Personalizing Your Mechanical Keyboard: Tips and Tricks


Do you want to enhance your typing and gaming experience with the right mechanical keyboard switch? This article covers the popular types of switches, including linear, tactile, and clicky, and their characteristics to help you choose the best one for your needs. Learn what factors to consider when customizing or buying a mechanical keyboard effectively per your specific needs and preferences. Read on to learn more.

Mechanical keyboards have gained popularity in recent years due to their durability, improved tactile feedback, and customizable nature. They have a wide range of switches that cater to different typing styles and preferences, making it difficult to choose the best switch for your mechanical keyboard. In this article, we will discuss the popular types of mechanical keyboard switches, their characteristics, and how to effectively customize your mechanical keyboard per your needs.

What is a Mechanical Keyboard?




Mechanical keyboards are a type of computer keyboard that use mechanical switches instead of the rubber dome switches found in membrane keyboards. Mechanical switches offer improved durability, tactile feedback, and customizable options compared to membrane switches. They are widely used by gamers, typists, and enthusiasts due to their precise and responsive nature. Mechanical keyboards come in various sizes, layouts, and switch types to cater to different needs and preferences. They may be more expensive than membrane keyboards, but their durability and customization options make them a popular choice for many users.

What are Mechanical Keyboard Switches?




A mechanical keyboard switch is a small component that registers a keystroke when pressed and triggers the corresponding character to be displayed on the screen. It consists of a spring, stem, and two metal contacts that complete the circuit when the stem is pressed down. The spring pushes the stem back up, ready for the next keystroke.

Some Popular Mechanical Keyboard Switches


1. Linear Switches


Linear switches are smooth and offer a consistent actuation force (the amount of pressure required to register a keystroke on a mechanical keyboard, measured in grams and affecting the feel and performance of the keyboard) throughout the entire keystroke. They are best for fast typing and gaming as they do not require much force to actuate and offer a smooth and consistent feel. Linear switches are also relatively quiet, making them suitable for office environments. Some popular linear switches are Cherry MX Red, Kailh Speed Silver, and Gateron Red.

2. Tactile Switches


Tactile switches offer a slight bump or feedback when the actuation point is reached. This feedback helps the user to know when the keystroke has been registered. They are best for touch typists as they allow for more precise typing. Tactile switches are also relatively quiet and can be suitable for office environments. Some popular tactile switches are Cherry MX Brown, Kailh Box White, and Gateron Brown.

3. Clicky Switches


Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches, but they offer a loud and distinct "click" sound when the actuation point is reached. They are best for users who like the sound of a traditional typewriter and enjoy the feedback from the click. However, they may not be suitable for office environments due to the noise they produce. Some popular clicky switches are Cherry MX Blue, Kailh Box Navy, and Gateron Blue.

4. Comparison of Cherry MX Switches


Cherry MX switches are some of the most popular mechanical keyboard switches on the market. They are available in various colors that correspond to different characteristics and benefits. For example, Cherry MX Red switches are linear and require a low actuation force, making them suitable for fast typing and gaming. Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile and require a medium actuation force, making them suitable for a balance of typing and gaming. Cherry MX Blue switches are clicky and require a high actuation force, making them suitable for users who prefer the sound and feedback of a traditional typewriter.

5. Other Types of Mechanical Keyboard Switches


In addition to linear, tactile, and clicky switches, there are other types of mechanical keyboard switches available in the market. These include linear-tactile switches, which offer a smooth and consistent feel like linear switches but with a slight bump or feedback like tactile switches. There are also hybrid switches, which combine the characteristics of different types of switches.

Let's Customise your Mechanical Keyboard considering below factors


1. Stem Material




The stem of a mechanical keyboard switch is the part that connects to the keycap and registers the keystroke. The material of the stem can affect the feel and durability of the switch. For example, some stems are made of brass, which is a heavier and more durable material, while others are made of plastic, which is lighter and may not be as durable. Brass stems can offer a more premium feel, but may be more expensive than plastic stems. Plastic stems may be more affordable, but may not be as durable as brass stems.

Stem material:


  • Durability: The material of the stem can affect the durability and lifespan of the switch.

  • Feel: The material of the stem can affect the feel and weight of the switch.

  • Cost: The material of the stem can also affect the cost of the switch.


2. Keycap Material




Keycaps are the removable caps that cover the tops of the switches. They are available in different materials, such as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic, PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) plastic, and POM (polyoxymethylene) plastic. Each material has its own characteristics and benefits, such as durability, shine resistance, and feel. ABS plastic is a common and affordable material for keycaps, but it is prone to shine and may feel slick to the touch. PBT plastic is more durable and resistant to shine, but may be more expensive than ABS plastic. POM plastic is a premium material that offers a smooth and dense feel, but may also be more expensive than other materials.

Keycap material:


  • Durability: The material of the keycaps can affect their durability and lifespan.

  • Shine resistance: Some materials are more resistant to shine than others, which can be a consideration for users who prefer a matte finish.

  • Feel: The material of the keycaps can affect the feel of the keyboard, such as the smoothness or texture.


3. Custom Keycaps




In addition to the material of the keycaps, the design of the keycaps can also be customized. Custom keycaps are available in various colors, patterns, and designs, and can be used to personalize and customize the look of a mechanical keyboard. Custom keycaps can be made of different materials, such as ABS, PBT, or POM plastic. It is important to choose keycaps that are comfortable and suit your needs. To install custom keycaps, you will need a keycap puller, which is a tool used to remove and install keycaps without damaging the switches.

Custom keycaps:


  • Color: Custom keycaps are available in various colors, allowing you to customize the look of your keyboard.

  • Pattern: Custom keycaps are available in different patterns and designs, allowing you to personalize the look of your keyboard.

  • Design: Custom keycaps come in different shapes and sizes, allowing you to customize the layout of your keyboard.


4. Macros


Macros are programmed sequences of keystrokes that can be triggered with a single key or button. They can be useful for gaming, productivity, or other tasks that require repetitive keystrokes. Many mechanical keyboards come with software that allows you to create and customize your own macros. To create a macro, you will need to open the keyboard's software and assign a sequence of keystrokes to a specific key or button. You can then use this key or button to trigger the macro whenever you need it. Macros can be useful for tasks that require repetitive keystrokes, such as casting spells in games or entering long strings of text.

5. Price


Mechanical keyboards range in price from under 2,000 INR to over 20,000 INR. Lower-priced keyboards may have less features or may not be as well-built as higher-priced keyboards. Higher-priced keyboards may have more features, such as RGB lighting or a wide range of customization options, and may be made of higher-quality materials. It is important to consider your budget and what you are willing to spend on a mechanical keyboard.

6. Care and Maintenance


Mechanical keyboards require regular care and maintenance to keep them in good condition. This can include cleaning the switches and keycaps, lubricating the switches, and replacing worn parts. To clean the switches and keycaps, you can use a microfiber cloth and some isopropyl alcohol to remove dirt and grime. You can also use a lubricant, such as silicone or Krytox, to lubricate the switches and improve their feel and performance. It is important to use a small amount of lubricant and apply it carefully to avoid damaging the switches. Over time, you may need to replace worn parts, such as springs or stems, to ensure that your keyboard is functioning properly.

7. Customisation Options


One of the main benefits of mechanical keyboards is their customizable nature. In addition to the switches, stem, housing, lighting, keycaps, and software, there are many other customization options available for mechanical keyboards. These can include custom cables, cases, and plates, as well as aftermarket components such as stabilizers and springs. Customization options allow you to personalize and tailor your keyboard to your specific needs and preferences.

8. Compatibility with Other Devices


Mechanical keyboards can be used with various devices, including computers, laptops, gaming consoles, and mobile devices. It is important to consider the compatibility of a mechanical keyboard with your device before purchasing. Mechanical keyboards can be connected to devices through various types of connections, such as USB, Bluetooth, and wireless. It is important to ensure that the mechanical keyboard is compatible with the type of connection that your device supports.

9. Brand Reputation


There are many brands that manufacture mechanical keyboards, each with its own reputation and track record. It is important to consider the reputation of a brand when choosing a mechanical keyboard. Some popular brands include Cherry, Kailh, Gateron, and Razer. Each brand has its own products and features, and it is important to research and compare the options to find the best fit for your needs and preferences.

Additional factors to Consider in short


Below are few more points listed to consider while customizing your mechanical keyboard:

Switch type:


  • Actuation force: The amount of force required to actuate a keystroke can impact the feel and response of the keyboard.

  • Noise level: The level of noise produced by the keyboard can be a consideration for users who prefer a quieter typing experience.

  • Feel: The feel of the switch can impact the comfort and enjoyment of typing and gaming.

Layout:


  • Ergonomics: The layout of the keyboard can impact the ergonomics and comfort of typing.

  • Size: The size of the keyboard can impact the amount of space it takes up on your desk.

  • Arrangement of keys: The arrangement of the keys can impact the ease of access and typing speed.

Size:


  • Desk space: The size of the keyboard can impact the amount of space it takes up on your desk.

  • Portability: The size and shape of the keyboard can affect its ease of portability.

Build quality:


  • Materials: The materials used in the construction of the keyboard can affect its durability and lifespan.

  • Construction: The construction of the keyboard can impact its overall build quality and sturdiness.

Lighting:


  • Type: Many mechanical keyboards come with RGB lighting that can be customized to different colors and patterns.

  • Quality: The quality of the lighting can impact the brightness and intensity of the colors.

Software:


  • Features: Some mechanical keyboards come with software that allows you to customise the functionality and settings of the keyboard.

  • Compatibility: Consider the compatibility of the software with your operating system and device.

Compatibility:


  • Device: Consider the compatibility of the keyboard with your device and the type of connection it uses, such as USB, Bluetooth, or wireless.

  • Connection type: Ensure that the keyboard is compatible with the type of connection that your device supports.

My Verdict


Choosing the right mechanical keyboard switch is an important decision that can greatly impact your typing and gaming experience. There are various types of switches available as discussed, including linear, tactile, and clicky, each with their own unique characteristics and benefits. When considering which switch to choose, it is important to consider your typing style, noise level, actuation force, and personal preference. In addition to the switch, it is also important to consider the layout, size, and build quality of the keyboard, as well as the type of lighting, keycaps, and software used to customize the keyboard. There are many other factors to consider as well, such as stem material, keycap material, price, care and maintenance, customization options, compatibility with other devices, and brand reputation. By taking the time to research and compare the different options, you can customize the best mechanical keyboard for yourself.


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