Author Topic: Dying PBT - Questions  (Read 5305 times)

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Offline drewba

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Dying PBT - Questions
« on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 16:11:56 »
Unsure if this should be in the "Projects" subforum, mods feel free to move.

I've had great luck dying various plastics in the past (discs, paintball gun bolts, R/C car parts) so I've been reading up on dying PBT keycaps. If all goes according to plan I'd like to create a guide, perhaps even a video.

Two questions:
1. Geekkeys top printed PBT keycaps are a few dollars cheaper than their blank PBT keycaps. What will happen to the legends when they are dyed? I'm not familiar enough with laser-etched-printing. I think a cool effect could be created if the black legends remain while using black/gray dye (similar to the dark gray HHKB). If the legends disappear, then I still saved a few dollars by purchasing the printed PBT keyset.

2. Will dye penetrate the plastic of the keycap when heat is applied? I had a (crazy?) idea to attempt to find some heat resistant tape, cut it into a thin strip and wrap it around the keycap to create some sort of design. If the dye will only stick if it contacts the surface of the keycap, there might be some opportunity to get creative.

I appreciate the help!

Offline nubbinator

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 16:19:01 »
1.  The laser etched should be fine.  It's burning the legend onto the cap.  If it was lasered and infilled, that might cause some issues.

2.  You should be able to mask off parts, but you'll have bleeding most likely.  And the tape may bond with the cap or other issues. It's worth testing on some caps though.

Offline drewba

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 16:44:03 »
1.  The laser etched should be fine.  It's burning the legend onto the cap.  If it was lasered and infilled, that might cause some issues.

2.  You should be able to mask off parts, but you'll have bleeding most likely.  And the tape may bond with the cap or other issues. It's worth testing on some caps though.

Thanks for the info nubbinator - can you give me an example of keycaps that are lasered and infilled so I know what to avoid?

I'll definitely test out tape masking!

Offline nubbinator

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 16:56:40 »
It's tough to tell.  Unless they explicitly say or others have done the research, it can be impossible to tell sometimes.

Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 18:03:19 »
Here's an example of what can turn out with lasered keycaps for you

Keys were 2tone to start off with, but I cooked the darker ones for way longer on purpose to make it more obvious.

Offline Melvang

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 18:12:44 »
Dye subbed legends tend to bleed bad.  Well the set I had tried out that was dyed with dye subbed legends had bad bleeding issues with the legends.  I do not have the caps anymore and I don't think I took pictures of them before sending them off.
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Offline nubbinator

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 18:22:55 »
Dye subbed legends tend to bleed bad.  Well the set I had tried out that was dyed with dye subbed legends had bad bleeding issues with the legends.  I do not have the caps anymore and I don't think I took pictures of them before sending them off.

Did you use Rit or Dylon?  I had no noticeable bleed on my Model M I did with iDye Poly.

Offline drewba

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 18:26:12 »
Here's an example of what can turn out with lasered keycaps for you
Show Image

Keys were 2tone to start off with, but I cooked the darker ones for way longer on purpose to make it more obvious.
Thanks for the picture. Are you happy with the result?


Did you use Rit or Dylon?  I had no noticeable bleed on my Model M I did with iDye Poly.

I've read a few places that RIT has changed their recipe and to stay away. Would you recommend idye poly over dylon?

Offline nubbinator

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 18:28:11 »
I have no experience with Dylon.  I know from my own experience that iDye Poly is awesome.  It works quick, but smells bad, and dyed a Unicomp Model M case.

Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 18:29:37 »
I was fine with the way it turned out, though I mostly just did it for something to try. I didn't end up keeping it afterwards.

Offline Melvang

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 18:41:30 »
Dye subbed legends tend to bleed bad.  Well the set I had tried out that was dyed with dye subbed legends had bad bleeding issues with the legends.  I do not have the caps anymore and I don't think I took pictures of them before sending them off.

Did you use Rit or Dylon?  I had no noticeable bleed on my Model M I did with iDye Poly.

I don't know.  I got them already dyed.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 19:03:33 »
I keep referring to this one, especially reply # 14:

https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=35444.msg658453#msg658453
"I never understood wind. I know windmills very much, I have studied it better than anybody. I know it is very expensive. They are made in China and Germany mostly, very few made here, almost none, but they are manufactured, tremendous if you are into this tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint, fumes are spewing into the air, right spewing, whether it is China or Germany, is going into the air. A windmill will kill many bald eagles. After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off, that is true. By the way, they make you turn it off. And yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That is OK. But why is it OK for windmills to destroy the bird population?" - Donald Trump - Turning Point USA speech - 2019-12-22

Offline drewba

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 19:06:56 »
I keep referring to this one, especially reply # 14:

https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=35444.msg658453#msg658453
Yeah I found that post earlier, the detail in that post is much appreciated.

Offline Joey Quinn

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 19:07:28 »
Is idye poly easy to get? I want to dye my hhkb's caps.
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Offline drewba

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 08 January 2015, 19:23:40 »
Is idye poly easy to get? I want to dye my hhkb's caps.

You're in chicago, no? Dikc Blick carries it.

edit - ok that's hilarious, d.i.c.k. is apparently censored on GH. Won't even let me post the link without breaking it. Mods pls no banerino.
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 January 2015, 19:26:33 by drewba »

Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 09 January 2015, 14:24:09 »
**** Blick idye Poly

No problem here... perhaps you have the filter on? You can turn it off... modify profile, look and layout, check leave words uncensored.
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 January 2015, 14:27:10 by IvanIvanovich »

Offline drewba

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 09 January 2015, 14:40:48 »
**** Blick idye Poly

No problem here... perhaps you have the filter on? You can turn it off... modify profile, look and layout, check leave words uncensored.
Hahaha that's how you fix that then! Thanks Ivan!

Offline berserkfan

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 16 January 2015, 06:51:59 »
Here's an example of what can turn out with lasered keycaps for you
Show Image

Keys were 2tone to start off with, but I cooked the darker ones for way longer on purpose to make it more obvious.
Thanks for the picture. Are you happy with the result?


Did you use Rit or Dylon?  I had no noticeable bleed on my Model M I did with iDye Poly.

I've read a few places that RIT has changed their recipe and to stay away. Would you recommend idye poly over dylon?

As a dylon user, I find dylon works well and predictably. I've heard plenty of mixed stuff about RIT though. If you are living in a country where you can buy both, I strongly suggest just buying the dylon.
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Offline drewba

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Re: Dying PBT - Questions
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 16 January 2015, 16:52:46 »
As a dylon user, I find dylon works well and predictably. I've heard plenty of mixed stuff about RIT though. If you are living in a country where you can buy both, I strongly suggest just buying the dylon.
Thanks, I won't even bother with RIT.

Keycaps are purchased, I'll put up some pictures when I'm all done.