Author Topic: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?  (Read 4653 times)

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Offline Giorgio

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are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« on: Wed, 04 March 2015, 05:57:55 »
I've tried some different keycaps with a cherry mx red switch. The difference is upstroke sound is enormous.
From the loudest to the most silent signature plastic key, with o-rings:

spherical dsa (very light keycap) annoying high sound
spherical sa  (tall and heavy) makes a deep sound
spherical dsa wrapped in electrical tape, deep sound, a little bit louder than a jailhouse blue switch with standard dsa keycaps

So, the quest for a silent keyboard could go towards a very heavy keyset? Do you agree? What set should I be looking for?
« Last Edit: Wed, 04 March 2015, 06:18:01 by gianni »

Offline Oobly

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 04 March 2015, 07:48:54 »
Heavier keycaps will tend to dampen higher frequency sounds more, so if you want a deeper tone, then yes, a heavy keycap will give you less of the high pitch sound.

I love my SA profile doubleshots. I also use "trampolines" and latex to dampen them even more :)  This video is done with medium thickness PBT caps:
feature=youtu.be

SA profile caps are not easy to use orings with, though, since they have no crossbar supports.

POM and PBT are denser than ABS, so thick PBT caps are also good for dampening high frequency sounds (like the "clack" part of bottoming out or release), but the material itself is a bit "stiffer" than POM, so POM is actually the best for this.

TL;DR: Quietest caps = Thick POM->Thick PBT->Thick ABS->thin anything.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline Tasker

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 04 March 2015, 16:42:32 »
I think Oobly makes a good point. I recently 3D printed off some metal keycaps. They're not really louder than their plastic counterparts but they sound more chunky i.e. they have a much more bassy sound. As far as I know your best bet for damping sounds is to buy some o-rings, but different weighted keycaps will just give you different clacky tones.

Offline jamster

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 04 March 2015, 20:48:56 »
Wood is supposed to be a good vibration damping material. Didn't someone here make wooden caps at some stage?

Offline Smasher816

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 04 March 2015, 21:01:14 »
This is something I wish a lot more people knew and promoted - the different keycap profiles and materials don't just change the feel, they change the sound significantly. Most people only think about the switch type (and maybe o-rings).

The difference between sliding my hand over my HHKB, and the cheap WASD keycaps I have is just crazy. Its all due to the echo inside, as I am not pressing the keys heavy enough for actuation or any sounds from the actual switch to be emitted.

Offline ideus

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 04 March 2015, 21:52:12 »
The typing experience is made of the switch type, the caps material and their weight, the case material and its weight and if the assembly has a plate or not, and even the material and thickness of it. The experience includes the feeling and the sound perceived.


In general, the heavier caps, plate and case will reduce high frequencies, while the lighter assembly will increase them.


Density or specific gravity accounts for the overall weight of the caps depending on their volume:


ABS ranges from 1.04 to 1.12 g/cm^3, depending if it is blended with other materials. There are for example ABS, ABS-PA, ABS-PC, ABS-TPU. I do not know if caps manufacturers use blended materials. Acetal, also known as Delrin or POM, is 1.42 g/cm^3. PBT ranges from 1.31-1.72 g/cm^3. Therefore PBT and POM, depending on the specific plastic blend used, are the materials with higher specific gravity.
« Last Edit: Wed, 04 March 2015, 21:54:40 by ideus »

Offline Giorgio

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 06 March 2015, 05:49:16 »
Density or specific gravity accounts for the overall weight of the caps depending on their volume:

This is correct: the higher the density of the material, the higher the damping for the higher frequencies (lead is used in combination with polystirene, wich blocks the lower frequencies).
But the problem is that the keycap resonates like a bell. I have demonstrated this by using electrical tape, wich dapmens the vibrations in a wonderful way.
Can some one with some diy experience try to fill a keycap (inside), with silicone? That would be very interesting. Or simply try to glue inside some sound, absorbing material, I coud try that.

Heavier keycaps will tend to dampen higher frequency sounds more, so if you want a deeper tone, then yes, a heavy keycap will give you less of the high pitch sound.

I love my SA profile doubleshots. I also use "trampolines" and latex to dampen them even more :)  This video is done with medium thickness PBT caps:
feature=youtu.be

How durable is the latex mod?
In the video, the keycaps are trampolined with the imsto's silicone spheres?
« Last Edit: Fri, 06 March 2015, 05:51:13 by gianni »

Offline Oobly

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 06 March 2015, 08:34:58 »
So far it's proved very durable, still the same feel and sound as when I made the video (15 months ago). The trampolines I used for that board are short pieces of red oring material, but I used the IMSTO balls in my KBT Pure and they feel very nice. The oring material is just a bit softer.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline Asininity

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 06 March 2015, 11:54:02 »
The heaviest keys are the ones we can't have.

Offline ideus

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Re: are heaviest keycaps the most silent?
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 06 March 2015, 12:09:04 »
So far it's proved very durable, still the same feel and sound as when I made the video (15 months ago). The trampolines I used for that board are short pieces of red oring material, but I used the IMSTO balls in my KBT Pure and they feel very nice. The oring material is just a bit softer.


Do you think it worth to get the silicon balls if I already have some o-rings leftovers?