Anybody know of a pc keyboard that has the same feel as a BBC Model B / Master 128 keyboard? It was my favourite of the old school machines for typing. Loved the but the keyboard was too soft.

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@nomiddlename I'm thinking perhaps gateron brown key switches ... but it's been a few years since I typed on a BBC so ... /shrug

@yojimbo thanks for the suggestion - it’s been 30 years since I used one, so anything close is probably good enough

@nomiddlename There are heaps of mechanical keyboards around, from the 'gaming keyboards' sold in local shops, to the assemble-from-kit approach that lets you choose almost every element from a wide range of layouts, to the feel of the keypress, to the shape and look of the caps on top.

Have a look at but remember this is just the keycaps, not the keyboard itself or the key switches!

The other approach is get a pre-built, but with these you often don't get the ability to remap or change the key actions -

Ask more questions, there are a load of people around with experience & opinions!

@yojimbo I quite like the idea of assembling my own - presumably you don’t need any special tech skills (like soldering or anything), the parts just clip together?

@nomiddlename If you choose the right board, it'll be clip-together. Some boards do expect to have the keys soldered to them, apparently this isn't considered to be difficult :-) but it isn't for me.

This is a hobby that can consume you and your wallet!

Because manufacturing costs can be high, it's common to suggest a design, collect funds in advance, then go to fulfilment - the model that kickstarter promote, but keyboards did it first. is one of the biggest sites managing these, so pay attention between "in stock" and "pre-order".

Consider the size of the kbd you want - the full-size ones have all the function keys, navigation and a numeric keypad; but many people find that smaller layouts are better. Personally I like the 65% sizes (they generally have arrow keys), but you can go down to just the qwerty keys (and extra function/shift keys to access all the other characters). Think about how often you actually use a particular key!

For the key switches, it's all about how clicky/noisy they are, how hard you have to press them, how far you have to press them ... they all work great! is a good guide ( also make some excellent boards)

It's common to have a firmware on the keyboard itself (often QMK) so you can remap keys directly, and it doesn't matter which OS you connect the thing to; other people use only one machine and don't mind using their OS to remap keys.

Discussion groups: r/MechanicalKeyboards,, and there are bound to be loads of others.

@yojimbo oh wow, thanks for this - looks like I’ve got some research to do! The idea of soldering scares me to be honest, I just know I’d end up ruining the whole thing with one huge blob of solder 😃

@nomiddlename Are they linear? If I look at this site: there appear to be different versions of the BBC keyboards that will feel different.

I haven't used any of them myself. Remember that the keycap and the housing contribute to the feel as much as the switch does.

My guess is that you will want to have a look at Cherry Black switches, because Brown are softer. Lots of keyboards have them. (I am currently typing on a modded Filco Majestouch with Blacks)

@Bitnacht I’ve used a model B and a Master 128, and from memory (but this was 30 years ago) the keyboards were the same in those two. I started looking at the various cherry switches and couldn’t work out which would be best, so thanks for pointing me in a better direction at least.

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