Author Topic: Some specific questions regarding artisan keycap production.  (Read 1698 times)

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Offline Eldr1tch

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Some specific questions regarding artisan keycap production.
« on: Thu, 22 November 2018, 23:01:23 »
Hey guys, I don't know if this is the right place for this but I am going to attempt sculpting an artisan keycap design I have been working on. I have seen a lot of posts dating back a few years but I have never seen answers to these specific questions. I have super sculpey firm polymer clay because I've seen it is a popular choice.

I understand the polymer clay once baked is usually just a master and then they make a mold of it then use resin injection and a pressure pot to help it settle without air bubbles.

1. Do artists usually just apply the clay to a pbt keycap and begin sculpting away?

2. Does it stick to the key or do fire it then stick it to the keycap?

3. Do they bake the keycap with the clay on the keycap?

4. How do they mount or position the keycap while sculpting? Do they put it on a switch/tester to hold it on place?

Thank you in advance!

Offline pastuh

  • Posts: 4
Re: Some specific questions regarding artisan keycap production.
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 24 November 2018, 09:18:59 »
Also i would like to ask additional question..

Inside is flower made from polymer clay.
But how to place that miniature inside? Links could help a lot.

Offline Eldr1tch

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  • Posts: 22
Re: Some specific questions regarding artisan keycap production.
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 25 November 2018, 01:40:14 »
Is this the right place to post this?

It has 150 views and no replies. Just wondering.

Offline yuppie

  • Posts: 352
Re: Some specific questions regarding artisan keycap production.
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 25 November 2018, 14:32:31 »
There is a lot of good information in this board. To quickly answer your questions, I'll try and answer from what I know.

1. Do artists usually just apply the clay to a pbt keycap and begin sculpting away?

Usually? No. I'd be lying if I said that I hadn't tried this but, typically you want the finished product to be less than or equal to the height of a standard R1 or FN key, not larger than.

2. Does it stick to the key or do fire it then stick it to the keycap?

Not sure what you mean here. Everyone probably has a slightly different process in terms of baking or hardening a sculpt to prepare for mold production. If you were to bake clay on top of a GMK or PBT cap, you'd probably melt the plastic. Certain clays, like Monster Clay or CX5 won't harden from baking, the material will just melt.

3. Do they bake the keycap with the clay on the keycap?

No, see above. I believe clays like super sculpey are meant to be baked in order to harden, but thats just one material and makers seem to prefer different mediums. Everyone doesn't use just one thing.

4. How do they mount or position the keycap while sculpting? Do they put it on a switch/tester to hold it on place?

Binge, in collaboration with others, has been making the Synth system. However, Trovarion just posted a time lapse sculpting session using nothing more than clay and a wine cork.

Other makers seem to have their own devices and methods for creating molds.

Just do some more research, experiment, iterate, try new things. Find out what works for you. It's a process.

« Last Edit: Mon, 26 November 2018, 01:58:11 by yuppie »
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Offline Eldr1tch

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  • Posts: 22
Re: Some specific questions regarding artisan keycap production.
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 26 November 2018, 08:28:47 »
There is a lot of good information in this board. To quickly answer your questions, I'll try and answer from what I know.

1. Do artists usually just apply the clay to a pbt keycap and begin sculpting away?

Usually? No. I'd be lying if I said that I hadn't tried this but, typically you want the finished product to be less than or equal to the height of a standard R1 or FN key, not larger than.

2. Does it stick to the key or do fire it then stick it to the keycap?

Not sure what you mean here. Everyone probably has a slightly different process in terms of baking or hardening a sculpt to prepare for mold production. If you were to bake clay on top of a GMK or PBT cap, you'd probably melt the plastic. Certain clays, like Monster Clay or CX5 won't harden from baking, the material will just melt.

3. Do they bake the keycap with the clay on the keycap?

No, see above. I believe clays like super sculpey are meant to be baked in order to harden, but thats just one material and makers seem to prefer different mediums. Everyone doesn't use just one thing.

4. How do they mount or position the keycap while sculpting? Do they put it on a switch/tester to hold it on place?

Binge, in collaboration with others, has been making the Synth system. However, Trovarion just posted a time lapse sculpting session using nothing more than clay and a wine cork.

Other makers seem to have their own devices and methods for creating molds.

Just do some more research, experiment, iterate, try new things. Find out what works for you. It's a process.

Hey thank you for the information, seriously it helps a lot. Also thank you for introducing me to Trovarion.  :-*

Offline Shadow_Moose

  • Posts: 2
Re: Some specific questions regarding artisan keycap production.
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 16 February 2021, 09:22:34 »
Hi All,

Been searching for weeks top find some ino out on making Artisans and this has helped, so thanks.

The one thing i have been trying to find out is how to get a decent base to sculpt onto, without having to pay over $150 to get the $ynth or find out that companies don't ship here.

I'm in the UK and things like this are a real pain to find.