Building a Canoe 65% Keyboard: The Xander Parable


This is the story of a man named Xander. He tried to escape the soul rending monotony
of his paying job by making videos about mechanical keyboards. He would make videos talking about other people’s
mechanical keyboards while trying to be witty. Comments came in telling him that he’d messed
up the audio, or that he should not make tutorials about obvious things. He bought many keyboards, but rarely built
them. Athough others may have considered it utterly
pointless, Xander loved every moment, as though he had been made exactly for this purpose. And Xander was happy. And then one day, something very peculiar
happened. Something that would forever change Xander. Something he would never quite forget. He had been sitting at his desk for an hour
browsing Reddit and Geekhack, when he realized he wanted to actually build something. It had been months since this had happened. Shocked, frozen solid, Xander was unable to
move for the longest time. But as he came to his wits and regained his
senses, he opened the drawer on his left. His failure to tell left from right could
perhaps be attributed to the panic brought on from this new impulse to build. No matter, the drawer on the right contained
parts for the Canoe 65%. One of the boards he’d been sitting on for
about 6 months. He decided to forego the continuity check
since the Canoe PCB was notoriously reliable and rarely if ever failed. It’s well-known that there are Japanese
bullet trains and satellites traversing the solar system with less impressive service records than
the Canoe PCB. Proving to himself and anyone still watching
this self-indulgent excuse for a build video that he was pusillanimous wimp, he painstakingly tested every switch position
on the PCB with some tweezers. With that done, it was time to prepare the
stabilizers for the larger keys. A choice that would perhaps have the biggest
effect on the sound of the finished article, and one that would be incredibly tedious to
fix, if mistakes were made or corners cut. This time, Xander decided on Sprit stabilizers,
which use Cherry parts and fancy looking gold wires. Clipping and lubing the stabilizers before
inserting them into the PCB is the next step. Look, I’m on your side. Don’t just do the opposite of what I say
and try and assert some level of control. It’s really rather childish. Why would I want you to fail? Xander pondered this for some time before
clipping and lubing the stabilizers and applying some thin fabric band-aid where the stabilizer
inserts would contact the PCB. Maybe he should have used electrical tape. Or felt. Or lubed the band-aids. Maybe it doesn’t ****ing matter and he should
just get on with it. With all the stabilizers installed and tested
for rattle, it was time to put the switches into the PCB. The dizzying amount of choices he’d already
made today was starting to make Xander feel positively nauseous, so he chose a box completely
at random. And with luck seemingly on his side he found
one full of lubed retooled Cherry MX blacks with Sprit 68g springs. Oh happy day. It seemed to Xander that perhaps there was
merit to giving up control and letting oneself be blown through life by the winds of chance like a discarded plastic
bag. Remembering some ancient eastern wisdom regarding
switch alignment, Xander inserted some switches into the plate and PCB in what he told himself wasn’t a haphazard
fashion. He took great care to check the switches were
seated well and made good contact with the PCB. Things seemed to be going very well for Xander,
which should immediately have set alarm bells ringing based on 40 years or so of cock-ups. Oblivious to the gaping chasm of abject failure
that was surely opening up before him, he soldered in the switches. He was in the home stretch. Placing the soldering iron back into its stand
for the what he dared to hope would be the last time in this build, he breathed a sigh of relief. All that remained was to plug the keyboard
in and test that the switches were, by some uncharacteristic break with form,
functioning correctly. Then came the familiar self-doubt. Maybe, Xander thought, I shouldn’t tempt
fate. Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead. The keyboard has been fine sitting in a box
for 6 months. And to come this far without bending the plate
or melting the PCB was a miracle. Probably best to just put everything away
and call it a win. Honestly, I’m about to wash my hands of
this whole sorry mess. Go on. Fire up Switch Hitter and see what happens. It’s going to be dead columns and repeating
switches all over the place. I’m just going to sit here and watch you
fail. Go on. Go on. It’s a pitiful commentary on your life when
plugging in a USB device and having it work as intended will likely
be your most significant success of the whole month, displacing that day when you noticed there
was no toilet paper before you sat down. Now to find some keycaps worthy of this opus
in keyboard form. A poor selection would earn him the derision
of the thousands who would impatiently skip most of the video to see how the build turned
out. That’s if they even made it past the thumbnail. Xander decided that the much revered DCS profile
would be the best match for this $500 keyboard. Classic Cream Cheese and Green in thin ABS
plastic being criminally underrepresented on Reddit and Instagram. Ah. Intent on displaying your stupidity for the
entire world to see are we? Well, an unabashed lack of taste does have a certain raw honesty that children,
the feeble minded, or those with senses addled through drink might appreciate, I suppose. Oh, the infamous Triumph Adler. A set that was maligned for its colour accuracy,
as well as quality control issues. But you don’t care about that do you. You hope it will make people comment or click
a button to register their approval or rage. Either one will do as far as YouTube is concerned. You’re really winning that click and bending
the algorithm to your will. Sheer genius. With the board ready for use the only thing
remaining was to record a typing test, the thing that 83% of the people are here for. You know someone will leave a comment with
a timecode so people won’t need to sit through the
hell that was the previous Christ-knows how many minutes. Be sure to position the microphone far enough
away so as to mask the ping and scratch. Xander began to type.

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