How to Choose the Perfect Custom Keyboard Case for Your Build
Building a custom mechanical keyboard is all about choices. You can choose if you want to use linear or tactile switches, what specific switch you want to try, special custom cables, and custom keycap sets that will make your build come together.
At the same time, you need to realize that every project needs to start with a solid foundation, and in the case of custom mechanical keyboards buying a proper keyboard case is the initial step.
The case is like a house while all the other components are like its furniture. Depending on the house, the furniture might look ugly or out of place. The same concept applies to mechanical keyboards with crappy cases that ruin the build.
Why Get a Good Keyboard Case?
The type of keyboard case you will buy for your build will define that custom build in many ways. First of all, the quality of your overall build will depend on the quality of your keyboard case.
If you buy a cheap plastic keyboard case that creaks and bends no matter how good your switches or components are, the build will feel off.
Building in a cheap keyboard case also usually comes with its troubles since there might be a screw missing, or some alignment being off effectively making it hard for you to complete your build.
Second of all, it will also set the foundation for the aesthetic you are going with your custom keyboard build. If your keyboard case does not match the keycap set or the cable you purchased your project will look more like a papier-mâché than an organized and well-thought-out build.
Finally, the case and the material you chose will define the size of your keyboard (60%, 65%, 80%, etc) and also the sound profile of your switches. The same switch, lubed or unlubed will sound completely different depending on the type of case you chose to use.
You get the point. Building a house requires a strong foundation, and for a keyboard that foundation is its case.
Types of Custom Keyboard Cases
As mentioned previously the types of cases depend on their physical size and materials used in their construction. The size of the case only matters because you need an appropriately sized PCB that will fit it.
The more important aspect of custom keyboards is the materials used in their production. The most common keyboard cases are made out of plastic, aluminum, acrylic, and wood. The materials used will determine the price of the case and will influence the way your switches sound and feel in the case.
For example, it is widely known that using an aluminum case will result in your switches reverberating more and having a bit of a “ting” noise during actuation. This can be solved by using foam or simply purchasing a case made from different materials.
The cheapest and most popular keyboard cases are made out of plastic and aluminum since these can be easily mass-produced.
Image Source: KBDFans
By comparison, acrylic cases can be a bit more costly since the material is transparent and can enhance the RGB properties of your board.
Image Source: KBDFans
The most expensive keyboard cases will be made out of wood or other exotic materials (resin) since these require custom work to be done. The type of wood, its hardness, the amount of work necessary and other factors will greatly inflate the price of a wooden case.
Image Source: KBDFans
These cases will also be harder to find since the material is harder to work with.
The basic process of choosing should be something like this: if you want the cheapest option, choose a plastic case. If you want extra structural rigidity and don’t mind extra weight, purchase an aluminum case.
If you want extra lights and more RGB then you should aim for an acrylic case. Finally, if you aim for a more distinguished classy look, choosing a wooden case might be the play for you.
Where Can You Purchase Custom Keyboard Cases?
If you decided on what type of case material you would want and the size of the keyboard/PCB you are going for then it’s time to purchase your item.
If you do not care about how long you will be waiting for your keyboard case and are not in a rush you can also use AliExpress and Banggood to purchase custom keyboard cases. The prices will be lower but the quality control might be worse.
Do your research properly before buying your keyboard case so you do not regret your choice later!
P.S An aluminum keyboard case also works great as a self-defense weapon (it is heavy and sharp)!
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