The WhiteFox Keyboard - Zealiostotles

Just got the Whitefox keyboard from Massdrop yesterday for the 2nd batch drop. I got the kit with Zealios.

In preparation for assembly, though, I also got 100g springs and Aristotle switches from ZealPC to harvest the stems and build them as a custom Zealiostotle @100g switches. They took a while to put together, and I was a little worried only having 3 spares for mistakes. I think I made out with no spares and everything's fine, but I have to wait to solder them in to see if they all actually work or not. :S That's the main issue with modding switches.

It hurts a bit after taking ~70 switches apart by hand :/ Would have helped if I had tweezers. I'm lazy.

I ended up with a mix of the four different permutations of spring weights and stems. Most of them you see are Zealiostotle with 100g springs. For the shift, control, and alt keys I kept the 67g springs that came with the Zealios switches. The purple stems are the 67g Zealios switches, except for the WASD and space keys which have the 100g springs in them.

And here's what it looks like "Assembled." I must say, the look, the feel, the sound, it's unparalleled. This is a 10/10 keyboard. Except...

They sent out a notice that 30% of the keyboards sent out had plates where the stabilizer cutouts were off. I checked mine and they look correct. However, something is evidently off because at rest the left shift key is below what I assume is the activation (the detent post-click). The stabilizer bar is stuck on the switch, so it doesn't return all the way up. It seems the other stabilized keys are fine, so I'm going to have to debug that a little.

I'm still waiting on solder (I have all the equipment I need, but I forgot the solder :( ). Once I get that on ~Friday, I'll be able to put everything together and see how it works in the real world.

P.S. The PCB is a masterpiece... also note the level of detail on the aluminum, especially on the right side. That same texture is on the back. It sounds cool when I rub my finger against it.

P.P.S. With some in-plate testing I may change the WASD keys to Aristotle stems. I thought it would annoy me during gaming but it throws me off when I type.


TIL I'm a horrible solderer, but I only messed up the spacebar as far as I can tell. Will post pictures later once I fix that.

Ayy! (Sorry in advance for the lighting)

Spacebar is fixed, everything works. I think it's configured the way I want, so all that's left is testing it in the real works for the years to come. The testing never ends.

I did end up changing the WASD keys to use Aristotle stems. Typing on this is practically therapeutic. I did run into one issue. As it turns out, I did manage to break 4 switches, which unfortunately means that I was one short for switches... It was just a matter of the casing with a correctly aligned contact insert. I had a few Cherry MX switches lying around for a sample pack, so I used one of them with the 100g spring and Aristotle stem. Functionally the same, but now there's only one casing on the entire keyboard that's black and not clear. Someday I may get a numpad kit and buy more Zealios, so I can replace it then.

Not terribly visible. Probably nobody would notice if I didn't say anything.

There's one keycap that's the wrong profile. It's not terribly noticeable, but I put in a ticket and asked about an alternative legend 2U replacement. I know the smaller backspace was specifically for the Truefox, but I'd like to use it for the Aria that I have and replace the 2U with the backslash key for example... No idea if I'll make any headway with that. I should have gotten the Truefox to begin with. If anything, they'd probably send me a Truefox plate, after I've gotten all this soldering done... lol.

Final glamour shot. This thing is a beaut.


I was eyeing the White Fox the first time it appeared on Massdrop, but the more I looked into getting it exactly how I wanted it the more expensive it got :( Granted my current keyboard is hella expensive now, but this one is probably my end all be all keyboard.

Did you use LEDs?

You're also missing the shots of the solder porn.

Nah. I don't think they look good with the caps. If it's possible to make one for the capslock that shows the toggle, that would be cool. Aside from that I think it'll just look tacky.

As for the solder porn, there's really nothing sexy about it... I've already screwed it in and opened it back up enough times for a night, so I'll get to it soon haha. It's very painful to look at, though.

I see what you say... This definitely feels like my end all be all keyboard. The switches turned out to be exactly what I wanted - super stiff and clicky with an incredible tactile activation. I really don't think it could be better. The quality of the components is pretty top notch and it looks beautiful. Only thing I would want on top of this is a separate numpad. Down the line I'd probably want a Realforce and maybe an ALPs based keyboard. For the work that I put into it, though, I don't think I want to even touch a different keyboard for a while.

WhiteFox is a good looking board with what I consider near the bare minimal number of keys for a keyboard (I need arrows).

I'm sad I missed out on this drop... I'd like to get one of these or a Clueboard which are similar in form factor and features.

Dude fucking wow. Yes more of this from everyone please. I have a long running project that will hopefully be finished soon building a CPSQ. Basically a Cherry G80-1800 eithball the gaps between the function row and num pad shurnk and deleted. Compact SQ. All acrylic CNC case, has a clear chunk in the middle for the RGB LEDs on the bottom to shine out of the sides.

Modded the switches too. Got the Gateron tactile Clears, the half price gatron branded Zealios. Gateron make the Zealios any way so it is a bit of a dick move selling his switches for half the price and a different colour stem. But they are rare and only short production runs. You can only seem to get them occasionally on I think it is .com anyway.

Dropped 80g gold springs in them and sip sockets for the in switch LEDs. It is super nice to use. But still waiting on some special stabilisers before it is fully finished.

I also modded a Magicforce 68 with 100g Gateron yellows. Spring swapped and amazing. Super smooth linear and heavy as fuck. The best. Decked out with some cocaine fever dream Miami keys on champagne golf plate.

Yeah, to be honest, I feel like I probably shouldn't have gotten Zealios for what it was worth... I could have gotten any other switch and it would feel about the same, since the major components of the switch are the spring and the stem. The casing on Zealios is different from normal Gaterons I think because the entirety, even the bottom, is clear plastic. I didn't even use LEDs though (yet?) thus I could have used pretty much any type of cherry-based switch.

That sounds really nice! Do you prefer linear or tactile or clicky? That sounds like an awesome Magicforce keyboard haha. I was eyeing that recently.

The Whitefox is my lovechild, so my next keyboard if anything will be a genuine Topre like a Realforce. Aside from that, I kind of want to try to get cheap plate-mounted cherry-based keyboards like this and see how far I can mod it. Maybe some Gateron browns with 80gs.

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Hard to say now. I was linear all the way but the tactile clears are just so nice having used them.for a while now. Guess I am happy with either... Clear for typing and linear for gaming? Makes the most sense to me.

Edit: on the off chance, you don't have any ZealioStotles left do you. I like the idea of a super switch tester.

I don't have any of the Zealios casings left, but the R4.5 preorder just opened up, so I'm going to get a bunch and I can send you a few different switches if you want. :3

If you don't want to wait, I do have some cherry casings left into which I can use to throw a 100g spring and Aristotle stem. I kept the Zealios stems and springs as well.

Hmm possibly. The cases are no bother to me I have some gateron cases around. Maybe I will message you about them later. Thanks though.

Solder porn for @Klingon00 and anyone else interested:

That's the spacebar down at the bottom. A little bit of a design oversight - two opposite contacts are right next to each other. I applied a little bit too much solder and it overflowed, making it basically useless. I desoldered and reapplied more carefully and it works fine now. I guess there really wasn't anything they could do to change that, other than limiting the layouts you could choose from, I suppose.

Don't ask me how I managed to consume so much flux. I still don't understand how everything works considering I was doing the soldering.

Final layout. Still waiting on a key, unfortunately. Then again, it's for profile, and I messed everything up, so no big deal... Ended up using the CWDVM layout.

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Some alcohol and a bristle brush (i.e. toothbrush) will clean the flux up nicely.

That is one bizarre layout. I'm assuming it's one of the ones that's supposed to be "natural" and "efficient" or something?

Yeah, it's a slight derivative to the Capewell-Dvorak layout based on usability changes (most recently was swapping the control and caps lock). Basically whatever's most comfortable for me in terms of one-handed or two-handed typing and gaming. I have large hands and I code a lot. I think about the meta a lot as a result. That's also how I end up on projects like this...

Anyways, thanks for the tip! I'll definitely try that.