Mechanical keyboards are used widely due to their durability, reliability, and unique typing experience. However, one aspect that sets a mechanical keyboard apart from traditional membrane keyboards is the ability to customize and personalize the keyboard to fit the user’s needs and preferences. One way to achieve this is through keycap customization.
In this article, we will explore the importance of keycap customization, how to choose the right keycap set, how to install and maintain them, and the world of artisan keycaps.
What are Keycaps?
Keycaps are the individual keys that sit on top of the mechanical switches on a keyboard. They come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and designs, and can greatly impact the overall look and feel of a keyboard. Keycap customization allows users to add their personal touch to their keyboard, making it a reflection of their style and personality.
Choosing the Right Keycap Set
The first step in choosing the right keycap set is determining the compatibility with your keyboard. Keycaps come in different sizes and profiles, and it is important to choose a set that fits your specific keyboard layout and switch type. Some common profiles include Cherry, OEM, and SA profiles. It is also essential to check for compatibility with your stabilizers, which are the mechanical components that keep the larger keys (such as the spacebar) stable and level.
Once you have determined the compatibility, the next step is selecting a keycap set that fits your personal style and preferences. Keycaps for a mechanical keyboard set come in various designs, colours, textures, and materials. Some popular materials include ABS plastic, PBT plastic, and metal. The colour and texture of the keycaps can also greatly impact the overall aesthetic of the keyboard. Some sets come with printed legends, while others are blank.
When choosing a keycap set, it is also important to consider the brand’s quality and reputation. Some popular keycap brands include GMK, Signature Plastics, and Tai-Hao. Researching reviews and feedback from other users can also help you make an informed decision. Pricing and budget options should also be taken into consideration.
Installing Keycap Sets
Before installing a keycap set, it is important to gather the necessary tools and equipment, such as a keycap puller, cleaning supplies, and lubricant (if needed). Removing the existing keycaps and cleaning the keyboard surface are also recommended.
When installing keycaps, it is important to place them correctly and securely to ensure proper functionality. Some switches may be more stubborn or uneven than others, so extra care should be taken when installing keycaps on those switches. Testing for proper fit and functionality is also recommended.
To maintain the longevity and appearance of keycap sets, regular cleaning, and upkeep are recommended. Discolouration or fading may occur over time, and replacement options for damaged or worn-out keycaps are available.
Artisan keycaps are unique and handcrafted keycaps that are designed to replace the original ones on your mechanical keyboard. They are made by skilled artisans who use different materials such as resin, clay, metal, and wood to create keycaps that are aesthetically pleasing and functional. The designs of artisan keycaps range from cute animals and foods to complex characters and symbols. They are perfect for adding a personal touch to your keyboard and showcasing your personality.
One important thing to note is that artisan keycaps are usually more expensive than regular keycaps. This is because they are often made in small batches, and the process of creating them is time-consuming and requires a lot of skill. However, the cost is often worth it for those who value unique and high-quality keyboard accessories.
Choosing and Buying
When it comes to choosing and buying artisan keycaps for a mechanical keyboard, there are several things to consider. First, you need to decide on a style that fits your personal taste and preferences. This can be anything from cute and whimsical to dark and edgy. Next, you need to consider the material of the keycap. Some materials are more durable than others, while others offer a unique texture or appearance. Finally, you need to think about the rarity of the keycap. Some artisan keycaps are produced in limited quantities, making them more valuable and sought-after by collectors.
When buying artisan keycaps, you can look for them on online marketplaces like Etsy or Reddit’s MechMarket. Alternatively, you can purchase them directly from the artisan maker during a “keycap drop,” which is a limited-time sale where the maker releases a small batch of keycaps for purchase. Keep in mind that these drops can be very competitive and sell out quickly, so be prepared to act fast.
Installing and Using
Installing artisan keycaps requires the same process as installing regular keycaps. However, because artisan keycaps are often handcrafted and unique, they may not fit perfectly on your keyboard. This can lead to stability issues or a less-than-perfect typing experience. To avoid this, it’s important to make sure the keycaps are compatible with your keyboard and switches before making a purchase. Some artisan keycaps may require a bit of sanding or adjustment to fit properly.
While artisan keycaps may not be for everyone, they can add a unique and personal touch to your keyboard setup. They can also be a fun way to support small makers and artists in the keyboard community.
Customizing your mechanical keyboard with keycap sets and artisan keycaps can be a fun and rewarding experience. By choosing the right keycaps, you can improve the look and feel of your keyboard and make it more comfortable to use. With so many options available, there’s no shortage of ways to personalize your setup to fit your personal style and preferences.
If you’re interested in purchasing a high-quality mechanical keyboard, the DUSTSILVER brand offers a range of options to choose from. Their wireless and wired mechanical keyboards come in a variety of colours and designs, including the Blue Pink Milkshake, Purple Pink Lilac, Red&White Classical, Cyberpunk, and Robot Taisen models.
The world of mechanical keyboards is constantly evolving, and custom keycaps are just one of the many ways to make your setup stand out. So whether you’re a gamer, writer, or programmer, investing in a comfortable and ergonomic desk and chair setup and customizing it can help you unlock your full potential and take your productivity to the next level.
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