Author Topic: Switch Dampener Info Thread - O-ring, soft landing pad, dental band mods  (Read 17920 times)

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Offline CPTBadAss

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There’s been a lot of threads and talk about o-rings and their alternatives lately. I thought I’d make a centralized place to put this info so it’s easier to reference later. Please let me know if you’d like more information to be added to the OP or just add it to the thread.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


What are o-rings and what are they for?
O-rings (in keyboarding terms) are used to dampen sound and soften the bottom-out of the keystroke on switches in mechanical keyboards. I like the WASDKeyboards explanation of o-rings. This explanation can be applied to soft-landing pads and the dental band mod:
 
“ "Bottoming out" is a term used to describe when a key stroke is pressed all the way down where the stem of the switch hits the inside of the switch casing. This causes a "clack" from the collision on mechanical keyboards. Switch sound dampeners are soft rubber O-rings that can be installed onto every single keycap stem to cushion the landing of the switch by stopping the key stroke just short of the point of bottoming out. This also very slightly reduces the max travel distance of the switch.”
(Quote from WASDKeyboard)
 
O-rings can be used on MX and Alps switch stems. There are other alternatives as well: soft-landing pads and dental bands. Soft landing pads can be used with MX stems (and maybe Alps?). Typically, dental bands are used for Topre stems.
 
Dental rubber bands or dental bands are the rubber bands that are used with braces from orthodontists. Soft-landing pads are little squares of plastic which function like o-rings have a different reduction in travel versus the o-rings. 
 
O-rings and dental bands are typically made from nitrile rubber or EPDM ruber. I’m not sure what the soft landing pads are made from, though it probably is a synthetic rubber of some sort. Ripster guesses that the landing pads are made from Sorbothane.
 
Anyways, these rubbers/polymers have different hardnesses (aka how soft or hard they might be) which are measured with the shore durometer scale. For layman’s terms for understanding shore durometer, I like this chart from smooth-on.
 
More

(Shore durometer scale with comparison to everyday objects)


What are some typical o-ring dimensions?
 
Typical o-ring dimensions that will fit MX and Alps caps:
  • Inner Diameter = .1875 (3/16”) inches or 4.76mm
  • Outer Diameter = .3125 (5/16”)  inches or 7.94mm
  • Thickness = ranges anything from 0.3937 in or 1 mm to .09375 in (3/32”) or 2.381 mm will depend on how much travel reduction you’d like
  • Hardness = 30A to 80A
(Numbers from WhiteFireDragon’s GB)
 
Typical dental band dimensions that will fit Topre caps:
  • Inner Diameter = .1875 inches (3/16”) or 4.76mm
  • Hardness = 30A to 80A
(Numbers from Mikelanding’s picture)
 
**Note, o-rings used for MX/Alps will not fit Topre caps due to the tolerances. See this discussion from huttala and longweight.
 

Are there any reviews/discussions on o-rings?
How do I install o-rings/soft landing pads/dental bands?


Where can I buy o-rings/dental bands/soft-landing pads?

You can also try making your own like o2dazone did.



Let me know what else to be added to this or what you like to see.
« Last Edit: Fri, 02 May 2014, 07:28:43 by CPTBadAss »

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Dampener Into Thread - O-ring, soft landing pad, dental band mods
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 27 January 2014, 20:56:54 »
Would case dampener fit in this topic?

i.e.: shelf liner, foam, etc

Also consider this for possible entry, very good write up on landing pads with topre.

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=49046.0
« Last Edit: Mon, 27 January 2014, 20:58:53 by SpAmRaY »

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Dampener Into Thread - O-ring, soft landing pad, dental band mods
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 27 January 2014, 21:05:23 »
Would case dampener fit in this topic?
i.e.: shelf liner, foam, etc

I don't think so. This is more of a switch modding thread in my opinion.

Edit: I like the idea of one thread per mod. Keeps things easy and easy to find.

Also consider this for possible entry, very good write up on landing pads with topre.
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=49046.0

Thanks for the link

Edit: Added to the OP.
« Last Edit: Mon, 27 January 2014, 21:08:46 by CPTBadAss »

Offline hojunski

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do you know if there's a simple way to reduce/dampen sound without affecting bottoming out feel and travel distance?

Offline CPTBadAss

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do you know if there's a simple way to reduce/dampen sound without affecting bottoming out feel and travel distance?

Get a switch that is quieter such as linears or Topre and practice not bottoming out.

Offline sordna

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Please add the original o-ring mod thread to the OP:

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=5450.30

This started it all, back in 2009, and still has good info in it!
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline CPTBadAss

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Sordna, I've added it. Thanks for sharing!

Offline davkol

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EliteKeyboards' soft-landing pads do fit Cherry ML¹ and Alps. I don't see a link to EK's website in the list of shops.

¹ although the firm/black ones are so thick, that they can prevent the switch from actuating



I've bookmarked several posts about o-rings that I haven't seen listed here either.

How to make ghetto dampeners ghetto [1] [2]

Some comparison of WASD o-rings and EK's soft-landing pads [1] [2]