After almost 2 months in shipment, my C3 stabilizers finally arrived. These are the new stabilizers sold by ILUMKB and The Key Company. Their main selling points are:
- Several fun colors
- Tight clip on the wire so it doesn’t pop out
- Doesn’t have the extra legs that people clip off of GMK/Cherry stabilizers
- Slider and housing are made of POM, the material commonly used for switch sliders
The last point is the most relevant here. Now that Kailh Creams are established on the market, we know that sliding POM against POM can produce an unpleasant “stick-slip” friction, which many have described as feeling “leathery”. In the Kailh Creams, this is only an issue for off-center and/or slow presses in key switches, and it bothers some people more than others.
Unlike a keyswitch, stabilizers have much wider internal clearances, and by design will never slide too far off-center. However problems arise when you introduce warped keycaps, which is common even for high-quality PBT. Typically a warped PBT spacebar is bowed upward, meaning that you get constant pressure form the slider against the housing, angled towards the center of the key. The result is high friction, stick-slip, and slow key return. This sucks.
The solution: Swap the C3 stabilizer slider into a GMK stabilizer housing. The POM-on-POM interaction goes away.
The caveat: You can also swap a GMK stabilizer slider into a C3 stabilizer housing, but this doesn’t eliminate the stick-slip. It reduces the feeling, but it doesn’t go away entirely. So it’s better than stock, but it’s still not ideal for warped PBT.
Does this help anything? Maybe, since you still don’t get 2 fully usable stabilizer sets. It’s an improvement over stock (arguably also an improvement over GMK retooled stabs), so at least it gives you a chance to use the fun colored parts. I’m going to see how well the C3 housing works with a slider from a cheap unbranded Aliexpress stabilizer, which might be a low-cost way to salvage more useful parts.