Scott Watermasysk Husband, Father, and KickoffLabs co-founder. Interests: basketball, bootstrapping, keyboards, training, and Building new things

NK65 V2

I had an original NK65 and sold it. I regretted that sale, so I was keen to jump on the new updates.

My goal with the NK65 is to have a quality hot swap board to test and break in some switches. I was hoping to grab the Entry edition, but I (and a couple of thousand others) was not quick enough.

On a second attempt, I managed to grab the silver NK65 V2.

The NK65 is a budget board, but it still packs quite the punch. In your box, you will receive a travel case, the board itself, PCB, and stabilizers. It comes pre-flashed with VIA and is very much ready to go.

I broke it down to check out the foam inside. I also had a brain fart and forgot that I did not need to disassemble to pop out the stabilizers for rubbing. Love or hate plate mounted stabs, being able to easily pop them out anytime to make adjustments is quite lovely.

Speaking of the stabilizers, I noticed my fingers getting a bit greasy while breaking them down. It looks like they do come lubed out of the box[1]. I wish I would have known this ahead of time. It would have been interesting to give it a try.

However, once I had them all apart, it did not look like the best lube job, so I cleaned them up and applied a little 205g0 and then put everything back together.

With this being a Novel Keys board, it felt only right to go full Novel Keys.

I went with some NK Creams that had previously been lubed with 205g0 and 105 on the springs for the switches.

NK65 V2 with Creams and RGB

In what was an absolute first for me, I got all the switches in without bending a single pin. The NK65 has some excellent RGB options (including layer indicators, which I love). Unfortunately, the creams do not let much light through, but that is OK with me since I typically disable it anyway.

For the keycaps, I went with newly released NK OSA Mr. Sleeves.

Overall (excluding tax/shipping and the fact I had 205g0 on hand), the total cost was $335. The cost is way more than the price of a membrane board, but in the custom keyboard world, it is a steal, especially considering the result.

What I like:

What I wish was different:

Having said all that, the cons are super picky on my part and likely not an issue for most people. If you are looking to make your first custom mechanical keyboard purchase, the NK65 is a great place to start[5]. You get a solid board, from a good company. Since it is hot-swap you can use it figure out what type(s) of switch you enjoy.

Bonus - NK65 V2 with GMK 9009 (I loved this combo)

NK65 V2 with GMK 9009

  1. Novel Keys confirmed they had experimented with lubing the stabs, but the result was not consistent enough. I guess I got lucky and got one of the test boards. ↩︎

  2. I am making a big assumptions about what NK and their customers want from the board. I could be wrong and both sides want something that just works. If that is the case, the integrated plate works as expected. ↩︎

  3. I cannot remember a hot swap PCB with split backspace or stepped caps, so this is much more wishful thinking. ↩︎

  4. I much prefer a 7u and 3 to 4 1.25u to 1.5u modifier keys. ↩︎

  5. I do believe that 65% is the ideal board size for your first custom ↩︎