Ah, case material. Most keyboards use plastic, which is totally find but in the custom world there are a lot more materials, like metal, wood, acrylic and resin. Lets’ get into it
Plastic. The classic.
The classic. It’s a budget and cost friendly option, often found in popular entry level prebuilt custom keyboards like the Anne Pro 2, RK61 and Ducky One 2 Mini.
It’s cheap to buy but however beyond that it does not have many things going for it. It feels cheap, doesn’t sound very good and leave a lot to be desired, which leads me to the next material, metal.
The crowd favorite. Metal cases offer an extremely premium and luxurious feel to a keyboard, especially when it its thick like the example above. Picking up a metal keyboard is much heavier compared to plastic and just feels expensive, you know? Metal cases can be anodized in all sorts of colors to match your need, but honestly when it doesn’t why stop there when you can just paint your own case. The sound metal cases produced are usually higher pitched and they have a problem where it can sound hollow and pingy, but those problems are solved by adding foam or silicone. Click here to learn about case dampening.
Acrylic cases are usually in a keyboard for lighting purposes. Some PCBs have lighting underneath them and having a clear acrylic case really makes the lighting apparent. It sounds closer to plastic but is a lot more solid due to the density of the acrylic compared to plastic.
Fun fact, a lot of open-sourced keyboards that go into group buy use acrylic because it is cost effective and can be shaped in many ways.
Wood isn’t that common but if you’re wood lover there’s definitely a grain/ pattern and shade out there for you. Some people even DIY. Wooden cases then to produce a deep thockier noises. A notable wood case lover in the community is squashy boy, who loves them so much he made his own in this video.
Resin cases are also quite rare to be seen. They sound similar to acrylic with a deeper sound signature but is mostly used because of its unique aesthetic. Sometimes they are even mixed in with wood to create unique cases like this