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Please, please, please do not compulsively film your switches. If your housings feel tight, stick with thin (~0.1mm) hard films, foam films, or maybe even no films! Filming switches should be done to fix a problem, and not because it is always the right thing to do - it isn’t!

Yeah man, they’re all good. There aren’t really good films or bad films, as they’ll all do the same job of making a top housing fit onto a bottom housing tighter. Just make sure you put them in the correct orientation.

guide for alignment for films on a switch

The above guide is only relevant to films that have obvious notches for LED/leaf placement, and films that are simply rectangles do not need to be placed in a specific orientation. Likewise, foam films do not need to be placed in a specific orientation (as in shiny-side-up or shiny-side-down). Either face is fine, don’t worry about it.

Be sure to understand the material that the films you choose are made out of, and how your switches may react to them. If you feel your switch develop an unexpected tactile bump, this may be the stem hitting against a part of the film poking into the housing well. Disassemble and replace film if/when this happens.


  • Soft
    • Foam (MDI, Deskeys)
      • Soft and very compressible. Generally will fit most switches, even in cases where they genuinely are too tight for most films. Fairly annoying to put on, due to the film bending so easily.
      • Generally close to 0.3mm thick - this is a normal thickness, and will compress down.
      • Kind of annoying to re-place if you re-open a switch.
  • Medium
    • HTV (Heat-transfer vinyl)
      • More papery than polycarbonate, more flexible, but not really compressible like MDI foam/Deskeys film material/Silicone.
      • Around ~0.13mm thick.
    • Vinyl
      • Anywhere between 0.06mm-0.18mm in thickness
  • Hard
    • Polycarbonate
      • These films are made of hard polycarbonate. They will not compress.
      • 0.125mm - 0.15mm thick. Buy 0.125mm thick if your housings feel like they don’t suffer from too much wobble, or 0.15mm thick if you’re sure that there’s a bit of housing wobble. Kebo makes films up to 0.2mm thick if your housing wobble is excessive.
    • PLA
      • Jinra makes 0.22mm films.


Walker’s Keyboard Science provides a good rundown of films here. In short, some of the incidental benefits are primarily

  • Reducing housing wobble
    • This can reduce some stem wobble if you are pushing the stem off-center hard enough to make the housings budge.
  • Cleaning up sound (of slightly loose, “rattly” housings)
  • Slight change in pitch
    • Foam films seem to slightly reduce pitch, maybe not as much for harder films. This sound difference is incidental, and you should not film compusively to hunt after thock or whatever.

However, you should not expect a complete elimination of stem wobble. A film is merely shoring up the possible gap between the top and bottom that prevents them from mating tightly. This has nothing to do with the tolerances between stem and the top housing, that is a separate concern and generally beyond your control. However, buying switches from reputable manufacturers known for quality (and not those pumping out flavor-of-the-week meme switches) should have enough of a reputation for you to expect what level of stem wobble you may expect.


When Going Too Thick Goes Wrong
top housings with broken legs
via issey83. Desoldered JWK H1 with 0.15mm films. Many broken claws.

New people to the hobby may be tempted to compulsively film all switches. This can be a bad idea, especially if you do not have a good sense of how loose your housing tolerances are! If your housings do not budge when you attempt to move them around in the plate, filming may be unnecessary, and, if you choose a film that is thicker than necessary to shore up loose top/bottom housing tolerances, can make your switch worse by

  • not closing properly and completely, which can
  • make switches harder to insert into a plate, or
  • fall apart on removal, as the top housing legs do not latch tight enough against the bottom.

If your housings feel fairly tight and not prone to moving around in-plate, maybe you should go with thinner hard films, like those at 0.125mm tightness, compressible foam films, or no films at all!

Switches that Films Don’t Work Good in

Winglatch Housings

❌ Winglatch top housing (Kailh Box Jade) ✅ 4-pin (“Cherry-style”) top housing (Gateron Brown)
Kailh Box Jade Gateron Brown KS-9
“Winglatch” housing (via kbdfans). The top housing is secured two large “wings”, one on each side “Cherry style”/”4 pin” top housing. Note the two “pins”/legs of each side the top housing, securing it to the bottom

Films do not fit in winglatch housings. Winglatch housings are generally “tight enough” (reduced wobble in W-E direction) that films are not needed to prevent housing wobble, and cause difficulty in re-assembling the switch. These generally tend to get produced by Kailh for all their switches that aren’t Cream variants (Launch Creams, Blueberries, Cream Tactiles, etc.) non-Boba Outemu switches, most KTT stuff (and consequently most Akko CS stuff), but you should know these when you see these.

Misc. Cases

These following switches are known to have fairly tight housings, and will not react well to films of medium or hard material (soft films may compress down enough that they still may be able to close together).

  • Outemu x Gazzew “Boba” variants (this includes those with PC/clear tops)
  • Kailh x Novelkeys Cream variants
  • “Panda” housings
    • The proliferation of housings made with the Panda name has kinda diluted the meaning, but thanks to the fact that most of these variants (Purple Pandas, Frost Pandas, Ethereal Pandas, Glorious Pandas) are produced by Tecsee, you can safely assume that the molds provide similarly tight tolerances. Pandas are supposedly known to have tight housings.
  • Personal recommendation
    • I wouldn’t put anything thicker than 0.125mm PC films in Gateron (foam films may work, though). On JWK I would use foam (Deskeys or YMDK) most of the time. 0.125mm PC films in Wuque mm.switch housings were a mistake, the top housing legs were too weak to stay on, and some refused to stay assembled. Maybe foam would have been better, but I did not have any on me during that time.