So we’re doing a GK61X build today. This is a very easy, beginner-friendly build kit, as the GK61X includes the case, hot-swap PBC, and mounting plate already assembled. The stabilisers have also been installed. All you need to do is add switches and keycaps. The PCB is compatible with multiple switches, so you have a wide range of options, including Cherry MX, Gateron and Kailh. This is a great choice for a first build project, and you can easily keep this under $100.
So for the GK61X you have a few options as far as the case is concerned. There is a Plastic, Aluminium and Wooden version. You can also choose between dual and wired mode. Dual mode just means it can run wired or wirelessly via bluetooth. So the wooden case was very tempting to me, but I decided to get the cheaper plastic case, and I chose the white one because it matches my keycaps. This is actually a very robust case and it is made from thick plastic. No bend at all in its assembled form. The stabilisers are pre-lubed, and it was actually done quite thoroughly. Very impressed with the overall quality of the GK61X.
For the switches, I decided to go for the Gateron Yellows. These are linear switches with an actuation force of 50g, so slightly heavier than the Gateron Reds, but these Yellows work great with lube. This is the KS9 series which is compatible with the surface mount LEDs you find on the GK61X. I actually got this on Amazon, as Banggood only stock the KS8 series which supports through-hole LEDs. You could still use the KS8 switches, however some of the backlighting will be blocked, as they weren’t designed for surface mount LEDs. You’ll also notice that the KS9 has a different housing, so it’ll have a different sound as well.
Then for the keycaps I chose the Mojito keycap set. Awesome looking set with Mojito inspired colours. The keycaps are dye-sublimated PBT, and these actually have the Cherry profile, which is similar to OEM but with a lower feel.
The grand total of my build is around $135, however you can definitely do a build of under 100. I splurged on the keycaps and got the slightly more expensive KS9 Gateron switches. I wasn’t really on a strict budget here, so I just picked stuff that I like. If you’re trying to stay under $100, it is easily achievable.
When inserting your switches, just make sure the pins are straight, as they can sometimes become bent during shipping. If any of the pins are off, you should be able to use your finger to get them aligned properly again. The switches should pop into the sockets fairly easily. If you find that you have to use a lot of force, that probably means the pins are not aligned accurately. So just take the switch out, check the pins and try again. Once you’ve finished your build, just use some key detection software to ensure that all the keys are working. If a key is not registering, it’s probably due to a bent pin. So you’ll need to remove the switch and fix the pin, or just use a spare switch.