To all the keyboard enthusiasts out there, especially the ones with mechanical keyboards, we know how moving and replacing keyboard keys has become popular among you. Especially when you want to do some cleaning. So, if you ever want to swap, remove, or move your keyboard keys, here is how you can make yourself a DIY keycap puller. It is not only easy but a fun thing to do, and learning to make one might just come in handy anytime. So, let’s walk through the process of making a DIY keycap puller that works like a charm.
Many keycaps sets and keyboards have a plastic keycap puller that functions in a pinch but is highly discouraged as they can damage or scratch the keycaps. To overcome this here is a simple but effective guide broken into 5 steps to help you make a wire keycap puller, which is a better version of it, made from just paper clips and a twist tie.
Step 1: Get The Material
So, the first step would be to get the following 4 items to start the process of making a great DIY keycap puller.
- Size # 1 paper clips x 2
- Plastic twist tie x 1
- Needle nose pliers x 1 (to bend and trim the paperclips)
- Ruler x1 (for precision in bends)
- We recommend size #1 paper clips as their width is the same as a normal wire keycap puller and their thickness should be under 1mm.
- Twist ties that are plastic-coated are preferred for extra comfort and strength.
- While needle-nose pliers and a ruler are not really required, we are using it since it makes life much easier. So, if you don’t want your paper clips to mar up then apply some tape to the ends.
Step 2: Straighten Your Paper Clips
The next step to make the DIY keycap puller is to straighten your paper clips which will be about 3.75 inches when straightened if you are using the #1 paperclip. Use pliers for this process, going section to section, but you can also use your hands. However, the pliers may be needed for the last bend especially and for straightening any kinks. You can check paper clips against a surface that is flat to make sure that they are straight.
Step 3: Bending The Arms
This part of the DIY process requires precision. For each paperclip, you will have to make two 90-degree bends with a space of 1 cm. It will look like a long rectangle with a side missing. Again, the bends must be centered on the wire, ensuring accuracy, so that the lengths of the two arms are equal. The length of each arm should be 1.5 inches when bent. The easiest way to do this would be to use pliers to hold the paperclip in place and use your thumb to push on the clip. Make sure it isn’t too wide otherwise it won’t be able to fit between the keyboard keys. One way to check if you have succeeded is to use your finger and check if it fits between the bent arms.
Step 4: Some More Bending
The bending we just did will act as the handle of your keycap pullers. Next, you will have to make two more bends. For that, be cautious that you are not using pliers more than their tip. You will take your puller one by one and make a bend that faces outwards, again at 90-degrees. These pegs should preferably not be longer than 0.5 cm so that most of the length is preserved in the arms of the puller since we only need these pegs to be long enough that we can secure them with the twist tie. These pegs will resemble the feet of an omega that is stretched out (Ω).
Step 5: Twisting and Tying
Now is the time when your twist tie will come into play. You will center it under the pegs of your clip and lay both the bent paper clips on top of one another. Then, take the feet of the puller and scrunch them together and wrap around them using the twist tie. This will tie them together. You can go around twice after which, for each foot, you will wrap the ends. This will act as both a pulling handle and a retainer. For any paper clip sticking out in excess, you can snip it away using the pliers.
This was the final step in completing your DIY keycap puller in just about 10 minutes and at almost zero cost.
Final Thoughts on DIY Keycap Puller
We are assuming that after going through this guide, chances are that you must be planning on removing an ample number of keycaps.
You might have already spent enough on a nice set and some extra essentials for customizing your mechanical keyboard. So, you would definitely not want the plastic keycap puller that would just ruin your caps, an additional expense for you, or wait some more time for something to be delivered.
So, we hope that through this guide we were able to bring some ease to your life and you were able to make your own DIY keycap puller that might not be an ideal solution for longer-term but will definitely make your life a lot easier for now. Especially if you see yourself rarely removing or changing your keycaps then it is a great solution. However, we won’t misguide you if you see it as more of a regular thing. In that case, we will definitely recommend that you purchase a proper keycap wire puller.