Mechanical keyboards use switches of a few different types. But even those types include myriad variations. How’s a hacker to know just exactly what equipment is out there?
For example, if you grab a fellow cube-farmer’s mechanical keyboard (possibly because they clacked on their Cherry Blue’s just one too many times) and angrily rip off a few keycaps to show you’re serious, what do you see? In most cases you expect to see the familiar color and stem shape of a Cherry MX switch or one of its various clones. But you may find a square box around it like a Kailh Box switch. Or the entire stem is a box (with no +) like a Matias switch. Or sometimes it looks like a little pig snout, making it a Kailh Choc.
There is a fairly wide variety of companies which make key switches suitable for use in a keyboard. Many hew to the electrical and mechanical standards implicitly created by the dominant Cherry GmbH’s common switches but not all. So if you’re designing a PCB for such a keyboard and want to use odd switches, you need to check out the Keyboardio keyswitch_documentation repo!
The keyswitch_documentation repo is an absolute treasure trove of hard to find keyswitch datasheets. Finding official information on Cherry MX switches isn’t too hard (keyswitch_documentation has 22 data sheets for MX series switches, and four for ML). But those Kailh Choc’s? Good luck (here it is in keyswitch_documentation). Did you know Tai-Hao made Matias-esque switches as well as weird rubber keycaps? Well they do, and here’s the datasheet.
We’re keeping this one handy until the next time we need data sheets for weird switches. Make sure to send a note if you find something interesting in here that’s worth noting!
8 thoughts on “Bonanza Of Keyswitch Datasheets Fills Our Decks With Clack”
Interesting it’s a pullable repo. Wonder if they accept pushes for new datasheets?
Well there have been some pull requests from people other than the owner and they got merged so I guess yeah.
Absolutely! We’d love more data sheets. Please send PRs.
I may be a bit groggy from all the eggnog but the first paragraph of the article was almost incoherent. I had to read it 3 times to understand what the hell was being said.
I didn’t have any issue, but you definitely have to be familiar with the switches being discussed for the references to stem shape to make any sense at all.
It would be really nice if someone could build some models so that we could 3d print these. Frankly, $200 in switches to make a DIY keyboard is a bit much.
fuck em, theres no ergonomic mechanical keboard of one doesnt build one
i mean mechanical switches, not the repo
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