The superior typing and gaming experience provided by a mechanical keyboard is unmatched, but what if you want to create your own unique keyboard? How much does it cost to construct a mechanical keyboard since they may be fairly expensive?
The price of a customized mechanical keyboard varies greatly. There are a tons of options, and the cost will vary depending on how much you’re ready to spend to upgrade the various features. However, the average price per board works out to be somewhere between $200 and $600.
But if this price worries you, don’t worry; you can build a mechanical keyboard for a little less money, but it will take some exploring and comparison shopping. Depending on how customised everything will be and how much you’re prepared to spend on the switches, stabilisers, PCB, and keycaps, the price can rise dramatically if you’re a big spender.
How Much a Custom Keyboard Costs
It might be very challenging to determine the precise cost of your custom keyboard because it depends entirely on your preferences. A larger keyboard, for instance, will cost significantly more than a smaller one since it requires additional switches, keycaps, and stabilisers.
Additionally, if you’re on a tight budget, you can choose a less expensive build, clone switches, and extremely inexpensive keycaps, or you can choose an ultra-custom setup and pay upwards of four figures.
For as little as $100, you could theoretically construct a custom keyboard, but doing so is not advised because you could likely get a superior prebuilt keyboard for that sum. In all likelihood, you should be prepared to shell out between $200 and $400 for a custom keyboard.
What Parts Are Required To Create A Keyboard?
Making a bespoke keyboard requires a number of different parts. We’ll describe each item, give you an idea of the cost, and point out where you may buy it.
The Plate, Case, and PCB
The casing, PCB (circuit board), and metal plate make up the bulk of a bespoke keyboard.
The case shields the internal parts from environmental hazards including water and dust. After each keystroke is logged, the PCB transmits a signal to the computer. The metal plate is an optional part, but it basically strengthens the build’s general structure and holds the switches in place better.
Normally, you would buy all three parts at once to make sure they were compatible. You choose the features you want on your keyboard, the overall size that is required, and the chosen mounting method when choosing these components.
Each component can be purchased separately or as a kit. You can purchase the components separately and mix and match if you like a more typical configuration, like 60%. You’ll need to purchase a kit if you want a more distinctive build, like 65%.
Where can I purchase the case, plate, and PCB?
Although there are numerous locations where you may get these parts, your two major choices are either in-stock or through a group purchase. Although you can receive the parts straight away if you buy them off the shelf, they will typically be less unique and more generic.
You have a huge variety of bespoke layouts, features, and mounting options if you obtain the parts through a group buy. The only disadvantage to group purchases is that you must wait several months to receive the finished product, and they are frequently very expensive.
The switches are where you can really alter how your keyboard performs and feels overall. Do you desire a smooth as butter linear switch? Or do you favour a noisy switch that clicks? You have complete control over a bespoke keyboard.
Some enthusiast switches, like switches, can cost considerably more. Your preferences and money will determine everything. Stabilizers are a crucial element that many overlook. If you can help it, don’t skimp on the stabilisers; they make or ruin the typing experience. To assist you in choosing the best stabilisers, we have a comprehensive article on the topic.
Since you’re making a custom keyboard, you’ll need PCB screw-in stabilisers even though the majority of prebuilt keyboards come with plate-mounted stabilisers that do the job reasonably effectively.
The screw-in design feels excellent to type on and is incredibly secure. Selecting a PCB that supports this mounting method is necessary; otherwise, you’ll be limited to using the standard plate-mounted method.
Stabilizers should be extremely secure, smooth, and prevent wobbling for your larger keys. You may purchase them for a few bucks individually, but your best bet is generally stabilisers, both of which are available on Amazon.
Selecting the proper keycap set is essential if you want to make your keyboard seem good. When it comes to keycaps, there are a tonne of options, including the profile and substance.
An expensive keycap set can cost anywhere from $100 to $400, whereas a budget keycap set often costs between $20 and $30. Budget keycaps can perform well, but they might have a few minor flaws.
Keycaps from higher-end brands, like GMK, are typically thicker, have more distinctive shapes, and are comfortable to type on. If you’re looking for a new keycap set, be sure to read our detailed analysis of the top 20 keycap sets.
The power cable is another component that often overlooked. Imagine spending all that time building a keyboard only to discover that you can’t even connect it in. A USB-C or micro-USB connection is typically required to power a bespoke keyboard.
You can purchase a standard power cable. Alternatively, if you’re creating a brand-new keyboard, you may order a super-custom cable to match the rest of your setup. Custom cables are really fascinating; some have an aviator attachment, some are coiled, and others are even illuminated by LEDs.
There are also some affordable solutions, such TEZ cables, which are readily available on Amazon and quite inexpensive. If you’re looking for the ideal cable for your build, be sure to look at our list of the best bespoke USB cables.
Kit for Soldering
The moment most individuals decide against creating a custom keyboard is when they realise they would need a soldering kit, but what if I told you soldering is not necessary?
A soldering kit is not required if you select a hot-swappable PCB. A hot-swappable PCB can greatly simplify assembly and eliminate the need to learn how to solder, which can save you a tonne of time and money. But if you decide against hot-swap ability, you’ll probably need a soldering kit since the switches must be connected to the PCB during assembly.
The typical price of a decent soldering kit is in the neighborhood of $100. For the purpose of soldering switches to a PCB, we heartily recommend this soldering kit from Amazon.
Tools of Various Kinds
Having a few extra tools on hand might be quite helpful while constructing a keyboard. Here are few that we advise. We’ll provide links to them on Amazon so you can view each item’s price.
- To fill your soldering kit with solder
- Keycap Puller: Simple keycap removal
- Switch Puller: Easily remove switches
- Handling small things and anti-static with tweezers
What Keyboard Size Should I Build?
The ideal keyboard size largely depends on personal taste and price range. A smaller keyboard is simpler to use for some people since their workspace is more constrained.
A smaller keyboard is particularly convenient in those circumstances if you want to take it with you when going to a coffee shop or taking the commute to and from work. Because there are fewer keys, switches, and materials to purchase overall, smaller keyboards are typically less expensive and simpler to construct.
Because of their more symmetrical shapes, smaller keyboards are viewed favourably by the majority of people, but keep in mind that these are just opinions. Do whatever it is that excites you. A smaller keyboard might not be for you if you truly like utilising the numpad and arrow keys.
A bigger size with all those extra keys might be more appropriate. Or perhaps you want to add a few extra programmable keys to your keyboard. With all the extra button space available in the larger sizes, you may get fairly inventive.
Before deciding which size is ideal for you, I would advise considering all of your alternatives. Visit this site to learn more about the various keyboard sizes and what they all signify.
Should You Create Your Own Keyboard?
Maybe your present keyboard is starting to bore you or you’re tired of the mushy membrane feel of your subpar workplace keyboard. Or perhaps you dug your old keyboard into the dirt, causing the keys to become trapped and no longer spring back. You may create something original and creative that uses your keyboard to express who you are by creating a personalized keyboard.
A sturdy mechanical keyboard is something that is made just for you and is made to last. You will be the only person on the earth with this particular keyboard. To make one for yourself, in my opinion, is worth the extra time and work. Who wouldn’t want to accomplish that in addition to being able to brag about it online?
When we discussed how much it would typically cost to construct a mechanical keyboard from scratch, we discovered that while prices might vary greatly, they generally fall between $200 and $600. We also discussed the necessary components and some of the typical prices related to each component.
We also discussed various circumstances in which a soldering kit is not necessary, such as when assembling a kit or utilizing hot-swappable switches. Those are your best options if the thought of learning a novel skill like soldering intimidates you; it’s understandable.
I hope the research I’ve assembled here aids you in building. I would advise looking at some of the various designs that are now available online and selecting one that speaks to you as you conduct research for your personal build.
If you choose one, you can research it further to determine the precise components needed to assemble it. You’ll have a general notion of where to start from there, and you can make adjustments to tailor the keyboard to meet your individual requirements.