Wooting One Keyboard Upgrade

My Wooting One keyboard came with good-looking key-caps, including custom Meta/Windows keys, but they’re made with painted ABS. Additionally, it came with the linear “Red” switches installed. Time to swap to the included clicky “Blue” switches and some Vortex PBT keycaps!

Stock Wooting One, Vortex PBT key-caps, and a bag of Flaretech Blue key-switches

Of course, the first step is to remove the pre-installed key-caps. One could presumably use a custom tool to remove both the key-caps and key-switches simultaneously, but instead I used the wire key-puller that came with the Vortex key-caps. For the spacebar, I pulled up on both ends separately with the wire key-puller and then used the Wooting key-puller to pull up from right over the key-switch.

Key-caps removed

Now I could use the other end of the Wooting key-puller to pull out all the “Red” key-switches. This all went fine with the keyboard plugged in until I removed the Caps Lock switch. At this point, the keyboard started spewing random characters at my computer while the Caps Lock LED strobed madly between green and white, so I unplugged the keyboard while I removed the rest of the switches.

Key-switches removed

With everything removed, I optionally could have unscrewed and replaced the matte backplate, but I prefer this look to the brushed finish of the other option, so I simply wiped down the backplate and started installing the clicky “Blue” switches. This went quite smoothly, and I finished with one switch left over. Presumably the same key-switch set can be used to replace the switches on either an ANSI or ISO keyboard.

“Blue” key-switches installed

In what came as a surprise to me, the most difficult step was to install the new key-caps. The fit with the key-switches seemed a little tighter than with the original key-caps, and I found myself pressing the key-caps on and then coming back to force them the rest of the way onto the stems of the key-switches. I also was concerned for a bit that I would not be able to get any of the four included spacebars to fit the layout of the Wooting, but the default spacebar, with two center slots for key-switches, ended up fitting perfectly. I also hoped to use the custom Caps Lock key from the set, with an offset lip to avoid accidental presses, but the stem was offset and thus I was forced to use the default. Since the Wooting has a Mode key to switch between analog and digital modes instead of a (useless) Scroll Lock, I opted to use the Scroll Lock keycap on that key, but also considered one of the other keys included by Vortex, such as “Menu”, “Cal”, or “Fn”. “Menu” and “Fn” would have been preferred choices, but since they were slanted to match the bottom row of key-caps rather than the top row, I opted against it.

Final keyboard

All in all, the project took me about an hour and a half; two, if I include writing this post. I found the project quite approachable and enjoyable, and the finished product to be worth the time invested.

Parts involved:

Wooting One Keyboard: ordered during the Kickstarter campaign, I’ve really enjoyed this analog keyboard. Cool product, great start-up.

Vortex PBT Keycaps: purchased from Massdrop during a group buy, these seem to be the only backlighting-compatible PBT keycaps on the market. They come pre-installed on some keyboards, but highly recommended either way.