Help Me Build a Heavy-9

I am planning a marriage of a FC980C with my newly acquired Heavy-9 in Aperture. I’m mulling over various modification options, so I thought I’d solicit some opinions from the community. Help me build my next end-game!

Domes

Firstly, I will need to purchase a Leopold for this build, and I am undecided between the FC980C 30g variant (AECX32) and the 45g variant (AECX02).

For reference, my daily board of choice is a Heavy Grail with purple sliders and stock silencing rings salvaged from a Realforce. I also use a stock Type-S from time to time. The closest experience I have had with 30g was actually my first experience with electro-capacitive switches: the Niz Plum 35g. I enjoyed the smooth, plush (cloud-like) typing feel, but my proclivity for aggressive, heavy typing often fatigued my fingers. I switched to 45g Topre and never looked back.

  1. How does 30g on the FC980C compare to 35g Niz?
  2. Is silencing necessary for the 30g domes? Given how light they are, I would imagine that the upstroke feedback is very low.

I’d also like to hear some opinions on alternative versus stock domes. I’ve not experimented with BKE, Carrots, DES, or any other aftermarket options. There are a number of sound tests recorded on Heavy-9 that use pink domes and sound very pleasant. Thus, I’m considering using pink domes, but I’m not sure whether to go DES v2, DES v3, DES BKE, or DES v2 Rounder BKE.

Sliders

I am considering using DES sliders instead of the stock sliders for two reasons:

  1. I am not a big fan of the stock legends. It’s a good opportunity to try an MX set.
  2. I am concerned about reduced travel. I understand that plenty of folks use DES #3 with stock sliders and are happy, but I’m not sure that I’m willing to compromise the typing experience on an end-game board such as this.

But is spending $200+ on DES sliders and silencers worth an extra 0.1mm travel distance? Is it really that big of a deal? It seems the most compelling reason to splurge on DES sliders is to gain access to a wider variety of keycap options. Thus (assuming $100 for keycaps) the effective price of using MX keycaps is more realistically closer to $300+.

Do you agree with this assessment? Or are there are benefits using DES sliders that I am overlooking?

Silencing

  1. Is silencing necessary for 30g stock domes?
  2. DES now offers #5 silencing rings made from silicone. I have only seen reviews of their #5 Originals. Has anyone used the #5 Silicones?
  3. In your opinion, is the typing experienced diminished when using #3 with stock sliders?

Aftermarket Controller

Just want to confirm, does Hasu’s aftermarket FC980C controller fit the Heavy-9 w/o modifications? It isn’t clear to me whether the mounting mounts are fully aligned.

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Can’t speak to any experience with the 30g domes (i’m a 45g die hard here).

On the topic of travel distance reduction with silencing rings, my verdict after owning many different topre configs is you can definitely notice it but i have honestly come to prefer it. Like most things, it ultimately comes down to preference. After using my Type-S HHKB for so long i find my purple slider realforces and DES slider HHKB Pro 2 fatiguing for longer work sessions.

On the Hasu controller, mine fit my Heavy-9 just fine without any mods :slight_smile:

I bought a heavy 9 off of MM a few months back, came with the 30g domes. I actually had to end up swapping the domes out for 45’s. I have pretty big hands, and when I rest my hands on the keyboard, my finger put enough pressure to actuate the ‘d’ key at rest since these domes were so light. got sick of having to always erase. Very happy with the 45s, never looked back

I feel your pain. Deskey products are very expensive. I am in a similar situation created a topre tester and bought all of the dome sample packs to try out some different options.

Fwiw most people seem to pick 45g for the fc980c. I have a fc660c at 45g silent that i am very happy with.

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Thanks everyone. Based on what I’m reading, I think the safest bet will be to stick with 45g. I’ll probably pair with some #3 silencing rings.

As for the keycaps, I’ll probably just impulse buy DES sliders and an overpriced GMK set a few months from now. I really can’t stand the Windows legends given that I pretty much exclusively use Mac and Linux. Worth it? Probably not, but the holidays are right around the corner… :sweat_smile:

I’m with you. i despise OS (win) specific keys :slight_smile:

I don’t know your priorities so this may sound abrupt but–

MX modding a 980c --If you do decide to go this route it might be worth waiting for the 2u pre-drilled housings Deskeys is supposed to release. otherwise you will have some drilling work ahead.
Rings/slider costs are what they are–it will either be Des or trying to source a Novatouch + some additional Des parts for the numpad.

If having MX is a priority why not drop in a 980M or @Dave 's NT-980 instead? Apple/Mac OS keys for bottom row are on a Realforce R2 for Mac–that and kbdfans/biip are the only immediate ways to avoid Win/Alt and still mount EC stem. Either that or finding blanks you are ok with mounting at those parts–but you need 1/1.25u blanks for the 980c bottom row.

Way ahead of you! I’ve been regularly checking their website for months. I’m going to need them anyways for another more experimental Topre project I’m trying out — Cipulot’s EC60. The PCBs are currently in production.

Most likely, I will roll with stock keycaps, housings and sliders with #3 silencing rings. Then early next year I’ll pick up a bunch of DES internals and experiment a bit.

Because I’m a Topre snob lol :slight_smile:

Although on the topic of @Dave — I’d like to get your thoughts on replacing the daughter board with one that has USB-C. This one has your avatar printed on it so I presume it’s yours. If so, would you happen to have an extra that you’re willing to sell? Assuming it fits the Heavy-9 without additional modifications.

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Yay can’t wait to see your finished Heavy-9! I bought two fc980c both with 30g and I swapped them out immediately. I used one of the dome sheets to put into my Heavy-6 and I absolutely love it. Out of all the domes I’ve tried, the 30g are the closest to linear switches. You do have to be careful when resting your hand on the keys because they’re a lot lighter than you would think.

I would still silence them because they are still fairly clacky on the upstroke or at the very least give it a decent lube job. As for the silencing rings, the typing feel doesn’t really change as much compared to 45g because it already has such a low tactility.

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That’s me, it fits the h9 with no mods. You can dm me if you want one.

cipulot is :crown: i’m in for his EC_Pro2 whenever EC60 finishes.

pop off king

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Thanks, @Dave!

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