Author Topic: Why are MX stems not symmetrical?  (Read 552 times)

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Offline br4n_d0n

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Why are MX stems not symmetrical?
« on: Sun, 10 January 2021, 14:37:30 »
I sadly just noticed today that the MX style keycaps can only be put on two ways; normal or upside down and are unable to be mounted sideways. Why don't they make the keycap stems symmetrical so one can put the keycap on in any orientation they want?
« Last Edit: Sun, 10 January 2021, 16:35:21 by br4n_d0n »

Online Rob27shred

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Re: Why are MX stems not symmetrical?
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 10 January 2021, 16:34:10 »
This is just a guess, but I would imagine it was a proprietary thing. When Cherry first came out with MX switches they did patent the design & also manufactured keycaps & stabilizers to fit with them.

Offline br4n_d0n

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Re: Why are MX stems not symmetrical?
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 10 January 2021, 16:36:59 »
Whatever the reason, it's a real bummer for me because I was hoping to mount some of my keycaps sideways.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Why are MX stems not symmetrical?
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 10 January 2021, 16:42:47 »
Huh? What kind of switches and keycaps are you using?

The stem of most keycaps for Cherry MX is four-way symmetric so it can be attached north, south, east or west on the switch. The switches under 2u vertical keys (ISO Return/Enter, Numpad + and Numpad Enter) do have different orientations on different keyboards.
While the stem on the switch is not four-way symmetric, it is symmetric enough to fit inside the symmetric hole in the keycap's stem.

However, the shape of a keycap's walls might require a particular orientation to be able to mate with the shape of the switch's housing. This is especially a problem with the sloping front wall on thick-walled Cherry profile (GMK, EnjoyPBT etc) on the home row when the key is only 1u on the vertical.
Also, the orientation does matter when using Costar-style stabilisers: the stabilising wire has to be on the same side as the diode window.
« Last Edit: Sun, 10 January 2021, 16:48:34 by Findecanor »
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Offline br4n_d0n

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Re: Why are MX stems not symmetrical?
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 10 January 2021, 18:01:23 »
On the keycaps I have, they look symmetrical until you look super close and you'll notice that the horizontal line is a little fatter than the vertical line.