Author Topic: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc  (Read 1551 times)

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Offline ItsJustRoy

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Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 17:08:12 »
I've been doing my research on plates and decided I'm going to either use POM (aka Delrin on Ponoko), polycarb or PLA. I was wondering what the differences in sound between these plates would be as they're all similar. I plan on putting this into a kbd67mkII with creamsicle switches.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 20:58:43 »
POM can actually sound closer to aluminum than you think and while Polycarbonate isn't as hard both it and POM have a downside, at plate thickness it will be too flexible to really function well, if you look at most polycarbonate keyboards the plate usually has something between it and the pcb to support the plate. Unless you plan on a second underlayer they may not do much more than stabilize the switches a little.

PLA will have the same issue however since it's not a simple plate being laser or water jetted you can actually make the plate a lot thicker and leave space for the switches (under webbing), making it much stronger. Unfortunately PLA isn't entirely solid, it will slowly conform to whatever shape is exerting much force on it, it will stop holding switches well over time, it will also crush over time and come loose. The only good side is you can make it yourself, cheap and change sound by changing infill and shape. My advice, use PET or ABS if you want to this route, PETG is slightly softer but will retain shape better and produces a nicer thock compared to PLA. It's also strong and easy to print. There is one major downside here and that is that almost nothing sticks to PET so you really should make your plate one piece and that means finding a printer large enough. ABS could work but ABS is a horrible plastic to work with, nylon would work but that too is a bit specialized, same for 3d printed polycarbonate. T-Glase works great but it's really just PET.

By the way,
Focus on your switches and stabs, those and stab lube is what mostly produces thock. Treat the source first, not the symptoms. If a switch sounds bad it won't matter what you do to the case short of encasing it in a sound proof box.
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Offline ItsJustRoy

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  • Posts: 7
Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 05:15:37 »
Thank you for this! This was super informative. I have a 3D printer at my uni so I might try the PETG route since it's offered. My switches are lubed and I'm using everglide screw-in stabs that are lubed on the default kbd67mkII brass plate rn and I feel like the sound, though has a nice bass, is a little too high pitched and the plate is a little too stiff for extended and long sessions of typing, which is why I started doing research on these materials.
Do you think plate foam and pcb foam would be enough to support a PETG plate?

Offline Bamboo238

  • Posts: 49
Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 10:11:36 »
POM can actually sound closer to aluminum than you think and while Polycarbonate isn't as hard both it and POM have a downside, at plate thickness it will be too flexible to really function well, if you look at most polycarbonate keyboards the plate usually has something between it and the pcb to support the plate. Unless you plan on a second underlayer they may not do much more than stabilize the switches a little.
...

Nice post Leslieann, thanks for the info. Very helpful.

Offline Ailment

  • Posts: 25
  • Location: USA - VA
Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 10:57:44 »
I have used woodfill (wood+pla) for plate and cases and have not had any issues with it deforming or holding switches etc. (almost 2 years of use ,daily for the last year WFH)  if your printer is dialed in and itís not going to be in direct high heat I would not worry too much about that issue with PLA.  The plate will be fairly flexible so it is possible to bow it out if you put pressure on it right in the middle.  Not the end of the world but can take some wiggling with something between the board and plate to pop it back in place.  As for sound, I would not say it is particularly thoccy, I agree that type of caps/switches and how the entire case is put together has a bigger effect on sound vs the specific plate material. Double shot SA caps sound different than say DSA caps on the same board, you start getting into small details when you want to dial in the sound. 

Offline ItsJustRoy

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  • Posts: 7
Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 18:02:46 »
, you start getting into small details when you want to dial in the sound.

So pretty much its trial and error with my board + different switches and plate. Got it! Im sporting the kbd67mkII rn so it shouldn't be too hard to test plates and switches since I can replace them quickly. Thank you.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 21:41:02 »
Nice post Leslieann, thanks for the info. Very helpful.
You're welcome.


I have used woodfill (wood+pla) for plate and cases and have not had any issues with it deforming or holding switches etc. (almost 2 years of use ,daily for the last year WFH)  if your printer is dialed in and itís not going to be in direct high heat I would not worry too much about that issue with PLA.
Additives can change how PLA reacts but I'm not sure why you think a printer being dialed will change how a thermoplastic reacts later in life.

I've seen a LOT of deformed PLA and not just from heat, you say you haven't noticed, but did you ever actually look, it only deforms a percentage and depending on pressure so it may not show up depending on how tight your switches snap in, but I assure you, it can and does deform over time. Snap together parts lose some of their grip, screw heads start to sink into the plastic needing to be re-tightened as they sink in.

This was not exposed to heat, just moderate pressure from an M3 bolt. Just one example of many. This was 2 perimeters @70% infill high heat PLA.
259872-0
« Last Edit: Thu, 14 January 2021, 21:42:33 by Leslieann »
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Offline Leslieann

  • * Elevated Elder
  • Posts: 3652
Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 21:51:27 »
Thank you for this! This was super informative. I have a 3D printer at my uni so I might try the PETG route since it's offered. My switches are lubed and I'm using everglide screw-in stabs that are lubed on the default kbd67mkII brass plate rn and I feel like the sound, though has a nice bass, is a little too high pitched and the plate is a little too stiff for extended and long sessions of typing, which is why I started doing research on these materials.
Do you think plate foam and pcb foam would be enough to support a PETG plate?
You're welcome.
Odds are your typing will adjust, you could also try putting thicker lube at the bottom of the stem.

How tall you make it as well as perimeter changes will allow for more tuning than foam, the only issue is time and cost. With PET, using as much space as you can between plate and pcb, 2 perimeters, 30% infill on my 65% (which I plan on getting back to) resulted in a nice solid thock for my Box Jades. It's not the same low bass as my NK65 (which is more of a thud thanks to Zilents) but it's definitely lower pitch than my GMMK by a considerable amount. If it does that on a plastic chassis, I can't imagine what it would do in a solid aluminum chassis.
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| GH60
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Offline Ailment

  • Posts: 25
  • Location: USA - VA
Re: Which Plate will give me the deepest thocc
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 15 January 2021, 12:01:28 »
Nice post Leslieann, thanks for the info. Very helpful.
You're welcome.


I have used woodfill (wood+pla) for plate and cases and have not had any issues with it deforming or holding switches etc. (almost 2 years of use ,daily for the last year WFH)  if your printer is dialed in and itís not going to be in direct high heat I would not worry too much about that issue with PLA.
Additives can change how PLA reacts but I'm not sure why you think a printer being dialed will change how a thermoplastic reacts later in life.

I've seen a LOT of deformed PLA and not just from heat, you say you haven't noticed, but did you ever actually look, it only deforms a percentage and depending on pressure so it may not show up depending on how tight your switches snap in, but I assure you, it can and does deform over time. Snap together parts lose some of their grip, screw heads start to sink into the plastic needing to be re-tightened as they sink in.

This was not exposed to heat, just moderate pressure from an M3 bolt. Just one example of many. This was 2 perimeters @70% infill high heat PLA.
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Not disputing the fact that it does deform over time, was just stating in my experience that PLA has not been a problem in terms of keyboard plate/cases I have made.  As far as the printer being dialed in, it was more of a statement on tolerances not that there is a correlation between calibration and the properties of the plastic.  If your holes are too small and you have to jam the switches in you are going to be more likely to have problems because of the excess force. If your tolerances are good I would not expect there to be enough force to cause problems in a reasonable amount of time barring any other kind of print related problems.  For plates, I have typically just printed solid or I do a decent number of solid top/bottom layers and % infill with a variable perimeter like 2.5 (alternates between 2 and 3 perimeters each layer, kind of slicer specific) to make sure there is a good amount of plastic in the crucial areas and to minimize flex.