KBDfans D84 Typing Test and Update

KBDfans D84 with Gateron Silent reds typing sounds

Update: this project is still not quite complete, I’ll explain why as it may help others. I saw a build of another gasket mount KBDfans keyboard, a D65, where it was suggested it may be better attaching the foam gasket strips to the case rather than the board. I followed this advice as I thought it would mean the case would close better, but the downside is that the PCB can actually move, as happened to me when inserting the USB cable.

So a better solution, which I shall implement shortly, will be to have some of the foam strips applied to the case and some, especially the top left and right attached to the mounting plate. Luckily there are spare gaskets included in the kit. In fact if you compare this image with the one in the previous post you can see that the spacebar was actually rubbing on the case due to the gaskets being exclusively applied to the case.

My second re-working of the build will be to change the three 1U keys to the right of the spacebar to two 1.5U keys namely RCTL and RALT as I access layers by the remapping of the CAPS LOCK. CAPS LOCK + C is where the real caps lock is 🙂

If I were to repeat this build I wouldn’t have gone for the split backspace, but rather access those keys (which are vital for software development) via layers. But no way am I going to de-solder all the switches now to add the stab.

Kbdfans D84 Build

The KBDFANS D84 mechanical keyboards has arrived and although I got stung by import charges I’m still a happy camper. It’s a kit aimed at those who know what they are doing, or better said, have watched a lot of YouTube videos, as there are no instructions.

Kit Contents

The kits consists of:

  • Top and bottom aluminum case
  • PCB soldered version, type-c interface, supporting VIA configurator
  • Silver aluminum plate
  • Cherry screw-in stabs 60 sets (SKU:  DP0003)
  • Case foam x 1 (SKU:  DP0501)+ PCB foam x 1 (SKU: DP1393)
  • Set of gaskets (SKU: DP0589)
  • Rubber feet and Screws


I went for Gateron Silent Red switches:

As always I lube a single switch to see if I really need to lube, and even though these are really quiet, lube makes them so much smoother:

The quality of the stabs is a bit lacking though, but after some tuning they are acceptable:

PCB and soldering

Next testing the PCB, all good, I went for a split backspace and ANSI enter:

The soldering went fine, the only hiccup being getting the left control switch in the wrong position, a quick de-solder and all was good. I used Via to check after each row.

Final Thoughts

The keyboard does have LEDs on the underside of the PCB, these can be seen on the KBD75 due to the acrylic section, but they’re no use here so I have the lighting off.

Configuring the board using Via couldn’t have been easier, the only hurdle being that a layer switch key is not there by default, I used RCTL to access a layer with media controls that match what’s on the Razer function keys.

I picked a couple of sets of used Razer keycaps, the Cherry profile doesn’t fit my layout 100% (see \| and #~ keys occupying the traditional backspace position) and the right shift. Maybe I’ll pick up a set with a uniform profile at some point.

This is it for now, no more keyboards for me! It’s super silent and I’ve broken my typing speed record on the first day of use.

Those Arisu/Alice layouts look mighty interesting though…

Down the keyboard rabbit-hole

I can’t remember how or when the disease took hold, but after happily typing, and I mean typing a lot, on various keyboards over the last several decades I started being interested in a mechanical keyboard.

Razer Blackwidow Lite

First stop was a Razer Blackwidow Lite, really good TKL, maybe I should have stopped there, but one advantage of having tech youngsters about is that they gladly accept unexpected tech presents 🙂 leaving one able to purchase a replacement with less regret than usual.

Razer Blackwidow Lite
Razer Blackwidow Lite

And so becoming aware that perhaps it wasn’t the best sounding keyboard experimentation started with the supplied o-rings. The first hit is always free apparently.

Razer Huntsman Mini

Next thing I know I’m tying my fingers in knots with a Razer Huntsman Mini. The Razer red version 2 optical switch is my favourite switch to date and was reflected in my typing speed and accuracy.

Razer Huntsman Mini
Razer Huntsman Mini

Perhaps I should have stopped there, but no I couldn’t stop there; hitting Alt-Shift-F7 as I often as I do (if you can guess why let me know) and much use of the function keys for debugging I just couldn’t handle the 60% keyboard design.

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition (TE)

So I took another step, that in retrospect was a backward one, and got a Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition, with the first version of Razer’s red optical switches. What a nightmare of a switch, heavy breathing on the keyboard results in unwanted inputs.

Razer Huntsman TE
Razer Huntsman TE

So the search was on and hey what about building a board, or to be more precise put one together?

Gmmk TKL (Glorious)

Gmmk TKL Build

So I bought switches (Gateron Brown), lubed ‘em and I’ve been very happy with the Gmmk (Gaming Modular Mechanical Keyboard) TKL for a few months now, my typing speed and accuracy is back where it was with the Huntsman Mini.

Gmmk TKL
Gmmk TKL

That should be the end of this, but no, it’s not quite end-game, we haven’t quite reached “peak keyboard” and I shall hopefully be soldering within a week and will detail the process building what is still quite an unknown board. Any guesses? A 75% maybe?

Portfolio Demo Web Application

Rather than getting me to spout keywords and acronyms why not play around with one of my latest web applications hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

You can’t break anything.

Try it on your phone by clicking on the link below:

Mobile Catalog Application

Enter the app with the email coca@cola.com and password abcABC123()

Add the app to your phone Home screen and you’ll see it behaves like a native application (using Chrome, select the vertical three dot menu icon top right and choose “Add to Home screen”).

Responsive, cross-platform web application

Being a responsive web application it will work on Android and iOS devices. It can naturally be accessed via a normal desktop browser on Windows, Linux and Apple machines.

If you’re paying for native app development targeting Android and Apple devices separately I’m sure you can appreciate what cost savings can be achieved using a cross-platform application.

Note: This is a staging version of the application and hence patience is needed for it first start up as it can be taken out of cache if not used in a while. It can take up to 40s to start.

A staging version is used for development of new features and bug fixes.

The application uses AR (Augmented Reality) to display catalog items against whatever the phone camera is pointed at.

Get in touch if you’d like a guided demo.

The lost art of handwriting

I’ve got pretty ugly handwriting, but writing is something I enjoy doing. (I’m also pretty mediocre on the guitar but enjoy doing that too.)

And although bound to a keyboard and mouse for most of my working life I do use a pen and paper for sketching ideas, usually in the form of UML diagrams.

Not only do I use a pen, but quite often I use a fountain pen; a Pelikan I bought some 20 years ago in Madrid.

Continue reading The lost art of handwriting

Using a web site as a business card

We all carry phones/tablets, so why not do as one of my clients has done and consider using a web site as a business card or to show off a portfolio.

I recently put together a small site for a creative client to effectively use as her electronic business card. When meeting a potential client who asks after examples of her work, she can immediately show digital high-definition images.

If you can imagine a life situation where this might be useful to you, feel free to get in touch.

Continue reading Using a web site as a business card

Using Google apps to teach English online

They say that the secret to learning is repetition and this couldn’t be more true than when it comes to learning a second language.

To this end here’s how I am using Google apps to teach English online. I am specifically using Hangouts and Docs, in teaching English to my students.

Continue reading Using Google apps to teach English online