Author Topic: Building My First Keyboard  (Read 2238 times)

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Offline Binkers

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  • Posts: 4
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
Building My First Keyboard
« on: Wed, 16 January 2019, 15:35:33 »
Hi! I am getting into the realm of high end mechanical keyboards, and since I always like to go just a step above the normal I am wanting to build a keyboard but I don't know where to start. I want to build 60% keyboard, but not sure whether I want to invest in a soldering station. I am looking at some hot swap pcbs, but I'm not sure if they would be worth it. My total budget would be about $150 to $200. I would use either MX Browns or Zilents with some Varmilo keycaps. Suggestions for pcbs and budget friendly cases would be greatly apprecitated. Thanks!

Offline derznation

  • Posts: 128
  • Location: Montana, United States
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 16 January 2019, 15:39:21 »
I just built a pretty basic 60% board (my first one) using a DZ60 PCB, cheap plate from KBDFans, cheap doubleshots from KBRepublic, basic coiled USB-C cable, and a bamboo case that I liked.  Total was around $190 not including all the soldering stuff I had to buy.

I have a history soldering so I wasn't too scared to jump into that, but even without a history soldering I think you would be fine, PCB's seem to be pretty forgiving.

Hot swap boards are going to put you over the $200 budget would be my guess.

Offline Binkers

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  • Posts: 4
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 16 January 2019, 15:42:56 »
Ok thanks. Any good soldering stations you would recommend? I've watched some turtorials and it doesn't look that difficult, but I'm more worried about the cost? Did you enjoy the process?

Thanks

Offline derznation

  • Posts: 128
  • Location: Montana, United States
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 16 January 2019, 15:46:59 »
I got this soldering station because it was cheap, had decent reviews and a couple people on forums had suggested it.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AS28UC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The only problem I had with it was that the tip is a bit rectangular rather than a needle point, which made desoldering difficult, and there is no temperature monitor so you kind of have to guess if it's ready to go and not too hot.  I didn't have any problems with burning my board though, so it worked out alright.

The process was the best part for me! I really enjoyed assembling random pieces of hardware into a functional keyboard, it was all very zen.  In fact I'm trying to convince my friends and coworkers to have me build boards for them so they can float my hobby haha.

Offline Binkers

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  • Location: Portland, Oregon
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 16 January 2019, 15:50:10 »
Cool thanks! Once I get my budget in my checking accounting I'm going to start the process! Thanks!

Offline Tactile

  • Posts: 1405
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 16 January 2019, 15:55:18 »
I'm in NE Portland. If you are interested we can solder it here or soldering lessons or whatever. PM if interested.
REΛLFORCE

Offline derznation

  • Posts: 128
  • Location: Montana, United States
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 16 January 2019, 15:55:33 »
For sure, hit me up if you need any recommendations or help -- keep in mind I'm a newb too though :)

Offline Tactile

  • Posts: 1405
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 17 January 2019, 13:18:14 »
You might want to have a look at the kits available from these folks.
REΛLFORCE

Offline Binkers

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  • Location: Portland, Oregon
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 17 January 2019, 22:35:06 »
Thanks for the replies and helpful advice and offers. I think I'll be going with a plastic white case, a dz60 pcb, either gateron or cherry browns, and a black switch plate. I'm unsure of what kind of keycaps though since the prices can be so high I'm not sure what would be worth it. I'll get to that when it comes to it though.

Offline derznation

  • Posts: 128
  • Location: Montana, United States
Re: Building My First Keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 17 January 2019, 23:26:19 »
Thanks for the replies and helpful advice and offers. I think I'll be going with a plastic white case, a dz60 pcb, either gateron or cherry browns, and a black switch plate. I'm unsure of what kind of keycaps though since the prices can be so high I'm not sure what would be worth it. I'll get to that when it comes to it though.

What I did was buy a cheap set of PBT doubleshots from KP Republic, probably like $20 until the MT3 Godspeed BG delivers.  That way even if I didn't love the cheap set they were only $20, and I could take my time finding a keyset I wanted.