Mechanical Keyboard Frenzy

Mechanical Keyboard Frenzy

I recently discovered the mechanical keyboard community. Wow, what a bunch. The demand for a great keyboard kit is higher than the supply, so the market is totally out of balance.

For all of my other electronics based hobbies, it's been easy to order cheap parts from China. Not for mechanical keyboards. Even Chinese sellers have cashed in on this craze and upped the price of PCBs, switches, and plastic keycaps.

Many of the high-end (I'm talking ~$2000 keyboard KIT - without the keys and keycaps) manufacturers claim that they have limited runs to ensure quality. I don't know if I believe that. Maybe they're testing the PCBs one at a time, so they're limiting how many they make. I don't know. I don't understand how you can buy an entire quality PC that was mass-produced for about the same price as one of these kits.

A few manufacturers have emerged that appeal to the budget minded buyers, so all is not lost. They even offer customizations on some of the keyboards.

Honestly, the only reason I'm writing this post is as an excuse to use my new mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches. It's such a dream to use a mechanical keyboard after years of squishy membrane keyboards. I have an old IBM mechanical keyboard around somewhere, but it predates the Windows (or "super") key and has a bit too much weight on the keys to be comfortable.

I took my new keyboard to work since that's where I do most of my typing (I am a software developer who spends most of my day writing code). However, I'm strongly considering buying another keyboard for home. I'll probably buy a keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches on it for home. The blues are clicky and louder than the browns. I also considered black switches, but I'm afraid that they might be too "heavy". I have a switch tester that I've been using to try out the various types of switches and so far, I like the brown, blue, and green switches the best.

I am also considering trying out a 40% keyboard. It has a lot less keys on it and requires the use of a function key to access the numbers and keyboard function keys. I don't know if I can adjust to something like that because I regularly use the Home and End keys on my keyboard. I also just used the ` key, so I'll be using that one a lot when writing blog posts.

The keyboard in the post image is a 60% keyboard. That one may be a bit easier to use, so I might give one of those a try. I really wanted to build my own keyboard, so I was looking for PCBs. The only thing I could find that was available to buy was a 60% and a Gherkin keyboard kit (another 40% orthographic style).

For ~$80-$150, I can just buy a full-size 104 key mechanical keyboard from Amazon, so the motivation to spend over $150 on a kit is dwindling.