K:03 keyboard soundproofing
with your own hands!
Good day, reader. In this article, I want to share my experience with soundproofing the Ergohaven K:03

Let's start with a list of the things I used in my experiments (I will refer to them by their number in this list later):
  1. Thinner soundproofing, 0.5 mm, PORON (you can order any other analog in a whole sheet for easier cutting, I used this one because I initially planned to use it on a conventional keyboard and changed my mind, it went under the knife in the name of splits)
  2. Thicker soundproofing, 3 mm, PORON
  3. Switch plate pads made of EVA
Comparison of how the soundproofed keyboard (left half) sounds and the stock keyboard (right half).
Unfortunately, I don't have a good microphone, and in general, such things don't translate well on video. But it seems like the sound is more thocky after soundproofing, and much more pleasant.
Step 0: Disassembling the Keyboard
Soundproofing your keyboard starts with taking it apart, and this can be tricky. Also, a couple of the mods (3 and 4) in this guide require the keycaps and switches to be removed. If you plan on doing them, it's best to do it right away, as they are much easier to remove from an assembled keyboard (if you have a version with knobs, it's also worth removing them).
Below is a video for beginners demonstrating how to remove keycaps and switches, along with the appropriate tool, called a switch/keycap puller, this process is quite simple.
The guys at Ergohaven have come up with a clever mechanism for disassembly:
turn the keyboard upside down and you will see a large hole on the edge. Use this hole to push out all the internals of the keyboard. The internals are held in place by plastic latches and are quite tight.
The first time was scary to disassemble because I was afraid of damaging something, but after feeling out the approximate amount of force to apply, the disassembly seems simple. Gently push the keyboard with your finger or eraser side of pencil and voila, two internal parts fall out:

  • PCB - the board with controllers and all other electronics
  • Switch plate - the plastic piece that holds the switches

Set both pieces aside for now and proceed to the first mod.
Step 1: The most effective price/performance mod, using thicker sound dampening material (2)
Take thick sound dampening material and cut out pieces of a size to fit the bottom of the keyboard.
Most of the pieces are about the same square size and shouldn't be a problem. Cut out one more or less similar square and cut out the same ones in the same way. Apply the square to the sheet and cut along the edges.

There will be difficulties with non-square pieces. I had to tinker with them, but I managed to cut them out as follows: I mark the boundaries of the area I want to cut out with a marker, then I press the soundproofing sheet firmly against these boundaries and voila - the outline of the piece is transferred to the soundproofing material and I can cut it out easily.

In this way, I filled all the cavities under the switches and encoders in the keyboard. I didn't put any under the controller because I was afraid of bending something, and I didn't see much point in it anyway since the main source of noise is still pressing the switches and encoders.
After this mod, I assembled the keyboard, tried typing, and the result, in my subjective opinion, is amazing. The keyboard sounds much quieter and the unpleasant plastic noise when pressing the keys is almost completely suppressed. This mod took me about an hour and it's a straight 10 out of 10 for the ratio of time spent on the mod to its effect.
Step 2: Apply thin sound dampening material to the edges of the switch plate
Take the thin sound dampening material(1) and cut out strips that are approximately the same width as the thickness of the switch plate and carefully glue them to the side of switchplate. Smooth out the strip to ensure even distribution across the width, minimizing wrinkles, and let the glue dry completely.
Note that after applying sound dampening to the edges and inserting the switch plate back into the keyboard, it will fit extremely tightly, making disassembly much more difficult. This mod eliminates all backlash and helps with noise dampening, but again, after applying it, there may be difficulties with disassembling the keyboard because it fits too tightly. A pen with a rubberized back helped me disassemble it, and a pencil with an eraser should also do the trick.
Step 3. Place switch sound dampening pads on the switch plate (3)
Everything here is super simple: take the pads from point 3 and stick them under each switch. This mod doesn't have a lot of impact, but it slightly softens the impact transferred from the switch to the switch plate, making the keyboard a little quieter overall. It is probably the simplest of all the mods to implement, so I never skip it and apply it to all my keyboards.

The only downside to this mod is that the pads are visible and may slightly affect the keyboard's aesthetics, but they look quite nice with white-based switches and black on white keycaps.

Step 4. Additional noise dampening for the encoder
To make the encoder a little quieter, I did the following: I cut a small donut out of 3mm noise dampening material (2) and put it on the encoder. To cut a donut of the right size, I removed the encoder cap, applied it to the noise dampening material, and turned it around - a mark is left on the noise dampening material that is convenient to cut from.
It's very easy to do without even disassembling the keyboard.
I feel like this mod not only makes the encoder quieter to press, but it also seems to make it smoother to rotate.
There are many other interesting ways to soundproof a keyboard, but for the K3 I would stick to this set of modifications as they are a good balance between time and noise reduction, making the typing sound much better, not at all like a plastic toy :D

Sound tests:
The K3 is now not only super functional, but the typing sound is also quite decent!

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Author — Ivan Seleznev

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