Author Topic: Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB  (Read 4416 times)

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Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« on: Fri, 10 February 2012, 23:38:35 »
Hey, I was wondering if people would be interested in carbon fibre keycaps.
Depending on amounts of want I may be able to sort out a group buy for full sets. I may be considering various colours of woven carbon/kevlar.
Anyways, I am just trying to find out what people would be willing to pay for a set of either a fill board or just letter keys, or even just single caps.
I have not had these made yet, as I am still looking into it.
Thanks, Corey.

Offline pitashen

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 10 February 2012, 23:45:05 »
Get a quote and some samples.
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Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 00:17:31 »
Thats what I am planning to do, but it wont be possible for another 4 months or so. For now I am just seeing if people would be interested in trying out a different material that would possibly be different to what they are used to.

Offline Oqsy

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 00:23:57 »
Sounds unique. Without pics of particular vendors material it might be hard to get interest. Carbon fiber is very hit/miss. Even ferrari had some funky CF years back. Quality and process for making a keycap from it are key here. Keep us informed. ;)
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Offline mkawa

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 00:27:16 »
if you can't get samples for 4 months, i think an interest check might be premature (hell if you're gb4 even a gb might be premature). if you want them, have samples made and see if people are interested based on the samples. otherwise, don't bother...

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Offline pitashen

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 00:34:58 »
ya, you really need some visuals to get people going.
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Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 00:40:52 »
Fair enough. It is just that the person I would be getting them fromis a good friend, and is currently in the country on holidays for a few months. I am trying to sort stuff out with him now in person, then he can get stuff made up when he leaves. He works out of China, which sounds bad, i know, but he is the quality control of his products and he is very anal about everything being perfect. I have seen larger CF works of his on his car and it is definitely top quality.
I am very keen on getting some sets made for myself, but it would not be very cheap at all which is why I am seeing if there would be much interest in it rather than being stuck with hundreds of keys that i cannot move and at a mass financial loss. But first thing is first... I am just talking to him about it for now. Hopefully i can get some rough pricing out of him.

Offline DanGWanG

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 00:46:20 »
I like carbon fiber.  I'm in

Offline Nunez

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 01:49:45 »
Interested
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Offline hoggy

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 01:59:39 »
Interested, but will echo the quality concerns above.
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Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 02:09:01 »
Oh, of course nobody would be interested if the quality isnt there, and I understand the concerns. I will do my best, and so will my friend, to ensure that if this happens they will be decent, as I am very keen on having these for myself.
Any ideas on how much people would be comfortable paying for a full set, or individuals with a quality finish?
Also, would people have an issue with them being glossy? I would imagine having them textured is a possibility, but I feel CF looks better glossy..

Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 02:18:14 »
I am yet to bring this up with him, but it will hopefully just be carbon fibre and resin, but i am not sure how good this will be. I need to talk to him in the morning, as he has the degrees, not me.

Offline ryuhyoko

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 02:42:17 »
Id be interested for some keys. Not sure for a whole set

Offline whiskerBox

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 08:47:26 »
So where's ripster with his "GLWIC"?
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Offline hazeluff

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 08:51:26 »
Its a somewhat cool idea. >< I wanna see how this turns out.

Offline dorkvader

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 11 February 2012, 10:41:39 »
Quote from: harrison;511556
what will be used for the stem?

Yeah, I'd be worried about the stem, too. You'd have to use nanoscale carbon to get the details (bend radius) right, though forming it from the same resin is probably a good idea.

That said: I'm always interested in new materials. I still need to get my hands on some POM, and I'm seriously considering buying some of those polycarbonate keycaps that feng has.

Offline Oqsy

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 01:55:47 »
Good things being brought up here instead of threadcrapping *AND* OP hasn't gotten defensive. Is this bizarro_geekhack?  I take a break for a few weeks and you guys turn it around?  Maybe I was the problem!  

Thumbsup to OP for cool idea if it floats or sinks ;)
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Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 02:47:17 »
Well I spoke to the guy today...
He suggested CF layered over something else, but said that a single layer of CF in a mould with excess resin used would be enough to form the stem.
But he also said that I would be looking at roughly $100 per mould, then material costs after that would be quite pricey unless i am ordering a thousand of each key.
He then went to suggest other things that would be cheaper, like stamped aluminium over some form of plastic, as he thought that couls be cool still, but the orders would have to be large...
I have been kind of put off, and he is more into doing car parts or larger things.
So in the end he wasnt overly enthusiastic about it.
He did suggest finding interest before getting too far into an idea, but i feel this is somewhat of a let down.
On another note... does anybody want anything made for an MX5? XD

EDIT:if I actually get enough interest and people willing to pay a not very cheap price for this i may be able to kindle some interest in him. Even if it is just one key, like an escape, or arrow keys using the same mould. If i can move several hundred out of one mould i might pass it by him again. Full func row? heeeeaps of space bars? If i can move heaps, then prices will not be high at all as long as it is out of the same mould.
this is for the single layered carbon with excess resin btw, as i think it may be best.
« Last Edit: Sun, 12 February 2012, 03:24:49 by corey_s »

Offline Roguemaster8

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 03:42:09 »
A carbon fiber space bar sounds pretty awesome actually. Any possibility of samples on that?
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Offline kryzis

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 04:07:00 »
As awesome as it would be to have spacebars, I would go with an escape key. You'd have to account for all the different spacebar sizes and switch layouts in order to draw enough interest. At least an escape key is pretty universal and you can get a ton made from the same mold.
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Offline laffindude

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 05:20:21 »
I'd take a spacebar. I think spacebar is best since we have custom 4th row up the wazoo. Now it is time for fancy spacebar.

Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #21 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 11:13:05 »
I just have to say that $100 for the custom mould is a steal. I'm interested in whatever we come up with, but I think a spacebar might not be the best idea, as it'll leave all the leopold owners out cold :(

Also, we have a MX5 (NB body style) What sort of useful things can one make out of CF for it?

Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #22 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 18:32:54 »
Not to hijack my own thread, but anything that can be taken off of the car can be made from carbon fibre really. If you are in Aus I have put up a thread on mx5cartalk.com asking what parts people would like, but I am mainly after NA parts, as that is what I have, unless i get enough interest in other parts that i cant use, like for an NB, as I am doing this not for profit, but for access to parts, which also means minimal cost.

Back on topic now!
I was originally thinking spacebar as a single, because it is large and would look awesome in CF, but I would only be able to sell one per person really, which would then require heaps of interest to justify making hundreds or so. However if people were willing to get an entire row, or even use the same key for all four arrow keys, or even the same keys over the digits on the numpad then a larger amount would be fine to make. But if there is enough interest then spacebars and another single could be done. I am not sure about other boards, but on my ducky 9008 the entire lower row is the same key except for the spacebar.
I am just rambling on now, so more suggestions would be great. But the idea of an entire set seem very unlikely.
I would also like to know what kind of prices people would be willing to pay for say an esc, or a spacebar, or in the unlikely event, an entire set. Dont be afraid to suggest a price out of fear of over/undershooting it, or getting stuck with a large price because you said so. I just want to see what kind of money people would pay so I can tell my friend that people would be serious about this. Before I mentioned this to him he didnt even know what a mech board was, or that people customise them. I also dont think he realises just how big it is. In the end I would chargeclose to cost for this if it happens, as I am not after money, I just want some CF keys! keep in mind that this is real carbon vacuum bagged carbon fibre.

As far as samples go, I dont think I would be able to get some just as a sample, as this is not a keycap factory and the moulds would have to be made before anything else can be done. This means if I want samples I would have to pay for it all to be done, and I dont think they would have interest in only making 10 or so. But if the numbers are there then I can talk to Iggy some more about them on Friday and see what can be done. But rough nimbers and prices people may be willing to pay would be great before then.
I am being serious about this now, so i would appreciate if others would too, so please dont say that you would pay 10 for a key and get 15 sets, then say you changed your mind when i have two thousand keys sitting on my desk.

Offline erw

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 19:54:07 »
I'm not personally interested, but I think to get people on board, you need pictures. Get pictures of something else made from the material.
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Offline alaricljs

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #24 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 20:26:49 »
FYI on what keys are the same, the arrow key cluster happens to be all the same profile.  The bottom 2 rows are the same profile, so any identical width keys are interchangeable (z thru / and arrows, all the modifier keys (ctrl/alt/win/menu).  The common row to replace with 'glam' keys is the F-row which has identical profile from Esc through Pause/Break and ~ through - (the whole num-row) is the same profile as well.
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Offline Henry Allen Venture

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 20:41:05 »
Just a thought, but I don't personally see much point in making single keys unless its the spacebar. On the spacebar there's much more surface area, so you've got something to really appreciate the material. A full set would obviously be nice, but then you run into cost issues, multiple moulds etc.

Honestly, if I were thinking of making any keyboard parts out of carbon fibre, it'd be the housing, or at least the upper part of the housing. On something like a G80 or BlackWidow with a larger housing that could look amazing. In fact, a carbon fibre BlackWidow would look ****-hot. I think the material would really suit the style of the keyboard.

Its a good idea, OP. I'll be keeping an eye on this to see how things pan out. I might be interested in the end.
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Offline Oqsy

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 23:01:58 »
Ahem, single-piece IBM model m or model f keys.  They're all the same profile, and model m is underrepresented in key cap land ;)
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Offline emptythecache

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 05:15:49 »
I just want a CF space bar.

Offline tsangan

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 15:01:04 »
Titanium > CF
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Offline lorem3k

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 20:30:57 »
I might be interested in some CF caps for the Esc row if the price isn't too high
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Offline OkGold

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 22:32:43 »
interesting!

so by what you're saying, the limitations are

• $100 for a mold
• ~1000 of the thing to make it worth his time

so wouldn't a blank keyset be the best idea? either a blank R4 packs (for numbers/Fkeys) or doing a full alpha set (~12 1x of each row) make the most sense? that way only ~90 of us have to sign on for it, which is much more reasonable than doing any one single key

That said, if it turns out that the time and materials cost thousands, were not going to be saving ourselves anything. Email him about it, ask where the costs come from, are we paying for his time? Just let him know that were trying to figure out what we want, and if he can give us more insight on where the costs will be coming from, we can plan better

Offline himynameisbunny

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 22:35:27 »
Or you could make things 10x easier and just link him to this thread.
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Offline emptythecache

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 08:59:38 »
at most, i'd want to do a space, modifiers, esc, and maybe the f row.

Offline randuin

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 13:25:59 »
I"d be totally down for a set for the HHKB

Offline himynameisbunny

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 21:21:14 »
Quote from: randuin;514318
I"d be totally down for a set for the HHKB

As would I.

You could always do what Deck did with their doubleshots and make the top part of the keycap CF and the stem/legend another plastic altogether.
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Offline lorem3k

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 21:56:40 »
I wouldn't want a full alpha set of CF, the texture would probably feel kind of weird to be typing on all the time. I think R4 + modifiers sounds perfect
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Offline himynameisbunny

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 22:16:15 »
Quote from: lorem3k;514755
I wouldn't want a full alpha set of CF, the texture would probably feel kind of weird to be typing on all the time. I think R4 + modifiers sounds perfect

They would probably be resin coated like most/all CF so they'd just feel smooth.
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Offline Inochi

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 07:30:01 »
I would go in for just about any for CF caps. Mainly the space and modifiers but would jump in for others.

Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 18:26:40 »
Gotta love the titanium. Unfortunately I missed out on them.

Sorry for my lack of replies, I have just had nothing to say really.
I will be seeing my mate on Friday night to ask about getting spacebars done, but I am afraid his minimum order quantity might be a bit large.

Would anybody be able to estimate a rough number of people that may be interested?
Or better yet, can people say if they would get a spacebar?
If I could find out a very rough, fair figure that people may be willing to pay it may make a difference on the minimum order quantity. But I will definitely not be saying anything like 100/cap as that is a bit silly.

Offline corey_s

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #39 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 18:43:11 »
Gotta love the titanium. Unfortunately I missed out on them.

Sorry for my lack of replies, I have just had nothing to say really.
I will be seeing my mate on Friday night to ask about getting spacevars and/or F row, as this seems to have the most interest.

Would anybody be able to estimate a rough number of people that may be interested?
If I could find out a very rough, fair figure that people may be willing to pay it may make a difference on the minimum order quantity. But I will definitely not be saying anything like 100/cap as that is a bit silly.
I dont think the cost would be too high, but I dont want to make any assumptions. I would intend to keep prices as close to cost as I can, and I may be getting a shipping container sent down with car parts, so shipping will not be an issue for the main order.

This is an example of carbon fibre being used for something smallish, which shows the finish and visible pattern.

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 40673[/ATTACH]

Offline himynameisbunny

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #40 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 18:53:23 »
Quote from: ripster;515574
I don't remember carbon fiber feeling or wearing anything special.  Titanium is much better.

QFT. CF looks cool and makes things go faster.

Heated titanium? Now THAT looks cool. Pun intended.
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Offline dorkvader

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #41 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 19:00:36 »
Quote from: ripster;515574
I don't remember carbon fiber feeling or wearing anything special.  Titanium is much better.

It's because what we call "carbon fiber" is really a composite of carbon fiber woven strands in a resin matrix. All you'd feel is the resin, which protects the somewhat fragile CF from being cut, and other shear forces.

As far as wear: it's all about the resin, Different ones can be used, but most should be pretty good. Notice that the main reason to have carbon fiber is the excellent strength to weight ratio, as well as the incredible tensile strength.

I would say a CF keycap should resonate quite a bit differently wen bottoming out.

Offline himynameisbunny

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 19:03:40 »
Quote from: dorkvader;515583
It's because what we call "carbon fiber" is really a composite of carbon fiber woven strands in a resin matrix. All you'd feel is the resin, which protects the somewhat fragile CF from being cut, and other shear forces.


So long story short:

Quote from: himynameisbunny;514772
They would probably be resin coated like most/all CF so they'd just feel smooth.


:croc:
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Offline corey_s

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« Reply #43 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 19:05:55 »
titanium costs heaps more to buy and make stuff from. but it is heaps stronger and still looks awesome.

Offline dorkvader

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #44 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 23:45:58 »
Quote from: corey_s;515593
titanium costs heaps more to buy and make stuff from. but it is heaps stronger and still looks awesome.
No.... titanium is better in shear, and is much more ductile (better fracture toughness) CF is significantly better in tension, which is why they weave it (to spread out the shear forces. The resin is the matrix o the composite, which holds it together, and protects it form impacts.

Also, I like Magnesium. It's the lightest structural metal. It's got a strength-to-weight ratio similar to aluminium, so it's not as good as titanium. It's also a pretty sweet alloying metal, and one of the main reasons 6XXX and 7XXX series aluminium are stronger than 1XXX (pure aluminium with uncontrolled impurities)

That said, Titanium is pretty awesome. But if we're going that far out, why not extruded brass matrix filled up with aluminum? It's almost as strong, lighter, and cheaper. Looks excellent, too: would make an amazing keycap.

Offline lorem3k

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #45 on: Thu, 16 February 2012, 01:05:02 »
Quote from: dorkvader;515805
But if we're going that far out, why not extruded brass matrix filled up with aluminum? It's almost as strong, lighter, and cheaper. Looks excellent, too: would make an amazing keycap.

If I were going ALL out, I'd have an entire set fabricated out of pure rhodium. It's high resistance to corrosion would make it perfect for keeping it's texture forever. It may be too hard to properly form a keycap out of it though due to poor malleability, so maybe rhodium-plated aluminium would be better.
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Offline corey_s

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« Reply #46 on: Thu, 16 February 2012, 04:59:26 »
Thanks for clearing that up Dork. A good day is when you learn something, or at least have something better defined.

Offline corey_s

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« Reply #47 on: Sat, 18 February 2012, 21:33:16 »
I met with the guy again on friday night, but some people just cant get into keyboards i guess.
It looks like there will not be a run of CF caps from me.
Sorry to get peoples hopes up, but I was personally looking forward to this.

Thanks for all the support anyways.

Offline dorkvader

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« Reply #48 on: Sat, 18 February 2012, 22:29:44 »
No, it's cool. Sometimes It's like that. Thanks for bringing up the possibility.

Offline Henry Allen Venture

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Carbon fibre keycaps.. possible EOI for a GB
« Reply #49 on: Sat, 18 February 2012, 22:42:55 »
Thats cool dude, we appreciate the effort.
Current collection:
Filco Majestouch 104-Key, w/ MX Browns
IBM Model M 52G9700
Leopold FC200R, "white" w/ MX Clears
Ducky DK9008S \'Shining\', white backlit w/ MX Blues
Cherry G80-3494(LCYUS-2), w/ MX Reds for Portal Mod

Not mine, but I\'ve got access to:
Filco Majestouch Linear R Limited Edition, w/ MX Reds
Filco Majestouch 2 \'Ninja\' Tenkeyless, w/ MX Blues
Leopold FC500R, w/ MX Browns