Author Topic: I want transparent Alps caps - Any established best method to make lots of them?  (Read 682 times)

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Offline Tye

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I've been reading up on everyone's different methods but almost all of it seems oriented towards "pretty artisan" caps.

Has anyone bulk-made a set of "plain" transparent/translucent caps and used them as their daily driver for, say, a year or so? What method/material is most suitable for making a full set of caps? Am I crazy for even considering this?

Offline Wingklip

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I'm planning to make some in the far future, trying to press them for a crystal clear transparent keycap glass and plastic laminate for a top sekrit dokumant project I am making. Stay tuned
If you 1v1 me in a cage fight I will use an AK-74 for ranged and an IBM model F 122 for melee

Offline Tye

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"Transparent aluminum?"
"That's the ticket, laddie!"

But seriously, folks... Am I really going to have to scrape up a few thousand dollars to have Signature Plastics do this?

Offline cy384

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But seriously, folks... Am I really going to have to scrape up a few thousand dollars to have Signature Plastics do this?

I've been thinking for a while that translucent caps would look cool with Matias switches, and I've been experimenting with backlighting them.  A group buy would be interesting, but I'm not sure there's much demand.  I don't think there are any good production options in the range of 100-1000 keys (i.e. very tedious and difficult by hand, and too small volume to be effective for real manufacturing).

Offline dante

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You may want to contact KBParadise and inquire about the upcoming V60 Polestar Crystal Edition.  It's an MX board with transparent caps, but they are thinking of maybe coming out with a Matias version per comments they made in feedback.

Offline Wingklip

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If you have a couple of metal dowels lying around and a bit of clay for a mold in which you could melt glass into the keycap surface shape.

Then use that blank glass still in the mold and press it with an alps compatible stem mold using molten acrylic plastic and cyanoacrylate glue. Should work well.
If you 1v1 me in a cage fight I will use an AK-74 for ranged and an IBM model F 122 for melee

Offline Tye

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I don't think there are any good production options in the range of 100-1000 keys (i.e. very tedious and difficult by hand, and too small volume to be effective for real manufacturing).
Yeah, it's a pretty difficult area between hobbyist and mass production. I know I'm not the only one wanting this so I figured I'd put out some feelers and see what's new. I was hopeful that someone came up with a "mass production from a hobbyist standpoint" method.

Then use that blank glass still in the mold and press it with an alps compatible stem mold using molten acrylic plastic and cyanoacrylate glue. Should work well.
Interesting. Thank you for the idea. I've never heard of this method and will have to research further.

You may want to contact KBParadise and inquire about the upcoming V60 Polestar Crystal Edition.  It's an MX board with transparent caps, but they are thinking of maybe coming out with a Matias version per comments they made in feedback.
Thank you for the information. I sent them an email and will update this thread if they have anything interesting to add.

Offline Wingklip

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You haven't because I invented it ;)

About the dowels or whatever also - try to make a press maybe with some door hinges and such for bearings. That should allow a lever press with 2 hinge joints kind of like how they have it on Lazer printer scanners. Use that to press molds.

Also 3d print the part and do some lossy casting by burning them out with iron or aluminium melt. That should give you a decent mold to sand a bit and use if you want to mass them.
If you 1v1 me in a cage fight I will use an AK-74 for ranged and an IBM model F 122 for melee

Offline Tye

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You may want to contact KBParadise and inquire about the upcoming V60 Polestar Crystal Edition.  It's an MX board with transparent caps, but they are thinking of maybe coming out with a Matias version per comments they made in feedback.
They wrote back. They are still considering Alps but are having a lot of trouble with the clear material and their mold. Doesn't sound encouraging but I let them know there are people who are interested. Hopefully enough for it to be worth their time. I will keep my fingers crossed that it pans out.