Here's my heavily modified Rosewill RK-9000RE.
I snagged it for cheap off of Reddit's /r/hardwareswap and went to town on it.
Before the mod started:
The plate after I desoldered all the switches:
The finished product:
Story behind it:
About a month and a half ago, I picked up an RK-9000 for cheap in /r/hardwareswap since it was having some issues. Fortunately, I found out that the issues were just a simple problem with the land on the PCB for the backspace key and fixed it with some 26 gauge wire when I resoldered the keyboard back together.
Here's what I did to it:
- Painted the shell and put a couple of coats of clear PlastiDip on it
- Painted the switch plate
- Swapped the switches for MX Clears
- Swapped the springs for 62g and 65g Korean springs
- Stickered the switches
The painting was a pretty easy affair. With the shell I just gave it a rough sand, primed it with Montana Gold Plastic Primer, painted it with Montana Gold Shock Pure White, clear coated it with some Rusto, and did a couple of coats of clear Plastidip. I rushed it a little and didn't get it as good as I could have, but it doesn't look bad.
The plate was a PITA to prep. I didn't realize it was powder coated and spent forever sanding it down. After sanding, I primed it with some self-etching primer, sprayed it with the same Montana Gold, and sealed it with some Rusto. In retrospect, I should have used a solvent to strip the powder coat and gone to my kind of nearby hacker space and powder coated it instead of painting it, but what's done is done. I'm also lamenting that I didn't think to dremel the plate until after I soldered it all back together. A little time with a dremel, and I could have made it easy to swap the stems and springs whenever I felt like it.
The switch work took forever. I bought a bunch of used MX Clears off of Taobao for dirt cheap, tested them all, then got started with the time intensive and finger hurting part. To pop the tops off the switch, I used a binder clip and, when necessary, a flathead screwdriver. I then switched the bottom half of the housing with the Reds that the keyboard had used before so I didn't have to cut 200+ supports and remove 100+ diodes. Following that, I added a sticker to the lower half of the housing. Stickers seem kind of gimmicky to me, but I figured I might as well try them and see if they actually do anything. Then I lubed the base, swapped in the springs, lubed the stem, and closed it up. The longest part of all of this was actually waiting for the springs since Sherryton is hard as hell to actually do business with.
Then came the quick and easy part, soldering. In all, the soldering of the board took less than an hour, even with the work around on two lands. I put it all back together, tested it, and found it all to work. In fact, I'm typing this on my new keyboard right now.
So, was it worth it? I'm not sure, but probably, especially since I spent under $100 on the whole thing. The project was a lot of fun to do, even if it did hurt my back, but the switch is still taking some getting used too. I love how the switch is far more tactile than Browns, but at the same time, it's almost too tactile. Part of me wishes that Cherry introduced a switch that was in between a Clear and Brown in tactility and in actuation force. If they ever did that, I'd be all over it in a heartbeat. Also, in retrospect, I wish that I had done 65g springs on all the switches. 62g is okay, but the 65g switches feel pretty much perfect.
Future plans are to add a blank PBT key set
. I'm leaning toward blue or red, but the funds just aren't there for it right now.
I should also add I was planning on swapping the LEDs to UV or pink (fuschia), but the blue LEDs just look awesome. I may do it in the future when I get the new cap set.