Author Topic: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?  (Read 2723 times)

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Offline al3azef

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Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« on: Thu, 09 April 2020, 08:50:33 »
I have been using TKL RF Topre KBD (55g) for about 5 years. But, I need to replace it for three main reasons:

- the keycaps are small for my fingers
- writing long sessions on a 55g switches causes me fatigue
- it is not quietest

What is the closest keybaord to Topre feel (or better if there is any) but with a quieter feedback, larger keycaps and a less actuation force? 

some have suggested to me to buy the new silenced RF Topre with 45g/variable? What do you think?


Thanks!

Offline Riverman

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  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 09 April 2020, 11:21:25 »
A silenced 45g Topre would fix two of your three issues.  I don't feel like a 45g Topre board is any more fatiguing on my fingertips than an MX brown or red keyboard, which are both very light.  Factory silenced versions are also extremely quiet.  The keycaps are going to be the same size, though, and I don't think you'll find any aftermarket keycaps for Topre that are a different profile.  Some do exist for MX keyboards.  Tai Hao's cubic keycaps at least look to be a little wider, and IKBC has a keyboard called the Table that has wider keycaps.

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 09 April 2020, 17:22:27 »
Thanks Riverman for the provided info!

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 10 April 2020, 10:42:27 »
I have to ask...

What made you decide to get 55g?  It was always going to cause fatigue for a lot of people...

There is this misunderstanding by a lot of people on keyboard forums that 55g is more popular or the best Topre..no...it isn't.  Factually, it isn't.  It is just the more exotic keyboard because it is less common.  For people that dislike 45g Topre, 55g offers a much more snappy experience and some people really like it.  But outside of those people who actually dislike 45g, 45g is their core weight for a reason. 

If you use proper form when typing, variable is a great option although going to variable from 55g will feel weird on the very light keys so there will be a big adjustment period..If you don't use proper form don't even consider variable as it'll just suck. 

Given your specific situation...I'd look for:

Some sort of MX Topre slider keyboard.  A Novatouch or modified Topre keyboard that has hopefully been silenced.  You then have the whole MX lineup of keycaps to choose from.  If none of those keycaps work then you're better off getting a normal rubber dome keyboard. 


Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 10 April 2020, 23:03:33 »
I have to ask... What made you decide to get 55g?
  Very good question  :thumb:  I made the decision based on many reviews and feedback on the Internet. Unfortunately, it was not a great investment; small keys, fatigue, cracking sound from the corner....countless issues. But, since it was a very expensive I decided to live with it for 5 years :eek:

Currently I am doing a coding exam and this is makes me sick. That's why I decided to replace it, hopefully.

Quote
MX Topre slider keyboard
  can you give an example ?

Offline diymkb

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 11 April 2020, 01:10:06 »
I have been using TKL RF Topre KBD (55g) for about 5 years. But, I need to replace it for three main reasons:

- the keycaps are small for my fingers
- writing long sessions on a 55g switches causes me fatigue
- it is not quietest

What is the closest keybaord to Topre feel (or better if there is any) but with a quieter feedback, larger keycaps and a less actuation force? 

some have suggested to me to buy the new silenced RF Topre with 45g/variable? What do you think?


Thanks!

It's pretty hard to hit all of the characteristics you're looking in one switch but if you have the time you could try Zilents V2 or Jailhouse Blues (3mm travel), Copre mod, latex mod for further silencing, and SPRiT spring of your choice. Having the MX stem would let you pick the profile you desire.

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 12 April 2020, 23:30:36 »
Thanks for your  advice!

Quote
you could try Zilents V2 or Jailhouse Blues (3mm travel), Copre mod, latex mod for further silencing, and SPRiT spring of your choice. Having the MX stem would let you pick the profile you desire.
  Is there a keyboard that combines these? OR you mean I need to build it myself?

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 13 April 2020, 09:26:54 »
I have to ask... What made you decide to get 55g?
  Very good question  :thumb:  I made the decision based on many reviews and feedback on the Internet. Unfortunately, it was not a great investment; small keys, fatigue, cracking sound from the corner....countless issues. But, since it was a very expensive I decided to live with it for 5 years :eek:

Currently I am doing a coding exam and this is makes me sick. That's why I decided to replace it, hopefully.

Quote
MX Topre slider keyboard
  can you give an example ?

Novatouch.  Realforce RGB. 

You can mod a Realforce if you want as well..replace the sliders yourself.


Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 13 April 2020, 15:38:03 »
I really hate RGB boards  ;D I will consider the other one... thanks mate!

Offline Riverman

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  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 13 April 2020, 16:11:33 »
I'm not a fan of RGB keyboards, either, but you'd never know the Topre RGB was one unless you turned on the lights.  Otherwise, it's just the cheapest way to get MX keycaps on a Topre keyboard.  I used to have one, and never should have sold it, especially considering the prices people seem to want for them now.  You can buy one new from Fujitsu for far less than the asking price for most of them on eBay.

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 13 April 2020, 16:35:28 »
Got it, thank man.  ;)

Offline diymkb

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 14 April 2020, 01:52:47 »
Thanks for your  advice!

Quote
you could try Zilents V2 or Jailhouse Blues (3mm travel), Copre mod, latex mod for further silencing, and SPRiT spring of your choice. Having the MX stem would let you pick the profile you desire.
  Is there a keyboard that combines these? OR you mean I need to build it myself?

Yes. You'd have to do the mods yourself or purchase them from someone with the mod/s already done but I doubt you'd find one in that exact combination.

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 14 April 2020, 19:06:28 »
Quote
you could try Zilents V2 or Jailhouse Blues (3mm travel), Copre mod, latex mod for further silencing, and SPRiT spring of your choice. Having the MX stem would let you pick the profile you desire.
  This is a very difficult recipe for me since I have never done such mods ;D  Can someone give me a video on YouTube or a website showing someone who had already cooked this recipe  :thumb:

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 15 April 2020, 01:15:19 »
Buy one...

Or just get a 45g/Variable Topre you'll be fine...

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 15 April 2020, 05:01:29 »

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 19 April 2020, 20:49:25 »
I suggest either a Topre keyboard with MX compatibility, or one of those cheaper Topre-like keyboards like the ABKO K935P or Niz Plum 87. Those have MX keycap compatibility that will supposedly allow you to use the range of MX keycaps.

This means you could buy an ABKO with MX stems, put KAT or MT3 keycaps on it, and therefore have giant keys with potentially large surfaces to use.

The ABKO is silenced(?) 45G, and many of the Niz keyboards come with 35G, which is surely light enough. Plus you can put aftermarket domes on many of them, ranging from 30-65G , depending on your preference.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 19 April 2020, 23:40:25 »
The Topre clones are all very  light and the spring they include makes it feel more linear...so you'd need to replace the domes..

But that said, I don't think the Topre clones are too bad...I've used them for work.....

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 03:51:01 »
The Topre clones are all very  light and the spring they include makes it feel more linear...so you'd need to replace the domes..

But that said, I don't think the Topre clones are too bad...I've used them for work.....

Thanks for the advice!


I suggest either a Topre keyboard with MX compatibility, or one of those cheaper Topre-like keyboards like the ABKO K935P or Niz Plum 87. Those have MX keycap compatibility that will supposedly allow you to use the range of MX keycaps.

This means you could buy an ABKO with MX stems, put KAT or MT3 keycaps on it, and therefore have giant keys with potentially large surfaces to use.

The ABKO is silenced(?) 45G, and many of the Niz keyboards come with 35G, which is surely light enough. Plus you can put aftermarket domes on many of them, ranging from 30-65G , depending on your preference.

Thanks for the advice! I ordered the Plum 2019 NEW Micro 82 EC Keyboard with Non-RGB and 35g  :D I will give you guys my feedback soon...

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 11:23:47 »
Thanks. I'll be very interested to hear about your new Plum keyboard. I may have a 45 G ABKO on its way soon, for comparison.

Offline Setiawan

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 11:32:27 »
If you ever need to make it quieter, lubing the sliders makes a big difference on EC keyboards. I just did mine with Tribosys 3203, and it made it quieter than I was expecting. You can also deaden the sound by applying adhesive butyl rubber to the inside of the case.
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Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 11:53:48 »
Thanks. I'll be very interested to hear about your new Plum keyboard. I may have a 45 G ABKO on its way soon, for comparison.

It'd be interesting to hear what you have to say about the ABKO.  The PLUM/NIZ 45g is their 35g + spring and that totally kills the feel...If you have 45g domes that would be nice as you'll have a better weighting and still keep the tactility...

Offline redeye

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 13:38:46 »

Thanks for the advice! I ordered the Plum 2019 NEW Micro 82 EC Keyboard with Non-RGB and 35g  :D I will give you guys my feedback soon...

Haha, as I was reading down this thread I was just about to suggest this. I've got the micro82 and I love it. It's really quiet, has 3 levels of actuation distance, spacebar is rock solid no twang and overall it feels pretty decent. The software takes some getting used to.

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 15:59:23 »
If you ever need to make it quieter, lubing the sliders makes a big difference on EC keyboards. I just did mine with Tribosys 3203, and it made it quieter than I was expecting. You can also deaden the sound by applying adhesive butyl rubber to the inside of the case.
  How to do that? I have never done modifications to a keyboard. If you can give few links for videos plus good lube/rubber/adhesive... that would be great.




Thanks for the advice! I ordered the Plum 2019 NEW Micro 82 EC Keyboard with Non-RGB and 35g  :D I will give you guys my feedback soon...

Haha, as I was reading down this thread I was just about to suggest this. I've got the micro82 and I love it. It's really quiet, has 3 levels of actuation distance, spacebar is rock solid no twang and overall it feels pretty decent. The software takes some getting used to.
;D ;D :thumb: I hope it feels better than RF Topre.



Thanks. I'll be very interested to hear about your new Plum keyboard. I may have a 45 G ABKO on its way soon, for comparison.

Sure. Let's compare it with the ABKO, which btw was my second one on the list :)


Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 18:08:59 »
Yes, I will try to post my impressions of the ABKO in this thread. Let's try to compare it also to Cherry MX Brown or Red, which are a common standard.

Offline Setiawan

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 21 April 2020, 18:45:20 »
If you ever need to make it quieter, lubing the sliders makes a big difference on EC keyboards. I just did mine with Tribosys 3203, and it made it quieter than I was expecting. You can also deaden the sound by applying adhesive butyl rubber to the inside of the case.
  How to do that? I have never done modifications to a keyboard. If you can give few links for videos plus good lube/rubber/adhesive... that would be great.


It's gonna have to be a mish mash of a few videos, as I don't think there's a single video that shows the beginning to end process of lubing a Niz Plum board. Here's a video I found of the disassembly of an 87 that you might find helpful though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4HD1lueepA. I've written my own steps below.

Disassembly
  • Remove all the keycaps. You'll probably get a keycap puller with your Niz board that you can use. Be sure not to lose the little stabiliser pieces beneath the larger keys.
  • Next you're going to have to do is pry open the board. I haven't done this on the 82 (only on the 87) but I suspect it's similar. There are plastic tabs all along the edge of the top part of the case, that latch onto the bottom part. You're going to have to use some kind of flat object (I used a paint scraper) or prying tool to get it open. Just be gentle during this part so as to not break off any tabs.
  • Put aside the top case.
  • On my 87, there's a cable that runs from the main PCB that's sitting on the bottom case, to a small PCB just beneath it (this small PCB is for USB, and is screwed into the bottom case). Gently lift up the main PCB, detach this cable, and put aside the bottom case.
  • If you got the Bluetooth model, you may have to do some extra steps to remove the battery. I don't have the Bluetooth model so I can't really comment on this part, sorry.
  • On the main PCB, there will be a number of screws you will need to unscrew.
  • Gently lift up the main PCB, and put it aside. Be careful here, as just beneath this is the rubber sheet, with a bunch of conical springs sitting on top of it. These springs may lift up with the PCB. If you lose these springs, some keys will not work.
  • As best you can, try to lift off the rubber sheet without disturbing the conical springs. Even if they do move/fall off from their positions, you can put them back later so it's not a massive deal, just a bit of a PITA.
  • At this point, you should be left with the aluminium plate, the switch housings, and sliders. Remove the sliders. If you tip the plate upside down at this point (well, tip it right side up technically, since you've been looking at it upside down), all the sliders will fall out freely. You can do this on a large surface, just be sure not to lose them.

At this point you can lube the board. The part that you want to lube are the rails on the inside of the housing. This is the part of the housing that the sliders actually slide up and down along. Check out this timestamped video of TaehaTypes, where he lubes a HHKB - the lubing process will be much the same: https://youtu.be/LNj5Bckj2zA?t=3873

He's using Tribosys 3204 in the video I believe, and is a common lube people seem to use on EC keyboards. I did mine with Tribosys 3203, and it worked great. I can't really comment on the differences though unfortunately. You'll want to use a small paint brush (size 0 or 00) which you should be able to find at your local art supply store, or even office supply store. If you use too much lube here, you may run the risk of making the key feel a little sluggish, so apply sparingly - just a fine coat along the rails.

After you're done lubing, time to reassemble. Basically the disassembly steps but in reverse. Some notes though:
  • When you put the sliders back in, you may want to suspend the plate by a few cm. This is so the sliders can sit in the housing fully. You can suspend it by putting something just under the left and right edges of the plate (I used some CD cases which were lying around).
  • After you put the conical springs on, try to give them a gentle patting down with your hands, so that they're all sitting flat and even.
  • When putting the stabilised keys back on, I found that the simplest way is to put the little plastic stabiliser pieces onto the stabiliser wire first, making sure they're lined up nice and straight, and then put the keycap on. Niz ship their keyboards with lubed stabilisers, so try not to rub too much of it off while handling them.

Anyway that's about it. Hope it helps! Let me know if anything was unclear :)
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Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 22 April 2020, 14:04:56 »
Thank you very much Setiawan for writing such detailed steps!! It will definitely help me and other people online who have not done it before  :thumb:


Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 02 May 2020, 16:19:35 »

Thanks. I'll be very interested to hear about your new Plum keyboard. I may have a 45 G ABKO on its way soon, for comparison.

Sure. Let's compare it with the ABKO, which btw was my second one on the list :)

My ABKO arrived a few days ago, and it is v. good.

I hope to write a full review in a few days.

Basically, the tactile feel of the keyboard is like MX Red [in weight], but with a consistent tactile resistance throughout the keypress.

It is not like MX Brown, as Browns feel like you are hitting a 'grain,' [the tactile bump], and then it is almost bottom-out. With the ABKO, it's more cushioned. It definitely feels like Topre, but IMHO it is a more 'linear' Topre, reduced in tactility compared to some of the more extreme variants. I would say the closest in my memory is 45 G Silenced Topre on a Realforce 86U.

Typing is very certain when you get used to it, although resistance is still present at the bottom. That means if you are holding down a key, it is a little easier to accidentally double-tap a key as compared with MX-style switches. Yet, it was very easy to switch to the ABKO from MX tactiles. Like 5 minutes adjustment were all that was needed.

So it's a less-tactile Topre in a light weight. I didn't comment on the sound yet, but it really does sound like boiling water as reviewers noted. It's lower-pitched and deeper than almost anything I have used.

The build quality is outstanding for a factory board. The stabilizers and sound are better than any MX factory board, and there is less wobble. It honestly puts all MX factory boards to shame, IMHO.

From an ergonomic standpoint, this keyboard should be very easy to deal with. I would only recommend going to the 35 G Niz Plum keyboards if you are already experiencing some kind of RSI, and need to take extreme measures.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 03 May 2020, 17:00:22 »
Did you get a 45g or 35g one?

And if 45g, are they 45g domes or 35g+spring to make them heavier? 

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 03 May 2020, 17:25:05 »
Mine is a 45 G (Silenced). It's my understanding that they are default 45 G out-of-the-box.

There are springs that came with the package, so those must be to make it 55 G [45 G domes + 10 G springs]. But I never installed the springs that came in the box, so it should be at its stock 45 G weight.

It's my understanding that the ABKO uses Niz domes, so it should be very similar to a 45 G Niz keyboard.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 03 May 2020, 17:41:43 »
Mine is a 45 G (Silenced). It's my understanding that they are default 45 G out-of-the-box.

There are springs that came with the package, so those must be to make it 55 G [45 G domes + 10 G springs]. But I never installed the springs that came in the box, so it should be at its stock 45 G weight.

It's my understanding that the ABKO uses Niz domes, so it should be very similar to a 45 G Niz keyboard.

I didn't think NIZ had 45g without the springs.  The ones I've seen were 35g+10g for spring.  I would've preferred 45g domes as that would be far more tactile than the 35g they came with.

I do think NIZ 35g is slightly more tactile than RF 30/35g....

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 03 May 2020, 18:04:49 »
I'm not really sure of the origins of the domes in the ABKO. I read a number of times that they are from the same company that makes them for the Plum keyboards.

But they are listed as 45 G domes. People who own both say that the 45 G ABKO domes are like a heavier version of the 35 G Niz domes, but without using the extra springs.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #31 on: Sun, 03 May 2020, 18:23:17 »
I'm not really sure of the origins of the domes in the ABKO. I read a number of times that they are from the same company that makes them for the Plum keyboards.

But they are listed as 45 G domes. People who own both say that the 45 G ABKO domes are like a heavier version of the 35 G Niz domes, but without using the extra springs.

Ah ok..well that sounds pretty good.  When I got my NiZ, it was supposed to be 45g but apparently that is with springs so I was a bit disappointed with it.  That was quite awhile ago though and since it was more or less a throw away (used in an office where if it got lost or stolen I didn't care), it was fine for that purpose. 

Thing with ABKO's now is they seem like they'e gotten more expensive...I guess if you can get them direct they might not be too bad but at the 150+ mark, I think I'd rather just get another R1 or R2...

Offline HungerMechanic

  • Posts: 379
Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #32 on: Sun, 03 May 2020, 20:14:19 »
True enough about the cost. Although, in Canada, an ABKO 935 is $232. By contrast, a Realforce R2 is $400. And a PFU edition is a staggering $500 CDN. [And you're going to want to spend at least $100 on replacing the keycaps.]

The ABKO is MX compatible, which means you can use keycaps you have lying around. Instead of buying Topre.

Anyway, ABKO vs. Topre is just a matter of preference. The ABKO is ready out-of-the-box, and doesn't require mods. For those who prefer a more subtle tactility, ABKO might be more desirable.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 04 May 2020, 09:55:43 »
True enough about the cost. Although, in Canada, an ABKO 935 is $232. By contrast, a Realforce R2 is $400. And a PFU edition is a staggering $500 CDN. [And you're going to want to spend at least $100 on replacing the keycaps.]

The ABKO is MX compatible, which means you can use keycaps you have lying around. Instead of buying Topre.

Anyway, ABKO vs. Topre is just a matter of preference. The ABKO is ready out-of-the-box, and doesn't require mods. For those who prefer a more subtle tactility, ABKO might be more desirable.

Why would you spend $100 replacing the keycaps?   This isn't some generic MX keyboard..the stock keycaps on RF's are excellent and probably some of the best quality stock keycaps out there.  I'm actually much more likely to have to replace the ABKO ones..

And true, if you're looking for something MX compatible, this comes that way out of the box..and if you want slightly softer domes that might be an advantage as well..

But you have to admit, for a generic whatever brand, 150-160 USD (which is what I've seen it for) is pretty pricey...

Offline Riverman

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 04 May 2020, 13:14:25 »
But you have to admit, for a generic whatever brand, 150-160 USD (which is what I've seen it for) is pretty pricey...
That price is what's kept me from every buying one.  You can find a used Realforce on Ebay on occasion for not much more than that.  I had ordered a 55g Abko or one of the Korean capacitive keyboards on eBay once, but got refunded the next day because the seller had screwed up on the shipping.  He meant it to be almost $100, not free.  I wasn't going to pay that on top of the $150+ for the keyboard itself.

Offline al3azef

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Re: Closest to Topre but with larger keycaps?
« Reply #35 on: Mon, 18 May 2020, 13:26:28 »
Sorry guys for being not here for over 2 weeks. My computer was broken after 7 years of use and I had to order a new motherboard! Now I am back!

BTW, I have not received my NIZ keyboard  - it's arrived to our country, but stored in government facilities because of COVID-19 :(  . the Gov thinks COVID-19 can spread through shipments hahaaa..