Harvesting and Disassembling Topre and EC Keyboard Parts: A DIY Guide [Video]

Hello keyboard enthusiasts! Today, we dive into the art of disassembling Realforce keyboards, a treasure trove for custom EC builds. 🛠️

Why Realforce?

Realforce parts are the gold standard in the world of custom keyboards. While aftermarket options exist, they often fall short of Realforce's quality.

Tools You'll Need:

  • A thin shim (available on Amazon)
  • iFixit kit (optional but helpful)
  • Safety Glasses (yes, really)

Disassembling Older Realforce Models:

These models are a breeze to work with. No screws, just tabs and clips. Gently push out and down, and voilà, the top comes off. Remember to carefully disconnect the grounding cable and the four-pin connector.

The Newer Realforce R2:

The R2 ups the ante with a warranty seal and hidden clips. Patience is key here. Use a Jimmy tool to gently unhook the clips without forcing them. The back comes off first, then tackle the front clips with precision and care.

Leopold Keyboards:

Brute force and a flat-head screwdriver are your friends here. Start with the easier tabs before moving to the stubborn corner ones.

Keycap Removal:

Once the shells are off, it's time to remove the keycaps. A keycap remover tool does the trick, and you can do this with the board still in its shell.

Dissecting the Parts:

Next, we unscrew the board. Black screws first, then the silver ones. Be thorough – missing a screw can lead to damage when applying force to separate the parts.

Harvesting Domes and Springs:

With the board open, we carefully remove the domes and springs for later use.

Stem Removal:

Put on your safety glasses for this next step. A pen can be your best tool here. Align it with the notches on the stem and gently push.

Housing Removal:

Again, your Jimmy is invaluable. Work the clips gently to avoid breaking them, which could cause future binding issues.

Stabilizers and Space Bar Removal:

For 2u stabilizers, use your thumbs to pop them out. The space bar housings are similar – gently pop them out from each side.

And that's a wrap! You've now successfully disassembled a Realforce keyboard, ready for your custom projects.

Remember, patience and precision are your best tools in this endeavor. Happy building! 🎹