Part five, the build

The construction of a Planck

A journal of my first mechanical keyboard build.

Part five
The build

So, the parts from OLKB.com finally arrived. From the moment I ordered the PCB, case and top plate, it took almost two months for it to travel from the US to me here in Sweden. Those two months felt like an eternity.

The first three weeks was just waiting for Jack att OLKB to get to my position in the long shipping queue (apparently the Planck is very popular and Jack does all the packaging and handling himself). I had no problem waiting for those three weeks. But the other five weeks was the Swedish post office not being able to do their job.

I do not have the energy to tell you about how bad the Swedish post office (PostNord is their name) is. Just trust me when I say, they are impressively bad at the job they are supposed to do.

Now, on to the build.

If you are curious about the parts I use in this build, you can check out the previous parts in this Planck-build-series.

The construction of a Planck, introduktion.

The construction of a Planck, keycaps

The construction of a Planck, keyboard switches.

The construction of a Planck, wrist wrest.

The construction of a Planck, artisans.

I have never done anything like this before. The sight of these parts lying on my desk was both terrifying and very satisfying. The first thing I did was I put the switches in the top plate. I’ve read online that you should not put them all in at once, you should put the corner switches in first and solder them so they keep the PCB and the top plate together. Thats not what I did. I put all the switches in all at once. It worked fine. The switches all lined up with the PCB without any problem.

Soldering

Now this is were it got really interesting and a bit scary. I had never soldered before. I had watched a lot of YouTube videos on the subject but that was it. Now was the time for the real thing. I knew I couldn’t mess up or else I’d have to wait for months for the new PCB’s to ship. That was not something I wanted to do after my two month wait for this PCB.

I had gotten a soldering iron from my local hardware store for something like 40 dollars. I did a little research and I found out I needed a soldering iron with adjustable temperature and a fine tip. So that’s what I got.

The soldering itself went much better than I had thought. I was a bit worried that it would be difficult and take a long time. But it was pretty straight forward. It took me about half an hour and I thankfully didn’t make any misstakes. The first two or three switches took a little more time than the rest while I was figuring out were to heat the prongs on the switches and were to apply the solder. As soon as I figured that out the rest was just repetition.

The solder joints may not be perfect, but they are functional, and that’s good enough for me.

Here is the finished board without keycaps. It worked right away with the standard layout that shipped preloaded on the Planck. That layout did not work for me. I’m from Sweden and I can’t write without åäö so I had to make my own layout.

I’ll wright more on the subject of how I went about programing my Planck in the final part of this “building my own keyboard journey”. But it looks like this.

The middle layer is my standard layer and the raise button switches to the top layer and the lower button switches to the lower layer.

I’m pleasantly surprised at how smoothly this build went. I thought it would be much more difficult. In reality it’s not more difficult than building an (easy) LEGO set. The soldering may put some people of (it shouldn’t) but that won’t be a problem going forward as the new planks don’t need to be soldered, you just put the switches in as LEGO bricks and they stick to their position all by them selves.

So this is the finished result. It’s my daily driver and I love it. I’ll write more soon in the last part of this series. That part will be a review. I can tell you now that it will be a positive review.

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