Author Topic: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!  (Read 7039 times)

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Offline gak1234

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My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!
« on: Sun, 19 November 2017, 10:35:39 »
I am just about ready to start modifying my Das Prime 13.  I studied up on switches, tried a bunch out, tried some of the mods like Ergo and Panda, o-rings vs landing pads; and then I thought long and hard about how I actually use my keyboard on a daily basis -  such as with which keys I have touch typing trouble, the ones I often fat-finger, which ones I really hammer on, etc.  I mocked up a layout accordingly, and have now procured sufficient quantities of Tactile Greys, clicky Whites, Clears, and Greens (won't be used in this build, they sound terrible!), plus qty.200 of three different white LED varieties.  As soon as I decide which LEDs are best, I will start desoldering the Prime and prepping the new switches.  Aside from a possible tweaks, here is how I currently intend to set up the board:

(grey = Tactile Grey)
(white= White/Milk)
(aqua = Clear)
(red dot = Super 150g spring)
(purple dot = 80g spring from Tactile Grey)

Note on the purple dot:  Although both the White and Grey switches are officially spec'd at 80 cN, the spring designs differ.  I put Grey springs in a few Whites and compared them SxS to un-modified Whites, and there is definitely a difference in the tactile feel and actuation force.  The White/Grey combo is a tad stiffer, the tactile bump is less pronounced (think Brown vs Clear) but also more crisp, and the downstroke feels less mushy than a stock White - I really like this hybrid!  If it doesn't have a name yet, I nominate the name Smoky/Smoke :D



I want click+tactile feedback on certain keys that I often make mistakes with.  My left-shift pinky is sometimes laggy and I end up with DOuble CAps.  I get too zealous with the backspace and sometimes hit it once or twice too many.  The ability to hear certain keys over the rest will help me break bad habits associated with those keys, let me know when locks/insert are inadvertently activated, while the addition of Super springs makes certain ones especially difficult to hit accidentally.

The Tactile Greys are there for the keys I want more deliberate effort required, and the red-dot Greys & Whites will be extremely stiff.
The top row keys are often pressed by my sleeping cat... perhaps very heavy switches will reduce her hacking of teh webz.

« Last Edit: Sat, 30 December 2017, 11:20:54 by gak1234 »


Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 19 November 2017, 18:55:44 »
Yep, been using the same one for 22 years!  It is an old Radio Shack one, looks like this - only thing I hate about it is that the replaceable tips (nickel-plated copper) wear out very fast and cost $5 ea.  You can barely do 100 solder joints before a hole burns up the side.

« Last Edit: Wed, 20 December 2017, 20:17:23 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 07 December 2017, 22:07:38 »
Das Keyboard Prime 13 desoldering:

 

 



   

 :eek: I got fatigued and instead of taking a break, I made a mistake - lifted a pad, dang it! Though, 1 out of 416 ain't bad.
Easy fix with 30awg Kynar wire from the ground plane pad at L17 ........ otherwise, clean as a whistle.

« Last Edit: Thu, 01 February 2018, 19:40:46 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 30 December 2017, 09:08:14 »
Rough prototype of a sound damping rubber sheet:



As I had feared, the not-so-sticky adhesive backing on this particular product is mostly useless.

« Last Edit: Sat, 06 January 2018, 09:32:54 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 05 January 2018, 20:54:37 »
 
That'll work!  The neoprene sheet is bonded to the plate via its own mildly sticky adhesive, plus a light coat of tacky spray adhesive applied to the plate - it won't be going anywhere.
The sound damping effect exceeded my expectations, I'm glad I tried this!

((MOVED VIDEO FURTHER DOWN))
« Last Edit: Fri, 02 February 2018, 09:29:39 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 20:30:02 »
Finally, PROGRESS!  Quite a bit of it, too :)

     

All switches have polycarbonate "stickers" and LED swap sockets, and all non-clicky switches are lubed with Krytox.

     

The switch plate is repainted with Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint.  It is a bit darker than the factory coating, and a tad less reflective.

     

416 pins lined up perfectly!  I had visions of bent and broken pins, and holes clogged with solder, but somehow there was zero fuss!  A minor miracle...

     

The rubber sheet works very well!  Only problem is that I didn't account for the switches being slightly wider than their holes once the locking tabs clip into place.  That pushed the rubber up a little bit, but the overall damping effect is still more than satisfactory.
« Last Edit: Tue, 13 March 2018, 16:21:50 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 31 January 2018, 11:05:53 »
 :thumb:
« Last Edit: Thu, 01 February 2018, 19:20:22 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 01 February 2018, 18:42:48 »
All LEDs pass, all switches pass!  All that remains is to prune LED leads, clean up some flux, and put the assembly back in the shell.

     

Military/nuclear spec says you gotta trim the leads BEFORE soldering.  They'll inspect your lead length with a machinist's scale... more than 1/8" protrusion = FAIL.

   I've been itching to fix that pad for nearly two months now!

     

« Last Edit: Thu, 01 February 2018, 22:50:33 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 02 February 2018, 00:44:14 »


Almost forgot I bought silencing clips on Massdrop.


Side-by-side of my new modified board (top) vs my spare stocker (bottom).  White vs. what Das Keyboard calls white! 


Before/after sound comparison (tapping the plate with my fingernail) - .032" neoprene sheet applied to the switch plate:     
Side-by-side typing sound comparison.  HUGE difference!  The terrible ringing sound from the switch plate is GONE.     


All done!  Now to sell it and build v2  :))
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 February 2018, 13:58:21 by gak1234 »

Offline gak1234

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  • Posts: 31
  • Location: Colorado
Re: My custom 104-key Cherry switch layout - now with sound damping!
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 13 March 2018, 16:35:19 »
v2 ideas:

Spray-on rubberized truck bed liner instead of neoprene rubber damping sheet.  This may both work better and require less manual labor.
Cerama-kote paint for the top of the switch plate (suggested by /u/hbheroinbob).
Superhydrophobic coating on PCB, switch plate, and maybe even the tops of the switches.
78g tactile Zilents instead of Cherry Clears.


Sorry if this thread is becoming more of a build log than an ergonomics topic!
« Last Edit: Tue, 13 March 2018, 20:15:44 by gak1234 »