How did you get into Mechanical Keyboards?


#1

How did you get into Mechanical Keyboards?

What is your favorite aspect about the hobby?

What are you looking forward to in the near future in this hobby?

What are you looking forward to in the far future of this hobby?

What is the favorite thing you’ve seen happen in the community?

What’s your most memorable experience involving mechanical keyboards?


#2

After going through a number of membrane keyboards quickly around 2008, I looked into more durable options and ended up with a mechanical keyboard. Back then I was not aware of their customizable nature, I was just happy to have something last a decent amount of time. I liked how it reminded me of using they computers I grew up with in the 80s.

Over time I learned about different types of switches, different keycaps and it played into my love to tinker and customize everything. I love to try different combinations and be a little bit out there, weird color combos, odd switch choices.

In the near future I am looking to finally get my hands on a gasket mount board (shakes fist at no1) and try out the new material showcase of the Lumina. I would like to try the cream switch, just because it is a step in a new direction, where most of what we see is all along the same lines. I love the idea of all the new keycap profiles coming, and hope that they can each distinguish themselves.

In the far future I would LOVE to see custom Topre become a reality. I took a chance on it and bought a FC660C blind, and it quickly became my favorite board. I would like to see more Topre keycaps, or maybe finally have a good mass produced MX slider.
For keycaps I would like to see sets that are bolder, though I knoe they tend to not sell well due to their polarizing nature; but how many more versions of Dolch or Muted do we need?

My favorite thing I have seen happen in the community is also, oddly enough the worst: the reaction to the first generation of Box Switches. Some people got VERY upset and angry - burn down the village and come at Frankenstein’s Monster with pitchforks angry; not doing anything constructive. Other people realized that this was a learning experience, looking into what was causing the problem, how and why it happened. So many people came together with measurements and observations, methods of trying to fix caps, and letting the vendors know what we found so they could try and come up with a solution. The specter of the Box is still overhead, and we are all waiting to see what happens with them, but we should not be eager to kill off this design, when we don’t even have a complete grasp on the extremely multivariate problem at hand.

My most memorable experience? After I built my first keyboard, a Planck with Speed Bronze, I took it with me on a trip home to visit the folks. My mother is a very competent typist, been working with computers for over 40 years, and was very excited to try it. She hated the layout. But she asked me to build her a board that she could use at work (with quieter switches) because she loved how the board felt. I was proud of what I had made.


#3

Had been familiar for a while but never owned. Bought a TKL with a new pc a few years ago. It was not good for the money and didn’t last long at all, enjoyed the smaller form factor and my typing experience though. Led me to start doing some research, lots of YouTube, and learning from a well informed person. I enjoy the details that come together to make something you like and enjoy. I also just simply enjoy typing on a mechanical board.

My favorite aspects are customization and theme-ing. Started long ago with stuff like skinning Windows, mIRC, Winamp (making visuals too), to my first Android. I used to upload screen-shots of my desktop and phone on deviantART. I also enjoy collecting things, like art, toys, and now keyboards. I really enjoy the community factor of keebs, the willingness to share information and opinions.

Very much looking forward to a KBD75, Tealios, GMK stabs and some JTK sets. Will be first custom. It’s a slow grind up for me.

Later on I’d like to build some better quality boards and try out different switches. Getting to know, learn, see and experience more. I want to try out some more form factors, some different key profiles, and a GMK set. I’d like to have a few different boards for people to try out and enjoy. I also look forward to learning how to justify this new expenditure.

From my little experience so far, I’d have to say my favorite thing is, getting to be a part of the logo competition going on at the moment, and exchanging ideas with some of the creators I look up to, is ridiculously cool.

Encouraging a few friends to start their own keeb journeys, feels damn good! When they get their new board and talk to you after a few days of using it, and how drastically different and better their typing experiences are.

Looking forward to reading some more of these :slight_smile:


#4

My PC broke down because I was using an AIO pump and it just stopped working one day, so I had to replace the entire thing except for the GPU because it was an mATX setup. After my PC is fixed, I thought to myself “Mhmmm, why not upgrade the peripherals as well.” So what I did was I visted r/HardwareSwap to look for a new keyboard. At first it was just all mass consumer products like Corsair, Razer, and Logitech; but I stumbled upon a post that was selling a high end keyboard (can’t remember which one), apparently the owner didn’t know how high end it was either, so one guy in the comment suggested that the seller would have more luck over r/MechMarket. I check that sub out and I was blown away by the variety and quality of custom keyboards. So I started out by getting a K-Type, experimenting with a tons of different switches. Now I am a proud owner of a 55g Norbaforce and Zephyr with Tealios that I love so so much.


#5

I was on reddit for music and gaming and I went to rmk after I spilled some coke on my Quickfire XT.


#6

My older son asked for a mechanical keyboard as a graduation gift. I said, “Ok, what’s that?”

After doing some due diligence, I bought two Ducky Ones, his had the fancy lighting effects, mine didn’t. I was blown away by how much better these boards were compared to what I had been using. I knew that keyboards had turned to crap over the years, but I didn’t know there were viable alternatives.

I think the watershed moment was when I went to my first meetup. The organizer brought a Mech 27, and I looked at it and saw it was obviously very nice. He said, “Go ahead and pick it up.” So I did, and holy crap! Yeah, that’s not gonna budge off the desk no matter how hard I pound on it. There was, like, a machined imprint of a maple leaf on the underside. Nice!

He also had an HHKB with swapped Sony domes off a video editing machine. I knew what I liked as soon as I touched the keys.

There were folks there who had hand wired their crazy boards. Form factors I had never heard of, much less seen. People talking an esoteric language. Artisans up the wazoo. It was almost too much to absorb in a couple of hours. My son and I jabbered excitedly all the way back home in the car.

It’s all been downhill since then. We have ten built boards in the house and several more coming in. My son goes out to the garage almost every day to work on casting caps. I’m not as in to it as he is, but I try to keep up. I’m pretty much content with the solid hunk of aluminum, straight 60% configuration, Box Navies, and /dev/tty caps I have. I’m not into collecting or having one of everything, my goal was to get to the end as soon as I could and I am well pleased with this combination. I have a Model M for reference, and my first board is fine for backup.

I’m into the hobby as much as I am because the people are interesting, the subject is deep, and it gives me something to talk about with my son.

I’ve no idea what the future of the hobby is in general terms or what it will evolve into, but I kind of hope that keyboards will get better, although the trend in prebuilt, heavily advertised boards is flashy hype geared towards gamer boys, I think our little hobby might reach a tipping point and start to influence the mainstream.

I like that vendors are taking risks and pushing the envelope, coming up with boutique switches, case materials, key cap profiles, and form factors. I really like the enthusiasm and good will I see in meetups.

My hope is that people will be able to easily connect with a well-built board that suits their preferences. One that they can reliably use for decades. The angle of entry to this hobby can be kind of steep.


#7

As a former IT worker, I saw very little value in keyboards and would take the dirty/old ones from work home and use them until they broke. Then I’d take another from the pile and move on.

I kind of snapped one day at home wneh I went through 3 boards. Headed down to best buy and ended up with a Razor Blackwidow. Wish I would have known better then, but meh.

I’m loving the variety of switches available now. Even know I have only been in the hobby for a couple of years, the amount of switches available now far exceed what was available then.


#8

I think I was in a party chat or something and I heard my friend say he had gotten a mechanical keyboard. I think it was a razer or something because he was all excited that it clicked and I think he got it from Best Buy. So being who I am I looked it up and proceeded to dive deeper and when I got my gaming laptop I wanted something backlit and FULLSIZE since I was absolutely SURE I needed a numpad so I got a CM Storm QF Pro with MX Browns and white backlighting. I used that baby for 4 years throughout college and it’s now on my dad’s desk and he’s enjoying it now. Once I graduated I treated myself to a Ducky TKL and the rest history…

My favorite aspect of the hobby is that it let’s me use anything from the latest weirdo light up keyboards to the oldest loudest heaviest vintage boards. It’s really the only part of a computer that you can use no matter how modern PC’s can get and it’s so intimate because you touch and use one everytime you turn on a computer.

Right now there are two things I’m really excited for in the near future. One is TYPE-C EVERYTHING and the other is how community members have been really creating their own designs be it switches or full kits. I don’t mind there being a flood of stuff because the more the merrier and the less impressive projects usually don’t make it into full production anyway. This is one of those hobbies where big box companies really don’t matter that much because the community driven parts are head and shoulders better than anything you can buy at a normal electronics store.

Long term I hope that stuff gets more unified as far as where to go to find group buys rather than scurrying 5 different sites to see if anything it new.

Meetups are easily my favorite thing I’ve seen. I met a lot of great people at the Newark NJ meetup and I think our silly hobby really brings us together in a positive way.

The most memorable experience? That’s hard. I think the most memorable RECENT memory I have was bringing my Norbaforce to work for the first time and realizing my work day could be SO much better since I get to look at and feel one of the most prized possessions I own.


#9

I’m still an avid computer gamer and got my first mechanical ages ago, the first edition razer black widow.
Since then I’ve bought several “over the counter” mechanical kbs but I never considered soldering/building my own until I came across a varmilo v87 earlier this year. I was interested in the different keycap combinations offered but I wasn’t satisfied with what I could choose.

So I began looking online for keysets, which lead me to mechanical keyboards subreddit and geekhack. I came across Lastpilot’s LZ S build log on GH… And that was it. I found there was an expression of the overall aesthetic I wanted; both the design of the Korean boards (I’m a kustoms fanboy) and the sound one could achieve through lubing, dampening foam, different plates, etc…

Thus now I have an LZ GH v2 sitting at home (I’m writing this from a duck octagon v2), waiting to be built as soon as I make up my mind if I want to use the lubed and stickered tangerines or the lubed and stickered outemu ice silvers (both of which I spent the past weekend on). And, @Manofinterests, you can guess where one of the sorbothane sheets I ordered is going :slight_smile:


#10

Like a lot of people, I started with a Razer Blackwidow. My best friend convinced me to get one when I was building my first custom PC and fell in love with the clicky switches. After a few years with that I wanted a smaller board for more room for my mouse and got a CM Masterkeys Pro-M for the numpad because apparently I was in dire need of a numpad. I fell for the “gamers need Cherry Red switches.” I was never in love with that board other than the size. Earlier this year my other friend told me about how he built a Tada68 and loved the feel of the switches. I had been subbed to RMK for a while and really just admired the boards from afar, but it wasn’t until I saw Maxkey SA Lime that I told him build me a board. Biggest mistake was not buying a switch tester because that board went through about 4 different switch sets.

My favorite aspect is the keycap designs and the switches. I love that the keycaps are so unique and different and really make a board go from “neat” to an art piece. I also love the way switches feel. I guess it is a sensory and auditory thing but something about that makes it feel and sound so unique.

I am looking forward to my group buys (M0110, Lumina, TR60, Koyu, GMK Olivia) and look to see more unique designs and varied materials used for boards other than aluminum.
Far future would be more stores like KBDFans that stock solid boards and supplies for custom builds.

I love how accepting this community is and how this community is based on preference and most people respect your own decisions. I also love how excited people get for new gear that someone gets. I recently picked up a TX60 and mentioning it, I had people asking for pictures and opinions, having long discussions with people I have never met about a shared interest.

My most memorable experience was typing on My TX60 for the first time with My favorite Keycap set and some of my favorite switches. (TX60 w/ Zealios 78g with GMK Camping)


#11

Do we have to answer all of those? Ugh.

Here’s my dumb origin story: When I was running news on Tom’s Hardware, one of my guys wrote that a new keyboard had X switches, but we found out that he was wrong. So I got in touch with the company. They wouldn’t say what the switches were. But they said they’d send me one so I could see for myself. Mmmmmk. so I said yes.

I got the keyboard, popped off a cap: Ah, they’re Y switches. I updated the article.

Then I figured I’d do a hands on of the thing, because why waste a chance to write about a neat piece of gear. But once I finished it, our Managing Editor said, “This is too close to being a review without being a review.” So I decided we needed a review category for keyboards. And then I built one. And then you know how it goes…once I dug into the forums to learn enough about mechs to write about them and create a review template, I got hopelessly hooked.

And I reject question #2-4, this is not a hobby, it’s a rapidly growing industry! :smiley:

I love seeing the maker types growing from just nerds running GBs to individuals running serious businesses.

My favorite experience was an annual one–my keyboard day at Computex. The rest of the week was me working 20+ hours a day trying to cover all of the enthusiast PC news with my team. But Friday afternoon…that was my keyboard block. I just went to the keyboard wing in one of the main halls and visited everybody. None of my competition was even there. Just me and all the keyboard vendors. I would get enough news and hands-ons and info and video and pictures to for like three months of content, just from those few hours.


#12

Around 2010 I came across an image of a Leopold FC200R and HHKB with blank keycaps and thought “wait, what?” (ie: mind blown.) The FC200R “Otaku” (Blank edition) w/ MX Browns was my first board. I’ve been eating instant ramen since.

You are never alone when you are broke.

KAM Wraith. It looks like it was made just for me. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Kailh switches that don’t run a train on my caps.

KBParadise bailing out the Tao-Hao Alps keyset group buy on MassDrop. I think they purchased at least 200 sets. Whatever your opinion of KBP’s products are they did the community a solid.

Ripster. One of the most hilarious and infectious personalities I’ve come across in this community.


#13

How did you get into Mechanical Keyboards?

I type a lot and am a muscle memory kind of person and apparently use delete, home and end keys all the time. Every time I switched computers (work/home/etc) the keys moved. Even the Esc key would be a little further away on one kb than another and I’d be hitting dead space. It was like typing with one hand tied behind my back. went in search of something that would let me put everything near the home row and discovered the Vortex Pok3r. I ordered an RGB one with Cherry MX Browns on Massdrop and once I had it programmed (similar to a Tex Yoda I layout I fell in love. I now have three of them, 2 RGB, 1 unlit all brown.

What is your favorite aspect about the hobby?

I customize just about everything I own for aesthetics, feel, and performance. So being able to change cases and keycaps (or anything else) is really pleasing to me and fits right in with guitars and cars etc. but much less expensive and I can use it all day, every day.

What are you looking forward to in the near future in this hobby?
What are you looking forward to in the far future of this hobby?

Don’t know, it’s more of a tool for me. Maybe some nice shine through SA Carbon and BT Pok3r. I have some ideas about what I would like to see in a high profile case but otherwise, I’m pretty happy. Also wouldn’t mind a tactile short travel 35g switch but it’s not a necessity.

What is the favorite thing you’ve seen happen in the community?

I love that it’s all so open to interpretation. Some people love the past and want to replicate that, some people are pushing new designs, there’s 40% up to 100% and more, so there is something for everyone. Also, the cost seems very inclusive to me. Yeah, custom things can get expensive but it seems like anyone could get something nice even if they have to save up a couple pay checks.

What’s your most memorable experience involving mechanical keyboards?

I don’t have one but I take one with me everywhere, even job interviews and with prospective clients. It’s always a conversation starter that is universal. Everyone uses a keyboard of some kind.


#14

How did you get into Mechanical Keyboards?

I saw DSA Granite and ordered a set on Massdrop with a Pok3r 60% Keyboard.

What is your favorite aspect about the hobby?

Designing new keyboard things to 3D print. Coming up with a concept and then slowly working to make it into a good, printable design.

What are you looking forward to in the near future in this hobby?

Maybe trying to make my own 60% size PCB for a unique layout I’d like to use, I half-learned Kicad, so I’ll revisit it when I have time.

What are you looking forward to in the far future of this hobby?

More keycap profiles (I know someone is going to figure this out soon, it’s just super expensive and with little room for error). If I can sell enough cases, I want to print at least one resin prototype of my own profile design for fun. Combined with a PCB, it would be nice to design the entire “stack” from case, to PCB, to keycaps.

What is the favorite thing you’ve seen happen in the community?

People who are excited about the design work that goes into creating keyboards. It’s hard to get paid doing any sort of art or design, so it’s nice there is an audience for good design work within the keyboard community.

What’s your most memorable experience involving mechanical keyboards?

Finally getting a 3D printer large enough to do my 60% designs without compromising bezel size.


#15

How did you get into Mechanical Keyboards?
It started when I found a steelseries 7G for sale cheap after my friend kept raving to me about how good it was to type on a mechanical keyboard. I got more interested in the hobby when the same friend bought a Poker 3 and opened my eyes to keyboards that were less than 100% in size. That was when I decided to get myself an AJAZZ AK33 and entered the rabbit hole.

What is your favorite aspect about the hobby?
The amount of customization possible and the amount of work that people put in to their keyboards.

What are you looking forward to in the near future in this hobby?
Finding the keyboard that’s right for me - and I’ve concluded that a 40% HHKB with Topre would be my dream keyboard. Now I’m just waiting for custom Topre keyboards to be a possibility!

What are you looking forward to in the far future of this hobby?
Not sure if it’ll be a possibility, but premium custom keyboards and keycaps of all kinds in stock without having to wait for group buys.

What is the favorite thing you’ve seen happen in the community?
The plethora of awesome keycap sets released ever since I joined the community. Looking forward to receiving Space Cadet next year!

What’s your most memorable experience involving mechanical keyboards?
Lubing my own stabs and experiencing how satisfying they were to use. Experiencing Topre for the first time. Successfully flashing a QMK layout to my keyboard for the first time. Figuring out a perfect 40% layout for myself - pretty much almost all my firsts that I experienced in the hobby!


#16

I’ve been mulling over ordering this. It would look good in photos - so maybe I can justify it to sell some cases? The symbols on the Space Cadet set make it more unique than most SA sets imho and I like retro designs (my Dasher and Dancer SA may be my favorite set, well worth the long wait)


#17

they definitely look awesome, and I wish SA symbiosis was more in my budget but I snagged gmk space cadet earlier this year, now the hard part is just waiting for it to arrive next year :joy:


#18

How did you get into Mechanical Keyboards?

Like a lot of people, I think, I started looking into keyboards once I built my own computer. I was used to laptops, so I started out buying the awful Razer Deathadder because of the chiclet keys. I quickly realized what a waste $50 was on that mushy trash, so I did the good ol’ “wHatS tHe bEsT gAmInG KeYboArD” search. I ended up getting a QFR for browns and a Corsair k65 for reds (both of which I still have - the QFR has been modded to hell and back while the K65 sits in a drawer disassembled). I’m not sure how I found /r/mk after that, but that was the beginning of the end.

What is your favorite aspect about the hobby?

Just the sheer amount of different things you can do to make a keyboard feel unique for your personal preference. Sometimes I want to use a 60% traymount with Fosens, other days a quiet top-mount TKL with lubed linears. There’s always something else to make which keeps me busy and excited.

Also… A E S T H E T I C.

What are you looking forward to in the near future in this hobby?

New switch options. Really excited for a potential new run of Aristotle stems from Paul as well as Cream switches.

What are you looking forward to in the far future of this hobby?

I think we will eventually see an MX footprint switch with a completely new mechanism for tactility. I also expect a lot more play in plate and case materials.

What is the favorite thing you’ve seen happen in the community?

Interest Checks are amazing. It’s a big draw that we get to have input in the development of a product. Even if your opinion isn’t the one chosen, it’s cool to be able to be that involved in the community. Many things are created organically instead of just waiting for the next hype product from a big company.

What’s your most memorable experience involving mechanical keyboards?

Transforming my QFR is something I am really proud of. First I stickerbombed it and then went about revamping it once I got an aluminum case. I completely desoldered it by hand with a pump (a big PITA compared to my FR300 now), replaced the main 60% with Jailhouse Gateron Blues and the rest with vint blacks, vinyl-wrapped the plate, and put in a Frosty Flake controller. I also recently put in orings for shits and gigs. The spacebar also has crazy rattle that I can’t seem to fix. It’s really not even close to being a daily driver for me anymore, but I put in too much elbow grease to ever let it go.


#19

How did you get into Mechanical Keyboards?

I stumbled into the subreddit and was transitioning fro wasting money partying to wasting money on things that I get a lot of use out of. I spend a lot of my time on a computer and got interested in the concept of a customizable keyboard through reddit. At the time, the infinity 60% was dropping on massdrop so I hopped on that. It got extremely delayed. The “you get a gift for your troubles” kind of delayed. It was my first time ever having that kind of wait for a product I already paid for and the suspense was killing me. Thankfully it delivered on being a really enjoyable board, and the build process was extremely satisfying.

What is your favorite aspect about the hobby?

I really like the ability to play with layouts and layers. I find myself using shortcuts I would have never used before because their so accessible now. Having the ability to resolve small hangups I have about my setup through QMK (or occasionally a new board) can often make my day.

What are you looking forward to in the near future in this hobby?

I had recently purchased a flexible PCB from someone on Mech Market with the intention of building a DACTYL and writing a up a review on the process. Really excited to finally add one to my collection. Been eyeing those beauties for a minute, and looking forward to being able to contribute more meaningful content to the community.

What are you looking forward to in the far future of this hobby?

Truly silent but great feeling keys. I type way too often way too late for how noisy most switches are.

What is the favorite thing you’ve seen happen in the community?

Just the group buy / DIY attitude that exists in the space.

What’s your most memorable experience involving mechanical keyboards?

When I first started using a 40% I must have updated the firmware at least 5 times a day slowly tweaking things to make it feel like I wanted. I felt like an artist sculpting marble. The perfect layout was already in the keyboard I just had to find it.


#20

I was getting into PC gaming and I wanted a nice keyboard since at the time I was using a laptop. I bought a Razer Blackwidow Chroma. Remembering that I wanted a “nice” keyboard I sold it and bought a WASD V2 and then shortly after that I bought a Pok3r. Both of those boards have been sold and I currently have 10 keyboards, 8 of which have been built by me.