Author Topic: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?  (Read 612 times)

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Offline Indigu

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Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 08:09:25 »
I've recently been introduced to the topic of mechanical keyboards and such, and wanted to know if there are any places where I can understand as much of what's going on as possible.

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 08:20:33 »
Welcome to geekhack :)

There are many aspects to this hobby - some people are seeking a board to help with the pain caused by typing all day, some want more space on their desk for gaming or a small board with a custom layout so they can be more efficient, some just want a pretty keyboard with purple keycaps, others are interested in saving old boards, some want to try everything (switches, keycap profiles, plate materials, plate mounting...) and some have lots of time, money and/or skill and want to design all aspects of their perfect board and others (the only group that make no sense to me) just seem to want to buy every group buy board available.

Which of these are you intereted in, or maybe I missed you?
120/100g linear Zealio R1  
GMK Hyperfuse
'Split everything' perfection  
MX Clear
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Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 08:21:09 »
The best way to learn about the current state of things is to try and build something.

You could start with something affordable, like a KBD67 Lite kit. You'll separately need switches, keycaps, and maybe stabilizers and a custom coil. You'll want to customize your switches. Just the effort of doing that will quickly introduce you to a lot of elements.

In terms of reading, visit the Deskthority Wiki, which contains a lot of information about historical keyboards, and the concepts and terms used. If you also search on this forum about switch customization, such as building Ergo Clears, "Ghost Blacks," and how MX Brown, Clear, and other basic switches were once considered exotic, you will learn a lot about what came past.

Getting involved in Group Buys will teach you a lot about the process. You could start with something modest like ePBT or JTK, or something even cheaper like Infinikey. Or GrayStudio, as they produce some affordable items.

You can read reddit/r/mechanicalkeyboards for a lot of photos, there's here and keebtalk where discussion takes place. There are popular Youtube channels like Chyrosan22 and Glarses. And if you go onto Discord, there is enormous chatter in several Discords.

Offline Indigu

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 09:16:53 »
Welcome to geekhack :)

There are many aspects to this hobby - some people are seeking a board to help with the pain caused by typing all day, some want more space on their desk for gaming or a small board with a custom layout so they can be more efficient, some just want a pretty keyboard with purple keycaps, others are interested in saving old boards, some want to try everything (switches, keycap profiles, plate materials, plate mounting...) and some have lots of time, money and/or skill and want to design all aspects of their perfect board and others (the only group that make no sense to me) just seem to want to buy every group buy board available.

Which of these are you intereted in, or maybe I missed you?

I'm generally interested in the hobby for the typing experiences and aesthetics. I already have accumulated a decent amount of knowledge and understand some relatively basic/intermediate things, however, there's still much more I don't know and I'm keen to understand alot more, I just couldn't find proper resources for learning while doing some research. I'm also worried to engage in conversation here or on discord, as I usually might not know what's being said and I wish to not disrupt the conversation.

Offline Volny

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 09:34:17 »
Don't worry about not being knowledgeable enough. I'm new too, and I haven't found that to be a problem. The people I've spoken to on geekhack have largely been extremely helpful.

Also, I get the sense that a huge proportion of this community are people who are relatively new to the hobby. The hobby seems to have grown rapidly in recent times (which perhaps partly explains why almost everything in every one of the gazillion online keyboard stores is always out of stock)

In terms of getting up to speed with various keyboard topics, this is a good resource: https://keyboard.university/

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 09:36:46 »

The best way to learn about the current state of things is to try and build something.


I must disagree with this. The first thing that you need is an overview of what the experience of using keyboards is all about, and that requires using a number of significantly different ones.

It is harder now, but I started out buying "used" keyboards in second-hand shops for a few dollars each. Occasionally I got something decent, often with a problem such as a couple of dead keys, but I gained a recognition of differences and advantages and disadvantages of each type.

After that, I started surfing around on these forums and, curiosity piqued, bought a few on ebay. Not being a gamer and having plenty of desk space made it easier.

Until you have used half a dozen entirely different "species" of keyboards, you won't be able to understand what you do and don't like.
“The mass of Trump companies is justifiably called Byzantine. It’s a deliberate labyrinth of connections, some of them intended to maximize Trump’s tax benefits — like the company that supposedly owns Trump’s planes and leases them to the other companies, all of which are just Trump, allowing for a double-dip on deductions. Other companies seem to exist for no purpose other than to make investigating Trump’s finances more complicated and more difficult to penetrate.”
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Offline Indigu

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 09:52:50 »

The best way to learn about the current state of things is to try and build something.


I must disagree with this. The first thing that you need is an overview of what the experience of using keyboards is all about, and that requires using a number of significantly different ones.

It is harder now, but I started out buying "used" keyboards in second-hand shops for a few dollars each. Occasionally I got something decent, often with a problem such as a couple of dead keys, but I gained a recognition of differences and advantages and disadvantages of each type.

After that, I started surfing around on these forums and, curiosity piqued, bought a few on ebay. Not being a gamer and having plenty of desk space made it easier.

Until you have used half a dozen entirely different "species" of keyboards, you won't be able to understand what you do and don't like.


That makes alot of sense, as I've seen people talk about the usefulness of switch testers to gain a sense of what you like and dislike. I myself currently use a reddragon k552 and definitely know that I don't like outemu reds and that I'd prefer a more compact layout than tkl and a lighter case. Thanks for the tips!

Don't worry about not being knowledgeable enough. I'm new too, and I haven't found that to be a problem. The people I've spoken to on geekhack have largely been extremely helpful.

Also, I get the sense that a huge proportion of this community are people who are relatively new to the hobby. The hobby seems to have grown rapidly in recent times (which perhaps partly explains why almost everything in every one of the gazillion online keyboard stores is always out of stock)

In terms of getting up to speed with various keyboard topics, this is a good resource: https://keyboard.university/

Yeah, I was a bit fearful about interacting with the community as the people on reddit don't seem too pleasant, and they also don't seem to like begginers (maybe it's just a small minority but idk) but everyone here on geekhack looks great and welcoming; this is also why I wanted to educate myself as much as possible before interacting with the community any further as I didn't want to come off as annoying. I've also already read keyboard university but thank you for the help anyways. :D


Offline MIGHTY CHICKEN

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 10:00:59 »
Interacting with the community is gonna be the best way, browse geekhack, hop around on discord servers till you find one you like, just do as you do. (I will recommend avoiding the bigger and less custom channels/servers, ie the help section in some very big vendor or more budget orriented server, those places have way too many pepegas)

Offline Volny

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 10:07:13 »
I can't speak for reddit as I don't really know it well. Even less discord, since I find that website unbearably chaotic (not the people but the actual platform) . But geekhack and keebtalk seem good.

As was said above, it's quite a diverse hobby, with trendy minimalists side by side with hardcore DIYers, engineering nerds who geek out on force curve graphs, and people who just love to collect cute artisan keycaps. I get the sense that due to that diversity people don't necessarily expect everyone to be on the same wavelength as them all the time

Offline Volny

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 10:25:12 »

The best way to learn about the current state of things is to try and build something.


I must disagree with this. The first thing that you need is an overview of what the experience of using keyboards is all about, and that requires using a number of significantly different ones.

It is harder now, but I started out buying "used" keyboards in second-hand shops for a few dollars each. Occasionally I got something decent, often with a problem such as a couple of dead keys, but I gained a recognition of differences and advantages and disadvantages of each type.

After that, I started surfing around on these forums and, curiosity piqued, bought a few on ebay. Not being a gamer and having plenty of desk space made it easier.

Until you have used half a dozen entirely different "species" of keyboards, you won't be able to understand what you do and don't like.

While true, this is potentially misleading.

You can't truly know what music you like until you've heard every genre available. But that doesn't mean that the best way to discover music is to listen to 1000 albums from 1000 genres and sample them briefly one by one until you've taken in the gamut. Reggae today, black metal tomorrow, polka the next day...

You don't have to start everywhere. It's enough to just start somewhere.

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 13:26:16 »

The best way to learn about the current state of things is to try and build something.


I must disagree with this. The first thing that you need is an overview of what the experience of using keyboards is all about, and that requires using a number of significantly different ones.

It is harder now, but I started out buying "used" keyboards in second-hand shops for a few dollars each. Occasionally I got something decent, often with a problem such as a couple of dead keys, but I gained a recognition of differences and advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Okay, fair enough. But the OP expressed an interest in acquiring a deeper knowledge of keyboards.

I brought up several on-line sources where theoretical knowledge could be obtained, and someone else pointed out Keyboard University.

But there's no substitute for direct knowledge. Buying an affordable hotswap [like KBD67 Lite] and testing switches and keycaps, as I suggested, is a pretty affordable move, and will advance knowledge dramatically.

I read a great deal of things on these forums and elsewhere, but a lot of this did not advance my understanding in a practical sense until I started experimenting more in hotswap, especially opening up switches and attempting to customize them. A whole lot becomes more clear once you start trying some different keycaps with your switches, trying out different switches, modifying them, and testing out a new plate material.

To "understand as much of what's going on as possible" as the OP requests, involves trying out these components, and then comparing it to information found on-line.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 19 May 2021, 19:37:39 »

The best way to learn about the current state of things is to try and build something.


I must disagree with this. The first thing that you need is an overview of what the experience of using keyboards is all about, and that requires using a number of significantly different ones.

It is harder now, but I started out buying "used" keyboards in second-hand shops for a few dollars each. Occasionally I got something decent, often with a problem such as a couple of dead keys, but I gained a recognition of differences and advantages and disadvantages of each type.

After that, I started surfing around on these forums and, curiosity piqued, bought a few on ebay. Not being a gamer and having plenty of desk space made it easier.

Until you have used half a dozen entirely different "species" of keyboards, you won't be able to understand what you do and don't like.


That makes alot of sense, as I've seen people talk about the usefulness of switch testers to gain a sense of what you like and dislike. I myself currently use a reddragon k552 and definitely know that I don't like outemu reds and that I'd prefer a more compact layout than tkl and a lighter case. Thanks for the tips!

I don't think that the basic Outemu MX clones that come in the cheap Amazon boards have a very good reputation overall. I only have the blue variants in boards, but in my tester literally everything else seemed to me to be even scratchier than pre-Hyperglide MX ... which is a feat. Ironically, their blue switches seem to be just about on par with Gateron blues to me, being just about the best of the MX clone clickies ... which means very little when MX clickies are pretty mediocre in general.

You'll want a switch tester if you haven't tried very many switches yet. A lot of this is about perception and preference. Once you know, generally, what sort of switches you like you can start narrowing down where you even want to look for detailed information.

Don't worry about not being knowledgeable enough. I'm new too, and I haven't found that to be a problem. The people I've spoken to on geekhack have largely been extremely helpful.

Also, I get the sense that a huge proportion of this community are people who are relatively new to the hobby. The hobby seems to have grown rapidly in recent times (which perhaps partly explains why almost everything in every one of the gazillion online keyboard stores is always out of stock)

In terms of getting up to speed with various keyboard topics, this is a good resource: https://keyboard.university/

Yeah, I was a bit fearful about interacting with the community as the people on reddit don't seem too pleasant, and they also don't seem to like begginers (maybe it's just a small minority but idk) but everyone here on geekhack looks great and welcoming; this is also why I wanted to educate myself as much as possible before interacting with the community any further as I didn't want to come off as annoying. I've also already read keyboard university but thank you for the help anyways. :D

Reddit's format is terrible, so I wouldn't know. The only time I'm on there is if I'm looking to buy something specific and/or Googling random things. People are usually pretty friendly around here.

Welcome to Geekhack by the way.

Offline brodiegrizz

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Re: Any methods to learn more about the hobby?
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 19 May 2021, 23:20:27 »
Reddit or geekhack can be helpful in some ways but I personally believe that discord would be best. Usually smaller communities and friendlier people!

I would be glad to answer any questions you have too  :thumb: