Mech keyboards

Handruin

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Any of you get into mechanical keyboards at all? I've had a few over the years like a Duckyshine 3 and a DAS keyboard 4 pro, both with Cherry-MX brown switches. They've been good keyboards over the years but I recently decided to try a Keychron Q3 custom TKL to see what all the noise was about with higher end custom keyboards. Well, I'm really sold on the quality difference so far. The feel of the keys when typing and sound of the keypress are so much nicer than the other two keyboards I own. I'm pysched to try customizing this down the road with other switches and keycaps along with other damper boards and insulation to change the sound. I never thought I'd enjoy a custom keyboard like this but it's been a real joy to use so far.


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sedrosken

Florida Man
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Nov 20, 2013
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I've been into this hobby for, oh, the last 5-6 years or so. I'm pretty much at the endgame where I know what I like and how to get it.

I daily-drive a custom Melody96 build with Kailh BOX Navy switches, some DSA profile keycaps, and Durock stabilizers. I tapemodded the PCB and finished the project roughly this time last year. Total cost of ownership so far has been around 300 bucks, and learning a little bit of C to customize the QMK firmware to control the backlighting LEDs to show lock states on each end for Caps and Numlock. I used the QMK configurator online tool to make the base firmware with the keymap I wanted, though. I did all the soldering myself and you can tell because some of the keys are slightly crooked!!

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Pardon the dirt. I didn't bother to clean it specifically for this thread and I'm past due to give everything an alcohol bath. As you might be able to tell, the source file was bigger but I cropped out the elements of my workspace I'm ashamed at the current condition of. And the more I look at this the more keys I notice are off-kilter! Augh! If only a company mass-produced 1800-layout keyboards in a switch variety I liked. I consider genuine Cherry switches to be cheap garbage -- clickjackets vs clickbars IS a holy war I'd fight in. On the superior clickbars' side of course.

I like this layout because it offers the desk-space savings of the TKL layout while still including a numpad. My retro setup's keyboard is of a similar layout, being a Cherry 1800-layout board with an integrated touchpad rescued and cleaned from a stint in a hospital. It uses (vintage!) Cherry MX Black switches, so it's definitely no Model M, but it also didn't cost nearly as much or take up nearly as much room.
 
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Handruin

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I'll definitely be exploring various lubed switches to try out and some new stabilizer bars down the road. This keyboard is really heavy and solid and I'm getting used to the tkl size versus a full size I've used for years. I have my eyes on some GMK key caps and maybe a few other sets to try out.

This Q3 keyboard offers QMK/Via also and I plan to play around with it to customize a few macros. I am also considering playing around with a Megalodon Triple Knob Macro Pad. I picked up a Keychron K7 ultraslim before this Q3 to use for travel and also with my Steam Deck but I found the cramped layout a bit to difficult to use during work.
 

Handruin

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I decided to do a couple mods to my keychron. I swapped out the included Gateron red pro switches with Gazzew U4 Boba Silent Tactile switches. I also did the tape mod on the back and also added in some neoprene foam to the back of the case. I need a few days to get used to the changes in the switches but so far they are dramatically different in sound, tactile, and force required to press. They are considerably quieter than the Gateron Red Pros.

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Newtun

Storage is nice, especially if it doesn't rotate
Joined
Nov 21, 2002
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448
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Virginia
At the other end of the spectrum, decades ago, I got an IBM KB-3923.

I liked it so much, I bought a second one as backup. It's still up in the attic.

The old one continues going strong, after a few (±) spills, and a lot of fur and dust to vacuum up occasionally.

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;) 😃
 

sedrosken

Florida Man
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Nov 20, 2013
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Eglin AFB Area
I was quite partial to my Dell AT101W before in an ill-advised attempt to linearize the switches I lost a ton of bits to it. I'm still kicking myself for that one. I'd like to track down another one but prices have gotten completely insane. I had a model M for a time, but it was rubber-dome and while it was quite nice for a rubber-dome, it still was just kinda meh. I'm eyeing up a spacesaver M from Unicomp for my retro stuff one day, but for right now my Cherry 1800 board does fine albeit its Black switches are a little scratchy. Ironically a new Model M is a more reasonable buy than the AT101W because Unicomp still manufactures them, although clearly quality is down from the 90s since they're using the same old equipment since then. I've seen pictures suggesting the lettering is a lot fuzzier than it used to be.
 

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
694
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Östersund, Sweden
I bought a Varmilo with their EC Sakura switches a while ago. They click and requires mute during Teams meetings, but I like the feeling of both the keyboard (heavy+dampened) and the switches. My only other experience with mechanical switches is with MX Red + the IBM in 1987 or so.
 
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