Hello Keeb community within the last year I have delved deeper into this hobby. With a lot of love and passion for, most of what comes with making keyboards. One thing I have yet to make peace with is the group buy process. I under it and use it myself because I have no choice. While it allows us to have a lot of experimental products for relatively cheap sometimes I wish there was a keeb company just ready to pop us out our desires within a week or two max. Anyone know of any dank companies constantly releasing new products on not a group buy platform I want to get involved!
I think you already answered your own question as to why but I understand your desire for in-stock options. As you probably realized already, anything in-stock is going to be fairly generic or try to have wider appeal. Companies can’t just front the cash for more unique designs that might not sell.
The closest thing I can think of at the moment is the custom printing service that WASD offers; you can upload an image and they’ll dye-sub it onto the top surface of some PBT keycaps for you.
I can’t think of any quickly-iterating companies, at least not on the scale of a couple weeks - @cijanzen hit the crux; it’s just not profitable or even sustainable - hence the advent of group-buys.
Side note: There’s a guy going by the moniker Gazzew who is technically considered a bulk distributor for Outemu - he’s been pretty rapidly iterating on a few switch designs, and he’s very responsive to community feedback with his adjustments. Well - rapid compared to what’s normal, anyway - definitely on the scale of months as opposed to weeks. With a few exceptions, you pretty much have to contact him directly (u/hbheroinbob on reddit) to snag his bespoke goodies. If you’re into silent switches, his are about as quiet as they get.
Not to play the Devil’s advocate, but I think the time and patience to attain your new keyboard parts is part of the fun of this hobby. It builds up a lot of excitement for yourself knowing that you’ve participated in an eccentric keyboard part whether it’s a case, keycap set, or even switches sometimes.
By contrast, the instantaneous satisfaction you get from clicking ‘Buy’ on a ubiquitous product such as a mainstream keycap set to have it arrive at your door within three working days, it feels in comparison very empty once you have your item. The fact that you yourself are part of many who chose the same product at different times detracts from the uniqueness of the product too.
Group buys are a fun, community-driven activity, and while the time to wait can be quite the bore, it’s the experience and involvement for group buys are for.
I think that Group Buys are backbone of this hobby. We’ll unravel without them.
Perhaps a symbiotic middle ground would be for mech vendors to start financing historically successful GB designers/runners. Like when a “boutique” product ends up being sold in huge retail stores. Something similar to Burt’s Bees. It’s the same great product I’ve used forever, just now made by Clorox
The hobby is slowly moving towards higher quality board kits being available semi-regularly. Like Project KB with the Sirus & Cannon Keys with the Brutal60, Savage65, & 1800 layout board of the same family. Although I think the highest end & limited availability kits will always be sold through public/private GBs. It’s just too entrenched into the hobby & kinda like a right of passage almost IMHO. Patience has been something you’ve had to have to get into this hobby since it began TBH, so don’t feel to bad. About the only major difference between now & say 2 yrs. ago before the hobby really started picking up steam is the availability of mass produced low to mid end products for building keebs. High end KB kits, keycap sets, boutique switches, etc. have always been bought through GBs with a couple month wait to get your item at the least.
The other thing to think about too is after picking up some parts & getting a couple builds under your belt FOMO will be diminished. Also you’ll slowly start getting a stockpile of parts to fall back on when things are hard to get like right now. It kinda sucks, but newcomers are the ones most affected by the part shortage. I can say this much though, while it might feel like you’ll never get the parts you want. If you just keep on checking the places to get them, you’ll eventually get what you want & the wait will be worth the while after you’re typing on a board you built & tuned yourself!
Words of wisdom. Full stop.
It’s definitely true. After building a few and getting a good idea what I like I am waaaay more selective and don’t really care about missing on most boards anymore. @Rob27shred is always up in here dispensing the wisdom
eventually you get to the point of designing and manufacturing your own endgame, then it’s really easy to ignore other group buys XD
I think FOMO is driving force of a lot of group buy purchases, when you don’t know what you want… I left the Keeb world, from 2015-2019, because I couldn’t take all of the ooh shiny. but now that I’ve come back, and found the Keeb for me, I really don’t feel the need to purchase anything. If I do make a purchase, it’s going to be a newer / better version, of the Keeb, that I’m using now or keycaps, to replace the current keycaps, if they get shineyer, then I like.
I’ve been in the keyboard game since May 2019 (so about a year and a couple months) and I have four keyboards plus some spare parts (especially switches) notched onto my belt, FOMO played a big part in why I own such a wide range of switches since I wanted to try all of them. It helped that they were all readily-available from the likes of KBDfans, NovelKeys, mykeyboard etc. so no worries there.
I have plenty of toys to play with where I don’t find myself wanting to jump onto a GB the moment one pops up.
Is a year young enough to be considered not a newcomer?