Spacebar Rib Tape Mod

Pretty much of all of my boards made loud clacking sound when pressed hard. The sound is noise free, thanks to other mods in my bag of tricks, but its volume was way higher than other keys and unpleasantly intruding into otherwise enjoyable stream of sounds. I’ve observed the same flinchingly overbearing spacebar sounds on many of the keyboard sound videos.

To mitigate, I used to use QMX like this:

It works effectively but had two issues:

  1. Reduced key travel. I haven’t measured but it’s at least 1mm and noticeable.
  2. Reduced key sound. Not surprising since QMX is typically used to silence keys.

To address above issues, I looked into what was causing the loud clacking sound and came up with an admittedly sloppy solution: Rib Tape Mod.

CAUSE: Loud clacking sound was caused by the ribs of the spacebar striking top of the switch. The sound varies depending on height and shape of the ribs as well as shape of the switch top.

FIX: I cut small bits of surgical tape I had around and taped the ribs. More layers you add reduces sound as well as key travel. For my taste, I used two layers on two vertical ribs. There is no need to tape all four ribs. Two is enough. Material of the tape used will affect the outcome. Surgical tape is made out of paper like mask tape but more cushiony so masking tape will likely dampen sound less. Now all of my boards have this mod.

USAGE: What I like about this mod is that it can be applied after the board is built and can be adjusted to fit sound and feel to taste.

ALTERNATE SOLUTION: You can also grind the ribs down, all four of them since you’re taking away instead of adding, but I doubt anyone would do that unless they can’t stand losing any key travel. This tape mod does take away some key travel but not enough to notice.


Oh I see what you did there now. I was distracted by the modeling clay, but that simply confirms that jamming Milliput with the tape seems like a solid approach.

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I have done this same thing - though a bit more slap-dash than you have here.

It worked really well as long as the bit of band-aid I used stayed on; though my sloppy application included a bit of contamination with dielectric grease, so it fell off pretty quickly. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Yeah. Sloppy hacks means having to do regular maintenance. But spacebars need that anyway and it’s easy to know when it’s needed. I keep a tube of lube and a roll of tape within handy reach of my desk for this.

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How much does the filler in the spacebar help with reducing / normalizing noise?

I use filler to 1) reduces reverb, 2) add hefty feel, and 3) counter-balance extra heavy spring I use just on the spacebar.

Not sure how it is with others but I need the extra weight to offset my tendency to press spacebar prematurely. Cherry black spring is heavy enough to reduce typing error but it sometimes feel too heavy in-use so I end up adding or removing fillers to fine-tune until the perfect balance is reached. I wasn’t able to use filler this way until I found Blu-Tack but now that I can, it’s been great.

The filler just removes reverb by removing the room for echoing and does nothing against other types of noises. Extra weight striking the PCB may even increase the loudness of noise if switch spring is too light.