A mechanical keyboard’s “actuation point” describes how far a key needs to be pressed to register an input. This measurement is usually set in stone, but a new 3D-printable keyboard switch, called the MagLev Switch MX, allows you to adjust its actuation point on the fly.
Developed by famichu and shared on GitHub, the MagLev Switch MX combines the conventional design with a hall-effect sensor. It looks like a typical cross-stem Cherry MX switch, and in a finished keyboard, every switch needs to be wired in a matrix. But instead of detecting input with a spring, the MagLev Switch MX relies on magnetic force.
The MagLev Switch MX contains two neodymium magnets—one located in the stem, and another beneath the PCB. A small Hall-effect sensor sits between these magnets, measuring any change in magnetic force. When you press down on the switch, the magnets get closer together, actuating a keypress.
Using software, you can adjust the point at which the MagLev Switch MX actuates. Users can go from a light and speedy actuation to a heavy, slow, wrist-injury-inducing actuation with little effort.
In a MagLev Switch MX concept design, famichu shows how keyboards could have a built-in dial to adjust actuation force. I imagine that the average user will simply stick with a comfortable setting, but for tinkerers, this is a dream come true.
Now, the MagLev Switch MX isn’t the first “levitating” keyboard switch with magnetic actuation. The Wooting Lekker uses a similar design and works with Cherry MX keycaps. And as Hackaday notes, riskable’s void_switch aims to completely reimagine how keyboards operate—it uses the “levitating” design as a springboard for experimentation.
But we’re impressed by the MagLev Switch MX, as it’s 3D-printable and should work with existing Cherry MX schematics (with just a few adjustments). Check out the project on GitHub if you’re interested in these adjustable switches.