How to Make a DIY Keycap Puller with Paperclips

Written by Matthew DeCarlo, Method by u/T1m_Burr
Last updated May 29, 2020

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paperclip diy keycap puller

Looking to install some new keycaps? Need to clean your mechanical keyboard in a pinch? Maybe you just want to bend paperclips for a little while? No matter the case, learning how to make a sturdy DIY keycap puller might just come in handy.

Thanks to Reddit user “T1m_Burr” for giving us permission to create the written counterpart to his full video tutorial.

Tools You’ll Need to Make a DIY Keycap Puller

  • Three paperclips (ours measure 2 inches or 5cm out of the box)
  • Needle nose pliers or a similar tool (to bend and trim the paperclips)
  • A ruler or some other measuring device (for precise bends)

diy keycap puller tools

Step 1: Straighten your paperclips

You’ll need three paperclips to make the keycap puller. Two are bent to form the body of the puller, and the third paperclip is used as a wire wrap to join those other two paperclips.

Begin by straightening all three of them out with the pliers you have. The paperclips in our demo measure 6.2 inches or 15.8cm long when fully straightened.

Step 2: Create the two puller pieces

Starting with one of the straightened paperclips, you’ll have to make two equal 90-degree bends, leaving around 1cm in between them.

Repeat this process for another one of the straightened paperclips. You can use the first paperclip you bent to measure this piece.

Step 3: Make two more bends

These outward 90-degree bends will eventually become your handle on the puller. In our demo, we’re making bends at around 7mm, or around the width of the jaws on our needle nose pliers.

Again, you can use the first piece to measure the second piece. Make sure the edge of the bends align when being pinched together because this is where the wire wrap will be going.

Step 4: Wrap those pieces together

The third paperclip wraps around the outward bends you made. Begin by bending the third paperclip in half so there is only a narrow gap separating the two halves of your wire wrap.

To wrap everything together, overlap the two pre-bent paperclips so they are on top of each other.

Starting where you made the 7mm bends. Pinch those ends together and slide the paperclip you’ll be using as a wire wrap so the two bent paperclips are seated at the bend of the wire wrap like this:

Begin making alternate rotations with the wire wrap around what will soon be the handle of your keycap puller.

You should only need a few rotations to secure this part. Then use the pliers to compress those wraps as a tight coil before moving on to wrap the outward bends.

After securing the main keycap puller shaft, use the remaining wire wrap to begin making two more coils around the outward 7mm bends until there’s nothing left to wrap.

Use the wire cutters on your needle nose pliers to remove excess wire wrap.

Step 5: Straighten everything out

Making rotations with the wire wrap will require enough force applied to the keycap puller that you may have to straighten the paperclips again to create the final product.

Open up the ends that you didn’t wrap and make sure all the edges are aligned.

You want the puller part to be around half an inch wide when resting, but the paperclip should be flexible enough that you can adjust things when you go to remove your keycap.

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3 Comments

  1. Arto

    Isn’t “around 1cm” way too small? Rather 1.7 to 1.8 cm. Better measure first.

    Reply
    • Thao Tran

      1cm is what is shown in the videos and works fine for grabbing keycaps by their corners. You can of course adjust as you’d like!

      Reply
  2. Cooper Redmon

    Sweet guide! I made the tool successfully, and it made swapping the alphabet keys on my keyboard way easier. Thanks!

    Reply

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