How to lube Mechanical Keyboard Switches
Lubing switches is a big step in the mechanical keyboard hobby. The question is, are you ready to spend a few hours improving the feel and sound of your switches?
Why should you lube your switches?
Lubing switches improves your keyboard in many different ways. It provides better sound, the smoothest possible typing experience, less chatter and can reduce tactile bump. Some manufacturers lube their switches from the factory. But usually they don't do this very well. It's fine for the normal user, but for people who've lubed their own switches, it doesn't come close.
Fortunately, you don't have to lube your switches more often. When you use high-quality lube, lubing once is enough.
What do you need?
The type of lube you use differs per type of switch. There are three types of switches: linear, tactile and clicky.
For linear switches I recommend using Krytox 205G0. This is somewhat thicker and ensures that the switch is extremely smooth.
Tactile switches can be lubed with Krytox 205G0 or 105. Krytox 105 is a lot thinner and ensures that the tactile bump is best preserved. If you want to make the tactile bump less present, Krytox 205G0 is the way to go.
I personally wouldn't lube clicky switches because this can ensure that the recognizable "click" is muted for which you buy these types of switches.
2. Modding tools
A set of modding tools like the one below is very useful because it already contains most of what you need.
The brush is used to spread the lube. The claw pick, or switch stem holder, is very useful for holding the different parts of the switch when you want to lube it. A switch puller is of course used to remove the switches from a keyboard and the keycap puller is used to remove the keycaps.
3. Switch opener
In addition to a set of modding tools, a switch opener is very important! It is possible to open the switches with a screwdriver, but this takes a lot of effort and much more time. Below is a switch opener for 2 types of switches. With this, almost all switches can be opened.
4. Lube station (optional)
A lube station is very useful for keeping your workplace organized and clean. It is completely optional to purchase this, because lubing switches can also be done without a lube station.
A mechanical switch consists of 4 parts. The bottom housing, top housing, jump and vote. All parts are highlighted in the image below so that you can see what is what.
If you already have a hot-swappable keyboard, you will have to go through a number of steps to remove the switches. If you bought the switches separately, you can skip these steps. Before you begin these steps, make sure your keyboard is unplugged.
You remove keycaps by dropping the keycap puller around the keycap and pulling it up. This should be quite easy, but depending on the switch, it may also take some extra force.
To remove the switches, grab the switch at the top and bottom with the switch puller. Now you can gently pull the switch out of the socket. How much power is required for this differs per switch and per keyboard.
Before you can start lubing, you have to open the switches. For this we use the switch opener. The image below shows a switch on the switch opener. You simply put the switch on the opener in this way and you push down. The tabs will now click loose and the switch should be open. Make sure the feather doesn't fly away!
After opening the switch, it is best to place it in the lube station. Open as many as fit on the lube station and start lubing them. Start with the bottom housing. Apply a thin layer of lube to the sides where the stem makes contact and also coat the bottom of the bottom housing with a thin layer of lube as shown in the images below.
If you can just see the shimmer when you hold the switch up to the light, there's enough lube on it. If you can still see the white of the lube, there is too much on it and you have "overlubed" the switch, which can cause it to give less good feedback.
After this you can lube the voice. The claw pick is very useful for this since the voice is quite small. Lubricate all sides with a thin layer of lube and don't forget the protruding legs of linear switches. With a tactile switch it is better not to lube the protruding legs so that the tactile feeling remains intact.
The easiest way to lube the springs is to put them in a bag and add a few drops of Krytox 105. Make sure there is a little air in the bag and shake it back and forth. Now the springs should all have a coat of lube on them. You can just take them out with your hands.
After this you can put the switches back together! Place the springs back in the bottom housing, put the stem on the spring and place the top housing on top. Please note that the protruding legs are directed towards the gold contact point in the bottom housing. Now press it together and you will hear a "click" when the switch is closed again.
After you have done this at least 60 times, you can put the switches back in your keyboard and immediately experience the difference! Take into account the position of the pins on the switch and the holes in the sockets. After you have put all the switches back in your keyboard, I recommend that you first go to key test to test if all switches are working. If a switch doesn't work, you probably pushed a pin crooked. This is not a problem and is easy to fix by straightening the pin with a pair of pliers or something similar.
In addition to lubing switches, there are also other mods for your keyboard. Here you can read all about 5 mods to improve your mechanical keyboard. If you have any questions about lubing switches or questions about other keyboard related matters, be sure to join the Discord! There is always someone available to help you further.