Do me a favor. Head over to Micro Center’s website and search “mechanical keyboard.” We have more than a few keyboards available. And with all those differing keyboards, it can be hard to decide what keyboard is right for you (though we do have a handy guide!). Whether you have a very particular taste or just can’t find the exact keyboard you want, we have a solution:
You build your own.
Micro Center is now carrying all the parts you need to build your own Glorious PC Gaming Race keyboards, from barebones keyboard bodies to switches and keycaps. But if building your own keyboard sounds intimidating, I’m here to assure you it’s not. So, let’s explore why you should build your own keyboard and how easy it actually is to do.
You know exactly what you like, and exactly what you want. Maybe you’re looking for a 60% Tenkeyless keyboard with Gateron Blues switches and black keycaps. Or, maybe you want a compact keyboard with Kailh Copper switches and white keycaps. That customizability and freedom of choice is exactly why you build your own keyboard.
And that’s just the start. Building your own keyboard means you’re not limited to a single switch or keycap. Mix it up, put Kailh box-brown on your WASD and Gateron reds everywhere else. Make a checkerboard pattern with your keycaps. And if you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake randomly placing Gateron Blues on your keyboard like clicky landmines, you can overhaul the whole thing whenever you want without having to buy a whole new keyboard.
With the Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard, or GMMK, it’s not hard at all. It took me, a complete never-built-a-keyboard-before novice under an hour to go from this:
All while watching TV.
There’s no one answer to this question, as it’s entirely based on your personal preference. But we can offer a quick break down on which each of the parts are:
GMMK Full-Size Base: Your standard keyboard size, including a number pad, F keys, and navigation keys.
GMMK Tenkeyless: Almost a full-size keyboard, just without the number pad. It’s a bit smaller as a result, but still offers direction keys and F keys
GMMK Compact: The bare minimum for a keyboard. No number pad, no navigation keys, no F keys, just enough to give you the full alphabet and punctuation.
There are two different types of keyboard switches to choose from, each with their own subset of styles. Gateron looks to match the reigning mechanical champion Cherry as much as possible while prioritizing smoothness. Kailh switches, on the other hand, get a bit more experimental and try to improve on Cherry’s design.
Gateron Blue: Clicky and tactile, Gateron Blues respond with an audible click as well as a small bump at their actuation point
Gateron Brown: Tactile and quiet, Gateron Browns have a small bump at their actuation point, but no click
Gateron Red: Linear and quiet, Gateron Reds don’t have the tactile bump or the noise of Blues and Browns
Kailh Silver: Speedy and Linear, Kailh Silver switches are silent and linear with no tactile bump and have a high actuation point so keypresses register quicker.
Kailh Copper: Speedy and Tactile, Kailh Copper switches have the actuation bump as well as a high actuation point for faster keypresses.
Kailh Box-Brown: The same as Gateron Browns (tactile and quiet), but with a reinforced stem to lower key wobble as well as increase dust and water resistance.
Kailh Box-Red: The same as Gateron Reds (linear and quiet), but with a reinforced stem to lower key wobble as well as increase dust and water resistance.
Mechanical Keycaps: These are your standard keycaps, a solid color (available in Black and White) with translucence on the lettering to let the RGB of your base shine through.
Aura Mechanical Keycaps: Functionally the same keycaps, but with a translucent base for brighter and more apparent RGB.
For my build, I decided to use parts I knew I would like, rather than try something new:
GMMK Full-Size Base - I’m a sucker for a number pad, even if I rarely use it.
Gateron Brown Switches - As a writer and a gamer, I want that spot between clicky blue switches and linear reds. That happy medium is brown switches, offering tactile feedback, but without the loud click of Blues.
Aura Mechanical Keycaps White - I won’t lie, I meant to choose black keycaps. I accidentally grabbed the wrong box. But I’m really happy I did, as the white keys on a black bed look really nice.
Hopefully, this has given you some idea of what you might want in your own build as we move on to the big part:
It breaks down into three steps:
We’ll take a bit to break down each step, though none are particularly difficult.
Just push em in!
Okay, so it’s not quite that simple, but it very nearly is. If you take a look at your switches, you’ll notice two prongs poking out of the bottom. Make sure the prongs are sticking straight out and not angled. If they’re leaning, use the included tweezer tool to straighten them out, and you’re good to go. Line those prongs up with the holes in the slot you’re putting your switch, then push it in. It’ll snap in with a satisfying click, and you should be good to move onto the next. Unlike keycaps, there’s not a required location for each switch.
But, if you’re worried that you’re going to mess something up, I can safely say it takes a LOT to actually break something. Once I put my keyboard together and had it plugged in, I realized that I had two keys not working (we’ll talk about how to test in step 3). So I pulled those switches out and found that I really did a number on them:
But don’t worry: not only did this mistake do no lasting damage to my computer or keyboard, I un-bent the prongs, plugged the switch back in, and it was good to go. And if you do manage to do enough damage that they’re unfixable, the switch packs come with several extra. I had around 20 leftover after building with the largest keyboard we had. Just don’t be too rough, and you’ll be fine.
Just push em on!
This time, I’m not oversimplifying things. Putting keycaps on is even easier than switches. Just make sure your keycap is in the right place and facing the correct direction. In other words, don’t put your ‘A’ key upside-down in the ‘X’ key slot (though if you do, there’s a keycap puller with the keycaps and the base, and pulling keycaps off is as simple as lifting up with the puller). And to make things even easier, Glorious packed the keys in the order they appear on your keyboard. So unless you’re putting your keys in DVORAK order, it’ll be a breeze.
Once you’ve got your keyboard put together, the only thing left to do is final tests and a bit more customization.
Once you’ve got your Glorious keyboard hooked up to your PC, head over to the Glorious website and download the GMMK software. While that’s downloading and installing, I’d recommend testing to make sure all your keys are fully working. I used keyboardtester.com as a quick way to test each of my keys and learn that I definitely did not install two correctly.
Once you’ve tested all your keys, it’s time to dig into your backlighting. There are a few pre-loaded customizations on GMMK keyboards that can be hot-swapped with the Function Key + Navigation Keys (this does vary based on which base you used). The pre-loaded customizations are fairly standard, however, and don’t offer much customization.
The GMMK software is where you’ll do all of your in-depth color customizations. With per-key lighting and 16.8 million colors available, you can sink a lot of time into perfecting your aesthetic, and that’s before you dig into the lighting modes.
If you’re looking to add macros to your keyboard, the GMMK app is where you’ll do that as well. Macro programming is designed to be as simple as possible, responding to keypresses and fully adjustable.
In total, my build took around 50 minutes from start to finish. 5 minutes to unpack everything, 20 minutes to snap in the switches, 15 to place the keycaps, and another 10 to test everything and set up the Glorious software. That’s under an hour to build one of the nicest keyboards I’ve ever had the chance to work with. And if you’re concerned the only reason I like it so much is because I chose all the parts: that’s exactly the point.
Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboards are designed to be fully customizable by you. You choose the parts, the colors, the style. At the end of your build, you’ll be left with a keyboard that you built from the ground up. And that build is part of the fun. It’s just difficult enough to require some attention, but if you’re comfortable, you can fall into a really pleasing rhythm while building.
If you’re looking for a completely customizable, changeable, and personalizable keyboard for around the price of a standard mechanical keyboard, you can’t do better than Glorious.
By now, you’re probably hankering to put together your own keyboard. And we want to send you the parts to do so! We’ve got two complete builds waiting to be assembled, you just need to tell us the parts you would use from this list:
Post your build of choice in the comments and we’ll randomly select two users to get their full parts list for FREE. You have until Sunday, May 16th at 11:59 PM EST to enter, so choose quick!
Good luck, and happy building!
I would probably go with the following build
Thanks for the opportunity!
This will be me choice
Glorious Barebones Tenkeyless Base
104 Aura Black Keycaps
Here's my choices:
Its gotta be
Glorious Barebones Tenkeyless base
Gateron Red ( and lube them)
104 Aura black key caps
PS- The glorious Model O wireless is one of the best mice ever!
Aura Black Keycaps
Gateron Red Switches
This would be a great upgrade for my home office!
GMMK TKL base
box brown switches
My setup would be:
Mmm, I could definitely use a replacement. (I still have a Rev.2 that's now been rebuilt 3 times.) It's a bit disappointing Microcenter isn't stocking the Kailh Purple Pros, but they are a bit of an acquired taste.
Case: Glorious Barebones Compact Base
Switches: Gateron Blue
Keycaps: 104 Black
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