Soo… I broke my original keyboard trying to switch around the keys to the dvorak layout. However, in the process, I figured out the technique to removing the keys without breaking the stupid, tiny, fragile plastic bits inside each keys.
I ordered the blank keyboard as a replacement, and decided to DIY it by moving the function-row keys from my first keyboard to the blank one. Honestly, I’m really happy with how it turned out. There’s no way I would remember that f7 is brightness, f10 is the airplane mode etc. Even if I did, I don’t have the muscle memory to correctly press f5 without counting the keys.
Anyways, if you decide to try this yourself, you can start with some of the prior art from our other community members:
I actually found the top row buttons easier to remove (or maybe because I figured out the technique by then), but again - you have to be really precise and delicate to do it correctly without breaking the keys.
That said, it’s pretty repeatable once you get the technique down. The main idea is that there are two plastic clips at the top of each key that you need to pop out. What worked for me was to start with the spudger at the top of each key. You can feel with the spudger where the supports are because you can’t push the tool in as far in that spot. That’s where you want to aim the spudger at it, either perpindicular or angled. The image below shows both options - the left one is straight down and the right one is angled inwards
Then, what I did was to gently twist the spudger (like if you were twirling a pencil). This provides the leverage to gently rock the clips out.
What you want is to hear a small, gentle click on each side as the clips pop out. Then you can lift the key from the bottom and remove it. Be gentle!!! If the key isn’t cooperating, just skip it and move to the next key. Come back to it later and it’ll probably cooperate then.
When I broke keys it was because I was being impatient. They tops weren’t unclipping so I added more and more force. Instead, you should change the angle of the spudger or the twisting technique etc. Once it’s in the right place you don’t need a lot of force.
Who wants to build a “chess-board” keyboard with the blank & transparent keys? I think that could look cool too! Maybe next time I get bored with the current looks of the laptop (or god forbid break this one too)