Violet's Build Logs

#1: The Tofu HHKB, and On Lubricants, Creams, and Why @donpark Is Misleading

First build I’ve decided to log! Woo. I decided to build a Tofu HHKB from KBDFans, and populate it with Creams and then top it with JTK Purple on White. Here’s what i’ve done, what I’ve learned, and what I’ll be doing in the future…

First things first, the disassembly and stabilizers. I decided to try a mix of Christo-Lube MCG 129 and 205g0, but I ended up realizing that it made the stabilizers too sluggish and sticky, so I ended up with 205g0 and some Finish Line on top to keep it smooth but not overbearing.

With those installed, let’s take a detour to talk about the black thing between the plate and PCB - an @MKUltraCorp foam! Both the plate and board had foam, and with the Tofu top-mount’s bottom half having a battery compartment, a total of 3 foam pieces were cut and fit (suuuuper snugly, I might add) to help the case sound a lot more solid. While not visible in any of the photos I took and will be including in this log for the moment, one of the case foams has cutouts for all of the hotswap components, diodes, and reset button, which cradles these components instead of smothering them. I’m incredibly satisfied, and I absolutely love the way that it sounds with the fuller case.

With the stabilizers installed, a ran into a problem that I blame @donpark for. (I’m not actually angry at Don.) Turns out that filmed Creams do not like holding onto their tops, and if you try to pull them out of a hotswap plate, they WILL come apart. Whoopsie. Therefore, until I can find a way to make the films fit snugly, they remain unfilmed for this build.

With all of the switches disassembled, it’s time to get to work.

And now, my workstation. A banged-up lube deck from everyone’s favorite acrylic cutter, Qlavier, the TX keyboards switch picker, some oiled 65g TX springs, and a cheapo paintbrush, I went to work. I decided to give these an initial coat of 3203, with plans to touch it up later when I’m more patient.

Three lubing sessions and 2 days later, everything was done! Creams are surprisingly pretty, aren’t they? A cute little beige on the grey plate works so nicely.

Tada! JTK Purple on White plus a Keypop 8-bit Heart Keycap for the escape, and we’ve got one pretty looking board. Glam shots?

Glam shots!

With all of that, here’s the TL;DR of the board:

  • KBDFans Tofu HHKB (Grey)
  • KBD6x PCB
  • NovelKeys X Kailh Cream switches (Lubricated with Tribosys 3203, springs replaced with TX 65g springs
  • GMK PCB Mount Stabilizers (Screw-In, lubricated with Krytox 205 grade 0 and Finish Line PFPE Grease)
  • JTK Purple on White, KeyPop 8-Bit Heart (Translucent Purple)
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Not sure if it’s the same for others, but I had to click on the picture to magnify that artisan, otherwise I didn’t recognise that translucency and the artisan looked rather weird (as if that translucent top layer was completely missing).

It is hard to see under desk lamp lighting, but the translucency is there on the sides.

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Oh, that’s a beautiful build! Also, I’ve never used switch films, and I doubt I ever will due to the fact that I’m not that anal, and if I can’t tell the difference at meetups, the mod doesn’t mean much to me, prove me wrong. I’m always up for an epiphany. Rob you know what you need to do. LOL.

Columbus is coming up, I’ll be there.

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It’s the sound. If you’re not hypersensitive to wobble or are using switches that aren’t as wobbly as MOD switches, then it comes down to sound. It makes a humongous difference on super-loose switches, and I’m going to investigate more with future builds / switchswaps, but I suspect that you get diminishing feel returns on anything tighter than Cherry tops.

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Hey, it finally happened, nice! Looks like a solid board. I filmed all my creams, but I didn’t put them in a hot swap board so I didn’t run into any issues.

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Sorry about that. I’m going to stop recommending Creams altogether because:

  1. Creams is really not that great (to me) without film and,
  2. Creams may require skills and experience not everyone has to film.

Re stabs, I think they could use some improvements. I learned that less lube is best and best time to fiddle with stabs is at the very beginning of building a board. WIth every rush-built board, I regretted not spending enough time with stabs to perfect them because they always come back to haunt you.

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@donpark Why do creams need filmed in your opinion? If it’s because of loose tops, haven’t you opened those switches up multiple times now? After opening my creams once for lubing, the tops are still just as tight as from the factory – I’m just a little confused about the need for films.

I won’t be using Creams again, but I can’t say I’m unsatisfied with the ones that I do have. I need to record a proper sound test, but these sound like something straight out of a @TaehaTypes video, which is something I thought I’d never be able to achieve with a board of my own and 3203. I think in a few days, when this board has settled more, I’m going to lube the housings with 3204 and give it more lube for the sound to play with. Who knows…

And when it comes to stabs, you’re somewhat right. Don’t. Rush. Stabs. However, if you’re primarily using Finish Line for the plastic-on-plastic contact, feel free to drown them in it because it’s so light that it essentially takes just the edge off of the feel, and does wonders for the sound.

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Because I like how Creams feels and sounds when its filmed much more than unfilmed. It’s just a matter of discernibility and preference. IOW, YMMV.

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Filming gives Creams an entirely different and awesome sound, but I find that it’s not worth it. YMMV to the extreme.

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Ah okay, I see. Regardless, they still sound good and unique without filming. They are not without their problems, but I’m enjoying mine quite a bit paired with some 205g0.

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What films did you use on your creams @Lesbian? I’ve found that some films are thicker than others so you may want to try some from another vendor. Or if the creams are that tight of a fit with polycarb films you could use vinyl switch stickers if anyone is still selling them. Those are much thinner than any polycarb films I’ve ever had & are a tiny bit easier to install since they well stick, LOL! Anyways just a thought I had, I have some creams, PC films, & vinyl stickers I’ll try them out a little later & let you guys know what I find out.

I’ve used the Kin films from TX, I was considering stickers from Techkeys but I haven’t taken the plunge just yet.

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I was guessing they were Kin’s films since those are some of the thicker ones I’ve seen. I’m pretty sure Techkeys is where I got my vinyl stickers from so they are definitely something to consider. Like I said in my previous post, I’ll test my theory out later & let you know if it would be worth getting some of the stickers for your Creams.

Same here although that buttery feel seems to be wearing off much faster than other switches, like Tealios. Guess not all POMs are alike.

I’ve noticed that certain POM mixes take much better to lube than others - despite being bafflingly slippery and smooth, the Halo stems stick to lube seemingly effortlessly.

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Fantastic build log, @Lesbian!

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