Congratulations on either joining the Pearl GB or finding this post! This guide will help you build your Pearl 40% keyboard! After its built, you still need to program the PCB, and that will be covered in a separate tutorial. Lets get to it!
These are all the parts INCLUDED with a single kit purchase of $280.
These are all the parts NOT INCLUDED with a single kit purchase.
As you have already seen, you need to find your own stabilizers, switches (44 max), keycaps and soldering tools.
Once you have these, you can get started by putting stabilizers in the correct positions on the PCB. If you want a split backspace or split right-shift, don't use stabilizers. If you do a full size 6.25u spacebar, use one large stabilizer. If you split the spacebar, you will need 2 stabilizers in the bottom row. So if unsure at first, buy 4 small stabilizers and 1 large stabilizer to be safe.
Once the stabilizers are in and you've chosen your layout, start by putting switches into the plate and connecting the PCB to the switches.
After you put switches into the plate and PCB, you need to solder them on. You generally let the soldering iron heat up, and apply solder lightly until it covers the stem. Be careful, and solder both stems of every switch onto the PCB. Make sure the switches are in the correct place and pushed down all the way.
Don't apply too much solder.
Don't flow solder into any nearby components such as a resistor.
Don't burn any important components off.
Use safety materials as solder can pop and land on your skin/eyes.
Once you've soldered all the switches, you can proceed with adding indicator/top led's if you'd like, although it is not necessary. You can use either 2x3x4mm 2 pin led's or 1.8mm 2 pin led's. These are typically found on eBay, Amazon or third party mechanical keyboard websites. A single led will have 2 stems, one being longer than the other. The longer stem is usually the POSITIVE stem. You will orient the led correctly and push it into the PCB starting through the top of the switch. The POSITIVE stem needs to end up through the positive (+) labeled pad on the PCB, which is also a circle. The negative pad will be a square, and it will need the shorter led stem fed through it. After you have fed an led in through the switch and PCB, simply make sure its pushed all the way down and solder the two stems just like you did with the switches. Prying the stems to the side so the led doesn't fall out is very helpful. For the 3 indicator leds, both pads are squares, so make sure to look at the PCB and see which pad is labeled + for positive, and feed the positive stem in through there. Once you solder the led on, the stems will be protruding. Simply clip the excess off with a flush cutter tool or something of the sort.
The led solder pads are very close to each other, so you need to be careful not to flow too much solder on, as it can accidentally bridge both pads and cause the led not to work.
What you want to do next is bolt the core onto the underside of the top case piece. It takes 14 M3x4 screws to fully secure the core, although you can use less if you prefer.
Finally, all you have to do is assemble the case. Start by securing the weight, then aligning the diffuser (optional), and bolting the bottom case piece to the top case piece. There are 4 corner screws used to secure both top and bottom case pieces. After thats done, all you need to do is put keycaps on and program the PCB!
If you would like to know more or have any questions or comments leave them below or shoot me an email!