Here's our recommendations on applying lubricants, stabilizer padding (SoulMate kit) and stabilizer grease. The application of lubricants and grease is completely optional and boils down to a personal preference on how you want your board to sound and feel.
Please note, lubrication of a keyboard takes a very light hand. The build up of excess oils and grease can catch dust particles and have the opposite affect of what you're looking for.
We have created a step-by-step walkthrough on how these products are meant to be used.
To briefly summarize, the steps are:
- Prep PCB for stabilizer lubrication or padding
- Prep stabilizer housings for lubrication
- Test stabilizers for sounds and feel
- Apply more grease as needed
Pictured above: a syringe to apply stabilizer grease after installation
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Gather all the parts you'll need, and make sure you have a clear surface to work on. We recommend having a few containers handy to place small parts in so they don't get lost.
- Stabilizer Stems (x10)
- Stabilizer Housings (x10)
- Stabilizer Wires
- Screws (x11)
- Washers (x11)
- Stabilizer Film (optional)
- Stabilizer Grease*
*Stabilizer Grease and Lubricant are not included in C3 Equalz Stabilizers, and need to be bought separately
- Small containers
- Paper towel
UNPACK THE STABILIZERS
The C3 Equalz Stabilizers come with all the parts in individually wrapped packages. Open all of them and set them aside. It is recommended that you put the pieces into small containers to keep them from going missing. The kits come with enough stabilizers for most keyboards. For example, the Portico75 uses three 2u and one 6.25u stabilizers. Set aside 2 housings and stems for each stabilizer needed. You will also need the correct length of wires for your keyboard.
Pictured above: all the parts that come in the C3 Equalz Stabilizer kit
WHY LUBRICATE STABILIZERS?
Greasing or lubricating stabilizers can be done for a few different reasons. The common reasons are:
- Improving sound quality
- Improving feel
- Eliminating wobble
All of these reasons will lead to a better typing experience. If you enjoy the sound of your spacebar or backspace before greasing it, that's great. After all, it's your keyboard. If you're looking for better sound or feel, here's how you can use lubricants to do so.
PADDING FOR STABILIZERS
PAD OR LUBRICATE THE PCB
One way to improve the quality of your stabilizers is to create a barrier where the stabilizers will be installed on the PCB. This will reduce the plastic on metal contact the causes rattling. There are options here that boil down to preference. In the soulmate kit there are a variety of options. These options are available based on preference and there is no right answer. We recommend if you are new to start with no padding or lubricant to get a feel of how the board feels. You can always add to a board, but cleaning up lube and removing padding is more difficult.
If you want to put in the stabilizer film, apply them before you install your stabilizers. Place the film on the spot where you will be installing stabilizers. Customizing a keyboard to your liking is the best part of having your own keyboard, so you can apply as much, or as little, of the stabilizer film as you want.
Once you have the film down an optional step is to add a bit of grease on top of the PCB just for another layer of padding. It is our opinion this is not needed, but you may see this recommendation in the community and it will not hurt. A small dab right in the center will act as a cushion for the bar.
If you do not have stabilizer film, and are only using lube, using a small brush, apply a small amount of grease to the spot where your stabilizers will be going. Removing grease is harder than it sounds, so start with a very small amount at first. This lube is would be applied in the same location as the film strips, below where the stabilizer will sit.
Pictured above: the space where you will apply the stabilizer grease, as seen from the top of the PCB
GREASE THE STABILIZER HOUSING
Lubricating the inside housing of the stabilizers is another way to alter the sound and feel. The housing is where the stem of the stabilizers move up and down, which is a major cause of stabilizer rattle. This is also a place that grease can help the feel of the stabilizers. Take a small brush and apply lube to the sides of the stems. Applying lube to the sides of the stems is the most common place to lubricate, but you can also apply to the bottom of the stem. This will reduce the bottom-out sound of the stabilizers. If you like a loud clack sound you can skip the bottom.
After you lube the stems of your stabilizers you should lubricate the housing. Once again taking a small amount of lubricant, apply to the inner walls of the housing. You can also apply lubricant to the spot where to wire snaps into place. This will help the wire move smoothly on its track.
Pictured above: where to apply grease on the stabilizer stem and housing (top to bottom)
TEST OUT THE LUBRICATION AND ADJUST TO NEEDS
After you've greased and lubricated everywhere that you want to, it's time to test out the stabilizers. Screw in the stabilizers to the PCB and insert a switch. You can then put a keycap on the switch and stabilizers and give it a test. If the feel and sounds it what you're looking for, then you can move forward and put in all the other stabilizers and switches. If you are looking to add a little more to the stabilizers, you can do this without removing the stabilizers. Using the syringe, apply more grease to the wire and the sides of the stem. Wiggle the stabilizer up and down a few times to get the grease to evenly spread on the inside of the housing and the wire.
Pictured above: where to apply grease to a stabilizer after they are installed
Congratulations 🎉 you've lubricated and installed stabilizers to your keyboard! Take some glamor shots and share online, we’d love to see your builds if you tag us @thekey.company on Instagram.