Using hotswap sockets? Before you insert the switches into the hotswap sockets, make sure to straighten the switch pins. You can bend them back with a fingernail or by carefully using tweezers. Try not to bend them many times, bending them back once is sufficient. It’s possible that pins are bent, which can happen at any point between being manufactured and arriving to you.
Installing switches with a case
If you’re building a caseless keyboard, please skip to the next section on this page.
Whether you’re using hotswap sockets or not, make sure the legs of the switches are straight, and bend them back carefully if they’re not. Pushing a switch in with bent legs is likely to damage the switch or hotswap socket.
Using plates with protective foil. Acrylic plates and some other material plates might use protective foil. Acrylic often has one side covered with white or blue foil, and the other side with transparent foil. Make sure to remove it at this point, as it’s hard to remove after installing the switches, especially if you’re soldering them.
If you’re using a low profile case, get the 5mm M2 screws and the 6mm M2 spacers. Get one of the switch plates, and for each mounting hole, put a screw through one side and thread a spacer onto the screw from the other side.
You won’t need to mount the spacers at this point when using a high profile case. You’ll notice the lack of 6mm spacers in your kit, and the lack of appropriate mounting holes in your plate.
Both plates are symmetrical, so make sure to do it the other way around on the other half so you get two unique halves.
Put a switch into two opposing corners of the switch plate, and align the plate with your PCB. Carefully insert the switches into their respective hotswap sockets or solder pads.
If you have a kit without hotswap sockets, solder the switches from the bottom of the PCB. Insert a few switches through the switch plate into the PCB at a time, solder them from the bottom, and repeat until all switch positions are filled.
Make sure that the switch is pressed in all the way before soldering. The plastic of the switch should be touching the PCB.
Installing switches without a case
If you just installed your switches with a case, please continue to the next page.
Not using a case? We recommend using a case to improve the longevity of your keyboard, but if you decide to not use one, here are some tips to install the switches.
Keeping the switches aligned. Without a plate, you’ll want to spend some effort to align the switches, as you’ll easily see any misalignment after installing the keycaps.
To align the switches, solder only one of the switch pins first. Then, after soldering a column of switches, you can heat up the soldered joint and slightly turn the switch into alignment. Solder the second pin after you’re happy with how it looks.
There are tools that can help you align switches in a caseless build, like a switch comb.