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Custom Mechanical Keyboards: The Ultimate Guide

Here are the parts you’ll need to get started making your own mechanical keyboard custom creation.

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Did You Know? The HHKB Snow Collection brings a new, sophisticated design to one of the most-beloved keyboard lines in computer history.

The best keyboard lubes to start with

Drop Ctrl Barebones

This tenkeyless keyboard kit is minimalist and low profile at first glance, but its per-key RGB lighting and underlit case bring it to vibrant life. Get it in black or space grey for $150.

NovelKeys NK87 Entry Edition

Another tenkeyless option, the NK87 has a much more standout look at first blush thanks to its injection-molded plastic frame that’s available in a variety of colors. Options start at $135.


This 60% keyboard kit’s Bluetooth/wired option is available for just $89, making it a very accessible inroad to wireless typing. It also includes a split spacebar module if you prefer to get more use out of the biggest key on your board.

Read more about mechanical keyboard kits in our guide, “The 5 Best DIY Custom Mechanical Keyboard Kits for Beginners.” 

3 of the best keyboard cases

KBDFans 60% Plastic Case

There’s nothing fancy about this PCB plastic case, but it’s available in a range of colors and it only costs $19.

KBD75 V2 75% Anodized Aluminum Case

If you’re looking for a durable case that will likely outlive the rest of your setup, this case fits the bill. It comes in five color options and even features an acrylic side strip for RGB lighting, all for $125.

Royal Glam 60% Wooden Case

Made of black walnut, this compact case is a classy way to house your next build. It isn’t cheap, but its price tag of $94 won’t blow out your budget either.

Read more about keyboard cases in our guide, “Custom Mechanical Keyboard Cases: What To Look For.”

Did You Know? Topre switches are a favorite among many enthusiasts, but you won’t find them on most custom mechanical keyboard builds. Here’s why.

How to find the ideal keyboard plate


Metal plates

Metal plates tend to be rigid and lightweight, making a keyboard feel stiffer to type on and also lending a higher-pitched “ping” to the sound of keystrokes. This makes them unpopular with some enthusiasts, but they are both durable and aesthetically pleasing.

FR4 plates

FR4 plates are made from the same base material used for many PCBs. When used to create a plate, FR4 is well suited to delivering a more quiet, light, and flexible keyboard feel.

Polycarbonate plates

Polycarbonate plates are made with a type of soft and light plastic. This less-dense material lends a lower-pitched character to the sound of each keystroke.

Common types of stabilizers

Screw-in stabilizers

Screw-in stabilizers are secured directly to a keyboard’s PCB with its eponymous screw. This solid connection minimizes rattle and unwanted movement.

Clip-in stabilizers

Clip-in stabilizers are also mounted right on the PCB, but they use clips instead of screws to attach. They’re easier to install and replace, but they also tend to be noisier.

Costar stabilizers

Costar stabilizers are hooks and wires that travel the length of a keycap, rather than the movable stem and housing design found in Cherry stabilizers.

Read more about keyboard stabilizers in our guide, “Mechanical Keyboard Stabilizers: Everything You Need to Know.”

The best keyboard lubes to start with


205g0 lubricant is a popular choice for linear switches and general-purpose applications. It can also be used for tactile switches as long as you’re careful to apply a thin enough layer.

TriboSys 3203

TriboSys 3203 is a great pick if you plan to lubricate a good number of tactile switches, since its medium-thin consistency makes it less likely to accidentally “de-bump” them.


XHT-BDZ G.5 is too thick to use on internal switch components, but that high viscosity makes it a great match for even the scratchiest stabilizers.

Read more about keyboard lubes in our guide, “The 3 Best Mechanical Keyboard Lubes on the Market.”

Note: Information and external links are provided for your convenience and for educational purposes only. PFU America, Inc. makes no representations about the contents, features, or specifications on such third-party sites, software, and/or offerings (collectively “Third-Party Offerings”) and shall not be responsible for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of such Third-Party Offerings.

Shop Happy Hacking Keyboard Now

Designed for those who type to live.

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