So we’re doing our second DZ60 build today, and I’ve really been looking forward to this as we’re using a completely custom-made acrylic case. This build will also be gasket mount, which is different from the more typical tray mount in that there is gasket material between the plate and keyboard housing. This results in a more cushioned bottom out feel, but more significantly gasket mounts have a very unique sound, making it a popular mounting style among keyboard enthusiasts.
This time I’m using the DZ60RGB-ANSI v2 version, which has the standard 61-key layout and compatibility with QMK and VIA. I chose Gateron Yellows for this build and we’ll be using Durock v2 stabilisers. After much deliberation, I went for the Colour Matching Keycap Set on Banggood, which is a very cool looking GMK Olivia clone with the Cherry profile. The Coiled Aviator cable will add a nice aesthetic touch.
First of all a big shoutout to Robin from our Discord server. He designed the Stacked60 from the ground up using CAD. After building a budget gasket-mount board from aluminium extrusions, he drew inspiration from Qlavier to make something more elegant. The design involved everything from creating the layers to measuring the gasket cut outs and USB-C opening. The case consists of seven layers in total: six of these are 3mm-thick acrylic layers, and then there is a single brass layer of 1.5mm. The gasket cut outs are on Layer 2, 3 and 4. Our CAD generated aluminium mounting plate features 6 gasket tabs, and we’ll be using foam tape as gasket material. We spent quite some time critiquing the different designs, and unanimously agreed on this one. I immediately liked the rounded look, and the brass plate adds a touch of class. The designs were sent off to Eco Laser for cutting, and once these were finished we made thread for the screws. There was some roughness around the edges and Robin was kind enough to smooth these out with a diamond file and sandpaper. So again a big thanks to Robin for the countless hours he spent perfecting and refining the design.
I’ve decided to go back to the medium Gateron Yellows for this build. I use lubed Gateron Reds on my SnowFox, and even though I really enjoy these switches, I do make my fair share of typos due to the lightness. I feel like the Yellows give me a good balance between typing and gaming at 50g actuation force. I applied some Krytox 205 Grade 2 to these switches, and I was very happy with the end result. The lube not only helped increase the smoothness, but also removed most of the metal ping. As much as I like these Gateron Yellows, I definitely want to throw on some custom switches in the near future, and I like the look of the FFFFs and Alpaca v2 Linears right now. I will start with something more budget friendly though, and the Feker Airys are currently on the way.
We’re using high-end stabs this time around, and I opted for the the Durock v2 PCB Mount Screw-In Stabilisers. The v2 version features reverse wire buckles and an anti-slip design. These should give us better performance than the Cherry Screw-ins we used for our last project. This has be the best looking stabs I’ve seen, featuring gold wires and a smokey translucent housing. No need to perform any clipping, as the stab inserts are already flat at the bottom. The only modifications I will do is lubing the inside housing and applying dielectric grease to the wires.
The DZ60RGB-ANSI v2 supports 5-pin switches with a south-facing switch configuration, which means we won’t have any issues with interference when using our Cherry keycaps. On some north facing configurations there have been issues where Cherry caps don’t fully bottom out, or just don’t feel right. The DZ60 features Kailh hot swap sockets, which makes life a lot easier as we don’t need to do any soldering. We have per-key backlighting and the USB-C port is positioned on the back left. This version features the standard 61-key ANSI layout, and there is also a 63-key layout if you’re looking for dedicated arrow keys. Just a heads up, the two switches in the top left corner are inverted, so they go the other way around.
I chose the GMK Olivia clone set for our build, also known as the Colour Matching Keycap set on Banggood. I’ve never had any problem with Banggood keycaps, and again this is high quality PBT made via two-colour injection molding. I was specifically looking for a Cherry set featuring white keys with black legends, and this was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. The Black modifiers and Rose Gold accents look very stylish. I was also considering the Varmilo Dawn set, but thought the Oliva clones would be a better match for our glossy white case.
So now we are ready to start assembling our board, and the first step is to install the Durock v2 stabs.
Next up are the switches, and it’s always a good idea to spread the first few switches across the plate, as it will give you a nice even base to work on. This is actually a spare plate that Robin had from a previous build. It’s made of soft aluminium and is unpolished, but we can always upgrade the plate in the future. Once the switches are installed, just use a key tester to ensure that all the keys are actuating. For a hot-swap PCB, a non-registering key will most likely be caused by a bent pin.
I’ve already applied the gasket material to our mounting plate, so all we need to do is remove the top layer and insert our assembly. Then we simply pop it back on, and tighten the screws.
I was thrilled with the final look of the build, and the Colour Matching Keycap set really complements the glossy white case. I love the combination of the Rose gold accents and brass plate. The Coiled Aviator looks absolutely stunning here, and I’m glad I chose this cable. If you’re wondering about the exposed screw holes, this was by design. I think it looks really good, although I will probably add another layer on top to hide these holes. Not much in the way of RGB, as we’re using the Gateron KS8 series, which is made for through hole LEDs. Our keycaps aren’t meant for shinethrough anyways, so I just turned the backlighting off.
The Stacked60 has a very unique typing experience, thanks to that gasket mount. The bottom out feel is a lot more gentle than tray-mount, and it has a soft and flexible feel to it. You don’t get that case reverberation of a tray-mount board, and there is more emphasis on the actual sound of the switches. This is why I’m so eager to throw on higher-end linears like the FFFFs. I was really satisfied with the sound and typing feel, and the space bar also had a very nice thocky sound. It’s a big step up from the tray mount boards I’m accustomed to. I love the more cushioned bottom out feel and gentle sound. This is probably not quite on the level of a KBDfans gasket kit, but not half-bad for a first custom project!
The only thing left to do is configure our keyboard, and I used the VIA configurator. It has a super intuitive user interface and it’s really easy to get your keyboard set up. I went for my usual Standard layer, where I move Fn next to Space Bar to make room for dedicated arrow keys in the bottom right corner. Most people put their Up arrow on Right Shift, however I typically use Backslash as I cannot sacrifice Right Shift. But with VIA you can actually assign a hold and tap function to a key. So when I tap right Shift it will act as Up Arrow, but when I hold it I still get the modifying property. This is great as the arrow keys feel a lot more natural now. On my old configuration I would also remap Caps Lock to Backslash, as I was of course using that key for Up Arrow. With the new configuration I don’t need to do that anymore, which means I have a free key. This is absolutely huge as I can now make Caps Lock a dedicated Delete key. I can now do one-handed Shift Deletes, which is super useful in my video editing workflow. With VIA you can also customise all the extra layers. I only really need one extra layer, and I added my navigation keys and media controls (I didn’t need RGB controls as I won’t be using backlighting). What’s really nice about this is I can position these keys exactly where I want them; I’m not stuck with a pre-determined configuration. This is by far the best 60% layout for me, and it will give me a substantial productivity boost.
So all in all this was a super enjoyable project, and considering this is our first custom case build, the end result was very impressive. Once again thanks to Robin for making this possible, and I’m looking forward to more collaborations in the future.