So I’ve read this in Geekhack and I’m interested in Keebtalk’s opinion on the subject.
I waiting for a pack of factory unlubed Durock Linear switches (EV-01) and wondered if I should lube them right away.
I personally don’t care about using stock for a while, but in the GH thread it was mentioned using them stock without any sort of lube might even degrade them if they don’t have a part made of a self-lubricating material?
I don’t remember Cherry having any kind of factory lube, and even recall seeing them mention on their site they don’t use any lube for longevity.
I was under the impression that break in is in fact real, and noticeable.
In my experience, I had a pack of Gateron Yellow KS9 which were awful, they have some kind of plastic-y resistance and binding towards the LED side when off center.
After around a month-two of using them the issues didn’t magically disappear but I do remember they got slightly better over time.
IME switch break in is 50% reality & 50% snake oil TBH. While it is true that over a long period of use a switch will “break in” (i.e. become smoother & more consistent feeling), but that’s gonna happen regardless if the switch is lubed or not. So for me I’ve always just lubed my switches out the gate & let them “break in” from there. The only situation I could see a break in period before lubing helping enough to be noticable is with particularly scratchy switches like the Gat yellows you mentioned.
Although even then, unless you make sure the same parts go back together with each other it could all be in vain. Hell just the act of opening & putting a switch back together could be enough to kill any improvement made from break in. Since the parts are not gonna go back together exactly like they were before opening it. With all the variables at play I’d say there is some truth to switch break in, but call BS on those who claim that you’ll see large changes from it.
Edit: I should also mention if you really want to “break in” a batch of switches, check out @donpark’s thread on here about polishing switches. If I was gonna go through the trouble of a break in period on a batch, I’d heavily consider polishing them via his method instead of a traditional break in by just using the switches stock.
I think conventional “break in” helps but lube erases whatever gain there may be. That said, “polishing” helps immensely if the switch is scratchy. If switch is already smooth, polishing may even make the switch less smooth.
My only experience with break in is with an original batch of NK Creams. I used them for a few weeks and afterwards they really felt better than the stock ones I had in reserve. I do feel like only a few switches greatly benefit from this process, and they tend to be on the scratchy side stock (Creams, MX anything).
I think the EV-01 switches use the Alpaca V2 molds, and are plenty smooth out of the box – so much so that I would lube them right away and call it a day. If anyone says that the break-in benefits on those switches are anything more than marginal, they are drastically exaggerating. Most linears are so good these days that people are chasing diminishing returns (again, there are outliers).