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Mechanical keyboard

Tada68 Keyboard-An Accidental Build

Tada68 65% Keyboard with Low Profile Aluminum Case

This keyboard build started as an idea that didn’t work out. After I bought the Akko 3068 from Banggood. com which arrived with a bad/dead printed circuit board, and could only get $40 dollars of the $69.99 price refunded, I thought I could use the PBT keycaps, case, plate, and desolder the 68 Cherry MX brown switches from the board to use in another keyboard. After a lot of frustration searching for a replacement Akko pcb, I realized my scheme might not be as easy as I thought. Even with the part numbers from the board I couldn’t find anyone who sold a replacement Akko 3068 pcb.

I had read (somewhere) that the Akko 3068 was very similar, if not identical to the Tada68 so I thought perhaps a Tada68 pcb, which I could buy for $35 from KBDfans, would fit the plastic case from the dead keyboard and I could use the caps, plate, switches, and case from the Akko with a new Tada68 pcb. When the pcb arrived, I found it would fit into the Akko case, but none of the mounting holes would line up. In addition to that problem, I had only managed to remove ten Cherry MX Brown switches from the dead pcb without breaking them ( because the cheap solder sucker I bought at Amazon kept clogging).

Tada68 65% mechanical keyboard PCB from KBDfans, com

I put the Tada68 pcb back in the box and took a break from schemes and frustration for a few days. Since KBDfans sells a Tada68 kit where one can pick and choose the parts, I thought maybe I could buy a Tada68 plastic case for $10 dollars and still salvage the keycaps and switches from the Akko. I realized the plate from the Akko didn’t have the right mounting holes so in addition to the plastic case, I would need an $18 dollar aluminum plate along with $13 dollars for Cherry stabs..

Tada68 aluminum plate with Cherry stabs and plastic case bought from KBDfans.com

By the time the plate, stabs, and plastic case arrived, I had gotten so frustrated with attempting to desolder the Cherry MX Brown switches from the bad pcb that I checked KBDfans for the price of Cherry MX Blues which I prefer for typing. At $23 dollars, I thought why not since I had already spent $76 dollars for the plastic case, pcb, cherry stabs, and aluminum plate and the 68 Cherry MX Blues would bring the total to $99 which happened to be the price for an assembled Tada68 with a plastic case from KBDfans, (but what would be the fun in that?). The DIY kits was only $89, but remember–this was an accidental build.

Switches available from KBDfans. Cherry MX Blues are top row, fourth from the left.

While waiting for all the parts to arrive, I bought a soldering iron, solder, and Super Lube for the stabs from Amazon. The soldering of the switches onto the pcb took less than an hour and the keyboard was assembled and tested with the recycled keycaps in less than two hours. After using it for a couple of days and listening to typing sound vids on YouTube, I wondered if paying $55 dollars for the low profile aluminum case would be worthwhile.

Tada68 low profile aluminum case from KBDfans.com

Before the aluminum case arrived, I bought a set of DSA keycaps since the low profile case is a floating key design, but I changed my mind and switched to a set of SA caps for a day before returning to the Cherry profile caps from the Akko 3068. To make this accidental project seem redundant and pointless, I found an Akko 3068 with Cherry MX Blue switches on Amazon for $89 and two day prime shipping. I couldn’t help myself. I bought it.

The cause of all my woes, the Akko 3068 keyboard.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with KBDfans, but recommend them highly for keyboards and keyboard parts.

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