The Ultimate Guide to Building a Custom Hot Swappable Mechanical Keyboard: From Design to Assembly
Building a custom mechanical keyboard has become increasingly popular in recent years. With a wide variety of switches and keycaps available, enthusiasts can create a keyboard tailored to their specific needs and preferences. However, one of the biggest obstacles to building a custom keyboard has been the need for specialized equipment and knowledge to create a PCB board. That's where hot swappable mechanical keyboards come in. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of building a custom hot swappable mechanical keyboard from start to finish.
What is a hot swappable mechanical keyboard?
A hot swappable mechanical keyboard allows users to easily swap out switches without the need for soldering or specialized equipment. The switches are mounted on a PCB board that features sockets instead of soldered connections. This makes it possible to change switches by simply pulling them out and replacing them with a different type of switch.
Designing your custom hot swappable mechanical keyboard
The first step in building a custom hot swappable mechanical keyboard is to design the layout. There are many different layouts to choose from, including full-size, TKL (tenkeyless), 75%, 65%, 60%, and even smaller form factors like the 40% and 30%. Each layout has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose one that fits your needs.
Once you've chosen a layout, you'll need to select a PCB board that supports hot swappable switches. There are many different options available, including the DZ60, GK64, and XD75. Each PCB board has its own specifications, so make sure to choose one that fits your desired layout and features.
Selecting the switches and keycaps
Now that you have a PCB board, it's time to choose the switches and keycaps. There are many different types of switches available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular switch brands include Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh. It's important to choose switches that match your typing style and preferences. If you're unsure which switches to choose, we recommend trying out a switch tester to get a feel for different types of switches.
Custom Keycaps are also an important part of the keyboard customization process. There are many different materials and styles to choose from, including ABS, PBT, doubleshot, and dye-sublimated keycaps. Some keycaps also feature different profiles, such as OEM, Cherry, and SA.
Assembling your custom hot swappable mechanical keyboard
Once you have all the necessary components, it's time to assemble your keyboard. Start by attaching the stabilizers to the PCB board. Then, insert the hot swappable sockets into the board. Make sure to carefully align them with the switch holes to avoid damaging the sockets.
Next, insert the switches into the sockets. Make sure to press down firmly until you hear a satisfying click. Once all the switches are in place, it's time to attach the keycaps. Make sure to carefully align each keycap with its corresponding switch and press down firmly.
Finally, it's time to test your keyboard. Connect it to your computer and make sure all the keys are functioning properly. If any keys are not working, you may need to reseat the switch or check for any damaged components.
Building a custom hot swappable mechanical keyboard is a fun and rewarding project that allows you to create a keyboard tailored to your specific needs and preferences. With a wide variety of switches, keycaps, and layouts available, the possibilities are endless. We hope this guide has helped you get started on your custom keyboard journey.