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mechanical keyboard kit

15 Best Mechanical Keyboard Kits for DIY Builds – 2021

What is the best 60% mechanical keyboard kit?

4. Drop Carina

USB: Left
Backlighting
: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

Designed to brighten up any space, the Carina is a gorgeous small form factor kit. Much like the YMDK 84, it has an acrylic case that’s lit up by a ring of LEDs. All LEDs are fully programmable, allowing you to select per-key colors or even clusters from the entire spectrum.

If switch flexibility is a priority for your new barebones keyboard kit, then you will appreciate this option. Due to supporting both 3-pin and 5-pin switches, it’ll run Gaterons and practically all Cherry MX clones with little to no trouble at all. Of course, these are sold separately along with the keycaps.

Upon purchase, we also like that there are three different plate styles to choose from (aluminum, copper, and brass) so you can choose what material works best for you. Besides affecting the boards’ aesthetics qualities, the plate material will subtlety accentuate the tactility of the switches.

The QMK firmware lets you customize every single key on this keyboard, including the lighting effects and the macros settings. If you are after total control over every aspect of your new mechanical keyboard, this 60% DIY kit is a great way to go.


3. Skyloong GK61Xs

USB: Left
Backlighting
: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: ✓
Software: ✓

The GK61XS is a popular Bluetooth mechanical keyboard kit that ticks a lot of boxes. Besides being wireless, It features 61 sockets for keys – each of which are individually lit with multiple RGB LED lighting options. Furthermore, it’s fully compatible with both Windows and Mac devices. 

Capable of accepting all kinds of switches, the hot-swappable ability of these sockets is another big selling point. It accepts Cherry’s, Gateron’s, and Kailh’s, etc. without having to do any soldering. To save you even more time, the plate mount stabs come pre-lubed straight out of the box.

Even though the case is made from plastic, the quality is somewhat high. There’s little flex to the board which is a big plus. Moreover, on top is a sturdy, white metal plate that looks fantastic as it reflects the bright RGB light. The lighting effects are also pretty good with plenty of pre-set modes.

The built-in GK61 software gives you total control over the performance of this keyboard, too. Although it might be a bit difficult to understand at first, you can map each key individually when setting macros or layers, and a host of other advanced options are available.


2. DROP Tokyo

USB: Left
Backlighting
: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

Featuring legendary Japanese engineering, The Tokyo60 is an elegant 60% barebones keyboard kit with a compact HHKB layout. It includes the top/ bottom case, PCB, stabilizers, and feet. The case is available in four anodized color finishes; including Black, Silver, and Coyote.

Constructed from two pieces of aluminum, the case feels solid and has the kind of stability and rigidity you won’t find with cheaper, plastic alternatives. Unfortunately, although it does support an RGB under glow, you will have to purchase the acrylic diffuser separately that slots into the middle.

We particularly like that this kit doesn’t require any soldering and can be put together with just a screwdriver. This is in part thanks to the hot-swappable sockets and PCB screw-in stabs. The sockets allow you to run every type of Cherry MX switches with no difficulty at all, another huge benefit.

It also supports QMK. As a result, you can change the layering to accommodate arrow keys and a Numpad so pretty much no functionality is lost.


1. GMMK – 60%

USB: Left
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The GMMK Compact is a versatile and satisfying 60% mechanical keyboard kit. By having a sturdy aluminum faceplate, raised keys, and no visual branding; it follows the same minimalist design as the larger TKL model. Similarly, it works with any three-pin switches under the sun.

The fact that you can run Cherry’s, Gateron’s, or Kailh switches on this board is a huge benefit. Being able to hot-swap between these switches without having to do any soldering is a game-changer. All you have to do is pluck them out (with the included keycap puller) and replace them for another.

Thanks to the PCBs built-in RGB lighting, 16.8 million color combinations are possible too. Using the included firmware and software, all brightness options, lighting effects, and colorways are all fully controllable. Moreover, per-key lighting is a feature with each key having its own LED.

Lastly, the warranty on this unit is another big pro. You get 12 months of protection with a no-hassle refund or replacement program in place. That’s a huge bonus or any 60% bare-bones keyboard kit. Overall, it’s a superb entry-level DIY chassis that’s easy to customize and tailor.


What is the best 40% keyboard kit?

1. Drop Planck

USB: Left
Backlighting: X
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

Super compact, this 40% custom kit puts every single key on the keyboard within two units of your fingers from the home row. That ortholinear layout significantly reduces travel time and helps improve writing speeds in a major way. You may even see your typing speeds double overnight.

Kailh hot-swappable sockets are the star of the show here. Moving from Cherry MX to Gateron switches (or any other three-pin switches) is as simple as pulling them out and dropping another one in. Conveniently, you won’t ever have to pick up a soldering iron.

Unusually, a small speaker is soldiered on the PCB too. You’ll be able to customize the sound effects this board makes when it turns on, does updates, or plugs in. If that’s not impressive enough, there’s even a music mode in the firmware that allows it to turn into a musical instrument!

To achieve this the PCB is fully programmable. It comes pre-programmed with a standard keyboard layout, though all of that can be changed with QMK software. Using the software, it’s possible to set the sounds, create new key binds, and layers with relatively minimal effort.

The aluminum casing comes in two heights “mid-pro” and “high-pro” and is available in three different colors. In short, it’s a great little kit that provides lots of flexibility.



We hope you found a DIY Mechanical Keyboard Kit on this list.

Click here for the 15 best Hot-Swappable Keyboards!

Click here for the 15 best 65% Mechanical Keyboards!


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