Section 4 - The capstone

So you’ve decided on a fancy case and planned out some comfy switches. But you aren’t going to type on the stems of the switches, right?

Keycaps are a major factor in how the keyboard feels, for they are what your fingers press to use the board itself. In addition, the keycap determines the face of a keyboard, so make sure to pick a set that suits your aesthetic preferences.

 

Expensive plastics

The first thing you may be shocked at when hunting for a keyset is their price tag.
“Over a hundred dollars for bits of plastic? Impossible!”, you may say.

However, do keep in mind that although the raw material cost of these plastics is low, they are produced to extreme accuracy with very unusual methods. By the end of the page, you’ll have a rough idea of why these keycaps may end up adding quite a bit of cost to your keyboard’s price.

 

Making a legend

Legends refer to the printed letters and characters on the keycaps. These are printed onto the surface of the keycaps in a variety of methods described below:

The cheap-for-good-reason methods

Enthusiast grade

In general, the enthusiast grade options are the ones to put on your custom keyboard. After all, you don’t want to ruin all the hard work you’ve put in on making your ideal board with a subpar facade.

 

A material world

There are two main plastics to be aware of when dealing with keycaps.

There are other choices such as POM and PPS, but those will be excluded from this guide for the time being.

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The sculpt

In the custom keyboard realm, keycap profiles usually refers to the physical shape and sculpt of the keycaps. Yes, multiple keycap profiles exist; the major ones are listed below.

If you ever find that your typing doesn’t seem to work nicely with the keyboard, try giving a different keycap profile a shot. You may be surprised by the difference it makes.