Parts of a Mechanical Keyboard: A Guide

Have you ever wondered what makes a mechanical keyboard click, light up, and feel just right under your fingers? Each parts of a mechanical keyboard has a special job that helps you type your homework, play your favorite games, or write an email to your friend.

Today, we’re going on an adventure to learn about these cool parts of a mechanical keyboard and why they’re so important. Let’s dive in!

Imagine the keyboard as a mini city, where every part is like a different building with its own role. At the heart of this city are the switches, tiny boxes beneath each keycap; they’re like the citizens, responding to your commands with a satisfying click.

The keycaps are like rooftops, protecting the switches and waiting for your fingers to find them. They can be different colors and even glow with lights that act like the city’s streetlights, guiding you in the dark.

Then there’s the printed circuit board (PCB), a flat piece that’s like the city’s ground, connecting all the buildings and making sure the electricity flows to light up the city. And don’t forget the stabilizers; think of them as the city’s support beams, keeping larger keys steady so they don’t wobble when used.

Every part works together to give you that perfect typing experience. Whether you’re writing a story or battling in a game, the parts of a mechanical keyboard are always ready to make sure your journey is smooth.

So, next time you’re tapping away, remember the tiny city under your fingertips, bustling and alive, thanks to its clever design and your own typing adventures.


Keycaps: The Buttons You Press

Keycaps might seem like just colorful pieces on top of your keyboard, but they have a crucial role. They act as the protective cover and the interface for the switches underneath. The parts that make the magic happen when you type. When you’re crafting an email or chatting with friends, it’s the keycaps your fingers dance on.

Materials Matter: PBT vs. ABS

The two main materials used in keycap construction are PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). PBT keycaps are the durable ones in the family.

They’re resistant to oils from your fingers and don’t get shiny with use, maintaining their texture over time. Their sturdiness makes them a favorite for heavy typists or gamers.

On the flip side, ABS keycaps are the show-offs with a smooth finish and vibrant colors. They may develop a glossy sheen over time due to wear, which some people like for the look and feel. However, this can also make them slippery and less durable than their PBT counterparts.

Double Shot Keycaps: Built to Last

If you’re worried about the letters on your keycaps fading away, consider double shot keycaps. These are made with two layers of plastic.

The bottom layer forms the letters and symbols, while the top layer is molded around it. This technique ensures the legends – the characters you see on the keys – don’t wear off, no matter how intense your typing sessions get.

Choosing the right keycaps can make a big difference in your typing experience. Whether you value longevity, aesthetics, or the feel of the material, there’s a keycap type out there for you.

 Remember, the keycaps are your direct connection to your chiclet keyboard and, by extension, to your computer. So, pick the ones that best suit your needs and style.


Mechanical Switches: The Heart of the Keyboard

Ever pondered on the unique sensation each keystroke imparts to your fingers while typing? The secret lies in mechanical switches—the unsung heroes behind your typing experience.

The Performance Stage

Imagine each switch as a tiny stage awaiting a performance beneath every key. Your fingers take center stage, and when you press down, the switch beneath orchestrates the act, registering your command.

Variety of Switches

Not all switches are created equal. Some mimic drums, producing a distinct clicky and loud sound with every press. Others are akin to whispers—quiet, smooth, and barely audible. Some strike a balance, providing a subtle noise accompanied by a gentle feel. This variety allows you to choose a keyboard that aligns with your typing style and environment, whether it’s a bustling office or a serene study room.

Components of a Switch

Delving into the anatomy of these switches reveals three main components—the housing (outer shell), the stem (moves down with key press), and the spring (pushes the stem back up after lifting your finger). Together, these elements encapsulate the essence of your keystrokes, translating them into signals comprehensible to your computer.

Switch Operation

Every key press involves the stem pushing against the spring. Once enough force is applied, the switch closes an electrical circuit, swiftly sending a signal to your computer. This rapid and precise process, taking mere milliseconds, ensures seamless typing without missing a beat.

Applications for Different Users

Whether you’re a gamer seeking rapid responses, a writer desiring comfort during prolonged sessions, or simply someone savoring the tactile feel of a quality keyboard, understanding switches empowers you to make an informed choice.

Next time you’re typing an email or achieving victory in a game, take a moment to appreciate the intricate dance floor beneath your fingers—the realm of mechanical switches that makes it all possible!


Keyboard Case: The Keyboard’s Home

The keyboard case serves as the robust shelter, the walls, and roof for your keyboard, constituting the primary structure that binds everything together. Similar to homes constructed from diverse materials, keyboard cases offer various types to cater to different preferences.

Types of Keyboard Cases

Plastic Cases:

  • Lightweight and cost-effective

Metal Cases (Aluminum):

  • Enhances durability and provides a premium feel.

Wooden Cases:

  • Offers a natural aesthetic, making your keyboard stand out.

Guardian of Components

The case is not merely an aesthetic element; it acts as a guardian, shielding the delicate inner components of your keyboard from potential hazards like dust, spills, and accidental bumps or drops. Without this protection, disaster could be imminent.

Influence on Acoustics

Plastic Cases:

  • Produces a lighter sound.

Metal Cases:

  • Creates a more resonant and robust sound.

Balancing Protection and Aesthetics

Choosing the right case involves a delicate balance:

  • Consider the protection it offers.
  • Evaluate the aesthetic appeal.
  • Examine the impact on typing sound.

Impact on Typing Feel

Heavier Cases

  • Enhance stability on the desk during intense typing sessions.

Lighter Cases

  • Facilitate easy portability, ideal for users frequently on the move.

Selecting the perfect case is a nuanced decision, striking a balance between style, protection, typing sound, and stability. Your keyboard’s home should be a reflection of your preferences and needs, providing the ideal environment for your typing experience.


Gaskets: The Keyboard’s Cushions

Ever marveled at keyboards that offer a super quiet and cloud-like typing experience? Enter the unsung heroes known as gaskets, working silently behind the scenes to elevate your typing pleasure.

Gaskets Defined

Gaskets are diminutive, pliable rings or strips typically composed of materials like rubber or foam. Visualize them as the soft pads under a wobbly table leg, ensuring stability.

In keyboards, these unassuming components reside between the keys and the board, undertaking a couple of surprising roles.

Functions of Gaskets

Dust Defense:

  • Acts as gatekeepers, preventing dust and tiny particles from infiltrating the keyboard.
  • Maintains the cleanliness and functionality of the keys.

Enhanced Typing Feel:

  • Softens the impact of key presses, providing a gentler and quieter typing experience.
  • Eliminates the harsh, hard-surface feel associated with keyboards lacking gaskets.

Quieter Typing Experience

Without Gaskets:

  • Typing may feel akin to tapping on a hard surface.
  • Generates louder clicking sounds that may disturb others.

With Gaskets:

  • Each key press becomes softer and quieter.
  • Ideal for maintaining a peaceful environment during tasks like essay writing or gaming.

Gratitude to Gaskets:

Next time you revel in the tranquility of your typing experience, spare a thought for the small yet mighty gaskets. They function as the comfortable sneakers of keyboards, ensuring each keystroke is a little softer—a subtle but impactful contribution to your typing satisfaction.


Plate: The Keyboard’s Backbone

Have you ever wondered what ensures your keyboard feels just right when you press a key? Meet the unsung hero — the plate. This unassuming component is the backbone of your keyboard, akin to the robust foundation of a house.

The Crucial Role of the Plate

Hidden beneath the keycaps, the plate plays a pivotal role in providing a stable and consistent typing experience.

Its primary duty is to securely hold the switches, those tiny boxes responsible for detecting your key presses. Think of it as the solid frame of a trampoline, ensuring your every key press is reliable and steady.

A Variety of Materials, a Unique Touch

Not all plates are created equal. They come in various materials, each contributing its own special touch to your typing journey. Some plates boast a metal construction, such as steel or aluminum, delivering a precise and sharp typing sensation.

 Others may be crafted from plastic or even carbon fiber, providing a softer and quieter typing experience.

The Symphony of Sound

The material of the plate also influences the auditory aspect of typing. A metal plate may produce a sound reminiscent of raindrops on a tin roof, while a plastic one could be as hushed as snow gently falling. This auditory consideration becomes crucial, especially in shared spaces or office environments.

Choosing Your Perfect Keyboard

When selecting your ideal keyboard, take a moment to consider the material of the plate. Whether you prefer the precision of metal or the subtleness of plastic, the plate is a silent orchestrator, shaping your typing experience.

The Unseen Hero

So, the next time your fingers dance across the keys, remember the plate beneath them. It’s the unsung hero ensuring that every word you type feels just right.

Whether you’re engaged in essay writing, lively conversations with friends, or immersive gaming sessions, the plate is there, steadfastly ensuring your keyboard is sturdy, reliable, and uniquely yours.


Printed Circuit Board (PCB): The Keyboard’s Brain

Navigating the Electronic Landscape

Ever wondered about the inner workings of your keyboard? Enter the Printed Circuit Board (PCB), the brain that orchestrates the keyboard’s functionality. Picture it as a specialized board with pathways that allow electricity to flow, akin to roads on a map guiding cars from one destination to another.

Pathways of Functionality

The PCB’s ‘roads’ serve a crucial purpose — directing electricity to different keys. When you press a key, the corresponding letter or command seamlessly appears on your computer screen, thanks to the intricate network of pathways.

Illuminating Effects with RGB Lighting

Some PCBs bring an extra layer of flair with RGB lighting. These lights can change colors and patterns, transforming your keyboard into a visual masterpiece. Practical too, they illuminate the keys, aiding typing in low-light environments.

Cutting the Cord: Wireless Connectivity

Innovation extends to wireless PCBs, eliminating the need for cumbersome cables. Utilizing technologies like Bluetooth, these PCBs enable you to type from your couch or bed, offering unparalleled freedom of movement.

Tailored Designs for Versatile Cases

PCBs come in various shapes, designed to fit into diverse keyboard cases. Each key finds its place through strategically positioned holes, connecting to switches that convey your input to the computer.

The Art of Design: Impact on Typing Experience

The design of the PCB is a pivotal factor, influencing how typing feels and the lifespan of your keyboard. A well-crafted PCB enhances the overall typing experience and ensures durability.

Customization: Tailoring Your Keyboard Experience

While some keyboards house fixed PCBs, others open the door to customization. This allows users to swap out parts or even program the PCB for unique functionalities. Gamers, in particular, benefit from the ability to assign specific actions to keys, enhancing gameplay.

Powering Personalization

In essence, the PCB is a powerful and intricate component that breathes life into your keyboard. Whether you’re engaged in essay writing, gaming, or casual conversations, the PCB diligently ensures that every keystroke is meaningful and impactful.


Keyboard Stabilizers: Keeping Keys Steady

The Role of Stabilizers

Ever thought about what would happen if pressing a piano key caused it to tilt? It would be odd, right? Enter stabilizers, the unsung heroes of keyboards.

These small yet powerful components play a pivotal role in maintaining the stability of larger keys like the spacebar, enter key, and shift keys.

Ensuring Level Playing Field

Stabilizers ensure that significant keys stay level and smoothly return to their original position after being pressed. Without them, larger keys might feel different, be harder to press, or produce an unusual clacking sound.

Consistency for a Better Typing Experience

Stabilizers offer a consistent feel across all keys, contributing to an improved typing experience. Just as all piano keys should function the same way, the keys on a keyboard should provide a uniform experience.

Types of Stabilizer

There are two common types of stabilizers: Cherry-style and Costar-style. Cherry-style stabilizers are prevalent in pre-built keyboards, offering easier installation.

Costar-style stabilizers may require more patience during setup but provide a unique typing feel, allowing users to choose based on personal preferences.

Installation and Care

Installing or replacing stabilizers can be a straightforward process, involving the removal of keycaps and the careful placement of new stabilizers.

Due to their delicate nature, it’s crucial to handle stabilizers with care. If unsure, seek assistance from someone experienced or consult a professional.

Performance Impact

Well-functioning stabilizers significantly impact keyboard performance, ensuring smooth and stable keystrokes, regardless of where the key is pressed.

This results in a more comfortable and efficient typing experience, whether you’re engaged in casual conversations, completing homework, or drafting an essential report.

A Reminder with Every Keystroke

The next time you hit that spacebar, take a moment to appreciate the small helpers underneath — the stabilizers that silently contribute to keeping your typing steady and reliable.

Exploring Mechanical Keyboards

In understanding the components of a mechanical keyboard, each piece plays a crucial role in enhancing your typing experience.

Whether you’re a gamer, a writer, or simply a tech enthusiast, familiarity with these components empowers you to choose the perfect keyboard or even embark on building your own.


In conclusion, exploring the intricate components of a mechanical keyboard unveils a captivating world beneath our fingertips.

From the rhythmic dance of mechanical switches to the protective embrace of keycaps, each element contributes to the symphony of a seamless typing experience.

Whether you’re navigating the pathways of a PCB or appreciating the stability provided by keyboard stabilizers, every keystroke is a testament to the thoughtful design of these small but mighty devices.

 So, the next time you embark on a typing adventure, remember the mini city beneath your fingers, and appreciate the harmonious collaboration of each part working together to make your journey smooth and satisfying. Happy typing!


Why are keycaps important?

Keycaps protect switches and shape the typing experience, influencing feel, aesthetics, and durability.

PBT vs. ABS – What’s the difference?

PBT keycaps offer durability, resisting oils, while ABS keycaps provide a smooth finish and vibrant colors.

What’s unique about double shot keycaps?

Double shot keycaps, with a two-layer design, ensure lasting characters on keys, ideal for prolonged typing sessions.

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