Mechanical Keyboard not possible, aye?

Title. There isn’t enough space, is it?

I mean, you can definitely find a way.

You could put a mechanical keyboard with full sized switches on there, but you’d need to make sure that the screen won’t touch it. So you’d have to put some stand offs around the chassis and at that point your laptop would have a wedge shape. So I doubt anyone would want that. Carrying a separate mechanical keyboard will probably take up a similar amount of space and be way more user friendly.

either sounds quite convoluted - how can I go back to membrane after having a mechanical one on my desktop

Well, that’s how it is with laptops. There are exceedingly few with mechanical keyboards.

The FW16 is close to being able to fit Cherry mx ultra-low-profile, sad that there isn’t just a little more height available.


Well the good news is all you need to do is build a 3rd party hinge that is slightly taller and then a 3rd party bezel that is thicker so that an 3rd party ultra low profile mechanical KB that would work. This is assuming that the cable would have enough slack to allow a slightly taller hinge…me my self I can’t stand mechanical keyboards. The lower the profile the better.

You’d probably need a longer display cable which is likely one of the bigger pains to source.

I like me a good mechanical keyboard but not enough to take all the drawbacks it would take to put one in a laptop. I’d rather use the extra thickness for more battery or better cooling.

Depending on how much I like the framework keyboard I may try to mod a think-pad keyboard into it eventually XD

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The framework keyboards are actually supposed to be pretty nice, similar to a thinkpad and dissimilar to razer blade’s/macbooks. I’ve used both mechanical and optical for my desktop, but I also use a laptop regularly for work that involves more typing than my desktop does, and switching doesn’t bother me.


Quite easily. I’ve no problems swapping between a mechanical keyboard, the work ThinkPad keyboard and my MacBook Pro.

How many devices do you have!

I actually have a Keychron K8 and a carrying case for it that fits in my laptop bag for this reason. I wore out the keyboard on my System76 Serval WS before I switched to just carrying a keyboard everywhere.

Edit: specifically I wore out the c, v , u, y and s keys. The rest generally still work AFAICT.

Enough. :rofl:

Work laptop is the work laptop. They provide it, I use it.
Daily driver MacBook Pro, which is getting replaced with the FW16.
Gaming PC.

Then there’s the old stuff :
Couple of retro ThinkPads, and a PowerBook G4.
Oh, and the old Pentium 4 gaming PC from 2000 that comes out occasionally.

When was the last time this happened?

About 6 months ago…

I don’t want to dunk on Framework, but I have said previously that not building the headroom for these ULP switches was a bum move on their part. The 16 is a power users machine and not trying to be ultra-portable like the 13.

The 13 garnered discussion of creator-built mechanical keyboards so there is no doubt that as a business they would have been aware of this desire when designing the 16, and it is regrettable they did not choose to make provision for them. If I had my tinfoil hat on I’d say they didn’t want to lose control of the aftermarket of keyboard modules by allowing anyone to manufacture them from off-the-shelf parts.

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I can’t believe that in the slightest. They have opened up every part that they can to the community and 3rd-party makers. Their github is packed with data. Only items not released or planned to be released are those covered by NDA and / or created with partners with other licensing issues. Full mainboard schematics are even available to repair shops, I presume if they check out as legit and sign the partners’ NDAs.

For the keyboard, they are trying to bring us single-key modules, so we can create any ergonomic or crazy layouts we wish


Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s just that the market has spoken, and it demands thin laptops.

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Yeah. We have to remember that those that just can’t live without a mech keyboard make up a small niche. I can’t blame Framework for not adding thickness just for that small niche. Framework is not big. They need to appeal to the majority of buyers. And a lot of people will compare spec numbers, adding thickness will make it look worse vs Framework’s competition.

Just because you put the blueprints out there does not mean it is buildable by anyone, as we cannot just knock up a membrane style keyboard to order. Look at “google Android”, supposedly open source, but how possible is it to run alternative “distros” on your 'phone?

Those “single key modules” have not appeared at the time of writing. If and when they do so, they will probably be inferior to the Cherry ULP (who know a thing or two about keyswitches) but you will have no choice but to use them. The only benefit is that Framework make the money out of hobby creators not Cherry.

I cannot buy the assertion that a mechanical keyboard will have unacceptably increased the thickness of the 16" machine. I concede the 13 is a different matter. The Cherry ULP discussed is after all marketed to, and used in, gamer and “desktop replacement” laptops. Leaving that option on the table by providing the required headroom need not even increase the cost to produce, as they could have continued to provide a membrane 'keeb as standard.

I think it is necessary as somebody who cares about Framework’s stated mission to hold the firm to account when they make puzzling decisions. Unfortunately they have to work within the same constraints as any other firm, and their financial backers may well push them towards practices they not want. It is for the rest of us to keep them on the right path.

Would this be the same “market” that has been telling us for decades we want non-repairable laptops with a three year service life?

I do. On all my devices. The base of android is indeed open source and is called AOSP (Android Open Source Project). Many, many alternative distros, called ROMs, are made from AOSP and have zero closed source or proprietary google code.

I run LineageOS on my main phone, and different roms on my backup phone and tablet. The easiest devices to install alt roms on are actually google’s own pixel phones, as well as google tablets. Very easy to load an alt rom on them.

There are also some OS options not based on AOSP. 13 Open Source Mobile OS Alternatives to Android

Dude, the FW16 isn’t even out yet.
Every ounce of effort right now is going to the actual laptop, not a nice-to-have bonus. Shipping dates FW 16 - #199 by Jordan_Long Why would single key modules be released before the laptop itself?

I believe Cherry MX ULP could be done. It’s not that they absolutely can’t fit, just that there’s precious little room for the PCB and the keycaps. One would have to get unconventional, especially for the keycaps.

Or one could probably shim the hinges up a smidge and give yourself more room.


I feel attacked!