To briefly summarize it, the steps are:1. Open case and disassemble the M0lly
2. Screw Hub into bottom case
3. Place switches into plate
4. Place plate on top of PCB so the switch pins go into PCB
5. Solder switches into PCB
6. Plug PCB into Hub and test that switches work in VIA Configurator
7. Screw plate into top case
8. Screw case together
9. Add on keycaps
10. Customize the keymap with VIA
Note: photo here features a M0lly in Apple Silver. Keycaps pictured are IFK Marshmallow.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Gather all the parts you'll need, and make sure that you have a clear surface to work on. We recommend having a few containers handy to place screws and such so they don't get lost.
Download VIA Configurator, which you'll be using to test your switches.
- Aluminum Case - top and bottom
- Brass Plate
- Brass Weight
- Internal Hub Daughterboard
- Gold Screws for case (x6)
- Gold Screws for plate (x10)
- Gold Screws for Hub (x3)
- Gold Screws for Brass Weight (x2)
- Screw in Stabilizers (M0lly uses a variety of layouts, so the amount of stabilizers need varies. Look at Keyboard Layout to see stabilizers needed)
- Switches (M0lly uses a variety of layouts, so the amount of switches need varies. Look at Keyboard Layout to see switches needed)*
- USB-C cable*
- LEDs (optional)*
*Stabilizers, switches, keycaps, USB-C cable, and LEDs are not included in the M0lly Build Kit, and need to be bought separately.
- Hex Screwdriver
- Switch puller
- Keycap puller
- Tweezers (optional)
M0lly comes built out of the box, and you'll need to disassemble it in order to install switches and stabilizers.
First, disassemble your M0lly.
- Remove the 6 screws from the bottom with a hex screwdriver, and store them somewhere secure
- Take off the case and set bottom aside
- Remove the 10 screws from the bottom of the top plate and set aside, keeping the PCB
Screw in USB-C Hub
Next, you will need to screw in the Hub that connects the PCB to the USB-C cable to your computer. It is easiest to do it before anything else is done so you have enough room to screw in the Hub. The M0lly also comes with an interconnect cable that plugs into the Hub and PCB. Plug that into the Hub before screwing down the Hub as you won't be able to access the place to plug in the interconnect cable after it is screwed in.
Pictured above: how the interconnect cable plus into the Hub and how the Hub screws into the bottom case
Assemble and attach stabilizers
Next, you need to assemble and attach your stabilizers to the PCB. The M0lly uses a variety of layouts, so the amount of stabilizers need varies. Look at Keyboard Layout to see stabilizers needed.
Assemble the stabilizers:
- Insert the stem up into the housing. The stem side with two holes should face outward where the wire will sit.
- Insert the wire into the housings. The wire should go into the bottom hole.
- Snap the wire securely into place.
Attach the stabilizers to the PCB. Stabilizers sit on the top side of the PCB, which is the flat side, and screw in through the bottom.
- Locate the PCB holes. The switch positions are bracketed on the PCB. The keys that require stabilizers have extra holes on their left and right. The orientation of these (i.e. whether the smaller hole is on the top or bottom) can vary.
- Align the stabilizer housings and attach them to the PCB. The screw should go into the smaller hole. The washer acts as a cushion between the screw and the PCB.
Pictured above: how the stabilizers attach to the PCB, as seen from the bottom
Put switches into plate and solder to PCB
Now we need to get the switches into the plate so they can be soldered into the PCB. The switches should be popped into the plate from the top, and you will hear a little pop of the switches getting into place. Now is the time to decide what layout you want for your M0lly using the Keyboard Layout. If the switch is in a spot where stabilizers will be needed the switch will be able to slide along its spot in the plate. This is normal.
Pictured above: how the switches fit into the plate when popped in, as seen from the side
Next we can solder the switches into the PCB. This is easiest to be done with the plate face-down and placing the PCB on to the switches. The pins of the switches should fit into the PCB. For switches that will need a stabilizer some maneuvering may be needed. Check the switches to make sure that none are bent or missing. If so you are ready to solder.
Find a space that has good air circulation and ample lighting for soldering. Inhaling large amounts of the smoke coming off of the soldering can be dangerous. For a more complete guide on how to solder check out our guide here. Go around the PCB soldering in the switch pins as you go. Each pin should have a good connection to the PCB.
Pictured above: what the back of the PCB will look like when the switches are soldered into the PCB, as seen from the bottom of the PCB
Connect PCB to Hub, screw in plate, and close M0lly
After the switches are all soldered into the PCB, it's time to start putting you M0lly back together. Plug the other end of the interconnect cable into the PCB using tweezers to help guide the wire into the port.
Pictured above: where the interconnect cable plugs into the PCB, as seen from the bottom of the PCB
Next, you should test the connections and switches using VIA. Plug your keyboard into your computer and open up VIA Configurator. You’ll be using this to test that your switches are registering keypresses.
- VIA will automatically detect that the M0lly is plugged in and compatible.
- In the Key Tester tab, you'll see a standard keyboard layout. When you press a switch on the M0lly that corresponds to a key, it will light up in the Key Tester. For example, when you press the top left key on the M0lly, the Esc key in the Key Tester will light up to show that the switch is working.
Troubleshooting: If your switch isn't registering, you will need to undo the solder and pull it out and check the pins on the bottom. It's easy to accidentally bend switch pins.
When all the switches are tested and working, screw the plate into the top case from the bottom of the plate using the 10 gold screws.
Then you can assemble the case. Put the top case on carefully so that it encloses everything. You might need to wiggle it into place to get it to snap down into place. Hold this all together firmly and flip it over to the bottom side. Screw together the top and bottom cases with the 6 gold screws.
Once you've put together the M0lly case you can add on your keycaps! M0lly uses keycaps found in standard 104-key / TKL + Numpad kits. Remember to check if the keycap set you have has enough of the needed keys to fit the layout that you used in your M0lly.
Note: photo here features a M0lly Ploycarbonate Keyboard. Keycaps pictured are IFK Monochrome.
Congratulations 🎉 you've built a M0lly keyboard! Take some glamor shots and share online, we’d love to see your builds if you tag us @thekey.company on Instagram.
Customizing the Keymap
The default M0lly layout can be adjusted in VIA Configurator.