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How to lube mechanical keyboard switches and stabilizers

If you want buttery-smooth keypresses and ASMR-level acoustics, this is the only way.

Henri Robbins / Input

Why would you want to lube your switches and stabilizers?

The number one benefit is a smoother, more satisfying keypress. There will be less scratchiness in the action and you’ll get much better sounds. The same is true with stabilizers — your spacebar and modifiers will feel smoother, have a more consistent feel, and will be quieter with less rattle.

Henri Robbins / Input

What you’ll need

  1. Switch separator (I 3D printed mine, Glorious makes one too)
  2. Stabilizers
  3. MX-style Switches (I’m using Blue Velvets)
  4. Dielectric grease or Super Lube for stabilizers (these are too thick for switches)
  5. Lube (I’m using Tribosys 3204, but for tactile switches get a thinner lube like Krytox 205g0)
  6. A small brush

Part 1: The switches

To start, you’ll want to open up your switches.

Once they’re opened, you’ll see four components:

  • The stem: This is the part that moves when you press the switch down. You’ll see two small bits of plastic sticking out on one side, those are the stem’s legs.
  • Upper Housing: The top part of the outer casing
  • Lower Housing: The bottom part of the outer casing, holds the leaf of the spring and connects to the PCB.
  • Spring: This is the part that puts force behind the switch, and compresses when it is pressed
Henri Robbins / Input

The basic anatomy of a keyboard switch

Once the switches are open, you’ll want to apply lube to the rails on the sides of the stems and the correlating rails on the bottom housings and around the circle on the bottom and the small tube on the inside of the stems. If the switches are linear, you’ll want to apply some on the legs where they make contact with the metal leaf.

Apply lube here...

And here...

Hot lubing tips

  • Less is more: It’s a lot easier to add lube than it is to remove it, so be fairly conservative and add a bit more if the switch doesn’t feel quite right.
  • Test beforehand: Add a small amount to one switch, close it, and test. If it doesn’t feel smooth enough, open the switch again and add a bit more. If it starts to feel soft, mushy, or unpleasant then you know to add less to the rest.
  • Efficiency: Instead of opening and closing one switch at a time, it can help to open all of your switches at once, sort the parts into separate piles, and apply lube to them as you put them back together. While it technically isn’t much faster, it can help you get into a rhythm as you work.
Henri Robbins / Input

Part 2: Lubing those stabilizers

Common types of stabilizers

  • Plate-mount: Made primarily by Cherry and Durock, these attach to the plate that holds the switches in place.
  • Clip-in PCB-mount: These attach to the PCB of the board using small plastic clips. They are more solid than plate-mount stabilizers, but less stable than screw-in. These are made by most companies.
  • Screw-in PCB-mount: Usually more expensive than other offerings, these are the most secure type of stabilizer. ZealPC and Durock both offer screw-in options.
Henri Robbins / Input

Tuning Stabilizers

To start, you’ll want to take them apart, separating the wire from the housings and stems. Next, apply lube to the inside of the housings and to the outside of the stems. Cover the ends of the wire in dielectric grease, extending it past the curve of the wire so the clip is lubricated. Finally, reassemble the stabilizers and test them in your keyboard, adding more lube if they feel scratchy or more grease if they still rattle.

Apply lube in here...

And right here...

And all over these ends

What else to do

If you aren’t satisfied with just using lube and grease, there are countless other ways to mod stabilizers. The most common are:

Holee Mods (aka Band-Aid mods) and clipping, which can reduce rattle and make cherry stabilizers feel more responsive, film modding, which is similar to the Band-Aid mod, and wire balancing (shown at 5:40), which can reduce rattle and make the keypress more consistent across the key.

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Wrapping up

After the stabilizers and switches are finished, put the board together and try typing on it to make sure everything feels right to you. If your board has to be soldered, DO NOT solder anything yet.

Remove and adjust any switches or stabilizers that seem off or unsatisfactory. Once you’ve checked everything, the board should be ready for final assembly and use.

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