Author Topic: Dark Atelier - My Journey Making Artisan Keycaps  (Read 6305 times)

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Offline Edge.d

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Dark Atelier - My Journey Making Artisan Keycaps
« on: Tue, 27 February 2018, 19:25:35 »
Hello guys,

I've been a long time lurker on geekhack and after getting into the MK enthusiast world I discovered the amazing world of artisan keycaps. After trying my best to get some of the nicest artisans caps out there (with more or less luck - RNG gods usually don't treat me well) I decided to practice clay sculpting and give it a try. It took me a while to sculpt something and TBH this first sculpt is a little abstract but in short, I wanted to make some sort of spirit of the forest/jungle with an animal face, I first was going to mix a snake with a tree, then a bear and I finally opted for a gorilla. It's always hard for me to judge my own work so I'm really happy to share this with you and hopefully someone will stop by and tell me if it is worth casting keycaps from this sculpt:

189916-0

189918-1

189920-2

For the casting part, I have been reading many posts from very talented pioneer makers out there and I feel lucky that talented people in this community are willing to share so much so that people like me can have an easier start. I already have ideas in mind for other sculpts, I just need to bake this one to free my Synth and start another project while I will be playing around with silicone and resin.

Thanks to all of you (if any) that took the time to read this post  :thumb:

Cheers,

Edge
« Last Edit: Fri, 20 July 2018, 20:40:22 by Edge.d »
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Online LightningXI

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 27 February 2018, 19:58:36 »
It is indeed a bit abstract as you purport it to be, but I quite like your start into sculpting! It really seems like you have had some experience doing similar things.

Quote
hopefully someone will stop by and tell me if it is worth casting keycaps from this sculpt

I think it would help you best judge the quality of your work if you can make a mold and cast it yourself at some point, to see how it fares in keycap form! A lot of the important things about keycaps is not merely the design/personality that it invokes, but also clearance with several profiles (Cherry profile and Topre profile being the most popular, as well as SA and DSA), as well as in how you plan to add detailing through resin casting (if that is the approach you intend to take, as other makers have).

Best of luck in your endeavors! I will be rooting for you. Godspeed.

Offline switchnollie

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 27 February 2018, 20:12:32 »
That's really good :cool:

Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 27 February 2018, 20:12:37 »
I actually like that a lot! Good luck with your cap making endeavors.

Offline kiwi99

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 27 February 2018, 20:13:18 »
Really clean sculpt man; keep it up  :eek:

Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 27 February 2018, 23:05:41 »
Thank you all for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

Quote
It is indeed a bit abstract as you purport it to be, but I quite like your start into sculpting! It really seems like you have had some experience doing similar things.

Thank you! I actually had no previous experience in sculpting, I don't even know how to draw  :-[ But prior to starting my sculpting journey I have watched many hours of sculpting tutorials online and I also bought a few books, especially one that Sneaky Potato listed back then on the forum, "Beginner's Guide To Sculpting Characters In Clay", it helped me get the basics and some understanding of the tools and technics. Then you translate that experience into very small scale sculpting, I found miniatures clay sculpting videos on youtube quite helpful for this purpose.

Quote
I think it would help you best judge the quality of your work if you can make a mold and cast it yourself at some point, to see how it fares in keycap form! A lot of the important things about keycaps is not merely the design/personality that it invokes, but also clearance with several profiles (Cherry profile and Topre profile being the most popular, as well as SA and DSA), as well as in how you plan to add detailing through resin casting (if that is the approach you intend to take, as other makers have).

Best of luck in your endeavors! I will be rooting for you. Godspeed.

I will go ahead and give it a try and see how it turns out! I will let you know how the keycap fit compared to the most popular profiles, since I sculpted using a Synth I did my best to stay in the limit of the gates so that I know for sure that the keycap wont be touching other caps around as well as keeping track of its height by place different profiles of keycaps next to it, but again only a test fit will confirm it, I could also always alter the master afterwards. Since the sculpt has some intricate details I am hoping that the casted version will look cool.  Thank you so much for your support  :thumb:

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That's really good :cool:

Thank you!

Quote
I actually like that a lot! Good luck with your cap making endeavors.

Much appreciated! Thank you!

Quote
Really clean sculpt man; keep it up  :eek:

I will, thank you!


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Offline AuthenticDanger

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 28 February 2018, 11:55:16 »
Coming out strong! This shows a ton of promise! Looking forward to seeing where you go from here.
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Offline Vulcan

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 28 February 2018, 21:18:54 »
Waw.. nice job sculpting.. have you begin casting it?

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Offline p_blaze

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 28 February 2018, 21:30:31 »
holy mother of god that looks great
it has this abstract vibe and there's a ton of detail, great job on that

Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 28 February 2018, 23:14:12 »
Quote
Coming out strong! This shows a ton of promise! Looking forward to seeing where you go from here.

Thank you! I really appreciate, it gives me the motivation to keep going  :thumb:

Quote
Waw.. nice job sculpting.. have you begin casting it?

Thanks! I haven't started yet, I am waiting for a few pieces of equipment to begin mold making and casting. Also, as for now I will be casting outside (baby at home so won't let any fumes go in), I'll be casting on the patio, which is not so great at the moment, the temperatures in L.A are a little too cold but we still got some "warm enough" days to cast, I will keep you guys updated with pictures as soon as I get the first masters out.

Quote
holy mother of god that looks great it has this abstract vibe and there's a ton of detail, great job on that

Thank you!! Much appreciated!

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Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 07 March 2018, 01:34:51 »
Are you using Super Sculpey?
The details are great

Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 07 March 2018, 02:12:05 »
Quote
Are you using Super Sculpey? The details are great

Thank you! Yes I use Super Sculpey Firm.
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Offline ju6ju8Oo

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 07 March 2018, 09:43:32 »
Quote
Are you using Super Sculpey? The details are great

Thank you! Yes I use Super Sculpey Firm.

Do you prefer Super Sculpey Firm over Super Sculpey Original? I'm not sure which to start with.

Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 07 March 2018, 17:56:22 »
Quote
Do you prefer Super Sculpey Firm over Super Sculpey Original? I'm not sure which to start with.

Super Sculpey Firm allows you to add more details to your sculpt, so it depends what kind of sculpt you have in mind. I'd say that if you're not going for a very detailed one you can use Super Sculpey Medium, it's a blend of Original and Firm, it's a good middle ground, but when I needed to add finer details I had to use the Firm one to get a decent result. I haven't used the Original version for sculpting yet, but I can tell you that it is a lot softer than the firm & medium ones (I have some at home that I use for mold making and to stabilize caps in the mold box).
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Offline ZuXzu

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 07 March 2018, 22:34:45 »
Very clean man, keep up the good work!

Offline Vulcan

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 08 March 2018, 00:15:57 »
I have try to sculpt on a sculpy firm.. but why is it to hard to sculpt on? Everytime i try to make tiny detail the clay just wont shape very well.. do you have some tips?

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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 08 March 2018, 01:19:12 »
Quote
Very clean man, keep up the good work!

Thank you  :thumb:

Quote
I have try to sculpt on a sculpy firm.. but why is it to hard to sculpt on? Everytime i try to make tiny detail the clay just wont shape very well.. do you have some tips?

What do you mean by "won't shape very well"? Not sure what issue you are facing, give me more details  :)

Here are some tips to shape the sculpey firm, I hope they will help you:

- Make sure to soften it well in your hands at first, I suggest you to use a small amount and rolling it many times between your fingers until you feel that the clay is softer. Start working on it right away to add your details. If you left your project to sit for some time and want to go back to it and the clay has hardened, you can use Silicone Clay Shaping pens to rub the surface of the clay, it will soften it and make it workable again, I also use Ball Stylus Pens to rub the surface of the clay and soften it, clay softeners work great too but I found the clay to be way too soft after and it takes a long time for the product to evaporate and to get your firm surface back.

- Use the right tools, and this is a very important part. I learned a lot by practicing with different tools and the ones that really made a difference for me are Loop tools (look for miniature sized one), Ball Stylus tools and Silicone Clay shaping pens (again go for the smallest you can find). These tools are usually the best to add details. Sometimes you will add details but the super sculpey firm will kind of crumble, in that case you can use the ball stylus tools and the Silicone Clay shaping pens to smooth out the shapes. In some cases you won't be able to do so, and this is when you have to use a clay softener, such at the Sculpey Clay Softener, I personally use that one, but be careful as it is powerful, even the super sculpey firm will become extremely soft if too much is applied.

- Don't worry too much about crumbly looking details, when you are done with your sculpt you can apply some clay softener to get rid of them, again go easy on it as it might also remove the details you created if you apply too much of it.

Again, it is nice to have many tools as they will give you more options and throughout your sculpting journey you will struggle to create a shape or a specific detail with a tool and all you have to do is switch to another one and try again, this is the method I used until I found the set of tools that worked best for me. I am not a pro, so this is based on my personal experience, but if you have any questions or need help I'll do my best to help you.






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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 14 March 2018, 03:51:26 »
Hello guys,

Just a little update before going to bed, a quick potato pick of the 3 caps I cast so far since I finished my sculpt. More details to come on my progress very soon!


191537-0
191539-1
191541-2


Night'!

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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 14 March 2018, 04:14:27 »
Looks like you have a pressure pot?

Your camera doesn't like pink and trans caps are never easy to photograph but that grey one shows off all the details nicely, so if all three look like that you're doing it right.  Unless you have a big pile of rejects just out of shot :))

Really impressive, keep it up!
                               
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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 15 March 2018, 01:53:12 »
Quote
Looks like you have a pressure pot? Your camera doesn't like pink and trans caps are never easy to photograph but that grey one shows off all the details nicely, so if all three look like that you're doing it right.  Unless you have a big pile of rejects just out of shot :)) Really impressive, keep it up!

Yes indeed I have a pressure pot + vacuum chamber to get rid of all these little bubbles  :)) I actually shot the pictures with my smartphone very quickly so the quality is not good, sorry about that, I'll be posting better pics very soon  :) So far mold making has been good, 100% success with no bubble and all details of the caps were captured nicely. However I did a mistake when cutting the silicone extra from the mold, where the Synth gates are located (I will be posting more pics to illustrate my explanation, it will be better.) which led to a big load of bubble in the stem and under the caps + a stem not fully filled once cast (not thick enough).

So far I made only 3 caps, the one I posted pictures of, but because of the bubbles in the stems they will indeed end up in my pile of rejects.

I have poured new molds today and will cast tomorrow, hopefully I made the right modifications to the molds and will get rid of the bubbles under the cap, if not, then I will need to figure out where the issue is.

Thank you for your support, much appreciated! :thumb:
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Offline keylabskeycaps

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 16 March 2018, 12:26:19 »
These look awesome!! I love the clear blue colorway. Super excited to see what other colorways you go with too.

Offline BobCarltheThird

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 16 March 2018, 12:31:28 »
Looking forward to when you start experimenting with multishot caps :thumb:
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Offline Vloshko

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #22 on: Sun, 18 March 2018, 22:53:47 »
Looking forward to when you start experimenting with multishot caps :thumb:

Great job! On the multishot experimental side, I was wondering, do some people use syringes to inject the colors for specific intricate placement?
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 20 March 2018, 03:09:07 »
Yes syringes are a popular way of doing it.  I seem to remember seeing a drop of resin on a toothpick used to do eyes somewhere too, but don't quote me on that...
                               
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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 20 March 2018, 04:00:57 »
Quote
These look awesome!! I love the clear blue colorway. Super excited to see what other colorways you go with too.

Thank you so much! It is actually green but I shot the picture with my phone  :confused:

Quote
Looking forward to when you start experimenting with multishot caps :thumb:

It is coming soon!

Quote
Great job! On the multishot experimental side, I was wondering, do some people use syringes to inject the colors for specific intricate placement?

Thank you! Indeed some people use syringes, you can also use toothpicks or any objects small enough to reach inside intricate placements. Any tool you feel comfortable with is fine imo.


Little update, waiting to shoot some pictures to share with you, just haven't had the time yet:

- I faced the "bubble" issue many times this past week and for many reasons. First, I messed up my molds in a way that not enough resin was coming out of the "gates" so not enough bubbles were pushed out while curing in the pressure pot. Fixed the problem and still had bubbles.

- Second attempt to fix the issue was the temperature and humidity, since I cast outside my working conditions depend entirely on the weather, so I cast again at the perfect temperature, 73 degrees F with a low humidity and it was better but I still had a few bubble around the stem and bottom of the cap.

- Third attempt to fix the issue consisted in putting less release agent on the Synth, since I use Ease release 200, it is said to inhibit curing if too much is applied, so I reduced the amount and kept it to a thin mist of release agent then brushing all over the Synth to cover all surface in contact with the resin. Bubble issue fixed. So far my last 3 casts were bubble free and came out perfect.

I have the feeling that I reached a milestone and that from now on I have the "recipe" to cast bubble free caps, however we all know that even the most talented artisans out there all have a pile of rejects  :)) It will always happen, part of the hobby.

My TO DO list for the upcoming days/next week:

- Create and master recipes for different colorways
- Cast more masters & make more molds for upcoming production
- Try doubleshot caps
- Take pictures to share with you all  :D


Thanks to all of you who take the time to check this thread and read about my progress and comment, it really gives me the motivation to excel!
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Offline gr4v3m4n

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 16:56:01 »
hi there, i just got a pressure pot and iím encountering some problem.
iíve tried casting under pressure 3 times now and for some reason my resin doesnít want to cure, it just stayed in elastic mode :) iíve tried to balance the mixture using scale still the same result. does pressure affect the curing prosess? cause i have the same problem with my silicone curing under pressure, seems that it took longer to cure. i dont know if my silicone and resin is expired  cause i just bought them.
i cant get access to most common type of resin you guys use like smooth-on or alumilite so i just have a non branded d-80 resin and i use rtv silicone.


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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 17:49:36 »
Quote
hi there, i just got a pressure pot and iím encountering some problem.
iíve tried casting under pressure 3 times now and for some reason my resin doesnít want to cure, it just stayed in elastic mode :) iíve tried to balance the mixture using scale still the same result. does pressure affect the curing prosess? cause i have the same problem with my silicone curing under pressure, seems that it took longer to cure. i dont know if my silicone and resin is expired  cause i just bought them.
i cant get access to most common type of resin you guys use like smooth-on or alumilite so i just have a non branded d-80 resin and i use rtv silicone.

As far as my experience goes the pressure doesn't affect the cure time of your resin/silicone, every brand and type of resin and silicone has its own pot life and cure time. With that said, there's cure and post cure aspect of both resin and silicone (I would like to add that I use smooth-on products so I don't have experience with other brands yet) so after the "cure" time is over it is safe to remove the caps from your pressure pot as the resin/silicone has cured and therefore has solidified already, so no risk to see bubbles forming at this stage. When you take it out of the pressure pot (again I speak of Smooth-on resin and silicone) you will need to let the caps "post-cure" for them to hardened to the max, so it is normal to have your resin/silicone still soft after curing. It is advised to post-cure the resin for 4-6 hours at 150F for Smooth-on resin for example, which I personally don't because I don't have the equipment to do it so I just let the caps sit on my table for 24h and after that they are rock hard.

As for the ratio of your resin/silicone, everything should be detailed in the specs sheet that comes with it (always read instructions), so it should be written if you are supposed to measure by volume, weight etc etc. It is very important to respect the ratios. Also take a look at all the stuff you use that will be in contact with the resin/silicone, release agents can affect the cure as well as pigments/colorants if too much is applied.

Also expired products can of course lead to issues, make sure you store everything is a cool dry place, these products don't like humidity.
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Offline Vulcan

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 17:51:53 »
hi there, i just got a pressure pot and iím encountering some problem.
iíve tried casting under pressure 3 times now and for some reason my resin doesnít want to cure, it just stayed in elastic mode :) iíve tried to balance the mixture using scale still the same result. does pressure affect the curing prosess? cause i have the same problem with my silicone curing under pressure, seems that it took longer to cure. i dont know if my silicone and resin is expired  cause i just bought them.
i cant get access to most common type of resin you guys use like smooth-on or alumilite so i just have a non branded d-80 resin and i use rtv silicone.


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Try casting clear resin.. maybe it has something to do with pigment..



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Offline gr4v3m4n

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 19:34:47 »
Quote
hi there, i just got a pressure pot and iím encountering some problem.
iíve tried casting under pressure 3 times now and for some reason my resin doesnít want to cure, it just stayed in elastic mode :) iíve tried to balance the mixture using scale still the same result. does pressure affect the curing prosess? cause i have the same problem with my silicone curing under pressure, seems that it took longer to cure. i dont know if my silicone and resin is expired  cause i just bought them.
i cant get access to most common type of resin you guys use like smooth-on or alumilite so i just have a non branded d-80 resin and i use rtv silicone.

As far as my experience goes the pressure doesn't affect the cure time of your resin/silicone, every brand and type of resin and silicone has its own pot life and cure time. With that said, there's cure and post cure aspect of both resin and silicone (I would like to add that I use smooth-on products so I don't have experience with other brands yet) so after the "cure" time is over it is safe to remove the caps from your pressure pot as the resin/silicone has cured and therefore has solidified already, so no risk to see bubbles forming at this stage. When you take it out of the pressure pot (again I speak of Smooth-on resin and silicone) you will need to let the caps "post-cure" for them to hardened to the max, so it is normal to have your resin/silicone still soft after curing. It is advised to post-cure the resin for 4-6 hours at 150F for Smooth-on resin for example, which I personally don't because I don't have the equipment to do it so I just let the caps sit on my table for 24h and after that they are rock hard.

As for the ratio of your resin/silicone, everything should be detailed in the specs sheet that comes with it (always read instructions), so it should be written if you are supposed to measure by volume, weight etc etc. It is very important to respect the ratios. Also take a look at all the stuff you use that will be in contact with the resin/silicone, release agents can affect the cure as well as pigments/colorants if too much is applied.

Also expired products can of course lead to issues, make sure you store everything is a cool dry place, these products don't like humidity.
thank you for the detail explanation, iím going to try more detailed measuring and mixing.


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Offline gr4v3m4n

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 19:35:17 »
hi there, i just got a pressure pot and iím encountering some problem.
iíve tried casting under pressure 3 times now and for some reason my resin doesnít want to cure, it just stayed in elastic mode :) iíve tried to balance the mixture using scale still the same result. does pressure affect the curing prosess? cause i have the same problem with my silicone curing under pressure, seems that it took longer to cure. i dont know if my silicone and resin is expired  cause i just bought them.
i cant get access to most common type of resin you guys use like smooth-on or alumilite so i just have a non branded d-80 resin and i use rtv silicone.


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Try casting clear resin.. maybe it has something to do with pigment..



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yup, i going to try it..


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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 19:56:41 »
Hello everyone!

It's been a while since I last posted pictures and updates on my casts, here are some pictures of what I have cast so far, in the next updates I will show you some butt pictures (of the caps right...), I cast with the Synth but I'm working on making a 2 parts mold with my own butt and eventually my maker's mark underneath, but this is not my priority at the moment, I focus on creating colorways and experimenting with multi-shot caps atm.

In the picture below I simply tried some UV protective blue pigment, the details seem to be well preserved:

192502-0


Some clear casts with no pigment to see how clear the resin cures and then with a light blue tint, pretty happy with the result:

192504-1
192506-2

Below I tried double-shot:

192508-3

And here with the UV light shining, had some fun with UV additives:

192510-4
192512-5

More caps cast with Neon pigments UV sensitive:

192514-6

It's been super fun so far and I'm slowly getting better at each cast, but lately I keep getting ONE single bubble underneath my caps, all the time. I am trying to figure out why  :confused:

I'll post more updates as soon as I can!
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Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 20:00:12 »
I think I like solid color the best, since it really brings out the detail. But the crystal clear one would probably be popular with the backlight fanatics. Great work.

Offline gr4v3m4n

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I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #32 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 20:04:26 »
on the multishot, do you wait until the resin cures? or half cured? before you pour the second color.

oh..one other thing, what is the ideal pressure for casting? my pot has a max 60psi that means i can only pressure it to 45-50psi.

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« Last Edit: Mon, 26 March 2018, 23:31:41 by gr4v3m4n »

Offline p_blaze

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 20:28:31 »
damn those look good

Offline Vulcan

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 22:20:04 »
Could you teach me how to do multishot?

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Offline ArchDill

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #35 on: Mon, 26 March 2018, 22:58:32 »
Great job! Interesting sculpt. Excited to see what this develops in to  :thumb:

Offline nixn3rd

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 27 March 2018, 00:23:39 »
Amazing job =D
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #37 on: Tue, 27 March 2018, 02:41:49 »
Looking good, I'm especially liking the black/green which gives a tree with vines vibe.

As to your bubble problem where is it?  In theory if you're adding enough resin and the mould is level in the pressure pot it shouldn't happen.  If you mix too vigorously you can get so many bubbles that once the pressure removes them there isn't enough resin to fill the mould - could that be it or are the overflows (forgot the technical name :))) full?
                               
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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 28 March 2018, 00:53:24 »
Quote
I think I like solid color the best, since it really brings out the detail. But the crystal clear one would probably be popular with the backlight fanatics. Great work.

Thank you!  :)

Quote
on the multishot, do you wait until the resin cures? or half cured? before you pour the second color.

oh..one other thing, what is the ideal pressure for casting? my pot has a max 60psi that means i can only pressure it to 45-50psi.

For the multishot it all depends on what you want to achieve, but I just started so I don't consider myself as an experienced caster yet, but I would wait for the resin to cure indeed if you want a clean result between the shots. For the casting pressure I don't really know, I think I've read somewhere that 50psi is enough but 60 is better, I cast at 60psi.


Quote
damn those look good

Thank you!  :D

Quote
Could you teach me how to do multishot?

You should definitely ask an experienced maker, not me  ;D :thumb:

Quote
Great job! Interesting sculpt. Excited to see what this develops in to  :thumb:

Thank you! Much appreciated :thumb:

Quote
Amazing job =D

Thank you so much!  :D


Quote
Looking good, I'm especially liking the black/green which gives a tree with vines vibe. As to your bubble problem where is it?  In theory if you're adding enough resin and the mould is level in the pressure pot it shouldn't happen.  If you mix too vigorously you can get so many bubbles that once the pressure removes them there isn't enough resin to fill the mould - could that be it or are the overflows (forgot the technical name :))) full?

Thank you! I agree for the vines vibe, I was trying to achieve a different shade of green but it turned out not too bad.

Here is where I pretty much always get a bubble (don't mind the little imperfections, I quickly sanded the butt to reveal the bigger imperfections):

192583-0

You pointed out interesting details, for the resin I think that I put enough of it, but I could take a closer look at the amount I pour each time and see how it affect the cap. Regarding the level, I never thought of that, I mean I have but the truth is I never really checked the level once I place the mold with the resin in my pressure pot, since I cast outside on my patio I guess I should, to make sure it is levelled.

By overflows I think that you refer to the "gates" of the Synth where the air bubbles should go so that they are not trapped and have a path where they can exit from, sometimes I pour too much resin and some of them are filled with resin (coming out of them when I place the Synth onto the mold), and sometimes I only have resin coming out of the stem hole before I place the "crucifix" (if that's the name, basically the part that will make the stem).

I feel that I have been through different scenarios already and I still get that single bubbles and sometimes very very very tiny bubbles (you can see them on the stem if you look closer). I'm still trying to figure out where the issue is, I will also try with a different resin, once that cures slower, but I have seen people have very clean results with super fast curing resin such as Smooth Cast 300. FYI I use Smooth Cast 326, 9 mins pot life and 60mins cure time.

I will try to pour the resin at different levels in my mold and see if I can get better results, and if I do I will make sure to remember the ideal amount of resin I need to pour in order to get a perfect result.

Thank you for your suggestions, they are helpful and will hopefully help me move forward with my casting endeavour. I will keep you posted  :)

And btw, if any maker by any chance stop by and has a tip or 2 to get rid of this little bubble that is haunting me, I'd be more than happy!

Thank you all for your support :thumb:






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Offline gr4v3m4n

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #39 on: Wed, 28 March 2018, 01:19:19 »
Quote
I think I like solid color the best, since it really brings out the detail. But the crystal clear one would probably be popular with the backlight fanatics. Great work.

Thank you!  :)

Quote
on the multishot, do you wait until the resin cures? or half cured? before you pour the second color.

oh..one other thing, what is the ideal pressure for casting? my pot has a max 60psi that means i can only pressure it to 45-50psi.

For the multishot it all depends on what you want to achieve, but I just started so I don't consider myself as an experienced caster yet, but I would wait for the resin to cure indeed if you want a clean result between the shots. For the casting pressure I don't really know, I think I've read somewhere that 50psi is enough but 60 is better, I cast at 60psi.


Quote
damn those look good

Thank you!  :D

Quote
Could you teach me how to do multishot?

You should definitely ask an experienced maker, not me  ;D :thumb:

Quote
Great job! Interesting sculpt. Excited to see what this develops in to  :thumb:

Thank you! Much appreciated :thumb:

Quote
Amazing job =D

Thank you so much!  :D


Quote
Looking good, I'm especially liking the black/green which gives a tree with vines vibe. As to your bubble problem where is it?  In theory if you're adding enough resin and the mould is level in the pressure pot it shouldn't happen.  If you mix too vigorously you can get so many bubbles that once the pressure removes them there isn't enough resin to fill the mould - could that be it or are the overflows (forgot the technical name :))) full?

Thank you! I agree for the vines vibe, I was trying to achieve a different shade of green but it turned out not too bad.

Here is where I pretty much always get a bubble (don't mind the little imperfections, I quickly sanded the butt to reveal the bigger imperfections):

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ]

You pointed out interesting details, for the resin I think that I put enough of it, but I could take a closer look at the amount I pour each time and see how it affect the cap. Regarding the level, I never thought of that, I mean I have but the truth is I never really checked the level once I place the mold with the resin in my pressure pot, since I cast outside on my patio I guess I should, to make sure it is levelled.

By overflows I think that you refer to the "gates" of the Synth where the air bubbles should go so that they are not trapped and have a path where they can exit from, sometimes I pour too much resin and some of them are filled with resin (coming out of them when I place the Synth onto the mold), and sometimes I only have resin coming out of the stem hole before I place the "crucifix" (if that's the name, basically the part that will make the stem).

I feel that I have been through different scenarios already and I still get that single bubbles and sometimes very very very tiny bubbles (you can see them on the stem if you look closer). I'm still trying to figure out where the issue is, I will also try with a different resin, once that cures slower, but I have seen people have very clean results with super fast curing resin such as Smooth Cast 300. FYI I use Smooth Cast 326, 9 mins pot life and 60mins cure time.

I will try to pour the resin at different levels in my mold and see if I can get better results, and if I do I will make sure to remember the ideal amount of resin I need to pour in order to get a perfect result.

Thank you for your suggestions, they are helpful and will hopefully help me move forward with my casting endeavour. I will keep you posted  :)

And btw, if any maker by any chance stop by and has a tip or 2 to get rid of this little bubble that is haunting me, I'd be more than happy!

Thank you all for your support :thumb:
that arch for the overflow (i think) its the most common place to get bubbles at least in my experience casting with the synth using pot or potless.


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Online Blaise170

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #40 on: Wed, 28 March 2018, 13:20:08 »
I've never really been a fan of artisans like this but it's great work nonetheless. I'd love to see what other designs you come up with in the future.
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Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 02:17:01 »
Quote
that arch for the overflow (i think) its the most common place to get bubbles at least in my experience casting with the synth using pot or potless.

Good to know! This spot is haunting me, I'm trying to modify a few details in my casting process and will see how it all unfold. I gotta get rid of this last bubble.

Quote
I've never really been a fan of artisans like this but it's great work nonetheless. I'd love to see what other designs you come up with in the future.

Thank you, I really appreciate!
Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.

Offline Edge.d

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Re: I Sculpted & Cast My First Artisan Keycap (Big Update) - Dark Atelier
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 20 June 2018, 11:17:34 »
Hello everyone!

It's been a while since I last posted any updates about  my new endeavour but here I am again with big updates!

Life has kept me very busy lately but I never stopped working on the caps and new sculpts, here's a breakdown of everything I have been working on:

While casting with the Synth I noticed that I couldn't get a perfect result (no bubbles at all, at all.), I tried using different resins, I tried all levels of release agents + different brand of release agents and I still had results I was not happy with, so I quickly moved to a 2 parts silicone mold. Following that, I started having a lot more success, more perfect butts with no bubbles at all.

Despite quite a good run with caps I was happy with in terms of "casting quality", I still had to figure out some nice colorways and practice, practice, practice. During this time I decided to reach out to @outragedpudding (on IG, sorry I don't know his nickname on GH if any), and asked him to design a logo for my brand of artisan keycaps, I gave him some instructions about the vibe and the style I was looking for, and he nailed it IMO, I love how it came out:



I also settled on a name for my keycaps' brand: Dark Atelier

Then I decided that I wanted different internals for my caps, I wanted thicker walls and more room to sculpt as well as my logo/maker's mark underneath my caps. So I reached out to TheGlyph (Reddit) to have custom internals made with the previous points as guides for the future design, the result was amazing, I now have thicker walls without compromising the clearance space needed between caps, I have more ceiling room (very bottom of the base, where the stem is located, is now lower to allow for more room on top of it, where the face of my artisan sits) which is nice and allow for more depth of details for future sculpts. And also all caps will now have my logo/maker's mark underneath. Also the fit of the stem is tighter (you can flip your board upside down and shake it, the key ain't going anywhere) and the caps slides all the way down of any MX style switch without any problem:

198307-1
198309-2

I also want to finally unveil the name for this first sculpt: Leshy

Leshy is a deity of the forests in Slavic mythology, strange creature, some said that he likes to lead travelers along incorrect paths until they become hopelessly lost, and others, that he keeps a more neutral positions toward humans.

I would like to share 2 colorways I have been working on until the recipe was right:

This one is called "Forest Keeper":

198311-3

And this one "Toxic Waste":

198313-4

I'm pretty much done with other colorways as well, I will be posting them soon!

For those who like to lurk on IG, I have created a new account there, I will be posting pics of the new colorways and more: @dark_atelier

Thank you all for your support here, through DMs and other channels, it means a lot!  :thumb:




« Last Edit: Wed, 20 June 2018, 11:20:21 by Edge.d »
Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.

Love that forest keeper! About to follow on the gram. Keep it up.

Offline Edge.d

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Thank you! Appreciate the support  :) :thumb:
Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.

Offline Edge.d

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Re: Dark Atelier - Artisan Keycaps
« Reply #45 on: Wed, 27 June 2018, 10:09:06 »
New colorways:

This one is called Contaminated Nature

198722-0

This one, Purple Matter

198724-1

Let me know what you guys think and if there are colorways you'd like to see in the future  :thumb:
Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.

Offline Acereconkeys

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Re: Dark Atelier - Artisan Keycaps
« Reply #46 on: Mon, 02 July 2018, 23:38:28 »
Wow this is insanely impressive work! I'll definitely be following this this is amazing!
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Offline Edge.d

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Re: Dark Atelier - Artisan Keycaps
« Reply #47 on: Tue, 03 July 2018, 16:20:24 »
Thank you! Means a lot  :thumb:
Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.

Offline Acereconkeys

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Re: Dark Atelier - Artisan Keycaps
« Reply #48 on: Tue, 03 July 2018, 16:31:16 »
Are you planning on another sale or have any more info to share?
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Offline Edge.d

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Re: Dark Atelier - Artisan Keycaps
« Reply #49 on: Tue, 03 July 2018, 17:02:48 »
I actually did not have my first sale yet, I wanted to post some updates later this week but I'll just let you know now  :)

I am going to test a new Topre base by the end of the week, probably cast it on Friday & test the caps on saturday, it's a custom butt with my logo and what I believe to be one of the best Topre stem design out there at the moment, I can't wait to hear the snap and see how the mechanical behavior feels ;) (I'll post a video with sound once the test is done). So I want my first sale to offer both Topre and MX options, so by the end of the week I should know for sure if my sculpt is compatible with the new Topre butt, and if not, which colorways will be impacted.

Also, I haven't finished to release all colorways, still working little details until I am fully satisfied with the results of some of them  :thumb: Will keep you guys posted here and on IG.
Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.