Author Topic: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half  (Read 781 times)

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Offline madam

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aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 04:02:11 »
Which is better, sound or feel between aluminum and polycarbonate? (Your preference)

What is the difference between Full and Half?

By the way, the key switch will use vintage blacks.

If there are other recommended Plate materials, please let me know.
« Last Edit: Sat, 25 July 2020, 20:39:58 by madam »

Offline thestateofmay

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 14:42:45 »
you mean aluminum and polycarbonate?

Offline madam

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 19:18:08 »
Yes

Offline Sup

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 19:57:16 »
Depends on how it mounted. But in general i like ploy carbonate with Linears and use something more stiffer like Alu carbon fiber for tactiles.
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Offline Rob27shred

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 20:27:06 »
In general I'd say I prefer plastics like PC or POM for material over metals like aluminium, brass, or copper & say I prefer half plate to full plate (tray mount would be the only mounting type I'd opt for a full metal plate over a plastic half plate TBH). The difference between full & half plate is a full plate supports every switch on at least 2 sides like these plates,

Then a half plate only supports the modifier switches while there is no support for the alphas switches like this,

The ideal is to have the main alpha keys give a softer bottom out feel by removing the support the plate would give to them & allow for some flex further softening the feel & sound.

For sound I definitely prefer plastics like PC or POM over metals as they give a fuller, deader, lower pitched sound to key strokes I really like compared to the narrower, livelier, higher pitched sounds metals give. Half plates will also give the plateless switches a fuller, deader, lower pitched sound & same with the plated switches on the board to a lesser extent (even if using a metal half plate).

Really it all comes down to personal preference like most everything in this hobby. Although for me a softer, more flexible feeling board with a full, dead, decently low pitch sound to the key strokes has easily been the best typing experience I have had. I've tried many different boards with a ton of different plate materials, plate styles, & mounting methods. Nothing else has had such a nice feel & sound IMO as the way I have my Sirius set up right now. Which I made the plate a half plate (POM plate that is top mounted in the case) & used a WT60-D weird flex PCB (it has huge relief cuts to allow the alpha area to flex heavily) & is a very soft, flexible typing board with the perfect example of the full, dead, low pitched sound I described above. Granted the Sirius is a POM case which definitely helps skew the sound towards my preferences. Although using a PC or POM half plate in a metal case will still skew the sound the same way.
« Last Edit: Sat, 25 July 2020, 20:29:40 by Rob27shred »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 21:43:41 »
Depends on how it mounted.

Speaking of this, not all boards should have a half plate.

If your pcb mounts to the case but the plate does not (floating plate), it's safe (most 60% keyboards are like this).
If the plate mounts to the case but the pcb does not (floating pcb), it's NOT safe (most larger keyboards are this way)..

Doing this to a keyboard with a floating plate will offer the softest feel but it also means your pcb is putting all the stress onto the switch solder joints around the empty plate, it's a recipe for damage. The same applies to people trying to use gasket mount to soften impacts, again you are flexing the pcb and putting load on the switch pins and solder joints.
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Offline Rob27shred

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 22:18:56 »
Depends on how it mounted.

Speaking of this, not all boards should have a half plate.

If your pcb mounts to the case but the plate does not (floating plate), it's safe (most 60% keyboards are like this).
If the plate mounts to the case but the pcb does not (floating pcb), it's NOT safe (most larger keyboards are this way)..

Doing this to a keyboard with a floating plate will offer the softest feel but it also means your pcb is putting all the stress onto the switch solder joints around the empty plate, it's a recipe for damage. The same applies to people trying to use gasket mount to soften impacts, again you are flexing the pcb and putting load on the switch pins and solder joints.

I mean you're not wrong, but I do disagree that it is not safe to have a floating PCB with a half plate. You'd have to really be slamming your keys down to cause enough stress to cause any damage to solder joints. Sure a floating PCB will probably hold up longer over time with a full plate, but I honestly think were talking decades if not longer before the solder joints would be affected by the slight flexing caused by normal typing.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 26 July 2020, 03:18:32 »
The whole point is to soften the impact, the only way it does that is with flex, the more flex the more damage.
It's not just the joints, the copper traces are under stress, the switches are under stress, the only part of this that isnt is the pcb which is acting as a spring. Worse, it;s flexing all over the place without any control.

If it's a pcb you can get easily and cheaply, like a std 60%, who cares, but it's going to be a bad day when someone does this and the PCB in their prized $500 keyboard dies and they can't get a replacement.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 26 July 2020, 09:00:22 »
The main area of rigidity loss is the PCB.

If they were to use aluminum protrusions from the base along with a stamped 1mm silicone sheet, accounting for 20% of compression set, a .2-.3 mm offset.  This would produce a much more solid feel than all these odd plate designs which do almost nothing for center feel.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: aluminum vs polycarbonate | Full vs Half
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 26 July 2020, 22:10:33 »
That isn't going to give a consistent feel across the keyboard even without a plate.
It would be great at dampening noise though.


Also, I need to rephrase something I said earlier, it's never safe, just less problematic.
If you press the center, yes, it goes down and puts a downward force on the solder joints but in order to go down you need material since it's now further from where it was, think of a trampoline, you press the middle, it tugs on the springs around the outside perimeter. You're applying a shear force to a solder joint, which is about the worst thing you could do to a solder joint. While you may think the travel is minimal that doesn't mean the loads on the solder joints and pads is minimal.

There's a reason through hole components often had conformal coating and glue all over them to stop any sort of movement at all.
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