches without desoldering.
- Stabilizers – You can pretty much guess how exactly they work from their name itself. Yes, the stabilizers are used in long keys like the shift or space bar to hold them in place and prevent them from wobbling off when you press these keys. You can purchase stabilizers of any brand.
- Mounting Plate – Choose your mounting plate according to the size of the case and PCB. It’s meant to protect the PCB and holds all the switches in place when you solder them. The mounting plate also gives a nice look to the keyboard.
- Key Caps – Now, it is time to select your keys for the keyboard. There are two types of layouts, namely, standard and non-standard.
Finding keycaps for the standard layout is pretty easy, and any standard will fit on your keyboard.
And if you choose non-standard, your options will be much fewer. You will need to purchase the keysets that will offer you the best compatibility for the particular layout.
Step #3 Install the Stabilizers
When it comes to installing the stabilizers, it is no biggie. All you have to do is perfectly align the prongs with the specific holes of PCB and push them straight inside. But orientation is pretty important.
Remember, the ends of the stabilizers should go through the larger holes of the PCB, and the other ends with clips will go inside the small holes of the PCB. Installing the stabilizers won’t work and will fail to hold the switches in position.
So, install it on the big holes first, then put it through the small holes. Gently press the stabilizers to install it.
Again, before you step up and move to solder, ensure that none of the stabilizers are lubricated directly from the factory itself. If so, it can be a bit noisy. To reduce the noise, you can apply small amounts of lubricant to the contact points.
Step #4 Time to Align and Solder
Keeping the mounting plate aligned with the PCB is difficult, especially if you try to put the switches in simultaneously.
If you wish to have the perfect alignment and keep the plate even at all sides, you must install the corner switches first and solder them. And then, you can freely install the bottom row.
Do test fit first, and then install the switches. In the bottom row, you will have plentiful options for accommodating switches. And it would be best to test fit first and solder now than to desolder the entire row later.
Another thing that you need to note is that your soldering iron should be up to temperature, and make sure you clean the tip of it. Applying solder to the tip will increase conductivity, resulting in soldering faster, which will protect the PCB.
Step #5 Finally, Assemble and Install the Keycaps
If you have ever worked with a screwdriver, assembling the keyboard will be a piece of cake.
Here, you will put the assembled board into the case, put the screws, and tighten it.
Most cases come with five mounting points, but the PCB comes with only four. No worries, four screws are enough to hold the case and board in place.
Install the keycaps, and with a fair amount of pressure, press each of the keys so it fits onto the stems, and it’s done.
Step 6 – Test Your Keyboard
You can also go to a third-party website, like keyboardtester.io, and launch their tester.
At first, all the keys will appear in grey, and as you press a key, it will go red, only if it’s in good condition. If all its keys go red, your keyboard is perfectly alright.
As you have read this article, you know making your keyboard is not that tough. Anyone can do it; all it takes is just a bit of skill. When making sure you have plenty of time, you will have to assemble and install the parts carefully.
So why are you waiting? Now that you know you can build your keyboard. Shop all the necessary parts, and organize and assemble as directed in the outline; you are good to go!