Mechanical switches and actuation forces

(Jesse) #5

Possibly eventually, but it’s not something we’re able to offer early on. Special orders end up costing a lot more to put together, even if it’s “don’t finish the assembly” :confused:

I know it’s something a few folks want and I do want to do it.



Fair enough, thanks for responding! I’ll give it a spin once I’ve got it and see how it goes.

(Tom) #7

Somehow I didn’t realize that the only switch options would have a high actuation force. I also have pain in my hands and arms, and honestly I’m disappointed to learn that the two keyboardios I’m getting might hurt :frowning:

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(Jesse) #8

That’s no good.

To be clear, though, they have a regular actuation force. Comparable to Cherry MX Blue or Brown keyswtiches and lower than a MacBook’s.

I myself have reasonably intense RSI issues and have found the force required for Matias Quiet Click switches to be pretty comfortable, though everybody’s hands are different.

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(Gergely Nagy) #9

I’d like to second Jesse’s comment: I’m currently using an ErgoDox EZ as my daily driver, and the Model 01 prototype does not feel any less comfortable to type on. Maybe because the position of my hands is different on the two boards, the Quiet Clicks feel nicer. The tactile bump is more noticeable, so I bottom out less - and as such use less force.

This is a terribly unscientific opinion, mind you, based on not too much data.


@fisofo check out my post here: Swapping out keyswitch mechanisms. Swapping out the switch internals is pretty doable. It took me maybe two hours. It is much better for my hands after doing the switch. I went to my old WASD with cherry MX browns for a while because the quiet clicks were killing my hands. Let me know if you’d like my extra quiet linear switches!

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(kajsa.anderson) #11

I’m hoping that the better layout will counteract the activation force. My current work keyboard is a TEK with Cherry browns, and doesn’t generally bother me, but putting in too many hours gaming on a traditional-layout board with Cherry reds will leave my left hard aching from being twisted backwards (relative to the columnar layout).

(Björn Andersson) #12

I’ve had the Model 01 for a week now, and I love it in many ways. I also have two TEK keyboards; one with Cherry blue switches (at home) and one with Cherry brown (at work). I prefer the Model 01 over the TEK keyboard in every way, except that I think that the feel of both Cherry switch types are better than the Model 01’s Matias switches. The Model 01 requires more force and somehow feels scratchy compared to the TEK. I did a typing test on typing a Wikipedia article. First I typed on the Model 01 and then on the TEK. The difference was considerable. It felt so easy and smooth to press the Cherry blues compared to the Matias, and I’m convined that this is not due to the fact that I’m used to type on the TEK. Of course, this is my subjective feeling, and I`m not trying to say that one is generally better than the other.

I wonder how much the key caps affect the feeling. There is probably some resistance between the caps and the switch housing? Taking of a cap and pressing the switch directly feel smoother, but it is hard to say how big the difference is.

Still, overall, I like the Model 01 much more than the TEK, and I am very pleased with it. I just hope that I’ll get more used to the feeling of the switches.

(Nathan Howell) #13

That is exactly what I’ve been thinking about the feel of the switches… scratchy and plastic-on-plastic. My primary keyboards for the last few years have been Ergodoxes with a mix of Cherry reds and clears, and I find them to still be “smoother”. I’m loving the Model 01 otherwise, so I’ve been giving it some time (a week for me so far as well) and hoping that some combination of my getting used to them and maybe them “breaking in” a bit will help.

(James Cash) #14

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I like the Matias switches. I was using Cherry Blues before and was afraid the quiet switches would feel as mushy as Browns feel to me, but I’m actually very happy with how nice they feel (and the people around me appreciate the reduction in volume :stuck_out_tongue:). They definitely don’t feel “scratchy” to me…I wonder if that’s an issue that Jesse & Kaia should know about?


This is slightly off-topic, but has anybody of you noticed a faint spring noise when you release a key? On my keyboad, it’s only on the right half, and only on a few keys. It’s a very faint metallic noise and it sounds very… mechanical?

It doesn’t bother me, in fact, I might even like it (though I wished the spring noise came from all the keys).

I’m just wondering what’s causing it.

@jesse: you might be interested in this phenomenon.

(Björn Andersson) #16

I can hear a faint springy sound on some keys on the right half as well. All keys on the right half, lower row, and some other. None on the left half, except the prog key. I hadn’t noticed it, though, until you mentioned it.

(kajsa.anderson) #17

I had been blaming the keycaps for seeming “rattly”, but I just pulled one and did some experimentation, and the rattle I’m noticing is actually in the switch itself. I’ve also noticed that combination of keycaps and wood frame increases the sound of a keypress, compared to my Atreus which also uses Mathias quiet-click keys. I’m considering layering in a thin sound-dampener of some sort, with cutouts to match the switches.


Now hold on there for a minute! We haven’t properly analyzed this yet. The rattling and springy sounds may not be that bad. Hear me out…
Since the Model01 has a wooden body, it serves as a wooden sound box for the vibrating springs to disturb the air within the keyboard to produce a more audible sound. Just like a guitar! This is what’s happening right now.
Still, it’s no use to us if it’s almost too quiet to hear. However… if we were to plug an amplifier into the keyboard, we might turn it into a musical instrument.

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(Björn Andersson) #19

I’m having a hard time to get over this. When I have been using the Model 01 for while, I think “Maybe the keys aren’t that bad after all”. Then I type on my Cherry browns and blues that I have hooked up to other computers, and realize how much better they feel than the Model 01’s keys. I enjoy the Model 01 so much otherwise, that this is not going to be deal breaker, but if it had the same superb quality feeling as the Cherry’s the Model 01 would have it all. I still suspect that “problem” is at least partially related to some friction between the caps and the switches. Maybe I should try to switch out the springs to lighter ones, as is discussed in another thread, but I still don’t think the actuation force is the main issue for me, it is some scratchy friction. I don’t think I would have been bothered by this if hadn’t anything to compare with.

(Björn Andersson) #20

I removed the key caps on one half of the keyboard, and typed directly on the switches. The swiches themselves feel good. They are smooth and there is no scratchy feeling. Also, with the caps loosely on, but not fully pushed down into the switch, does not seem to generate that scratchy feeling. I am pretty convinced now that caps are just that little too tight, scratching against the switches. I think this is good news, as it means that it is most likely fixable by replacing the caps (maybe a generation 2 set of the caps in the future) or by removing just a little from the inside of each cap (which might be pretty difficult and laborous). Or maybe, hopefully, the caps will naturally wear and get smoother over time.

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(Jesse) #21

That shouldn’t be the case, at least based on the 3D models. Is it equally true for all of the keys?

Unless it’s a consequence of the stems of the keys causing a tiny bit of flex to the sliders. Which we have to do or the keys would just…fall out. Does it happen with palm keys? If so, it’ll be the insides of the sliders causing the issue.

(Björn Andersson) #22

Good point about the palm keys. Yes, they also have that scratchy feeling.

I feel bad about complaining about this, as I am truly amazed about how well the keyboard turned out. It exceeded my expectations. It is a great product by any measures, but that a two person company was able to produce, and deliver, something so perfect in their first production run with no prior mass production experience is just incredible!

(Jesse) #23


I certainly want to know about issues you’re seeing. I don’t mind people complaining about things that aren’t quite right, especially if they’re nice about it :slight_smile:

This one thing isn’t something I believe we’re going to be able to change any time soon, which is unfortunate.

I suspect that if the palm key feels scratchy, it means that the size of the keycap stems is making the keyswitch sliders a fraction of a millimeter wider. Changing that is…incredibly expensive and will make the keycaps looser.

(Jesse) #24

(FWIW, I’m not currently feeling this on my samples)