Among keyboard enthusiasts, it’s widely acknowledged that lubing your mechanical keyboard switches can dramatically boost your typing experience. If you identify as one of these enthusiasts, you’ve likely grappled with a common dilemma – how to lube switches without the nuisance of desoldering? Let me assure you, it’s not as formidable as it may seem. Two primary methods, namely the push-stem-lube method and the spray lube method, have surfaced to spare you the bother of desoldering.
The Push-Stem-Lube Method: Precision and Less Mess
Picture this: you’ve decided to lube your switches and you’re bracing yourself for an arduous task. You lay out your soldering tools, thinking, “There’s got to be a better way”. Well, it’s time for you to meet the push-stem-lube method, your keyboard’s new best friend.
In the push-stem method, you slide a thin piece of plastic (like a feeler gauge) coated with lubricant between the switch stem and housing. The goal here is to get the lubricant to coat the sides of the stem and mitigate friction with the housing. Intriguing, isn’t it?
Why do typing connoisseurs prefer this method? It strikes a perfect balance between effectiveness and cleanliness, diminishing the likelihood of accidental mess while still delivering improved acoustics and a smoother switch actuation. Learn more about the process of lubing keyboard switches and the impact on your switches in this enlightening guide.
Spray Lube Method: Quick but Potentially Messy
But what if time isn’t on your side, and you need a quick fix? Enter the spray lube method. This technique involves disassembling the keyboard, spraying lubricant onto the switches, and then cleaning up any mess with rubbing alcohol. While quicker, this method does require a steady hand and careful cleaning afterwards to ensure the best results.
The key ingredient here is your lubricant of choice. One highly recommended option is the TriboSys™ KSL. This product provides unmatched lubricity and pinpoint application in a spray format, making it an excellent choice for this method. Just remember, after the application, you need to clean off excess oil with cotton swabs or buds to prevent dust from getting trapped.
How to Lube Switches Without Desoldering: Additional Tips and Tricks
So, you’ve opted to take the push-stem or spray route, and you’re eager to plunge in. Before you proceed, here are some additional tips to ensure a successful lubing journey.
Firstly, use an Ultimate Keycaps Puller made of aluminum. It’s a step up from plastic as it leaves no scratches on your precious keycaps. Secondly, instead of toothpicks, why not clean your switches with an electric toothbrush? It’s an innovative and effective alternative.
Also, don’t forget to drop oil into the gaps between switches and press them repeatedly. This simple action can help distribute the lube evenly, enhancing the overall effect of your lubing effort.
Choosing the Right Lubricant: A Key to Better Typing
Every keyboard enthusiast knows that not all lubricants are created equal. The difference between a delightful typing experience and a dreadful one can often hinge on your choice of lube. So, let’s break down the world of keyboard lubricants and see which one might be your perfect match.
In the realm of keyboard lubing, viscosity is king. For the push-stem-lube method, you’ll want a lubricant that can hold onto the plastic piece and ensure a consistent spread. A higher viscosity lube, such as a Krytox GPL 205 Grade 0, might be your best bet here. It stays in place and offers a smooth, buttery feel to your switches.
If you’re going down the spray lube route, consider something like the TriboSys™ KSL we mentioned earlier. This medium-viscosity lube provides excellent smoothness and is specially designed for easy application in a spray format.
Keep in mind the compatibility with different switch materials. Lubricants like Krytox and TriboSys are safe for use with plastics, including the POM and ABS typically used in switches. Also, consider the long-term stability. Both these lubricants are known for their durability and don’t degrade or gum up over time.
Personal preference also comes into play here. Some of you might prefer a more tactile feel, while others might want to glide over the keys like a hot knife through butter. Experiment with different lubricants to find the one that caters to your typing style.
Whether it’s Krytox, TriboSys, or another brand, you can find high-quality lubricants at most reputable keyboard shops, both online and in physical stores. For a more in-depth exploration, check out this guide on the best keyboard switches and their corresponding lubes.
Proper Disassembly and Reassembly: Handle with Care
When it comes to using the spray lube method, disassembling your keyboard can feel like stepping into a minefield. Fret not; with careful instructions and a little patience, it’s something even a novice can master.
Start by removing the keycaps. Use an aluminum keycap puller to gently lift each keycap off its switch. It’s wise to snap a photo of your keyboard layout beforehand to assist in reassembly.
Next, it’s time to dismantle your keyboard. Most keyboards are secured by screws, some of which can be concealed under keycaps or even stickers. Keep track of these screws – a magnetic bowl can be an invaluable tool here.
Once you’ve removed the screws, you should be able to lift the top plate and access the switches. Be careful not to pull too hard and risk damaging the delicate components. If the top plate is resisting, double-check for any missed screws or clips.
Now that your keyboard is disassembled, it’s time to apply the spray lube. Follow the previous instructions for application and cleanup.
When you’re done, reassembly is just the disassembly process in reverse. Place the top plate back on, reinsert the screws, and then reattach the keycaps according to your photo. Congratulations, you’ve successfully lubed your keyboard without desoldering!
Remember, disassembly and reassembly require patience and care, but don’t let that deter you. Embrace the process as part of the journey to a better typing experience. And as always, enjoy the adventure in the world of mechanical keyboards!
The Joy of Lubed Switches
Whether you’re a seasoned keyboard enthusiast or a newbie, lubing your switches without desoldering can bring about a transformative change in your typing experience. Improved acoustics, smoother switch actuation, and reduced tactile bump for tactile switches – the benefits are too many to count.
Why not give it a shot? It’s not just about boosting your keyboard’s performance, but also about unearthing the joy of personalizing your device and connecting more intimately with the world of mechanical keyboards. And remember, in the world of keyboards, there’s always room for you, regardless of your skill level or experience. So, go ahead and tap into the full potential of your typing journey.