In the picture, the A that died a death.
About two years ago I went back to the mechanical keyboard and I bought this mid-range one, but with the pretensions of a high-end keyboard. During this time I’ve put a lot of work into it and it has behaved quite well, I’m one of those who likes a steady pounding.
Curiously, only one key has ended up completely erased, the A key. Others only have small losses of black on the edges and they can still withstand several rounds of blows.
I asked a couple of colleagues at the time and at least two of them have had this letter erased. One of them also on a Drevo keyboard. There must be some explanation. I swear I put as much effort into it as I do into any other. I guess it’s just because A appears in more words than the rest of the letters.
The space bar was an accident. It’s got a little crater in it now. I could tell you it was burnt by the tip of the soldering iron, but I’d be lying. Remember not to smoke or put containers with liquids on the table where you have the computer.
I plunged into the exciting world of “Keycaps“, in its most literal translation “keycaps”. The little plastic thing that fits on the switch. A key, wow.
There are cheap keys and expensive ones. Made of ABS plastic or PBT, metal, wood, imitating brick, resin with figurines inside (even with water and snow), glass and almost any material. Moreover, they are made in a multitude of shapes, mini computers, kittens, pieces of cheese, skulls or game characters.
It’s fascinating. There’s everything. If you can imagine it, you can turn it into a key.
If I ever get my hands on a 3D printer, it will be just to print some crazy design keys that I came up with by looking at other cool and unique handmade proposals I’ve found out there.
But now I was looking for conventional black keys. So I turned to the brand, but the manufacturer doesn’t sell single parts or complete sets of the original keys for any of their models. After rummaging around and finding the ones that looked the least different, I bought 104 black OEM backlit ABS keys for the modest price of 14 euros in that popular Chinese grocery store at the risk of receiving poorly finished parts.
Believe me, they are very cheap, there are handcrafted custom keys (only one piece) that cost much, much more than two kilos of these cheap unbranded ones.
They finally arrived and, as expected, the quality of the packaging matched the price paid. They travelled in a stapled blister pack wrapped with a simple plastic wrap, but without any damage despite having travelled more than 9000 km.
I was surprised by the quality because I wasn’t expecting anything exceptional. I had already made up my mind that they were going to be pretty poor and that, if worse comes to worst, I could always return them and try other ones.
The typeface is slightly smaller and thinner than my keys and some of them have no margin at all on the sides to let them breathe. There are also some weird things like these G’ s printed with a 180º twist.
Otherwise, they are fine and have the same thickness as the ones I use. With the printing on the upper part, where the switches light up, and although some pieces seem a little lower and others wider, this difference is probably not even 0.5 mm, which is not noticeable once they are in place.
Here you can see the size in a little more detail, the new one on the left and the old one on the right.
The new ones don’t have reinforcement crossbars on the small keys, but they do on the larger ones like the space bar, shift, CTRL, ALT, backspace or enter (which comes in two formats).
Once in place, except for the difference in font design and size (which doesn’t cause me any negative emotions), no differences are noticeable. Nor in feel.
This A was fully visible for about a year and a half before it started to wear out, we’ll see how long the new one holds up.
As for the spacer bar, which was a strong candidate for not fitting properly, there has been no problem either, apart from having to tighten it a little more than usual to get it to fit.
Above the old one with the scar left by the cigarette and below the new one.
And this is what the bar looks like, ready to take ten million new hits.
I’ve bought a set of 9 red keys for 3,74€ just to have another spare A. The rest of the keys will wait for their turn.
The rest of the keys will wait for their turn to be beaten up in a bag.
This post does NOT contain any affiliate links or anything similar. Any product or accessory mentioned here has been purchased from places with which I have no links whatsoever.