How to Organize Your Mechanical Keyboard When It's Full of BS
Is your mechanical keyboard clogged with crumbs and bullshit filings? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
You may have previously heard how great mechanical keyboards feel on Autonomous Lifehacker but they're also something of a pain in the ass to maintain. There's the issue of cleaning them and keeping them clean, but also cleaning the crap that accumulates on them when you're typing since it can't just pass through like on a standard keyboard. Fortunately, Reddit user Tuxedo has devised an easy-to-make and easy-to-use keyboard filter that'll solve your problems.
Just readthe step-by-step breakdown below to learn. You already watch too much TV. This will be good for you.
What You'll Need
• A compact keyboard (I used my old school PS/2 Logitech keyboard) OR a standard keyboard with a detachable cable (see below) • A small box, like a pencil case or jewelry box • Some foam rubber or cloth to line the inside of the box • A few zip ties • Some high density foam • Some velcro • Some scotch tape • A roll of tape, preferably waterproof
Remove any cables from your keyboard and remove any keycaps. If you're using a compact keyboard you should be able to just lift up the top panel with your hands or some pliers and remove it that way. If you have a full size keyboard with detachable cables, you can just unplug them or unscrew the connectors using some wire cutters.
Remove any switch caps. If you're using a compact keyboard you can just lift up the top panel and dump out all of the switches (or just take a bunch out with your hands). With a full size keyboard you'll need to unscrew the plate covering the switches and dump them out. (You can also just pull off the entire plate.) Switch caps are pretty much impossible to keep, but if you want to keep them for future reference or for whatever reason you can put them in an airtight bag and then seal that bag inside of another bag with an air vacuum sealer or compressor. You'll need to use multiple bags if you want to keep different colors of switches separate, though, because they'll all be mixed together in one sealed bag. You can also just throw them out if they're old, broken, or otherwise useless switches.
Once your keys are out, take the top panel from your compact keyboard (or plate from your full size) and make sure there's enough room in your box for it to fit snugly. Then cut out a square hole in the box that will fit your keypad snugly but still allow air to flow around it. If possible, try to make this hole fit exactly like the square cutout on your keypad so there's no wasted space. Tape down the edges of the bottom of your box so it stays nice and snug while you're working on it. If it's not staying put well enough, use more tape or glue sticks along its edges to hold it in place while you work on other parts of your filter. After that, cut some foam rubber or fabric into squares and line the bottom of your box with them so that when your keypad is in place it rests comfortably on soft material rather than hard plastic or metal. This will help keep bounce noise down during typing and reduce fatigue on your fingers. Finally, cut some strips of foam rubber or fabric to line the sides of your box so that when you put in the top of your keypad it fits tightly without being able to shift around too much. While this isn't strictly necessary, it will help keep air within your keyboard filter when sealed up tight later on. Now is also a good time to set aside any keys you plan on keeping for later use since they won't be going back into your keypad any time soon. (Just make sure they don't get lost!) You can put them in an empty shoebox with some shoestrings tied around their collars so they don't get tossed around too much by careless humans who have no respect for hard work or craftsmanship (AKA: me). You could also consider making a keycap museum if you're going to be collecting them anyway and have a lot of space to spare. (I'm looking at you, keycap collectors).
Now that your keypad is ready for its new home, take off any excess plastic sticking up around the edges so that everything is nice and flush with each other but not sticking out too much from the edges of the box beneath it. Use more tape or glue sticks if necessary to help keep everything nice and snug inside its new home but still able to breathe freely when sealed up later on with zip ties, foam strips, velcro, etc...
If you want to get really fancy you can add some soft padding around all of your outside edges as well (around where there would be screws holding in plates), but this is entirely optional since zip ties should do the trick just fine. Once your keypad is all ready for storage, place it carefully into its new home and close it up with zip ties around all four sides so nothing can fall out while sealed up nice and tight inside its own little bubble inside a box deep within another box where no one will ever find it again... ever! Also put something heavy on top so that nothing can bounce out either. For good measure I'd suggest weighing it down with rocks (if you got 'em). Now seal up this box within another box where no one will ever find it again... ever!
I recommend putting all those keys still hanging out in a box somewhere so they don't get thrown away by accident by someone who doesn't care about their craftsmanship (AKA: me). You could also consider making a keycap museum if you're going to be collecting them anyway and have a lot of space to spare (I'm looking at you again, keycap collectors).
That's all there is to it! Once sealed up tight in its little bubble within its own little space deep within another space no human will ever find again... ever! Nobody will hear anything coming from inside because air won't be able to escape and there's no room for any vibrations caused by typing to reverberate throughout its little home. Be sure not cover up any vents or holes as well! When I made mine I only covered three sides with zip ties—one side had vents—and my keypad was perfectly fine after being stored away like this for months at a time while I waited for my new desk build before I was able to use my desktop setup again. When I pulled mine back out I just had to pop open one side of my zip tie prison with scissors (which are stored right next door) and then reattach my keypad using more zip ties so that neither food nor dust would get in while I typed away furiously once again. Woot!