Interest Check: Intro to Mechanical Keyboards


Hi all,

As mentioned on Slack, I’m wondering if anyone would be interested in learning about mechanical keyboards.

It’s a fairly niche subject, but also one that can have a real tangible impact on your day-to-day experience if you use a computer for work.

Though from the outside the subject can appear to be pretty shallow, there are numerous aspects to mechanical keyboards and the mk community itself that I assumed an intro might be the best way to approach the subject, though I’m certainly willing to deep-dive into the areas I feel comfortable with, as well as calling on the community to help me out where needed.

Before I end up pouring out pages of details here, would anyone be interested in a 30 min intro to the scene, the community, the history and a bit of forward-looking pontification?

Feel free to ping me here, or on Slack!


This would be excellent. I am super interested in learning more. I know zero about mechanical keyboards, but I really enjoy using them. An intro would be great.


THIS!! Improving my keyboard is high on my list of priorities. I’d like it to still be bluetooth. From what I’ve read, topre keys are where it’s at? No numpad. I’d still kinda like arrow keys. Possibly ergonomic?

I know little about these things. I found the Happy Hacking bluetooth keyboard, but little else? And only the Japanese layout has arrow keys? I’d LOVE to know more!



Not to bury the lede, but I can cover all of this pretty easily, and demo a custom PCB Jp HHKB with BT :wink:

So we’ve got two so far - I could also do a tailored session, if that’s easier? For example, skip the history, talk more about current options, long tail (Topre HHKB’s are technically rubber dome)?

I could also talk about importing parts from Korea/Japan/China, if that helps. I know the Taobao session seemed quite popular last time.


Would be in for a custom mechanical build. Definitely not tenkeyless for
me though, I need my numberpad. Fantasy request: milled aluminum


Sorry for the late reply, also super interested in an intro session to
keyboards. I would also love to have/build a mechanical BT keyboard, I’ve
always wondered why that seems to be hard to find.


Luckily there are “battlestation” plans in the wild, and I’m sure I won’t be scaring you by stating that a lot of work would be involved.

At present I know of open source repos for the following:

  • 60%
  • 65%
  • 122 key

IIRC this includes:

  • PCB
  • Case
  • Plate
  • Firmware


Looks like we’ve got 4 people interested at this point - should we set up a Doodle or something in order to get the intro out of the way?


What would be a rough cost of building one? Interest is high, bank account not so much. I know of course “it depends” but… $100? $500?


Honestly the molded keys and the case are the worst. I think we could target a geekhack open source PCB if we got enough people together, and were OK doing SMD on our own, ordered caps from Taobao, made a wooden case.

An example hand-wired project (I think that’s a pro micro powering it) -


I really like that wooden one, actually. but $350? egads I’m too poor for this.


That looks super awesome, although my preference would be more towards a
small footprint keyboard. How about we start with an info session?


Is mechanical keyboard C21 name for a typewriter?


It could be! In this case I’ve never heard of it, sorry!


I’ve asked about getting a spot in the calendar for this - are you OK to bottomline the talk?


Oh we can work around this, no worries :wink:


Hi Ryan, do you have a taobao links for some caps? Thanks, Tom

oops, that was easy to google


I just did a taobao group buy with some other vhs folks, we could do another for keyboard parts if there is interest.


Was saying the same thing last night! I’m in!

Also need to figure out a date for this - would late next week work for everyone?


Sorry, I can’t make it to Vancouver in the near future, but please don’t let that hold you back! Maybe I can buy you lunch the next time I’m in town, in exchange for a mechanical keyboard intro?