Keyboard Summer Science Project: Let’s experiment switches weight⚖️

This post is English version of “【キーボード自由研究】実験してみよう! スイッチの重さ⚖”. Please be patient with my poor English…


It’s a summer! Summer is about Summer vacation!Summer vacation is about Summer science project [*], y’all !!

* Let me explain: It’s quite common that there are mini science project homework at elementary school in Japan. It’s called “Jiyu-Kenkyu”, means free research if I translate it literally.

I hated summer science project, actually I always hated all of homeworks so much. I was always crying at the end of the day of summer vacation!&ebsp;I never knew fun of researching something until I became adult.
So, I’m going to do something like summer science project with mechanical keyboard which I love so much. Please go easy on this. Enjoy!


Why I Started

Mechanical keyboard switches has a lot of variety. ‘Linear’ moves smoothly. ‘Tactile’ has a bump. ‘Clicky’ makes sound. I like Clicky.
And, there are differences of weight. ‘Weight’ means force of repulsion. Gateron Green is quite heavy. Red and Clear are light. Force can indicate as number value. Red is 45g, Blue is 55g, Green is 80g. The unit called ‘Gram Force‘, display as ‘gf‘. You can feel the weight when you press switches. I was just wondering that are these numbers true? I think I want to research it myself.

Equipments

Weight Kit Set for Balance Scale
These are steel calibration weights. It used with balance scale when measuring the weight of something. The science room at elementary school I attended, had these. I could buy this as around 2,000 yen at Amazon.co.jp.
Scale pan keycap
Keycap which able to hold weights. It has large plate top to hold steel weights. I made it with 3D printing.
Digital Scale
It can measure the weight until 500g with precision of 0.01g. I’ll use it for measuring scale pan keycap’s weight. It is about 1,000 yen at Amazon.co.jp.
Switches
I’m going to research these switches. These are Gateron’s normal switches. Red, Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Yellow and Clear.

キーボード自由研究 用意したもの

How to Research

Attach Scale pan keycap to the switch. Put steel weights on Scale pan keycap little by little, and record the weight when the stem down.

キーボード自由研究 調べる方法1

キーボード自由研究 調べる方法2 真横から

There is a variation in measurement of Scale pan keycaps weights. It was 1.66g to 1.70g. I’ll use 1.7g, a nice round number. It is so light because it is made by PA12 material through MJF 3D printing technology.

キーボード自由研究 天秤キーキャップの重さ

I made scales at Cherry MX joint part of Scale pan keycap. When the first gauge is under the switch top housing, it means that stem is down around 1.5mm. These mechanical switches has 4mm strokes. So three gauges and a half will be under the top housing when press the switch till the bottom.

キーボード自由研究 天秤キーキャップの目盛り

Results

Total weight of steel weights on Scale pan keycap for pressing each switches until 1.5mm, 2.5mm and the bottom, were these below. It’s not include Scale pan keycap’s weight.

1.5mm 2.5mm 底まで
赤軸 33g 42g 49g
黒軸 47g 58g 74g
クリア軸 25g 33g 38g
青軸※1 49g 50g 56g
黄軸 42g 53g 65g
緑軸※1 55g 69g 78g
茶軸※2 48g for passing bump. 49g
※1
Blue and Green are Clicky switch. More weights needed for passing click point than pressing until 2.5mm point. It was 55g for Blue, and 70g for Green.
※2
Brown is a tactile switch. It can’t stop at first gauge point. When it passes the bump, it is around second gauge.

Findings / Difficulties

There are peak force data at Massdrop. The table below is comparing these data to my results.

Peak force My Results
赤軸 45g 49g
黒軸 50g 74g
クリア軸 35g 38g
青軸 55g 56g
黄軸 50g 65g
緑軸 80g 78g
茶軸 45g 49g

Each values are quite similar to the data except the Black has a big difference between the data and my result. Relative relation like the one is lighter / heavier to another is also accurate. And the theory ‘Yellow is slightly lighter than Black’ is proved. I am happy because my science experiment went well than I thought.

The difficulties was that the switch easily stops when Scale pan keycap is crooked. It easily stops/moves by the position of steel weights. So it was hard to measure. I think it was easy stacking coins. And then measure that coins after.


I hope you enjoyed something on this keyboard summer science project. I bought steel weights kit set and digital scale, and made ‘Scale pan keycap’ for this post. It tooks time and money against the nonsense of it. So please praise me! 🙂
I didn’t expect I would buy steel weights kit at my age. Looking back, there was a lot of useful tools at science room in elementary school. Still I don’t like studying but the knowledge ‘There are steel weights kit for measuring’ is helped this my little project. Studying is important…

Anyway, I’m surprised it went well than I thought.

“Green needs 80g to press? No way, it means 80 of 1 yen coin. It’s not possible that tiny switch holds that weight. LOL.”
* Japanese 1 yen coin is just a gram.

So, ok then, I’m going to test it! Then I made a keycap for that and I did this mini experiment. But actually, the results are precise enough. My Black result value is too heavy compare to the data. But see the Input Club’s force curve, it says 78 gf. Turns out it same as my result. I’m very surprised this cheap, analog experiment made such a precise values. Same precision goes Blue and Green, clicky switches. Very similar to Input Club’s data for the weight for passing clicky point. It was little less for Green. Data is 79g but my result was 70g… Weight for passing bump, 48g, is equal to Input Club’s data.

Of course, the manufacturer made switches like so. I just did experiment and observe. But it was fun adjusting steel weights. That reminds me the days of elementary school. And reaching my desired outcome was feeling so good. If I knew this fun when I was a child, I would be a person who likes studying… LOL

緑軸 78g
Green can hold this much steel weights. She endures so much weight against her looks. I think Cherry made heaviest switch a green, was they thinking Hulk when they choosing the color?

クリア軸 38g
On the other hand, most delicate one, Clear. She down by a half weight of Green. She is delicate but also kind to others.

クキーボード自由研究
We can only know very rough values by this poor experiment. We can’t know the feels of switch as a force-stress curve graph, which is very common at mechanical keyboard community. But at least, you can know the switches weight as light or heavy. I know it can tell by simply pressing the switch!! If you don’t have anything to do at all, try it yourself. You’ll know the power of the Green.

FYI, I used these Gateron switch for Shigure-chan Mechanical Keychain, is appendices of “軸のブレない時雨ちゃん(Jiku no burenai Shigure-chan)“.You can buy it from BOOTH. Please check it out if you have any interest!! You don’t know which switch will come but enjoy like a loot box!🎊
The book contains a lot of illustration, mangas by @tama_mochi_ya, which means that very fun even if you don’t know keyboard at all!

2件のコメント

  1. Thank you for testing gaterons! please add results of cherry mx blue and clear, and other switches ^-^

  2. I got secret weapon called “Force Gauge”! I have to test other switches for getting my money’s worth.

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