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Ninlop's guide to mechanical keyboard
posted in Hardware
1
#1
0 Frags +

A lot of people ask me for advice regarding mechanical keyboards as they know i'm a bit of an enthusiast, I took some time and wrote this guide not just for beginners but for people who want a bit more information, this doesn't go into insane amounts of detail and i cover very littler in terms of cosmetic mods, i merely scratch the service and cover some general points on keyboards, if you would like to discuss anything further I always am looking to help people out so just send a message on steam (id/ninlop).
Anyway, check out the guide and thankyou
love ninlop
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l5_NQrevntxBLRM27_zm4kXm7OLbgPGHTQ4S_JBbC_s/pub

A lot of people ask me for advice regarding mechanical keyboards as they know i'm a bit of an enthusiast, I took some time and wrote this guide not just for beginners but for people who want a bit more information, this doesn't go into insane amounts of detail and i cover very littler in terms of cosmetic mods, i merely scratch the service and cover some general points on keyboards, if you would like to discuss anything further I always am looking to help people out so just send a message on steam (id/ninlop).
Anyway, check out the guide and thankyou
love ninlop
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l5_NQrevntxBLRM27_zm4kXm7OLbgPGHTQ4S_JBbC_s/pub
2
#2
1 Frags +

keep in mind the majority of things is preference, this is just a guide based off of my experience so far

keep in mind the majority of things is preference, this is just a guide based off of my experience so far
3
#3
-7 Frags +

obligatory 'topre switches are the best if you have never used them you are missing out' post (THANKS SHIKI)

obligatory 'topre switches are the best if you have never used them you are missing out' post (THANKS SHIKI)
4
#4
6 Frags +
bearodactylobligatory 'topre switches are the best if you have never used them you are missing out' post (THANKS SHIKI)

I never got on the topre hype train they feel really inconsistent imo

[quote=bearodactyl]obligatory 'topre switches are the best if you have never used them you are missing out' post (THANKS SHIKI)[/quote]
I never got on the topre hype train they feel really inconsistent imo
5
#5
0 Frags +

I might avoid recommending switch types, or at least reword it. The whole idea of tactile = great for typing is mumbo, though it is true for most people as their personal preference. The best and most sure-fire recommendation for getting a switch type right is a switch tester.

Other options would be good too. Ducky Shine 5/6 is imo better than Ducky One, Coolermaster is the best brand available to a lot of people locally, things like Magicforce are extremely good as a budget option, other more specific brands like Filco or Varmillo or Leopold are definitely worth a mention as well. And perhaps going over other common brands that aren't as good, like Razer or Corsair, in more depth than just the bad gaming keyboard description, could be nice to have too.

That and pointing out function layers and whatnot for smaller keyboards. I'm running a 40% currently (minivan with gat browns), and not only can I do everything that I could when I ran a fullsized keyboard, I don't have to move my hands and instead chord it so that it's actually more comfortable in the first place.

I might avoid recommending switch types, or at least reword it. The whole idea of tactile = great for typing is mumbo, though it is true for most people as their personal preference. The best and most sure-fire recommendation for getting a switch type right is a switch tester.

Other options would be good too. Ducky Shine 5/6 is imo better than Ducky One, Coolermaster is the best brand available to a lot of people locally, things like Magicforce are extremely good as a budget option, other more specific brands like Filco or Varmillo or Leopold are definitely worth a mention as well. And perhaps going over other common brands that aren't as good, like Razer or Corsair, in more depth than just the bad gaming keyboard description, could be nice to have too.

That and pointing out function layers and whatnot for smaller keyboards. I'm running a 40% currently (minivan with gat browns), and not only can I do everything that I could when I ran a fullsized keyboard, I don't have to move my hands and instead chord it so that it's actually more comfortable in the first place.
6
#6
1 Frags +
JarateKingI might avoid recommending switch types, or at least reword it. The whole idea of tactile = great for typing is mumbo, though it is true for most people as their personal preference. The best and most sure-fire recommendation for getting a switch type right is a switch tester.

Other options would be good too. Ducky Shine 5/6 is imo better than Ducky One, Coolermaster is the best brand available to a lot of people locally, things like Magicforce are extremely good as a budget option, other more specific brands like Filco or Varmillo or Leopold are definitely worth a mention as well. And perhaps going over other common brands that aren't as good, like Razer or Corsair, in more depth than just the bad gaming keyboard description, could be nice to have too.

That and pointing out function layers and whatnot for smaller keyboards. I'm running a 40% currently (minivan with gat browns), and not only can I do everything that I could when I ran a fullsized keyboard, I don't have to move my hands and instead chord it so that it's actually more comfortable in the first place.

thanks for the response man

[quote=JarateKing]I might avoid recommending switch types, or at least reword it. The whole idea of tactile = great for typing is mumbo, though it is true for most people as their personal preference. The best and most sure-fire recommendation for getting a switch type right is a switch tester.

Other options would be good too. Ducky Shine 5/6 is imo better than Ducky One, Coolermaster is the best brand available to a lot of people locally, things like Magicforce are extremely good as a budget option, other more specific brands like Filco or Varmillo or Leopold are definitely worth a mention as well. And perhaps going over other common brands that aren't as good, like Razer or Corsair, in more depth than just the bad gaming keyboard description, could be nice to have too.

That and pointing out function layers and whatnot for smaller keyboards. I'm running a 40% currently (minivan with gat browns), and not only can I do everything that I could when I ran a fullsized keyboard, I don't have to move my hands and instead chord it so that it's actually more comfortable in the first place.[/quote]

thanks for the response man
7
#7
0 Frags +
JarateKingI might avoid recommending switch types, or at least reword it. The whole idea of tactile = great for typing is mumbo, though it is true for most people as their personal preference. The best and most sure-fire recommendation for getting a switch type right is a switch tester.

Other options would be good too. Ducky Shine 5/6 is imo better than Ducky One, Coolermaster is the best brand available to a lot of people locally, things like Magicforce are extremely good as a budget option, other more specific brands like Filco or Varmillo or Leopold are definitely worth a mention as well. And perhaps going over other common brands that aren't as good, like Razer or Corsair, in more depth than just the bad gaming keyboard description, could be nice to have too.

That and pointing out function layers and whatnot for smaller keyboards. I'm running a 40% currently (minivan with gat browns), and not only can I do everything that I could when I ran a fullsized keyboard, I don't have to move my hands and instead chord it so that it's actually more comfortable in the first place.

I wanted to keep my descriptions and things fairly basic and general i didn't want to go out right to say these brands are band these brands are good, imo it's better if i give a set of guidlines of what generally makes a "gaming" board good or bad

[quote=JarateKing]I might avoid recommending switch types, or at least reword it. The whole idea of tactile = great for typing is mumbo, though it is true for most people as their personal preference. The best and most sure-fire recommendation for getting a switch type right is a switch tester.

Other options would be good too. Ducky Shine 5/6 is imo better than Ducky One, Coolermaster is the best brand available to a lot of people locally, things like Magicforce are extremely good as a budget option, other more specific brands like Filco or Varmillo or Leopold are definitely worth a mention as well. And perhaps going over other common brands that aren't as good, like Razer or Corsair, in more depth than just the bad gaming keyboard description, could be nice to have too.

That and pointing out function layers and whatnot for smaller keyboards. I'm running a 40% currently (minivan with gat browns), and not only can I do everything that I could when I ran a fullsized keyboard, I don't have to move my hands and instead chord it so that it's actually more comfortable in the first place.[/quote]

I wanted to keep my descriptions and things fairly basic and general i didn't want to go out right to say these brands are band these brands are good, imo it's better if i give a set of guidlines of what generally makes a "gaming" board good or bad
8
#8
3 Frags +
NinlopI wanted to keep my descriptions and things fairly basic and general i didn't want to go out right to say these brands are band these brands are good, imo it's better if i give a set of guidelines of what generally makes a "gaming" board good or bad

I feel like some of the guidelines are a little off, but that might just be me. Though I know this guide is oriented around TF2, I typically use the numpad in several games for various binds (namely specific voice lines as medic in TF2 and buy binds in CS:GO), which could be an argument for having a full-sized keyboard vs 60% or ten keyless.

Also, I feel like at least mentioning all of the switch types from Cherry could be a good thing, as you seem to be praising them over other key manufacturers. I know several people (myself included) that much prefer linear-style keys such as MX Cherry Reds or MX Cherry Speed Silver switches.

While I see your point with cords being removable, I don't think it's as big an issue as you make it out to be. In my experience keyboards with good build quality but a non-removable cord have pretty strong/bulky cords. It can be annoying to initially cable manage, but other than that there's usually not an issue with the cable unless you fuck around with it and break it or cut it somehow.

[quote=Ninlop]I wanted to keep my descriptions and things fairly basic and general i didn't want to go out right to say these brands are band these brands are good, imo it's better if i give a set of guidelines of what generally makes a "gaming" board good or bad[/quote]

I feel like some of the guidelines are a little off, but that might just be me. Though I know this guide is oriented around TF2, I typically use the numpad in several games for various binds (namely specific voice lines as medic in TF2 and buy binds in CS:GO), which could be an argument for having a full-sized keyboard vs 60% or ten keyless.

Also, I feel like at least mentioning all of the switch types from Cherry could be a good thing, as you seem to be praising them over other key manufacturers. I know several people (myself included) that much prefer linear-style keys such as MX Cherry Reds or MX Cherry Speed Silver switches.

While I see your point with cords being removable, I don't think it's as big an issue as you make it out to be. In my experience keyboards with good build quality but a non-removable cord have pretty strong/bulky cords. It can be annoying to initially cable manage, but other than that there's usually not an issue with the cable unless you fuck around with it and break it or cut it somehow.
9
#9
-1 Frags +
ConsoleNinlopI wanted to keep my descriptions and things fairly basic and general i didn't want to go out right to say these brands are band these brands are good, imo it's better if i give a set of guidelines of what generally makes a "gaming" board good or bad
I feel like some of the guidelines are a little off, but that might just be me. Though I know this guide is oriented around TF2, I typically use the numpad in several games for various binds (namely specific voice lines as medic in TF2 and buy binds in CS:GO), which could be an argument for having a full-sized keyboard vs 60% or ten keyless.

Also, I feel like at least mentioning all of the switch types from Cherry could be a good thing, as you seem to be praising them over other key manufacturers. I know several people (myself included) that much prefer linear-style keys such as MX Cherry Reds or MX Cherry Speed Silver switches.

While I see your point with cords being removable, I don't think it's as big an issue as you make it out to be. In my experience keyboards with good build quality but a non-removable cord have pretty strong/bulky cords. It can be annoying to initially cable manage, but other than that there's usually not an issue with the cable unless you fuck around with it and break it or cut it somehow.

i reccomend blue and brown since the guide is for people who do a mixture of tf2 and typing which i do mention in the guide, linear switches are not the best for typing, therefore i didnt mention them

[quote=Console][quote=Ninlop]I wanted to keep my descriptions and things fairly basic and general i didn't want to go out right to say these brands are band these brands are good, imo it's better if i give a set of guidelines of what generally makes a "gaming" board good or bad[/quote]

I feel like some of the guidelines are a little off, but that might just be me. Though I know this guide is oriented around TF2, I typically use the numpad in several games for various binds (namely specific voice lines as medic in TF2 and buy binds in CS:GO), which could be an argument for having a full-sized keyboard vs 60% or ten keyless.

Also, I feel like at least mentioning all of the switch types from Cherry could be a good thing, as you seem to be praising them over other key manufacturers. I know several people (myself included) that much prefer linear-style keys such as MX Cherry Reds or MX Cherry Speed Silver switches.

While I see your point with cords being removable, I don't think it's as big an issue as you make it out to be. In my experience keyboards with good build quality but a non-removable cord have pretty strong/bulky cords. It can be annoying to initially cable manage, but other than that there's usually not an issue with the cable unless you fuck around with it and break it or cut it somehow.[/quote]
i reccomend blue and brown since the guide is for people who do a mixture of tf2 and typing which i do mention in the guide, linear switches are not the best for typing, therefore i didnt mention them
10
#10
1 Frags +

i just wish there was a good place to buy keyboards in germany so i wouldnt be stuck with razer and corsair ;-;

i just wish there was a good place to buy keyboards in germany so i wouldnt be stuck with razer and corsair ;-;
11
#11
0 Frags +

Edit, i replaced the full size recommendation due to feedback

Edit, i replaced the full size recommendation due to feedback
12
#12
0 Frags +
Firei just wish there was a good place to buy keyboards in germany so i wouldnt be stuck with razer and corsair ;-;

Check out mechmarket and see if their are any german sellers or people willing to ship to germany.

[quote=Fire]i just wish there was a good place to buy keyboards in germany so i wouldnt be stuck with razer and corsair ;-;[/quote]
Check out mechmarket and see if their are any german sellers or people willing to ship to germany.
13
#13
1 Frags +

If I want to build a custom keyboard, where would you recommend I begin?

If I want to build a custom keyboard, where would you recommend I begin?
14
#14
0 Frags +
Firei just wish there was a good place to buy keyboards in germany so i wouldnt be stuck with razer and corsair ;-;

https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/index.php ships internationally, so I would recommend checking them out.

[quote=Fire]i just wish there was a good place to buy keyboards in germany so i wouldnt be stuck with razer and corsair ;-;[/quote]

https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/index.php ships internationally, so I would recommend checking them out.
15
#15
1 Frags +
reakoIf I want to build a custom keyboard, where would you recommend I begin?

Depends entirely on what you want to do and what you want out of it. The guides for handwiring a build, designing a PCB, or buying a kit are all entirely different.

Whatever you do, r/mk has some good resources:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/wiki/switch_suppliers
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/wiki/customkeyboards

Keep in mind that unlike building a computer, it will not be cheaper. But it will be fun, more specific to what you want and more customizable, and usually higher quality than what you can get commercially.

[quote=reako]If I want to build a custom keyboard, where would you recommend I begin?[/quote]
Depends entirely on what you want to do and what you want out of it. The guides for handwiring a build, designing a PCB, or buying a kit are all entirely different.

Whatever you do, r/mk has some good resources:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/wiki/switch_suppliers
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/wiki/customkeyboards

Keep in mind that unlike building a computer, it will not be cheaper. But it will be fun, more specific to what you want and more customizable, and usually higher quality than what you can get commercially.
16
#16
0 Frags +
NinlopI never got on the topre hype train they feel really inconsistent imo

obviously at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and ofc no switch is the best for everybody, but im not sure what you mean by inconsistent (could mean from different brands with the same switch or like it gives different amounts of feedback for each keystroke or something?)
my hhkb2 feels great and feels miles better than any other mechanical keyboard ive tried typing on (and i would hope so given how expensive it is rofl)

[quote=Ninlop]
I never got on the topre hype train they feel really inconsistent imo[/quote]
obviously at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and ofc no switch is the best for everybody, but im not sure what you mean by inconsistent (could mean from different brands with the same switch or like it gives different amounts of feedback for each keystroke or something?)
my hhkb2 feels great and feels miles better than any other mechanical keyboard ive tried typing on (and i would hope so given how expensive it is rofl)
17
#17
1 Frags +
reakoIf I want to build a custom keyboard, where would you recommend I begin?

Was going to make a typeup of how I went about making my custom but it was fucking massive so I'll just link all the resources I used to make mine:

Some cool build guides (notice how both of these boards use the sandwich design):
Portal Keyboard
BrownFox (precursor to the very popular WhiteFox which had a Massdrop groupbuy not too long ago)

Information of the stages of building the board:
Handwiring guide
Programming guide

Misc:
Super useful resource HUB containing vector/CAD files for a bunch of different keyboard components, from switch cut-outs to 3D keycap models.

I found it handy to immerse myself in the build process so searching for custom builds on /r/mechanicalkeyboards is a good way to absorb information and get some inspiration.

And as JarateKing mentioned, this shit is expensive. The required parts are:
Laser cut body pieces (price depends on where you get your stuff cut and from what material. Around $50USD???).
Switches (depends on where you source them from. Cherry switches WERE around $.50 a switch for around 100 switches a year or two ago but the place I bought them from doesn't even sell switches anymore so I don't know what's going on there).
Diodes (insanely cheap. You'll want 1N4148 diodes, 1 per switch).
Some sort of thin wire (free if you look in the right places, like the trash. Shouldn't be too expensive new).
A microcontroller (Teensy 2.0s are around $20USD).
Keycaps (literally could cost anything).

So you're looking at a couple hundred for a basic custom board. It might be possible to build one for less than a fancy GaM3R board with super useful features like RGB LEDs (a custom board gives you access to the firmware sourcecode so the macro capabilities of a custom are far superior to a gaming board) but compared to cheap keyboards from China using knockoff Cherry switches you're going to be spending more money. Its super fun though and you can customise EVERYTHING.

[quote=reako]If I want to build a custom keyboard, where would you recommend I begin?[/quote]
Was going to make a typeup of how I went about making my custom but it was fucking massive so I'll just link all the resources I used to make mine:

Some cool build guides (notice how both of these boards use the sandwich design):
[url=http://imgur.com/a/qww7e]Portal Keyboard[/url]
[url=https://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/brownfox-step-by-step-t6050.html]BrownFox[/url] (precursor to the very popular WhiteFox which had a Massdrop groupbuy not too long ago)

Information of the stages of building the board:
[url=http://imgur.com/a/qcgdF]Handwiring guide[/url]
[url=https://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/how-to-build-your-very-own-keyboard-firmware-t7177.html]Programming guide[/url]

Misc:
[url=https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=47744.0]Super useful resource HUB[/url] containing vector/CAD files for a bunch of different keyboard components, from switch cut-outs to 3D keycap models.

I found it handy to immerse myself in the build process so searching for custom builds on /r/mechanicalkeyboards is a good way to absorb information and get some inspiration.

And as JarateKing mentioned, this shit is expensive. The required parts are:
Laser cut body pieces (price depends on where you get your stuff cut and from what material. Around $50USD???).
Switches (depends on where you source them from. Cherry switches WERE around $.50 a switch for around 100 switches a year or two ago but the place I bought them from doesn't even sell switches anymore so I don't know what's going on there).
Diodes (insanely cheap. You'll want 1N4148 diodes, 1 per switch).
Some sort of thin wire (free if you look in the right places, like the trash. Shouldn't be too expensive new).
A microcontroller (Teensy 2.0s are around $20USD).
Keycaps (literally could cost anything).

So you're looking at a couple hundred for a basic custom board. It [i]might[/i] be possible to build one for less than a fancy GaM3R board with super useful features like RGB LEDs (a custom board gives you access to the firmware sourcecode so the macro capabilities of a custom are far superior to a gaming board) but compared to cheap keyboards from China using knockoff Cherry switches you're going to be spending more money. Its super fun though and you can customise EVERYTHING.
18
#18
0 Frags +

My Keyboard. It has held up very nicely for +3 years.

[url=https://pcpartpicker.com/product/kqtCmG/cooler-master-keyboard-sgk4000gkcr1us]My Keyboard.[/url] It has held up very nicely for +3 years.
19
#19
0 Frags +
Shankystuff

So a good budget would be about $200-250? I'll probably start putting money to the side, and I'll start working on it when I have the budget to actually finish it.
In terms of time, how long would it take me, a complete amateur, to figure out the appropriate parts, get them, hand wire the stuff, and build it?

[quote=Shanky]stuff[/quote]
So a good budget would be about $200-250? I'll probably start putting money to the side, and I'll start working on it when I have the budget to actually finish it.
In terms of time, how long would it take me, a complete amateur, to figure out the appropriate parts, get them, hand wire the stuff, and build it?
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