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I like nice keyboards, what can I say?

Thu, Mar 19, 2020 3-minute read

A few years ago (late 2017) I found the hobby of building my own mechanical keyboards. I realize that it is a very strange and niche hobby. That isn’t really much of a concern to me, but I do realize that some people think that its a bit odd that I am particular about keyboards that I have to use.

The process of me getting a new keyboard for me is joining a Group Buy, chosing the perfect switch (and modifications to the switch) while I wait a few months for the keyboard to arrive. Usually I will get the firmware ready for the PCB during this stage as well.

There are endless choices for what materials that can be used for the case. Aluminum is the most popular, but choices like Polycarbonate and Brass are choices that I’ve seen in the past. Plate material (the component that holds the switches) is also something that people like to experiment with as different materials produce different sounds and alter the feeling of typing.

The hobby itself has a lot of different subcommunities. Primarily, there are groups of people that like building and perfecting keyboards (kustoms), and there is another subcommunity that collects single keycap sculptures (artisans.) The communities are very different despite some collectors being involved in both. They aren’t mutually exclusive, however usually someone will favor one over the other.


People that like “kustom” keyboards are people that are typically going to be the people joining Group Buys. It is not uncommon for people to have 5+ keyboards at any given time. Extra care is taken when building keyboards and modifying and lubing switches is assumed. Makers in the community have been designing prototypes in CAD and paying to have them manufactured. If the inital prototypes go well, makers will usually have “private” buys or Group Buys so other people can build the same keyboard.


Artisans are essentially single keycap sculptures that people make. Their retail price is usually somewhere between $0-$120+. The keycaps themselves are crafted in small batches and sold usually via raffles. The scarcity of the small batches and purchase only available via raffles drives up the value in the aftermarket significantly. There is a wide array of different sculptures from quite a few different artists.

My Personal Collection

Jane V2 CE - by Yuktsi

Switches: Vintage Cherry Black // 65g SPRiT Springs // TX Switch Films // Krytox 205g0
Keycaps: GMK Oblivion R2 - Git Base Kit
Artisan: Reaper V1 - Blackjack by BroCaps



(Multicolor stainless steel weight pictured in thumbnail.)

Dolphin V3 - by Lynn

Switches: Gateron Yellow // Stock Springs // Krytox 205g0
Keycaps: GMK Bento image


Jetfire - by Duck

Switches: Retooled Blacks // TX Switch Films // Tribosys 3204
Keycaps: GMK Oblivion R1 - Hagaromo image