I feel completely overwhelmed trying to enter the hobby

There’s so many things to learn that I don’t even know where to start. I’m currently using a cheap Redragon with Outemu browns. Even this cheap keyboard is WAY more confortable than any rubber membrane keyboard I ever used.

I just want a north… a path to follow. I feel completely lost. Thank you for the help everyone


Well, let’s start with what you do like so far, and what you want to do! Do you want to get a higher-end prebuilt, or do you want to build something new, with or without soldering? Since you’re new to the hobby, I’d suggest getting a hotswappable keyboard, something like the Blackhawk from Flashquark, and try out different switches and keycaps until you think you’ve got a better grasp on things!


My keyboard is already hotswappable. I tried some diffent collor switches that came with the keeb to test. I already know the difference between the basic switches and ABS x PBT keycaps.

perhaps I could start with some modding

It’s admittedly a bit challenging because there are so many pathways in this community. The good news is you can usually recoup most of your costs if something doesn’t work out.
Like @Lesbian said, I’d think about what you’re enjoying and also what is piquing you’re interest. Try and find something that covers both territories and you’ll probably enjoy whatever that may be. If not, sell it and move on!

We’re here to answer questions along the way.


I’m thinking about some kind of mod. Just to get my feet wet

People have modded their cheap RedDragon, usually by coating the case in something to change the colour, and then replacing the keycaps to match.

If you look up RedDragon case color mods, you might find something.

Some people have even removed the badge logo on the Redragon, as they find it unsightly, and removing it provides a cleaner look.

I don’t think you’ve exhausted hotswap yet. I’m not sure OUTEMU hotswaps allow you to test switches beyond OUTEMU. There’s a whole world out there.

I think the next step is to try custom switches, of whatever type. If your Reddragon allows it, so much the better. Otherwise, get a GMMK or other cheap hotswap keyboard like maybe a Rakk Lam Ang Pro. You can get a switch opener and start modding. Testing your own switch mods will save you so much trouble in the long run.


You’re right. The pins of Outemu’s are thinner compared to Cherry’s. I’m not sure about other switch brands though


Yeah, I remember reading as much about the hotswap pins.

I have one of the earlier Redragons, the K552 or something. It’s a fine keyboard for $35 CAD, but it wasn’t one of the models that had hotswap yet.

Those that do tend to be restricted to OUTEMU switches.

There are many switches out there that many consider to be much higher quality than most OUTEMU switches. In order to test them, you’ll want some kind of hotswap keyboard.

Do you know what kind of switch type you like? That’s really the most important question, aside from layout. Things like plates and stabilizer choices are secondary in importance to switch type. You can learn more about that by testing them.

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Outemu’s hotswap sockets primarily only fit Outemu switches, but Kailh hotswap switches fit most (if not all) MX switches including Outemu ones; getting a hotswap board with those would open a lot of potential to try out tons of different switches.

If you get a new board to replace your current one, try finding one with Kailh hotswap sockets and 5-pin compatibility; you’ll be saving a bunch of time (and preventing some loss of resale value) not having to clip legs off switches.


They sent 8 spare switches. 2 of each color. I’m currently using the different ones in some keys.

Reds: Right Ctrl and Right Alt
Blacks: Shift and Caps Lock (I use capslock as my push to talk key)
Blues: Enter Keys. I like the idea of the sound to confirm the enter key.

I type a lot, so I think tactiles are the way to go in the alphanumeric + punctuation keys. At the same time, I see no reason for tactile bump on keys that you must keep pressed to use (deadkeys).

I heard that mixing switch types is heresy among hobbyists. If it is true, I apologize because I have sinned.

Like almost everything else here it all really comes down to personal preference, for a while it was pretty trendy to use heavier switches on the mods, but not a lot of people really do that anymore


My advice is to start by focusing on what’s wrong with what you have. Dissatisfaction will lead you to the trouble you seek.

More seriously, this hobby is not really about keyboards but about the community. Just reading about what others are saying and doing will make you excited and obsess over things that outsiders find boring and pointless. So just hang around and engage the community and your path will appear.


I find this to be a beginner friendly guide: https://keyboard.university


Mixing different classes of switches is not common, but it is done.

One thing that is more common is mixing different weights of the same switch. Like having MX Clears, but with heavier/lighter springs on the modifiers.

Or mixing different, but similar tactiles. I have a keyboard that mixes Kailh Pro Purples and Speed Coppers, depending on the area of the keyboard. [Those two you might want to try after OUTEMU Browns].

Sometimes, people have keyboards full of Ergo Clears or MX Clears, but use an MX Brown for the spacebar, because it is similar-weighted but will rebound more readily [and sounds good].

So the whole ‘all switches must be one type’ thing is more of a factory thing, as it is easier for assembly lines to deal with.

Putting radically different switch types on a keyboard is more unusual, but there are people who like to do that. Sometimes, people use hard-to-press switches like BOX Navies for the keys they don’t want to actuate accidentally [like Scroll Lock or maybe the F-keys]. Clickies are often used on important, but less-pressed switches where people want a more ‘positive’ actuation.

Sometimes, people use an entirely different switch on the numpad of their full-size keyboard [often clicky.]

But I agree with donpark, who said that your keyboard explorations should follow from some kind of need.

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Honestly I think like most people are saying the first step would be to identify your switch preferences. Clicky, tactile, & linear are all you need to choose from in the first place. Once you get that picked out I highly suggest getting some type of hotswap board. Most recommend prebuilts, I personally recommend getting a good HS 60% PCB like Canonkeys Instant60, a universal 60% plate in the material you’d think you’d like best, & a decent tray mount case like a Tofu. With that you can easily experiment with any switch & any plate material you’d like to try. Also you can very easily experiment with lubing switches & stabs with hotswap as well.

From there if you find yourself wanting more & to get into higher end customs. Hanging around sites like here & GH will keep you informed on what boards & keysets are coming up, what is currently in GB, & what other enthusiasts opinions are on them. You’ll most likely quickly find a board you gotta have & end up in it’s GB for your first high end custom if you get to that point.

Also the wikis of all the MKB sites are great place to read more about everything MKB related. Deskthority would be my favorite wiki, but GeekHack’s & r/mechanicalkeyboards wikis are very good too. Then there is plenty of people who do switch reviews, board reviews, & IC/GB news either in text on their personal sites, youtube videos, & twitch streams. Another really way to learn about building is watching the well know KB build streamers on twitch. Like Lightning Keyboards, Top Clack, Taeha Types, Apiary, Alexotos, MaxF, & plenty of others.

The last two pieces of advice I have is to always ask someone who has more experience than you if you are stuck on something or don’t understand something. The community here is very friendly & always willing to help. Then start small, nice budget builds (like Tofus) are the easiest & quickest way to hone in on your preferences. No point buying a KeyCult if you have no idea what you would like in it. That’s a recipe for disaster IMHO. All that will get you is very pretty board you really don’t like to use & have to tear back apart to rebuild risking possible damage during the desoldering.

Anyways sorry for the wall of & I hope it helps you put the hobby into perspective a little more! I also hope to see you around here in the future! Good luck on getting more into the hobby! :smiley:


I couldn’t agree more. The desire to alleviate pain or discomfort drove most of my early keyboard interest. Either I was bottoming out too hard or the switch was too heavy or the board was at an uncomfortable typing angle… The dissatisfaction from any of those things leads to modding and ultimately a board that suits you better! And you learn along the way and just enjoy the process!


I had drafted response, got busy, and before I come back to finish there were 16 responses. Needless to say, folks here are a great help. Welcome to the hobby!


Welcome. I don’t want to overwhelm you (a lot of the advice here already is better than I can give)

Switches is a good place to start. Gazzew switches are compatible with Outemu hotswap sockets. They are like an upgrade over standard Outemu switches. They are sold various place but the designer also sells directly on Reddit https://www.reddit.com/user/hbheroinbob/ (which I know sounds suspicious but it is legitimate and you can buy a handful to try out).

There probably is or should be a whole topic devoted to “patience” in the hobby. Usually keyboard stuff takes a while to receive. Then you try out something and you might not like it for a while but you have to give something a chance to see if that holds after a day or 2. It can be overwhelming but the journey is highly personal and people can take it as far or as little as they want.


I really appreciate your help. Thank you :slight_smile:

I think its too early to jump in to a 60% layout. I could see myself with a TKL or … idk… the ones that look like a 60% but with the arrow keys and the keys above them squeezed together in one single colum. I’m not ready to ditch the arrow keys. One step at a time. I’m looking at the Cannon Keys catalog now. Do you have another pcb that you recommend? Thanks again bro :slight_smile:

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I hear you, it is a leap from TKL or Fullsized down to 60%, the NK65 entry edition would be a good starter board that’ll fit your needs & is pretty afforable (they also have pre orders live for the NK87 but just the metal ones & they’re close to $300). Then the Idobao75 is another one that could fit your needs pretty good. The TKC Portico is another one to look for when the restock. There is a bunch of HS 65% & 75% boards out there. The reason I didn’t recommend any of them though is because most of them do not have aftermarket plates available in different materials. They’re pretty much a you get what get type deal. Great for switch testing though so I would say to go for something along those lines if you want a layout bigger than 60.

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