Elise’s Transparent Franken-mech

Hold onto your pants boys and girls, we’ve got a crazy one today! Elise from the Netherlands is going to tell us about her Frankenmech which contains 61 different switches! Prepare for a typing experience thats going to knock your socks off!

Hi there, who are you and where are you from?

Hi! I’m Elise, I’m a second-year Creative Technology student and I’m from the Netherlands. 

What attracted you to the world of mechanical keyboards?

The fact that you can customise everything about it to your heart’s content, especially the visual side of it! The possibilities are endless, and as someone who loves to tinker and try new things, it just boosts my creativity.

What were you looking for in your perfect keyboard? Do you think you achieved it?

With this keyboard, it was mostly an experiment. I wanted to see what it would be like concerning feeling/sound/looks if you just throw all sorts of different types of switches into an actual keyboard to use, kind of pushing the boundaries of what is usually done. At the same time, this was my first build so I thought it could also help me find a switch I really like for my next keyboard. I think I succeeded since the outcome is pretty interesting!

Tell us about the case? What did you go for and why?

The case is a frosty, transparent plastic case I got on AliExpress. I chose a clear case because I was going for a transparent look, highlighting the unique array of switches on the inside.

What switches did you go with? Why?

My concept was to make a keyboard with only different switches, so there are 61 different switches. I already had some single cherry switches and used those. The other switches I got from switch testers that I could easily find on the KPrepublic shop, and some I bought separately. There were many other, more popular switches that I wanted to use but didn’t end up getting, maybe I’ll make a matching Frankenstein macropad at some point haha. For the stabilisers, I just didn’t want them to stick out through the transparent keycaps, so I got the cheapest, transparent stabilisers I could find on AliExpress since I’m on a student budget. 

The total list of switches I used in this keyboard: 

Cherry: blue, green, brown, clear, red, silent red, black, silent black, speed silver.

Kailh: cream, silver, copper, gold, bronze, navy, plum, burgundy, sage, light green, purple, 

pink, dark yellow, pale blue, burnt orange, box jade, box royals, box pale blue, box burnt orange, box dark yellow, box navy, box black, box red, box white, box brown, box Chinese red, box noble yellow, box glazed green, box ancient grey.

Gateron: yellow, clear, red, black, brown, blue, green.

Everglide: Sakura pink, jade green, coral red, amber orange, tourmaline blue, oreo, crystal purple.

Outemu: ice dark purple, ice light blue, ice blue, teal, red, black, brown, blue, purple.

How about the PCB?

The PCB is the kbdfans DZ60.

Did you use a plate? What’s it made out of?

I used an aluminium plate that I got on AliExpress. 

And of course… what keycaps are you wearing today?

The keycaps are transparent, blank, ABS keycaps from Aliexpress. I went with transparent because I thought that aesthetically it would really highlight the main feature of the keyboard. I think it looks really cool how the coloured switches pop through the keycaps and give it an awesome colourful effect. 

Tell us about the Lube!

I didn’t lube anything at all, but I think I will next time. This was the first keyboard I built myself and I think the prospect of lubing seemed a bit too intimidating and time-consuming this time around.

Anything else went into this endgame build?

I’m still waiting for parts for a multicoloured, matching custom cable that I’m planning to make.

Cheeky question… how much did it all cost?

A lot of the things were pretty cheap from AliExpress so it wasn’t crazy expensive, but buying all the separate switches is still a bit more expensive than just buying them in bulk.

Case:  €12,07

PCB: €35,71

Plate:  €14,10

Stabilisers: €2,77

Switches: €62,67 (not including the switches I already had)

Keycaps: €12,46

So the total was about €140

How long did it take you to build this keyboard from start to finish?

Excluding the whole planning process of which switches to get and how to arrange them on the keyboard nicely, it took about 2,5 hours. At least 30 minutes of that were spent sorting my clear keycaps that were all dumped into one shipping bag, so I had to sort them by profile first…

How’s the typing experience?

Unique to say the least! I don’t have much to compare it with, but It’s most definitely unique, odd and weird. It’s hard to describe exactly what it feels like. Surprisingly I don’t hate it! It’s actually oddly satisfying in my opinion to have all the different clicks and clacks and the feeling on each finger being different every time.

If you could change anything about this keyboard what would it be?

Probably the stabilisers, I think I would’ve gotten better ones than the really cheap ones I got now. They’re rattly and I’m not very fond of it, but maybe I’ll still manage to fix that eventually. 

Do you have any other keyboards in the works?

Currently not, my wallet needs to recover first, but I’m definitely planning to build more in the future!

Finally… time to promote yourself. Where can we find you online and what do you do?

I’m not super active online, but I do occasionally post things. I really like to  3D-print and share some of the things I’ve made. I also design different things, make illustrations, graphic design and basically enjoy anything else that is remotely close to crafting, arts and technology! When I post things it will usually be on Instagram @smarluna

Andy Written by:

I'm Andy, keyboard nerd and moderator of this wonderful website. My dream is to help keyboard newbies learn everything that goes into creating high-end "endgame" mechanical keyboards.

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