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This was what got me into the world of Custom Mechanical Keyboards

This was what got me into the world of Custom Mechanical Keyboards



Back in my secondary school days, I was often meddling with computers. In fact, I even worked part-time for many years, repairing and building them.

I would dream of building a computer with all the prime top-tier components and whatnot, but I never thought much about the peripherals such as mouses and keyboards. When mechanical keyboards became popular, I scoffed at the hefty price tags, and only got one sometime down the road for just over $100.

1.thumb.jpg.ba6e8a98e481ed291e385018a0610022.jpgLittle did I know that years down the road, I would be smitten by a photo of a keyboard sporting a pretty set of keycaps - yes, the ones you see on my keyboard here!

2.thumb.jpg.b0ae1251052133dd887b19423671406e.jpgFor some reason, I really fancied the design of the keycaps - probably something to do with the shade of red. So I shared the photo with a friend of mine whom I knew was into keyboards and stuff. That's how I found out that it was the GMK Red Samurai - and it was expensive! A typical GMK keycap set can cost from just over $100 to many times more if it's a highly sought-after and limited set.

3.thumb.jpg.c2504fc49e4ff9f5d36116776d4980e7.jpgSo, what makes these GMK keycaps the preferred choice?

A German company, GMK makes keycaps that are of high-quality, with precise and sharp fonts, and are also available in many vibrant designs and colours, in part due to its double-shot manufacturing process and the use of ABS plastics. It was also said that GMK owned the original molds from Cherry (one of, if not the oldest keyboard manufacturer), and was making keycaps out of them, hence helping it achieve the accurate and quality shapes.

Without thinking too much, I went ahead and pre-ordered a set of the GMK Red Samurai keycaps - but the problem was, I still had no idea what keyboard to install them on!

4.thumb.jpg.dfc580e16bf558c6ddd914a88e837339.jpgAfter some looking around, I settled on ordering the KBDfans KBD8X Mark II.

I fell in love with its simple, rectangular shape, and still appreciate how premium it looks. But this was only offered with a soldered circuit board (unlike the hotswappable ones which will allow you to plug the individual key switches in with ease) - not too much of a worry though, as it just means that there's some soldering work to be done.

5.thumb.jpg.3bc462ad25e2aa6c0db1ca4a61aa79a1.jpgAs for the switches, I was in love with the smooth feel of linear switches, and decided to go for what was widely regarded as the smoothest, best linear switch available - the Zeal PC Tealios V2.

I took apart these switches and lubed them individually to achieve even smoother actuation. In my mind, this was supposed to be the one build to end all my desire for any more keyboards, and I hence went ahead and splurged on it. However, some time along the way, I would then realise that there are many other variables to a keyboard - and I went on and sank deeper, building various other keyboards as well...

6.thumb.jpg.2dd3454f6b506ce948dbdd5038b5a248.jpgWhile the keyboard hobby got a little out of hand, and I ended up spending thousands of dollars on keyboards, the redeeming factor was that I could use them for work. They actually make work even more enjoyable, so all isn't lost I suppose.

In fact, maybe if you guys type much at work, you too could consider building your own customised mechanical keyboard; it will be fun, I promise! 

- Zhi Xuan


Board: KBDfans KBD8XMkii Brass Plate with case foam

Switches: Zeal PC Tealios V2

Stabs: Zeal PC V2 gold-plated screw-in stabs

Keycaps: GMK Red Samurai

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On 2/28/2024 at 7:23 AM, Windwaver said:

Can use in office? :secret-laugh:

Best to use in office! No need scared colleague dunno I'm doing work, they can all hear the click clack click clack.😂

  • Haha! 3
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the clack clack can be quite loud... maybe i old fashion but i prefer a soft touch keyboard

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