Adding a ThinkPad Nubbin to a Mechanical Keyboard Is an Incredibly Nerdy Hack

Trackpoint users REALLY love this little red nubbin.
Trackpoint users REALLY love this little red nubbin.
Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

Keyboards, for reasons I’m still unsure of, seem to inspire a lot of nerdery. People will spend hundreds of dollars to tweak and customize their keyboards until they’re perfect. Or they’ll bust out some old keyboard parts and a knitting needle to add a ThinkPad-style trackpoint to an old mechanical keyboard.


First noticed by Hackaday, user Klapse has gone and added a Trackpoint, like the ones found on a ThinkPad laptop, to a mechanical keyboard. That wasn’t the original goal though.

Klapse first bought five older Lenovo-made keyboards with a Trackpoint built in, but one after the other failed. After a sixth one kicked the bucket in under a year, Klapse switched over to a mechanical keyboard with clicky Cherry MX Blue switches.

But while the typing was better, Klapse still missed that little red nipple that functions as a ThinkPad’s alternative to a mouse or trackpad. So they took the working module out of one of their many busted Lenovo keyboards, found a hole in the circuit board for their new mechanical keyboard, and set the trackpoint up. The nub was naturally too short to fit through the keyboard’s circuit board and cup up between the keys, so Klapse had to come up with a solution and settled on a needle from a sewing machine.

As someone who is no stranger to converting a keyboard in search of perfection, I’ve got to applaud Klapse’s mod. And then I have to quietly point to the Tex Yoda II, a mechanical keyboard (with a wide variety of switch types available) that already has the little nipple built in, no sewing needle required.

If spending $280 to $300 on the Tex Yoda II seems like way too much, you can get more details on Klapse’s mod by going directly to, where they outlined their entire process with pictures.



Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.


Andy "What?" M-S

It’s easy to understand why people get fanatical about keyboards. They are (ahem, w/r/t the earlier comments) the most intimate connection between human and machine. Look at how shiny your keys get!

My first bout of keyboard insanity came when (c. 1987) I wore out the keyboard on my Kaypro 2/84 and had to open up the box and replace it. Once I moved to DOS and Windows boxes, where the selection was wider, I got obsessive. When I was a software engineer, for example, I used two generations (and many units) of Microsoft’s (then very pricey) ergonomic keyboard. The second generation was better, IMO, but for 15 years, I lived by those things.

These days, I’m a lawyer and a ThinkPad user. When I first started, I was using very small (X120-level) ThinkPads, and I found the dot the best way to navigate. These days, I’m using a slightly larger model, and the touchpad works well for most of what I do. I still use the nub for many things, however. And I should note that other companys’ implementations (that I have experienced) have been nowhere near as good.