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Why the F Not? YouTuber 3D Prints Giant Mechanical Switch

Giant F key
(Image credit: Jaryd Giesen)

Press F to pay respects to Jaryd Giesen’s 3D printers, because they’ve just had to work overtime to make the YouTuber’s latest project: a giant, 1,000% scale mechanical F key, complete with RGB lighting.

The F key’s become a bit of a meme over the past few years, ever since Call of Duty asked us to “Press f to pay respects” at a somber military funeral in 2014’s Advanced Warefare. So with a presumably memelord-y friend’s birthday coming up, YouTube maker Jaryd Giesen decided to take the opportunity to give them a giant, standalone F key for all of their roasting needs.

And not just any F key. While you could easily make a regular big red button that inputs F when pressed, Giesen wanted to emulate the look and function of a mechanical keyboard key.

 

Giesen’s made a whole video on his process, although it’s less of a tutorial and more of a mad scientist’s manifesto. There’s bodily harm, lots of hammers and an apology to whatever the UK’s equivalent of the NSA is.

Still, it’s not hard to follow along with how the switch actually works. Maybe the most interesting part of the video is when Giesen makes his own springs, since “nobody sells comically large springs that are available to ship in like two days.” Since Giesen doesn’t have a lathe either, he instead 3D prints a cylinder to fit onto his handheld drill, then wraps some wire around it, places the drill against a cubby and hopes for the best. Don’t try this at home.

The result is a few extremely janky but also functional springs, plus a very broken plastic cylinder. Still, slap those springs inside a 3D printed case with a 3D-printed mechanical switch, and you’ve got a functional one-key giant keyboard.

Giesen acknowledges that some small sacrifices had to be made in the name of time and humor, but the biggest difference between his custom switch and an actual keyboard switch only makes his better. Turns out that Giesen’s custom switch doesn’t actually input the F key, but instead presses a smaller F key hidden beneath it. As Giesen explains, “that makes the funny inside my brain.”

Still, there’s definitely a few other sacrifices here that leave plenty of room for future iteration. The giant keyboard switch is so large that the key’s RGB lighting can’t fully reach around it, for one, and the plastic on the F key’s giant pudding keycap is a little too opaque to really give you the full benefits of the pudding style, like some of the best gaming keyboards do. 

None of that matters in the face of the extremely funny end product, though. Yes, we’ve seen giant novelty keyboards and even individual giant key switches before. But a home made, fully functional, standalone, giant mechanical keyboard with just one button? That’s far from an F in my book. 

Michelle Ehrhardt

Michelle Ehrhardt (Staff Writer) likes taking computers apart to see how they tick, from hardware to code. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.