Velvet build guide
Testing your PCB
Check that your PCB and daughterboard are working by connecting the PCB to your computer, visiting the VIA website, clicking on
Authorize Device, clicking on the stethoscope icon at the top to open the key tester page, enabling
Test Matrix mode, and then bridging each key on the PCB by touching the two gold rings for each switch on a solder PCB or the two pads beside each hotswap socket with a pair of metal tweezers, or by inserting a switch into a hotswap socket and pressing on the switch stem. This will validate every key on the PCB is functional.
If the PCB is not recognized by VIA or you are experiencing any unexpected behavior with your PCB, visit our PCB troubleshooting guide to diagnose and fix common problems.
menu and other QMK-specific keycodes will not be detected by VIA's key tester unless
Test Matrix is enabled as these keycodes are processed locally on the PCB and no inputs are sent to your computer.
Warning: be careful not to insert the JST cable into the PCB's JST connector at an angle and damage the pins inside. Replacements will not be offered due to damaged pins inside the JST connectors.
Install your stabilizers onto the PCB with the included stabilizer shims placed on top of the PCB, sandwiched between the PCB and stabilizer. Placing the shims below the PCB increases the risk of damaging them due to how thin they are. For clip-in stabilizers, it is recommended to insert the shim onto the stabilizer first, then install the stabilizer into the PCB. This will reduce the risk of damaging the shims. Stabilizers are required for
backspace. If a plate will be used, it is recommended to insert switches and keycaps for each stabilizer to test them for rattle and other undesirable stabilizer noise as they cannot be uninstalled after assembly, making tuning and other modifications more difficult or impossible without disassembling the PCB assembly. This does not apply when assembling Velvet plateless.
Note: although some brands of stabilizers designed for standard 1.6 mm PCBs do not require shims, we recommend installing shims for
full backspace and
full right shift to eliminate interference between the stabilizer hook and the Kailh hotswap sockets. This does not apply to stabilizers designed for 1.2 mm PCBs.
Velvet can be assembled with or without a plate. Plateless configurations offer the softest and most comfortable typing feel. Insert your switches into the plate and PCB, ensuring that the switch is fully seated into the plate and clipped in, and that the PCB is resting up against the switches for maximum contact with the hotswap sockets. When using a soft plate material such as POM and polycarbonate, it is recommended to insert the switches into the plate and then push the PCB onto the switch pins. The flexible nature of plastic plates causes them to bend downwards as switches are inserted, preventing switches from clipping into the plate.
While the Velvet PCB reinforces the hotswap sockets by adhering them to the PCB using an epoxy, it is still recommended to support the sockets by holding them using your index finger while inserting the switch with your thumb. This will prevent any forces from pushing the socket away from the PCB and maximize the lifespan of your hotswap PCB.
Note: the multi-layout hotswap PCB requires certain switches to be flipped upside-down in a North-facing orientation. These switches include
regular caps lock,
7u left modifiers,
6.25u right modifiers,
split right shift, and
Installing the daughterboard
Velvet is designed to allow the USB-C daughterboard to be installed without uninstalling the weight first by having a large JST cable channel for easy routing. Take the USB-C daughterboard and insert one end of the JST cable into the JST connector on the daughterboard. Feed the JST cable under the JST cable channel, then place the daughterboard into the daughterboard channel. Fasten the daughterboard to the stainless steel weight with the silver M2x4 screws included. The other end of the JST cable should be inserted into the JST connector on the bottom of the Velvet PCB.
In the event that the daughterboard needs to be replaced — such as a loose USB-C connector — any C3-revision Unified USB-C daughterboard will work. The earlier C2 revision may be compatible with Velvet; however, it lacks features such as ESD, over-current, and over-voltage protection.
Warning: remember to be careful when disassembling the keyboard as you can accidentally pull the JST connector off the daughterboard or main PCB if you pull too quickly and with too much force.
Mounting: leaf-spring top mount
After installing your stabilizers and switches into the PCB, the PCB will need to be mounted to the case. For a firm typing experience and higher pitched sound signature, the PCB can be screwed to the top case using the included black M3x5mm button-head screws.
Mounting: gasket mount
For a soft typing feel, creamy sound signature, and minimal case reverb, the PCB can be mounted using sandwich gasket mount. Place the poron foam strips along the north and south of the bottom case, then place the PCB on top of the poron foam strips. Ensure that the PCB is not screwed to the top case as this will prevent the gasket from cushioning the keystrokes. The top case is then placed over top, pushing the PCB mounting tabs down and securing the PCB assembly in place.
Note: remember to hold the two case halves together when flipping the keyboard over to install the case screws. Because the PCB and gaskets are not secured to the case, the keyboard will come apart.
The poron strips do not have any adhesive on them, allowing you to switch between leaf-spring top mount and gasket mount quickly and non-destructively. Due to this, it is recommended to be careful and accurate when placing the PCB on the poron strips to avoid moving them around when making small adjustments to the position of the PCB afterwards.
Assembling the case
Place the top case over the bottom case and then flip the keyboard over. It is recommended to use the ledges on the sides of the case for more leverage and easier handling. Fasten the four included black M3x5mm flat-head screws from the bottom. Next, apply the four included silicone feet to the slots on the bottom case.
Installing your keycaps
The final step is to install your keycaps.
The keycaps shown in the render is not based on any real keycap set. Similar looking keycap sets include GMK Frost Witch and GMK Purple-ish.
Customizing the keymap and macros
The Velvet PCB firmware is compatible with QMK and VIA, allowing you to customize your keymap and macros without the use of proprietary software. Use VIA for on-the-fly key remapping and macro customization inside a web browser, removing the need for a dedicated application.
Note: VIA is currently limited to browsers that support the WebHID API.
You have assembled your Velvet keyboard kit and it is now ready for use. We hope you enjoy this keyboard, and encourage you to experiment with custom plate materials and mounting styles to tailor the sound and typing experience of Velvet to your personal preferences.