Author Topic: Durability of PBT keycaps  (Read 5401 times)

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Offline Danule

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Durability of PBT keycaps
« on: Sun, 14 July 2013, 14:41:49 »
Hello,

It is common knowlege that PBT resists shine far more than the standard ABS keycaps that most keyboards come with.

But I was wonder if anyone had any photo's of old pbt keyboards that showed PBT getting shine on them (Realforce, IBM Model M, IMTSO keyset, etc.)

I've had my pbt keycaps for a month now and I have no sign of shine at all, but the previous keycaps on this board were showing signs of shineing after only 2 weeks.
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Offline Poom

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 10:19:24 »
I have never ever seen shines on PBT caps before. my PBT caps thens to gather dirts better than ABS, which I dont like, so I prefer the shines on ABS.

Offline oTurtlez

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 10:29:31 »
The PBT keys on my FC660C (off of my RF 103) are a bit shiny after 3 years. Nowhere near as shiny as my WASD caps that I had on my BWU after only 2 or so weeks.
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Offline dorkvader

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 11:54:49 »
I have an IBM terminal KB with shiny PBT keycaps that I have been meaning to take pictures of for a while.

Offline Danule

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 12:11:28 »
I have an IBM terminal KB with shiny PBT keycaps that I have been meaning to take pictures of for a while.

The PBT keys on my FC660C (off of my RF 103) are a bit shiny after 3 years. Nowhere near as shiny as my WASD caps that I had on my BWU after only 2 or so weeks.

You both should take some pictures and post them in here I would love to see!

Thanks for the replies :)
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Offline oTurtlez

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 12:33:37 »
Can do when I get home :)
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Offline dorkvader

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 12:39:20 »

Offline nsrexler

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 13:41:53 »
I don't think I've ever seen noticeable shine or wear on PBT caps, even on very old IBM boards. As with any plastic though, PBT can be shiny if it is molded that way. The sides of the caps on my Unicomp are smooth and shiny, while the tops have a "pebbled" texture.

Offline dorkvader

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 15:03:37 »
I don't think I've ever seen noticeable shine or wear on PBT caps, even on very old IBM boards. As with any plastic though, PBT can be shiny if it is molded that way. The sides of the caps on my Unicomp are smooth and shiny, while the tops have a "pebbled" texture.
These keycaps have clear signs of wear, you can see on some of them where it has the standard IBM texture (which HAS changed over the years)  on the edges but are shiny in the middle.

I think it's more an issue of body chemistry than length of use.

Offline Danule

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 15:48:19 »
some of us sweat acid ;)
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Offline noisyturtle

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 16 July 2013, 16:12:09 »
Between ABS and PBT I've personally found they wear about the same. Whatever plastic blend CC uses on his blanks however shine up very fast unfortunately, not that anyone asked this question. I'm just saying.
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Offline dorkvader

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 20 July 2013, 17:16:33 »
Finaly got around to uploading pictures


click for full resolution




click for full resolution

Offline Danule

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 20 July 2013, 18:05:37 »
wow those are awesome.  You can see the beating and years of typing that those keys have put up with.
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Offline davkol

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 29 July 2013, 19:00:22 »
I will try to take some pictures of shiny keys (A, arrow down, maybe some others) on my G80-1851Lsomething. It's about 15 years old, and it was used in a store whole time, so some wear ought to be expected.

Offline Latin00032

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 29 July 2013, 21:26:16 »
What is the durability of most keys in order from worst to best?

I thought it was: POM > ABS > PBT > Aluminum > Zinc > Titanium.

How right or wrong am I?

Offline Danule

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 29 July 2013, 21:50:14 »
I think ABS wears away the fastest.  Using some ABS right now. you can definitly tell they are softer than PBT.
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Offline nsrexler

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 29 July 2013, 22:09:30 »
What is the durability of most keys in order from worst to best?

I thought it was: POM > ABS > PBT > Aluminum > Zinc > Titanium.

How right or wrong am I?

Wouldn't metal keycaps discolor and tarnish over time through constant contact with sweat/skin oils? I've never used metal keycaps, so I really have no idea.

Offline MKULTRA

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 29 July 2013, 23:53:19 »
What is the durability of most keys in order from worst to best?

I thought it was: POM > ABS > PBT > Aluminum > Zinc > Titanium.

How right or wrong am I?
Wrong.  PBT is much harder and more durable than ABS.  When I got my first set of PBT my first thought was "damn these are hard"

Offline Topre

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 29 July 2013, 23:54:52 »
What is the durability of most keys in order from worst to best?

I thought it was: POM > ABS > PBT > Aluminum > Zinc > Titanium.

How right or wrong am I?
Wrong.  PBT is much harder and more durable than ABS.  When I got my first set of PBT my first thought was "damn these are hard"

Wrong. Durability and hardness are two different things. ABS is MUCH more durable than PBT. PBT is very brittle and not durable at all. PBT is harder than ABS, which is why it takes longer to develop a shine.

Offline Danule

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 30 July 2013, 07:30:23 »
What is the durability of most keys in order from worst to best?

I thought it was: POM > ABS > PBT > Aluminum > Zinc > Titanium.

How right or wrong am I?
Wrong.  PBT is much harder and more durable than ABS.  When I got my first set of PBT my first thought was "damn these are hard"

Wrong. Durability and hardness are two different things. ABS is MUCH more durable than PBT. PBT is very brittle and not durable at all. PBT is harder than ABS, which is why it takes longer to develop a shine.

Well that just depends on what you mean by durable.  If by durable is it hard and can withstand shine and chemicals then PBT is more durable.  If by durable do you mean it can bend before it breaks then ABS is more durable.
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Offline nsrexler

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 30 July 2013, 09:23:25 »
What is the durability of most keys in order from worst to best?

I thought it was: POM > ABS > PBT > Aluminum > Zinc > Titanium.

How right or wrong am I?
Wrong.  PBT is much harder and more durable than ABS.  When I got my first set of PBT my first thought was "damn these are hard"

Wrong. Durability and hardness are two different things. ABS is MUCH more durable than PBT. PBT is very brittle and not durable at all. PBT is harder than ABS, which is why it takes longer to develop a shine.

Hardness in this case does mean durable in the sense that as long as the keycaps don't break outright, they will not wear significantly. PBT is indeed more brittle than ABS and therefore more likely to break if hit with a sharp impact, but that's not something that usually happens during normal use of a keyboard.

Offline smknjoe

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 30 July 2013, 09:37:29 »
I don't think I've ever seen noticeable shine or wear on PBT caps, even on very old IBM boards. As with any plastic though, PBT can be shiny if it is molded that way. The sides of the caps on my Unicomp are smooth and shiny, while the tops have a "pebbled" texture.
These keycaps have clear signs of wear, you can see on some of them where it has the standard IBM texture (which HAS changed over the years)  on the edges but are shiny in the middle.

I think it's more an issue of body chemistry than length of use.

I have one Model M that shows some serious wear as well. Then another, that is older, that looks new. The first was an airline board from clickykeyboards.com and the other was pulled out of a school.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 30 July 2013, 09:38:06 »
Years ago, I worked for an engineering firm, and listened to endless debates between structural engineers about reinforcing steel.

The 2 grades the were generally specified were grade 40 (less strong but more flexible) and grade 60 (stronger but more brittle). The price difference was smaller than the strength difference, so one engineer always favored the grade 60 to achieve "x" amount of strength at a lower cost.

The other engineered felt that it was worth a little extra money for the larger size in grade 40 because it would yield more before breaking. This was in Florida, so wind load from hurricanes was always a consideration.

Personally, I prefer the idea of the softer but more yielding steel rebar, but think PBT keys are much better than ABS. Perhaps that is because I have never broken a key in any sort of normal use, and think that either type is plenty strong for keys.
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Offline JPG

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 30 July 2013, 09:53:25 »
From the knowledge I have, the problem between these steel and keycaps is very different, mainly because of the conditions where the material is used. Choosing a material mostly depends on the characteristics that you search for, and the price. For these metals, they could choose thickness from what you said, but weight can then be a problem.

For keycaps, flexibility is not supposed to be a need since the keycaps are not exposed to stretching or hits in normal circumstances. Usually, broken keycaps are broken during transportation because they were put under lot of weight or hit hard.

When you type, you don't hit them hard or stretch them. So then there's durability. Basically, both plastics are durable enough for the job, but abs will shine faster. So if this bother you, get pbt, if it does not, get any material you want. There will be a little difference to the feel on your fingers also. At this point, it's all about personal preference, but both can do a good job.
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Offline Topre

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 30 July 2013, 14:54:02 »
So I'm the only one that drops weight on my keyboards? Depending on how you use your keyboard, you may prefer PBT over ABS for feel and shine purposes. I prefer ABS for durability purposes.

Offline Danule

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Re: Durability of PBT keycaps
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 31 July 2013, 13:31:39 »
Anyone have an old realforce with shiny keys? I'm interested in knowing how long it takes those PBT caps to get shiny.

thanks!
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