May 31, 2016912 views

How did you first get into mechanical keyboards and what was your first one?

As a small kid there were two devices I loved playing with.
The first was an IBM Selectric II typewriter that I would endlessly hammer on. As a toddler it was absolute gibberish, but the whirring and satisfying thwack noises it would make were irresistible. Though it was a short lived passion as my parents grew weary of the noise and the cost of ribbons.
I remember being about 2 or 3 when my dad brought home an IBM Personal System/2 which of course came with the Model M keyboard and my second noise maker. Clacking out basic commands in DOS to boot up my little indian counting game and blackjack from floppy. Every keystroke with a single pointer finger and a delightful twang.
After that was a long stream of rubber domes until one day in highschool I found that old Model M in the closet and was pleased to find it still worked. My friends at the LAN parties were much less happy.
Nonster, KAPS1M0, and 12 others

My first mechanical keyboard was a gaming keyboard (k70) that I bought after building a new rig about 6 years ago. That was my first foray into the mechanical keyboard world and was the start of the long road to where I am today.
My interests in keyboards were not solely rooted in gaming. I like to write and work in web design so I spend all day with my fingers on keys. This was my push to get something that truly fits my needs. About 2 years ago I bought my first enthusiast keeb, a Pok3r, and since then my collection has grown exponentially.
I now have seven go to boards with one on the way and another on the horizon: Pok3r with Cherry Browns and 1976 SA TADA68 with Gateron Blues and GMK Skeletor White Fox with 65g Zealios and GMK Carbon Red Scarf II+ 68 with Gateron Clears and Quartz DSA MiniVan with Matias Quiet Clicks and Lightcycle DSA Realforce Hipro JS Silenced Novatouch w/Norbauer case and Pulse SA Shipped today :) - Infinity Ergodox with 67g Zealios and Borealis DSA waiting On the horizon - I plan on picking up a Planck for my Overcast DSA ortho kit I have sitting in a drawer
Obviously this hobby has taken its hold on me as it has many others in our group. Furthermore, it's not just the keyboards, it's the community. Everyone along the way has been incredibly positive and helpful and I think it's a testament to why there are those of us who care so much about this hobby.
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Wow, impressive collection! Can I ask how do you like your White Fox and MinVan?
My White Fox is my favorite board next to my NovaTouch. It's a solid build and I like the true fox layout, makes it stand out from my other 65% boards. Also pretty quick and easy to program which is nice.
The MiniVan is also a great board. It's small enough to keep in my messenger bag I take to work and is always fun to see some of the looks it gets from people. The layout takes some getting used to but it can be pretty efficient once you get a hang of the layers.
I've been building PCs for over a decade now, but up until a few years ago I'd never used anything other than a rubber dome keyboard (aside from the buckling spring boards my Dad's computers had when I was younger). I had heard a lot about them but never had a chance to try one, and finally decided to give them a shot when Amazon had a Rosewill RK9100 with MX Blues on sale.
I fell in love with it instantly, and after using it for about a year I decided to get something with a standard bottom row so that I could start getting in on the cool custom caps I was seeing on other boards. The next board I bought was a 104 key WASD Code with MX Greens, followed by a Pok3r with Clears roughly a year later. I picked up another Pok3r with Clears shortly after (mainly to mod), followed by a Magicforce 68 with MX Blues. This year I built my first custom board, which was the Infinity 3run 60% I got from here (also with Clears, I really like MX Clears if you can't tell). I'm really loving the hobby though and can't wait to grow my collection more. :)
Pics of 3run?! I want to see it in person. Renders never do justice
It's pretty unimpressive right now since it's just the PCB, plate, and switches put together and sitting in the standard white case. I'm still waiting on my Datamancer wood frame and the Amazing Chocolatier keycaps I planned to pair with it. I promise I'll post pics of the completed build though. :)
Back of the PCB post-switch placement and pre-soldering.
I. First encounter
First time I heard of mechanical keyboards was in 2013 when a new coworker joined my company and brought a Das with blue switches into the office.
II. First mech
Some months later Jeff Atwood's long-awaited Code keyboard came out, and iirc I managed to join the 2nd limited production run. My first mech, and one of my most-used boards. Typing on it now.
III. Silence found
Once I was hooked, I had to get a board I could take into the office—a quiet one. I did lots of searching online until I found Topre's silenced switches, and boom, got a Realforce that is my office workhorse to this day.
IV. Keycaps and history
Eventually I couldn't resist the temptation to get into aftermarket caps, and that bout of online searching led me to Massdrop. And here I am. My drop history betrays an individual who has dived much deeper into the world of mechs than I ever thought I'd go.
I like the intro, I'll copy you, Alex, if you don't mind.
As a small kid there were all kinds of devices that I loved playing with. As soon as I figured out how to use a screwdriver, I had to open anything that had screws on it. Unfortunately, there wasn't a mechanical keyboard around.
Not until I found Massdrop, some 20 years down the line. After so much typing on a "plain" keyboard, I discovered a group of people interested in mechanical keyboards and I joined one of the drops for a Cooler Master switch tester. That was my first experience with any mechanical keyboard.
My first experience with a functioning mech keyboard was two days ago. After a lot of planning and budgeting (I'm building my first pc as well), I am the proud owner of a Cooler Master Masterkeys Pros S. Brown switches. I'm still getting used to typing on it and trying really, really hard not to bottom out (and not to open it up with a screwdriver, not yet). I'll get there eventually. And I know I'll get a pok3r and a Realforce in the not too distant future. Gotta try them all.
Should definitely open it. Don't open a Topre though without being prepared. Ugh.
What are you putting in your pc?
Haha I will open it in time, after the "new toy" factor fades away and I need to clean the keyboard or change the keycaps. I'll keep that about Topres in mind.
Here's my list of pc parts (and peripherals, including the chair).
The idea is that I'm building a pc around a gtx 970 that I won last year. So most of the pc will be composed of the newest generation of parts, with the exception of the graphics department. That will be my first upgrade (maybe accompanied by a new mech keyboard) next year.
Hey Alex can you believe i'm considered "some of our most influential community members" and am getting a interview?
Nice! Not terribly surprised :)
Give lots of good feedback :D
think I should ask people what they want me to say? and thanks!
I actually haven't been into mechanical keyboards for that long and I am almost sad to admit I haven't even been into PCs for that long I only knew the console for a long time and I have no idea what made me buy a Best Buy gaming tower *gags* I know disgusting I had to gut that thing and take what I could which was only the hard drive then I bought a corsair k65 rgb on impulse and its been my life ever since, I still use that keyboard but have changed out the keycaps and built a planck for travel and school. not as good of a story as yours alex but it means just as much to me as yours does to you
I can't remember how I got into mech. k - boards but my first mech. k - board was a ISO/Nordic Zowie Celeritas Pro with Cherry MX Brown without any LEDs and I still have the board. My second was a white ISO/Nordic Ducky Shine 2 with white LEDs and Cherry MX Brown.
I probably came about this from the wrong angle. I've never liked the keyboards I was working on, I've got all kinds and didn't know why. One annoyance was that every keyboard had keys in different places (arrows way over there, backspace might be a little further away, etc.). I wanted to lock in my hand position as much as possible. So I used the carpalx repo on github to map my linux laptop to the Yoda layout because it did what I wanted it to. Then I started reading about the Yoda keyboard that was linked there and found Massdrop. To make a long story short, I ended up buying a Pok3r RGB brown and just love this thing to death. Of course it is running the Yoda layout (after some programming). Now though, I might be addicted and can't stop thinking about keycap sets and cases, etc.
I've been using the Logitech & HP membran keyboard for five years at home and office. But decided to move on venturing into the MK realm because of a thread in a community website ( Thanks to Hendyzone in, youtube, and various review site (darn it that I know about massdrop, geekhack or r/mk just recently.) So, my first MK was Corsair K70. And once I knew that other brand also exist (Ducky, Filco, Leopold, Topre etc.), then I sold the Corsair and swear to myself not to buy mainstream brand no-more! In a mere few months, I was already purchase about 8 MK (mostly fullsize). Right now, I'm waiting for my first custom keyboard (Whitefox) and who knows, maybe I'll purchase Sentraq or something similar in the future.
I loved typing on my Grandma's typewriter, back in the days, and used a Model M on our first PC, but then I forgot all about them, and used rubber domes for over a decade. Then hand pain started to creep in, and I switched to a TypeMatrix 2030 - not mechanical, but far more ergonomic than any other keyboard I used before. Then, after watching a talk at a conference, I figured I want a mech, for ergonomic reasons. So I went looking for an ergonomic keyboard: split, mechanical, blank keycaps, fully programmable and open source firmware (I'm a free software person, if I'm going to spend a lot on a gadget, I want to be able to program it). I narrowed down my list to the Model 01, the ErgoDox. I ordered the Model 01, but since that's still being manufactured, I needed something else too. Hence came the ErgoDox EZ, of which I have two: one for work, one for home. The one at home has nice NPKC rainbow keycaps.
That's the short story. :)
mine was fairly recent, about a year ago when I built my very own PC and I bought the Corsair K70 RGB with Cherry MX Brown. I grew up in Vietnam, my parents were "tiger" parents such that education was everything growing up and video games are the devil. Hence we only had a computer in the house when I was in secondary school which came with a Mitsumi membrane keyboard.
Then I went abroad to study and so laptop keyboards were all that I knew until the K70 RGB. It was bought from my performance bonus paycheck after my 1st year working so I did my homework. I watched/read reviews of keyboards and key switches and decided that I want MX Brown. I was happy with the keyboard for a while but then an (un)fortunate turn of event where I melted half of the stock keycaps with a blowdryer LOL. It got me into researching deeper about keycaps and mechkey overall.
Right now I'm using a Novatouch with Filco SA keyset (Granite R4 prior and waiting patiently for GMK Carbon).
I know I'm dating myself, but waaaay back in the day when the woolly mammoth roamed in vast herds, my first mechanical keyboard was a Commodore Vic-20. I wrote a ton of programs on that keyboard and played a double ton of games on it. Pretty decent action if I recall correctly.
Not like everyone else here, I actually joined the party pretty late. Back in 2011/2012, I got myself a Razer BlackWidow with Cherry MX-Blue (non-backlit), I believe it was the only mechanical keyboard at the time that was available to me. I was also intrigued by the reviews of it at the time when it was compared to a rubber dome keyboard and I definitely needed one.
Initially I was amazed how different it was compared to a regular non-mechanical keyboard and how it was themed towards gamers, although I immediately regretted it because it was too loud during the night, I remember waking my family up because I was "typing too loud".
I knew I needed to change, so I got rid of the Blackwidow and purchased Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid TKL which came with Cherry MX-Brown. This was good for typing and all but, i wanted change after using the browns for while, I was interested in Cherry MX-Reds which was widely known its use amongst "gamers" playing strictly FPS (at the time I was also competing in CS:S at an amateur league). So I purchased myself a Corsair K70 with Cherry MX-Reds, this is currently my main driver. Not too long ago I've also built my own mechanical keyboard with Gateron Clear switches (this requires 10g less actuation force compared to Cherry switches) and being a 60% keyboard with no plate (direct PCB mount) and a polycarbonate case, it became much lighter and easier to carry in my backpack. I'm also considering to change my daily driver keyboard to RealForce RGB (Topre switch) which will be released "before Christmas season", I have not ever used topre switch before but I believe I can adapt to it.
i got tired of changing keyboards every 6 months (i killed membrane keyborads quick not sure why) and bought a few crappy keyboard before getting a Razer blackwidow 2014 and ive been using it since then. no issues and ive added o rings on it now. so its even nicer :)
I don't remember how anymore. Summer 2010, looking for a job after college, for some reason I started learning Dvorak and found my way to My first mech was a Filco full size with Cherry MX blues and blank keycaps. From that point on I just became obsessed with switches.
Was eating my breakfast which was a Toaster Strudel before school it was around 6:45-7am and I dropped it on my laptop keyboard so I was stuck using a membrane keyboard which I broke then I bought my Corsair K70 RGB 2016 Version with Browns after wanting a mechanical keyboard I jumped the gun and 160 dollars later here I am. Oh I also didn't want knockoff switches...
As a kid, I had typewriters all over the place. We had the whole range; Selectric's and Coronas all the way to the old school typewriters with the bell and the push bar. Those I used to see how fast I could type without the arms jamming up. I loved them.
I had the old Apple IIe's at school, but can't remember typing much more than what Number Crunchers or the Oregon Trail would require. I learned a lot of early DOS on an ancient home-build that my dad got for work. I dont remember the keyboards, but it was many years before I'd discover them again.
The first board I bought was the Ducky SZ2108 (or DK2108SZ) for work a few years ago. I got it on mechmarket after long deliberations and trips to Microcenter to try others out. I had been aching for a DAS ever since I saw them on Thinkgeek a number of years ago, but the price scared me off. The Ducky, with a PayPal discount and shipping, ended up being a little over $60.
I bought the full set of Dolch DSA on Massdrop and haven't looked back. I got a Planck and GH60 as kits and built them up to my specification. I'm eyeing a bunch more at this point; I've always really enjoyed putting things together; electronics, cars, cameras, what have you... Then there's just the plain old-fashioned love of creating something usable with my hands. There is something quite addicting about keyboards. I've gotten a number of my friends hooked on the switch, and a couple more interested.
I am currently planning a keyboard for my grandmother. She has a phD in literature and writing, but she hasn't gotten much time to write lately. I've squared away a number of things for her and now I'm sourcing parts for a mech built to her specifications. I already have a bunch of the linear Gateron clears, which will be perfect and light for her fingers. I need to decide on a layout and how best to build it. REALLY sad I didn't jump on the Whitefox. I think a 65%-80% is going to be the way to go, but there are not many kits like that. Oh well. I can always try my hand at handwiring, which is the next logical step anyway!!!
I got it to mechanical keyboards because I needed a keyboard for my new gaming pc. So I got a quick fire tk in cherry mx reds. sadly I missed the massdrop meetup by 2 weeks. Due to my insatisfaction for cherry mx reds. I searched for a better keyboard and that prompted me to buy the pok3r, hhkb pro 2, etc
Pretty simple. I was getting parts for my first PC, and wanted to go mechanical, since they're much more durable. Seeing all the different key caps you could get was just delicious gravy. After doing some research, I decided to go with MX Browns, and got a board from Logitech at a good price.
I had a backlit Logitech board that had built in matrix ghosting not allowing me to use certain key combinations that are very commonly used in games (thanks Logitech). I later found a BWU 2013 on Craigslist for $30. Bought it the next day, then later traded it for a Quickfire TK. The rest is just an expensive and patient history.
It is curious to me that I really did in my nearly 15s that I bought with my little money "extrange" keyboards, such as the ergonomic logitech (in 1990 aprox). Then 2 years ago my inspiration in GTD mr MacSparsky did a nice blog page about his keyboard... and then I bought a Filco Ninja TKL and thought it was an endgame. Thanks Massdrop for adding nearly 10 keyboards to that initial number...
My first ones were actually Razers and Logitech. I didn't realize the difference in mechanical keyboards at the time. MD actually introduced me to the significance of those, and from there I learned about /r/mk, GeekHack, and Deskthority.
Now, I've spent way too much money on this.
Thanks, MD! (a meme to the effect of Thanks, Obama! :))
Well, the first mechanical keyboard I've written on was a typewriter, but my first mechanical computer keyboard was a IBM model M .
First one must have been an old IBM back in the late 80s or early 90s, don't quite remember.
but for modern mechanical keyboards, i'd say:
about 4 years ago. there was a flash sale on the cooler master storm trigger mx blue @ $59.99 i believe. i just said for $60 bucks, let me see what the fuss is about.
have not looked back since.
from that storm trigger i went to:
logitech g710 (absolutelly garbage) Corsair K70 (solid build, still have to this day) Max nighthawk x-9 (very cool, but so many QA problems) Monoprice mx blue (was $40, can't go wrong) <-gave to my mom, she loves this. ducky shine 2 ducky shine 3 das ultimate ducky shine 4 <--- currently using.
Actually I rather like the G710+, I gave away a K60 to move to the G710+, before the non-standard bottom row starts to be annoying. I always found the dedicated volume wheel to be extremely satisfying to use, the keyboard is very solid even though the case is plastic and not aluminium like the K60/70 (only the top plate on them was metal anyway).
Anyway, doesn't matter now that I'm using a board with standard bottom row. The G710+ is now waiting patiently in its box in case I ever need to call upon it again.
It must have been my Amiga 500, but mks havn't been that interesting back than, there had been other more promising things to be chased.
Being a little bit older has the good side to say, i had been there, at least. Colored TV and Pong were a revolution :)
I was in need of a new keyboard and decided I wanted to try a mech as I remembered the iconic IBM keyboards from high school computer classes, so I got a Razer Black Widow with MX Blues. I originally went to get the Logitech G710 but just didn't like the feel, it didn't feel any different than my normal MS keyboard. Liked the clicky feel of the Razer so I went with that one as I felt if I was going to spend $100 on a keyboard, it better feel like a mechanical. Recently switch up and got a Royal Kludge on a Drop last October.
Been gaming since I can remember myself. About 4 years ago a friend of mine first purchased a ducky mx blue keyboard and told me about it. I was intrigued at first but it didn't really get me going because I didn't like the blue switch feel for gaming, although I did like it for typing and started thinking about getting one myself. A couple years later another friend who used to play similar games to mine got a k95 with mx reds and invited me to try it out. First couple games on BF3 and I fell in love with the red switches compared to my trusty 5yo membrane keyboard I used at the time. Therefore I decided on Black Friday 2014 to get one for my own and bought a K60 with cherry reds. Never doubted my decision, and now Im annoyed when I need to use membrane keyboards, even some mechanical ones too (like my brother's Steelseries one with cherry blacks)
I had been using a Razer Deathstalker (chiclet, firm membrane) and honestly I didn't have any problems with it aside from the occasional software and driver issues. However, I had always heard of mechanical keyboards and their "objective superiority", so I decided to subscribe to /r/MechanicalKeyboards and learn from the community before making a purchase. A few months later I bought a Ducky Shine 4 with MX Greens and there was no turning back. I ended up just giving away my Razer to a friend.
Fast forward 6 months and I'm the proud owner of a KBP V60 with MX Whites, about 10 keysets, and an IBM Model M (no mean feat in Australia, it ended up costing me around AU$200). My wallet is extremely unhappy but I am in heaven.
I saw I believe the commando keycaps on a Filco mech about 3 years ago, got back on GH which led me to Matteo S which led me to DT which got me back to GH to join my first GB with SA Retro which was right around the 2nd granite round and here we are.
TBH I hated that wobbly buckling spring keyboard from those 80486 IBM PS computers back in high school. Learned BASIC on a IBM PC JR which was really weird because the keyboard was wirelessly connected using a IR port.
Now I have more mech and Topre boards than a octopus has arms. It's been interesting. Still looking for end game.
It started more than a year ago. I was building a new PC and wanted to upgrade my old keyboard (membrane) and mouse as well. So I read in some forum about mech keyboards and the rest is history, I was hooked. I started learning about different switches and keycap profiles, etc. This is a really engaging hobby which I love but my wallet not that much :) My first keyboard was a Realforce 87U and built a custom 60% a month after. This was in October, so I spend learning and waiting for parts almost 6 months, until I couldn't wait anymore and bougtht the RF :P