· technology

Seattle Mechanical Keyboard Meetup

Twice a year, mechanical keyboard enthusiasts meetup in Seattle. Most are from the area, some fly in, and everyone brings their keyboards.

Inside, there are dozens of tables where people display their keyboards alongside placards detailing the model, switch, keycaps, and other modifications. From there, people walk around and mingle, nerding out about keyboards, typing on them, and just having a great time.

The mechanical keyboard community is one of the kindest and most helpful communities on the internet. There are many meetups around the world, and attending them provides an opportunity to meet people IRL and put their faces to their online names.

Behind each keyboard is a story; how it was built, what all the parts are, and why the person built it. I went around talking to awesome people and took their portraits.

(Left) Magicforce 68 keys Mini keyboard, Maxkey Lime keycaps
(Right) WASD V2 keyboard
60% Typewriter Wood Case, keycaps from Alibaba with chrome sides, PIP LEDs
(Left) Kinensis Advantage with vinyl sticker
(Right) Iris keyboard
RAMA M65-A keyboard, GMK Oblivion keycaps
Mech27-TKL keyboard, Gateron linear switches, GMK Plum keycaps
Mech27-TKL-V1 keyboard, Brown Alps switches, custom acrylic plate, SP LightCycle keycaps
Apple M0110 keyboard, custom PCB with Bluetooth, Gateron Yellow switches
Hardwired cork board, 67cN Zandas/Pealios, GMK Plum keycaps
(Left) Pok3r keyboard, Cherry Blue switches, grab bag keycaps
(Right) Unknown Sony video editing keyboard
(Left) Leopold FC660M keyboard, Cherry MX Brown switches, purple WASD keycaps
(Right) Genovation CP24 USB HID, Cherry MX Black switches, Relegendable keycaps
KBD keyboard, Gateron Red switches, translucent top, side printed keycaps, dancing LEDs
HHKB Pro 2, orange spacebar, artisan and stock Topres (rubber domes) and keycaps.
OLKB Preonic keyboard, Adler Typewriter keycaps
RAMA M65-O, custom ortho PCB by /u/wootpatoot, 67g Zealio switches, SA Hyper-7/Symbiosis keycaps

Some photos of the event:

This guy works at Github on the Atom team. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to tell him I use Sublime Text because Atom is slow. I should have said, “I appreciate you making an opensource text editor that everyone can use.” Sorry about that.
Some Paul Allen computer hacked to run Windows 7.
Numpad with different kinds of switches.
(Right) I ran into another UW student, Scott.
This is Scott’s board. The aluminum case was very well-manufactured. Apparently the two-layer cable cost the same amount though.
My keyboard! Pok3r with MX Clears and SP Think Different keycaps, SP red ESC key.
These boards belong to b-randen, one of the organizers. The one on the left is probably my favorite keyboard in the whole event, from an aesthetics standpoint.
MechMerlin, a YouTuber, filming his video at the meetup.
Someone modded two keyboards with really heavy keys (160g and 280g) for people to test their typing speeds on. 160g was quite heavy, 280g was ridiculous.
Artisan/novel keycaps are unique. Unlike regular keys which represent letters or symbols, artisans are color heads, faces, or even ramen. They are quite expensive and can be one-of-a-kind. At the event, some people were selling and trading their artisans.
There was also an artisan keycap making area, where attendees carved some kind of soft brown rubber.
There were soldering and handwiring workshops as well. This is a necessary skill for building a keyboard from scratch.
Jack Humbert, the owner of OLKB, went around the meetup via telepresence robot.
My favorite photo I took at the meetup. There’s a comical seriousness to someone holding up a keyboard to show a robot.
There was a trivia for prizes. It was very fun and was quite casual. Not the nasty competitive kind.
I teamed up with a random stranger, and somehow we got 6/10, through some lucky guesses and random facts we knew. This turned out to a high enough score and we got artisan-shaped chocolate.

This was my first meetup and I’m quite new and ignorant about keyboards. Nonetheless, people were always willing to answer questions. The community is awesome, and I had a blast.

Photos taken on January 13th, 2018