[Product news] Kailh Cherry ML Inspired low profile switches

Kailh just released 3 low profile switches inspired by Cherry ML but not actually 100% compatible with them. Indeed we have to wait for Kailh to release the specific keycaps, BUT I made a quick "first impression" video. I'll post more high quality pictures in the coming days but for now they are more interesting than I initially thought.



As always sorry for bad English and low quality video :P
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Unread post10 May 2016, 16:50

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Nice review

If you don't like them ML i will take them ... for free :).

Its good we are getting a new low profile switch, its silly that they don't make them work with ML caps tho.
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Unread post10 May 2016, 17:01

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Thanks for sharing, matt3o! These guys look very interesting. I'd love to try some out when I get a chance.
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Unread post10 May 2016, 17:59

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linear switch dismantled (huge pic, click for full res)

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Unread post10 May 2016, 19:04

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andrewjoy wrote:Nice review

If you don't like them ML i will take them ... for free :).

Its good we are getting a new low profile switch, its silly that they don't make them work with ML caps tho.

this, i love my ml keyboard
maybe mine is smoother because high usage

about compatibility; if they go for doubleshoots or dyesubs it will be very sad for the people that have ML keyboards :cry:

also great review
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Unread post10 May 2016, 20:12

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I may be interested depending on the feeling(how stable and tactile are they), travel(probably shorter than ML's since the caps are hitting the housing, but I hope not too short to be comfortable) and whether Matt3o getting them first means they'll only sell them without a six digit MOQ on assdrop or is just a coincidence.

Also I couldn't help but chuckle when you called ML's "worst switches ever made". Sure, they're not the best, but I'd rather use ML's in good condition(and possibly lubed, never tried that) over many linear switches like MX Red, or whatever the SteelSeries one is called(QS1 I think?).
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KRKS wrote:and whether Matt3o getting them first means they'll only sell them without a six digit MOQ on assdrop or is just a coincidence.

I got them from a completely difference source and planning to use them on my next project. MD is not even aware of their existence
KRKS wrote:Also I couldn't help but chuckle when you called ML's "worst switches ever made".

I saw this coming :) It's just personal opinion, dude. There's no such thing as the perfect switch, it's just what you like.
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Unread post10 May 2016, 22:55

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Thanks matt3o for the preliminary review.

Having built a custom keyboard with ML switches, I'm familiar with their shortcomings yet still enjoy their short throw and less bulky size and still think it was a good choice for my Alumaplop for those reasons and I've been using it exclusively for the last year.

It will be interesting to get a report after the Kailh switches are tested in a keyboard. I remember thinking that the ML's were better than they really were when I just pressed them between my thumb and finger. Let's hope for the best. I think there could be a big market for a smooth operating, low profile switch with a short throw.
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Thx for sharing...who doesn't know the WhiteFox. that's my only regret hahahah time for Massdrop EU top open up shop..
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Kurplop wrote:Thanks matt3o for the preliminary review.

Having built a custom keyboard with ML switches, I'm familiar with their shortcomings yet still enjoy their short throw and less bulky size and still think it was a good choice for my Alumaplop for those reasons and I've been using it exclusively for the last year.

It will be interesting to get a report after the Kailh switches are tested in a keyboard. I remember thinking that the ML's were better than they really were when I just pressed them between my thumb and finger. Let's hope for the best. I think there could be a big market for a smooth operating, low profile switch with a short throw.


Oo custom ML , do share !

ML in my view get a very bad rep that they in no way deserve, they sound amazing , the keyboards they are in are usually nice and small and compared to other tactile and click cherry the win out in my view They do get better with use, my one had been used very very heavily but it had one of them silicone skins on it so it was mint when i cleaned it up , i did not have any scratchy feel and it was butter smooth, they in my view felt very topre like .

Give ML a chance! Give Kailh ML a chance!

I hope one day we see them in a laptop again.
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andrewjoy–The Alumaplop is my custom ML ergonomic keyboard which I began using last June. Because it was designed to be used with a laptop with portability being paramount, I was attracted to the ML switch. https://flic.kr/s/aHsk9S87aK
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That is some insanely awesome work mate , well done !
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Thanks. I appreciate that.
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Kurplop wrote:andrewjoy–The Alumaplop is my custom ML ergonomic keyboard which I began using last June. Because it was designed to be used with a laptop with portability being paramount, I was attracted to the ML switch. https://flic.kr/s/aHsk9S87aK

:shock:
that is one of the most beautiful custom keyboard i have ever seen, really awesome
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Unread post11 May 2016, 20:07

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Wow Kurplop, that's a really beautiful custom board. Great job!
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Unread post11 May 2016, 21:26

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How are they compared to real ML switches?
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andrewjoy wrote:ML in my view get a very bad rep that they in no way deserve, they sound amazing, [...]

They absolutely deserve the bad rap. They’re *suuuuper* scratchy, they bind horribly when you hit them even slightly off axis, the contacts are easily dirtied and get chattery, they need to be desoldered before disassembly and they’re annoying to disassemble and pretty fragile, they’re very annoying to lubricate which is particularly unfortunate because as mentioned they’re almost unusably scratchy when unlubricated, they only come with weird sizes of keycaps which make it hard to build custom keyboards (I think I’d recommend Kurplop’s do-it-yourself-style keycaps to anyone wanting to make a serious ML custom project) and the “standard” ML boards are often in wacky layouts which are too compressed horizontally to comfortably type on, and there’s basically nothing interesting or inspiring about typing on them. There’s nothing remotely “amazing” about the sound.

The only thing MLs have to recommend them is that you can sometimes get a handful of obsolete OEM laptop keyboard units with ML switches and dyesub caps for $5–10/each brand new, so they’re pretty cheap to build into custom projects. That and there are no good other options for modular low-profile switches.

They’re roughly comparable to scissor switches as a typing experience, but they take up considerably more space.

For a well made short-throw low-profile switch, try short-throw Topre. 100x better than MLs. And I don’t even like Topre switches for full-travel keyboards.

If Kaihua or whoever else can make a better modular low-profile switch than ML, that would be great.
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okay guys. A quick note about my statement ("worst switches" etc). It's so bold that I was hoping it was clear it's ironic (probably lost in translation). Of course there are worst switches on this planet but to my experience Cherry ML are definitely not in my top ten. That is MY very own personal opinion! Which is the most honest and candid thing I can give you, I thought you would appreciate that.

You could post 100 videos about how much you hate Futaba switches (which I like) and I wouldn't give a damn. If you like Cherry ML I'm happy for you and I totally respect your opinion! You do respect mine. I do not sugar the pill, I'm not a diplomatic person and I'm quite a misanthrope.
cookie wrote:How are they compared to real ML switches?

the closest are the brown, they are smoother and much stabler. They are like cherry mx clear with a shorter travel.
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Unread post12 May 2016, 06:52

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matt3o: have you tried short-throw Topre? (I got to try some at an SF keyboard meetup a few months ago. Very nice, considering they’re comparably compact to ML switches.)
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I wonder if these Kaihua switches would work with ML keycaps if you filed the edges down a bit. I wonder if they work with any of Signature Plastics’s ML-compatible caps.

matt3o: do you know the Kaihua product number for these? Is this the right datasheet? https://github.com/keyboardio/keyswitch ... 001D02.pdf
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jacobolus: pbt-dyesub ML keycaps??? what laptops have that?
matt3o: it's all in good fun, just for the sake of disscusion. We all know that keyboards are a matter of preference. A much worse keyswitch (IMO) inside the Cherry family is the late MY switch.
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Unread post12 May 2016, 09:03

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the datasheet is right, I believe it's outdated (looking at the publish date) but should be 90% accurate.

unfortunately ML keycaps just don't work, the stem position is different
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i have a few of what looks like SP ML caps that i nabbed from the grab bag in the surprise box ( as i appear to be there only defender :P) , if you like i can send you some for testing ( assuming i can find them)
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jacobolus wrote:[Cherry ML] absolutely deserve the bad rap. They’re *suuuuper* scratchy, ...

I have tried one Cherry ML keyboard that did not feel super-scratchy, but I suppose that they are very sensitive to dust.

These Kailh switches look like they could be a variation of their low-profile Cherry MX clone-derivative. The internal stabiliser bar is very interesting. I would like to know how they feel with off-centre key presses/wide keys.
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Findecanor wrote:I have tried one Cherry ML keyboard that did not feel super-scratchy, but I suppose that they are very sensitive to dust.

The scratchy ones I’ve tried were brand new, still wrapped in plastic. Dust was not the issue.
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The first ML board I got seemed very smooth. Unfortunately, I ruined most of them experimenting and subsequent boards weren't as nice. I presume that the first board was better because it was obviously well worn in based on the condition of the caps. The later boards were all new.

I guessed that the off-press stickiness was a result of the ratio of the width of the cap to the depth of the sliding mechanism. In the cabinetmaking world,I would compare it to a drawer that is too wide relative to its depth. Without very close tolerances, they inherently tend to not operate as smoothly as a better proportioned one. Possible solutions in the keyswitch world might include, lower friction materials or stabilizing features such as integrated scissors or deeper slides(?) to improve the ratio. It will be interesting to see how Kailh dealt with it
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Matt3o, nice little review, I am VERY interested in these switches (along with the MX stemmed "Alps" i-Rocks switches).

Just a couple of related points:

These versions are plate mountable. They have a flat ridge around the base and little clips to lock into a plate, but it looks like it's designed to be 1.2mm thick plate and there's not much space between the plate and PCB (1.8mm?). Personally, I think this was a bad choice as the ridge is what blocks stock ML caps, but on the other hand it means you can prototype with just a plate (although who knows what caps would fit).

There seems to be a PCB mount only version also, so you could use normal ML caps with them:
https://detail.1688.com/offer/525039739 ... 0.0.huQ2jE
http://www.globalsources.com/gsol/I/Mec ... 1140057536

The pin layout for PCB design is not like ML or MX at all, so unfortunately you can't use them on existing boards, have to make your own PCB.

IMHO, the most important difference between these and Cherry MLs is that these have a built-in stabiliser bar! For that reason alone, they're worth trying out. I hope they make more PCB-only ones without that ridge. Really interested to try the tactile and clicky versions.

If they changed the ridge to only run around the sides and bottom, that may allow ML caps to fit. Perhaps some feedback to them if they provided the switches direct to you.
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Unread post23 May 2016, 07:36

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okay. the video was a hands-on not a review. just a first impression but I hadn't time to post a full review.

The switch has indeed a ridge and they are "mountable" on a 1.3mm plate. I say it between "" because you'd need very specifically crafted keycaps that Kailh have not done yet.

Anyway it's not the ridge that prevents standard cherry ML to function. Cherry ML keycaps hit on the clear housing before hitting the ridge. I haven't measured them but I'm pretty sure the stem position on kailh and cherry is different (it's more centered on kailh).
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Unread post23 May 2016, 08:17

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Another keycap mount/form factor ... just what we need ;)
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Unread post23 May 2016, 09:32

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matt3o wrote:okay. the video was a hands-on not a review. just a first impression but I hadn't time to post a full review.

Well, nice little "hands-on" then :)

The switch has indeed a ridge and they are "mountable" on a 1.3mm plate. I say it between "" because you'd need very specifically crafted keycaps that Kailh have not done yet.

Anyway it's not the ridge that prevents standard cherry ML to function. Cherry ML keycaps hit on the clear housing before hitting the ridge. I haven't measured them but I'm pretty sure the stem position on kailh and cherry is different (it's more centered on kailh).

Ah, okay. That kind of sucks. Yes, the ML stem is closer to the top of the housing, so it's probably the upper part of the Kailh one that hits the cap. I've tried some ML "upside down" and they work with stock caps, so I thought the ones without the ridge would, too.

However, we may not be completely out of keycap options... SP's Family11 keycaps may fit. They're a bit larger than Family13 and Cherry corp caps (0.71" instead of 0.68", designed for standard 0.75" key spacing instead of stock ML spacing) and have three different stem height options. When I asked previously about options, they said the PBT dyesub is not possible at this time, only ABS pad printed, but that's still better than nothing :)
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Unread post23 May 2016, 10:21

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