Notes on building mechanical keyboards

The keyboard in the picture is my Planck EZ. I explored about building keyboards (and will hopefully do this someday).

~ This is a rabbit hole ~

Places that sell stuff

Notes for custom builds

Case & PCBs

  • Check if the PCB has LEDs or if it atleast supports it. SMB LEDs are the kinds of LEDs that I’ve come across so far - flat and can be soldered to PCB.
  • Get a Tofu65 case with a KBD67 PCB.

Key switches

  • Gateron can be better than Cherry MX.
  • Browns are better for me.
  • Checkout low-profile switches (comes in both optical and mechanical variants).
  • Sometime tryout Holy Panda or Glorious Panda switches.


  • Keycaps come in various sizes. 1u and 2u are common. Check size before buying.
  • Check if the keycaps work with the key switch being used.


  • Use an Elite-C controller which is a clone of SparkFun Pro Micro, but with a USB-C instead of micro-USB. Pro Micro is cheaper but the usb port has a reputation of getting ripped off the board.
  • QMK firmware supports a number of keyboards
  • QMK supports Atmel and AVR ICs. Infact the Pro Micro is an Arduino clone. Maybe I can use one of the Arduino boards? (QMK seems to support ATMEGA328up)
  • What if I used my own controller?
    • There is a possibility of using a Teensy microcontroller. But again it’s micro-USB.
    • SeeedStudio Xiao is cute (like a Tomu with pin-outs). But the cortex-based chip used by the Xiao is not supported by QMK.


  • Check if case and keycaps are being sold with the kits. Else have to buy them.

Other people’s notes on making keyboards