Building the Perfect Custom Keyboard
Naoto Takai, Recompile Keys
• I have been a Rubyist since 1999
and presented at RubyKaigi in
2008 and 2009.
• In 2018, I built my
keyboard, and since 2019, I've
been an enthusiast and
designer of custom keyboards.
Recompile Keys Nomu30 / GMK White on Black
Recompile Keys Choco60 / GMK White on Black
Recompile Keys MIO esdf / GMK White on Black
What's a custom keyboard?
• A custom keyboard is a customized mechanical keyboard that
is built or modi
ed according to an individual's preferences
• You have the
exibility to choose various aspects of the
keyboard such as the key layout, case color, key switches,
keycaps, and more.
Thesiscamper Kira80 / GMK 9009
Zekk Works Ogre / GMK 8008
erences from DIY Keyboard
• The DIY keyboard can be seen as part of the Maker Movement.
• They share the same technology, but in di
• The Ruby community organized a DIY keyboard assembly
event in Matsue in 2017.
ne your perfect custom keyboard
• The perfect keyboard can be de
ned as a keyboard that can
be assembled exactly as you would like it to be.
• What's your preference?
• You may never know your preferences from the beginning.
• Attend community events and try out di
• Buddhist enlightenment is experiential and cannot be taught;
it is like discerning water temperature through drinking, where
it's a direct and personal experience that cannot be shared
Area of sector =
10 × 10 × 3.14 ÷ 4 = 78.5
Area of a right triangle =
10 × 10 ÷ 2 = 50
Area of the gray region =
(78.5 - 50) × 2 = 57
• Today's goal is to draw an auxiliary line to build the perfect
• Appearance / Aromas / Flavors / Mouthfeel / Finish
• Nose / Taste / Finish
• Custom Keyboard
• Appearance / Typing feel / Typing sounds
• Functionality is seldom considered as an evaluation criterion.
• Include both visual and industrial design in the evaluation of
• The quality of visual design is determined by the materials,
shapes, and build quality.
• In industrial design, the arrangement of functional elements
determines the overall design.
• Typing feel is emphasized through the balance of
• Flex has recently become popular in the keyboard
ngertips of both hands have the highest concentration of
sensory receptors, making them the most sensitive part of the
• The quality of the typing sound largely depends on how well
excess echo and friction noise is minimized, thus achieving a
• The words "thock" and "clack" are onomatopoeic terms used
to describe the sound of a keystroke.
• "Thock" refers to a deep and muted sound, while "clack"
describes a sharper and louder sound.
Custom keyboard structure
• In order to satisfy appearance, typing feel, and typing sounds,
it has become common for modern custom keyboards to
consist of the following components:
• Key caps, top case, switches, stabilizers, plate, PCB, form,
bottom case, and weight.
“Typical” custom keyboard
• PBT keycaps, aluminum case, Durock/JWK linear switches,
Durock stabilizers, PC plate, gasket mount, PORON form, brass
• This is a good con
guration for a
ex keyboard that produces
THOCK sound, but…
The impact of COVID-19
• During the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that there has been a
decrease in the diversity of keyboard con
• In-person keyboard events have decreased.
• Working remotely led to an increase in demand for keyboard.
• The German lockdown disrupted GMK's schedule.
• Semiconductor shortages impacting the supply chain.
• I anticipate another period of evolution for custom keyboards.
• Pursuit of a more e
cient and unique keyboard structure.
• More budget custom keyboards through mass production.
• Factory-lube switches go mainstream.
• The decline of GMK and the popularity of PBT keycaps
produced by vendors.
• Switching from ATmega32U4 to RP2040.
Now is the perfect time to start exploring
the world of custom keyboards.