How To Choose a Gaming Keyboard Case for Your Custom Gaming Keyboard
When it comes to building a custom keyboard, a lot of thought has to go into the individual components needed. One of the most important parts is the keyboard case. A keyboard built with a high-quality case will last longer than one built with a cheap case, irrespective of the quality of the other components. When choosing a gaming keyboard case, it’s important to consider which features will be most useful for you and your gaming setup.
A gaming keyboard case with a wrist rest feature can provide extra comfort and support during long gaming sessions, reducing the risk of wrist injury. A water-resistant or spill-resistant feature can protect your keyboard from damage in case of accidental spills or exposure to moisture. A shockproof feature can provide added durability and protection against drops or impact, which is helpful for gamers who travel a lot or have an active gaming setup. A customizable lighting feature can enhance the aesthetics of your keyboard and improve visibility in low-light environments.
In this article, we cover what a gaming keyboard case is, reasons why you might consider building a custom keyboard, tips for choosing the right mechanical keyboard frame, and tips for selecting a suitable gaming keyboard mount style.
What Is a Gaming Keyboard Case?
A keyboard case provides the structure to hold the components of the keyboard and the protection of the many intricate components. The aesthetic importance revolves around making the keyboard look good so that it fits with the rest of the gamer’s setup.
A gaming keyboard case is a frame that holds all the keyboard components in place, particularly the more sensitive parts. Keyboard cases have functional and aesthetic purposes, with the former improving the keyboard’s durability and stability during intense gaming sessions, while the latter enhancing the overall look of the keyboard and adding a unique style to a gamer’s setup.
According to this article from Matt3o.com, when it comes to building a custom keyboard, understanding the various components and their functions is important. The last thing you want is to be stuck halfway because you used the wrong component in the wrong place or worse still, built a non-functional keyboard because you left out an essential component. For a step-by-step guide, check out our article on how to build your own gaming keyboard.
The keyboard case determines the size, number of keys, and angle of the keyboard. Many users choose tenkeyless keyboards like this because they no longer feel the need for a number pad and a tenkeyless keyboard is essentially a keyboard without the number pad, but with all the other standard keys. Our article about the ten best wireless mechanical keyboards lists the most popular compact keyboards including Tenkeyless keyboards. There are other keyboard options including 40%, 60%, 65%, 75%, and larger. Essentially keyboards that are smaller have fewer keys and the smaller they are the more compact they are.
Reasons To Design a Custom Gaming Keyboard Case
So, why design a custom gaming keyboard case, when you can just buy your gaming keyboard and not bother about having to assemble components? There are several reasons why people opt for customized gaming keyboard cases.
Reasons to design a custom gaming keyboard case include personalization of key feel, key remapping, greater durability, personalized aesthetics, better ergonomics, and it can be a fun hobby. By creating a case that is tailored to your specific preferences, you can enhance your gaming experience and make your keyboard more functional and unique.
Designing a custom gaming keyboard case is important because it needs to fit the layout of the keyboard keys. The fewer keys you include on your keyboard layout the more compact and lightweight the keyboard will be and your case needs to be the right size to accommodate this. Also, the case you choose should be compatible with the dimensions of your printed circuit board and plate. The keyboard will not fit together correctly if these component sizes do not match. Our article that looks at how many keys are on a gaming keyboard discusses the various sizes available so that you can choose the right one for your needs.
How to choose a gaming keyboard that is cute
These are some of the reasons for customizing a gaming keyboard case:
Reason 1. Personalization of Key Feel
The component that determines the typing feel of a keyboard is often the type of switch used in the keyboard. The presence or the absence of a switch also defines the two major types of keyboards, which are membrane and mechanical keyboards. Our article about membrane gaming keyboards vs. mechanical gaming keyboards takes an in-depth look at their differences so that you can choose the one that feels the best for you.
However, the keyboard case is also a major factor when it comes to customizing the typing feel of a keyboard. The style of mounting the keyboard PCB into the case, the type of material used in making the case, and the use of foams and other materials are all major features users have at their disposal to personalize their typing experience. If you want to learn more about keyboard foam and dampeners, then take a look at our tips for finding a quiet mechanical keyboard and our article on how to make a gaming keyboard quiet.
Reason 2. Key Remapping
Most mechanical gaming keyboards, like this Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard, allow gamers to assign new functions to certain keys in a keyboard through dedicated software. Gamers can also change the keycaps on their keys to match a new outline set on their keyboard via software.
Where the above solves a problem to an extent, using a customized keyboard case that fits a needed key layout is the best. Gamers can now determine how they want their keys to be positioned based on their keyboard case.
You may be interested in learning how to change switches on a gaming keyboard. If so, be sure to read our related article for more details.
Reason 3. Durability
A custom gaming keyboard case can be designed to withstand heavy use and last longer than a mass-produced case. A custom case can be built using high-quality materials, such as metal or high-density plastic, which are more robust and can withstand heavy use without wearing down or breaking. Additionally, a gaming keyboard case can be designed with reinforced corners, extra padding, or other features to offer greater protection against drops and accidental impacts.
Unlike mass-produced cases that may have less precise fits and compatibility with a range of keyboards, custom cases can be designed to fit a specific keyboard model perfectly, prolonging its lifespan and offering increased protection.
Reason 4. Enhanced Aesthetic
Two things determine the aesthetics of a keyboard case, first is the material it is made from. Second is the features it has. You can purchase a keyboard that fits the aesthetics you want, however, you might be hard-pressed to get one that checks all the boxes.
Therefore, if you want a fully aesthetic keyboard, and that matches all your criteria, the best option is to go for a customized keyboard like this where you have a lot of options for keyboard components including the keyboard case.
Reason 5. Better Ergonomics
According to this article from Goldtouch, an ergonomic keyboard improves the overall user experience and comfort when gaming. So when it comes to ergonomic keyboards, there are countless options on the market. These keyboards are designed to fit the anatomy of a wide range of users. However, they might lack a major requirement for a smaller target audience.
For a more ergonomic experience that is specific to your needs, getting a customized keyboard case like this might be the best option as you have full control over the weight, size, shape, angle, and layout of your keyboard. Additionally, you may find interest in reading our related article about keyboard hand placement. This may also help you find an ergonomic solution as well.
Reason 6. Fun Hobby
For many people, designing and building a custom gaming keyboard case can be a fun and rewarding hobby. It can be an opportunity to learn about the mechanics and aesthetics of keyboards, explore new materials, and develop new skills related to design and fabrication. Some people may even find satisfaction in the technical aspects of building and assembling the case, such as drilling, screwing, and wiring.
Tips for Choosing the Mechanical Keyboard Case Material That’s Right for You
When choosing a custom gaming keyboard case, there are different material options available to consider, each with its advantages.
Plastic cases are an excellent choice for a more widely accessible option, particularly for those who prefer lighter keyboards. For a more unique and distinctive appearance, a wooden case may be a better option. If durability is a primary concern, a stainless steel case can withstand heavy usage. Finally, for those who want to enhance the lighting aesthetics of their keyboard, an acrylic case is a good option to consider.
According to this article from Keychron, frames are made of different materials and each has both its advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we look at each material, assessing when it is appropriate to get them based on your needs.
Every material has a distinctive appearance, feel, and weight that can alter how each keystroke sounds when typing. Additionally, certain case materials, like this one has, are more resilient and have a longer lifespan than others. The best material to use depends on your own preferences and your budget.
These tips will help you to choose the keyboard case material that’s right for you:
Tip 1. Get an ABS Plastic Case for a Lighter Keyboard
Plastic keyboard cases like ABS, PC, and PBT types offer advantages such as reduced cost, variety, and weight. ABS plastic case is particularly known for its toughness, impact resistance, and heat resistance. It is widely used in various industries for its excellent mechanical properties and ability to be easily molded into complex shapes.
However, a major disadvantage of plastic keyboard cases is that they tend to make more noise due to their light joints and weight compared to denser materials like wood or metal.
Tip 2. Try a Wooden Keyboard Frame for a Unique Look
Wooden keyboard cases like this are rare and unique. Opting for a wooden keyboard case takes your customization to the next level as they require a lot more work to be produced. The advantage to this is there is more room for creativity in their production.
The major advantages of wooden keyboard cases include rare aesthetic choice, durability, and compactness. Wooden keyboard cases stand out among others. Depending on the type of wood and treatment, they are quite durable. Wood is dense, and this characteristic is retained in keyboard cases so they feel heavier and more sturdy.
A major disadvantage of wooden keyboard cases is that they are more expensive than other types because they are not really manufactured in large batches.
Tip 3. Go for An Anodized Aluminum for Durability
An aluminum keyboard case like this that has been anodized is a great choice for those seeking a durable keyboard. As explained in this article by Medical Design and Outsourcing, anodizing is an electrochemical process that adds an oxide layer to the surface of the aluminum, providing increased resistance to corrosion, wear, and scratches.
Anodized aluminum cases are also relatively lightweight, making them a popular choice for portable gaming keyboards. They come in various colors and finishes, allowing for customization to suit personal preferences.
However, a major disadvantage of aluminum keyboards is that they may be more expensive than plastic cases due to the cost of the anodizing process and the material itself. They also tend to be cold in winter, making them uncomfortable to use.
Tip 4. Pick a Stainless Steel Frame for the Best Durability
Stainless steel keyboard cases like this, as the name implies, are made from stainless steel. These cases are sturdy and strong. They are the best options if you want a truly strong keyboard that will last a very long time.
A major disadvantage of stainless steel keyboards is that they are more expensive than aluminum keyboards due to the difficulty in manufacturing them. However, they can be worth the investment for those who prioritize durability.
Tip 5. Pick an Acrylic Case for More Aesthetics
Selecting an acrylic keyboard case like this can add a sleek and modern appearance to your keyboard, while also providing visibility to the components. Compared to plastic cases, acrylic cases are transparent, making them ideal for showcasing gaming keyboard backlighting. They are also stronger and more weather-resistant than plastic cases.
One disadvantage of an acrylic case is that it is more prone to scratching and cracking than other materials such as metal or glass.
You may also be interested in learning the difference between a gaming keyboard and a keypad. Be sure to take a look at our related article to help you choose what's right for you.
Summary of Keyboard Case Materials
|What Do You Want Your Gaming Keyboard Case To Have?
|What Material Should the Case Be Made Of?
|I want a lightweight gaming keyboard case
|Plastic keyboard case
|They are lightweight
|Epomaker Skyloong GK87S Bluetooth 5.1 Wireless/Wired TKL Hotswap Diy Kit for Mechanical Keyboard with Rgb Backlit, Steel Mounting Plate, Pcb Abs Frame
|I want to save money and make a cheap case
|Plastic or aluminum keyboard case
|They are cheaper and more common
|Rgb Hot Swap Independent Driver Tyce-C Ansi Mechanical Keyboard Diy kit Plastic Case Cnc Aluminum Case Plate
|I want a unique type of keyboard
|Wooden keyboard case
|They are rare
|Bamboo Wood case 60% for Mechanical Keyboard
|I want a fancy keyboard
|Acrylic keyboard case
|They are fancier and transparent
|Womier 66 Key Custom Mechanical Keyboard Kit 65% 66 Pcb Case How Swappable Switch Support Lighting Effects with Rgb Switch Led
Tips To Choose a Gaming Keyboard Case Mounting Style
As stated earlier when it comes to customizing a keyboard, you must understand their numerous components. Apart from the case which acts as the frame, other components include the PCB, the switches, and the keycaps. When choosing your keyboard case, you must consider how the other components will be mounted on it. Keyboard cases come in different mounting styles.
Choose a gasket mount gaming keyboard case if you prefer a quieter and more standard typing experience with reduced vibrations and sound, a top mount if you want a satisfying feel while typing, and a tray mount case as a more affordable alternative.
The method used to attach a keyboard determines how the plate or PCB is held inside the keyboard enclosure. Gamers and technicians alike have created a number of strategies for securing these components inside a keyboard. Some are stiffer or more flexible than others, which has an impact on the board's assembling process, sound, and even typing sensation. Our article about the different types of gaming keyboard switches explains how the three main mechanical switch types can affect the typing sensation and noise level.
Although the keyboard experience will be significantly impacted by the mounting method, it is crucial to remember that this is only one of many crucial choices that must be made when it comes to your build. Your decision about the layout, plate, switches, and adjustments might either improve or worsen the mount's intrinsic attributes. In a hobby where personal choice dominates, finding the correct build for you requires testing out various boards and keyboard parts like these.
These tips will help you to choose your ideal gaming keyboard case mountain style:
Choose a Gasket Mount Case for a Softer And Quieter Typing Experience
A gasket mount like this works by screwing the PCB onto a plate, often acting as a damper between the bottom of the case and the PCB. The gasket mount is perfect for quieter keyboard use. However, they are more expensive than the other alternatives. If you want to learn more about finding a quiet mechanical gaming keyboard then take a look at our article that explains the ways you can place dampers in your noisy keyboard to reduce the loud clicking sounds when typing. Also, check out this YouTube video tutorial by Crazygrape to see how you can dampen the sound of your gaming keyboard.
Choose a Top Mount Case for Increased Customization Options
For a top mount case like this, the tray is attached to the top frame. The top mount offers a firmer and more consistent typing feel and enhances the sound of the switches. Additionally, top mount cases provide more flexibility in terms of plate materials and layout options, allowing you to customize your keyboard to your liking. The only disadvantage is that they require an additional custom plate.
Choose a Tray Mount Case for Affordability and Simplicity
Tray mount cases like this one work by attaching the PCB to the mounting post of the keyboard case via screws, making them an affordable and popular option for 60% keyboards. However, their major disadvantage is that they are prone to being noisy while the keyboard is in use, as the PCB is in direct contact with the case. Despite this, many users still choose tray mount cases for their affordability and simplicity, and there are ways to mitigate the noise issue, such as adding foam or sound-dampening materials to the case.
Summary of Keyboard Mounting Types
|What Do You Want Your Gaming Keyboard Case To Have?
|What Gaming Keyboard Case Mounting Style To Use?
|A more affordable mount style
|A Tray mount
|A quiet keyboard
|A Gasket mount
|Comes with a noise damper
|Consistent typing feel
|A Top mount
|PCB is mounted at the top
Where Can I Design a Custom Keyboard Case?
There are several brands that provide custom keyboard services. However, below are a few that stand out in the marketplace. Custom keyboards offer a user experience that is more efficient. They are specifically made to make typing and gaming easier for users. This is another factor that makes bespoke mechanical keyboards better and more costly than standard keyboards.
The most popular and reliable places to design a custom keyboard are Keychron, EZ, or Drop. Using reputable custom keyboard designers ensures gamers get high-quality keyboards that will last.
Though it is possible to buy custom keyboard cases from smaller companies, you might not always be satisfied with the product quality or service you receive. By using well-known custom keyboard producers you are assured of superior finishes on your keyboard case and professional customer service.
These are three of the well-known custom gaming keyboard companies:
Keychron was founded in 2017 and they have dedicated themselves to creating the most sophisticated mechanical keyboards with minimalist designs. They also provide custom mechanical keyboards like this, which are perfect for gaming. You might be interested in our article that highlights the differences between Keychron vs. other gaming keyboards.
EZ is a major keyboard brand. One of their most notable products is the Planck customized keyboard. They also offer other keyboard components that you can customize including switches and keycaps. One of EZ’s most popular ergonomic keyboards is this ErgoDox EZ. The housing of the ErgoDox EZ is strengthened with metal that connects to the tilt and tent kit. It is built to last and has an extensive two-year guarantee so you'll be using this keyboard for many years to come.
Drop is a brand that manufactures top-notch customized keyboard cases, switches, keycaps like these, and other accessories for you to build your dream gaming keyboard. The Drop Mech tab on their website lets you customize your keyboard down to the minutest detail so that your keyboard is truly unique.
Gaming keyboards are more expensive than regular keyboards which our article about why gaming keyboards are expensive covers in detail. So why not just bite the bullet and buy the exact keyboard you want with a custom layout, keycaps, and case? Though custom building your keyboard can be expensive it might be worth your while in the long run because you will be able to specify all the components and tweaks you want.