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Base - That’s the back. Sometimes the PCB sits in there (like the Universal kits), sometimes it just floats (like the skeleton kits).

Form Factors - Physical shape and size of the mechanical keyboard

  • Full size - 104 keys. Includes main alphanumeric cluster, nav cluster/arrows, function row, and numpad.
  • Tenkeyless/TKL/80% - 87 keys. TKL is a full size keyboard minus the numpad.
  • 75% - Basically a compact TKL. All keys are condensed with no space between keys. Usually comes with non-standard keycap sizes.
  • 65% - TKL without function row and most of navigation cluster. Includes main alphanumeric cluster, arrows, and 3 or 4 extra keys.
  • 60% - 61 keys. Just the main alphanumeric cluster. No numpad, no function row, and no nav cluster/arrows.
  • 40% - Can be many different layouts but basically only main alpha cluster and NO number row.
  • Ergo/Split - Keyboard is split into 2 halves and positioned to users preference.

Hot Swap PCB - Is a PCB that doesn’t need the switches soldered, switches can be added and removed without soldering. (see PCB for more)

Keycaps - The plastic piece that your finger touches.

Keys - Are the results of all the parts. People often use this to describe a single part, when they mean switches, keycaps or pcb traces.

Layouts - Layout of keys. There are many custom layouts, these are the most common.

  • Standard ANSI(winkey)
  • Tsangan
  • HHKB
  • WKL (winkeyless)
  • Standard ISO

Lubing - You can lube your switches and stabilizers. Some benefits of lubing switches include smoother key stokes and custom sound profiles. Benefits of lubing stabilizers include increased smoothness and decreased rattle on stabilized keys.

PCB - The circuit board that links each key press to the USB. (see Programmable PCB or Hot Swap PCB for more)

Plate - Plate is the top. It’s the part with the switch cutouts. (see universal plates for more)

Various plate materials create different sound profiles:

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Polycarb
  • Steel
  • Stainless Steel

Programmable PCB - This refers to a PCB that has a programmable chip on it. This way, each key can be remapped, programmed or made into a macro. If a PCB is QMK compatible, it is programmable.

Skeleton kit / Sandwich kit - Keyboard kits made of just two plates. 1upkeyboards is famous for this post-modern design.

Soldering - You must solder the keys on to the PCB? Solder the switches to the PCB, yes.

Tools needed:

  • Soldering Iron/Soldering station
  • Solder - recommended sizes (.5mm, .8mm, 1mm)
  • Desoldering pump (optional unless desoldering switches)
  • Desoldering gun (optional unless desoldering switches)
  • Solder wick (optional unless desoldering switches)
  • Fume extractor (recommended)

Stabilizers - Stabilize keycaps that are over 2u in length.

Comes in 2 types: Dependent on PCB.

  • Cherry - Clip in, Screw in, Plate Mount
  • Costar

Standoffs - The little pieces that go between the base (backplate) and the top plate.

Switches - These are the parts that go under the keycap and into the PCB. This is where you get to customize the feel of your keyboard. Here's a list of every switch ever made.

Switch led(backlighting) - RGB or single color led that illuminates key switch. Comes in 2 varieties: SMD led(surface mount) and regular LED(mounted on top of switch).

Switch mounting - Plate mounted and pcb mounted

  • Plate mounted - Switch is clipped into a plate. Switch does not need addition guide pins to locate switch on pcb. If switch has the additional guide pins and pcb does not have cutouts for them, pins can be clipped off.
  • PCB mounted - Switch is mounted to PCB with no plate. Switch needs 2 additional pins to locate on PCB.

Underglow - RGB or single color SMD led mounted under PCB.

Universal plates - This is a plate that’s cut out to support multiple layouts.

knowledge_base/glossary.1568673399.txt.gz · Last modified: 2019/09/16 22:36 by excess_bread