Yet Another Rabbit Hole

I’ve recently caved in and bought my first mechanical keyboard, a Royal Kludge RK 100. A lot of my friends are into mechanical keyboards and I’ve always been curious about it since I saw some of them modding their keyboards and changing keycaps. So I bought a black RK100 and then bought a set of XDA-profile keycaps on Shopee as replacement. I liked the color because a lot of the keys are off-white with brown characters. I liked it better than the plain black keys the keyboard came with. Also, I like these kinds of little projects. If there’s anything that can be changed or updated in something, you can be sure I’ll figure out how to do that.

After a lot of delays, my shimmer keycaps were finally delivered today. Because it’s my first time to change keycaps, I had already watched videos on how to do it and laid out the keys so they’ll be easier to transfer. There’s always that one point in a project when you look at all the little parts around you and say welp, what did I just do? I remember the last time that happened was when I took apart my Delonghi espresso machine to upgrade the steam wand from the factory wand to a Rancilio Silvia. After I’ve taken the thing apart, I stopped to look around the kitchen table and panicked just a teeny bit because there were parts all over. I have a system to keep track of all the parts, of course, but the sight of everything just dissembled and in pieces made me a little nervous. Of course my espresso machine survived the tinkering and is still doing well until today.

Mechanical keyboards are fascinating. I accidentally pulled out a few switches in the process of removing keys and of course I immediately thought I will be changing switches soon. I’m currently using RK’s factory brown switches, which are pretty good, but of course I want to check out other switches too, in the future. Taking the keys out one by one, sweeping and cleaning the board, then putting the new keycaps in is pretty fun and therapeutic. You just focus on doing one thing, and you let your hand go through the motions. It’s calming.

After a few minutes of gentle pulling and pushing, I was done. I plugged the keyboard back in, powered up my computer and checked if everything was still working and all keys were doing what they were supposed to do. Everything was working fine.

My new keycaps are called Shimmering Keycaps. The profile is XDA, which is pretty different from the original profile of the original keycaps that came with the keyboard. Everything is flat and all the same size, and they’re low-profile. I have to admit that at first I wasn’t too crazy about the profile because it felt harder to find my fingers on the board when touch-typing. I really liked how they looked, though. I liked the short and chunky profile, and of course I liked the colors I picked. They keys reminded me of little Boggle blocks, they’re so cute. After a few minutes of typing, I adjusted to the size and uniformity of the profile and am back to my usual typing speed. I feel comfortable with it now. I’m really happy I preordered my second custom keycaps in the XDA profile too. I got the Izu Babi caps from Zoot It Up and almost changed it to Cherry after trying out these keycaps, but I thought I’d give it a few days to see if I will adjust. I decided not to change my order anymore and keep the XDA profile.

There’s so much to learn in a new hobby, and I think I enjoy that part of the process most. I like to learn things slow, discover them at my own pace. I’m lucky to have my nephew and a few friends who patiently answer my questions about mechanical keyboards, because I do like to ask a lot of questions, but for the most part I also like to discover things on my own. There’s so much to learn about mechanical keyboards and a whole new lingo to adapt to, but it’s all quite fun.

Next project–change the switches! I’m trying to find out what I like first before I buy anything, though. The XDA keycaps reduced the noise of my keyboard, but I think I like it thockier. I’ve read up on a few modifications to achieve that. Sigh. Humans and our rabbit holes.