"SFF" Keyboards

What's the smallest you'd go with a keyboard?

  • 100%

    Votes: 20 7.5%
  • 80%

    Votes: 27 10.1%
  • 75%

    Votes: 51 19.0%
  • 60%

    Votes: 125 46.6%
  • 40%

    Votes: 21 7.8%
  • Electrodes implanted into brain, effectively 0%

    Votes: 16 6.0%
  • Something else

    Votes: 8 3.0%

  • Total voters
    268

jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
177
O-rings will alter the feel a bit. They'll make the switch travel more shallow to some extent, and may or may not make the bottom out feel mushy. It depends because o-rings are available in many thicknesses as well as hardness ratings.

It also matters what switches you're using. IIRC all Cherry type switches generally have about 50% of the entire switch travel be dead space....so out of say 4.0mm of travel, the switch won't actuate until 2.0mm; which tends to lead to bottoming out or hammering because that dead distance is hard to judge where the actuation point is. Which, if you use 1mm o-rings; that bottom out distance is cut in half--because the bottom out is even closer to the actuation point.

Personally not much of a fan of Cherry style switches because of the huge pre-travel. Would rather have a stiffer switch with no pre-travel.
Yeah these are Outemu Browns, my next switch will be something a little more high end, and with a stiffer spring since I tend to type with heavy fingers from decades of membrane keyboard usage lol
 

duynguyenle

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 20, 2019
272
248
O-rings will alter the feel a bit. They'll make the switch travel more shallow to some extent, and may or may not make the bottom out feel mushy. It depends because o-rings are available in many thicknesses as well as hardness ratings.

It also matters what switches you're using. IIRC all Cherry type switches generally have about 50% of the entire switch travel be dead space....so out of say 4.0mm of travel, the switch won't actuate until 2.0mm; which tends to lead to bottoming out or hammering because that dead distance is hard to judge where the actuation point is. Which, if you use 1mm o-rings; that bottom out distance is cut in half--because the bottom out is even closer to the actuation point.

Personally not much of a fan of Cherry style switches because of the huge pre-travel. Would rather have a stiffer switch with no pre-travel.

There's no such thing as no pre-travel. Every mechanical switch has pre-travel, even microswitches. Buckling springs, beamsprings, Cherry and its clones, Topre/electrocapacitive, EVERYTHING's got pretravel. It's a feature, not a bug. If you don't want that, it's better to type on a touchscreen.

Travel distance before actuation serves a useful purpose. It requires deliberate pressure to actuate a key. If you REALLY hate having to press your keys, it's useful to note that Cherry and OEMs who make cherry-style switches do indeed offer alternatives to cater to your style. They're the Cherry Speed line of switches (Kailh also offer their equivalent, creatively named Kailh speed switches. These have much reduced actuation distance (1.2mm, IIRC), and personally they feel HORRIBLE to use, even on stronger springs. I did a build a while ago with Kailh speed bronze (1.1mm actuation) and even with stiff springs (I used 80g SPRIT springs), they were a nightmare to use. It's entirely possible to actuate the switches just by resting your fingers on them, and range from slightly irritating to nigh impossible to use without flying into a fit of rage, depending on what style of typing/type of finger movements you employ when typing.
 
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Tonkatsu

Caliper Novice
Jul 18, 2020
28
4
What are the thinnest and hardest (clear) o-rings ?

I haven't been satisfied with several randoms I've tried, found them all too thick and squishy, so I've been looking for info but...

And been wondering how I could make very narrowly cut felt or hard cardboard rings for a different sensation. >>
 

ninjapirate9901

Cable Smoosher
Aug 6, 2020
10
13
As an alternative to o-rings, you could take a look at QMX clips. Same general principle as o-rings in damping the downwards stroke by providing a softer contact surface.

I tried them out on a old POS board and they were OK, but I didn't particularly enjoy the reduction in stem travel.

If you're willing to solder (and honestly it's neither difficult or expensive...), you'd be much better off replacing/using a good silent switch like Gazzew Bobu U4's or Zilents (pricey). Lubrication also makes a huge difference in sound (reduction in spring ping, bottom out, scratchiness, etc).
 

duynguyenle

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 20, 2019
272
248
Worth it to note that QMX clips also quietens the upstroke noise, if that's important to you.

IMO properly lubed/filmed switches can be very quiet and do not suffer from the bottoming out mushiness that you get from o-rings/silencing clips.
 
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jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
177
When I do a full on custom kb in the winter, I will be doing all that, but for now, I was just looking at a semi quick and inexpensive way to dampen the sound. I think what would probably help with some of the sound I get is to put foam in the case. It's a plastic case with metal plate (probably steel) so that creates an interesting echo at times. This is just kind of a holdover until I can sink some time and money into a real project lol. Probably would bring this to work and use there instead of the flimsy membrane keyboard with a squeaky spacebar ?
 

SFF Watercooled

Master of Cramming
Sep 26, 2020
389
162
I personally use the arrow keys and function keys a lot, so 75% is the least for me (Although I have a 100% keyboard)
Yes, you CAN use function keys and arrow keys on 60% keyboards, but constantly toggling between them is a deal-breaker for me
I really like the layout of tenkeyless/80% keyboards which means I'd probably choose TKL keyboards over 75% keyboards (Not much size difference anyways)

Best keyboard switches are red and brown like if you agree
 
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ignsvn

By Toutatis!
Moderator
Apr 4, 2016
1,282
1,084
I personally use the arrow keys and function keys a lot, so 75% is the least for me (Although I have a 100% keyboard)
Yes, you CAN use function keys and arrow keys on 60% keyboards, but constantly toggling between them is a deal-breaker for me
I really like the layout of tenkeyless/80% keyboards which means I'd probably choose TKL keyboards over 75% keyboards (Not much size difference anyways)

Best keyboard switches are red and brown like if you agree

For the record, I clicked "like" before you add that last sentence ?

And no for me the best switches are not brown/red.

I'm a tactile switch user, so it's Outemu Sky 2.2 for me at the moment.

Nothing wrong with brown itself, it's just my personal preference (moaar tactility).
 

catawalks

Average Stuffer
Silver Supporter
Dec 17, 2019
61
85
I'm running lubed dampened Healios V2 switches right now. I actually didn't like linear switches and only got these because I wanted to mess with dampened switches. When I got them I was disappointed in the feel and the spring noise they made so I spent a few hours (more like two nights) lubing everything. Man I love these things now, the lube quiets everything down while smoothing it all out and the dampened feel is stiff enough to not feel like poop when bottoming out.

My main board at home is actually Black ALPS (tactile) that have been lubed and modded to be MORE tactile, those make a great sound when clacking all over the place. It's weird opposites between work and home keyboards tbh, but Brown/red switches rank so low on my list of nice switches I'm much happier with my current two options. The last two boards I had with brown/red made for some super scratchy feels that I absolutely hated. Probably just a bad point in time to have bought those switches, but it tainted them for life for me.
 

duynguyenle

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 20, 2019
272
248
I'm running lubed dampened Healios V2 switches right now. I actually didn't like linear switches and only got these because I wanted to mess with dampened switches. When I got them I was disappointed in the feel and the spring noise they made so I spent a few hours (more like two nights) lubing everything. Man I love these things now, the lube quiets everything down while smoothing it all out and the dampened feel is stiff enough to not feel like poop when bottoming out.

My main board at home is actually Black ALPS (tactile) that have been lubed and modded to be MORE tactile, those make a great sound when clacking all over the place. It's weird opposites between work and home keyboards tbh, but Brown/red switches rank so low on my list of nice switches I'm much happier with my current two options. The last two boards I had with brown/red made for some super scratchy feels that I absolutely hated. Probably just a bad point in time to have bought those switches, but it tainted them for life for me.

Black Alps is actually sorta the bottom rung of SKCM tactiles, if you got the time/cash, I highly recommend trying to source some SKCM Orange (or Salmon if you can't find Oranges), they're a huge step up from SKCM blacks in terms of tactility and consistency.
 

Tonkatsu

Caliper Novice
Jul 18, 2020
28
4
As an alternative to o-rings, you could take a look at QMX clips.
...snip...
If you're willing to solder
lubed/filmed
Definitely interested in tryin QMX clips, thanks for the advice.

I'm not looking into decreasing the noise a lot, only very slightly reduce the impact strenght with only very minimal reduction in travel lenght (like 1mm if not less)

As for soldering and lubing, nope sorry they're steps I'm not gonna take because I'm not interested in keyboards enough to bother that much (I've seen ppl do it and to me at least it looks like much hassle, I suck ultra-hard at soldering. And the lubing job looks absurd on top of a hassle)
The way I see it, if a keyboard or switches are scratchy, noisy, needing soldering replacement or much additional work, well they aren't good choices to begin and so I'll pass on them anyway.

I only want finished products with very minimal assembly left for the user, like the furthest I'd be willing to bother with is a hotswap board then try different switches, keeping what I like best out-of-the-box.

Since Keychron ISO plans seem to have tanked for now, I might for for a GMMK TKL (ISO).
That with QMX clips might do it for me.
 
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catawalks

Average Stuffer
Silver Supporter
Dec 17, 2019
61
85
Black Alps is actually sorta the bottom rung of SKCM tactiles, if you got the time/cash, I highly recommend trying to source some SKCM Orange (or Salmon if you can't find Oranges), they're a huge step up from SKCM blacks in terms of tactility and consistency.

These aren't stock black ALPS and shouldn't really be considered the same as them. They are modded quite a bit to make them have a much harder tactile bump and lubed to keep everything feeling smooth. I've got a ALPS64 with lubed Salmons that I find alright, but after using my modded blacks with that nice sharp and heavy tactile bump I find the Salmons bump to be too weak. I had a set of Blues that I was going to put in to that board too but I ended up not liking the sound that much so I sold them off.
 

duynguyenle

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 20, 2019
272
248
These aren't stock black ALPS and shouldn't really be considered the same as them. They are modded quite a bit to make them have a much harder tactile bump and lubed to keep everything feeling smooth. I've got a ALPS64 with lubed Salmons that I find alright, but after using my modded blacks with that nice sharp and heavy tactile bump I find the Salmons bump to be too weak. I had a set of Blues that I was going to put in to that board too but I ended up not liking the sound that much so I sold them off.

None of them really hold a candle to SKCM Browns, if you have the chance to acquire some, I would highly recommend trying them
 

Tonkatsu

Caliper Novice
Jul 18, 2020
28
4
Trying 70A 1.5mm clear o-rings from Glorious right now.

I like them.
Unlike other much softer rings I've tried before, these don't give me the feeling I've gone back to membranes.
The dampening is moderate, sounding deeper with little decrease in volume level, but silence's not my priority.
Not the perfect feel yet but close to what I want (yet a tiny bit harder and thinner)

I like having the option to do detailed~minimal changes to select aspects of something, but easily.
Fine-tuning without hassle is real luxury. ^^

EDIT: ugh, took me a while to realize 1mm would do nothing anyway, that'd be too thin.
so with 1.5mm I have realized that the shape and lenght of the keycap mount matters too, of course duh, some will hit the rubber, others won't in which case the effect of the o-rings is almost nil.
 
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YESWEKEN

Caliper Novice
Aug 22, 2019
30
30
My current board:

Custom Built TOFU65% Mechanical Keyboard.

Case: KBDFANS TOFU65
PCB: Soldered KBD67 rev2 + Aluminum Plate + Neoprene Damper
Stabilizers: Lubed Durock Stabilizers
Switches: Drop Holy Pandas lubed with TriboSys3203
Keycaps: KBDFANS EPBT x GOK x BOW Key Cap Set


Just got this board up and running, the typing sound is better than anything I've gotten off the shelf. So far I love using a 65% layout since it retains the arrow keys and a similar footprint to a 60%.
Now that I've jumped in the abyss of custom mechanical keyboards, I'll probably go off the deep end and make another board with linear switches and a more robust case next. Most likely a 65% but maybe will mix it up with a 75% or TKL...
 

ninjapirate9901

Cable Smoosher
Aug 6, 2020
10
13
 

DrLeroy

Noob Saibot
Bronze Supporter
May 15, 2020
144
100
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wiretap

Average Stuffer
Apr 25, 2017
55
141
Here's a few of mine.

Some Chinese offbrand RGB TKL that I use with my Amiga 2000 (Gateron Brown switches):


Ducky One RGB TLK (Cherry Brown switches):


Reviung39 (Gateron Green switches):


Ducky Mini (Cherry Blue switches):


Daisy 40% (Gateron Green switches):


Siig Minitouch that I use with some of my DOS through Win98 machines (Alps white switches):