One of the main reasons why lots of enthusiasts enjoy custom keyboards is the experience that comes with building one. With custom keyboards, you can truly take ownership of the product that you’ve spent countless hours on. However, some consumers want the end result but do not want to go through the difficult process of building one.
Custom keyboard build services have many benefits. They can help save time and cost. They will also guarantee a perfectly built custom keyboard. And while they aren’t for everyone, they are a much-appreciated option, especially for beginners who haven’t built their own custom mechanical keyboard.
With the increasing popularity of custom keyboards, different solutions have emerged to accommodate some of the issues that come with the hobby. Keyboard builders have risen in popularity to serve those who want a custom keyboard that’s ready to go right off the bat.
However, custom keyboard builders sort of break the very thing that makes custom keyboards exciting in the first place. This creates a dilemma for a lot of beginners. Should they ask for the help of a professional or should they try to build it themselves and risk damaging the keyboard or making a subpar build?
In this article, we will be discussing all the pros and cons of hiring a professional keyboard builder. And hopefully, by the end of this article, enthusiasts will be able to make the best decision for their mechanical keyboard build.
What are Custom Keyboard Build Services?
Custom keyboard build services are very similar to custom PC builders. These are individuals who can assist you in building your own custom keyboard. They can do a number of things such as professionally assembling your keyboard as well as mod its components.
In addition, depending on the builder, they can also provide all the parts that are needed for a build. They can also give advice on the best parts to be used. Of course, enthusiasts who already have their own custom keyboard kit or parts can provide them for the builder.
Some vendors also add an option for fully built kits. Some examples are KBDFans and Rotobox, who is an official seller for Glorious peripherals.
Apart from vendors, professional keyboard builders are usually smaller entities. You can usually find them in places such as the mechanical keyboard subreddit, Facebook groups, or other online keyboard communities.
There are also more prominent members in the community, such as Taeha Types and Andy V Nguyen. Of course, these kinds of professional keyboard builders will be charging a heftier price tag compared to smaller builders.
However, they are well regarded in the community and will guarantee a nicely built keyboard. Most of these personalities also add an option to live stream the building process on their respective channels.
Why Avail Build Services
Building mechanical keyboards isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. With enough time and effort, anyone can learn the ins and outs of building a custom mechanical keyboard.
However, even seasoned enthusiasts who have built a number of different keyboards still go for custom keyboard build services. There are a number of reasons why this is the case.
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Building custom keyboards is an incredibly time-consuming process. Everything from gathering the parts to lubing individual switches will take a huge chunk of your day. And unless you are satisfied with a subpar keyboard build, all of these steps are pretty much mandatory.
This is where professional keyboard builders come in. They will be able to do all the time-consuming steps and provide you a complete keyboard within the turnaround time. These typically include lubing the switches, tuning the stabilizers, soldering, etc.
In addition, the keyboard builder can suggest and try out different mods. This way, you do not have to spend a lot of time in trying to find out which mod best fits your keyboard.
Saves Cost in Sourcing Out Different Parts
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There isn’t usually a one-stop shop when ordering keyboard parts. Most of the time, you have to source out different components such as switches and stabilizers from different vendors and different countries.
But when dealing with a keyboard building service, you will usually have the option to include all the needed parts in your build. These can include the keyboard kit, stabilizers, switches, and other tools needed for modding. Having the option to get all the parts in one place will certainly save on time and shipping costs.
Less Risk of Damaging the Keyboard
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When building custom keyboards, there aren’t too many components that are susceptible to damage. However, some keyboards are known to give issues for beginners. Keyboard kits, such as the Glorious GMMK Pro, were known for having screws that can be stripped easily.
These kinds of issues can be very problematic for beginners who have never opened up a keyboard before. Also, if these keyboard kits were purchased in the aftermarket, then they have no warranty or manufacturer support to fall back to.
In addition, there are some mods that can cause irreversible damage when not done right. Mods such as installing mill max sockets are things that beginners with no soldering experience will most likely not be able to do.
With a professional keyboard builder, consumers can request all of these mods and features without the risk of damaging the keyboard. It is also assured that the keyboard will return to the owners without any damages or stripped screws.
Overall Quality of the Build
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As we have mentioned earlier, building a keyboard isn’t the most complicated thing in the world. However, there’s a lot of things that go with building the perfect keyboard. The user needs to spend a lot of hours tuning the keyboard to get the best feel and sound possible.
However, sometimes users cannot get what they want on the keyboard. For one reason or another, they cannot achieve their intended typing feel and sound. They might not even get rid of issues such as stabilizer rattle no matter what they do.
This applies not only to beginners but also to seasoned veterans who have built countless keyboards. This is why even highly skilled individuals hire the best builders in the business.
Going with a professional builder guarantees that your keyboard build will be top-notch. Of course, this will still depend on the builder. But for the most part, trusted builders who have a solid portfolio will be able to give the best results.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Professional Keyboard Builder
Turn Over Time
As we have mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of having a professional build your custom keyboard is that it saves a lot of time. However, you should also consider that your keyboard build may take longer if you are working with a high-profile keyboard builder. Before you commit to a certain builder, make sure to know how fast your keyboard build can be finished.
Knowledge and Skill
We have also mentioned earlier that a lot of people are now accepting commission builds. However, enthusiasts should do a proper background check on who is building your keyboard. We highly recommend going with a trusted keyboard builder in your local community to get the best results.
Why You Should Build Your Own Keyboard
Despite the many benefits of hiring a professional keyboard builder, there are still plenty of reasons why enthusiasts choose to do things themselves. Just like with any custom device, lots of enthusiasts want to experience firsthand what’s it like to build their own keyboard. This is despite the many challenges that they encounter along the way.
Building your own keyboard can teach you lots of things such as the factors that give you your preferred typing experience. Once you have gained the knowledge of the things that you want from a keyboard, that is when you can choose to have a professional build your own keyboard or have some parts of your keyboard commissioned.
You can also outsource the parts that are difficult to do then do the overall build for yourself. For instance, you can ask a professional to install mill max sockets, solder the switches, or lube the switches. You can then do the final assembly and the finishing touches.
If you are purchasing your very first mechanical keyboard, then we highly advise trying it out yourself. This is because building a mechanical keyboard is one of those things that you have to try at least once. It will give you a deeper appreciation for mechanical keyboards and the custom keyboard hobby.
The KBE team is dedicated to sharing our knowledge and creating useful resources about computer keyboards. This article was written as a team collaboration, combining our knowledge and years of experience using, building and modding keyboards. Meet the team here.