Mechanical Keyboards are one of my hobbies, this sounds strange, even to me but hear me out. When most people think of keyboards they think of that 10 year old keyboard work gave you that you’ve been using for 3 years with built up grime that you use daily where the letters have faded entirely. When you think of mechanical keyboards you’re probably thinking of that Razer green backlit keyboard that you have seen at a computer store that “only gamers” use. Either way, these things are tools that most people use to get stuff done.
For me, I figured why not get something that is higher quality and I’m going to enjoy using and since I’d be using it every day. There’s something very satisfying about typing away on a nicely built board that’s very similar to using a very nice fountain pen when writing or a freshly sharpened blade when cooking. Going through the process of looking through and finding the right parts, waiting for them to arrive and then assembling it together piece by piece to end up with a great quality device that you built yourself with all of the features you wanted, knowing that your keyboard is near one of a kind.
Mechanical keyboards are super customisable and come in many shapes and sizes, which is a huge part of the appeal. Since most of the custom builds are designed by individuals and supported by the community, this encourages many different designs and styles to be built and created. This allows for a very diverse custom scene where many keyboards can be unique and specifically catered to the individuals choice and preferences.
There are many different shapes and sizes of mechanical keyboards, they can range from super small keyboards that were built for specific purpose like a music player to super large keyboards that are even bigger than the standard layout. There are a main few sizes that are a lot more common, these are the more common sizes ranging from smallest to largest:
This is one of more common smaller keyboard size, normally consisting of mainly letters and modifiers on the board.
This is probably the most common size of mechanical keyboard within the community, has a small form factor but still has most of the keys you’re use to seeing.
This is almost as common as the 60% size, there is a very small difference, this size includes the arrow keys and occasionally one or two more keys.
TLK is the full size board you’re use to but without the numpad. This is normally used by those who don’t use the numpad and like the additional space.
This is your standard full size 108 key keyboard.
These sizes don’t include the incredible amount of different designs and styles of keyboards that are available where boards have been warped into different shapes. Here are a few different types of designs:
The ortholinear layout is a design where the keys are not in the traditional staggered format but are in a more uniform set of rows and columns.
Split layout is a design where they keyboard is split in some way
Ergonomic keyboards are designed to minimise risk of injury or harm when using them.
Left Hand Numpad
Left Hand Numpad design simply has a numpad, just on the other side to where it normally is. This is often added onto different sized boards.
Within the custom community there are many different shapes and sizes of mechanical keyboards, all built for different individuals purpose and preference. The community has a large amount of unique builds and designs that allow for huge amounts of customisation to make each keyboard one of a kind. Each and every week there is a new unique design created by an individual that will probably be funded and created. This is one of my favourite parts about this hobby.
The mechanical keyboard hobby doesn’t really have a clear guide on how to begin and start creating, this is something I hope to be able to help create. This is a very basic guide on the huge world of custom mechanical keyboards (or keebs), I hope to create a few more like this to help others get into this super fun and unique hobby.