Disclaimer: I haven’t seen this mod before but please let me know if there are any sources that have done this and what the findings were. I also haven’t thoroughly tested it yet and don’t know if there are repercussions I haven’t discovered yet.
I think must of us agree that the Holy Panda bottom-our sound is quite soothing, but the bottom-out feel is quite jarring. I’ve heard of people clipping the stem to overcome this but that it could cause inconsistencies across switches. After accidentally drilling through a switch housing bottom while modding sky switches I thought, why not try this on a Holy Panda switch?
By drilling through the bottom housing you eliminate any inconsistencies with clipping the stem and you no longer have a harsh bottom-out. The switch feels a LOT better in my opinion even if you do lose some of the bottom-out sound.
I’ll be testing this with a few different keycaps to make sure they keycap doesn’t strike the top housing at bottom-out and that data input is not affected by this. I don’t expect either of these to be an issue but want to verify before recommending it.
Thanks for reading and if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear em!
Update: SA, DSA, MT3 profiles is fine with this modification whether the switch is North or South facing. GMK is fine if the switch is South facing but will strike the switch housing if the switch is North facing.
Definitely want to hear how these sound compared to stock pandas.
did you drill from the bottom? Good idea. I’ll wait to hear back about the keycap strike issue.
If it goes well I’ll do a small comparison test!
I drilled from inside the bottom housing to the outside. Just held it in my one hand and drilled with the other. The bit was slightly smaller than the stem mount. I’ll get those details to once I determine if this is a safe mod.
I believe the reason pandas have a unique sound is because the stem is too long for the housing. It causes the halo stem to hit the bottom of the invyr/bsun housing. If all you really care for is the feel though, this is definitely a clever move. If you don’t care for the sound, I like this idea because it brings back full travel. Still, to be honest, the panda housings are harder to come by than the halo stems. Clipping the stems is less of a hassle if you ever change your mind and want to get the sound back. Then you only have to purchase the halos with significantly less downtime.
I’ve clipped Halo stems before and didn’t like it much – it felt mushy and seemed to rattle a bit – but now I’m wondering how it might sound and feel with only half of its tip clipped off.
I clipped the stems on Halos before & had the same experience, they felt mushy. It was in Outemu Sky housings, but I definitely did not like the feel. I doubt a shorter cut would’ve helped much in my situation since I retooled the bottom housing, but with regular Panda housings it may make a difference.
With Panda housing, clipped tip introduces a rattling noise on the upstroke, as if the stem is striking against top of the housing twice. Pretty bizarre how little changes can make so much difference in this hobby.
That is even stranger, than Outemu Skies with clipped Halo stems. Those felt pretty mushy, but didn’t exhibit that rattle or double upstroke sound/feel. Although I did retool the bottom housings on those so that may have made a difference there.
I agree it is pretty bizarre how sometimes really small changes can make a huge impact on a switch’s feel & then on the other hand some huge changes can have very little impact on feel, LOL! That is on of the bigger reasons that make tinkering with different lubes, spring weights, & swapping parts between switches so interesting to me!
This does have the potential to be a pretty good mod for HPs IMO too. While the signature sound of the Halo stem bottoming out is a big part of the charm of HPs, if this improves the feel pretty noticeably I’d be willing to give it a shot in a build for sure! I do need a quieter tactile board for late night gaming or chatting sessions, but I am not a fan of silent tactile switches. This could be a good inbetween, thanks for the heads up!
Listen. I understand this hobby is all preference, and different people like different things.
But what the fuck. How dare you.
So that was short lived. I did some testing with GMK keycaps and discovered with R4 if the switch is positioned with LED side north-facing then the keycap will strike the top housing of the switch. South-facing did not have issues with R4. Haven’t tested further as for many this would be a deal breaker.
I’m probably going to try this experiment on a full board just for the heck of it as I still found the longer key press to be more satisfying than the shorter stem bottom-out keystroke.
Edit: SA profile is fine and doesn’t hit the keycap. This will actually be perfect for my Mercury Rocketeer that I was preparing this for anyways!
Edit 2: MT3 profile is fine with this mod.
Edit 3: DSA profile is fine with this mod.
Edit 4: I think every row in GMK profile hit the switch if they switch was north-facing but did not have issues if the switch was south-facing.
North-facing washer should help with this.
Wouldn’t a drilled stem behave differently from a clipped stem?
For one thing, a clipped stem would be physically shorter thus giving more wiggle room to the shaft. A drilled stem, on the other hand, would make the hole longer and, if anything, more restrictive to horizontal movement.
My concern is that there might be some oil or lube leakage on to the PCB. Id be interested to hear from you after a couple of weeks if that does occur.
You make a very good point there. I’ve only used clipped Halo stems though, so I can’t confirm that. I’ve accidentally drilled through a few bottom housings when retooling a batch of Outemu Skies, but I just tossed those ones & did not use them.
Youd have to make sure your springs are very lightly lubed or not lubed at all, but other than that this shouldn’t be an issue. I believe BOX switches have a hole at the bottom of the stem channel on purpose to get their waterproof rating. I’m not 100% on that though, I’m at work right now & will have to check some BOX switches when get home.
I wouldn’t be concerned about that. The stem “tube” if you will, is still there and I don’t really lube the stem a lot. Sure, if the lube were to displace for the rest of the switch it would end up in the bottom of the switch as usual but it would still not have anywhere to escape.
One thing that I’m noticing that I’m not sure I love is that because the switch can travel longer, there’s a noticeable period where the switch is just linear. Without the opening the switch is forced to stop just after the big round bump, which, while jarring, might be better feel still.
I believe that the stem on an MX switch case protrudes through the PC board, so any lube there should just drop onto the case.