Jul 7, 2016

What piqued your interest in mechanical keyboards?

We are all keyboard enthusiasts. We love our keyboards as much as we love ourselves, the family dog, and the infantile sibling that pukes all over the floor on a daily basis. And maybe our grandparents whose dentures go missing all the time.
But what made you love keyboards so much in the first place? And what makes you love them so much to this day?

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I've been computing since the Apple 2, when every keyboard was mechanical. I just finally got sick of membrane boards, after noticing a few keys on my Saitek Eclipse getting a bit mushy and sometimes unresponsive. I got 8 good years of heavy gaming out of that $20 board, and it was showing. I wanted to go back to a mech for the feel and response, as well as the quality, since I don't want to buy another board again. It took months to justify the expense to myself and I don't regret it. I settled on the Ducky One full size, non-backlit, with MX Browns. My only regret is finding the Max Nighthawk Pro X 3 days after ordering the Ducky, and it's only $10 more.
I always thought they were a fad. I began doing a lot of Python programming (using whatever standard membrane pos was laying around) and I noticed that my hands would be killing me after a couple hours. Google searched it, ended up with some Gateron Blues (since switched to Cherry Mx Blues) and it was all down hill from there. Haven't had issues with hand fatigue since :-D
4 months ago I finally broke down and built an HTPC for my living room and decided I needed a lapboard to go with it. I settled on the Roccat Sova and was ready to pull the trigger on the membrane version because it was $50 cheaper. A friend at work convinced me to spring for the mechanical verion with their knockoff Brown switches and it was one of the best peripheral purchases I have ever made!

Then about a month ago I started noticing Mike Fahey's coverage of the mechanical keyboard community on Kotaku and decided to check it out.
What really kicked it off for me after hearing about the mystical qualities of the Model M for years was finding a pile of Dell AT-101Ws at a thrift store for two bucks a piece. This was the early 2000s so finding a mechanical keyboard, even one with zero street cred like the ALPS-switched Dells at a price a 15 year old could not only afford to buy but afford to mess around with was pretty amazing. I ended up spraypainting one and swapping half the keys, it was ugly as sin but it was mine.
I must say that I long for the feel/sound of a brandnew membrane keyboard,
and cherry mx blue satisfy that (regardless of new or old).

right now I have a board with Gatistotle (Gateron + Artistotle) + 65g springs
and dem feelings are more satisfying than ever.
one word: "crisp"
I grew up with model Ms. That worked fine before we switched to an open plan office.

I later switched from one thin keyboard with scissor-switches to a newer one (I type 'em to pieces) and got bruises on my fingertips... So I brought out the last model M and older scissor-switch keybs: bruises gone. Did a bit of research, bought a switch tester (from Max) and got a board with Cherry Blacks (I never could stand Topre, plenty of happy hacking at the office, not for me). The e and p on the board started acting up so I bought the cheapest Cherry Red I could find in a local store. Turns out Cherry Reds are just fine for how I type. Then I realized: hey, programmable keyboards are cool, you can lock in the position of ctrl (next to A!) in firmware...

As for collecting^Wbuying key caps, I tell myself I have to test all the profiles... It's for science!

Daily driver is an Input Club 60% with Cherry Reds and GMK key caps. I still miss the arrow keys so I might go back to TKL when/if the Wooting arrives. Thinkpads still have the best laptop keyboards.
I remember first getting into online games such as league, sc2, dota 2 and just learning about Razer for the first time. It was incredible at the time and as I grew older and started programming myself I found a strange love and appreciation for mechanical keyboards. Following through I found /r/mk and learned of custom keycaps and that was the last nail in the coffin. These boards will have me for the ret of my life.
I meet some guys online via Overwatch and one of them is really into keyboards (I play on a laptop so I wasn't part of the keyboard scene). They posted massdrop items in the Discord and I got hooked. Bought a switch tester and now I have a keyboard on the way!
Browsing r/mk and falling in love with all of the beautiful keycaps
Totally. For me, that's part of the appeal. A E S T H E T I C.
I started checking out /mkg/ and fell in love with all the pretty keyboards. Soon after I started frequenting /r/mechanicalkeyboards, learning all about mechanical keyboards and bought a Pok3r. Right now I'm getting all the parts to build a Let's Split v2
Mechs were just slightly better keyboards to me until I found out you could get non-staggered, ortholinear keyboards. Now that is all I use, if I can help it, and I love them.
I grew up on the IBM Model M and F keyboards. I kept a handful of them until the early 2000's when wireless keyboards were in vogue and suddenly they felt less convenient to have around. I sold my collection, which even in the early '00s fetched a good price. Today I am kicking myself for having gotten rid of them all. Fast forward to today, I'm struggling with a low-end MSI keyboard with unresponsive keys and I finally get fed up and start looking online for Model M's. Still looking, but in the meantime I bought a Corsair with Cherry MX Blue switches and I'm really pleased with it. I tested out several other products first, and only the MX Blue had what I wanted. It feels the closest to the old IBM buckling spring keys that I remember.

A future project of mine might be to scour an old terminal keyboard with hall effect sensors and rewire it for contemporary use. :-)
Try a keyboard with MX Greens in it. They're heavier Blues, and overall they feel the closest to that classic buckling spring I remember. Periodically there's a buckling spring keyboard that drops here (and there was a hall effect board as well some time ago) which you might be interested in, but a board with Greens will let you take advantage of all the MX compatible keycaps out there.
Thanks for the tip. Of course, now I've gone off the deep end and have been reading up on keyboard design for days now nonstop. I have a feeling my next project is likely going to be me DIY'ing something with the MX greens you mentioned. :-)

Until I try the green, so far I am very pleased with the MX Blues. Yeah, it's not quite like the old IBM buckling springs (they do feel much lighter) but it's on its own terms a very precise, balanced typing experience.
My first computer was a genuine IBM XT with an 8088 processor running at 4.77 MHz. Amber monochrome monitor. Two 5.25" floppy drives. No hard drive. Massive beige box. The keyboard was a model M or F. As I got older, I could never find a keyboard I liked as much as that first one, so I started looking for something comparable. Found a couple nice model M keyboards I liked, but by then research had turned into something resembling obsession...
I bought a gaming keyboard, for the price I paid it didn't last and was quite overpriced. Then I bought a Deck Legend and the rest is history. You want durable and longevity you end up going mechanical keyboard or nothing. My mechanical keyboards will probably out live me.

Can you believe I bought this piece of crap back in the day?
The font on the Deck keyboards are very...unique though, I'm not sure if your grandchildren would like your keyboard.
I'm currently in the RKp104 drop, because my laptop keyboard is REALLY, REALLY bad. So I figure, if I'm going to buy a keyboard, I'm going to buy a nice keyboard, and this is a good, cheapish way to see what switch I enjoy - ruled out blue and red, so I'm betting on brown
dat typefeel tho.....
I second this. Keyboards are a subjective topic, but the general consensus among the PC community is that mechanical keyboards feel subjectively better than membrane variants.