Heads up. This article and some of its assumptions about Aflion’s relationship to Mengmoda and Lumia is out of date. The TomSB Icebergs are since confirmed NOT to be made by Aflion. I have also since received samples of Huano switches from Aflion since then, who obviously have no relationship, so the fact that they sent MMD samples to another vendor, unfortunately, means less than originally thought. What still stands to some extent is the similarities between the Lumia Matchas and Invokeys Matcha Latte, as well as Aflion showing what looks like Lumia Matchas in multiple images on their Alibaba page advertising them as custom switches.
This is the nature of these types of theories, sometimes they will be right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle. I will not be deleting any portion of the article because I want to be transparent and honor the research process, “X was my original hypothesis, X has been disproven”. What I do promise is that I will make corrections whenever I have new information.
Okay, so before we get started – this is a particularly long and convoluted theory/entanglement of connections. I might have to split it into two parts just for my own sanity since I have been putting off trying to write this all down in one coherent spot.
Anyway, let’s start off with one of the more well-known brands wrapped up in this mess and I can spiderweb my way out from there. Aflion pretty much got their start in the custom switch game last year (2021) and started with their Blue Iceberg dustproof linear switches. I first found them on Mechbox, although they were presumably on AliExpress or Taobao sometime before this.
Shortly after showing up on Mechbox, and at a point that a solid handful of people had at least heard of these switches, a relatively new store called Keebmonkey “introduced” their new switch, the Keebmonkey Iceberg. Being called out on introducing a “new” switch that other people already knew about and that some even owned, they argued that they had customized the switch lubing process. This is difficult to either prove or disprove, but it seemed the community was skeptical since the majority of Keebmonkey’s products were just reselling items off AliExpress (more on this in a future article actually).
So, with some digging, some people in the community were able to find a store on Alibaba indicating the parent company of Aflion is Golden Orange Electronics. In the SwitchModders Discord, someone remembered seeing that name before and found that Golden Orange was also the brand running DVA, Poison (Virus), and Carrot switches, which later showed up in their Alibaba store videos. Next to these in the picture below is the Aflion Black and Orange tactile sample I have in the store. After receiving these samples it seems that these are what the Fantasy tactile switches were based on. The bump feels the same (stronger than their panda switch) and this is the only 5 pin and winglatch switch mold I have seen Aflion use so far.
People wondered if they were an actual manufacturer, or just another brand reselling/rebranding someone else’s switches, but the listing included official documents of certification for their factory along with exterior photos of their name on the building. That was better proof than we had for some other supposed manufacturers so that was good enough for us. Following up with Aflion and Golden Orange, a Taobao listing was found a few months later for Rainbow Icebergs: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink, and Purple. These were recolors in the most literal sense, but super fun from a collector’s standpoint, nonetheless. Also notable at this point would be a version of the Aflion Icebergs advertised as Speed Silver Icebergs run by TomSb and Mengmoda, being sold on the MMD Taobao store. When I first saw this I figured that it was a literal rebrand of the existing Iceberg switches, but after finding one person who posted pictures in a review on Taobao it’s clear that this has a Cherry style housing instead of winglatch. It also has a more squared-off stem cruciform than traditional Aflion Icebergs, and the TomSb nameplate. I have some on order currently, and will certainly be listing them and trying to get a better look and provide better pictures going forward to see if maybe this is an MMD stem since it looks like the bottom housing could be from their Mint Blues, which I’ll be talking about again soon.
The next known release from Aflion was the Invokeys Matcha Latte. This was interesting for being the first pole bottom out and first “Cherry style” 4 prong switch from Aflion/Golden Orange. These had a new and improved factory lube application, which truly was exceptional compared to other brands’ offerings, particularly in its consistency. This is likely in part due to the quality control which appears to be a particular part of Aflion’s process, as it was seen in Decaf Matcha Lattes from Invokeys as well as a later release from KNC Keys with their Red Jacket switch which also had listed B-stock switches. ThereminGoat wrote a full review article on these switches, which everyone interested should read because it’s great, and is where some of my information for the next portion of the post will be coming from anyway.
What Else Do They Make?
In his review, ThereminGoat reached out to some vendors and managed to receive pictures of samples provided from Aflion which included MMD (Mengmoda) nameplates. This seems to confirm that the two brands are manufactured in the same factory, and while ThereminGoat originally took this to also indicate that MMD’s “Cherry style” switches were also made by Aflion, some were less sure as MMD had been making switches for significantly longer than we could identify Aflion/Golden Orange as having produced anything. Since his article, and further switch releases and research, there are two relatively likely scenarios. Either the MMD switches were originally made by Golden Orange, or they were originally made by BSUN similar to my current belief about original Feker Pandas with the Invyr nameplate, as these bear many similar mold markings to each brand. Golden Orange has reportedly been around since at least 2016, which is as far back as I personally know of MMD switches, so either is possible at this point. And this is where it gets even messier.
Mengmoda (MMD) and Who Else?
There are a handful of things that provide a strong correlation, on their own they might be considered coincidental, but taken together they provide enough information for me to consider Mengmoda and Aflion to be under the same either parent company or factory. In addition to the fact that Aflion sent Mengmoda switches as factory samples, and the version of Aflion Icebergs being run, sold, and possibly made by MMD, there are further relationships that can be inferred for the Cherry style housings.
First, and probably the least convincing on its own, would be a likely random Shopee seller listing MMD Mint Blue, also known as Blue-White, switches. In the description of these switches, they indicate that “this is same with the Lumia factory”. I would normally ignore this as a baseless claim, and I did when I first saw it, for about a week until I found more information that may back it up.
You see, around that same time I bought some Mengmoda Ice Cream POM switches, and while I was researching these, I was reminded of that Shopee page. The Lumia store on Taobao was selling these Mengmoda Ice Cream switches, and not only that, but Adai of Lumia was claiming to have been the designer. Adai stated that the Lumia brand name would not be used on new products going forward as the brand has been transitioned into a foundry.
So on one hand, Aflion and MMD had some relationship on the Speed Silver Icebergs. On the other hand, Lumia is taking their name off their switches, and seems heavily related to MMD, even claiming to have designed MMD’s new Ice Cream switch. But can we try to cut out the middle man and show that Aflion likely makes the Lumia switches too? Thanks for asking, because that’s exactly what we are going to do.
Mold Marking Comparisons
Aside from minor glare due to lighting, these bottom housings appear to be entirely the same color. They also share many mold marks between the two housings. The same round indentation around the metal pins, the same minor outline or border intersecting the small bumps to the far outer corners of the bottom housings, and thin numbers molded in the same location between pins. Less apparent in this picture, but evident in different lighting are matte finished rectangles to the outer edges of the LED slots. The circular marking on the top housing of the Lumia Matcha is present on both switches, but on the top side of the top housing, which is only visible on the Lumia from this angle due to the clear top housing.
In this slightly oversharpened picture, you can see similar mold markings and color in the stems of the two switches as well. The raised border on the edges of the stems, and 8 marked on the Matcha Latte match the 9 marked on the same side of the stem on the Lumia Matcha.
While most of the above markings are not entirely exclusive to these switches, when put together they certainly paint a convincing picture. The border on the edge of stems is common, and many brands have a number stamped in this area, but JWK and TTC for example have the number on the nameplate side of the stem vs these on the side of the LED slot. Gateron has the number stamped on the same LED side, but the notch on the stem is facing the nameplate.
Another interesting point of data that indicates these are actually being made at the same factory, rather than an instance of copied or stolen molds, is this picture courtesy of a video from the official Golden Orange Alibaba page. The image should link to a product page, which is interestingly for Aflion’s Rainbow Icebergs, but instead of a video for Icebergs, appears to be a demonstration of Lumia Matchas, as an example of a custom switch they have made.
Also of note, remember how Adai told us earlier that the Lumia name wouldn’t be used going forward? Well, it isn’t present on the Lumia Matchas, and certainly is not on the MMD branded Ice Cream POM switches that Lumia is selling.
But these interesting POM housings from the Ice Creams might not be exclusive to Mengmoda. As a matter of fact, my next post is going to try to dive into another string of interconnected brands using these same housings. Check back in a couple of weeks for a continuation on Mengmoda and their likely relationship to Leobog and a handful of subbrands. Hopefully, by then I will have more of those switches on hand and in the store.