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Modified K90/K60: Color Keycaps & O-Ring Dampeners for Cherry MX Keyboards

Rob AC

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The following was done on a Corsair K90 Keyboard, but this can also be done on the K60 as well as any other Cherry MX (Red, Black, Brown, Blue etc.) Computer keyboards.



According to Forum rules we are not allowed to link to and discuss competitors’ products. So just do a search for “O-Ring Dampeners” and “Colored Keys for Cherry MX” keyboards.


EDIT FROM YELLOWBEARD: Feel free to post links to the O-ring suppliers and custom key suppliers. As Wired noted below, they are not direct competitors and we would love to see the sources you guys use. Who'da thunk it, modded keyboards??? ::pirate::


[Link added for O-Ring & Custom Keycaps:]






Also be careful what replacement keys you buy because they might not fit. (The blue space bar replacement I ordered was a few millimeter too small and would not fit the Corsair keyboard. But all the others fit perfectly.)




Getting used to the key press of the Cherry Red MX on the K90 took about a week or so. But the “clacking” sound of the keyboard as I bottomed out on almost every key press was very annoying. So I did a search for “O-Ring Dampeners,” for the Computer Keyboard.


The O-Rings basically soften the key press and prevent bottoming out as well as getting rid of that clacking sound. I chose 40A Durometer o-rings. The higher the rating is the harder and non-cushioning they are. So anything 60A and above would be getting pretty hard.


I also wanted to color code the keys to my liking. I was not able to find colored backlit key cap replacements for the K90. However the ones I did compromise on turned out pretty well.




O-Ring Dampener Install:


The procedure was very simple. Use a couple strong paper clips or two pieces of string/cord, hook the ends of the keycaps and pull straight up. I got a $6 key puller to make things easier. The O-rings came in a pack of 125pc.


Turn the keycaps upside down and then just roll the O-rings onto the stalk of the keys themselves. I pushed the o-rings all the way down. (I found leaving them half way gave a very slight bit more of a sound suppression and lighter feel- it depends on your personal preference.)


Reseat the keycaps firmly over the Cherry MX keys, applying even pressure for the larger keys, and that’s it. It’s is a bit time consuming, but worth it.


Colored Keys:


I am still on the hunt for backlit colored keycaps.


Why colored keys? Well this is a personal preference for me. I wanted to make my keyboard “my own.” I wanted to color code the most important keys. (The WASD keys will be getting the color change once the keys arrive. I chose Blue, but after getting the first set in the mail, I really like the White.) I chose to get the writing Laser etched and used a 10 point Lucida Sans Font. I used Bold on the Dammit & Enter keycaps and used normal on the Shift, Alt, Ctrl, Tab, Caps Lock. [uPDATE Feb. 15th 2012: WASD keycaps arrived and installed. New pics taken and thread updated.]


I took a pic with 100% back-lighting on and even at 33% the keys showed up pretty well in the dark. The only one that did not show up as well was my Red Dammit !!! key. :biggrin: I might just drill a couple tiny holes in the key to let the blue led shine through. (The pic is a bit dark, the red actually does show up when the 33% backlighting is on.)











There is no more clacking sound. What a relief!

The feel is now almost like a rubber dome type key- but not quite. The Cherry MX keys are still “springy” and responsive.


The feel is still pure mechanical. The lightning quick key response is still there after doing this modification. The keys no longer bottom out. The o-rings act as a cushion and I find my typing is just as quick and fast. The same goes for playing games.


The K90 now feels like a brand new keyboard. At first I actually missed the “clacking” sound since I had spent a week or so getting used to it. But after a few minutes of happy typing I would never go back to a Mechanical Keyboard without these 40A Durometer O-Rings.

Additional Thoughts:


I would also like colored keys for the Macro G keys on the left side of the K90 to help remember what macro is what. Especially for game play.


For now I’ll just use a label printer with different colored labels and paste them on once I program in all my regular short cuts such as music player, calculator etc.


The other non Cherry MX keys such as the ESC and Delete keys as well as some of the F keys would look nice color coded too.


Here is what the keyboard will look like once I get everything done:




Any questions let me know.


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Looks great!


I hope no-one minds me posting some links to help get the ball rolling for those that want to customize their keyboards.






That site also has custom keys available:




Another vendor for custom keys (site sells key dampeners similar to O-rings as well):




The above site carries some incredibly entertaining individual keys from time to time but seems to not currently be listing these (made by the Clack Factory):




Clack Factory's site is under contruction, so I'm not sure when they'll make more - but they often are traded for hundreds of dollars....


They've made clear and tinted keycaps, some of which are 3D molded shapes. There are many people that collect custom keycaps - and many of them are Cherry MX, meaning that most of them will work on the Corsair keyboards.

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I think I found a manufacturer that will do backlit keycaps:






My wife gave me the eyeroll and laugh of disbelief when she saw what I was doing :biggrin:


I have to admit this keyboard modifying is pretty addictive. I am now contemplating other mods. I might even break out the art brushes and do some dabbling on the aluminum. I really dig the ingenuity of some of these keyboard cap designers.


As a joke I might order the following set of over sized Letter Keycaps and then replace my wife's keys.... heh.





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You guys know that some of the keycaps posted above can fetch more than $100 just for a single key. It's mind blowing when you think about it. :eek:


I think I saw a post on the Darth Vader one, priced at $150.

Better be careful Lucas doesn't get wind of this!

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Soon I'll have one key from every colour on the middle of the board, purely so I can see which colours looks good with the back-lighting etc. Will post pics when I get them.


Are there any special keys (like spacebar) which require some sort of trick to remove them, or do they come off like any other key?

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Just pull straight up and they will come off.

You can even pop a few off now and put them back on before your replacement keys arrive.


And yes, everyone please post pics of your personal layout when you are done.

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I ordered one key of every colour first, just to see what colours went well with the backlight etc (pics below). I'll try and make a proper layout soon.


I did have a question though... on the big keys like spacebar, enter, right shift (uk layout) there are stabiliser switches on either side of the main red switch. Do the keys from WASD come with these "slots" so the pins on wither side of the main switch can be fitted, or can you get on OK without them?


Here is a pic to illustrate what I'm on about:




Other pics of random keys:









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"Do the keys from WASD come with these "slots" so the pins on wither side of the main switch can be fitted, or can you get on OK without them?"


Sorry for the late reply-


Yes the WASD shift, straight Enter key and backspace keys do come with the three slots. Not sure about your oversized Enter key though.


However, be warned the WASD Spacebar did not fit the K90 - so I left the original spacebar on the keyboard. (Not sure if other manufacturers will have a direct drop in backlight spacebar that will fit the Corsair K series.)


The WASD spacebar was a few mm short and the stabilizer slots on either end did not line up properly. I never got around to filing them off to see if that would work. I was afraid of having a wonky, lopsided spacebar. I think I'll do this soon and see. I will update to let you know.


BTW- really digging that oversized Enter key! I never knew this was option. I happen to like oversized Enter keys. When I am typing away I sometimes miss the straight narrow one on keyboard. :)

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