Is it Cheaper to Build a Mechanical Keyboard?

If you’re not familiar with mechanical keyboard, they’re a style of computer keyboard that features individual switches under each key. They’re a lot more durable, comfortable, and customizable than typical membrane, butterfly, or scissor-switch keyboards, and they can be a great fit for people who spend all day typing or programming.

  1. Switches

A switch is an electromechanical device that can disconnect or connect conducting paths within an electrical circuit. They can also be used to interrupt a flow of current or divert it from one conductor to another.

The best switches are engineered to perform well when pushed hard, for example by vibration (the trembler switch), tilt, air pressure or fluid level (a float switch), the turning of a key (a key switch) or linear movement, or presence of a magnetic field (a reed switch). Mechanical switches are often constructed using noble metals with a low contact resistance, good conductivity, and low toxicity.

While this method is less reliable than a mechanical keyboard, it does save money by not requiring a separate circuit board or PCB assembly, and can be easier to repair or experiment with. It’s also more affordable than building a custom mechanical keyboard, though some people choose to build their own to ensure that they get exactly the switch they want.

However, the cost of switches can be high compared to other parts. That’s because mechanical switches are a high-end part of a custom build.

  1. Keycaps

Keycaps are a crucial part of a mechanical keyboard, as they can drastically change the feel and look of your keyboard. They also come in a variety of materials, colors and designs. These factors can all be important when determining the cost of keycaps for your mechanical keyboard.

In short, the cost of a set of keycaps can vary widely based on their quality and design. Exclusive or limited sets can cost hundreds of dollars, while mass-produced sets are much more affordable.

The materials used to make keycaps are also an important factor when determining the cost of your keyboard. Typically, keycaps are made from ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate).

These two types of plastic are highly popular for use in products throughout our daily lives, as they’re lightweight but durable. They’re also relatively easy to mold and are widely available in the market today.

Another thing that can impact the cost of a keycap set is its thickness. Thick keycaps generally have a more substantial feel and have a lower-pitched typing sound than thinner ones.

Finally, the size of the keycaps is also an important consideration. Larger keycaps can make your fingers feel crowded and difficult to type on, while small keycaps tend to be easier to move around your keyboard.

These keycaps are a popular choice for gamers and are a good option for budget-conscious keyboard enthusiasts. They’re also available in a wide range of colors and have RGB shine-through, so they can be a great way to add some color to your keyboard.

  1. PCB

A PCB is an electronic circuit board that is used to interface all the switches and keycaps in a keyboard. The PCB also helps in keeping the keys steady and making them responsive to pressure.

The cost of a PCB depends on the design and the materials used to manufacture it. If the design is complicated, it may take longer to manufacture than if it is simple and easy to assemble.

There are several steps that must be taken to build a PCB for a mechanical keyboard. Some of these steps are:

Front-end engineering – In this stage, the major components are selected and some basic circuit diagrams are created. This is done so that the functionality of the circuit board can be designed.

Schematic capture – This is the step where ECAD software is used to create electronic drawings that show the connections between components on the circuit board. This is a crucial step in the manufacturing process and can result in costly errors if the design is not completed correctly.

Once you have the right materials for your project, it is time to start the design phase of the project. You can use an open source design that you can find online or you can even try designing your own. Once you have the design, you can then send it to a reputable PCB manufacturer and have it built for you.

  1. Case

One of the most important parts of a mechanical keyboard is its case. It’s not just for aesthetic purposes, but it can also protect the switches and other components from the elements. You can find cases in a variety of materials, but most are made from aluminum or plastic.

The material of your case will affect how it feels and sounds when you type on it. A lighter and more flexible material is preferable if you’re looking to build a keyboard that will travel with you easily. A harder material that’s more impact-resistant will be a good choice if you plan on using it in a heavy environment.

Keyboard cases are typically available in black or gray but can be made in a variety of other colors. They can also come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, making it easier to customize your build.

You can buy a case in a kit or separately, and you can pick them up from various places online. Buying the case, PCB, and plate in a kit is typically a better option for most people as it saves them money.

Some people like to buy a case that’s custom made, especially if they have a special layout in mind for their mechanical keyboard. This way they can get a keyboard that’s perfect for them without having to spend as much money.

A case can also be a great option for gamers who want to make their gaming setup more unique and stand out from the crowd. However, it’s important to remember that these cases are prone to scratching and can crack if they’re dropped.

If you’re a professional or avid gamer, you may already know that customizing your equipment is the best way to make the most out of your computer. Customizing your gaming gear can give you a sense of ownership and comfort while improving the overall gaming experience. If you’re building your first mechanical keyboard, or just want to upgrade your current set, a good case is an essential part of the process.