Thinking of building your custom keyboard and want to learn about lubing keyboard switches? It is almost a rule to lubricate the switches to give your mechanical keyboard a far better sound, feel, and typing experience.
To lube your keyboard switches, you will need to take apart your keyboard and take a brush and drip it into the lube, and paint over the lower housing, spring, and stem. If done properly, you will notice a difference in your user experience.
Pressing the keys on your keyboard has a gratifying experience. Additionally, you may eliminate the nasty, echoing spring grind that is heard when most switches get pressed by merely lubricating the spring. Although some manufacturers pre-lube their keyboards, they do an average job, at least from an enthusiastic perspective.
Read on to find out more about how to lube your keyboard switches!
Lubing Your Keyboard Switches
The sound of mechanical keyboards is one of the main appeals of lubricating a switch. One of the fundamental differences between mechanical keyboards and their membrane-centric cousins is the satisfying beat that the movement of plastic on plastic can only produce. Any kind of mech sounds beautiful compared to a subpar keyboard.
But often, with prolonged use, you will start to notice some sounds that don’t sound so pleasant. Sounds such as scratching or small springs pinging might make you want to lube your switches so that you get back that amazing sound your keyboard had before.
Lubricating switches is one of the most popular and effective aftermarket improvements carried out by mechanical keyboard enthusiasts: not only can the process improve the sound of your switches, deepening and clearing up those satisfying new mechanical keyboard sounds, but it can also improve their feel, getting rid of any internal scratchiness and enhancing the overall typing experience.
What You Need To Lubricate Switches
To lube your keyboard switches by yourself, you will need a couple of tools that will allow you to be detailed and accurate.
- Switch opener.
- Switch lube.
- Small paint Brush.
- Claw retriever (read more below).
You’ll need a tool to hold your stems, so I have added a claw retriever to the required tools. Of course, you can work without a claw retriever, but using one will help you be more accurate while applying lube.
You will need to follow the steps below to lube your keyboard switches.
Step #1: Removing Switches
If you are building your custom keyboard, you probably will not need to remove switches as you will lube them before placing them on your keyboard. In this case, you can skip this step and move on to the next step.
If you are not building your custom keyboard, you can follow these steps to remove the switches from your keyboard.
- Use your keycap puller to remove the keycaps from your keyboard to expose the switches underneath them.
- Check if your keyboard has soldered switches before pulling them out. If the switches are not soldered, you can easily pull them out. If they are soldered, you will have to de-solder them first.
Step #2: Disassembling Switches
Now that you have removed the switches from your keyboard, you can easily disassemble them to start lubing them. It is important to note that for this step, clear your workspace so that you have a clean area to work in and do not lose any parts.
Before getting into this, please identify if you have a Cherry-styled switch or a Kailh’s-styled one. This is because they both have different clips for taking apart the switch.
Grab your switch opener and start disassembling the switch. If you examine your switches, you will see tabs inserted into the sides of the switch from the top housing to the bottom.
Compared to Cherry-style switches, Kailh’s switches have two large and thick tabs encircling the bottom housing. On the other hand, Cherry-style switches have two tabs on each side of the switch. Therefore, your switch opener should have two inner surfaces, with two tabs pointing upward and the other four for each type.
Line up the switch’s tabs with those on the switch opener and place it, right side up, on the relevant area of the switch. Next, apply pressure to the stem and top housing, forcing the tabs against the switch opener and opening the switch.
To separate the stem, the spring, the top housing, and the bottom housing, just pull off the top of the switch housing. Then, put them in the appropriate locations if your property has a lubing station.
Step #3: Lubing the Springs
Now start with the springs, as these are the least difficult parts to lube. An easy way to lube a spring is too simple to take a small paint brush and then lightly paint a small coat of lube over it. Please make sure you apply lube in very small amounts as it is easier to apply more lube but difficult to remove excess.
Step #4: Lubing the Stem
It’s not difficult to lubricate the stem; you must be cautious while handling the legs. If you have a linear switch, I would advise lubing the legs. You can lubricate a tactile switch’s legs; however, doing so would lessen the tactile bump, making it unwise.
No matter what switch it is, you should lubricate the rails and the cylindrical region where the spring meets the stem. If you want to take things a step further, you may also lubricate the stem’s other outside surface, although this won’t have as big of an impact on how smooth it is.
Step #5: Lubing the Top Housing
After getting done with the internal lubing of the switch, we will now move to the external housings. But first, we will lube the top housing of the switch.
Top housing is not necessary to lube as it does not create much of a significant impact on the experience. However, if you decide to lubricate it, proceed as usual: lightly cover the brush with lube, wipe off any excess, and apply a thin layer of lubricant to the plastic’s surface.
Step #6: Lubing the Bottom Housing
For bottom housing, you will want to start by taking a very small lube on the small paint brush and applying a small amount to the container’s rim. Next, run the brush’s tip along the inside side sliders. Next, swipe the other side across the other slider. Once or twice, brush on each slider until the coating seems even. For the coat to be even, you should not be able to notice it.
Finally, take what’s on your brush and, without dipping it again, swirl it around the remaining plastic of the bottom housing, being careful to stay away from the metal leaf spring. Since it’s not the most important location to lubricate carefully, it’s better to do this often, only once.
Step #7: Reassembling the Switches
It’s time to reassemble the switches as you take them apart. This process is easier and should take no time. First, take the bottom housing, insert the spring, and insert the stem into the spring with the legs pointing toward the leaf spring. Next, reinstall the top housing; the side with the inscription typically covers the leaf spring.
Finally, place the switches back into your keyboard, and your keyboard is ready for use.
Using the steps written above, you can lube your keyboard switches quite easily and experience an enjoyable change in the user experience.