How to Remove and Replace Your Old Keycaps with New Ones
If you have a mechanical keyboard, you might be tempted to change your old keycaps with new ones. Maybe you want to give your keyboard a new look and feel, to match your setup, or to try different materials and designs. Or maybe you just want to replace some worn-out or broken keycaps. But what should you do with your old keycaps? Should you throw them away, or keep them for some reason? And how can you remove and replace your keycaps safely and easily?
In this article, we will show you how to swap your keycaps and keep your old ones as a decoration or for other purposes. We will also provide some tips and tricks on how to clean and maintain your keyboard and keycaps. What are keycaps and why customize them?
Keycaps are the part of the keyboard that we use to type with. They cover the key switches, which send the signals needed for the computer to type what we see on the screen. Keycaps are detachable from the keyboard itself, which allows us to clean them and, of course, customize them.
Customizing keycaps can have several benefits, such as:
- Improving the typing experience: Different keycaps can have different shapes, sizes, textures, and materials that can affect how we type. For example, some keycaps can be more comfortable, durable, or responsive than others.
ABS vs PBT
- Expressing our personality: Different keycaps can have different themes, symbols, or characters that can reflect our interests, hobbies, or preferences. For example, some keycaps can be more geeky, artistic, or quirky than others.
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- Enhancing the aesthetic appeal: Different keycaps can have different colors, patterns, fonts, and styles that can change the look of our keyboard. For example, some keycaps can be more colorful, elegant, or fun than others.
However, customizing keycaps can also have some drawbacks, such as:
- Costing more money: Custom keycaps can be more expensive than standard ones, especially if they are made of high-quality materials or have unique designs. Some custom keycaps can cost hundreds of dollars for a full set.
- Being incompatible: Custom keycaps may not fit or work well with our keyboard or switches, especially if they are from different brands or models. Some custom keycaps may have different shapes or sizes that can interfere with the layout or functionality of our keyboard.
- Being hard to find: Custom keycaps may not be widely available or easy to get, especially if they are rare or limited edition. Some custom keycaps may only be sold in certain regions or websites that can be hard to access or trust.
Therefore, before we decide to customize our keycaps, we should consider our budget, compatibility, and availability.
How to remove your old keycaps
The first step to customize our keycaps is to remove our old ones. This can be done with a simple tool called a keycap puller. A keycap puller is a device that helps us pull off the keycaps from the switches without damaging them. It usually has two metal prongs that hook onto the sides of the keycap and a handle that we pull upwards.
There are different types of keycap pullers available in the market, such as wire pullers or plastic pullers. They all work in a similar way, but some may be more effective or gentle than others.
To use a keycap puller, we should follow these steps:
- Unplug our keyboard from the computer or turn it off if it is wireless.
- Locate the keycap that we want to remove and place the prongs of the puller around it.
- Gently squeeze the prongs together until they grip the sides of the keycap securely.
- Carefully pull the puller upwards until the keycap pops off from the switch.
- Repeat these steps for each keycap that we want to remove.
We should avoid pulling too hard or twisting the keycaps when removing them. This can damage the switches or the stems of the keycaps. We should also keep track of the layout and orientation of the keycaps when removing them. This can help us put them back correctly if we need to.
How to clean and store your old keycaps
After removing our old keycaps, we should clean them before storing them. This can help us remove any dirt, dust, oil, or stains that may have accumulated on them over time.
To clean our old keycaps, we should follow these steps:
- Prepare a soft cloth and some mild soap and water. We can also use some rubbing alcohol or specialized cleaners if needed.
- Wipe each keycap gently with the cloth and some soap and water solution. We can also use some rubbing alcohol or specialized cleaners if needed. We should avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasives that may damage the keycaps.
- Dry each keycap thoroughly with another cloth or a paper towel. We should make sure there is no moisture left on the keycaps.
- Store the keycaps in a safe and dry place. We can use a box, a bag, a jar, or a display case to store them. We should label the container with the name and model of our keyboard and keycaps. We can keep our old keycaps as a decoration or for other purposes. For example, we can:
- Put them on a shelf or a wall as a collage or a mosaic.
- Make a keychain or a necklace with them.
- Use them for crafts or art projects.
- Sell them or donate them to someone who needs them.
We can also check online for some creative ideas and examples of how to use our old keycaps.
How to clean your mechanical keyboard
Before we install our new keycaps, we should also clean our mechanical keyboard. This can help us remove any dust or debris that may affect the performance or appearance of our keyboard.
To clean our mechanical keyboard, we should follow these steps:
- Unplug our keyboard from the computer or turn it off if it is wireless.
- Use a compressed air can or a small brush to blow or wipe away any dirt or crumbs from the switches and the board. We can also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft attachment if needed.
- Use a cotton swab or a toothpick to clean any hard-to-reach areas, such as between the switches or under the stabilizers.
- Use a damp cloth or a wipe to clean the surface of the board and the frame. We can also use some rubbing alcohol or specialized cleaners if needed. We should avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasives that may damage the keyboard.
- Dry the keyboard thoroughly with another cloth or a paper towel. We should make sure there is no moisture left on the keyboard. We can also disinfect our keyboard if we want to. This can help us kill any germs or bacteria that may be on it.
To disinfect our keyboard, we should follow these steps:
- Use a disinfectant spray or wipe that is safe for electronics. We should read the label and follow the instructions carefully.
- Spray or wipe the surface of the board and the frame lightly with the disinfectant. We should avoid spraying or wiping directly on the switches or any openings.
- Let the disinfectant sit for a few minutes or as directed by the label.
- Wipe off any excess disinfectant with a dry cloth or a paper towel. We should always test the disinfectant on a small area of our keyboard first to make sure it does not cause any damage or discoloration.
How to install your new keycaps
The final step to customize our keycaps is to install our new ones. This can be done by simply pressing them onto the switches.
To install our new keycaps, we should follow these steps:
- Plug in our keyboard to the computer or turn it on if it is wireless.
- Locate the keycap that we want to install and align it with the stem of the switch. The stem is the part that sticks out from the switch and has a shape that matches the hole in the keycap.
- Press the keycap firmly onto the stem until it snaps into place. We should hear a click sound when it is properly installed.
- Repeat these steps for each keycap that we want to install.
We should be careful not to scratch or bend our new keycaps when installing them. We should also check for any issues or errors, such as:
- Loose or wobbly keycaps
- Misaligned or crooked keycaps
- Wrong or missing keycaps
- Unresponsive or sticky keys If we encounter any of these problems, we should try to fix them by adjusting, removing, and reinstalling the keycaps as needed.
We can also test our keys for functionality and feedback by typing on them and listening to them. We should make sure they work as expected and feel comfortable. We can also protect our keyboard and our desk from scratches by using a deskmat or a keyboard cover. A deskmat is a large pad that covers our desk and provides a smooth and soft surface for our keyboard and mouse. A keyboard cover is a thin layer of material that covers our keyboard and protects it from dust, spills, and scratches.
In this article, we have shown you how to remove and replace your old keycaps with new ones, and how to keep your old ones as a decoration or for other purposes. We have also provided some tips and tricks on how to clean and maintain your keyboard and keycaps. By following these steps, you can give your keyboard a new look and feel, and express your personality through your keycaps. You can also have fun and be creative with your old keycaps, and use them for different projects or ideas. We hope you have enjoyed this article and learned something new.