[sdiy] Keyboard style switches for synth keyboards? Keys from PBT plastic?

cheater cheater cheater00social at gmail.com
Sat Feb 6 02:39:02 CET 2021

They don't feel like touching wood - they are varnished with something
that doesn't have the nice texture PBT has. You're touching varnish,
not wood. Varnish is usually a polymer of some sort nowadays, too,
so... it's plastic again

On Sat, Feb 6, 2021 at 1:03 AM Mike Bryant <mbryant at futurehorizons.com> wrote:
> > They feel like touching paper, or wood
> Or just get a real wood key Fatar keybed (when they are able to deliver them :-)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Synth-diy [mailto:synth-diy-bounces at synth-diy.org] On Behalf Of cheater cheater
> Sent: 05 February 2021 23:47
> To: synth-diy at synth-diy.org
> Subject: [sdiy] Keyboard style switches for synth keyboards? Keys from PBT plastic?
> Hi all,
> has anyone ever tried to use any of those new-fangled mechanical pc keyboard switches for synth keyboards? They have many actions and weightings, and you can even swap out the springs, so I think there's a lot there to use for us. I bought one of those switch testers (search for "130 keyboard switch tester" on aliexpress) and there's a lot of fun trying these out. I like the clicky ones especially much, like Kailh Speed Navy, it kind of feels like switching a ballpoint pen, a nice solid feeling. And they don't cost so much, 30 cents a piece. There are even hall effect switches being developed nowadays, so yeah, polyphonic aftertouch is feasible if you're after that. There are full pc keyboards full of those switches for $99, like the Ace Pad Tech APT04. The keyboard I am typing on, the Steel Series, uses hall effect switches. And there are open source firmware projects that support those switches. I guess next we need to get pc keyboard enthusiasts into vintage SEM and Roland and Yamaha synth chips, alnico speakers, pentode tubes, and 16-track tape.
> My recent experiments also revealed to me why I hate most synth keyboards. They're made out of slick, annoying ABS. The surface is sticky and gooey. I much prefer PBT keyboards. They feel like touching paper, or wood, depending on what finish the mold has been given (I think they blast the mold with beads and it depends on the size of those). Some PBT keys feel sharp, like touching a piece of stone (eg
> "9009 colorway sa profile Dye Sub Keycap Set thick PBT plastic keyboard gh60 xd60" from KPRepublic on Aliexpress) while others feel much gentler (like "MP Chocolate Coloring 123 KEYS SA PBT" from Mechanical Primitive on Aliexpress, which are my favourite set right now). Playing around with a beam spring keyboard showed that there's still quite a bit of value to making things larger. By virtue of how tall the beam spring switch is alone (~3cm), it feels very smooth, because the lever action created by lateral forces exerted on the key cap has only a very small effect on the faces undergoing friction.
> I hope everyone's good, as for myself the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
> Cheers
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