Mechanical Keyboards

March 11, 2023

I’ve been typing on a Kinesis Advantage Dvorak-layout keyboard for probably 20 years now. But while I was passionate about that keyboard, I didn’t really get into keyboards other than that.

It started a couple of weeks ago after watching a couple of Youtube videos and deciding to buy a Keychron Q3 (TKL) keyboard. I got it with tactile switches and I was really surprised to see how much different it felt than the Ducky One I previously ordered for my wife. After feeling the difference there, I decided to take the next step and build my own. There is something satisfying about a nice thonk sound.

I went with the Drop CTRL Mechanical Keyboard where you get to choose the switches and keycaps. It was a fairly easy kit to get started with. I think you could probably do better price or quality wise if you’re willing to put more time and effort into it, but for my first try, I wanted to get a well-tested kit rather than taking apart pre-built or buying everything separately. I chose some retro MT3 keycaps and holy panda switches to go with the Drop CTRL chassis.

Everything fit together fine but the stabilizers that came with the keyboard were embarrassingly bad. I found another cherry mx stabilizer kit on Amazon to replace them with, as well as some keyboard switch lube (GPL 205G0 and Permatex 81150 Dielectric Grease). That made a world of a difference–the the keys with the stabilizers started to sound like the regular keys instead of rattling and sounding bad. For the amount I paid for the Drop CTRL, I would have expected better stabilizers out of the box, but on the other I’m glad I got the experience of doing it myself because that was sort of the point of going the DIY route.

I’m not quite sure where I go next–my daily keyboard is still the Kinesis, and unless I was to make an ergo keyboard I wouldn’t be able to replace it. The new one I made will probably be on my gaming box unless I decide to give it to someone. It would be fun to do something custom at some point–either a lisp machine-esque keyboard like the space cadet or an ergonomic one like the kinesis advantage.