Author Topic: Rec for a Mac keyboard (with numpad) with exceptionally "cushioned" keys?  (Read 4799 times)

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Offline alexcr

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Someone in the Keyboard forum, where I originally posted this, suggested that I also posted this here.

Due to a medical issue likely related to my Raynaud's syndrome, I experience significant pain in the top joints of my fingers, particularly my pinkies, when I type for an extended period.  This is especially the case when I type on keyboards with (i) "hard" keys, i.e. where finger impact and bottoming out feels like slamming down on metal or concrete, and/or (ii) keys that shake/vibrate after impact, however subtly.

My current setup in dealing with this is to use a silicon keyboard cover on my keyboard, an Apple A1243.  This provides some degree of cushion when typing, and then on top of that I wear toe pads ( over my pinkies, which provides further cushion.  My ideal setup, as I mentioned to someone, is one where it feels like I'm typing on miniature down pillows or miniature bags of gel : ).

I'm wondering whether there might be a better solution out there.  I'd be grateful for any recommendations.  It seems like the most common suggestions so far have been Topres and Cherry Clears.  In addition, folks have suggested that soft landing pads and gel keycaps should help.

Also, I'm relatively new to the world of mechanical keyboards, so apologies for my rough and inexact descriptions and terminology.

Offline dusanx

  • Posts: 33
Re: Rec for a Mac keyboard (with numpad) with exceptionally "cushioned" keys?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 01 December 2017, 16:53:08 »
In my experience a lot of pain can be caused with improper layout, like standard qwerty. I am not sure how good is dvorak, I heard it may be heavy on pinkies. When I started developing pain some ten years ago I switched to colemak and that's the smartest thing I did.

Other approach is to use keyboard that additionally removes strain from pinkies, like kinesis or ergodox.

My point is selecting switches and softening them is one (smaller) part of the pain story, proper layout, both logical and physical, was much more important for my pain relief.

Offline alexcr

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  • Posts: 14
Re: Rec for a Mac keyboard (with numpad) with exceptionally "cushioned" keys?
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 08 January 2018, 03:02:57 »
I wanted to follow up with a report on how this all played out.  (I'm the original poster.)  Here it goes...

o After realizing that the Elite Keyboards store is right here in the LA area, I decided it would make sense, as a mechanical keyboard newbie, to stop by there and get a feel for the different switches to see what might work best for me and my condition.  I'm really glad I did this.  Brian at Elite Keyboards is a super nice and helpful guy, and was more than fine with me hanging out and trying out different switches and setups.  I highly recommend stopping by his shop if you're ever in LA!

o At Elite Keyboards, it became clear to me, no pun intended, that Cherry Clears are the right fit for me.  It might be counterintuitive to some, but the stiffer switches actually help with my finger issues in that they make it less likely that I'll bottom out when typing, which seems to be a main cause of my pain.  Some of the other keyboards I tried, like the Topre, would have been a big mistake for me as I found I was bottoming out on them way too easily.

o Unfortunately, Brian didn't have any Cherry Clear keyboards with numpads.  His suggestion to me was to get a WASD CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry Clear switches.  I took his advice and ordered one off the WASD website.

o I also purchased soft landing pads from Elite Keyboards and both red and blue Cherry Rubber O-Ring Switch Dampeners from WASD.  The o-rings make a huge difference; after testing both types, I went with the blue o-rings, which offer even more shock reduction and shorter key travel than the red o-rings.  As for the soft landing pads, I tried combining them with the o-rings, but this would often prevent keys from actuating, so I wound up removing the soft landing pads.

o Finally, I got in touch with Nathaniel from Rhinofeed, who had reviewed a gel keycaps set on YouTube...
I really wanted to try out gel keycaps on top of everything else, but was having trouble finding them available anywhere.  Luckily, Nathaniel still had the gel keycaps set that he had reviewed and was looking to sell them.  I bought them off of him.  I'm not using the whole set, but rather about a dozen of the keycaps for the keys I most often use with my pinkies, which are my most sensitive and pain-prone fingers.

Overall, the combination of Cherry Clear switches, Cherry Rubber O-Ring Switch Dampeners, and gel keycaps has been a game changer for me.  I admittedly am often still wearing gel toe pads ( over my pinkies, as well.  Is the setup perfect?  No, there sometimes still is a some finger sensitivity.  But it's a huge step forward from what I was dealing with before.  Thanks so much to everyone who shared their thoughts and advice!  I hope this thread is useful for anyone out there who has similar issues.