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I know nothing about mechanical keyboards except that I will soon be the proud owner of a set of gorgeous keycaps. I do know that I cannot function without a built-in numpad, so I signed up for the alphas, the modifiers, the numpad, and the novelties.
Two questions you guys maybe can help me with: 1 - is there some sort of fancy adapter panel or whatever that will make an IBM M model work with these keycaps? 2 – if not, is there a way to buy a 104-key compatible keyboard without keycaps so I don’t wind up with a whole pile of keycaps that I don’t need?
(No hurry, obviously, since it’ll be quite some time before I need to have a device upon which to attach my fancy Scrabble keycaps!)
I'm not aware of any adapter would let you use MX keycaps with a Model M.
My first mechanical keyboard was the CODE keyboard made by WASD Keyboards, and I've been really pleased with it. It uses Cherry MX switches, which are compatible with these keycaps. They also make the "Mechanical Keyboard" (creative name, huh?) that's basically the same but without backlighting. They offer a barebones version of it without keycaps:
You'll have to pick the type of switch, which completely changes how it feels to type on the keyboard. Since you like the Model M, you probably want either Blue or Green switches. If you want something similar but a little less noisy, maybe get Clear switches (which I've got in my CODE keyboard). It's really hard to pick a switch without being able to try them first. In an ideal world, a friend or coworker has a keyboard you can borrow for a few days. I already owned a Model M and had used a keyboard with Blue switches: I knew I didn't want one as loud as either of those. Based on that and checking out videos and forum/blog posts, I made a lucky guess that I might like Clear switches.
There are cheaper keyboards with MX-compatible switches, as well, but I'm not aware of any other barebones boards.
Watch out, though, mechanical keyboards have a nasty habit of multiplying and it can really drain the wallet.
Thanks – that’s all good to know. And the keyboard you mentioned is attractive indeed – I like minimalist, sleek designs, so the lack of a logo really appeals to me. I tried a little searching before asking here, but it’s really hard to find things *without* features that you don’t want. “Barebones” is the secret word!
And even though I have fond memories of the IBM M model (and I could have one for free) I think I do want the quietest switches I can get – I type preternaturally fast and 10-key even faster - people have always commented on the noise I make when typing, which is somewhat embarrassing. And since I’m all about style, I sort of want an aluminum keyboard body – but I don’t know if a metal body will make typing louder than a plastic body does. It really would help to be able to test a whole variety of them.
So far the only modern mechanical keyboard I’ve tried is one they have set up at my local Target, a Razer something-or-other that I didn’t look too closely at, but it wasn’t nearly as loud as I imagined it would be. (It also had some sort of hyperactive backlighting that should probably have an epilepsy warning on it – the salesguy said you could adjust the backlighting to your pleasure, though.)
I tend to spend more time on new hobbies than money, and I’ve justified this purchase by asserting that I’m never going to have to buy a keyboard again, but I can already tell this is a dangerous interest. But if you’re going to use something all day every day, shouldn’t it be the best it can be? Decisions, decisions!
Leopold is a great brand too and barebones looking. Metal though hm, there’s some options out there, maybe less options though since you need a numpad.
I bought a Nixeus Moda Pro with brown switches for about $50 the last time Massdrop offered them, and really like it. It's aluminum case isn't much bigger that the keycap area, but it does have a Nixeus logo above the arrow keys. Search Massdrop to see their photos. And it is also available from other places - Amazon, for example: https://www.amazon.com/Nixeus-Mechanical-Feedback-Keyboard-MK-104BL16/dp/B01DXVUDEA
If you don't have access to different mechanical keyboards to test out different switch types, I highly recommend a switch tester. While not the same as typing on a full keyboard, it does give you an opportunity to compare the feel and sound of different switch types. Various testers are available periodically on Massdrop, and you can find them elsewhere too.
Thanks! The Leopold FC900R looks good.
Ooh! The Nixeus Moda Pro is pretty sharp. Is the logo on yours raised? I feel much more comfortable painting aluminum than I do painting plastic, but I know it would bother me immensely to have a logo in a different font than the keys are - I'm just sensitive like that. (Of course, the cheap keyboard I'm typing on right now has electrical tape on top of the LEDs showing whether the caps and num lock are on, so obviously I can live with almost anything aesthetically!)
And now I just found out there's such a thing as switch dampeners, which sort of changes everything . . .
The logo is not raised, it is just printed on.
Fantastic. Thanks for all your help!