One of the best things about being alive right now is that you can pretty much customize anything you own. And, if you’re a PC gamer, one of those items just happens to be your keyboard.
While you can spend as much or as little on your keyboard as you like, the thing that sets hardcore gamers apart from the rest of us is that they want the best. This tends to be a mechanical keyboard which, aside from durability and performance, also have some real benefits when it comes to customization.
Chief among these is the ability to switch out the factory standard keycaps for something with a little more style, function, or any combination of the two. We even have more than a few outstanding collections currently available in the Gamer Bias shop. But first, let’s explain how to replace those factory keycaps with something a little more awesome.
Buy a Key Puller
The first thing you will need is a tool called a key puller. Even if you think you can do the job with something else, it is best to use a key puller to preserve the integrity of your mechanical keyboard.
There are two types you will encounter: Wire and ring key pullers. The wire puller tends to be the preferred implement for both efficiency and speed as well as for how delicate it is to use but, really, the only major difference is that the ring key puller requires you to remove the key from the device after each key is removed from the board.
Something else you will want to help you with the larger keys is a thin screwdriver to help give you leverage when removing and then placing a new key on the board.
Removing the Keys
With the wire puller or the ring key puller, place it firmly around the contours of the key. Without using a great amount of force, pull upward on the key gently but steadily until it pops off the board.
Do not move quickly or use brute force to remove the key. The key here is to keep in mind that you are working with a piece of electronic equipment thus any connections could be damaged if you aren’t careful enough.
Though mechanical keyboards are durable, they aren’t indestructible. Another thing to watch out for with the larger keys is that they often have a spring bar. Be sure to not damage the connection between the spring bar and the key itself.
Once you have removed all of your keys you are ready to put on the new keycaps; however, if this is a mechanical keyboard you’ve owned and used for some time, you might take this opportunity to clean it before installing the new keys. When placing the new keys, use your board as a guide for how to place them. Some people prefer to do a general outline of the keyboard first by installing the oddly shaped keys and larger keys such as the space bar.