Just out of curiosity: have you ever considered POM caps?
POM has a much higher shrinkage ratio than PBT and ABS, so would require another set of tooling. With ABS and PBT, we can use one tooling to support both.
Given my previous experience with laser etched caps, I probably will only go for dye sub or blank. The white laser etched legend on my stock KBP V60 stained very quickly and was impossible to remove. I appreciate the effort of making white laser etched legend on black caps, but I can't persuade myself to getting another set of laser etched keys unless there's some special tech that prevents the legend from being stained.
Yes, for the laser-etched PBT caps, there is a UV layer applied to prevent staining and scratching.
The blank PBT caps are just straight PBT (no UV).
I would love blank caps. One great thing about white blank caps is that they can be dyed, which means custom Alps keycap can become a real thing!
I would not purchase pad-printed PBT, but blanks or dye-sub caps(maybe too much to ask) are an insta-buy. Would be fun to pick a layout that isn't centered around the caps themselves.
We'll likely be working with Massdrop to organize dye-sub group buys. PBT blanks and laser-etched caps would be available from us directly.
Sorry this has taken a lot longer than it should have. An explanation is in order...
Apology accepted :-)
our main factory's laser machine is not up to the task, so they are buying another one.
How long do you expect that to take? And after that you have more testing to do?
A few months to get the new machine. We've already done quite a lot of testing.
We've designed and tooled up a hybrid clip (photos attached). These will fit onto any ALPS keycap and allow you to use Cherry-style mounts (with appropriate balance bar). I've posted photos of prototypes before, but these are now in production.
Cool. So if I'm planning a custom hand-wired Alps-based monstrosity I should use Costar style stabs, so as to have the most flexibility in choice of keycaps.
Does this also mean that for future Alps keyboards you'll be using exclusively the Cherry/Costar style stabs? Are you hoping to kill off the old Alps-style stabs?
The Costar style stabs we made for spacebars only. You could use them for other keys, but that would require non-standard balance bar wires.
We are still using ALPS stabs for the 2u to 2.75u keys. The provides the most flexibility of keycap choice.
We've already started transitioning to our own keycap tooling, and PBT will follow.
Not sure I fully grok. Does this mean you're *already* making new ABS sets with the new thicker tooling? And keyboardco has these in stock when??!?!?
Not yet, but will be starting soon.
Our experience selling normal ABS caps has been that most people buy blanks. I don't know if that will be the case with PBT. Would love to hear people's opinions on that.
I like legends.