There are a lot of mechanical keyboard brands in the world market. If you are a beginner of mechanical keyboards. I recommend you buy one instead of building a mechanical keyboard. Or, if you think the all-market keyboard can’t match your need, it’s time to make a mechanical keyboard yourself.
It is undeniable that making keyboard ourselves can save a lot of money, and get a lot of fun from making it. You can choose your design, choose your favorite switch, etc. So let’s go.
Before we get into customizing a keyboard, you'll need to decide what size keyboard you want to have. There are five main keyboard sizes that people use and some other harder-to-find sizes. Here are the five main keyboard layouts and how they differ:
- Full-size: The traditional keyboard layout with around 104 to 108 keys, depending on region.
- Tenkeyless (TKL): Also known as an 80 percent keyboard, this removes the number pad from the full-size layout.
- 75 percent: Probably the most popular size in the custom keyboard community, this form factor has no navigation and editing keys but keeps the function keys and arrow keys.
- 65 percent: The main typing keys, number keys, and arrow keys. The function keys are accessed using different key combinations.
- 60 percent: The same as 65 percent, but with one fewer column - so often no arrow keys.
Just choose the needed keyboard layout then buy the keyboard parts. All the keyboard parts can be bought on Amazon.
Choosing Parts for Your Mechanical Keyboard
We have chosen the keyboard layout ( Full size, TKL, 75%, 65%, etc ) Now choose the keyboard case material. The most common case two materials are Aluminum and Plastic. These materials are easy to mass produce. That’s why I recommend these material cases, you can easy to find them everywhere.
PCB is the most important factor in the mechanical keyboard. It allows your inputs to be sent to your computer and controls which switches perform which functions. Just choose the PCB that matches your keyboard layout.
Good quality switches can give you well typing experience. You can choose from Gateron, Cherry MX, or Khail. Each switch color has a different role. Some are good for work, some are good for games. You should know all of the switches features then choose the best one. Also, you need to choose the hot-swap keyboard, which means you can replace the switch or keyboard keycaps. If you do not like the keycaps or switch anymore, is easy to change it again.
The mounting plate is one of the last components you should select as it is dependent on your case and PCB choices. The plate protects the PCB and acts as a guide to hold switches in place when soldering them to the PCB. It also makes the final product look nicer and comes in a variety of materials and finishes to add another personal touch to your build. They all perform the same function and the only real consideration when selecting your plate is to make sure that the cutouts allow you to use your desired layouts and fit with your PCB and case.
They are small portions but always ignored. When you meet some problems with keyboard use, you will know how important they are. They function exactly as their name implies, keeping certain keys like your shifts and space bar from wobbling around when you press them. They are typically sold as a standard set to work with most keyboard layouts.
Keycaps can best reflect whether a keyboard is beautiful or not. Most keycaps can match the standard keyboard layout. Just choose your favorite keycaps are ok.
Although, this blog introduces some parts of the mechanical keyboard and how to make it. But for the beginner, I still recommend buying one. Because this will save your time and have After-sales service.