What are keyboard group buys and how to join one?

  • Keycaps 101
  • Posted by: carson-rutz
  • Aug 14, 2022

Buying custom keyboards typically works differently from buying most mass-produced keyboards due to their limited manufacturing runs. One of the ordering custom keyboards methods is called group buy.

For newcomers, it may be hard to know how to order your desired custom keyboard from group buys. In this article, we'll explain to you “What is keyboard group buy?” in detail and walk you through the steps involved in joining one.

What does Keyboard Group Buy mean?

Simply said, a group buy (or GB), also known as collective buying, is the completion of an idea that makes it possible for a unique creation to become a realization. This is the phrase for crowdfunding in the Keyboard Community.

Epomaker Mini Cat | Epomaker
Epomaker Mini Cat | Epomaker

Before production can begin, a specified number of items in the group buy must be sold. The production will start after the order reaches its minimum order quantity (MOQ) and the group buys session has ended.

So what happens if the buy doesn't hit the required MOQ?

If that certain quantity is not reached by the group buy's the preset deadline, the product won't be made, and members will receive a refund. As a result, the products cannot run out since they are not offered in quantities.

This is due to economies of scale inherent to fabrication work, a certain quantity is required to produce at a reasonable rate.

Overall, keyboard group buy is similar to preorders when handled by a trusted community seller. However, entrusting a newer seller or someone managing a group buy using your funds may carry some risks. Thus, you should be cautious and do research carefully when considering participating in group buys.

Group Buy Phases

A group buy period typically has two dates: a start date and an end date. Once you join a group buy, you must be familiar with certain phases that occur during this period.

The following are 4 main Group Buy phases:

Interest Check

An interest check usually comes first in group buys. Before posting a group buy, these interest checks are a technique for making sure that  there is enough interest and demand for their items to meet the MOQ.

Each group buy has a different timetable, and not all group buys that are conducted will achieve the required MOQ.

Group Buy

Pre-orders will begin to flood in once the dealer starts a Group Buy. It can last up to a month in a typical situation. There may be a maximum number of keyboards or keyboard accessories that may be pre-ordered, but there are no limits on other items.


Following the completion of the group buy process, the designer contacts the manufacturer to start production. If there are any extras left from the pre-order, the seller can then sell them off. In most cases, these additions are few.


In this case, the manufacturer sends the finished product to the seller for inspection before it is sold.

The benefits of a keyboard group buy

As previously said, once the group buys hit the required MOQ, the items will be manufactured and delivered to each customer.

Buying keyboards and keyboard accessories on a group buy is often not an easy task because of the long wait times and potential risks. However, it's well worth the price of one-of-a-kind limited edition items.

Indeed, group buys ensure a unique and limited item for the buyer while lowering the risk for the product's manufacturer. This expands the market for bespoke keyboard design in methods that wouldn't be possible if just common mass-produced components were offered for sale.

Group buy with unique and limited item | Prototypist
Group buy with unique and limited item | Prototypist

Furthermore, the group buy also gives you long-term advantages which are especially alluring to keyboard collectors. The main reason for this is that products sold in group buys are by nature unique and hard to find, increasing their inherent value after the group buy ends.

Even if they like the items they make, people may not necessarily want to put their own money into group buys. Since other buyers are frequently prepared to pay more for the rarity of the item without waiting a long time to get it, they may generally resale their items for a higher price when a group buy is completed.

Some of the less common and independently produced keyboards and keyboard accessories are still only available through group buys. Group buys are an integral hobby for the keyboard lover.

Surely, everyone loves the feeling of achieving what they want after all the effort and money poured in. It's a spiritual benefit that group buys bring to keyboard enthusiasts.

The risks of a keyboard group buy

The biggest risk when joining a group buy is definitely the risk of the money you put in.

Certainly, there will always be risks involved with everything you do once you entrust someone else with your money. Therefore, keep in mind that you should always spend 99% of your time researching the manufacturer and 1% considering buying.

Besides the risks of money, mistakes can happen during production. Problems with a third party, problems with the organizer, and even deliberate intent to defraud buyers are all potential risks why a group buy may quickly go bad.

The fact is that these problems don't just affect unidentified planners who want to harm people. Group buy hosts and organizers occasionally encounter problems that increase the time it takes to get the ordered products to a year or even more.

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Moreover, the finished product occasionally has a different color or slightly different specs due to a manufacturing fault.

As group buys are an organized effort to fund the production of these goods, leaving a group buy after encountering unanticipated problems might get you into trouble. One of the troubles you can face is that joining a group buy is not refundable; therefore, it will be generally impossible to get the money back.

Which is the best site for keycap and keyboard group buying?

Group buys for keycaps, keyboards and switches are a crucial tool for the custom keyboard community.  They make it possible for both big companies and keyboard fans to manufacture specialized goods that satisfy the hobby's creative spirit.

While the risks involved with keyboard and keycap group buys are frequently enough to deter newbies, researching the group buy organizers is typically quite enough. This will help ensure a group buy has a high likelihood of going without incident.

Here you can find a number of helpful trustworthy sources and information that may help you maintain up-to-date with group buying.

FAQs on Group Buys

Are group buys safe?

Yes, keycap, keyboard, and switch group buys are quite safe. Buying products from there allows you to try out various tools without spending a lot of money.

How do I join a Group Buy?

We’ve updated the list of the group buys you can join here:

  • Mechgroupbuys
  • Keycaplendar
  • Keycapsets
  • Kono Store
  • cannonkeys
  • KBDfans

Can I change or cancel my group buy order?

When you join keycap & keyboard group buys and switch group buys, it is non-refundable and non-cancelable.

Order changes are not allowed, and the non-cancellable rule only becomes null and void if a vendor is unable to meet the MOQ.

How long do Group Buys usually take?

Lead times for various group buy items vary. Group buys are generally unpredictable and may go on for a while. Even though the seller may provide you with an estimated time, unexpected problems might arise and lengthen the time it takes to complete your order.

Final Thoughts

Unquestionably, there is always a trade-off to getting something unique, especially if it comes from your idea.

Ordering your desired custom-made keyboards or keyboard accessories through a group buy is not also the exception.

Before making a decision in any group buy, remember to ask all questions that will satisfy your curiosity. There is nothing better than doing thorough research before dumping money out of your pocket.

Hope you get the items that are worth all the risks!