Joint Input Club & Kono Store Statement — Box Switches & Aftermarket ABS Keycaps

Joint Input Club & Kono Store Statement — Box Switches & Aftermarket ABS Keycaps:

It has been brought to our attention that certain keycap sets, particularly those from GMK, can experience cracking / stretching when mounted on Box switches. It is important to note that, at this point, the precise cause is unknown. Kaihua is already changing Box switches’ cruciform stem size to match their Speed switches. Input Club and Kono Store are doing some additional analysis — it will take us some time to gather data due to the variables that are involved. Once we account for everything, we’ll decide what further actions need to be taken (if any).

Box switch cruciform mount thickness

Box switch cruciform mounts are thicker than other switches’ (ex. Kaihua Speed) in certain areas. We do not know if this is the reason keycaps are cracking or stretching — it is likely not the sole cause. The difference in thickness between Cherry stems (1.27 mm) and Box stems (1.32mm) is small (0.05 mm).

Kaihua is reducing the cruciform mount’s X axis dimensions to 1.3 mm from 1.32 mm in all Box switch molds, which may or may not affect what is happening. We’re advising them on the process — further dimensional changes may be recommended.

Aftermarket ABS keycap set mount dimensions and tolerances (GMK, SP, etc.)

ABS has varying degrees of flexibility / brittleness. We do not know the exact plastics, tolerances, or manufacturing sizes of keycaps made by vendors at this time.

We will request current mount dimensions and tolerances from all major aftermarket keycap manufacturers. ABS is widely known for its inability to maintain a tight tolerance during manufacturing so wide variations may be present in their product lines.

PBT & other plastics

PBT and POM sets appear to be unaffected by cracking, but a few reports of stretching have surfaced.

Box switches will still be available in our products and DIY packs. A compatibility note will be present wherever they are sold.

The stretching does not appear to affect WhiteFox / NightFox / Kira keycaps (which use the same molds). Testing information can be found in a post below.

Kira backers can change to switchless kits or non-Box switches by contacting — replies may be slow. We are catching up from our latest international trip to finish Kira.


With regards to the Kira specifically, is this likely to affect the keycaps the board actually ships with, or other offerings from the Kono store-front (e.g. DSA Groove)?

Also, when y’all refer to BOX switches, do you mean solely those with “Box,” in the title, or any with the small plastic box around the stem?

Thank you in advance, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

They are referring to box switches that have the small plastic box around the stem. Usually they have the moniker “box” in front of their name a la Box Red switches, although not always like with Hako True. More information and data can be found here:

Unfortunately I can’t answer for them in regards to the Kira or other keycaps they offer.

Thank you for the heads up. I opted for the Hako Clears for my Kira, so I am now a touch concerned as to what keycaps I can actually put on the darn thing. Time for more research, I suppose…

I just tested some Kickstarter WhiteFoxes and a WhiteFox from the most recent production run to see if our stock PBT keycaps stretch over time on Box switches.

• Remove keycaps from Hako True WhiteFoxes (which had keycaps on since production — several months)
• Place on Cherry MX Clear WhiteFox
• Check for tightness
• Also test on new-tooling Cherry MX Brown switch

The keycaps from both Hako True keyboards were anchored solidly on the MX Clear WhiteFox. They also fit the MX Brown switch properly.

We didn’t observe any stretching issues with WhiteFox keycaps in our on-site samples. Kira uses the same molds, so you can swap Kira keycaps from Box switches to Cherry switches (or any other variant) without issues. That means Kira’s core hot-swap functionality is intact with its stock keycaps.

I do not have a DSA Groove set on hand to test, so I can’t provide data on that yet.

Is the Kira going to ship with switches with the new dimensions? With 6 of the 9 options being box switches we don’t have many options to change to. I’d prefer to stay with box royals if they get the new stems.

It won’t ship with the new switches. We would need to delay Kira production significantly to make that happen, so we’re continuing with the Box switches that are stocked and ready for use.

Backers can to swap over to kits (which only require switch / keycap installation) and the few non-Box options if aftermarket caps are on their radar. Contact to change your order.

Understandable. Appreciate the response!

@ohaimark I am a kickstarter backer of the Kira and I’m super excited about getting my Kira. I was on your mailing list for over a year waiting for it =) However I’m somewhat frustrated with this response that you will not allow backers to delay shipment of their Kira in order to get the new resized 1.3 mm x-axis Box switches. Why can’t you give us the option of waiting if we want to? I would be ok with waiting for several more months if it meant that I didn’t have to worry about the box switches stretching out my GMK caps.

I understand you have stock on hand that you want to use but it feels kinda… wrong to just continue to ship them in this situation. A “disclaimer” may suffice when that information is available to me as a buyer before I choose the product, but it doesn’t really help when I’ve already chosen and made my order. Your kickstarter offered 9 switches of which now we’re told 66% can damage our keycaps. So either I go back and change my order to one of the 3 other non-box switches none of which interest me or gamble on the Box switches you have in stock.

Is there anyway we could please wait for the new stock to come in if we’d prefer that?

There is no way for us to wait — with keyboard production at this scale, the delays (or split production) would turn the project into a logistical nightmare. It’s a less than ideal situation for everyone involved.

A ton of people would be angry about a delay, as plenty of backers don’t have plans to change the caps and just want a finished product. A ton of people will be angry about us moving forward with the project as-is. It’s a no-win scenario for us.

We’re choosing to shoot for our October ship date. Four alternatives to Box switches (MX Blue, MX Brown, Kaihua Copper, Kit [-$10]) are available. You can also cancel your Kira for a full refund. While those alternatives aren’t ideal, they are fair.

It’s possible to recoup additional value by ordering one of the MX versions and hocking the switches online. Bulk discounts are the only reason we can offer such great prices on switches — kits really do cost us about $10 less to make once the switches and additional SKU costs are accounted for.

By delivering Kira on time, it’s possible for you to get updated Box switches in a keyboard with less delay. NovelKeys will stock the updated switches ASAP, and we’re delivering Kira ASAP, so there are time savings on both ends if you order switches from him.


Bought a WhiteFox from the Kickstarter for my wife - with Hako Trues - so I guess we can’t swap keycaps on that easily in the future due to this issues.

Have an Aluminum Kira order, which I intended to use for myself.

I want Hako Clears on my board, but I don’t want to have to worry about swapping keycaps in the future (already super annoying to have to worry about that with the WhiteFox - no swappable switches there either) nor do I think that is something I should be dealing with a on a $259 purchase.

So the only option that I get from you guys is…I can get some other switches that I don’t want and order the ‘fixed’ switches that I want later on for more $$$ (and try to sell a set of switches), or buy an empty board and get the switches I want later on for extra $$$ since a set of switches will surely cost more than $10.

How about instead - an empty board for -$10 now, and a coupon to buy a set of fixed box switches for $10 later since you can apparently purchase switch sets in bulk for $10?

Also - Guess what - geometric dimensions and tolerancing of mating parts matters…just like having clearly documented and reviewed legal agreements for your intellectual property matters…

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I was thinking of changing but the keycaps on the Nightfox suit the board so well.

This is not the fault of Kono or Input Club. While the whole situation sucks, we can’t lay the blame on them for the inconvenience.


Analogy time – Auto manufacturer takes preorders on a car they announced. Halfway through production they discover that a part they’ve outsourced from a different company causes the gearbox to stop working within a year. They announce the issue they’ve found and say:

“We’re not going to make any changes. It’s not our fault. We didn’t make the part causing the issue. If you don’t like it, cancel your order. Or we can put in a different company’s part that will change the way your car drives. Either way, we’re not going to delay delivery and fix this properly because some people want their cars now.”

How would this come across? Is this attitude towards customers okay? Does it tell the customer they are important to the company? To me it comes across as the company saying “We’re not going to deal with this cause…. we don’t want to.” It says we’re interested in your money and not really your satisfaction.
If I weren’t so excited about the actual Kira keyboard, I would cancel. As it stands, I won’t be canceling because I want the product. Sadly, I think Input.Club know they have a desired product and therefore don’t have to change their position to protect their sales.


Something to consider here is that the PBT caps that come with the Kira should have no issue with the included Box switches. It’s implied when you buy the kit that you’re buying the switches and caps to be used with one another in the kit, so if those components work together then they technically have no issue with them and from a “product responsibility” aspect don’t have to be responsible for it.

A closer analogy would perhaps be the hubs on the car. Say they find out that the hubs have a slightly off lug spacing. The lugs still line up with the included wheels on the car, but finding aftermarket wheels that fit without issue may be difficult/impossible. It’s not really the responsibility of the manufacturer to support the aftermarket, all they’re responsible for is everything working stock as it comes from them to the buyer.

Here it’s kinda the same case, but also different. As a manufacturer/seller of a product, they’re not really technically responsible for making sure its components are completely aftermarket compatible. Now, considering that the product was advertised as being heavily “aftermarket” open, this does affect things, as well as the community aspect of it. The fact is that logistics do pay a heavy part in the GB and trying to delay only some of the orders could turn into a sandwich in the gutter.

Offering switch changes is a good solution, imo, to try and work this out, especially the option to just ditch switches entirely. Is it perfect for everyone? No, but it’s impossible to do what everyone thinks is the best, so they’re trying to work shit out best they can with what they’ve got to work with.


If we continue with that analogy - a car manufacture tests its parts and finds that things work well with all of its original parts, and that modification may result in damage. That’s what we are looking at here if the stock caps function as designed on any/all of the switches included as options. Anything outside of the standard configuration may not work 100% of the time.

@donutcat said basically the same thing in a much better way seconds before I did

Two things:

  1. We don’t know if their stock caps are or are not affected.

Nothing about that sounds definitive to me. Additionally, it’s taken some time for the issue affecting keycaps to materialize, so in truth we don’t know how it will affect the stock caps they are sending with the board.

  1. They marketed and sold this as an enthusiast keyboard for keyboard enthusiasts, to a community which is known for its proclivity to switch out caps… I don’t think the aftermarket/stock argument is fair. It goes without saying that enthusiasts expect to be able to switch out keycaps. To not be able to goes against the “spirit” of the product.

I agree that logistics must figure into this discussion If they won’t delay, then fine I’ll have to eat the costs of rebuying the version two box switches. As I said, I won’t be canceling. I just think a better solution can be found than “deal with it.”

We’re well aware. This also caught NovelKeys and Kaihua off guard. Mounts are simply not something that anyone in the keyboard industry has worried about before, especially when the differences involved are smaller than a human hair. We didn’t second guess Kaihua’s mount design while making Hakos.

We’re rather confident that the stock keycaps are not affected. After testing new and old WhiteFox production runs with Hako (Box) switches, both of which had keycaps on for months, it’s pretty clear that our stock caps are fine. They sit solidly on Cherry MX Clear switches after all that time. Most of the loose caps shown in videos were on keyboards for a couple of weeks — not months — so our caps would have displayed symptoms if any were going to crop up.

People are satisfied by different things — we had to find a middle ground. Some want a keyboard on the original schedule. Some want a keyboard with updated switches. Waiting for updated switches would break the original schedule badly, but offering a change to other switch options (new MX Browns cost ~$0.55 per unit in 100 count quantities — you could easily sell 100 for $30) and a no-switches version provides a reasonable middle ground. Kira is hot-swap, after all.

Buying updated Box switches from Mike (NovelKeys) once your Kira is delivered gets them into your keyboard faster than we could by delaying the whole project. And, at the same time, we please the people who want things done on time.

Are we happy? No. Do we want to please everyone? Yes. The grim reality is that we can’t.

We’re not preventing you from swapping caps or switches. We’ve done our due diligence by notifying the community, offering refunds, and offering alternatives. There’s very little we can do to sweeten the deal when we’re being blindsided by this too.

I’ll ask the team about something like that. It might be a while before the updated switches arrive, though.

Also, we aren’t necessarily buying 100 switches for $10. Our deals are sweet, but not nearly that sweet. We have to pay for warehousing, a separate factory output step, and different labeling for each Kira variant. The kit sold substantially fewer units than the preassembled variants, so those costs are proportionally higher per unit — even though the factory is technically skipping part of the assembly process. That means the kit’s final price is only slightly lower (-$10) once we subtract switches and account for costs elsewhere.


I definitely don’t blame you guys at Input.Club/Kono; you couldn’t have anticipated this. Honestly, I’m appreciative of the fact that you’re engaging us so fully here. It sounds like this situation is no fun for anyone involved. Thanks for clarifying things.

@ohaimark BTW, do you guys have any idea when you might get in updated versions of your Hako switches? I’d love to get some to try but would prefer to wait til you get some with the new box switch dimensions.