Author Topic: Is there a custom chiclet keyboard market?  (Read 631 times)

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Offline Learis

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Is there a custom chiclet keyboard market?
« on: Wed, 09 June 2021, 11:14:47 »
This may sound completely ridiculous, but I'm wondering if there is a custom keyboard market for chiclet keyboards as there is for the typical mechanical ones. Like if there's different switches with different resistances and feels, keycaps, etc. I'm seeing that I type significantly faster on my laptop's chiclet keyboard than my fancy shmancy mechanical keyboard. But I also see that not all chiclet keyboards are made equally, and there's different travel distances, feels, and resistances among them. I doubt this market exists, but was just wondering if it's on the horizon or not.
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Offline diazel

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Re: Is there a custom chiclet keyboard market?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 09 June 2021, 11:58:16 »
Have you looked into the low profile switches? Kailh Choc red is really short and uses a chiclet style keycap. Only has 3mm travel vs the standard mx 4mm and can be used with keycaps that closely resemble chiclet key style. You'll see them a lot on custom ergodoxs it seems.

That said, chiclet keys are largely rubber membrane type keyboards and you won't find a lot of love for stuff like that in the custom market. Seems like 97% new custom stuff is made around MX style switches (a number I just made up) and there's definitely an elitism with keeb enthusiasts that looks down on the chiclets unless you're an Apple user, haha

WRT the typing speed, maybe a difference in your typing posture? Typically laptop style chiclets, you rest your wrist on the same flat surface. A regular keyboard is going to have keys higher than the surface, ~5deg angle more than a laptop, and a case/bezel that might raise the board up another 1cm or more. I've seen people typing on steep keyboards with their wrists on the table and their hands up at like 45deg. If that's you, give a chance to floating your hands/wrists above or resting back on your forearms to support. If not, I get you and people like what they like  :thumb:

If you use the same flat style of typing with your wrists on the surface, I can see it slowing down because it's not what you were used to. Take a look at how your typing and whether your wrists are at a sharp angle.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Is there a custom chiclet keyboard market?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 09 June 2021, 12:09:17 »
Not really ...

I would say that the custom mechanical keyboard market was made possible because:
 - Switches are individual modules: Most scissor/rubber dome keyboards are made as whole keyboards anyway: with a shared metal frame and shared membrane
 - MX switches were made so you could change keycaps on them. In my experience, most scissor switches and their keycaps tend to be flimsily made and break too easily.
 - There are several varieties, both Cherry MX and many clones. Whereas all scissors switches of one brand has only a single type of rubber dome (glued to the membrane so you can't change it easily)

Kailh, Omron and Cherry have made discrete scissor-switch modules that appear to be able to change keycaps, but they are quite rare, and they are all "mechanical", with coiled springs - so the feel is more or less just like the full-height mechanical switches but shallower.
I haven't seen any of Kailh's switches in any product. The Omron B3KL switch is in one laptop and one desktop keyboard. And the Cherry "MX Ultra-low profile" is brand new and in only one laptop.
I doubt that there could be any interoperability between these, because they are not clones.

There is a custom keyboard market for the low-profile "Kailh Choc" switch though, but those are also "mechanical" with "mechanical feel": variants of blue, brown, red etc... with a distinct lack of a highly tactile non-clicky variant.
Also, because of Kailh's weird keycap sizes, most customs with them have been minimal keyboards with only 1u keys and most of them small split ergonomic keyboards.
The only third-party keycaps available for them also have Kailh's weird dimensions.

BTW. I'd rather call "chiclet" a keycap style: flat with space around it.
« Last Edit: Wed, 09 June 2021, 12:14:06 by Findecanor »
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
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Offline kajahtaa

  • Posts: 153
Re: Is there a custom chiclet keyboard market?
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 12 June 2021, 12:24:14 »
there's a lopro discord
« Last Edit: Sat, 12 June 2021, 12:31:13 by kajahtaa »