Linear switch for autoimmune arthritis: light or heavy?

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spinnylights

22 Mar 2020, 18:58

Hi Deskthority folks! I've developed an autoimmune disorder that causes pain in my joints, tendons, and fingertips—my GP thinks psoriatic arthritis is likely but I'm waiting to see a specialist for a definitive diagnosis. In the meantime, typing has become a depressingly painful experience for me, particularly because I normally write code all day. My daily driver is a Topre Type Heaven with 45g switches, and believe it or not using it is giving me a lot of trouble; I had to resort to using voice recognition to write this which I didn't like at all. :P I'm considering trying a linear switch instead, and wondering if it would be better to use a damped lightweight switch or a heavyweight switch. I know there are some other posts about arthritis but I don't think any of them have quite taken up this question directly.

Normally I favor lightweight switches, and since the Topre switches I have feel uncomfortably heavy now, I've thought that it might work better to use an even lighter switch. Since part of what's giving me trouble is bottoming out onto a metal plate, I've thought that maybe a light switch with dampers would be a good choice. On the other hand, a very heavy switch with a high actuation point might prevent me from bottoming out at all, since I have a light typing hand.

Matias linears are one switch I've considered. I know the light weighting and squishy typing feel are big parts of what people often dislike about that switch, but those attributes might actually make them perfect for my situation. They have the added advantage that I have a Focus FK-2001 with trashed Type OA2 switches and could mount them in it instead. (EDIT: This account reports trouble getting Matias switches to fit Focus keycaps for Type T1 clones, so maybe I would run into a problem there…hmmm…) I've never tried Matias switches, though, and I've heard they have durability issues. Getting a pack of 200 switches might help with this somewhat, since I could swap broken ones out, but if it's really serious that could end up being a problem.

On the other hand, I've also considered getting a Wooting Two. Those can come with 80g switches, which ordinarily I would think was too heavy, but might be ideal here. Since that keyboard has a customizable actuation point, I could set it near the top of the key travel which would make the heavy weighting matter less. Bottoming out on that keyboard would probably be just as uncomfortable as on my Type Heaven, but with those heavy switches it might not happen at all. Maybe that would be preferable. It might be nice for games too since using a controller is also uncomfortable for me right now. I think my Focus is cuter, but I guess looks aren't the most important thing in this situation.

Of course, maybe there's another switch out there that would be even better. My main requirements are that it have a very smooth feel, be available in a full-size board, and not be wildly expensive.

Thoughts?

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swampangel

22 Mar 2020, 21:51

A more tedious but reliable option would be to linearize some white/cream damped alps (but these are bound to be heavier than 45g).

My experience with Matias switches is that some will start to chatter, and they can usually be fixed permanently by disassembling/cleaning/reassembling, but on rare occasion a contact leaf will actually break and need to be replaced.

The idea of high weight+high actuation point is interesting. If you do try that, I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

Findecanor

22 Mar 2020, 23:20

I have found the least fatigue with a light and tactile damped switch, but I think the best option for that would be Cherry MX Blue with O-rings.

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

22 Mar 2020, 23:23

Cherry MX red might be your best bet, as those switches don't have a lot of weight to them. If that is still too heavy, you could get some lighter springs maybe.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

23 Mar 2020, 00:23

Findecanor wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 23:20
I have found the least fatigue with a light and tactile damped switch, but I think the best option for that would be Cherry MX Blue with O-rings.
And if you are able to do Leslieann's "jailhouse" mod you could move the actuation point up a lot higher.

And get the softest and fattest O-rings you can find.

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spinnylights

23 Mar 2020, 01:45

swampangel wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 21:51
A more tedious but reliable option would be to linearize some white/cream damped alps (but these are bound to be heavier than 45g).
I thought of that too, but I'm worried that the heavier weighting would wear my hands out fast. I do wonder how much lighter they would get with the click leaves removed, though; reading around it sounds like they get a bit lighter but not dramatically I guess.
swampangel wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 21:51
My experience with Matias switches is that some will start to chatter, and they can usually be fixed permanently by disassembling/cleaning/reassembling, but on rare occasion a contact leaf will actually break and need to be replaced.
Yeah, that's the same thing I've heard others report. Good to know it can be fixed by cleaning though.
swampangel wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 21:51
The idea of high weight+high actuation point is interesting. If you do try that, I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
I'm strongly leaning in the Wooting direction right now, so I'll definitely report back if I go that route.
Findecanor wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 23:20
I have found the least fatigue with a light and tactile damped switch, but I think the best option for that would be Cherry MX Blue with O-rings.
Redmaus wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 23:23
Cherry MX red might be your best bet, as those switches don't have a lot of weight to them. If that is still too heavy, you could get some lighter springs maybe.
My main concern with Cherries is that I've tried MX Brown and don't care for them at all—they feel really scratchy and plasticy to me. I'd worry that blues would be the same way. MX Red seems like a better bet maybe, but in that vein I think I'd be more likely to go with Gateron Clears. Their 35g actuation force is more like what I've been considering in a lightweight switch and people seem to find them pleasantly smooth.

That said, I already have a board that can mount Matias Linear, so I would only have to pay for the switches. Also, they come with dampers, saving me the trouble of procuring and installing o-rings. I love the aesthetics of the FK-2001 also—mine has the adorable colored legends on the modifiers. And people say they're fantastically smooth, which I care about a lot.
fohat wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 00:23
And if you are able to do Leslieann's "jailhouse" mod you could move the actuation point up a lot higher.
That mod is interesting and good to know about. I'm not sure how I would do with the shorter travel. Really cushy o-rings might do the trick, as you suggest, but I suspect it might be better if I had enough distance to easily avoid bottoming out at all. Hard to say without actually testing it out I guess.

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robo

23 Mar 2020, 02:51

I know these are not usually favored on a forum like this, but have you tried very short travel keys, like an Apple Magic Keyboard? It seem like it would require the least movement, due to the minimal key travel, and activation force is pretty light as well.

davkol

23 Mar 2020, 11:19

What about 30g Topre? Or even the cheap replacement sheets from Korea? It's substantially softer than 45g and in fact almost linear.

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spinnylights

23 Mar 2020, 16:49

robo wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 02:51
I know these are not usually favored on a forum like this, but have you tried very short travel keys, like an Apple Magic Keyboard? It seem like it would require the least movement, due to the minimal key travel, and activation force is pretty light as well.
I haven't tried their latest iteration of it, but I did use an earlier version of it for a while years ago, and looking at the force curve for the newest one it seems like the design is based on the same principles. I found the switches in it somewhat uncomfortable with extended use even then, I think because the combination of short travel and fairly assertive tactility means you bottom out pretty hard with every keypress, so I imagine now I would find it a great challenge. I'll go to an Apple store and try it just to see but I have to say that I'm not too optimistic.

The condition I have is somewhat different from something like osteoarthritis; the pain isn't just in my joints, but also my fingertips and such because of general inflammation in my hands and damage to my cuticles and nail beds and so on. Anything that puts pressure on my fingertips (opening the fridge door, carrying grocery bags, etc.) has become a teeth-gritting kind of experience. So, pressing down on a hard surface like a backplate or even a PCB quickly drives me away from the keyboard; rubber domes on their own don't seem to provide enough cushion to help with this (as I've discovered with my Topres). Repeated big movements in my fingers do provoke pain in my joints over time, so I do understand the logic of short throw switches from that angle; I think a combination of quick actuation and either gentle bottom-out or no bottom-out is more what I'm after. The sudden jerk of a sharp tactile event can provoke pain in my tendons pretty fast, also, which is part of why I'm considering linear switches.
davkol wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 11:19
What about 30g Topre? Or even the cheap replacement sheets from Korea? It's substantially softer than 45g and in fact almost linear.
Is there a reason to go this route over Matias Linears or Gateron Clears with o-rings etc. if the 30g Topres are almost linear anyway? The domes in Topre don't provide much cushioning on bottom-out—if anything I think that's part of their appeal for people :lol: since it keeps them from being mushy like everyday domes. Also, I've always felt like part of what makes Topre uniquely appealing is the special quality of its gentle and refined tactility; if you can barely notice that, I'm not really sure what would make Topre a better choice over a cheaper linear switch. Topre is delightfully smooth but I don't think they're alone in that department when up against linear switches.

As for the knockoffs like Plum etc., I've never tried them so can't speak from experience, but people who've compared them side-by-side with Topre seem to almost universally prefer Topre if price is no object. At such light weighting, tactility is going to be mild at best in any switch, so I kind of feel like it makes more sense to go for linears since you can get unique/widely beloved/etc. linear switches in the same price range as the pseudo-Topre boards. I don't really want any tactility anyway since the already-mild tactility in my 45g Topres is giving me trouble. Do let me know if you think there's something I'm missing, though.

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Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

23 Mar 2020, 17:58

If you type rather lightly anyways then I'd suggest Gateron Clears with o-rings or Matias Linears. I personally think Matias Linears aren't very good with dampers, but that might be just what you need to provide additional cushion to your fingers.

Findecanor

23 Mar 2020, 20:32

fohat wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 00:23
Findecanor wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 23:20
I have found the least fatigue with a light and tactile damped switch, but I think the best option for that would be Cherry MX Blue with O-rings.
And if you are able to do Leslieann's "jailhouse" mod you could move the actuation point up a lot higher.
That would also move the tactile point higher.
I'm not sure putting the tactile point higher is a good thing. You'd want a distinct point where you'd want to stop pressing. If it is too high you will always overshoot — which you always do with standard Topre domes. And then you'd have not achieved any change.

But yeah.. Some kind of light linear switch with one or two (or three) O-rings might also work, using bottoming to prevent overshoot.

chzcake44s

23 Mar 2020, 21:07

If you were going with light full-travel linears I would recommend Cherry Silent (damped) Reds over the normal ones. The silent dampeners on the stem make for a much more cushioned bottom out, but probably not as cushioned as the Topre domes you've been using. How do you feel about a split board? I know you specified that you want a regular full size, but if I were you I would try building a larger board with super light and super low travel linears: something like this. If you could somehow damp those and mount them in a super cushioned plate, then that is about the most low-stress board I can think of.

davkol

23 Mar 2020, 22:20

spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
Is there a reason to go this route over Matias Linears or Gateron Clears with o-rings etc. if the 30g Topres are almost linear anyway?
You said you already have a Topre keyboard. Then it's a matter of swapping the domes/sheets.
spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
As for the knockoffs like Plum etc., I've never tried them so can't speak from experience, but people who've compared them side-by-side with Topre seem to almost universally prefer Topre if price is no object.
Those comments are usually from the time when Topre clones started. However, the production has incrementally improved since then, and the current NIZ (and possibly Abko or other) keyboards are much better than the early stuff.

I don't know if the separately-sold sheets have kept up with this development, though.
spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
At such light weighting, tactility is going to be mild at best in any switch, so I kind of feel like it makes more sense to go for linears since you can get unique/widely beloved/etc. linear switches in the same price range as the pseudo-Topre boards.
BTW Matias Quiet Linear isn't actually linear either.
spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
I don't really want any tactility anyway since the already-mild tactility in my 45g Topres is giving me trouble.
Going by my variable-weight Topre, 45g is actually on the more tactile side and it strains my hands when gaming, for example. I would prefer uniform 35g or 40g instead, because 30g feels "mushy" to me… the initial bump is hardly noticeable and then it's more like a linear dampened switch.
swampangel wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 21:51
A more tedious but reliable option would be to linearize some white/cream damped alps (but these are bound to be heavier than 45g).
There are aftermarket springs for Alps switches. (from sprit IIRC)

kshopper2084

23 Mar 2020, 23:15

Not glamorous, but Kinesis Freestyle 2 boards with the original domes (not mechanical) have a very light activation force and have read others with your condition found them helpful.

davkol

23 Mar 2020, 23:56

So do Goldtouch Adjustable keyboards.

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spinnylights

24 Mar 2020, 00:31

Blaise170 wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 17:58
If you type rather lightly anyways then I'd suggest Gateron Clears with o-rings or Matias Linears. I personally think Matias Linears aren't very good with dampers, but that might be just what you need to provide additional cushion to your fingers.
Thanks, I'm glad to hear I'm not totally off-the-mark in my thinking there. :D I'm not sure I'd like the feel of the dampers either under other conditions but given how things are it seems like they might be a good bet, yeah.
Findecanor wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 20:32
fohat wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 00:23
And if you are able to do Leslieann's "jailhouse" mod you could move the actuation point up a lot higher.
That would also move the tactile point higher.
I'm not sure putting the tactile point higher is a good thing. You'd want a distinct point where you'd want to stop pressing. If it is too high you will always overshoot — which you always do with standard Topre domes. And then you'd have not achieved any change.
Yes, and I'm not really sure I want any tactility in general since the jerkiness gets uncomfortable now. I type super-light (I never accidentally actuate my 45g Topres for example, not even close) so I'm not too worried about overshoot with linears even without a tactile event. I'm curious about how the jailhouse blues feel but my guess is a linear switch would be more comfortable as things are.
chzcake44s wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 21:07
If you were going with light full-travel linears I would recommend Cherry Silent (damped) Reds over the normal ones. The silent dampeners on the stem make for a much more cushioned bottom out, but probably not as cushioned as the Topre domes you've been using. How do you feel about a split board? I know you specified that you want a regular full size, but if I were you I would try building a larger board with super light and super low travel linears: something like this. If you could somehow damp those and mount them in a super cushioned plate, then that is about the most low-stress board I can think of.
The switches in my Type Heaven don't feel particularly cushioned to me, to be honest. Compared to other rubber domes I really feel the metal backplate on bottom-out—it feels much closer to a traditional "mechanical" bottom-out if that makes sense. When I first got the board I remember that aspect actually felt kind of harsh to me before I got used to the switches. Sadly it feels harsh to me again now. :-| Maybe the HHKB has a softer feel since the bottom-out is onto a PCB and that's where their reputation for that comes from.

I don't know that I feel much need for a split board? My wrists are in a neutral position when I type and my elbows and shoulders are relaxed. The reason I want a full-size board (aside from the fact that I use the numpad a lot) is that I use a Logitech Marble Mouse that I rest on the nav cluster and move to the numpad if I need to get to anything there. The keyboard raises the mouse up to the perfect height for me. Both the keyboard and mouse sit on a cardboard box at a slight negative incline, and the box itself is on a hardback book so I can easily slide it around to position things at comfortable angles for whatever I'm doing. It might sound strange and it's obviously rather makeshift but it's been a very comfortable arrangement for me for years now. :lol: Naturally I could put the Marble Mouse on a small block or something, but the arrangement I have is pretty finely-tuned by now so I'm loathe to mess with it too much.

I also use a lot of unusual keys (SysRq, Compose, Super), have special things bound to the F keys in conjunction with modifiers, etc., so a less-than-104-key board could end up needing a kind of byzantine maze of chords and layers to catch everything. I sometimes feel like I don't have enough buttons even with a full-size. :lol: The split boards I've seen are usually pretty minimal affairs so I imagine it might be kind of hard to accommodate this style of usage.

Those switches do seem like they might be quite nice in my situation, though. Maybe I'll pick up one of those packs of 10 and see how they feel. If they're really nice I'm sure I could find some sort of good way to make use of them.
davkol wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 22:20
spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
Is there a reason to go this route over Matias Linears or Gateron Clears with o-rings etc. if the 30g Topres are almost linear anyway?
You said you already have a Topre keyboard. Then it's a matter of swapping the domes/sheets.
Oh, sorry, I didn't realize that was practical. Looks pretty easy to do now that I'm checking it out, and I guess I could also install some sort of dampening at the same time to make the bottom-out gentler. In theory this seems like it could be an excellent and even low-cost solution. Sorry I was dismissive at first.
davkol wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 22:20
spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
As for the knockoffs like Plum etc., I've never tried them so can't speak from experience, but people who've compared them side-by-side with Topre seem to almost universally prefer Topre if price is no object.
Those comments are usually from the time when Topre clones started. However, the production has incrementally improved since then, and the current NIZ (and possibly Abko or other) keyboards are much better than the early stuff.

I don't know if the separately-sold sheets have kept up with this development, though.
Oh, that's good to know as far as the quality goes—I do see some people more recently saying they even prefer them over Topre which is encouraging. As far as the sheets go, I am having a hard time finding any of the NIZ 35g sheets still for sale, or any other 30–35g Topre clone sheets for that matter. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places? I only seem to turn up 55g anywhere.
davkol wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 22:20
spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
At such light weighting, tactility is going to be mild at best in any switch, so I kind of feel like it makes more sense to go for linears since you can get unique/widely beloved/etc. linear switches in the same price range as the pseudo-Topre boards.
BTW Matias Quiet Linear isn't actually linear either.
Yeah, I know it has a small bump, I guess I'm just assuming it's too mild to really matter much. Hopefully I'm not wrong if I do go that route. Something that worries me more is that I looked at HaaTa's force curve measurements for it and at least in that plot it looks significantly heavier than Matias claims. I wonder if that's a fluke or if they really are more like 45–50g than 35g.
davkol wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 22:20
spinnylights wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 16:49
I don't really want any tactility anyway since the already-mild tactility in my 45g Topres is giving me trouble.
Going by my variable-weight Topre, 45g is actually on the more tactile side and it strains my hands when gaming, for example. I would prefer uniform 35g or 40g instead, because 30g feels "mushy" to me… the initial bump is hardly noticeable and then it's more like a linear dampened switch.
Interesting, that's good to know. Maybe the mushiness of the 30g switches would actually work nicely in my case if I could make use of them. It's really too bad that Topre doesn't sell domes on their own. I see that there are uniform 30g Realforces out there but they're awfully expensive. :shock:
davkol wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 22:20
There are aftermarket springs for Alps switches. (from sprit IIRC)
Oh, and they come in super-light weights, too. Doesn't seem too hard to get hold of cream/white damped Alps, so maybe doing that and swapping in light springs would be another good option if I could find well-preserved switches.
kshopper2084 wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 23:15
Not glamorous, but Kinesis Freestyle 2 boards with the original domes (not mechanical) have a very light activation force and have read others with your condition found them helpful.
davkol wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 23:56
So do Goldtouch Adjustable keyboards.
Oh, those are interesting. As I've said I'm not terribly keen on ergo/split boards but I'd consider it if the switches were really perfect or if the positioning features did make it easier on my fingers somehow. The Goldtouch in particular there does look like it has the kind of weighting I'm looking for. I wonder if I could try either of these out in a store somewhere.

***

Just in general, I do have to say that I'm still wondering about the Wooting with 80g springs, even though it might seem counterintuitive. My thinking is that for typing I could set the actuation point around the 1.5mm ceiling, which would hopefully lead to an actuation force around 35–40g or something (I've sent Wooting a message to see if they have precise figures for this since I can't find force curve graphs anywhere). This seems potentially even better than a lightweight switch with dampers, because I could just lightly bounce around on the 80g springs and never bottom out at all, and they would actuate at the same force as a lightweight switch. Has anyone here ever tried anything like this, or used a switch with similar properties? The only switch I can find with properties sort of like that out of the box is Kailh's Speed Silver switch, but most of the discussion I can find about those is very gaming-focused (as you might expect). My main worry is that they might end up feeling uncomfortably heavy even if I pressed them lightly—I've never tried a switch like that before so I don't really know what it's like. Wooting also has 55g switches, which presuming an MX-Red-esque force curve might be more comfortable for me in the 1.5–2mm range if the 80g switches are heavier there than I'm hoping. Obviously I would just have to try them to know for sure, but it would be nice to know if I'm maybe on to something with this line of thinking.

The other appealing aspect of the Wooting (aside from its apparent general high quality) is that I might be able to use it as a game controller replacement, since my thumbs start to kill me if I use a controller for more than a few seconds right now. I can't say if the Wooting would be comfortable enough for me to use that way but it would be lovely if it was, and the fact that everything about it is so tweakable gives me hope that I could find some configuration that worked for me. I develop computer games for a living along with one other person, and sometimes we give them controller support if it makes sense; I'm the one who usually designs + codes the movement systems so having a way I could continue to playtest analog stick stuff would be really great. I'm thinking of getting some sort of joystick setup so I can use my whole arm instead but it would be neat if the keyboard could do it all.

chzcake44s

24 Mar 2020, 00:55

I don't know that I feel much need for a split board?
No reason to change if you are comfortable :)

If you want avoid bottom out on linears, you might want to look into progressive or slow curve springs. They are both designed for typing without bottoming out, or at least to reduce harshness of bottom out. I don't know if the wooting supports spring swapping, or if you would want to do that, but they sound well suited for how you type to me.

Image

This image is from this post on reddit, and it illustrates some example force curves of these sorts of springs.

User avatar
spinnylights

24 Mar 2020, 11:02

chzcake44s wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 00:55
If you want avoid bottom out on linears, you might want to look into progressive or slow curve springs. They are both designed for typing without bottoming out, or at least to reduce harshness of bottom out. I don't know if the wooting supports spring swapping, or if you would want to do that, but they sound well suited for how you type to me.
Oh interesting, thanks for the tip! I see Sprit has MX-compatible ones. I think it's possible that a traditional linear spring might work better for me, just because it has the most gradual transition from light to heavy. A curve like that would end up having a sharper transition which might bother me. It's hard to say without actually testing it out though, so I'm just kind of speculating—if I feel like I'm having a hard time with a stock linear switch that might be something to try. Sounds like Wooting's switches do take MX springs if I do end up going that route (and I guess their upcoming Hall effect switches do too it sounds like).

***

EDIT: Just heard back from Wooting. Their rep said 80cn is the required force to reach 1.5mm which would be very heavy :shock: but I've seen Wooting say elsewhere that 80cn is the bottom-out force so I'm not sure what to think. It would be nice if they or Adomax would publish force curve plots. I don't care as much now that I know I could swap the springs out for others though. :lol:

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scottc

24 Mar 2020, 13:00

Hey there. I posted about this years ago! Here's the thread, for posterity:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7203&p=146554&hilit ... is#p146554

I've got a mild form of rheumatoid arthritis (also autoimmune! It's just shitty luck. Sorry you had to go through this). I'm lucky that doesn't affect me nearly as much as you describe -- I can use 55g Topre just fine, with just some tiredness after a few hours.

When I'm having a hard day, there are 2 combos that work great for me:

- 30g Topre: I have a Realforce 88U with 30g silenced switches and it's very very light. You can probably get an ANSI Realforce with the same domes.
- Spring-modded vintage MX blacks: I've modded and built keyboards with lubed + spring swapped Cherry linears. This works great. You can get some 55g bottom-out-weight springs online and they're a touch lighter than stock MX reds, which works great for me.

chzcake44s

24 Mar 2020, 21:00

spinnylights wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 11:02
I think it's possible that a traditional linear spring might work better for me, just because it has the most gradual transition from light to heavy.
That would be a "slow" curved spring. The slow springs are designed specifically to have the most gradual (slow!) increase from light to heavy, to make it easier to actuate without bottoming out. The progressive springs are exponentially curved, so they do have the sharper transition from light to heavy that you are thinking of. Progressive springs try to eliminate bottom out (or cushion the force if you do bottom out) through a very sharply increasing force curve, while slow springs aim to do the same thing by making the force curve as gradual as possible. It's counter-intuitive, because they take an opposite approach to the same end! How comfortable they are depends entirely on how you type, of course.

If you do go this route, it's important that you consider that the weighting of progressive/slow springs is not perfectly comparable to traditional linear springs. For example, a progressive spring weighted at 68g bottom out is typically lighter than a traditional linear spring weighted at 68g bottom out. A slow spring weighted at 60g bottom out is typically heavier than a traditional linear weighted at 60g bottom out. This is because the total work done in pressing a switch is the force expended over a given distance, i.e. the integral of the force curve (or the total area under the curve). Because slow springs have a more gradual increase in force over the same distance, the work done in pressing the switch is greater than pressing a traditional linear, even though the force you end with at bottom out is the same. This works in the reverse manner for progressive springs, where the integral is smaller than that of a traditional linear.

The previous picture I posted is actually somewhat misleading in its representation of the total work of each spring, because the integrals of each curve are much more different in actuality. This picture from SPRiT's website gives a much better impression of the difference in weighting.

Image

I can also say from personal experience trying progressive and slow springs that the slow springs feel way heavier than you would think and the progressives feel way lighter. 68g progressive is too light for me, while 60g slow is too heavy.

User avatar
E3E

24 Mar 2020, 22:15

Gosh, there's so much dialogue here that I really couldn't go through all of it, but...

If there's any recommendation I'd give that isn't Topre (I personally use silenced 30g Topre if I ever have aches), it would be Alps Plate Spring, aka Alps SKCP.

The deskthority wiki cites it as being quite a comfortable switch. I agree, as I feel like it has a nice cushion to it without a rough tactile event. There is some resistance that builds against the plate spring before it inverts, but I don't find it unpleasant at all.

If you ever get the chance to try some, I'd love to hear what you think.

Truthfully though, that might be an impractical solution for you as there's no readily available boards with those switches, nor PCBs. You could convert an IBM P70 keyboard, Canon AP500-II (keyboard module), or made do with a IBM Japan 5576-001 or 002.

All somewhat sub-optimal, but the P70 would be the best bet and it isn't too hard to convert.

Best of luck finding what's right for you.

User avatar
spinnylights

Today, 00:59

scottc wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 13:00
Hey there. I posted about this years ago! Here's the thread, for posterity:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7203&p=146554&hilit ... is#p146554
Thanks for the link! I did read through that thread before posting here, it was very informative for sure. The main reason I made this one is just because I was curious about whether light + damped switches or heavy + high actuation might make more sense, since people mostly seemed to discuss light switches there.
scottc wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 13:00
I've got a mild form of rheumatoid arthritis (also autoimmune! It's just shitty luck. Sorry you had to go through this). I'm lucky that doesn't affect me nearly as much as you describe -- I can use 55g Topre just fine, with just some tiredness after a few hours.

When I'm having a hard day, there are 2 combos that work great for me:

- 30g Topre: I have a Realforce 88U with 30g silenced switches and it's very very light. You can probably get an ANSI Realforce with the same domes.
- Spring-modded vintage MX blacks: I've modded and built keyboards with lubed + spring swapped Cherry linears. This works great. You can get some 55g bottom-out-weight springs online and they're a touch lighter than stock MX reds, which works great for me.
Sorry you're dealing with something similar too. -_-

It's really too bad about the cost of the 30g Realforces. Under ordinary circumstances that would be well beyond what we could spend on something like a keyboard. Several people have suggested that now, though, and I do really like the feel of my 45g Topres aside from my recent issues—if the game pack we're about to put on sale does really well I'll definitely consider that.

The MX or MX clone switches I've tried have felt unpleasantly scratchy to me, but I've never tried the linears and I know vintage MX black is held in particularly high regard. Seems like it's not too hard to get a hold of a board with those in so that's very good to know. I'm glad to know about spring-swapping now in general too since that potentially makes it possibly to adapt an initially-uncomfortable switch.
chzcake44s wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 21:00
<detailed spring primer>
Thanks so much for this super-detailed rundown, that was great! The bit about the relationship between the total work in pressing the switch and the integral of the force curve was especially good info—I didn't know that and it's quite helpful. I still feel like I would need to try them myself to really know what I preferred :lol: but if I do end up getting any springs that information will be really useful in figuring out what might work well.
E3E wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 22:15
Gosh, there's so much dialogue here that I really couldn't go through all of it, but...

If there's any recommendation I'd give that isn't Topre (I personally use silenced 30g Topre if I ever have aches), it would be Alps Plate Spring, aka Alps SKCP.
What an interesting suggestion! I've actually vaguely wanted a board with those in for years—the switch design seems like such a neat concept and it does seem like everyone who tries them likes them. I wouldn't at all be averse to doing a conversion of something, I could probably even write firmware for it if needed (although I might have a rough time with the typing required now :roll: ).
E3E wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 22:15
Truthfully though, that might be an impractical solution for you as there's no readily available boards with those switches, nor PCBs. You could convert an IBM P70 keyboard, Canon AP500-II (keyboard module), or made do with a IBM Japan 5576-001 or 002.
It seems hard to get hold of a P70 board not attached to a P70—as cool as it would be to have a P70 they seem to go for pretty steep prices. :| I'm not turning a Canon AP500-II up anywhere :shock:—they look really pretty too so I'd feel kind of bad tearing one up for the keyboard :lol: although it might be worth it in this case. The 5576s would be neat, especially the 001; I've been tempted to get a terminal board before for the sake of having more keys. :lol: The JIS layout of the 002 might be nice sometimes as well since I keep in touch with some people in Japanese. They also seem pretty rare, though. :/ If I have an opportunity to get any of those at prices I can afford I'll definitely seriously consider it.
E3E wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 22:15
If you ever get the chance to try some, I'd love to hear what you think.
I'll certainly report back if I do. ^_^
E3E wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 22:15
Best of luck finding what's right for you.
Thanks!

User avatar
Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

Today, 01:59

Just as a small note, getting one of the 5576 is pretty unobtainable at this point, the ones I've seen recently are going for $300+ and that's before considering the shipping costs.

User avatar
E3E

Today, 02:02

They can be affordable, if you find them on taobao. Less so on other more well-searched platforms.

To the OP, I just remembered that I actually have a loose P70 keyboard unit if you're interested. I could send you a PM if you'd like.

User avatar
spinnylights

Today, 03:46

E3E wrote:
Today, 02:02
To the OP, I just remembered that I actually have a loose P70 keyboard unit if you're interested. I could send you a PM if you'd like.
Feel free! I probably don't have enough to buy it from you right now but hopefully I will soon.

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