The
Slate.

behind the board

The reason for me buying this board was primarily to get more practice building keyboards, I was going to try using it for a while but I expected it to be a massive macro pad as I really couldn’t see myself using a 30% ortho-linear board as my mine. After rebuilding it for the 3rd time I decided this really wasn’t the boar for me and cut my losses.

Parts

The parts for this board unsurprisingly came from another Mechboards kit. With this kit you get enough diodes for the whole board as well as a few extra should something go wrong. It also comes with 30 switches of your choice from their huge selection as well as one of the several controllers they offer. On top of the PCB, the kit also includes an FR4 case consisting of a base plate and a switch plate with the standoffs and screws to assemble it all. For this board, I opted to try Kailh Box Whites, not because I wanted to try clicky’s again but because I figured if I wasn’t going to use it as an actual keyboard it could have been useful to have a bump on actuation as a macro pad. The keycaps that gave this board its name was the blank grey PBT set also from Mechboards to provide the ‘slate’ like aesthetic.

Build Process

After the initial build, I don’t think I can remember one other time I enjoyed myself while working on this board. The first time around the build went as smoothly as any other up until I plugged it in and found that one switch wasn’t working. One switch, one single switch, was going to cost me hours of pain as well as kill 3 PCBs and 2 controllers. Once I discovered the one rogue switch I took the case apart and reflowed both the diode and the PCB contacts before plugging it back in to find that it hadn’t worked. Now my thinking was that the diode was faulty so I needed to switch it for one of the backups. I de-soldered the switch with little to no issue which isn’t too bad considering I was using unleaded solder. However, when I came to the diode I couldn’t for the life of me, get it out of the PCB. After trying for a good while I had damaged the contact on the PCB beyond repair and had essentially written off the board. Instead of giving up and leaving this whole ordeal down to bad luck, I bought 5 more PCBs (this was the cheapest way to buy them), as well as a load more diodes so that I could try again. To make a very long story short, the second PCB had the same issue and on the third, I was using a controller that had been damaged from desoldering it from the 2nd without realising and I couldn’t bring, myself to try again.

Review

The board is a 30 key ortho-linear, that’s all that needs to be said. I’m honestly unsure why I bought this board. If I wanted to practice with board building there are other kits for not much more that, I could have actually used. Even ignoring the pain and suffering that building this board caused me, I wouldn’t buy it. The only¬†thing I liked about this board was the fact that it gave me a good few lessons in de-soldering as well as teaching me when enough is enough. I’m not saying don’t buy this board, the kit itself is perfectly usable however if you don’t have an idea of what you want to use this board for and you’re just buying it to build something, that’s on you. After writing this build log I don’t plan on ever having to relive the several experiences I’ve had trying to get a gherkin working.