Author Topic: How to have a custom keycap set built?  (Read 849 times)

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Offline mathisart

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How to have a custom keycap set built?
« on: Tue, 14 May 2024, 20:15:41 »
How can one have a custom keycap set built?
By custom keycaps I mean keycaps with a custom geometry that doesn't exactly match the profile/shape/size of any existing keycap set.
I'm currently 3D printing such keycaps but I wonder how they could be built in (non-3D-printed) ABS or PBT.

The shape is not too exotic; they look kinda like this: https://adafruit.com/product/5111 but with some (nontrivial) differences.

Bonus question: how to add custom art/fonts/icons to the keycaps.

Online TomahawkLabs

  • Posts: 110
Re: How to have a custom keycap set built?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 15 May 2024, 10:56:13 »
How can one have a custom keycap set built?
By custom keycaps I mean keycaps with a custom geometry that doesn't exactly match the profile/shape/size of any existing keycap set.
I'm currently 3D printing such keycaps but I wonder how they could be built in (non-3D-printed) ABS or PBT.

The shape is not too exotic; they look kinda like this: https://adafruit.com/product/5111 but with some (nontrivial) differences.

Bonus question: how to add custom art/fonts/icons to the keycaps.

If you have to ask, it's too expensive. You're looking for a set of 100+ custom molds to be created for your unique keycap set. If you want doubleshot keycaps, it doubles the number of custom molds. You would be requesting a keycap manufacture to create brand new molds for for the profile you desire, plus the R&D of mold making. Unless you plan to sell your own keycaps using your unique profile, it would be cost prohibitive. I would expect no less than 10k and likely north of 15k for a one off, custom profile, injected keycap set.

With a few hundred to thousands of hours of work and access to a small desktop mill you could replicate what this user did and cast their own keycaps using lego and plastic/silicone molds.
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Offline mk

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Re: How to have a custom keycap set built?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 15 May 2024, 15:49:21 »
For one-off keycaps people usually go for either
- SLA Resin print
- Resin cast (by first either cnc'ing or 3d printing a mold)
- MJF 3d print

For legends, the more popular solution is to have incised text and manually apply resin infill to make the text clearer, but this is a time-consuming process.

Both SLA and MJF 3d prints can be ordered at reasonable prices online in high resolutions.

There is of course also more advanced means of making your own keycaps like the Keymacs-way, showed in the video above, but the up-front cost of the CNC machine alone is quite high - and the time investment arguably even higher.

Offline mathisart

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  • Posts: 26
Re: How to have a custom keycap set built?
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 20 May 2024, 17:37:15 »
For one-off keycaps people usually go for either
- SLA Resin print
- Resin cast (by first either cnc'ing or 3d printing a mold)
- MJF 3d print

For legends, the more popular solution is to have incised text and manually apply resin infill to make the text clearer, but this is a time-consuming process.

Both SLA and MJF 3d prints can be ordered at reasonable prices online in high resolutions.

There is of course also more advanced means of making your own keycaps like the Keymacs-way, showed in the video above, but the up-front cost of the CNC machine alone is quite high - and the time investment arguably even higher.

Thanks, that was helpful. MJF 3D printing is a new one for me.