What's on your workbench today?

A batch of SKCM Blues I desoldered for @rpiguy9907 (sorry it’s taking so long bud!). I finally got them all desoldered the other night, but they need a hardcore clean/restoration. He asked his daughters to dust off the plate/PCB combo before he boxed it up to send to me & unfortunately they sprayed it with hair detangler (they are very young, so it was an honest mistake) which got inside of the switches. He did ask me to just desolder them & send them back, but my OCD will not allow that LOL! So I order some more Vertrel XF from RingerKeys thinking that should clean it off. The night I desoldered them I pulled them apart & put all the parts except the switch/actuation plates in water with a touch of dish soap. Left them soaking since wed night & that seems to have got some of the hair detangler off since I can see blobs of oil floating in the water now. My next step is to rinse everything off with fresh water then throw them in a ultrasonic bath with the Vertrel XF. I’m pretty confident this should restore the switches to working condition. Will report back later after I got the ultrasonic bath done & the parts dried.


Can you show and write a model of your bathtub?

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I’ve been using this cheap jewelry cleaner, not sure what brand/model it is. Although TBH, I would not recommend this unit. It does the job well enough, but has a pretty small capacity & fairly weak motor. I have been wanting to get a better one, but don’t use it often enough to justify that. I will say that if you have something similar laying around it will do the job, but if you need to buy one definitely go for something with a larger capacity & stronger motor.


I’ve had my Chapter 1 for a while but just now getting around to building it.

Decisions decisions.

Fun comic that came with it too:


Success! I just speed dried a few of the switches to see if I need to go any farther with cleaning them & they working just fine now! I actually ended up not having to use the Vertrel XF or use the ultrasonic cleaner on them. I just soaked the stems, housings, & switch/actuation plates in warm soapy water for a day agitating it every couple hrs. Then the springs, click leaves, & actuation leaves in 90% iso alcohol agitating them every couple hrs. too. I had originally hoped that I could get away with not soaking the switch/actuation plates, but the hair detangler somehow got into even them. Got everything laid out on towels drying on my dining room table now. @rpiguy9907 got himself a pretty good batch of blues here too. The few I have were supposedly desoldered from a NOS KB, the cleaned ones feel & sound almost identical to them. The cleaned ones are ever so slightly scratchier or rougher than my samples.


After searching what others have done, I’m using some infusible ink markers and my little 5w blue diode laser to dye sub PBT. The poor XDA Amazon keycaps in the pic have been put through the laser-ringer quite a bit with the “red” and black markers (and once with brown in the toaster oven). Red was a little more promising, so more tests were done with it.

Early results indicate it will be very easy to get something more durable than a sharpie, if also fainter. Went pretty aggressively with 91% rubbing alcohol, then 100% acetone nail polish remover, with no degradation in the lasered legends, though to be fair most of them are burned into the PBT to some degree.

Finding the settings that get a reasonably clear dye sub and not a smeared and/or charred
mess is going to be the trick. With the pink/red, low and slow seems to do the trick, with 2% power and crawling at 40-50mm per second leaving a light but very readable legend.

More experiments, and adapting the legends themselves to the capabilities of the setup should result in something pretty usable, and possibly even attractive.

EDIT: Seems like 2% power, 45mm/second will work well enough. Colors are muted but easily legible on white PBT. I think they’d be okay on other light shades too. Two passes works better for brown and black, one for the rest. Blue seems to bleed a little less than black though, so two passes on blue might be used in place of black. Laser is a Comgrow Z1 five watt blue diode.


Soldered the parts onto a second keybird69 pcb, now letting the IPA dry off before I test it


Not for nothing, the playlist the QR code in this comic takes you to isn’t too bad…

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Finally finished assembling the second keybird69.

Both boards are mostly Cherry Clear, with Cherry Black for the modifiers. The first board pings sonorously, in the way Clears are wont to do, so I thought I would try lubing the springs for the second build. Took a long time, but it did the trick, I think. The first board also has some sound damping foam between plate and PCB, which is sod all use against spring ping. The second board is an undampened lego and FR4 sandwich; I hope it will be nice and thocky.

I will compare them properly tomorrow.


Springs are the one thing I will bag lube. I usually bag lube them, with Krytox GPL106 oil, but 105 or 107 will work just as well. Although if you are using the stock clear springs doughnut dipping the ends in 205g0 might be better. Cherry has notoriously bad springs IME.


I did them one-by-one because I reckoned most of the time would be spent on opening and reassembling the switches. Hard to tell if my guess was right :person_shrugging: I used the same superlube grease I use for stabilizers.

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Superlube will be fine on springs. Honestly I think you made the right choice here, Cherry springs are hard to tame & the thicker greases do a much better job than the thinner oils I was recommending. Let us know if you were successful at killing the ping after you use it some.


The ping is gone!

I found that donut-dipping was not great at silencing the springs: it was more effective to get lube along the middle of the spring — which makes sense, considering that is the part of the spring that vibrates, and the lube presumably couples it to the slider shaft enough to dampen it.

Nice thock has been accomplished :tada:


Spent another two hours on my Corsa EC today. I added a gasket between the housings and plate, swapped out all stabilizers with TX-ap and removed the dampening rings. You can’t use any other ones because the design is unique (rectangle instead of round like other topre sliders).

Hmm… I don’t like this, either. The gasket made a HUGE improvement in sound and feel of the keypress. However, it’s very quiet on the downstroke and poppy on the upstroke. Sounds wrong to me. I’ll try one more thing. I will try the other dampening pads. I do believe they are slightly thinner than the first ones I tried.

I will say the one thing I really like about the EC kit is their domes. They feel much more like OG Topre domes in terms of tactility. Most of the Deskeys domes are still a bit too tactile for me.


Do you have to use the Niz parts, or can you get something else? I am curious cause I was looking at a board with an EC option and they suggested - [ INSTOCK ] EC Kits and Packs – KLC Hobbyists' Playground

Those kits are not cheap, but I am curious if I were to hypothetically get the Class80, are you locked into only their EC kit? Or is the barrier to entry just the cost of re-buying the same parts?

I’m fairly certain the housing cutouts on all of these EC kits are standardized, meaning you could put deskey, topre, or whatever in it. That would be good but a further investment in time and money. I’m currently typing this on my Realforce with stock housings and deskeys sliders. It’s so much better than the EC kit I worked on all day. The Matrixlab kit is just not even close in comparison.


Cool! Thanks for your input. That helps elevate my fears. Sounds like NIZ kits are the ones to stay away from, which has kind of be true for a number of years. Although so people do like them.

pls check that the class 80 ec plate can take the topre style housings. afaik from all the twitch build streams ive seen the class keebs use Niz. and niz housing dimensions are different so Topre might be too big


A custom plate I designed for the Portico 65% keyboards, laser-cut in 1/16" birch plywood

I put in f-holes just for fun

When I found out a new coworker had a laser at home, well - it was game on. Can’t wait to try it out later tonight!


Very cool! The plywood should have just enough give to be useable as a plate. Looking forward to sound tests!

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