2023 Custom Mechanical Keyboard Guide – How to Build Your Own Mechanical Keyboard

Building your own mechanical keyboard is a fun and challenging project. Here are some steps to help you customize and assemble your own mechanical keyboard.

Step 1: Design and customize the keyboard layout

– Keyboard layouts include full size, TKL (no numeric keypad), 75%, 60%, 40%, etc. Choose a layout that suits your usage habits and needs. The full-size keyboard has all the standard key positions for users who need a numeric keypad and function keys. The TKL keyboard omits the numeric keypad and is more compact. The 75%, 60%, and 40% keyboards further reduce the size and remove more keys, suitable for mobile or space-constrained environments that require a smaller size.

-Use a keyboard layout design software such as KLE or Keyboard Layout Editor to create your keyboard layout. You can choose a standard keyboard layout or a custom layout to suit your individual needs and preferences

Step 2: Shop for Keyboard Parts

In order to build your own mechanical keyboard, you’ll need some key components, including:

-PCB: This is the main circuit board of the keyboard, responsible for connecting the various components of the keyboard.

– Mechanical keyboard switches: These are the key switches for your keyboard, choose the switch type and actuation force that suits your needs.

-Keycaps: Keycaps are the casings that are placed on key switches, and they can be customized in different shapes, materials, and colors.

– Cable: USB cable for connecting the keyboard to the computer.

-Other accessories: including stabilizers (for stabilizing large-sized keys, such as Shift and space bar), rubber O-rings (for reducing key sounds and shock absorption), etc.

When it comes to mechanical keyboard component brands, here are some well-known brands that offer high-quality keyboard parts and accessories:

1. PCB (Printed Circuit Board) brand:

-DZ60: A well-known PCB brand that offers a variety of layouts and options.

-KBDfans: Provides a variety of PCBs, and other mechanical keyboard-related products.

Gateron: They offer a variety of Gateron switch options including Gateron Red, Black, Tea, Green, and more.

Kailh: KBDfans also provide a variety of Kailh switch options, such as Kailh BOX red, black, white, brown, blue, etc.

2. Mechanical keyboard switch brand:

-Cherry MX: is the most famous and widely used brand of mechanical keyboard switches, offering many different types, actuation forces, and actuation points. Ducky keyboards often use Cherry MX switches, including Cherry MX red, black, tea, green, silver, etc.

-Gateron: Provides switches similar to Cherry MX, but also provides some other special options.

-Kailh: Also a well-known brand of mechanical keyboard switches, offering many different switch options.

3. Keycap brand:

-GMK: Provides high-quality keycaps with a variety of color schemes and designs.

-Signature Plastics: This brand includes DSA, SA, and other series of keycaps, providing a variety of colors and styles to choose from.

-EnjoyPBT: Provide durable PBT keycaps, available in a variety of colors and color schemes.

BrandTypePrice (USD)
Cherry MXSwitch$0.5-1.5
Signature PlasticsKeycap$50-200
NPKC GH60Anodized aluminum CNC housing$44
DUROCK V1Stabilizer$17
ByhooLubricant Kit$14
iFixitElectronic tool kit$30
YMDK GK61XHot Swap PCB$48

Step 3: Assemble the Keyboard

– Insert the mechanical keyboard switches into their corresponding positions on the PCB. Make sure they are properly aligned and firmly in place.

– Add stabilizers to the appropriate positions to ensure the stability of large-size keys.

– Gently insert the keycap onto each key switch.

-Connect the keyboard to the computer, connect the keyboard to the computer via a USB cable.

Step 4: Testing and Debugging

-Before connecting the keyboard to your computer, make sure your keyboard is assembled properly and there are no problems.

-Test each key one by one to make sure they are working properly and check for any inconsistencies or glitches.

– If there is a problem, check that the solder connections are correct, that the switch is plugged in correctly, and make sure other components are connected properly.

Advantages and disadvantages of mechanical keyboards

Advantages of mechanical keyboards include:

-Excellent feel: The mechanical keyboard uses mechanical switches with clear trigger force and trigger point, providing excellent key feedback and feel.

Durability: Mechanical keyboard switches are designed for longer life and durability to withstand more keystrokes.

– Customizability: Mechanical keyboards offer a wide range of customization options, with the possibility to choose from different keycaps, layouts, switches, and functions to suit individual needs and preferences.

-Repairability: Mechanical keyboards can often be replaced and repaired to make them more durable and sustainable.

Disadvantages of mechanical keyboards include:

– Higher price: Mechanical keyboards are generally more expensive compared to traditional membrane keyboards.

– Noise: Mechanical keyboards often produce loud keypress sounds, which can be disturbing to those around them.

-Large size: Some mechanical keyboards are larger and take up more desk space.

– Weight: Because mechanical keyboards use heavier materials, they are generally heavier than membrane keyboards.

What Determines Typing Experience – Mechanical Keyboard Trigger Point and Travel

The trigger point is the position where the keyboard switch triggers the input signal when the key is pressed. Travel refers to the total movement distance of the key from the initial position to the trigger point when the key is pressed. The location of the trigger point and the length of travel are determined by the design and mechanical construction of the keyboard switch. When choosing a mechanical keyboard, the best thing to do is to try out different types of mechanical keyboards yourself to see which trigger point position and travel length best suit your personal preferences and typing experience.

Trigger Point LocationStroke Length
2mm Trigger Point3.5mm Stroke
2.2mm Trigger Point4mm Stroke
Adjustable Trigger PointAdjustable Stroke
Short-travel Keyboard1.5mm或1.2mm Stroke