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Does Anyone Here Use Mechanical Keyboards?


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#41 Xmsteel

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 09:08

Corsair K70, Cherry MX red switches. Also have a vintage Acer with Acer branded knock-off ALPS white switches.



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#42 aderoy

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 17:44

Northgate from 2003 still going loud and strong. Closest keyboard to the iBM M series (I think) for spring, non-quiet typing, zombie bat.



#43 SpecTP

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 18:46

I still have 2x IBM M keyboards circa 1989. I also use a KUL keyboard with MX clears. I've got a Varmillo with Gateron blacks coming soon.

 

Right now, the mech keyboard of interest are the Hall effect keyboards (magnetic keys).



#44 tonybelding

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 12:51

It had to happen eventually.  It was just a matter of time before I got the mechanical keyboard bug.

 

Actually I've been using a Unicomp Spacesaver M for roughly five years now.  In January the controller died, so I sent it back to Unicomp for the standard basic repair fee, and they fixed it, and they also cleaned it up like new.  I like that it's repairable, and I doubt whether I could ever wear it out.  (It's the antithesis of the semi-disposable Apple keyboards that came with my Mac Pros.)  However. . .

 

I've always been sort of disappointed in this keyboard.  When I bought the much-hyped and "legendary" Model M, I thought I was getting something like the keyboards I remembered from our school's original IBM PCs, with a heavy cast-metal case and their exquisite key action and sound.  (The keyboard was the only thing I liked about those ridiculous computers!)  The keyboard I got from Unicomp has a creaky plastic case and stiff, clunky keys.

 

Five years later I finally learn that the keyboards I remembered so fondly were Model F, and that the "legendary" Model M is actually the result of IBM cutting out 2/3 of the manufacturing costs.  That's not to mention that the Model M saw further cost reductions over the years, plus Unicomp's production tools gradually wearing out.

 

So, after having gone through this whole phase where "I tried a mechanical keyboard but it was no big deal", now I'm trying again with more knowledge and aiming higher.

 

There's a lot of activity in this space now, the options are almost dizzying.  Here are three projects in particular that caught my eye. . .

 

Blast from the Past:  https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/

 

Blast from the Future:  https://shop.keyboard.io/

 

Evolution not Revolution:  https://www.kickstar...anical-keyboard



#45 Darkman

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 20:08

I love my Das Keyboard 4 Professional with Cherry MX brown switches...

-dm

#46 Aramchek

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 09:17

Unfortunately, I suspect my keyboard (a Func branded keyboard with Cherry Blue switches by Ione) it is about to die - recently I've occasionally had to unplug and replug it to get it working. It is three years old (and out of warranty) which is a pretty good age for a normal keyboard but rather poor for a mechanical one. 

 

Once it fails I'll get another clicky and tactile keyboard but it remains to be seen which one. One issue is that many manufacturers can't be bothered making keyboards with a layout used by a mere 15 million people, and while I am a touch typist, I know from experience that I get confused whenever I happen to glance at a keyboard with the wrong layout, and US layout also have some keys the wrong shape, in the wrong location or missing. Also, non-standard layouts really bug me, for instance having the movement keys rearranged, and the current trend of omitting the numerical keyboard. I know it's what all the Cool Kids have but I'm not a kid and have never been cool. 

 

The new IBM F clones seem interesting but I really can't afford those (especially considering what shipping would cost from the US) and they're the wrong layout. I did once spot an IBM M keyboard that was going to get recycled but they refused to let me have it. 


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#47 tonybelding

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:43

Unfortunately, I suspect my keyboard (a Func branded keyboard with Cherry Blue switches by Ione) it is about to die - recently I've occasionally had to unplug and replug it to get it working. It is three years old (and out of warranty) which is a pretty good age for a normal keyboard but rather poor for a mechanical one. 

 

When the electronics failed in my Unicomp Spacesaver M, after roughly five years, I sent it to Unicomp for the basic service fee, and they repaired it and cleaned it up practically like new.  That's in contrast to the Apple keyboard that came with my Power Mac.  Those are notorious for being completely non-repairable; you can't open the case without destroying them.

 

Also, non-standard layouts really bug me, for instance having the movement keys rearranged, and the current trend of omitting the numerical keyboard. I know it's what all the Cool Kids have but I'm not a kid and have never been cool.

 

I recently googled up some pictures of keyboards I've used with past computers systems, and I was surprised by how non-standard the layouts were.  I didn't remember.  Apparently whenever I've moved from system to system I adapted to the different keyboards without even noticing or thinking much about it.  Maybe you're more adaptable than you know.

 

As for getting rid of the keypad...  Personally, I think it's a relic from the early 1980s when most companies bought computers for their accounting department to run Lotus 1-2-3.  If you punch a lot of numbers into spreadsheets, then sure, it can be useful.  (But I can also buy a USB numeric keyboard in Wal-Mart for $8!)  For the majority of people today the keypad seems to be dead weight.  It just makes me have to reach further over to get my hand on the mouse.

 

I feel much the same about the banks of function keys.  They are left over from the DOS era when nobody had a mouse and computers were controlled entirely through the keyboard.  I've never found much use for them.  They're just key shortcuts that I can't be bothered to remember, since they're different in every program.  It's easier to go to the drop-down menus.



#48 tamiya

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 14:15

Haha remember when Wordstar/WordPerfect/Lotus123 etc came with cardboard templates that go around the F key banks :)

#49 flatline

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 00:11

I've pretty much ignored the ten-key portion of my keyboards for the last 20 years. When I purchase my next keyboard, it will be one of the "tenkey-less" models. Probably with blue switches.

 

I've got an old Dell mechanical keyboard that was old when I found it 16 years ago. It's built like a tank and still works fine (although I need a ps2->USB adapter to make it work with modern machines). But it's big and heavy. I'm going to pick up something smaller.

 

--flatline



#50 Dickkooty2

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 19:42

Yes. I have a family of mechanical keyboards:

]fpn_1502653232__screen_shot_2017-08-13_a[/

 

 

The Hermes Baby.  Upper - 1934, 1939

                                 Lower - 1949, 1964

 

They show the mechanical and styling progression of this iconic Swiss portable design.



#51 flatline

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 23:16

I've recently been using a tenkeyless keyboard with Cherry MX clear switches. I added o-rings to the keys to quiet the keyboard some, but I think I liked it better without the o-rings. I may have to pull all the caps off and remove the rings after  a bit.

 

--flatline



#52 tonybelding

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 12:50

I've recently been using a tenkeyless keyboard with Cherry MX clear switches. I added o-rings to the keys to quiet the keyboard some, but I think I liked it better without the o-rings. I may have to pull all the caps off and remove the rings after  a bit.

 

I got a CyberpowerPC keyboard when I bought a computer from them.  It came with Outemu blue switches, which I think are quite good.  Very clicky.  I didn't like the plastic clatter when typing on it, but I swapped on a set of generic blue-and-white PBT keycaps and added WASD blue O-rings which tamed the noise.  It allows the clicks and the dainty, almost musical pings of the switch springs to be heard.  I love typing on it now.  My only complaint is, it's a full-sized keyboard and I would prefer a more compact layout like TKL.

 

I also got a Matias Mini Tactile Pro for my Mac, and am very pleased with it.  I gather Matias have been working hard to improve their keyboards recently, and I got the newest.  It's very solid and the switches have great feel.  Best keyboard I have for Mac and Linux.

 

I also went into eBay and found me a vintage IBM XT (Model F) keyboard and the required converter.  The build quality is incredible, and the sound-and-feel of the key action is second to none.  The archaic, eccentric layout gave me fits at first, though.  I mean, whose bright idea was it to put another key between Z and left-shift, or between ' and enter?  I eventually figured out how to remap the converter and rearrange the keys to my liking, but some of them are still oddly-shaped and a bit awkward.  Well, never mind that. . .   I remapped the "Windows" and "Menu" keys to Num Lock and Scroll Lock, which got them off the bottom row so I won't hit them by accident anymore.  That one change instantly made the XT my favorite keyboard to use with Windows!



#53 DigitalMedievalist

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 15:31

I was a huge fan of the Apple extended, and especially disappointed that it didn't carry over with the USB transition. Haven't used a mechanical since, but would like to again.

 

I miss the Apple Extended ADB keyboard; still use it with one of my "antique" Macs. 



#54 stuartk

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 16:27

I've used a lot of keyboards over the years, but what I keep coming back to are the ones with the buckling-spring switches like the old IBM Model M. They simply feel the best, and the most like an old IBM Selectric. I currently have one from Unicomp, with their "Linux" layout and the longer spacebar option. It's noisy, so I don't use one at work, but for home it's what I prefer.

 

For work I have a Das Keyboard Pro 4 with the brown Cherry MX switches. I replaced the keycaps with PBT ones since the stock ones wear out and become smooth and slippery really fast. I also remap the keys to match the layout of my Unicomp keyboard.

 

The Cherry MX switches are quite good, and you can probably find a model to suit your tastes; if not from Cherry then from one of the other companies who have copied the design. I wouldn't recommend buying a Das Keyboard though. They seem to be overpriced and they don't stand behind them very well. A number of my friends have keyboards from WASD, and they seem to be really good, and a good company to buy from.



#55 SpecTP

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 18:44

some Das Keyboards are not up to their usually good QC.. however, if you check the switches, (I have the pro 4 with MX browns) you can assure yourself of a solid pick. I'm currently patiently waiting on their Kickstarter 5 model. Varmillo also makes some pretty nice keyboard and I picked up some IKBC keyboards with solid aluminum chassis and MX clear switches. Fantastic stuff.


Edited by SpecTP, 11 September 2017 - 18:45.


#56 gregamckinney

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 19:48

Using a Monoprice with blues.  Keyboard.io on its way in the next couple months.

 

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#57 amberleadavis

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:11

I found one of the Goldtouch keyboards that splits on ebay.  It's not perfect, but I'm enjoying the noise.


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#58 tonybelding

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 00:22

This is new. . .

 

Carpe_JD45.jpg

 

Carpe JD45.  It was sold as a "45% layout", although it came in versions with either 45 or 47 keys, depending on the bottom row.  I got the full 47 keys so I could use it on my Mac and have a pair of command keys.  It's fully programmable, so the first thing I did when I got it was swap the positions of the Alt keys with the Win/Menu keys and then replace those keycaps with these gray Mac command keys.  (I find that I prefer a Mac keyboard layout even when I'm working on Linux too.)

 

The trend among die-hard keyboard geeks seems to be smaller, smaller.  This thing is tiny even by their standards, and the layout has tripped me up pretty often.  I mean, left-function-shift-V to get an exclamation point?  Really?  Left-function-I for dash.  Apostrophe where the colon should be.  Return where the apostrophe should be.  Nav key assignments are awkward.

 

However, the case is aluminum and solid like a brick.  The Cherry MX brown key switches are smooth.  It feels so good to type on!

 

I'll probably sell it eventually, just because the 45% layout is too extreme for me.  I'll let somebody a little more crazy than me deal with it.  However, this did convince me that I want a really premium keyboard with an aluminum case, and I want it programmable, and I want a split space bar, and it looks like I'll have to build it myself.

 

Well, a Jedi is supposed to build his own lightsaber, isn't he?  So it'll be like that!  When I do, I'll post a whole thread on the subject.


Edited by tonybelding, 21 September 2017 - 00:23.


#59 flatline

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 13:04

I've looked at keyboards that were smaller than the TKL, but I don't like them.



#60 tonybelding

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 03:48

I've looked at keyboards that were smaller than the TKL, but I don't like them.

 

It seems to me like a lot of folks are OK with losing the number pad, and quite a few aren't bothered by losing the F-keys, but missing arrow keys bring forth a cry of pain.  I may possibly have a solution to that, but I'll have to build it and see how it goes.  Some things just look good on paper and then don't work out that way.








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