Overview

Welcome to the Dry H.U.M.P. stabilizer mod (stands for Dry Hack Using Mostly PTFE). We’ll be using PTFE Fiberglass tape and PTFE Plumber’s tape to silence your stabilizers – zero lube required!

If you’re a visual learner, watch this guide in video form:

Items Needed

Dry HUMP Mod Items Needed
What is PTFE?

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is an extremely low-friction polymer (smoother than UHMWPE). In its tape form, it isn’t messy like other adhesive tapes or lubricants. This makes PTFE tape the ideal material for modding our stabs with.

What is the difference between PTFE Fiberglass tape and PTFE Teflon tape?

PTFE Fiberglass tape is fiberglass tape that has been coated with PTFE. This results in a more structurally rigid tape that is more resistant to wear (needed for the constant rubbing in our stabs). The PTFE coating provides the low friction we desire.

PTFE Teflon tape is also called plumber’s tape or thread-sealing tape. This is the common white tape you can find in general stores. PTFE Fiberglass tape is too rigid and thick to wrap around stab bars, so we’re using this instead for the bars.

What causes noisy stabs?

Stabs usually tick for two reasons:

  1. The bar has too much play inside of the stem.
  2. The bar has too much play in the part of the housing where it clips in.

These empty spaces allow for the bar to move back and forth, creating a ticking noise.

This means that Step 1 (Stem) and Step 3 (Bar) of this guide are the most crucial. Feel free to skip Step 2 (Housing) and lube the housing as you would normally.

Step One: Dry Hump The Stems

Cut the tape

Cut an inch of PTFE Fiberglass tape

Take your brown PTFE Fiberglass tape and cut off about an inch-long piece. Feel free to overestimate, as you can trim off any excess later.

Dry HUMP Mod 1

Vertically cut a 2mm strip from this piece

Take the piece you just cut, and vertically cut a strip about 2mm wide. This needs to fit inside our stems. The rest can be discarded or saved for band-aid modding.

Dry HUMP Mod 2

Cut this thin strip in half

Cut the strip in half. One piece will be used for the top of our stem opening, and the other will be for the bottom.

Dry HUMP Mod 3

Tape top part of stem opening

Apply a strip to the top of the stem opening

With the sticky side facing up, slide the tape into the stem opening (part where the bar would normally fit in). Use tweezers to press the tape up into place. Ensure all edges are pressed in.

Dry HUMP Mod 4A
Dry HUMP Mod 4B

Fold the strip to secure it on the top side

Wrap the strip back over the top, so the tape is stuck more securely. Trim any excess off, if the tape doesn’t fit. Remember to press with tweezers. Any loose tape may make unwanted noise.

Dry HUMP Mod 5A
Dry HUMP Mod 5B

Tape bottom part of stem opening

Apply a strip to the bottom of the stem opening

With the sticky side facing down, slide the tape into the stem opening (part where the bar would normally fit in). Use tweezers to press the tape down into place. Ensure all edges are pressed in.

Dry HUMP Mod 6

Fold the strip back to secure it on the bottom side

Wrap the strip back over the bottom, so the tape is stuck more securely. Trim any excess off, if the tape is too long. We want the back lip is covered, as this is a frequent contact point. Remember to press with tweezers.

Dry HUMP Mod 7B
Dry HUMP Mod 7C

Repeat for the other stem.

What to do if this is causing mushiness?

With this tape, we are trying to enough empty space to where we remove any unwanted ticking. However, if we remove too much empty space, we get mushiness instead. Some users have reported that placing the tape on the top and bottom surfaces of the stem hole cause the stab to feel slightly mushy. To avoid this, you can try only placing a strip of tape to the top surface of the stem hole.

You may want to stop here and only Dry HUMP your stems.

The next steps will cover Dry HUMPing your housings and bars. However, this is only necessary if you want 100% lubeless stabs. We find that in most cases, Dry HUMPing your stems and bars and then using lube for your housings works best.

Step Two: Dry Hump The Housings (Warning: May Make Scratchier)

Cut the tape

Cut two separate inch-long pieces of PTFE Fiberglass tape

Take your brown PTFE Fiberglass tape and cut off about an inch-long piece. Then do it again. Feel free to overestimate, as you can trim off any excess later.

Dry HUMP Mod 8

Tape Inside of Housing

Apply tape to inside of housing

We want to cover as much of the inside wall as possible. Slide the tape all the way in the housing. Try and line this up as straight as possible before pressing the tape down. Press in the edges and corners with tweezers.

Dry HUMP Mod 9A
Dry HUMP Mod 9B

Fold tape to secure it on the outside

Wrap the tape to apply on the outside of the housing. Trim off any excess, if needed.

Dry HUMP Mod 10A
Dry HUMP Mod 10B

Do it again on the other wall

With the second inch-long piece, apply to the other inside wall of the housing. Fold the tape to secure it on the outside again.

Dry HUMP Mod 11

Repeat for the other housing.

You may want to use PTFE Teflon tape or just lube instead.

Using PTFE Fiberglass tape for your housings can be tricky to get right. The edges of the tape with less PTFE coating carries a risk of making your stabs more scratchy.

You can just skip using any PTFE tape at all for your housings, and lube as you normally would.

If you want to experiment further, you can also try using PTFE Teflon tape instead and wrap the housing walls. Note that Teflon tape is less durable, but we found success with this as it has all the smooth benefits of PTFE and none of the fiberglass. Conveniently, the Teflon tape from our store is perfectly sized for wrapping the housings as well.

 

Step Three: Dry Hump The Bar

Cut the tape

Cut an inch of PTFE Teflon tape

Take your white PTFE Teflon tape and cut off about a half inch-long piece. It’s alright to trim a bit more or less, since this tape is extremely thin.

guideDryHump12

Wrap the bar

Apply tape to the bar

We are applying this tape to the section of the bar that clips into the housing. Wrap as neatly as possible. An inch of this tape should wrap approximately 2-4 times around the bar.

Dry HUMP Mod 13A
Dry HUMP Mod 13B

Repeat for the other side of the bar.

This tape may need to be reapplied if the bar is ever uninstalled.

PTFE Teflon tape is quite thin. When uninstalling the bar from its housing, you might rub some of the tape off. If you can see the bar through the tape, you should pull the old tape off and replace it with a fresh strip.

Remember the goal of this tape is to reduce play between the bar and housing. If a bit of the tape rubs off, try to see if any ticking exists. If not, then you might be able to get by without reapplication.

You're Done

Congrats! You’re ready to put your stabilizer together and install it in your keyboard. Once installed, make sure to press the key repeatedly to break the stabilizer in. Join our Discord to discuss how this mod worked for you!

Dry HUMP Mod Done

FAQ

The tape isn't sticking. Help!

Make sure you are using new stabilizers that have never been lubed before. If you are trying this mod on lubed-before stabs, you will need to clean them thoroughly (ultrasonic cleaner + dish soap solution might work).

If you’re using brand new stabs, try using a new cut of tape and making sure to avoid touching the sticky side of it to reduce oils from weakening the adhesion.

My stabs still seem scratchy after this mod. Why?

If you performed Step 2 (Housing) of this mod, consider skipping this step and removing the PTFE tape from the housing. Because lubing housings isn’t too messy of a process, we recommend going this route instead. If you have some time to kill though, here’s what we found to make Dry HUMPed housings smooth:

Make sure all edges of tape are pressed tightly in with the sides of your tweezers. Remember that PTFE Fiberglass tape is actually just fiberglass tape with PTFE coating. The very edges of the tape may be less coated, and any direct contact with just fiberglass won’t be nearly as smooth.

One thing we found that worked quite well is using PTFE Teflon tape to wrap the housing walls. Note that this tape is much less wear-resistant compared to PTFE Fiberglass tape and may be less durable of a solution. However, we found success with using Teflon tape instead, due to the absence of fiberglass.

Please keep in mind that this mod is a continuous project, and changes will be made to it if better methods are found. Please let us know on our Discord if you have anything to contribute!

Will my stabs become sluggish? When pressing one end of the spacebar, will the other end have a delay?

Nope! Here’s a gif of a slug test (may take a few seconds to load):

Pressing one end of spacebar causes no delay on the other end
How does this mod compare to other stabilizer mods?

We tested various stabilizer mods that currently exist in the community. Remember modding all comes down to preference, but here are our thoughts:

Dielectric Silicone Grease

A common first solution for many modders tackling their stabs. We found this method inconsistent, messy, and inelegant. There was a constant struggle of applying just the right amount of grease. Too little and you’d still hear and feel your scratchy stabs – too much and it’d feel mushy and sound… wet. Even after applying a good amount, we found ourselves “plugging the butt” over and over again quite often.

Special Lubricant Grease (e.g., XHT-BDZ)

We definitely like this more than common silicone grease, but using any kind of lubricant is still quite messy. This ultra-thick lube is also much pricier than PTFE tape.

Holee Mod

A great solution we recommend if PTFE tape doesn’t meet your preferences. By applying a small strip of bandage (adhesive part) to the top part of where the stem touches the bar, we were able to eliminate the bar ticking inside of the stem. However, the adhesive part of a bandage is usually made of some mixture of polyester, nylon, rayon, and spandex – materials that are inferior to PTFE in terms of smoothness. Bandages are also quite thick, which may cause some sluggishness in the stabs. The Holee Mod also does not provide any damping for the bottom part of where the housing meets the bar, but this arguably not necessary.

Tailor’s Mod

We haven’t tried this mod yet, so we can’t speak on its effectiveness. But we want to shout out the ingenuity of using sewing thread to mod stabs. Pretty awesome.

Epsi Mod

Similar to the Holee Mod, in that both mods involve sticking some adhesive padding to the inside of the stem. However, we found that the Epsi Mod was more time-consuming to perform (have to apply double-sided tape before trimming). We personally preferred the Holee Mod to the Epsi Mod, and the Dry HUMP Mod to both of these mods.

Heatshrink Tube Mod

We weren’t huge fans of this mod. Heatshrink tube’s material seemed quite high in its coefficient of friction. It is possible that there are smoother types of heatshrink tubing, but we picked up the generic kind from our local hardware store. We also needed to experiment quite a bit with the correct tube thickness, since stabilizers can vary in size here.

Final Ranking (our opinion, of course):

Dry HUMP Mod
Special Lubricant Grease
Holee Mod
Epsi Mod
Dielectric Grease
Heatshrink Tube Mod

Can I just wrap the ends of the bar with PTFE tape instead?

We experimented with this and really hoped that it would work (since the process is much easier).

With PTFE Fiberglass tape, the tape was too rigid to wrap around the bar. Even when we added extra adhesive on the back to force the tape to stay wrapped, the bar became too thick to insert into the stem.

With PTFE Teflon tape, this mod actually worked with some success. We found wrapping the bar 4-5 times (~1″ long piece) provided soft padding to the bar and still allowed the bar to fit inside the stem. The main issue with this method was how poor the tape’s wear resistance was. We saw that when moving the stem up and down, the bar would rub the tape. In some cases, the tape would separate and the bar would be exposed. If you experiment with this method, please let us know how it went for you on our Discord.

Special Thanks

This mod was heavily inspired by the Holee mod and the Epsi mod.
We want to thank Long Tran The Spacebar Guy and Epsilon Keyboards, for pushing the modding community forward.