Author Topic: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide  (Read 337699 times)

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Offline MMB

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Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 04:03:47 »
So I have been getting quite a few PM's regarding this topic, and wanted to share what I personally know and do for lubricating Cherry MX switches.


First off, why lube Cherry MX Switches? For starters, adding lube to sliders gives a smoother feel to the switches. Especially in MX Browns, which seem to be inherently 'scratchy'. Or in the case of MX Blues, would make the tactility smoother, and lower the clicking sound, depending on which points you lube the stem at. The natural friction between the stem, spring and switch housing can be eliminated by using lube.


On the topic of what type of lubrication to use, there are several choices available to you:



1. Krytox GPL-105 Higher viscosity, better for using on sliders


2. Krytox  GPL-103 Lower viscosity, should be fine for all lube points


3. Krytox GPL-100  Lower viscosity, should be fine for all lube points


3. RO-59


4. Teflon Silicone Lubricant A low viscosity lubricant, good for all applications


5. Krytox GPL-205 Grease A heavier substance, recommended for everything but clicky stems.


And many, many more options at your disposal. Our friend limmy has posted an in-depth guide on the characteristics of different types of lubes and greases (thank you limmy, really great information there). The choice is yours as to what type of feel you are going for. You may also want to participate in the lube group buy going on at Deskthority as well.


For this guide, I am simply covering the friction points and where you would typically want to place lubricant.


For starters, let's go over the primary locations for lubricating:

The illustrated points show where the spring makes contact with the bottom of the switch housing, and the stem contacts and slides against the housing.
156708-0
Original image (broken link):
More


Since I started doing this, I have only been using the teflon silicone lubricant. It seems to work pretty well all around for any one of the lube points. (I can see where grease may work well on the sliders, and will probably be tinkering with that in the coming weeks. I will post my findings and update this thread at that point).

You really want to be careful not to over lube those areas, but rather dab it on very lightly with a brush or Q-tip. Over-lubricating may interfere with the switches contacts if it happened to spill off into that area, so you definitely do not want to overdo it.

Next up, lubing the stem:

The following photo illustrates the points where the stem contacts with the switch housing and the spring. The sides of the stem will come in direct contact, and slide up and down along the inner sides of the switch housing. The spring will fit into the inner part of the stem.
156710-1
Original image (broken link):
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Lubing a 'clicky' stem:

This is still experimental for me. I am not sure how many, or if anyone else does this. Basically, I lube the slider section of the upper part of the stem (colored part) as illustrated in the photo. This has proven to be tricky, as adding too much will cause it to stick, and you lose most of the 'click' sound, as well as some of the tactility from the slider separating and engaging with the stem. Applied in very, very small amounts, the teflon silicone lubricant worked quite well, and quieted the click very slightly, but enough to still be there. When I tried using the Krytox GPL-105, its viscosity was too dense, and caused the slider to stick.
156712-2
Original image (broken link):
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*Note: Stem assembly taken apart for reference only. You do not need to actually separate the 2 stem pieces to lubricate. A fine brush should work great for getting in between the two pieces to lube.

My method for applying lube to specific parts, let's start with the spring:

For the spring, I use a q-tip to apply a fair amount of lube (teflon silicone) to each end of the spring. I lube one end, then place that inside the switch housing, then the other end while it's sitting in the housing.
156714-3
Original image (broken link):
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What I use for applying very small amounts of lube to sliders:

I do have a brush, but even sometimes a brush gives you an unanticipated amount of lube. The quill pen can be dabbed with oil and will release a very tiny amount when pressure is applied to an area.


Once you have applied lubrication to the specified areas, put the housing back together and test it out. You will probably want to experiment with different lubes and amounts to get the switch feel that suits you best. Everyone has a preference, and I can't guess that for you, only give my recommendations.

I will be updating this guide as more information becomes available. I have just ordered some Krytox GPL-205 Grease, and plan on experimenting with different mixtures of oil and grease.

Again, this is simply my method for doing this, if I am wrong on anything, please feel free to offer constructive feedback.




Updates:

Adding DanGWanG's superbly uplifted video on lubing:


Just received my metal lube station in the mail. It's going to make my life a lot easier, sho nuff.





Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 05:38:27 PM by MagicMeatball
^^ For posterity :-*

Mod Edit: Reuploaded some of the broken image links with images that I had / could find.  PM me if you have more.
« Last Edit: Tue, 03 January 2017, 09:54:31 by infiniti »

Offline Djuzuh

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 06:08:37 »
Great thread.

I hope I'll be able to give more input once the GB on DT finalizes.

Offline cinch

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 10:23:24 »
thanks!
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Offline Xerobasix

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 10:43:40 »
I was just searching for a thread like this yesterday.  Thanks MM!!
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 11:59:10 »
Thanks guys. Will continue updating, and your input is appreciated.

Offline ekw808

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 14:29:22 »
Nice thread, I was pretty curious about this. On a side note, what equipment do you use/recommend for soldering and do you have any cheaper alternatives if you are currently using a ridiculously expensive iron?
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Offline DanGWanG

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 14:37:26 »
Soldering guide next!

Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 15:28:12 »
Nice thread, I was pretty curious about this. On a side note, what equipment do you use/recommend for soldering and do you have any cheaper alternatives if you are currently using a ridiculously expensive iron?

I will most likely provide a guide to that soon, as Dan has suggested. Stay tuned! :)

As for hardware:

Desoldering Iron: http://www.hakko.com/english/products/hakko_808.html

Soldering Iron: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004M3U0VU/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00


There are obviously much cheaper options available, try checking into these:


http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WP25-Professional-25Watts-Soldering/dp/B000B63BTU/ref=sr_1_7?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1344112191&sr=1-7&keywords=Weller+soldering+iron
« Last Edit: Sat, 04 August 2012, 15:30:13 by MagicMeatball »

Offline tsangan

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 17:48:05 »
Nice pics
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Offline braaaiiins

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 18:29:46 »
I love your pictures. It's like switch porn.

I use the silicone lube from Elite Keyboards. I just finished lubing my stems the other day, but I only lightly lubed the stem where it contacts the metal flap. I'll try lubing the sliders too, but I was afraid too much lube would invite dust.
« Last Edit: Sat, 04 August 2012, 18:32:32 by braaaiiins »

Offline hamza_tm

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 20:01:39 »
MM you are my hero!

Thanks a lot for imparting your knowledge so generously :)

Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 04 August 2012, 21:30:48 »
Thanks guys! :D

Offline AKIMbO

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 06 August 2012, 17:08:02 »
I'm interested in the blue lube job (hehehehe).  But seriously, I'm curious how exactly it affects mx blues.
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 06 August 2012, 17:10:06 »
I'm interested in the blue lube job (hehehehe).  But seriously, I'm curious how exactly it affects mx blues.

It lessens the click, slightly and smooths out the tactile bump (it's still tactile, but smoother).

Offline DanGWanG

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 06 August 2012, 17:28:14 »
Sound comparison or it didn't happen!

Offline mkawa

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 06 August 2012, 23:36:08 »
I love your pictures. It's like switch porn.

I use the silicone lube from Elite Keyboards. I just finished lubing my stems the other day, but I only lightly lubed the stem where it contacts the metal flap. I'll try lubing the sliders too, but I was afraid too much lube would invite dust.
this is generally why people use dry lubes (eg, ro-59) on stems. a dry lube is usually some micro-scale material like teflon balls in suspension in a very light oil. the oil carries the actual solid lubricant material into the joint to be lubed, and then because it's so light, evaporates, leaving only the solids. the solids then act kind of like bearings to lower the coefficient of friction and material wear in the joint.

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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 07 August 2012, 19:18:11 »
Just arrived at my door. Will update with my findings after some experimentation :) :





Offline The_Beast

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 07 August 2012, 19:32:26 »
I should be getting my poker with browns and my clear switches in soon. What is the best lube that you don't have to special order or wait months to get? Also, is there still a stem switching guide here at GH or will I have to look elsewhere?
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Offline The_Ed

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 07 August 2012, 19:42:04 »
Was it my arguments and pic on DT that convinced you to try 205? My buttery smooth capslock is proof that 205 is some good sht. I highly recommend people to try it, and it is readily available on ebay.

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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 07 August 2012, 19:47:21 »
Was it my arguments and pic on DT that convinced you to try 205?

It was limmy's write up, actually, that piqued my interest. I am just experimenting at this point, and will post my conclusions when the time comes.

Offline The_Ed

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 07 August 2012, 19:52:18 »
I hope you like it as much as I do. I also lube where the rails and leaf touch. You should try doing that as well.
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Offline AKIMbO

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 11 August 2012, 17:33:15 »
I'm using DuPont's Teflon Silicone lubricant to lube up my buckling spring keyboard right now.  Feels like butter baby...stuff is amazing.
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Offline hashbaz

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 11 August 2012, 23:45:24 »
Thanks for this, MMB.  I have four keyboards' worth of switches to lube in the near future...

Offline mkawa

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 12 August 2012, 06:57:55 »
that krytox 205 looks promising. in principle, a dry teflon lube instead of a wet silicone lube should be more effective in the long run due to the propensity for particulates to get into the switch

edit: oh, the krytox is a stable wet grease with ptfe. interesting!
« Last Edit: Sun, 12 August 2012, 06:59:45 by mkawa »

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Offline hashbaz

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 13 August 2012, 17:37:33 »
MMB and Akimbo, where did you guys get your Dupont silicone liquid?  Googling is only giving me the aerosol version.

Offline AKIMbO

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 13 August 2012, 19:05:25 »
MMB and Akimbo, where did you guys get your Dupont silicone liquid?  Googling is only giving me the aerosol version.

Lowes has it in the tools/hardware section.
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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 13 August 2012, 19:42:02 »
MMB and Akimbo, where did you guys get your Dupont silicone liquid?  Googling is only giving me the aerosol version.

Lowes has it in the tools/hardware section.

Sweet, I don't have to go online to buy special keyboard lube. Stickered, lubed, Ergo-clears here I come (once demik gets the stickers and the switches)
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Offline demik

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 13 August 2012, 19:46:21 »
MMB and Akimbo, where did you guys get your Dupont silicone liquid?  Googling is only giving me the aerosol version.

Lowes has it in the tools/hardware section.

Sweet, I don't have to go online to buy special keyboard lube. Stickered, lubed, Ergo-clears here I come (once demik gets the stickers and the switches)

DONT TELL ME WHAT TO DO

(switches come in tomorrow and stickers close tomorrow :D)
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Offline The_Beast

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 13 August 2012, 22:30:21 »
MMB and Akimbo, where did you guys get your Dupont silicone liquid?  Googling is only giving me the aerosol version.

Lowes has it in the tools/hardware section.

Sweet, I don't have to go online to buy special keyboard lube. Stickered, lubed, Ergo-clears here I come (once demik gets the stickers and the switches)

DONT TELL ME WHAT TO DO

(switches come in tomorrow and stickers close tomorrow :D)

I can wait baby, I can wait

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Offline demik

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 13 August 2012, 22:37:41 »
haha
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Offline ekw808

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #30 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 18:47:04 »
Any recommendations to lube 100 switches without taking 4 hours??
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #31 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 18:49:42 »
Any recommendations to lube 100 switches without taking 4 hours??

Magic, bro.

Offline ekw808

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 18:50:28 »
this **** is nuts, I'm trying to do it with a toothpick, and in 15 minutes i only got like 5 switches
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #33 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 18:53:12 »
this **** is nuts, I'm trying to do it with a toothpick, and in 15 minutes i only got like 5 switches

It also depends on how thorough you are with the lube. Because that sounds about right. I open about 20 at a time, and set them on the table, and lube each spring, then go back and lube the top of the springs and set the stems in all of them, then lube them. Kinda like an assembly line. Reaper and I think Demik have a metal piece that holds switches and stems upside-down which looks amazing. Wish I had one.

Offline ekw808

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #34 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 18:55:51 »
At the same time I am making ghetto greens and red, so an assembly line might be all over the place, I might try it if I get fed up.... I'm gettin the spots on your guide, both sides of the stem, and the base.
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 18:56:52 »
You can skip the base of the stem if you lube the top of the spring well enough

Offline ekw808

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 19:34:35 »
I started lubing the housing instead of the stem themselves, and it seems to have the same effect, the housing where the side of the stems touch.
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 15 August 2012, 19:35:45 »
Yep, that works as well. If you are doing an assembly line, it probably makes it a bit faster.

Offline The_Beast

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #38 on: Sat, 25 August 2012, 21:16:33 »


Will this work? I think it's the similar to the DuPont dry Teflon you have listed above.
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #39 on: Sat, 25 August 2012, 21:18:24 »
I haven't used that myself. It may have a different consistency and feel. But I am not sure. I think they are cheap enough to experiment with, anyways :)

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #40 on: Sat, 25 August 2012, 23:27:37 »
Does the Teflon silicone lubricant dry super fast? I just tried lubing a switch, but it evaporated away so quickly it might be hard to apply without using a ton of it. Also does the Teflon silicone dry to a film or does it say "wet"?
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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #41 on: Sat, 25 August 2012, 23:54:00 »
It does stay wet, but I also apply a healthy amount of it using a q-tip. I basically pour the lube right onto the q-tip and soak it.

I guess I need to add more detail to my guide, as now I am seeing I left some details like this out :)

Does the Teflon silicone lubricant dry super fast? I just tried lubing a switch, but it evaporated away so quickly it might be hard to apply without using a ton of it. Also does the Teflon silicone dry to a film or does it say "wet"?

Offline demik

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #42 on: Sun, 26 August 2012, 01:45:13 »
this **** is nuts, I'm trying to do it with a toothpick, and in 15 minutes i only got like 5 switches

It also depends on how thorough you are with the lube. Because that sounds about right. I open about 20 at a time, and set them on the table, and lube each spring, then go back and lube the top of the springs and set the stems in all of them, then lube them. Kinda like an assembly line. Reaper and I think Demik have a metal piece that holds switches and stems upside-down which looks amazing. Wish I had one.
not upside down

like this

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Offline MMB

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #43 on: Sun, 26 August 2012, 01:46:15 »
Yeah, the stems are upside down. The bottom of the stem is facing up :p


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Offline demik

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #44 on: Sun, 26 August 2012, 01:50:40 »
oh crap, i didnt even see you mention stems lol
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Offline TheProfosist

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #45 on: Sun, 26 August 2012, 02:05:01 »
Im planning to lube my doxes and phantoms and hopefully sticker them if i can get my hands on stickers. Is that krytox the best recommended stuff?

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Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #46 on: Sun, 26 August 2012, 02:08:35 »
I will have some spare stickers when they ship from Demik's GB. I will hit you up when they arrive.

As of now, I prefer the krytox grease. But again, it's really a personal thing... like different switches have different feels to them. The grease gives it a much smoother feel, but also more muted acoustically depending on how much and where you place it.

Im planning to lube my doxes and phantoms and hopefully sticker them if i can get my hands on stickers. Is that krytox the best recommended stuff?

Offline TheProfosist

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Re: Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #47 on: Sun, 26 August 2012, 02:24:43 »
I will have some spare stickers when they ship from Demik's GB. I will hit you up when they arrive.

As of now, I prefer the krytox grease. But again, it's really a personal thing... like different switches have different feels to them. The grease gives it a much smoother feel, but also more muted acoustically depending on how much and where you place it.

Im planning to lube my doxes and phantoms and hopefully sticker them if i can get my hands on stickers. Is that krytox the best recommended stuff?
thanks a bunch and ill look into the krytox greese, i believe someone said it was available on ebay?

Offline MMB

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Offline OddOne

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  • Location: Downstate NY
Re: Cherry MX Switch Lubrication Guide
« Reply #49 on: Sun, 26 August 2012, 06:59:47 »
@MM - have you ever used both the Teflon lubricant and the Krytox on the same switch.  I would think the Teflon stuff would be better suited for the springs, while the Krytox would be better for the sliders.  I vaguely remember reading this somewhere too? Have you tested this?

@ekw - I agree this will be a time consuming process. I have simply desoldered and harvested the clear stems off a PCB and already have more than 3 hours into the project. As tedious as its been I've enjoyed it though.  The end result will be worth it.
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