May 31, 2016858 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.
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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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Nonster
Wow, impressive collection! Can I ask how do you like your White Fox and MinVan?
Danielson
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. :)
LevelSteam
Pics of 3run?! I want to see it in person. Renders never do justice
AlexPk
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.
KAPS1M0
Should definitely open it. Don't open a Topre though without being prepared. Ugh.

What are you putting in your pc?
AlexPk
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).
https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/KAPS1M0/saved/dKZ6Mp

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?
TheSkeleton
Nice! Not terribly surprised :)

Give lots of good feedback :D
TheSkeleton
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 (www.kaskus.co.id). Thanks to Hendyzone in www.mechanicalkeyboards.co.id, 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 keyboard.io 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.