How do I make a keyboard "thock?"


My brother’s birthday is coming up in about a week, and he has the iLovBee i87 keyboard. He likes it, but he wants a thocky keyboard. I can’t buy him a new one, so how would I mod it to make it thocky/what things do I buy? What key switches/keycaps? I’m kinda lost with all this stuff. I don’t want to spend more than $40 USD. Thanks in advance!


Hello and welcome!

Oh man - the thock word. Fear not - there’s plenty we can do, memes and rabbit-holes aside.

Good news is that keyboard is hot-swap, so modding or changing the switches won’t require de-soldering.

Middling news is that the case is likely held together with clips, so the otherwise cheapest / easiest mod might be challenging to execute depending on your comfort and experience with pry tools. I’ll put it this way; if you can open a modern console controller, you can open this thing, and the same tools are helpful in the process.

This video is probably the best crash-course on THAWCK at the moment:

Beyond that, I’ve got some general bits of guidance about chasing the t-word starting from zero - plenty of stuff from the video above is down there if you just want a bulleted list (links are YouTube videos if you want to dig deeper into granular topics):

  • Generally “thock” means deeper sound compared to the baseline of standard linears like the “reds” that probably came with that keyboard

  • Specifically it’s an onomatopoeia that describes the sound of collapsing capacitive rubber dome keyboards like these, but has since come to describe deeper keeb sounds in general

  • One of the cheapest and most effective mods to push just about any given mechanical keyboard in the direction of that sound is the tape mod - essentially putting a layer of masking tape on the back-side of the PCB

  • Generally, plastic cases are easier to get the t-sound from (this is good for our purposes here), and so are cases with lots of room in them (this isn’t)

  • Filling empty space with sound-deadening materials like polyfill or foam can especially curb high-frequency sounds, helping the keyboard sound deeper overall

  • You can get a deeper sound with tall keycaps like SA, MT3, MG, and other high profiles, but those tend to be a little more expensive

  • Lubing the existing switches can deepen the sound,

  • as can replacing them with any number of popular pre-lubed ones including but not limited to Oil Kings, Ink Blacks, North Poles, and Black Sesames - these are all switches of a familiar style to the generic Reds that keyboard usually ships with, but will all have a comparatively deeper sound, all other things being equal. Deep sounding switches do tend to cost more, too - but you can get some 205g0 grease and a brush for pretty cheap - biggest cost is patience, there.

  • Alternatively, dampened switches tend to have deeper sounds, closer to those that “thock” originally came about to describe - switches like these aren’t as loud and feel more soft compared to what the i87 has now, but they sound and feel more like capacitive dome switches (that themselves aren’t available for that particular keyboard)

There’s some other stuff one can do to chase thock like using a POM or PC plate, but none of it would apply to the keeb you’re working with. Feel free to hit me with any specific questions you might have now, or that may come up later. Cheers!


Buy a stock HHKB. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand, you’re done.


What would be the best option for around $40 USD? I am willing to do modding and other things, I just need your top 1 suggestion to get for my brother’s birthday. I also don’t know what foam would be good, or what kind of tape, and I need a suggestion for key switches on Amazon because my parents won’t let me get them from other places :sob:. Anything will help, just I need a definite suggestion as I don’t have a lot of time.


EDIT: I’m an idiot who didn’t go re-read the original post stating the brother already has the board. Oh well, I’ll leave my comment up.


You want us to do your homework for you, lol? Okay, here you go:

One stop shopping? Just get this. It’s your only hope. Might not thock, but good bones to build on.

But do you want to “custom” on the truly cheap? Let’s see what we can do.

  • Nobody should assume a person doesn’t want arrow keys. Let them decide that for themselves. Magegee is a value brand that does plastic plates and cases. They’re cheap but in a yes no sense, they generally work fine. $25 Warehouse deals. Live with the yellow switches. Sometimes Magegees are unadvertised “Outemu” hotswap, but that’s got to wait.
  • Masking tape is the right tape to use. Nothing else, and if you somehow pull off wireless, just skip the tape mod. Don’t want to go mucking around with a “cheap as possible” li-po battery. Hopefully you have some lying around, but just get 3M blue painters tape from Walmart if you have to. Hopefully $0. Maybe $5. SPend your own money if you have to.
  • So you’re left with keycaps. You need thick PBT, well lucky you, thick AF cheap PBT keycaps are totally a thing, as long as you stick with dye-sub XDA profile. Here’s a fairly inoffensive set for $13. You can find as low as a $10 for a full set, but design options get absurdly limited and if you stray from XDA (which are cheap in part because they’re easy to manufacture), you start risking wall thickness and even physical build quality.
  • If you literally cannot exceed $40, scrounge some foam from an old shipping box, or find some craft foam at Dollar Tree, or even cut up an old Tshirt or pillow (see the Hipyo Tech vid above for the “poly fill” mod). If you can, get 4mm EVA foam. Probably not the best, but you’re still on a budget here. Anything will help. $11

Understood! Here’s my honest recommendation in-context of the existing keyboard:

  • Get one of these kits to make opening the board much easier; it has screwdrivers, torx bits, and pry tools - the latter are especially helpful with opening plastic prebuilt keyboards like your brother’s. The linked one is $10, but there are a bunch of different ones that have more or less tools at different prices.

  • The main mod I’d recommend is the tape mod - once you have the case open, unscrew the circuit board and apply some masking tape to the back of it - this has a surprising impact on the sound. You can use just about any tape or even non-adhesive stuff like Keebtape which won’t leave stuff behind if you ever remove it. Personally I use wide rolls of masking tape for transfer graphics because I already have some, but most people just use regular masking tape. The specialized stuff is also about $10, which is actually less than a roll of the wide masking tape from most places. :stuck_out_tongue:

  • Space bar foam can also help - it’s around $5 for a few little adhesive bits, but it can make a decent difference for the loudest, most frequently used key on the board

  • As for case foam, there are tons of things you can use but “polyfill” or pillow stuffing might be one of the easiest things to work with because it’s so soft. The idea is to fill the air-space without putting pressure on the components inside - you can go pretty light with the stuff and still get a nice result. You can find it at local craft stores or all over the internet.

  • Next would be lubing the switches. This is more time-consuming than the other mods, but can make a huge difference depending on what you’re starting with and what you use.

    In all likelihood, that keyboard has some random linear switches with very minimal oil from the factory. This stuff is usually OK to lube over, but you’ll get more consistent results if you clean it off first - either with a microfiber cloth (not a paper towel) or with a sonic jewelry cleaner. If anyone in your life has a jewelry collection, they may own one of these inexpensive devices. Either way, there are a variety of oils and greases you can use that will give much more pleasant results than what the switches came with.

    For the THOCK sound, I recommend thicker stuff, but not too thick: specifically, either 205g0 grease or 206 oil. I think the oil is probably easier for a beginner to work with, but also more susceptible to being pushed away by potentially incompatible factory lube remnants. I have so far gotten the deepest sounds using the 206 oil, but 205g0 grease is the overwhelming community favorite switch lube. Tons of vendors sell both - I find syringes or pipettes easiest to work with but the grease most often comes in little tubs, and in either case I recommend getting a couple little paintbrushes. They don’t have to be fancy ones, but maybe not the super-cheap ones that come loaded with glue.

    This video is one of many great guides for lubing switches.

  • One more above-and-beyond mod that may or may not benefit this keyboard depending on how the case is put together; a thin layer of tape on the contact surfaces between the halves. For a keyboard like that, it can curb rattle and squeak from the plastic parts. How useful / easy this mod is will depend on the seams, how hidden they are, how much contact area there is, etc.

I think any two of these will make a significant difference, and doing them all should really transform the keyboard. Feel free to hit me with any questions that might come up.


I already have one of those kits, I just can’t figure out how to open the keyboard lmao. Would amazon. com/dp/B09R1DWDDS/ work for spacebar foam? From what I’m hearing, it sounds like the best improvement per effort is to do the spacebar foam and replace the key switches along with the keycaps. I’ll probably buy the foam and the key switches, but what switches would work well? It came with linear red switches. They are barely lubed and kind of scratch

Yeah, that foam would totally work.

There are probably clips around the edge of the keyboard but you kind of have to feel around for them, and they can be fragile, so I wouldn’t blame you if you skip any mods that involve opening it.

All the deep-sounding pre-lubed switches I know will cost more than your budget by about 20 bucks - but you can deepen the sound and improve the scratchy feel of those reds if you lube them yourself. You can usually get good lube and a brush for $10-15, maybe another $5-10 for a decent switch opener.

If you want to save yourself that effort and splurge on the nice switches, I’d say Invokeys’ Black Sesame or Gateron New North Pole 2.0 are some great deep, smooth options that don’t require any effort.

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This is the one he has: com/iLovBee-i87-Mechanical-Swappable-Ergonomic/dp/B0BMP73L3D. It is clip-on and has some foam under the switches. I can’t figure out how to get it open though. I have the same keyboard. Can you recommend some that will at least make it more thocky? It doesn’t have to be super thocky, I only have $40 to spend. $30 if I get the spacebar foam. Just ones that will help that are on Amazon and I can get for this price. Sorry it’s so specific lol

I’m gonna buy these probably: com/Kailh-Black-Mechanical-Keyboard-Switches/dp/B07886LFGR