Here's our step-by-step walkthrough on how to put together a MonsGeek M1 keyboard.
To briefly summarize it, the steps are:1. Open case and unplug PCB
2. Assemble and attach stabilizers to PCB
3. Plug in PCB and place it back into case
4. Screw case back together
5. Insert switches and test that they work in VIA Configurator
6. Add on keycaps
7. Customize the keymap with VIA
Note: photo here features a MonsGeek M1 in Black. 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.
You may want to bookmark the VIA Configurator, which we'll be using to test the switches.
MonsGeek M1 Parts
- Aluminum Case - top and bottom
- Polycarbonate Plate
- Dampening mats
- Case Foam, Switch Pad, Plate Foam
- Silver screws for case (x3 long, x3 short)
- Silver screws for plate/PCB (x6)
- Screw in Stabilizers (MonsGeek M1 uses three 2u stabs and one 6.25u stab)
- Switches (x82)*
- USB-C cable
- Extra tape for optional tape modding
*Switches and keycaps are not included in the MonsGeek M1 Build Kit, and need to be bought separately.
- Allen key
- Switch puller
- Keycap puller
- Tweezers (optional)
MonsGeek M1 comes built out of the box, and you'll need to disassemble it in order to install stabilizers.
First, disassemble your MonsGeek.
- Remove the 6 screws from the bottom with an allen key, and store them somewhere secure
- Take off the top case and set aside
- Unplug the PCB from the bottom case (this will make flipping the PCB over multiple times easier)
- Take out the case foam from under the PCB and remove extra tape for the optional tape modding, set aside and replace case foam
- Remove the 6 screws from the bottom of the PCB and store them somewhere secure (preferably set aside from case screws)
- Take apart the PCB, switch pad, plate foam, and plate
Assemble and attach stabilizers
Next, you need to assemble and attach your stabilizers to the PCB. The MonsGeek uses three 2u stabilizers (Left Shift, Backspace, and Enter) and one 6.25u stabilizer (spacebar).
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. When attaching the stabilizers the switch pad (which is this thinnest, black pad) sits under the stabilizer housing.
- 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 stabilizers included with the M1 do not include washers, nor are they needed on the M1. Below we have shown the keyboard assembled with C3 Equalz stabilizers including the washer.
Pictured above: how the stabilizers attach to the PCB, as seen from the bottom
Put together the PCB, switch pad, plate foam, and plate
Screw the PCB to the plate, sandwiching in the plate foam with the 6 small, silver screws. Both the plate foam and the plate have cutouts for the knob and stabilizers, so lining up everything should be nice and easy.
Pictured above: how the stabilizers fit into the plate with the plate foam
Put it all into the case
Now we assemble the aluminum case. The case foam should still be in the bottom case, but if not place it back into bottom case. Plug the PCB back into the case using tweezers to help guide your wire into the port.
Pictured above: how to case plugs into the PCB, as seen from the bottom of the PCB
Put the top case on carefully so that it encloses everything. If the gold accents came out of the case, put them back in before putting back on the top case. They slide in from the top. 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 silver screws. The longer screws go on the top and the shorter screws go on the bottom.
Insert switches and test in VIA
Time to put in switches and test them! 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 from the link above will automatically detect that the MonsGeek M1 is plugged in and compatible.
- In the Key Tester tab, you'll see a standard keyboard layout. Press the toggle that says "Test Matrix" and the layout will change to reflect the layout of your keyboard. When you press a switch on the MonsGeek that corresponds to a key, it will light up in the Key Tester. For example, when you press the top left key on the MonsGeek, the Esc key in the Key Tester will light up to show that the switch is working.
Insert your switches. MonsGeek M1 uses 82 switches.
- Before inserting each switch, check that the pins are straight. If a pin is bent, you can gently straighten it with a pair of tweezers.
- Insert the switch straight down. The two switch pins match up to the switch pin holes in the PCB.
Troubleshooting: If your switch isn't registering, pull it out with your switch puller and check the pins on the bottom. It's easy to accidentally bend switch pins. You can gently pull it straight with some tweezers.
Once you've confirmed all your switches are working, you can add on your keycaps! MonsGeek is a 75% keyboard, which makes it easy to outfit with many keysets.
Note: photo here features a MonsGeek M1 in Black. Keycaps pictured are IFK Monochrome.
Congratulations 🎉 you've built a MonsGeek 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 MonsGeek M1 layout can be adjusted in VIA Configurator.