Author Topic: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?  (Read 10995 times)

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Offline nitwimp

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I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« on: Mon, 13 June 2022, 00:36:08 »
Hello everybody, this post is going to be about the process i worked through to mill out some metal keycaps. Writing and organized documentation are not my strong suit - sorry if some of this is overly summarized

I am a machinist with a small shop, attended school for maching/drafting and then worked as a manual machinist afterwards. Self taught mostly about CNC/CAD/CAM - at first it was overwhelming but i've learned alot since i started :) - with that brief background about myself out of the way, lets get into it

First I downloaded pre modeled caps (I used hineybush's work, would recommend 10/10 design)

I had to modify them a little bit to make them work for me and my approach to milling them
Started with this

Turned it into this

I made the stem like that for tool clearance reasons

Heres a picture of op1 on the mill - cutting the bottoms of the caps/stems


I had to do the bottom side first ( honestly thats how i've done 90% of parts on my mill ) because i thread the center of the stem with m3 thread to aid in holding down the cap for the second operation

Here is the fixture i came up with, it took a couple attempts but i now have a design that i can easily scale up or down if i want to make more fixtures





Now that operation 1 is complete and we have made our fixture, we can attach our half completed workpiece to it and begin operation 2


heres a small snippet of tool pathing from op2


Now that we have finished milling its time to pull the caps out and give them a quick rinse - heres where we are


Heres what the underside looks like fresh off the mill


Fit check

The caps feel good and not too heavy for stock mx brown switches. Alum would be more ideal for switches with a similar spring weight to mx browns - but for an escape key, its great
So far so good, now im starting to get excited about my progress

Now its time to laser engrave the caps and then lightly sandblast them for powdercoat prep (I used cerakote)

Now its time to finish the caps - I bought a cheap airbrush off of amazon, some cerakote online and a cheap oven from walmart to powder coat them at home


I attached long threaded rod to the tapped stem i used for fixturing (so i have something to hold onto while painting it)


If you can visualize with me - After i spray the lollypop cap i place it into a fixture so the wet cerakote is safe for placing/cooking in the oven


After many attempts I finally got results I was happy with





Heres a example of how the cap sits compared to plastic cherry caps


And thats really about it, please feel free to ask any questions you might have - I hope my post is easy to follow, thanks!!!

imgur dump: https://imgur.com/a/APvk55s










 





« Last Edit: Mon, 13 June 2022, 13:30:51 by nitwimp »

Offline phinix

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 13 June 2022, 04:56:40 »
Niiice:)
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 13 June 2022, 05:14:31 »
Impressive!  The threaded stem for clamping is a great idea.  Is there a polishing step or is there a "shiny bronze" Cerakote?

Out of interest why brass not aluminium as it's lighter and cheaper?
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Offline nitwimp

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 13 June 2022, 11:23:59 »
Impressive!  The threaded stem for clamping is a great idea.  Is there a polishing step or is there a "shiny bronze" Cerakote?

Out of interest why brass not aluminium as it's lighter and cheaper?

The ones with exposed metal are polished - I dont think there is a Cerakote thaaattt shiny.


Yeah aluminum is cheaper and lighter but i had some brass left over from some keeb case weights

Offline Tha_Pig

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 30 July 2022, 16:34:54 »
That's some impressive work there!   :thumb:
I have two questions, could this be done with aluminum? (I see it's already been asked)
And, could the letters and numbers be engraved on the surface of the key?


« Last Edit: Sat, 30 July 2022, 16:42:26 by Tha_Pig »

Offline NamesReed

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 05 August 2022, 14:05:59 »
Maybe I missed it in the post, but any idea what they weigh?

Looks great!
IDK man, be positive, kind and caring.

Offline daviddgm

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 09 August 2022, 17:32:03 »
Wow... great!

Offline JP911

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 10 August 2022, 13:27:37 »
Dude thats awesome.

Would be cool to play around with the weight of the switches. I kind of want one for my full brass case lol.

Offline th3_outs1d3r

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 23 August 2022, 22:43:36 »
looks really sweet dude. What is the weight like?

Offline 1pctipaday

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 24 August 2022, 07:10:49 »
I would buy them all 😍

Offline upscalevalley

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 29 August 2022, 03:18:42 »
Impressive. Seems you have done lots of hard work getting there. Keep it up.

Offline crookey

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 04 September 2022, 07:31:25 »
It's a really, really cool artisan keycap. The way make a metal artisan keycap using a machine always feels interesting and cool.

Offline noisyturtle

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 24 September 2022, 16:51:22 »
Looks great, nice work!

Offline dejesusconway

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 19 October 2022, 04:39:58 »
Wow. That is so awesome.tiny fishingI appreciate that.

Offline jammiiew

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 19 October 2022, 09:39:45 »
woww. thats shiny look GREAT!

Offline ThreadyKeycaps

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 22 October 2022, 09:29:14 »
Kudos to you! Definitely sounded like a challenging task. Your keycaps turned out amazeballs!

Offline caughtquick

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 26 October 2022, 00:03:19 »
That looks great, especially for a one off piece :).

Offline Carlos Tucker

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 02 November 2022, 07:49:07 »
It's been a long time since I've found such a good article, I've been playing this game idle mining empire  a lot lately.. it would be fun if you play with me

Offline ZenKeycaps

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 06 November 2022, 02:34:41 »
Great job, but it seems to me that it is not worth spoiling the noble and special look of the metal by painting, but this is just my opinion :)

Offline alvrnicu

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 06 December 2022, 10:02:38 »
Love the design on it!

Impressive!  The threaded stem for clamping is a great idea.  Is there a polishing step or is there a "shiny bronze" Cerakote?

Out of interest why brass not aluminium as it's lighter and cheaper?

The ones with exposed metal are polished - I dont think there is a Cerakote thaaattt shiny.
Show Image


Yeah aluminum is cheaper and lighter but i had some brass left over from some keeb case weights

Offline desgeek

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Re: I made a brass artisan - thoughts?
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 06 December 2022, 20:03:15 »
amazing