Showing 1 of 303 conversations about:
View Full Discussion
Here are some pictures of the walnut case with green straps
I suggest putting some shelf liner in the bottom of these cases or else they sound pretty hollow
Hey, man. You seem to know your shit. Can I beak at you about keyboards for a couple minutes?
Honest question...What's the appeal to building these keyboards? Is it because it's like a hobby? Is it better quality? I've often wanted to build my own mechanical, but am quickly deterred by the price inflicted.
I already have a really nice RealForce (https://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=topre_keyboards,rftenkeyless&pid=rf_se170s) and that was pretty expensive. I'm just trying to decide on whether or not to pull the trigger on this. I reaaaaaaally like your setup with the wood, white keys (topre?), and green backlighting. How much did it cost all put together sans time?
To me it is a hobby. It can be very expensive but I like switching out boards and having different looks to them. The POK3R 3 as I know call it seems pretty cool.
To me it is really a hobby. They are higher quality than off the shelf products without a doubt since you can have higher quality cases such as wood or aluminum, customized switches as far as the spring weight and smoothness from lubrication of the switches, as well as higher quality keycaps such as thick doubleshot abs or dyesub pbt. You are paying for all of that however, which should be kept in mind.
The realforce is a nice keyboard for sure, and if you like topre switches im not sure if you would want to switch to cherry switches (especially tactile switches like cherry clear, grey, and brown). Of course clicky switches like blues, whites, and greens are an option and so are linear switches like red, black, and linear grey.
Personally I really like linear switches, especially really smooth ones so I usually find some vintage cherry black switches and do spring swaps and lube them so they are smooth. Most off the shelf cherry linear switches are really scratchy. I do have to say though, gateron linear switches are insanely smooth, smoother than most vintage black switches. For these reasons I really like making custom boards, but in the end it is really just a hobby.
I started with a razer blackwidow a few years ago and never even knew about or cared for the idea of a custom keyboard or dropping hundreds on a realforce board or something. Now I probably have 12+ keyboards, most custom, and I have spent thousands on them, so it isn't exactly a cheap hobby and it is a slippery slope :/
The specs on that board were the datamancer case for 150 according to my invoice. Then gateron linear clear switches were around 30 dollars. I have 67g aftermarket springs in it which were around 10 dollars. Then green 1.8mm leds were 7 dollars. The PCB is a "satan" GH60 which cost around 40. Plate was a stock poker 2 plate that I painted with testors emerald green for like 6 dollars. Keycaps are GMK classic beige keycaps. Not sure of the cost of those keycaps, probably something like 120. So total cost you would be looking at around $350-375 dollars. Add around 20 dollars to that figure because it doesn't account for the cost of a plate I used that was sitting around from a dead poker 2 of mine.
Shit, man. That's way more than two minutes worth of writing on your part. THANK YOU so much for the in depth knoweldge dump. I do wish my realforce had some more "flair" but I'm just not ready to drop $400 for a keyboard just yet. I am jealous of your green one, though. Love the look and would want to jam some fingers to get a real feel for it. *sigh* Someone needs to charge a small premium for slapping together those boards. cash cow.
No problem, I love talking about keyboards :D
There are ways to jazz up realforce keyboards. There were some digilog cases available on ebay not too long ago that were cnc aluminum cases with little brass feet, they made the keyboard work over micro usb so you didnt have to have that USB cable stuck to the keyboard the whole time (one thing that I do not like about my realforce) and even included three usb ports on the back of the case so the keyboard acted as a usb hub much like the stock HHKB does. They were available in silver, black, and red and cost 200 dollars. They haven't made any more and I don't know if they plan on doing so either. Only downside to those cases were they were kinda like a brick. They had no angle built into the case, but they did have feet so the keyboard did sit at an angle at least. There were also some quality problems with the USB hub they made for the keyboard and I remember people having to get digilog to send them replacement usb hubs.
There was also a KBDmod realforce cases that did have some angle to them but they were produced in very limited numbers and I haven't seen one in forever. And KBDmod has closed down now so there won't be any others made for sure.
There are also colored realforce keycap sets but they are expensive for what they are and they do not produce them anymore either so the options are limited as of now. You can find them on ebay by searching for topre pbt keycap sets. They cost 150 dollars and come in red, blue, yellow, green, and some other colors like orange and pink but I think all of the pink sets have been bought up in both printed and unprinted. There might have been some other colors, not sure.
You can also swap out the topre sliders for novatouch sliders and be able to use cherry mx keycaps but I only see people doing that with the HHKB so I am not sure if the realforce isn't as easy to do that on (bottom row is not standard) and there might be other reasons. Though the stock topre keycaps are nice and most tend to say it is kinda dumb to put cherry mx keycaps on topre boards when the stock topre keycaps are so nice anyway.
Cherry MX keyboards are a lot easier to customize since there are so many cases, pcbs, switches and keycap sets.
There are people on geekhack.org that do keyboard assembly for a fee. I haven't used any of them though and I don't know who is reliable or has fast turnaround. The thought of turning over 400-500 dollars worth of keyboard stuff to some random person (no matter how nice/legit they might appear online) doesn't seem smart to me. Plus there have been plenty of assembly people I have seen get super behind on orders and have multi-month turnarounds that the people who sent the stuff didn't anticipate. So their stuff just ends up in limbo for however long it takes the person to get around to the work.
Putting together boards is really simple though and is half the fun for me. I just use a simple 30 dollar soldering iron and have no problems.
Ugh....right....soldering. Yeah, I'll need more time on my hand and to free up some of my disposable income before I jump on this hobbyhorse. I really do thank you for all the information. I know that when the realforce eats it (if it does?) I'll be doing a hard look at one of these builds and reference all this talk. Thanks again for everything, I really appreciate it.
No problem, if you ever have any questions feel free to ask. I suspect the realforce will never die though, they are so simple and well built :P
That's the nice part about mech's. They're actually pretty reliable. Thanks for coming in with an open mind. I know for my self, there's a lot of us at Massdrop who love nothing more than these discussions. A lot of people look at a Hobby like Mechanical Keyboards, or Writing, or Tops and don't get it and don't want to get it; I love that you 'want' to get it.
My fiancée was in the same boat until a few months ago when I wanted to come into work on a Saturday for the Bay Area meet-up; she came to use our large format printer for our 40 or so wedding invites. Well she came over and looked at a few of the boards, now she's hooked. Built her own board, is looking at another. She texts me pictures from /r/mechanicalkeyboards all the time. Some times it's just a matter of asking questions, and thats what I love about this community, both mechanical keyboards, and Massdrop.
I'm all about learning opportunities. I definitely got my questions answered and I feel more educated about it all and in turn would make a more educated decision. Thanks everyone for being awesome and sticking through the convo!