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Mechanical Keyboards

Discussion in 'Pete's Computer Corner' started by pete, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Well, two things: Apple doesn't have double shot keys on any of their products (well, maybe on the original Mac 128K and others that used the original Mac keyoard). Also, a double shot wouldn't wear down to a smudge. One of the pics I linked to has a great cross-section of double shot keys, where you can see that if it wears down, you'd still have the same key cap. Doesn't matter if you grind it down with sandpaper.

    ABS keys do wear down. They'll wear down slower if they're laser engraved, but they'll wear down.
  2. Jack Welch can't type, either. He's admitted it.
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Makes delicious juice drinks, tho.

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    It was on a "original" keyboard, so perhaps that is why.

    My skin oil/persperation/whatever my body exudes is hell on just about everything that I touch. The copper allergy is brutal when you consider that I dealt with saxophones and clarinets with at least a trace amount of copper, even in the silver plating. I clouded up nickel-plated keywork within a month of purchase, and while not as hard on lacquered instruments, it still chews things up pretty well.

    I deal with it by washing up on an almost compulsive basis, like someone with the hand washing neurosis, or whatever it's called. If I clean them before, in the middle of, and immediately after a performance or rehearsal, the horns stay as clean as anyone else's, and I only have minimal effect on my skin. But, wait until rehearsal is done, and it's time to clean the horn in a week or so.

    Speaking of skin problems, has anyone ever developed any reaction to grenadilla clarinet bodies? I've been told by one of our medical consultants with OSHA that grenadilla wood, in common with a number of other "heavy", dense and oily woods from Africa, is a carcinogen (or perhaps, a suspect carcinogen).

    I love the smell of the stuff, but I used to worry (back when I played clarinets) about the appearance of the skin in the callus on the top of my right thumb. It never developed into anything (I had a biopsy taken when it looked the most menacing).

    Thus far, I don't seem to be having any problems with the plastic body of the wind synth. But, the damn'd thing is as slippery as an eel in my hands; I may have to start using a neck strap.
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Does this mean that if I get cancer, I can sue Selmer, Buffet, Leblanc, SML, and Yamaha? They're the folks that made all the wooden clarinets I've played. Can we start a class action suit?

    I don't know the exact composition of the platings, but do you have problems with either gold plated instruments/keywork and/or metal clarinets? Sterling silver? I do know that all those contain traces of other stuff, but it might be something to check. Maybe a clear lacquer over the finish, too. Gloves?

    > Thus far, I don't seem to be having any problems with the plastic body of the wind synth. But, the damn'd thing is as slippery as an eel in my hands
    Yah. I'd think if your touch can break down the plastic on a computer keyboard, I'd definitely make sure you clean off the wind synth. There's probably a recommended way of cleaning it in the manual. Hopefully it isn't "deionized water." That was in one of the computer monitor manuals I read. I haven't a clue where to get such a thing. (Generally it's warm water and mild detergent.)

    > like someone with the hand washing neurosis, or whatever it's called
    Well, we could go the Shakespeare route or just say "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder." Of course, if that answer was on the tip of your tongue and it was driving you a bit insane because you couldn't think of the term, that could be a touch of OCD in and of itself.

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    There's enough copper in most silver alloys to cause problems, but not so much as is found in a penny or other US coin. The nickel or silver plate on an instrument would (after a thorough, initial cleaning) "fog" where the fingers made contact after a couple of uses, but nowhere else. A good wipe-down after use with a microfiber cloth prevents that from happening.

    As for the coin of the realm, I've moved to a "strong box", a plastic coin box kept each of in our cars so that I dump as much of the stuff out of my custody as I can after making a purchase. I hand it off to my lovely wife, and she drops it in the box, while I wash up.

    It was bad enough to cause problems with the wedding ring from my first marriage. It tested out as 20 carat gold, but there was still enough of the dreaded verdigris causing stuff in it to provoke a nice crusty infection under same. It's been in the vault ever since.

    (Other metals, like cadmium (common as plating on hardware), iron and steel, and so on are inert when it comes to my skin. And, pure gold or pure silver, both rare and hard to find, are immune to the effects, and don't cause any problems when in contact with the skin. Unfortunately, having quantities of pure gold in contact with my skin is a very rare condition...)

    Over the span of years, a variety of solutions has been tried. My industrial hygienists (I've supervised about ten over the years) have all taken an interest in the problem, and every time a new industrial barrier cream would hit the market, would deluge me with samples obtained from people in the industry to see if they would work to alleviate same. The ones that would were too greasy to use when holding something like a horn, while the non-intrusive ones didn't offer enough protection to use.

    However, once attuned to the problem, cleaning off horns has been enough to deal with that end of it. It's what it does to my fingers (if not cleaned) that is the real problem.

    With the plastics, I only have effect on coatings (like paint), although I do wipe things down (like my friend's loaned EWI) after using them as a precaution. And, the silicone covers for the keyboard act as a sacrificial barrier that's both washable, and cheap enough to toss and replace once the "key caps" on them abrade/"corrode" away.

    Paint poses its own problems. We bought a used house early in our marriage, one where they had painted all of the switch touch pieces to match the interior. After a month, all of the switches that I had cause to use on a regular basis had the paint blistering and coming loose, while the ones that I didn't use (like the one for the lights on my wife's side of the bathroom mirror) didn't. Something in the paint, I guess.

    But, in the case of the old, solid key caps, it was the possession of my new, un-gnawed fingernails that was the problems. Prior to the acquisition, no wear to the keyboard; after they grew out, the keys that I regularly hit with the first and third fingers started wearing through. Again, a keyboard cover was the solution.
  7. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I needed to leave feedback for the store I bought that Logitech G710+ from. I found out that the ad's still open, so they have a bunch of these keyboards still available. They're factory refurbs, $88.78, free shipping, and ship worldwide. On Amazon, they're $118, new, and $92 refurb. So, if you want a really nice mechanical keyboard from a good seller -- based on my experience -- there ya go!
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    This has blown up. Like, a lot. And I'm trying exceptionally hard not to spend too much cash on these.

    https://www.massdrop.com/mechanical-keyboards (registration required, or sign in with Facebook or Google)

    So, my original post in this thread was about 3 years ago. Since then, everybody and their brother now produce mechanical keyboards. That's great news for buyers. More competition means lower prices. My setup, though ...

    I'm pretty sure I mentioned I installed PBT keycaps on my Corsair K70. The letters on the keycaps don't wear down, but they do become "shiny." I'm not a touch typist, I can't adjust the light, and "shiny" makes the letters hard to read. This means I have to buy new keycaps every few years. That's not terrible. And that means I get to buy one of those beautiful keycap sets:


    ... Which was something like $57. However, because I'm cheap, I bought another set of Rosewill keycaps for something like $10. I have to wear through those, first. They're bright yellow.

    My Logitech G710+ has not fared as well. The USB cable, which isn't removable, has cracked pretty badly where it meets the case and I also needed to replace the keycaps. Put both of those together, and buy a new keyboard! I wanted to get one that had a USB cable I could replace -- I've probably got 100 of the cables lying around -- and I've really settled on Cherry MX red or brown. So, I bought one of these: the CoolerMaster QuickFire TK. I was able to find an open box special about 25% off at an online store I've used for years. I opened the box and three keys were stuck. Not a good sign. I used it for about a day. Those three keys kept sticking. I returned it. I had to pay for shipping, which didn't make this a very good deal.

    So. I did ask for a replacement. If it comes and works, I'll be happy. If it doesn't and I get store credit, I can live with it. However, considering there's so much overlap between online stores now, I think I'll only get stuff through Amazon or Monoprice. You don't like the product or it's broken out-of-box? Return it for free.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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