There are always trivial errors in your artisan keycaps. You may hate it 01, keycap maker hates it 3000. But it’s the true beauty of any proper handmade keycap.
if you want to become a resin keycap maker, read this entry and prepare yourself for the constant annoyance you’ll encounter almost every day. But if you’re just an artisan keycap enjoyer, let’s explore what makes your keycap unique!
Prob #001: Bubbles inside an artisan keycap, and it’s not one of the Powerpuff Girls.
Out of nowhere, tiny bubbles pop up inside your newly-made resin keycap. You look into the problem closely and find out bubbles in every keycap of a fresh batch. The typical scenario that the Dwarfs encounter every month.
Bubbles made from the air left inside dried resin are the most common problem when it comes to resin keycaps. How to deal with it depends on the materials, the designs of your resin work, and as much as the techniques and the skills of an artisan.
In my humble opinion, the material is the most manageable problem. Just choose the low-viscosity resin; this alone already helps you a lot. Because as less viscous as the fluid is, the air inside the resin will easily escape. With the help of a vacuum chamber, the air inside the resin will be sucked out faster and better.
But even with the best resin in town, bubbles still pop up when your keycap has an intricate design with many details. On the way the air escapes from resin, it can be stopped by an obstacle, which is one of the details in the initial design. And no matter how hard the pumper sucks the air out of the keycap, some air just stays there and forms a bubble.
Exhibition A: The Miracle Island keycaps, Chobanim and Moors.
You can see the little branch rising to the top inside each of these keycaps. There were always tiny bubbles appearing right under that very little branch.
Exhibition B: [DFxFNatic] The Demon.
In this case, the problem is the slits and the gaps in the design itself. Those were for the backlit purpose, and the bubbles were also as crazy as the effect. Because sometimes, the air was stuck right under the teeth or the bars between the gaps.
The bubbles problem is a case-by-case thing. So there is no standard answer. But modern problems require modern solutions. Enter: the techniques and the skills of an artisan.
While working with the keycaps, I realized many ways to pour a resin into the mold. Changing the direction of the fluid alone can solve the bubble problems in Miracle Island. Or a toothpick can do the magic work on The Demon. Occasionally, we just left the bubbles there as an effect on the artisan keycap, but with a condition: it must not affect the main character of a keycap.
As always, the solution is in the hands of the artisan, as much as their thinking and art-craft taste.
Dwarf Factory’s keycap is known for the detail and the complexity; that’s why bubbles are our everyday life problems. Though it frustrates the Dwarfs most of the time, every time we can work the bubble thing out, it proves that we can create even more detailed and complex keycaps in the future. In the end, it’s an artisan, not a constant product of big machines. When human hands are involved, uncertainty lies ahead of us.
Speaking of which, the following common problem is also from the human factor.
Prob #002: The Dust is a must for an artisan keycap
Dust is everywhere on, under, and inside your keycap. This problem is just inevitable. The reason could be either:
- The resin itself is already contaminated,
- Humans carry many kinds of dirt, and they contaminate the keycap in the making,
- Or both of the above.
Again, making an artisan keycap requires a human’s hand in many stages of the production process, dust in your keycap is certain to happen. However, we always try our best to deliver the “dirt-free” keycap. At the very least, your keycap must look as clean as possible.
To achieve that, we will:
– Filter the resin multiple times.
– Reduce foreign contamination in the making with a closed production area.
– Keep ourselves clean.
– Quality Check carefully and eliminate any keycap that was heavily affected by the dust.*
* This means if the dust is right on the main character of the keycap, we will remove the product from the batch—for example, The Great Duckie. If there is any dust on the duck, it will be out. On the other hand, if there’s dust on the branch (Miracle Island) or the pouch (Terrarium), the keycap can stay.
Prob #003: The unevenness from the sides of a handmade keycap, just like our life recently…
This problem can cause some uneasy feelings for those who are obsessed with perfect evenness. Like if you look closely, soooooooo closely, you can see an artisan keycap can be slightly skewed. Especially from the sides of the keycaps, they’re uneven. And it can get on the nerves of many people.
But this problem is actually trivial. It happens from time to time due to the tolerance in engineering. The factors that contribute to this include:
- The mold giving birth to the keycap; must be slightly bigger than the actual size of the keycap.
- The shrinkage of resin liquid after drying up.
- The grinding process in the making, all was done by hand.
After all, this problem does not affect typing nor cause compression when you plug the keycap into the keyboard. We also eliminated the keycap that looks too disproportionate or stuck when we test the key.
LET’S EMBRACE THE PERFECT IMPERFECTION IN HANDMADE KEYCAP
The faults in our artisan keycap mostly come from the artisan factor. In the place where human hands are still involved in most of the stages of the production process lies tiny errors, some of which are unavoidable. On another aspect, it’s the perfect imperfection, making artisan keycaps more artisan, more interesting, and unique. It was the one and only. It was made for you.
Let’s take it as it is. And savor it from the perspective of both the future maker and keycap-enjoyer.
Interested in making artisan keycaps? You may wanna know more about all the types of these resin buttons. Discover more in What is artisan keycap.