Hako Trues.

Going back a few months (quite a few at this point) I managed to spill beer all over one of the nicer keyboard that I’ve got, a Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro S. As a result of this, some of the switches gummed up and the board became horrible to use, ultimately this event can probably be blamed for the influx of keyboards ever since.

All lit up! You can see some of the damaged MX Browns that the Hako Trues replaced by the USB Cord.
All lit up! You can see some of the damaged MX Browns that the Hako Trues replaced by the USB Cord.

The Hako Trues are a box style, tactile switch manufactured by  Kaihua that have been designed to feel similar to 55g topre domes with the tactile bump being more subtle when compared to basically every other switch I’ve ever used. Personally, I can’t feel any tactility what so ever unless pressing the switch down very slowly. I’m hardly the lightest typist out there and, despite these switches discouraging you from bottoming out, I’ll almost always end up slamming down on the keys with almost every key stroke. Personally I feel that this is one of the reasons why I can’t feel the bump when pressing down so I’ve been trying to bottom out less while typing or gaming.

Close up with one of the Hako Trues. Sorry for the dirt under the keycaps...
Close up with one of the Hako Trues. Sorry for the dirt under the keycaps…

I have noticed a slight improvement when being careful to not bottom out but being the heavy handed brute that I am does mean that I’ve got to really focus on typing and as a result, my typing speed drops by quite a bit. I know that over time I’d be able to build this speed back up and I am working on doing so, but the change is rather weird at first. All in all I’m happy with the end result as it’s given me back one of my personal favourite keyboards in my small collection. At some point in the future I’ll post an update to this with my thought after a substantial amount of time has passed. As I’ve not had the change to compare the Hako Trues directly to a 55g Topre keyboard I’ll never know how well these switches work as imitation Topre until I do get something with 55g domes.

In the future I do plan on getting a Happy Hacking Keyboard 2 and once I have one, I’ll definitely be comparing the Topre Domes to the Hako Trues.

The Black 30

So after about an hour and a half I finished building my Gherkin kit. For those of you who don’t know, a Gherkin kit is a 30/35% Ortholinear kit that you can use to build your own keyboard.

When I first posted about getting hold of a kit I also mentioned that I’d make a guide for building said kit as I was unable to find a perfect guide on building a Gherkin, however while I was building said keyboard I didn’t take as many pictures as I’d have liked and don’t have the resources to make a tutorial that flows well. The video I used as a rough guide was an archived live stream from the channel The Board Podcast. On the same channel I used a guide for flashing the Pro-Micro that is installed with the Gherkin to actually turn it into a usable keyboard.

If anyone gets there hands on one of these kits and would like some help feel free to get in touch and I’ll do my best to help out. Below I’ll add the rest of the pictures from while I was building.

PCB with the diodes soldered on.
Pro Micro posts added to the back of the board, ready to add the pro micro later on.
Added the 4 corner switches to mount the top plate.
All the switches added to the board and soldered in. Once the switches are attached you can then solder the Pro Micro on the bottom.
The finished build on my desk next to Hello Kitty.

 

Black Gherkin

So there is a mechanical keyboard kit out there called a Gherkin. This is a 30/35% keyboard that is nothing but the standard QWERTY layout with 4 keys extra. I’m going to be building one (once my kit arrives) and as I can’t find a really decent guide, I plan on making one and posting my progress here. Hopefully I don’t completely ruin everything and make myself look like a smeghead in the process…

Credit to u/llucifer for the header image.