Materials Used in Keycaps Keycaps are commonly composed of one of two types of plastic: ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate). ABS is more frequent since GMK, the major keycap manufacturer, uses it, while PBT is gaining favor as the material of choice with newer profiles such as KAT and MT3. Both plastics are highly resistant to corrosion from chemicals and water.
There are two main methods used for manufacturing keycaps: CNC (Computer Numeric Control) cutting and hand-layup. The former is used by most high-end manufacturers whereas the latter is preferred by some smaller companies. Hand-layup requires that each key be created by hand which makes automation impossible. However, since this process is very time-consuming, it provides an opportunity for small manufacturers to sell many keys at a time.
The quality of a keycap depends on the manufacturer but also on the production method they use. With CNC cutting, there is less control over the end result since the machine can only cut specific shapes that you tell it to cut. This means that variations may occur from piece to piece. On the other side, hand-layup allows for much more freedom in designing your keyboard but the results may not be consistent from person to person or even between batches made by the same person.
ABS is a thermoplastic polymer that is mixed together with styrene monomer in a factory and then molded into various products.
Most off-the-shelf keyboards utilize Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic for their keycaps, which isn't necessarily a negative thing—but the quality might vary a lot. However, most ABS keycaps have one feature in common: they wear down and become glossy extremely rapidly. This article will discuss how this affects keyboard users.
The first thing you should know is that ABS keycaps are not meant to be painted. The material used for keycaps is designed to take a chemical polish and look good doing it. If you try to paint them, the coating will come off when you wash the keyboard.
This means that if you want your keys to look nice, you'll have to buy new ones regularly. The only exception to this rule are colored keycaps; these can be painted any color you like. But even then, the paint won't last very long.
The reason why keycaps wear down so quickly is because they're made of plastic. Plastic degrades over time due to heat and oxygen, which is why metal keys tend to last longer than their ABS counterparts. But even with metal keys, you'll still need to replace them eventually.
In conclusion, ABS keycaps are not meant to be painted and will soon start to look worn out. But there are also metal keycaps available that don't wear down as quickly.
Unlike printing, this keycap is created by molding two layers of plastic together. No printing is required. As a result, the key legend will never fade or chip away. ABS keys will eventually shine, however PBT and POM keys will keep their texture even after extensive use.
The most common usage for a double-shot keycap is for functionality keys such as F1, F2, etc. These keys are designed to be pressed twice before they are activated. This allows limited access to programs while still providing usability for less tech-savvy users.
Double-shot keys can also include color-changing keys or lights. These keys change color when activated or during gameplay/computer use. They can be used as quick visual cues without having to read through a long list of commands.
Finally, some gamers will use double-shot keys to bind multiple actions to one button. For example, a gamer might bind "move forward" to the F key and "attack" to the X key. When the F key is pressed once, only moving forward will happen; but if the key is held down, both moves will take place.
This technique is called "binding." It allows gamers to perform complex tasks with only one button. Without binding, players would need to use multiple buttons for these functions.
Many different materials can be used to make key stock (including machine keys). Key stock is often constructed of carbon steel or stainless steel, although it may also be made of aluminum, brass, copper, monel, and even nylon, all of which have varied material grades. Some manufacturers sell separate key blanks for each type of stock they offer.
Carbon steel is by far the most common material used for making key stock. Because this material is relatively easy to work with, it is generally preferred over other materials for this application. Stainless steel is a second-most common option; although it is harder to cut than carbon steel, it is more resistant to corrosion and wear-and-tear. Aluminum, brass, copper, monel, and nylon are less commonly used options.
The exact composition of key stock varies depending on what quality it is intended to produce. Generally, lower-quality key stock is not as hard and wears out faster. However, it can still be used in low-security applications where durability is not critical.
Higher-quality key stock is usually harder and has greater resistance to wear-and-tear. It is also usually more expensive because better quality stock needs to be thicker and take longer to cut.
There are two main types of carbon steel key stock: plain carbon steel and hollow-ground carbon steel.