What do I need for a custom keyboard?

If you’re someone who spends a significant amount of time typing and want to enhance your typing experience, a custom keyboard may be just what you need. Building a custom keyboard allows you to personalize it to your liking, ensuring ultimate comfort and efficiency while typing. So, what do you actually need to create your dream custom keyboard? Let’s take a look!

What do I need for a custom keyboard?

To build a custom keyboard, you will need the following:

  1. Keyboard PCB (Printed Circuit Board): This is the main electronic component of your keyboard, responsible for converting keystrokes into electrical signals.
  2. Keyboard case: The case provides protection to the PCB and holds all the keyboard components together.
  3. Switches: These are the key components that you press to register keystrokes. They come in various types, such as mechanical switches, which offer a tactile feel and satisfying click.
  4. Keycaps: Keycaps are the visible parts of the keyboard that you see and press. There’s a wide variety of keycap options available, ranging from different colors and materials to various artistic designs.
  5. Stabilizers: Stabilizers ensure that larger keys, such as the spacebar or the shift key, function smoothly without wobbling.
  6. Plate: The plate holds the switches and stabilizers in place, providing a solid base for typing.
  7. Soldering iron and solder: A soldering iron is necessary to attach the switches to the PCB. Solder is a form of metal alloy used to create a strong electrical connection between the switches and the PCB.
  8. Diodes: These components prevent multiple key presses from being registered simultaneously.
  9. Microcontroller: The microcontroller is responsible for the overall function of the keyboard, acting as the brain of the device.

Once you have gathered all the necessary components, you can begin the process of assembling your custom keyboard. It’s important to note that building a custom keyboard requires a certain level of technical skill and knowledge of electronics. However, with patience and research, anyone can create their own tailored keyboard.


1. Can I use any switches for my custom keyboard?

Yes, you can choose from a wide selection of switches available on the market. Popular options include Cherry MX switches, Gateron switches, and Kailh switches.

2. Are there any specific tools required for building a custom keyboard?

Aside from the soldering iron and solder, you may also need a keycap puller, tweezers, and a screwdriver depending on your specific keyboard and its components.

3. Where can I purchase the necessary components for my custom keyboard?

You can find many of the required components from specialized keyboard vendors online. Popular retailers include Drop, KBDfans, and NovelKeys.

4. Can I design custom keycaps for my keyboard?

Absolutely! Many online services allow you to create personalized keycaps with custom designs or text.

5. Is it possible to program the functionality of my custom keyboard?

Yes, most custom keyboard PCBs support programming, allowing you to remap keys or create macros to suit your needs.

6. Are there any specific layouts available for custom keyboards?

Custom keyboards offer a wide range of layouts, including popular options like the tenkeyless (TKL) layout, 60%, and ergonomic split layouts.

7. Do custom keyboards have backlighting options?

Yes, many custom keyboard PCBs feature RGB backlighting, allowing you to choose different lighting effects and colors to illuminate your keyboard.

8. Can I use a custom keyboard with any device?

Most custom keyboards are compatible with various devices, including Windows, macOS, and even smartphones. However, it’s essential to ensure compatibility before making a purchase.

9. Are custom keyboards more durable than regular keyboards?

Custom keyboards tend to be more durable due to higher build quality and the ability to replace individual components if they become worn or damaged.

10. How long does it take to build a custom keyboard?

The time required to build a custom keyboard depends on your familiarity with the process and the complexity of the keyboard. It can range from a few hours to several days.

11. Can I use wireless connectivity for my custom keyboard?

Yes, some custom keyboard PCBs support wireless connectivity options, allowing you to use your keyboard without the need for a physical connection.

12. Is it possible to change the typing feel of a custom keyboard?

Yes, by selecting different switches, you can customize the typing feel of your keyboard to suit your preferences. There are switches available for various levels of tactile feedback, actuation force, and noise.

In conclusion, building a custom keyboard requires several key components such as a PCB, switches, keycaps, and a case. With the right tools and a bit of technical know-how, you can craft a keyboard that matches your aesthetic preferences and provides a delightful typing experience.

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