Anyone that can give a solid recommendation for a birthday project?

Hi there!

I’m currently in the midst of collecting parts to build my partner a custom keyboard and I’m looking for recommendations for a housing and a hotswap PCB.

I currently have ordered the Dragonfruit switches and the Infinikey Islander keycap set. The style I’m hoping to find is either a full or TKL with a white body to help fit the clean aspect of the Animal Crossing theme since she’s a big fan of the game.

I’m considering holding out for the Portico build kit if they have more in the future, but in the mean time I want to open up to more options and gather advice from more experienced custom kbd hobbyists. I technically don’t have until September to really worry, but I’ve seen some GBs note that production or shipment project a much later delivery.

This is my very first post and I’m new to this site/hobby so I apologize if I’m making any errors in posting here in advance.

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Really depends on how much you willing to pay for this hobby as it get expensive really quickly.

If you are just entry to this hobby I would say looking at KBDFans or KPRepublic for a start as they sell in stock item. The GMMK pro will be another good options which will be start selling soon. These will cost about $150-$300 at most

If you have much deep pockets then you might want to look for a group buy, which will normally cost $350+. These days most group buy offer hotswap PCB so you just need to keep an eye on geekhack IC and jump on one when did s starts, but the lead time for those is long and have uncertainty with delays.

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Hmm, the thing is that I haven’t seen a great many hotswap TKL or full-size boards. The Drop CTRL is likely the most common and readily available, though it has its idiosyncrasies and doesn’t come in white (normally).

The hotswap Rama U80 (Milk) is also a good TKL to consider, if you can find one in the aftermarket. The Mode80 is another to consider when it comes back in stock. And, check out @jtsay’s review of the Monstargear TKL here—could be another good option for you.

PS. Unless there’s a different offering in the future, the Portico is a 65%, not a TKL. And if 65% is acceptable, that opens up many more options for you.

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Thanks for the shoutout! And great list of recommendations for OP :+1:

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Idk if it’s too late but adding something cute like a sticker on the back of her favorite show/artist or something would make the board feel more personal. I built a keyboard for my friend as a christmas gift and threw on an Angel Beats sticker on the back because that was his favorite anime.

His board:

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How much time do you have? If you have any sign shops near by, they can usually produce a good custom sticker pretty fast. I’ve got a vinyl cutter, so I’d also be happy to make and send you one - just not sure it would make it in time.

I do tend to put some kind of sticker on the bottom of most of my builds. :grin:

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This is actually a really solid idea! I’ll definitely look into something like this to add on the back!

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I have until September so there’s a good 6-ish months left. That being said I’m still searching around different sites to find a body/PCB to house the other parts I’ve already gotten. I also happen to have a cricut so I can also consider creating either my own stickers or finding something to print for single use to slap on the back!

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