To enter the world of mechanical keyboards, you’ll have to lube your switches. Do you want to improve your keyboard to a whole new level? You’d better bust out the lube if that’s the case. Let’s get to it.
Why lubricate your switches?
- Better acoustics
- Smoother movement
- Fewer rattles
- Less scratchy
- Reduction in tactile bumps
- Therapeutic & Fun
Although lubricating your switches is a time-consuming process, it has many benefits for your keyboard. The best-sounding, smoothest feel and high-quality board can be obtained by lubricating your switches.
What tools are required?
Six tools are needed to do the job effectively. Here are the tools we need.
· The lubricant
Finding the suitable lubricant can be challenging. Switches can be classified as tactile, linear, or click buttons. Depending on the type of switch, the oil will be different.
· Mini Brush
Applied precisely the lube on the switches will require a small brush. We recommend using a paintbrush (affiliate) sized #2 or 5mm to apply the lubricant.
· Flathead screwdriver or switch opener
You’ll have to open the switches before you can lube them. Getting a switch opener is the easiest way, but you can also use a flathead screwdriver if you have one lying around.
· A soldering tool or switch puller
You will have to de-solder / solder your switches from the PCB before you can remove them and attach them to your keyboard. You may wish to consider hot-swappable keyboards for easier switch removal because no soldering is required. Just a switch puller is needed.
· Tapping tools
Picking up small components with tweezers will help you stay clean and avoid getting grease all over your hands.
· Maintain a stain-free workspace
If you want to lube the switches without causing a big mess, you need a small workstation. To keep everything from getting greasy, I lay some newspaper or paper towels on my desk.
Components of a switch
Four different components make up a switch: a stem, a spring, a bottom housing, and top housing.
How to lube your switches?
Read more: Each and Everything We Should Need to Know about Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard
Keeping mechanical keyboard switches lubricated is easy with these nine steps.
1. Unplug your keyboard and remove the switches
The switches on your keyboard will need to be removed unless you ordered them in a separate bag. The keys need to be taken off your keyboard, and you’ll need to pull apart the keyboard to remove the switches. It can be a bit difficult to accomplish, so be careful. Make sure your keyboard is turned off before beginning.
Taking off the keycaps and removing the switches with a switch puller is all that’s needed for a hot-swappable keyboard. Hot-swappable keyboards allow you to save time by eliminating controls quickly.
2. Disassemble the switch
The keyboard switch has been removed, so it’s time to pull it apart. Using a switch puller is the simplest way to do this. A standard screwdriver will work fine.
You need to loosen the clips attached to the upper housing and lower housing so that you can work your way around the switch. Once you’ve mastered this technique, it can be a reasonably simple task. Keeping the button from snapping back together once you have loosened one of the clips is the most challenging step. Using your fingernail, poke your finger between the upper and lower housing once the clip has been reduced.
3. Spray Lower Housing with Lube
During lubrication of the lower housing, you need to be a little careful. The metal leaf should be avoided if possible so that it won’t get damaged. The inside floor of the switch, the stem rails, inside/outside the cylinder, and the stem rails should all be lubricated.
4. Lubricate the spring with grease
Lubricating the spring can be done in two ways:
- By brushing lube on the entire spring. This is best for your first time.
- Remove all springs from the switches, then lubricate them all in one bag. Perfect for large lubricating numbers of springs at once.
You can set the spring on the lower housing once you have finished lubricating the spring, stem, and upper housing. Using this method will prevent your workstation from becoming messy and greasy.
5. Lubricate the stem
Getting the stem lubed is relatively simple, but the legs need to be handled carefully. Lubricating the legs is only recommended if you have a linear switch. Lubrication will reduce the tactile bump from a tactile switch, so it is not recommended. It is essential to lubricate the spring area and the rail regardless of the type of switch. Adding lube to different parts of the stem does not significantly increase smoothness, but it does improve how well the surface is glued together.
6. Lubricate the upper housing
It’s straightforward to lubricate the upper housing. The sections of the stem where the rails come into contact with the housing can be lubricated. The rest of the housing doesn’t need to be lubricated.
7. Reassemble the switch
You have now lubricated everything! It’s time to assemble everything again. The metal leaf needs to be handled with extreme care. Snap the switch back together after lining everything up again. To test the switch, make sure that it works correctly and that it feels smooth. If the controller does not work, disassemble it again and assemble it again.
8. Install keyboard switches
You can now reinstall your keyboard switches after lubricating them. Hot-swap keyboards should slot right into the sockets, so you have to press them in. They will need to be re-soldered to the PCB if they are not.
9. Turn on the computer and test the keyboard!
Connect the keyboard back up, test the switches, and then put the whole thing back together. Please don’t put the keyboard back together until you’ve tried it. There’s nothing worse than assembling the keyboard only to have to take apart the case and remove the keycaps later.
There are many reasons why a key won’t work, including incorrectly soldered switches or incorrectly inserted keys. A damaged metal leaf might be the cause of the problem, in which case you will need to replace the switch.
It is a great idea to add a little bit of lube to your keyboard switches to make them stand out. This article covered the equipment and steps we recommend to lubricate your controls properly and improve their sound and feel. Everybody should lube their switches if they have the time and capability to do so. The improvement is noticeable, and you won’t want to go back to not lubing your switches.