Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #151

Keyboard projects, quick news, in the mailbox, meetups, new vendors and discount codes!

Published January 19, 2024
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 120K readers.

Hey, what's up everyone!

Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up.

If you are new to, you can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.

I'm listening so some classics these days. If you'd like to join me while you read, here is Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath:

Or a great cover by The Band Geeks – in a slightly more modern fashion.

Posts I thought are worth sharing:

Pic: DaringRun DR-70F, handyman deskmat

DaringRun DR-70F, handyman deskmat

  • After testing the board for a few weeks, here is my DR-70F review. This great 70+5% by DaringRun is very affordable if you consider the anodized alu case, XT-style F column, and the clever two-in-one layout configuration a la TENET70.
  • Milktooth's Kevin is back to help us with December's most popular switches, based on his sales numbers.

Pic: WS Morandis securing the top spot

WS Morandis securing the top spot

Pic: Duet by zzeneg

Duet by zzeneg

  • The wireless unibody Duet is Evgenii Vilkov's latest keyboard project and travel companion, with magnetic connectors between the halves.
  • The unibody Ch55p34 by Alex Miller uses the CH552T MCU, and it runs on FAK firmware.

Pic: Ch55p34


  • Azel's Redpoll, a low-pro unibody keyboard, is made out of plywood.
  • ArchUsr's handwired Egboard is a monoblock split keyboard powered by a Raspberry Pi Pico running Rust.

Pic: Redpoll


Pic: modue


Pic: Haimu Clipper Sea Serpent

Haimu Clipper Sea Serpent

Pic: Haimu Clipper mounted

Haimu Clipper mounted

If used in 1.2mm PCBs they fully clip into the PCB, and are not able to be removed.

If used in 1.6mm PCBs, Clipper Switches will not fully clip into the PCB. This allows for a strong connection while maintaining the ability to use them multiple times – CannonKeys.

Keyboard art

Hanok 75 by Xlyflw – an Akko ACR 75 Pro built into a traditional Korean house model. (Check out the original post for the top view.)

Pic: Hanok 75

Hanok 75

Snowflake macropad by @takashicompany:

Pic: Snowflake macropad

Snowflake macropad


So the DR-70F review is out, and according to the latest info, the limited in-stock run will go live on Jan 23.

Thanks to the DaringRun team and Divinikey's Carl, I've been playing with a sample of this fancy 70+5% for weeks now, and as I wrote in the article, putting it together was a great experience – and a real community effort. ;)


Realizing I probably received my highest-end CNC alu board thus far, without having proper caps, switches, whatever for a photo shoot, was quite embarrassing. I reached out to deskmat vendors for ideas, and received the first mats from (Thanks!) Then I hastily looked for nearby sources (EU) of matching keycaps and enough switches, and Matteo (Coffeekeys) came to the rescue, offering me a generous discount. Also, Italy seemed to be near enough for a quick delivery.

I received the parcel in time for the photo shoot, only to learn that I totally forgot about stabs. Ugh. Five years of rocking all-1u splits… The stabs arrived too late, so all the photos in the review are stabless builds. :D Now this is some real behind-the-scenes stuff for ya!


So this was my Diderot moment, even with some freebies and discounts I ended up spending more on pimping up this build and the photos than I've spent for keyboard stuff in the previous two years combined.

Btw, I'm determined to work on my photography skills, so read a lot about this topic and will invest in proper gear. (More expenses.) I was into sports photography more than a decade ago, but product shots require a different setup.


I know this sounds ridiculous, but:

Help me to raise some money to be able to pay the VAT and custom fees for "free" stuff! :D

I'm only half kidding. I pay 27% of the value of "gifts" as VAT, plus various customs and handling fees.

  • No new donor this time. Thank God, I have recurring donors.
  • As always, I'm grateful to everyone who helped this project thus far, especially to regular supporters.

For all the donation options check out the donation page!

In the mailbox

Too many parcels to list everything properly. I'll leave some stuff for next week.

I mean, this is not really an explosion in offers or orders, but some belated shipments, one of them arranged in last October(!). ;)

That said, this is indeed my Diderot moment – in the first two weeks of January I spent more on keyboard stuff than in the previous two years combined. Luckily, I'm very aware of the perils of this death spiral, so decided not to order any more stuff in the foreseeable future. (And five minutes later I ask zzeneg how much his spare Duet would cost. :D)

Kinetic Labs switch testers

Available from next week, Kinetic Labs is going to offer some nice switch testers: thick cast acrylic plates populated by the store's top seller switches. I know nothing about the pricing and switch selection, but the transparent testers are really nice. No sharp edges, nice smooth little guys with some community favorite switches.

Pic: Kinetic Labs switch testers + purple-blue Yosemite deskmat

Kinetic Labs switch testers + purple-blue Yosemite deskmat

What I got: Morandi, Oil King, Salmon tactile, Baby Kangaroo, Hippo linear, Gateron Milky Yellow Pro, Quinn, Mini i tactile, Beer, Chosfox Voxager, Arctic Fox, Hanami Dango, Kinetic Labs Gecko silent linear, Husky, WS Heavy tactile, KTT Rose, etc. I have yet to identify some. All in all, a great selection to get you started.

So many thanks to Kinetic Labs who multiplied my switch collection in an instant. :D I mean, I had to strain my brain to recollect the exact number of the handful of switches I've bought in my first years in the hobby, but I'm pretty sure I used less than 10 different types. I'd say 8.

First impressions? I have yet to develop the senses to differentiate between all the great linears and awesome tactiles, so I can only recognize the extremities and outliers – sound and tactility wise. E.g. I had to stop at the Gecko silent linears, these are other-worldly. A muggle co-worker stopped by to try the switches, and he too declared these Gecko silents the winner. Given he is not into the hobby at all and knows nothing about switches, this is what I call a real blind test.

Yep, and there was a cool deskmat in the package as well: a purple-blue Yosemite. My photos doesn't do any justice to the fantastic colors: they are really vibrant! Will try to capture the real effect in upcoming reviews, like the Weikav Record I'm working on.

Weikav Record Alice

I'm playing with a Weikav Record Alice these days, offered by MechKeys.


This is my very first Alice style board, I haven't felt it necessary to try such layouts after "real" monoblock splits. But I could easily get used to not just the layout but also the luxury of the heavy CNC alu case. The pretty unique leaf-spring mount structure is just the icing on the cake. Review soon.

Pic: Leaf-spring mounting of the Weikav Record Alice

Leaf-spring mounting of the Weikav Record Alice


I also received a Kemove K98 and a deskmat from SageCrowDesign. More on these next week. On the way: Ergohaven HPD replacement and Velvet, plus a Luminkey80.

Meetup database

Some upcoming and recently added events in the meetup database:

Upcoming meetups (2):


As always, this meetup database is both a calendar and an archive so feel free to send me upcoming events or even ones from the recent past to make this collection as comprehensive as possible.

Vendors & Discounts

New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:

  • Luminkey (China) added. A studio with a set of nice CNC alu boards, most recently the TKL Luminkey80 with some stylish metal inserts.
  • Pssst. (Czechia) soft launch. New products, info, photos are still being added, but feel free to check out Peter's site.
  • Mecha Malaysia added.
  • Null Design Co added, Sarah makes admirable wooden cases.



  • One step closer to setting up my own minimal map tile service to bring back maps (meetups/shops/vendor map pages).


That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!

Until next time,

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Published on Fri 19th Jan 2024. Featured in KBD #151.


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