Last fall, we both bought DAS Keyboard Ultimate keyboards with Cherry MX Blue switches. While Fred seems to be a fairly light typist, I can make a lot of noise with my keyboard. It turns out that I am bottoming out (hitting the bottom of the keyboard) on each stroke, which is loud. Seriously, loud. It also feels hard on my hands, because your finger travels a bit further and then abruptly stopped.
To combat this, we both ordered o-ring dampeners and installed them.
We ordered the Cherry MX Rubber O-Ring Switch Dampeners (125pcs) from WASD Keyboards. Given that our keyboards have 105 keys, this worked out fine. I think the extras will make awesome stitch markers when knitting socks. 🙂
“Bottoming out” is a term used to describe when a key stroke is pressed all the way down where the stem of the switch hits the inside of the switch casing. This causes a “clack” from the collision on mechanical keyboards. Switch sound dampeners are soft rubber O-rings that can be installed onto every single keycap stem to cushion the landing of the switch by stopping the key stroke just short of the point of bottoming out. This also very slightly reduces the max travel distance of the switch. (0.2-0.4mm of 4mm total travel distance. Varies by O-ring type.)
We both chose the blue 40-A-R rings, which have “More shock reduction with noticeable shorter key travel.” Here’s the sound comparison between the red and blue o-rings:
Actually removing the keys turned out to be pretty easy.
Fred took the route of removing them all at once, adding the o-rings and the figuring out where to put them. I took mine off row by row. On a side note, yes – I have been labelling my keys sometimes. The Windows key is because I was so confused after coming back from my brief sojourn in MacOS while the x is from my attempt at learning Dvorak.
Fred turned out to be faster because I put back a number of them upside-down. This diagram from WASD Keyboard proved very helpful, as each key was labelled on the back – as our keys are blank, we couldn’t just look at another keyboard.
We ended up watching this video during the installation. Beyond the fact that it has a really good overview of all things mechanical, it has a good explanation of how to remove the keys with a stabilizer bar at 10:00.
It took a few minutes to get used to, but I love the feel of the keys. They have the lovely crisp “click” without the heavy “clack” from bottoming out. Totally worth the cost and the effort to install them! I see more customisation in the future – WASD Keyboards has a neat tool to build your own key set…
I was really impressed with the level of information and support available on the WASD Keyboards site. Their information made the whole process pretty easy!