Author Topic: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey  (Read 6127 times)

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Offline olah101

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Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« on: Tue, 21 March 2017, 19:29:35 »
Update 5/4

Pressure pot and compressor finally came in!!
Woot woot!

167659-0

Hi everyone!

I have decided to start working on creating my own keycaps. These forums have been tremendously helpful and I'm hoping that by making a thread of my own I can help anyone else who is starting out. If anyone has any tips for me or is looking for information please reach out!

I started by ordering a number of different items to jump start my supplies.

163563-1
Started with Oomoo 30 for the Mold. Ease Release 200 to help with separating the resin from the mold and other assorted items to help with the process.

163565-2
Ordered IE-3075. Will be trying out smooth-cast 321 as well when it is shipped over.

163567-3
Tried attaching the q-tips as sprues to these three locations but found that adding another q-tip on the opposite side of the middle section helped fill out the mold when pouring the resin.

163569-4
Updated my molding process to make for easier mold changes and reusability.

163571-5
Lineup of some of my first tries. Many were wayy too soft to go on a keyboard so had to continue with process research.

163573-6
Recently finished this one which I am very happy with! Bubbles are still happening which will eventually be ironed out with the pressure pot but it's finally the correct strength and able to be placed on the keyboard!

That's it for today, hope to hear from everyone with feedback / any questions you may have!
« Last Edit: Thu, 04 May 2017, 16:31:25 by olah101 »

Offline hadekele

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 21 March 2017, 20:54:54 »
Hey man! You're already off to a better start than I when I started!

The keycaps are probably too soft due to incorrect measuring, or, the caps haven't fully cured.
The demold time is just when you can pop it out, but it'll fully cure overtime.

Offline olah101

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 22 March 2017, 06:55:20 »
I totally agree! I found that straying from the instructed ratios was a baaaad idea (doh!). After trying alot of different things I found out that my biggest issue was that my apartment was too cold. Placing the batch next to a space heater finally cleared up the issue :D

Offline olah101

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 09:36:12 »
Update!

Was able to get wayyy less bubbles on this round. I think it was the combination of stirring more carefully and preparing the room temperature before casting.

163895-0

Also working on a new mold with a thicker top half to get rid of the lines that shine through. Anyone have advice on that? I'm just squeezing clay into the bottom of the mold cap to create thickness.

Offline ineph

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 16:17:13 »
Update!

Was able to get wayyy less bubbles on this round. I think it was the combination of stirring more carefully and preparing the room temperature before casting.

(Attachment Link)

Also working on a new mold with a thicker top half to get rid of the lines that shine through. Anyone have advice on that? I'm just squeezing clay into the bottom of the mold cap to create thickness.

very nice

what's the name of the resin's pigment on the two on left side??

Bla bla bla Stealthbla bla Blue

Offline olah101

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 16:25:24 »
The ones on the left are actually equal parts royal blue and ruby red. Here is a link to the specific dyes that I picked  :thumb:
http://www.eagerplastics.com/7701.htm

Offline ineph

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 16:39:38 »
it is epoxy?

Bla bla bla Stealthbla bla Blue

Offline olah101

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 17:06:06 »
those particular ones are polyurethane

Offline SKD

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 17:25:41 »
Get a digital scale, the small ones that measures up to 200g and can read in 0.01g increments. I used to measure by eye using syringes too, ratios are always off.

Soft results could be caused by the lack of heat. I had this problem even if I left it for hours to cure. You can either heat up the molds beforehand or put the mold into a heated environment after you've poured the resin. I now put mine in a slow cooker  ;D

Bubbles will always be there if you use fast curing resin without a pressure pot. You could use a slow curing resin, they produce less bubbles.

Offline olah101

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 25 March 2017, 18:19:16 »
Get a digital scale, the small ones that measures up to 200g and can read in 0.01g increments. I used to measure by eye using syringes too, ratios are always off.

Soft results could be caused by the lack of heat. I had this problem even if I left it for hours to cure. You can either heat up the molds beforehand or put the mold into a heated environment after you've poured the resin. I now put mine in a slow cooker  ;D

Bubbles will always be there if you use fast curing resin without a pressure pot. You could use a slow curing resin, they produce less bubbles.

That scale is a great idea!! Focusing on the heat definitely resolved the soft cure issue I was having.

Do you have any recommendations / info on a pressure pot to purchase?

Also, extra picture with the thicker mold 163924-0

Offline SKD

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 26 March 2017, 05:44:56 »
Good job on the new cast. You may want to build up the inner walls of the caps too to produce a thicker wall cast. Gives you a stronger cap.

I don't have recommendations for pressure pots because I don't use them myself haha. Someone will recommend some no doubt.

Offline ineph

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 27 March 2017, 14:00:09 »
Good job on the new cast. You may want to build up the inner walls of the caps too to produce a thicker wall cast. Gives you a stronger cap.

I don't have recommendations for pressure pots because I don't use them myself haha. Someone will recommend some no doubt.

I wanna know exactly when pressure pot is recommended and why. It's depends of type of resin?

Bla bla bla Stealthbla bla Blue

Offline hadekele

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Re: Starting my Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 27 March 2017, 14:20:08 »
Good job on the new cast. You may want to build up the inner walls of the caps too to produce a thicker wall cast. Gives you a stronger cap.

I don't have recommendations for pressure pots because I don't use them myself haha. Someone will recommend some no doubt.

I wanna know exactly when pressure pot is recommended and why. It's depends of type of resin?

You can pressurize silicone during the mold making stage to have perfect molds that can be used for resin casting.
You pressurize the silicone, as resin casting under pressure requires silicone cured under pressure, otherwise you end up with "pimples."
Pressurizing resin allows all the air bubbles to be crushed to microscopic sizes. This is especially useful with clear casts, as air bubbles are way more noticeable.
In addition, the physical strength of the cast is increased as more solid resin, instead of millions of tiny bubbles all inside.

Offline dgneo

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 27 March 2017, 14:35:09 »
Get a digital scale, the small ones that measures up to 200g and can read in 0.01g increments. I used to measure by eye using syringes too, ratios are always off.

Soft results could be caused by the lack of heat. I had this problem even if I left it for hours to cure. You can either heat up the molds beforehand or put the mold into a heated environment after you've poured the resin. I now put mine in a slow cooker  ;D

Bubbles will always be there if you use fast curing resin without a pressure pot. You could use a slow curing resin, they produce less bubbles.

That scale is a great idea!! Focusing on the heat definitely resolved the soft cure issue I was having.

Do you have any recommendations / info on a pressure pot to purchase?

Also, extra picture with the thicker mold (Attachment Link)

Good job on the new cast. You may want to build up the inner walls of the caps too to produce a thicker wall cast. Gives you a stronger cap.

I don't have recommendations for pressure pots because I don't use them myself haha. Someone will recommend some no doubt.

I wanna know exactly when pressure pot is recommended and why. It's depends of type of resin?

Some resins will be much easier to cast in a pressure-less environment, such as less viscous resins. The thicker everything is, the more likely air bubbles are to get trapped.

Pressure pots are used to crush any microbubbles that may be present in the resin while it's curing. This helps create a stronger, more rigid result, and as mentioned before, it's especially helpful with clear resins. As far as a pressure pot, I personally use this one and haven't had a single issue: http://www.finishsystems.com/resincastingpressurepots.html

If you're casting in an area where sound might be an issue, this is by far the quietest compressor I've heard (I use this one as well): https://www.amazon.com/California-Air-Tools-2010A-2-0-Gallon/dp/B00TDNKBMC/

OP your caps are looking great, you're definitely on the right track here. I would highly recommend getting a scale, especially for the IE-3075, as measurements need be quite accurate for the results to come out right (but when they do come out right, I've yet to use a resin stronger than this stuff). Ambient temperature also does play a huge part in the curing process. I've found that usually temps cooler than 68 Fahrenheit will inhibit the curing process. I ended up picking up a heating mat + temp sensor (similar to the ones used in gardening) to keep my Pressure Pot heated, that way the ambient temps don't really matter.

Keep up the good work!
« Last Edit: Mon, 27 March 2017, 14:36:40 by dgneo »

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 27 March 2017, 20:21:58 »
Thank you I appreciate that!! I will definitely be looking into purchasing a scale and that heat mat is a great idea. That pressure pot looks amazing but might be slightly out of my price range. This information is a great jumping off point for me and it looks like I will be purchasing the compressor you linked to and a slightly cheaper pressure pot. Thank you again for sharing!

Offline ineph

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 28 March 2017, 08:03:03 »
Maybe next month I start to make my own keycaps and these information will help me a lot. Thanks!

And OP, keep sending pics of your work :))

Bla bla bla Stealthbla bla Blue

Offline dgneo

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 28 March 2017, 08:19:22 »
Thank you I appreciate that!! I will definitely be looking into purchasing a scale and that heat mat is a great idea. That pressure pot looks amazing but might be slightly out of my price range. This information is a great jumping off point for me and it looks like I will be purchasing the compressor you linked to and a slightly cheaper pressure pot. Thank you again for sharing!

My only caveat is please be careful with 'cheaper' pressure pots. The cheap ones can and have failed, especially those from Harbor Freight.

Avoid pressure pots with this style clamp:


And instead search for ones with this style:


The first style will essentially end up digging into the top of the pot, compromising the integrity of it.

Offline ineph

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 28 March 2017, 08:51:28 »
Thank you I appreciate that!! I will definitely be looking into purchasing a scale and that heat mat is a great idea. That pressure pot looks amazing but might be slightly out of my price range. This information is a great jumping off point for me and it looks like I will be purchasing the compressor you linked to and a slightly cheaper pressure pot. Thank you again for sharing!

My only caveat is please be careful with 'cheaper' pressure pots. The cheap ones can and have failed, especially those from Harbor Freight.

Avoid pressure pots with this style clamp:
Show Image


And instead search for ones with this style:
Show Image


The first style will essentially end up digging into the top of the pot, compromising the integrity of it.

This first one is crearly a case of origrammed obsolescence
« Last Edit: Tue, 28 March 2017, 08:52:59 by ineph »

Bla bla bla Stealthbla bla Blue

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 28 March 2017, 09:08:59 »
Thank you I appreciate that!! I will definitely be looking into purchasing a scale and that heat mat is a great idea. That pressure pot looks amazing but might be slightly out of my price range. This information is a great jumping off point for me and it looks like I will be purchasing the compressor you linked to and a slightly cheaper pressure pot. Thank you again for sharing!

My only caveat is please be careful with 'cheaper' pressure pots. The cheap ones can and have failed, especially those from Harbor Freight.

Avoid pressure pots with this style clamp:
Show Image


And instead search for ones with this style:
Show Image


The first style will essentially end up digging into the top of the pot, compromising the integrity of it.

This is a great tip that I have not seen before. I will be looking exclusively at the safer option now and will probably shell out the extra cash to make it work.

And @ineph moar pics are coming soon! I botched my first attempt at dual colors but will try again tonight

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 29 March 2017, 07:05:04 »
Update!

Trying out dual colors with varying degrees of success.

164215-0
164217-1
164219-2

Still trying to figure out if I should let the first layer fully dry or only partially. Hmmm

Offline dgneo

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 29 March 2017, 07:23:22 »
Update!

Trying out dual colors with varying degrees of success.

(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)

Still trying to figure out if I should let the first layer fully dry or only partially. Hmmm

Looking good! For doubleshots, there's a fine line between letting it cure too much, and not letting it cure enough.

If you let it cure for too long, the two shots will not properly bond to each other. This is exhibited usually by a white line between the layers. While for all intensive purposes you'll really only notice the white line, the bond between the two shots is actually much weaker than a doubleshot that's added at the correct time.

If you don't let it cure long enough, the two shots will end up blending together. Again, this one is really dependent on what kinda look you're going for (solid straight line double shots, swirly, etc.)

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 29 March 2017, 08:36:51 »
@dgneo dude, I just want to say thank you for your insightful answers!! I now know to rule out letting the first layer fully cure so I will be experimenting with timing to throw the second layer in.

Thank you!

Offline ineph

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 29 March 2017, 10:40:40 »
I shall thanks too.

BTW Supervillain>Superhero.

Bla bla bla Stealthbla bla Blue

Offline hadekele

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 29 March 2017, 13:03:39 »
I may not be the best to explain this, but I believe you want the first layer of resin to gel up before the next shot. So as the working time of the first layer finishes up, you pour the second shot, allowing the two resins to weld to each other flush.

Good luck!

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 30 March 2017, 21:47:17 »
Wife said "treat yo self" so I did  ;D

164399-0

Will show results tomorrow!!


Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 31 March 2017, 07:40:13 »
Very excited to show the two caps that cured overnight!!

164407-0

Was able to separate the two layers better but still want to try and let the first layer sit a little longer next time.

164409-1

The top layer glows :D

164411-2

Wanted to try pure transparent glow

164413-3

 :thumb:

Offline dgneo

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 31 March 2017, 07:46:19 »
Very excited to show the two caps that cured overnight!!

(Attachment Link)

Was able to separate the two layers better but still want to try and let the first layer sit a little longer next time.

(Attachment Link)

The top layer glows :D

(Attachment Link)

Wanted to try pure transparent glow

(Attachment Link)

 :thumb:


Progress I can get behind, both are looking great!

Offline hadekele

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 31 March 2017, 09:42:31 »
Very excited to show the two caps that cured overnight!!

(Attachment Link)

Was able to separate the two layers better but still want to try and let the first layer sit a little longer next time.

(Attachment Link)

The top layer glows :D

(Attachment Link)

Wanted to try pure transparent glow

(Attachment Link)

 :thumb:


Progress I can get behind, both are looking great!

Awesome work!

Offline ineph

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 31 March 2017, 12:17:06 »
Very excited to show the two caps that cured overnight!!

(Attachment Link)

Was able to separate the two layers better but still want to try and let the first layer sit a little longer next time.

(Attachment Link)

The top layer glows :D

(Attachment Link)

Wanted to try pure transparent glow

(Attachment Link)

 :thumb:

In this case the bubbles sems to be part os visual effect

Bla bla bla Stealthbla bla Blue

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 31 March 2017, 14:05:56 »
Thanks everyone! And while they do look kinda cool, I am ready to be rid of those bubbles when I'm able to purchase a pressure pot!

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #30 on: Sat, 01 April 2017, 14:09:08 »
More colors!!

164535-0

164537-1

164539-2
« Last Edit: Tue, 04 April 2017, 09:55:42 by olah101 »

Offline brennan08512

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 04 April 2017, 16:59:49 »
Those are some nice blanks!

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 05 April 2017, 07:18:32 »
Thank you!! Working on some new ones now  :D

Offline pixelkicker

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 11:25:32 »
I'd love to learn more about how you made your mold! Those last ones look great!

I'd be your best friend if you made a youtube vid or something. :)

Offline dgneo

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 11:28:08 »
I'd love to learn more about how you made your mold! Those last ones look great!

I'd be your best friend if you made a youtube vid or something. :)


This is for Topre, but the process applies the same to MX.

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 11:38:50 »
@dgneo that is the same video I watched which really helped me understand the process!! Thanks for posting.

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 19:44:49 »
Blanks came in!!!

165539-0

Made a new mold with them. 4 at a time :D

165541-1

165543-2

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 19 April 2017, 10:53:37 »
I could use some advice. I cannot seem to keep a larger bubble from coming up around half the time on the edge of the keycap. Below is a picture of what's happening. Anyone have advice to keep this from happening?

166366-0

Offline hadekele

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 19 April 2017, 12:41:16 »
I could use some advice. I cannot seem to keep a larger bubble from coming up around half the time on the edge of the keycap. Below is a picture of what's happening. Anyone have advice to keep this from happening?

(Attachment Link)

I can't really tell from the photo where the bubble is, but if it's on the underside of the cap, it could be due to your silicone shape. Sometimes little a little silicone that isn't flush or is little ripped will cause problems. If you'd picture filling your cap, then putting the stem part in, the air bubbles will rise to the top, and get caught on somewhere and be unable to pop naturally. You can either agitate the spot with a small pick or something, add more sprue holes, or probably the simplest is pressurize it.

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 20 April 2017, 14:54:05 »
Thank you for the tip! Putting together a sale :D

166438-0
« Last Edit: Mon, 24 April 2017, 14:09:06 by olah101 »

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 04 May 2017, 16:10:45 »
Very excited to take it to the next level! :D

167657-0

Offline SKD

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 05 May 2017, 13:36:27 »
Nice work :) I just got a pressure pot myself too for making caps.

Don't forget to cap off one of the two outlets on the regulator!

Offline dgneo

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 05 May 2017, 13:40:39 »
Very excited to take it to the next level! :D

(Attachment Link)

aww yesssssss that's what i like to see!

Offline olah101

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Re: Custom Clicks - Artisan Keycap Journey
« Reply #43 on: Mon, 12 June 2017, 21:54:46 »
Some keycaps I've been working on!

170718-0

170720-1

170722-2