Author Topic: Aluminum Keycaps  (Read 7074 times)

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Offline lxrogers

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Aluminum Keycaps
« on: Thu, 07 April 2016, 01:37:34 »
I'm working on a set of aluminum keycaps for a full aluminum keyboard, but after quite a bit of research I can't seem to find any aluminum keycaps.

Has anybody here bought any, made any, or even seen pictures of them? I'm worried that there is a reason that nobody has made any before.

To me it seems like a decent metal for keycaps: rugged once anodized, light, aesthetically matching with aluminum cases.

Offline TalkingTree

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 07 April 2016, 04:48:13 »
Has anybody seen pictures of them?
HolyOOPS are made out of aluminum. There's also a modifiers set.
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Offline rurushu

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 07 April 2016, 05:49:43 »
If not mistaken last time got one korean keyboard enthusiast called ScarFace made a set of aluminium keycaps, i think only the alphas and not the modifiers.

but that one is like... years ago though... and I only saw one people in GH last time who got the keyset, the user is "long-something" or "something-long".


Edit: found already, the user is longweight https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=36620.0
« Last Edit: Thu, 07 April 2016, 05:51:53 by rurushu »

Offline Zar7

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 07 April 2016, 15:12:27 »


I did actually had the chance to try out the aluminium keycaps on my friend's Pok3r. It's a TtEsports's metal keycaps. Personally, I don't really like it, because of the slippery finish on the surface.
After using them for two weeks, my friend bailed out on the metal caps because it started to show some serious wear (the metal coating rubbing off, with yellowish colors started popping out) on his WASD keys.

Probably the main reason why most manufacturers avoid making aluminium caps is because of their high cost and inconsistent durability. They wear off in weeks if you game and type on the same keyboard.
PBT probably is your best choice: durable and thick.

Offline lxrogers

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 07 May 2016, 15:14:43 »
Here is my first prototype:
136490-0
things to improve:
  • somehow soften the edge around the top, is a little sharp
  • find softer beads for the bead blast
  • improve the cut-out operation so i don't get those hanging pieces along the bottom

Offline Photekq

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 07 May 2016, 15:17:53 »
If not mistaken last time got one korean keyboard enthusiast called ScarFace made a set of aluminium keycaps, i think only the alphas and not the modifiers.

but that one is like... years ago though... and I only saw one people in GH last time who got the keyset, the user is "long-something" or "something-long".


Edit: found already, the user is longweight https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=36620.0
http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=662&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=681&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=704&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=724&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh&page=2

Offline lxrogers

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 07 May 2016, 20:52:56 »
wow amazing find.. they look pretty good casted. Is the diagram on there showing the different sizes? It seems like there isn't any profiling on these

Offline Photekq

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 07 May 2016, 20:56:54 »
wow amazing find.. they look pretty good casted. Is the diagram on there showing the different sizes? It seems like there isn't any profiling on these
They're Cherry profile, so each row does have a different profile.


Offline FrostyToast

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 07 May 2016, 21:15:12 »
Those caps aren't the easiest to find and a full set can cost around $3-400.
I had a few chances to get those caps but I passed them all up since I wasn't $400 interested.
I hope you get to find your dream caps!
Quote from: elton5354
I don't need anymore keyboards

Offline rurushu

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 08 May 2016, 20:47:53 »
If not mistaken last time got one korean keyboard enthusiast called ScarFace made a set of aluminium keycaps, i think only the alphas and not the modifiers.

but that one is like... years ago though... and I only saw one people in GH last time who got the keyset, the user is "long-something" or "something-long".


Edit: found already, the user is longweight https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=36620.0
http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=662&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=681&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=704&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&wr_id=724&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh

http://www.otd.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=f8&sca=&sfl=mb_id%2C1&stx=maniabyh&page=2

Damn Photekq, you managed to find back those threads in otd....   :thumb:

Offline Photekq

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 08 May 2016, 21:23:55 »
Damn Photekq, you managed to find back those threads in otd....   :thumb:
Yeah, I'm alright at navigating OTD ;D

Offline eohmiller

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 13 May 2016, 15:34:38 »
You are gonna pay top dollar for them unfortunately...

Offline Moistgun

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 13 May 2016, 15:38:17 »
Damn Photekq, you managed to find back those threads in otd....   :thumb:
Yeah, I'm alright at navigating OTD ;D

You should give tours.

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Offline whezil

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 07 January 2021, 11:12:40 »
CNC Machined Aluminium SA profile keycap, machined by me.
259223-0
   

Offline blawb

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 10 January 2021, 01:15:35 »
CNC Machined Aluminium SA profile keycap, machined by me.
(Attachment Link)

Thank texture is gorgeous!
i hate wet socks

Offline whezil

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 17 January 2021, 06:05:20 »
CNC Machined Aluminium SA profile keycap, machined by me.
(Attachment Link)

Thank texture is gorgeous!

I'm glad you like it. I see it as sort of a fingerprint of the keycap, making it unique. Also sort of looks like ripples in a pond. I was just playing around with some surface designs and wanted to see how they would turn out.
   

Offline whezil

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 27 May 2021, 09:31:33 »
Fresh out of the machine. WZL Version 0.0 Cherry R1 1U(Aircraft Grade Aluminium)

269282-0
« Last Edit: Thu, 27 May 2021, 09:34:06 by whezil »
   

Offline Volny

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 28 May 2021, 05:49:45 »
I've got some cheapish novelty keycaps that are made from "aluminium alloy", whatever exactly that entails. Not the exact ones in the picture but very similar. The feel is really nice, and actually feels very similar to ceramic: slightly cool to the touch, rounded edges, rock solid, with a smooth silky gloss but enough friction to get a good press. I really like the feel, and I'm not sure that I would enjoy pure aluminium quite as much. Though take my comments with a grain of salt since I can only go on the feel of the sides, as the top of these particular cat paw keycaps are actually silicon.

However, one problem they have is that they are very loose fitting. Perhaps it's just these particular keycaps, but I can imagine that this could be a common problem with any keycaps made from such a rigid metal. Make the 'stem socket' too tight and you surely risk the keycap macerating the plastic stem. Make it sufficiently loose to prevent damage, and the looseness will be exacerbated by the extra heft of the metal keycap. I think this is another reason why plastics like PBT are the more sensible choice. Their significant elasticity and low hardness means that a tight stem socket will firmly hug the stem without wearing it down.



Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 28 May 2021, 08:17:23 »
It would make sense to intentionally make the mounting loose and expect users to use tiny squares cut from plastic bags to snug them up. That would be a solution that would best allow preservation the stems and allow easy reversibility.
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Offline Suds

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 29 May 2021, 20:41:44 »
I've seen some metal caps which use four posts to surround the cross stem, rather than the typical cross shaped socket. Doing this, and making the posts sufficiently thin, would allow them to bend a bit and work with the friction fit that MX mount requires.

I think you would also need to round off the posts a little - the metal is so much harder than the plastic that it will easily cut into the stem if it has any edge on it at all.

Offline rowdy

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 30 May 2021, 17:04:13 »
In almost anything metal-against-plastic, the plastic is going to come off worse.

Something like fohat's suggestion works well for slightly loose plastic keycaps, and likely would the same for slightly loose metal keycaps.
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Offline whezil

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Re: Aluminum Keycaps
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 31 May 2021, 04:00:21 »
RE the 4 messages above mine. You do not need to insert any wedges/do anything weird like that. If the keycap fits too tightly, you use a screwdriver to gently open the + slightly. If it is not tight enough you wrap a pair of pliers in plastic/a plaster and squeeze gently on the +. I have not had any issues with my tolerances of my alu keycaps so far with Gateron switches. Cherry are a lot tighter and need to be opened slightly. Each manufacturer has different tolerances on their switch stem. I have measured many switches and notice they vary a lot. Luckily alu is quite soft so you can make the adjustments required for your switches without damaging the keycap/stem.