I’ve now sold my soul and gotten myself a shiny new custom keyboard.
I decided to do the switch from my old cheapo keyboard with knockoff/no-name blue switches. This keyboard served me well for over two years now, but it really took a beating over the years. After a lot of use, the cheap ABS keys were worn down and polished. But the main reason why I switched was ultimately involved with my project LittleLink Custom. About half a year ago, my ‘0’ key stopped working. At first this was not really a problem for me since I mostly use the numpad for numbers anyway. Only after working on LittleLink Custom, I frequently had to use the ‘}’ key, which is conveniently placed on that exact key…
So I decided to switch and invest in a higher quality keyboard, this time.
The base board is the Keychron K4 V2 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard with RGB backlight, the aluminum frame and hot-swappable switches. This board offers a solid base, supporting both wired and wireless connectivity. This board is not the best out there, but it’s plenty good for me and offering much headroom for future improvements.
For the switches, I chose the factory Gateron G Pro tactile switches. A more budget oriented switch-set, but good enough for me. The Gaterons come pre-lubed, but after opening one up I found lube application to be inadequately, so I will be lubing them myself later on.
I switched the default keycaps for a custom set of Traitors UKIYO-E keycaps for Cherry MX profiles. The caps are made of PBT printed on with dye-sublimation. A solid set with decent built quality and exceptional sound. I chose this set because these keycaps are exceptionally thick and heavy, plus I really liked the theme as well as the color scheme this set is going for.
Fresh out the factory, the keyboard comes encased in a plastic housing with an aluminum frame around it. The plastic housing is mostly empty, so I added some soundproofing foam, which greatly improved the general sound of the board and noticeably reduced the ‘clackyness’ of the board. Additionally, I tape modded the board, but this doesn’t really change much, overall I would say the foam mod is definitely a must for this board.
I really had some problems getting the right keycaps for my keyboard. Not only am I using an ISO-DE (German) keyboard layout, which immensely reduces my options for custom keycaps, but my keyboard also uses the 96% keyboard format, further decreasing my options.
But still, looking back on everything that lead to this, I’m happy with what I ended up with!
I’ve gone far too deep into this rabbit hole to turn back now. After consuming multiple hours of keyboard related content on YouTube, hours of my life I will not get back, I decided to change some things up about my keyboard.
I generally like to tinker with everything I own. The only reason why this website exists is that I wasn’t quite satisfied with LittleLink Admin, leading to me improving it and finally submitting those changes to GitHub. In that same sense, I wanted to have a keyboard platform I could build on and improve.
Previously, my keyboard was modded with dense sound proofing foam, which greatly reduced the loudness of the key presses but also took away a lot of the ‘good sound’.
I wanted to achieve a deep dark thocky sound and for this I somehow find a way to filter out the clacky high noise while keeping the deep desired sound. To achieve this, I removed the dense foam out of the largely empty plastic housing of my keyboard and replaced it with some light, spongy foam. As previously mentioned, I already applied some masking tape to the button of the keyboard’s PCB, which now finally comes into effect. Additionally, I added some PE foam between the switches and the PCB, which greatly improved the general sound.
Lastly, I lubed all the switches with Krytox 205 g0. This took me about 4 hours to do for all 100 switches. This experience was exceedingly tiring, and I probably won’t do something like this again unless I absolutely have to. Instead, I will probably just buy pre-lubed switches to save a lot of time and effort. As for the result, I’m highly surprised how much this changed. I knew beforehand that Gateron Brown Switches weren’t the best, and I’d had to lube them to get the most out of these switches, but I’m still baffled by the extent of the resulting improvement in sound and feel.
All in all, after all these modifications, I can confidently say that I’m more than satisfied with the result. The new sound of the board is exactly what I wished for, sporting a deep, creamy, thocky, sound. Overall, I would definitely recommend everyone if given the choice to either put in the effort and lube their switches or buy a well-made pre-lubed set of switches. The tape mod also delivered a good result and for the easy application I’d definitely do this one as well. And for the PE foam mod I just want to say that it definitely improves the overall sound but as it is not possible on all boards to do I’d say you could skip this one, otherwise solid result for an acceptable amount of effort.