Winglatch Compatibility

Winglatch Compatibility

Man, I was sane once.

What happened to make me do this? How did we get here? I just sat down one night and decided to break out one of nearly every type of winglatch switch I could find and started disassembling and reassembling them all. That took like 4 hours, do you have any idea what kind of other actually useful things I could get done in 4 hours? Oh well, it's done now.

Anyway, winglatch compatibility is one of the banes of frankenswitching with winglatch switches breaking from Cherry molds, and their general inconsistency in compatibility with each other. Not only do they not all work together, sometimes tops from brand A fit bottoms from brand B, but you can't get a brand B top onto a brand A bottom. So we needed some kind of chart. 

First, who did I test? Aflion, Grain Gold, Jerrzi, Jixian, JWK, Kailh, KTT, LCET, Leobog Supported (with a divider in the winglatch like most manufacturers), Leobog Unsupported (without that divider in the winglatch, like Outemu), Lichicx, Newgiant, Outemu, and Philikey. It turned out that I didn't need to test both versions of Leobog molds since their compatibility was identical, but I didn't know that when I started, that's the kind of thing we learn when we experiment. 

"So if you say something works I should immediately go buy 100 of them and make my new favorite frankenswitch?" Absolutely not. I tried ONE switch from each manufacturer against each other. I could have gotten lucky, or molds could change from year to year, but for the most part I would expect them to be compatible. Maybe grab a couple of each of the switches you want to use for yourself and do a quick sanity check before you commit to a full set and find out that this switch is actually a weird exception or is extra breakable because of it's materials or something. After all, you're on a website that sells single switches, may as well make use of that. 

With all the introduction out of the way, here's the chart with the actual data, which I think is too small to be useful here so I'll also link to the original Google Sheet.


Now, there's only so much to talk about with the compatibility here but let's get into a couple of the more interesting things. First, I'm surprised how much compatibility there is between brands. If you reach into a bucket of winglatch housings (and it's evenly represented between all these brands which it won't be but let me have the hypothetical okay) you have a 44% chance of it being at least technically compatible (counting the yellow boxes with asterisks) and maybe more usefully, a 35% chance of it actually working well. 

Speaking about those yellow boxes with asterisks in them, if you haven't checked them out on the original chart yet we can break those down here. As you can probably imagine, yellow means proceed with caution, you can make it work, but it's definitely not a guarantee in these cases. One asterisk means you're going to have to give it a good squish, it's going to take some extra force compared to other combinations, but you can do it if you want, and on the bright side you won't need any films. Two asterisks means it's loose/wobbly, but it should work with a film or two. Three asterisks really should probably be red, it's reserved just for JWK tops which will have about 1mm of a gap, BUT it technically does latch so just stuff a bunch of films in there and call it a day. 

Breaking it down by brand, most are compatible with a few other manufacturers, but there are some serious outliers to note if you're actually going to try making some frankenswitches. JWK is the most fun, you can put their tops on almost anything you want, as long as you are okay with over a 1mm gap because their top housing latches reach down so far. If you've ever wanted to try putting four thicker foam/gasket films on one switch I guess this is how you do that, or you could probably get up to eight or nine more conventional thin .15mm TX films in there. I had six Durock films on hand and that fit pretty well actually. That might be the practical number but I'm pretty sure you could squeeze a couple more in if you wanted. 


I personally gave up at six old Durock films I had laying around, it gets pretty finicky trying to stack those all up, but it still latched with six and I think it could have fit at least one more if I could have kept them straight. On the other hand, don't even try putting someone else's tops on JWK winglatch bottoms. The latches on the bottom housing are so far down nothing will reach them. 

 Some other manufacturers who don't play well with others include Grain Gold and KTT. Interestingly, both of their bottom housings are more cooperative than their top housings. Grain Gold tops fit nothing but their own bottoms, and KTT tops work similarly except you can force them onto a Grain Gold bottom if you really want to. Grain Gold bottoms will work with Kailh tops though, and fit KTT tops tight and LCET tops loosely. That makes sense since one of the more common winglatch frankenswitches we know of is Kailh tops on KTT bottoms, and if Grain Gold and KTT are somewhat compatible they should work with the same other manufacturers too. KTT bottoms also work with Jixian, LCET, and Lichicx tops though so they are a little more reliable than Grain Gold. 

On the other hand, some manufacturers have much better compatibility among each other, to the point that I thought some of them were originally related because their molds seemed so similar. It used to be somewhat rare for different winglatch housings to work together, especially from the major manufacturers at the time. Kailh parts didn't work with Outemu parts, and only half way worked with KTT, Outemu didn't work with KTT, sure LCET winglatch existed then and probably had decent compatibility but nobody was messing around with them. So when I found new winglatch switches that were compatible with Outemu housings, and pretty smoothly, I assumed they were related. Almost every new winglatch has been using molds that are compatible with Outemu lately, Aflion, Jerrzi, Leobog, and Philikey all work well here. Grain Gold and Lichicx are the two new ones who use different molds (Lichicx kind of sort of isn't new because they've made Varmilo's switches but those are not mechanical and weren't very widely available so they weren't big frankenswitch candidates). 

 That's probably about all the words I can stretch out of making a chart, but check back this time next year for "John's super inconsistent but sometimes interesting ramblings". 

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