Guide: Springs

– Spring Types Springs from L to R: Kailh Box, MX Black, KTT 3-Stage, Flashquark 2-stage, Thockpop 3-stage Longboi, Thockpop 500g, Thockpop 1700g Linear Springs Feel Consistent The Linear spring is a spring which has a linear force curve, meaning the force builds relatively gradually and evenly from the top to the bottom of the keypress. There will typically be a difference of 30 grams of force from the top to the bottom. This will be the most common spring type found in switches on pre-built boards. Slow Springs Feel Even More Consistent Slow springs are similar to linear springs, but the variance from top to bottom is reduced, causing the spring weight to feel even more stiff and consistent in weight. An example of the slow spring is the budget-favorite Gateron Yellow. The Gateron Yellow is popular among enthusiasts for its slow spring that feels great with linear switches, especially for those of use who like to bottom-out. The linear force curve for a slow spring is much more shallow from beginning to end. For many, the 62 to 65 gram weighting of the Gateron Yellow is neither too light nor too heavy, from initial press to bottom-out, and the slow curve spring makes the keypress consistent and non-fatiguing. Progressive Springs Get Heavier and Heavier A progressive spring has a more extreme curve, meaning that the more you press, the heavier the spring will feel. In linear switches, a progressive spring may help with preventing bottom out. The more you press, the greater the resistance, and may give a keyfeel that many describe as “bouncy”. For those who wish to avoid bottom out but do not like the feeling of tactile or clicky switches, you may notice the feel will turn mushier to help you determine when you have reached and exceeded the point of actuation. In most cases, the progressive spring will be wound tighter on one end, typically the top end, making the correct orientation and direction of the spring crucial to how the switch feels. Complex Springs Start Progressive and End Linear A Complex spring is a hybrid of linear and progressive springs. The spring acts progressively until about halfway, at which point it turns linear. The initial press will feel about 5 grams lighter than a linear switch with the same actuation and bottom out rating, often with a range of 20 to 25grams. This feeling can also help to identify the point of actuation by press feel alone. Kailh Box Springs are Long and Thin Kailh Box springs tend to be linear springs, and are longer than a typical MX spring, but smaller in diameter. As a result, regular springs will be too unstable within the Kailh Box housing, and Kailh box springs will be too narrow for traditional MX style switches. “Multi-Stage” Springs (on Springs on Springs) Multi-Stage springs are a newer type of spring in relation to mechanical keyboard switches. Multi-stage springs tend to be extended in length, and appear as if two or three springs are stacked on top of one another. Shorter mult-stage springs may just feel a bit more “progressive” than normal linear springs. Multiple sections of tightly wound cable give these multi-stage springs a unique stiff feeling and feel more consistent or “slow” when used in a linear switch. The extended length helps to “load” the spring, giving a stronger return and more consistent range in spring weight, starting you off closer to the middle of the overall force curve.