Welcome back to Vol 2 of MECHKEY GUIDEBOOK, where I try my best to tell you everything you need to know about the “artisan keycap” such as how many types of keycaps are there today, what is the material that makes them. Are you curious? If not, gear it up, and dive into this interview where you’ll ask and I’ll answer!
What made a keycap artisan?
Lancen: From the name, you’ll get the idea of the whole business.
What made a keycap artisan is, obviously, the traditionally handmade factor. We can’t just print the whole thing and dip it in a color pool then call it an artisan keycap. There are still dwarfs and people sitting a whole day long to paint every tiny detail.
And because of this, the number of any artisan keycap is limited.
How many types of artisan keycaps are there?
Lancen: Material wise, there are resin, metal, and clay.
With the resin being the most popular of all, artisan keycaps are sometimes called “resin keycap” or “resin artisan keycap”.
Structure wise, I divide artisan keycaps into 03 following categories: – The profiled keycap – The pure sculpted keycap – The figure
What is a PROFILED KEYCAP?
Lancen: Like I said, structure wise, focus on “structure”. If you search “artisan keycap” on Google Image, there are a few types that might confuse you. But look at each keycap’s structure, you’ll see my category makes perfect sense.
You see, there is the sculpted body part, and sometimes there is a clear resin cover layer on top. And usually, the clear resin cover layer is not just for aesthetic purposes, it’s about the shapes of some famous keycap profiles, such as SA-R1 and OEM.
Do you remember anything about keycap profile in Vol 1?
Look at these dragon keycaps, Mystic Dragon, you can see the sculpted dragon and their world. And you can clearly see the clear resin cover part mold the whole keycap into either the SA-R1 or DOM profile.
Now observe these food artisan keycaps. I believe you can see the sculpted cheese, and a thin layer of clear resin, which molds the whole keycap into the shape of OEM profile.
WHAT IS PURE SCULPTED KEYCAP?
Lancen: Yes, yes, yes! You get the idea my smart buddy!
There are keycaps that are just the artistic creative sculpt and the super colors on them. Their height is about the keycap profiles or shorter. At Dwarf Factory, or just personally, I called them pure sculpted keycaps. And this is the most popular type of all, I believe.
For example: From Dwarf Factory we have the food artisan keycaps, Jr. Cheeseburger and Shiftdog from Petite Meal, the whole set of Foodie Keycap and the Pastry House with no resin cover. Or the Weapon Box, and Droiddog.
To other brands such as Artkey with their Bull V2 and space artisan keycaps (Sirius, Felix, Voidwalker, etc), GAF caps and their Gaf Gang series, Hello Cap and the bongo cat keycap. This is to name a few.
THEN, WHAT IS FIGURE TYPE KEYCAP?
Oh, let me guess. Pisa Soda from Petite Meal, does it belong to the FIGURE TYPE?
There are artisan keycaps that are like a minifigure, a small statue standing on a podium. You can noticeably see the sculpt part and keycap part. Clearly, it will stand out when you plug them into your keeb, it’s like a trophy!
How about the keycap material?
Can you tell me about the type of artisan keycap, ‘material wise’?
Lancen: If we set the category of artisan keycap based on the material only, then it’s usually resin keycap, clay keycap, and metal keycap. You can find any type of artisan keycap made from resin. But as I observe, the metal and clay are only found in the pure sculpted keycaps and the figure one.
FINALLY, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ARTISAN KEYCAP?
Lancen: Well, simply put, it’s for customizing your mechanical keyboard and collection purpose. If you start to try one mechanical keyboard, you’ll soon have another. And then you start to customize your keyboard with novelty or artisan keycaps. But now the artisan keycaps are so high quality and very artistic, people collect them as an entirely new hobby. They can get an artisan keycap for their keyboard, or just for the sake of aesthetics, like collecting art painting.
An artisan keycap is that button on the mechanical keyboard, which can be colorful and different from other keycaps of the set. It also can be resin, metal, clay, but the most important fact is that it is designed, handmade, and limited. Currently, in the industry there are many types of artisan keycaps, it is difficult to determine which one is superior to another but completely depends on the purpose of the use or the preferences of each person.That’s why artisan keycaps are unique pieces of art. It’s for decoration and collection purposes.