If you’re interested in building your mechanical keyboard, you may wonder how much it will cost. There are a lot of different components to consider, and each of them has its price. The parts you buy depend on what you want to do with your keyboard and how large it needs to be. It also depends on how you mount it and if you’ll need a plate.
The PCB, or printed circuit board, is the backbone of any computer. It comprises copper wires that connect via soldered connections. It can be made from different materials, including tin, copper foil, and aluminum. The keyboard is connected to the PCB and should be sturdy and durable. The PCB should be able to support all the switches you have chosen and have enough space for the arrow keys, so they don’t interfere with your typing. It should also be easy to assemble, so you don’t have to worry about pulling out the switches when changing something. It should also come with a keycap and switch puller to get started without buying additional tools.
A custom mechanical keyboard can be expensive, but it is worth the cost if you are a serious gamer. It can give you a competitive edge in games requiring rapid key presses, and it’s much more durable than a membrane keyboard. Building your keyboard can also be much cheaper than buying one already built. However, it is important to understand that building a custom mechanical keyboard takes time and patience. If you have a small budget, it may not be worth the effort to build your keyboard from scratch as you will likely be able to find a pre-built mechanical keyboard that fits your needs better than building your own.
First, you should decide what type of keyboard you want to build. There are many different layouts available, including 65 percent (keys numbered 1 to 6 and a Numpad), 63 percent (keys numbered 7 to 12 and a Numpad), or 60 percent (keys numbered 13 to 17 and a numpad). For gaming, you should choose a switch that is fast in actuation and quick to return but also heavy enough to prevent accidental presses. You can find some good speed switches from Kailh, similar to hair triggers, and can actuate faster than linear switches.
Switches are a big part of a mechanical keyboard; they register the keystrokes. There are a lot of different switches to choose from, each with its feel and sound, so it’s important to pick the right ones for you. There are a few factors that can make or break your switch selection. They include actuation force, key travel distance, and clickiness. Actuation force is a big factor because it means how hard you need to press the key to actuate the switch. It’s typically measured in centiNewtons (cN), but gram-force is also used. You should pick a switch with high actuation force if you’re a heavy typist.
If you’re a light typist, you might prefer a switch with low actuation force because you can control your finger strength. This will help avoid misclicks and make it easier to type quickly. Another big factor affecting your switch choice is how much you like the feel of a key. Most people prefer how they like their keys to feel when pressed, but it’s a good idea to test different switches to find one that feels good. The next thing to consider is how much you will spend on switches. There are many different types to choose from, and they can vary in price quite a bit.
Cherry is a well-known manufacturer of mechanical switches that have been in almost every mechanical keyboard at one point or another. It’s been in the industry for decades and has some of the highest-quality switches available. Kaihua is another Chinese-based switch manufacturer with much to offer, especially for people who want to avoid paying Cherry’s hefty price tag. They’ve helped many western manufacturers develop their switches and have various options that match Cherry’s offerings. Gateron is another company that makes various switches to suit different tastes and needs. These switches tend to have actuation forces similar to Cherry’s but come in at a lower price point.
Keycaps are the final piece of a mechanical keyboard, and they are responsible for the final look of the keyboard. The cost of producing a keycap set can vary greatly depending on its design and material. The main cost is labor and power to run the machines that make the keycaps. However, much of the cost is in the materials used to make the keycaps.
Typically, the main material used in manufacturing keycaps is ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PBT (polybutylene terephthalate). These are synthetic polymer resins that are both very durable and flexible. Many keycap manufacturers create custom designs and color schemes for their keycaps. These can be very artistic or simple. Sometimes, they’re based on a popular movie, game, or series.
These can be sold in sets that include a variety of colors or as blanks to be printed onto. Blank keycaps are typically cheaper than a printed set but are less compatible with certain keyboards. For example, you can get a set of keycaps for under $20 on Amazon, but they will only fit some keyboards and will last for a while. Spending more on a quality product that will last a long time and look great is better.
Many websites sell keycaps, and many have different profiles and materials. You can use their search tool to find what you’re looking for and read user reviews to ensure you get a quality product that will fit your needs. A common profile found on most keyboards is the Cherry or OEM profile. This profile has a slightly angled top and is short to medium height. It’s the best profile for typing since it helps your fingers move between keys more efficiently. Another common profile is a sculpted one. It has a slightly concave top, and the sides are higher than the center. This profile is also quite low in height, which can help with comfort.
Polycarbonate is a type of plastic that is a great choice for cases because it has good strength and is not prone to corrosion. It is also a good conductor of heat, making it a great choice for gaming setups. Brass is another popular material for cases because it is very durable and has a brushed or matte finish. It is a great choice for cases in harsh environments or exposed to the elements.