So all the stuff from China finally arrived and now I’m rocking a fancy new 87% mechanical keyboard.
I was already using a mechanical WASD keyboard but found that the red Cherry MX switches I chose weren’t as feedback-y as I wanted. Also, I wanted to try a keyboard with a smaller footprint in my desk to see how it felt. All this while trying to save a buck too.
Here’s the list of things I bought:
Not so cheap in the end. I had to pay higher to reduce some complexities of choosing the specific parts list. After all I’ve learned, I think I could get everything for a new keyboard at 75% the cost now.
Here are some insights after the whole process:
- Don’t buy a kit that comes with a cheap plastic case for your keyboard :/
- Make sure that your Chinese vendor actually has stock for all the parts included in the kit you’re buying.
- Learn about keyboards a bit. Watch @fightingkitten’s videos!
- Use a softer switch or install better stabilizers for the spacebar if you tend to hit it off-center
- It’s hard to find ISO layout items. I found it to be almost impossible to find Spanish ISO items (at least at the Chinese vendors I was able to find).
- It’s hard to find 80%-87% layout items. The range of options is much wider if you plan on building either a 60%, or a 100%-ish layout keyboard.
- Plan ahead. Dry run your build by placing stuff together without soldering.
- The keycap set comes with different size variants of some keys such as
- The keycap set may come with keys you don’t like, missing, or wrong keys. In my case, I had to stick with a
fn keys that I don’t like, and a
\ key above the return key with a shape that feels kind of weird.
- Start placing keycaps with the spacebar and continue fitting the rest of the bottom row until you come up with a combination that you like.
- Continue with all the other keys with a non square shape.
- Check the vertical shape of the keycap to figure out the row it belongs to.
- Writing Spanish accents and special characters in Windows is a pain in the *ss. So far, I’m using the Spanish accents CapsLock method, which is nice because it works half the time.
Even though I’m loving the English layout for code (no
alt-gr nonsense), and writing in English (for obvious reasons), I haven’t abandoned the idea of building a new Spanish ISO keyboard, but it’s clear now that I’ll have to invest more time in researching PCBs and vendors.
Also, considering that there are fewer options for 80%-87% keyboards, I might go for a full keyboard next. I don’t think I could really use a keyboard without a separate block for cursors or