How its made
Our artisan keycaps are designed in the designsoftware "blender". After designing there will be a period of 3D printing and testing the sculpt for flaws. If the cap is tested and works on the MX stem keycap tester we start to produce our keycaps. After the keycap is printed it will be primed with model primer to make sure the upcoming paint will stick to the surface of the cap. After priming we handpaint the keycap with vallejo paint. This can be found in materials. After painting there will be a thin coat applied to protect the paint as good as possible. When the coating has dried the artisan will be packed and shipped to its new home.
2. Blender & sculpting
Blender is a 3D modeling software. We sculpt our keycaps in blender. Blender could be compared to the program zbrush that alot of sculpters use to make great models. For modeling we start with our general keycap design and work further to create the shape we want. There is an example on the right. The sculpting proces is slow and tedious but it will deliver a great result after the sculpt is done. We sculpt our keycaps in a special way. The keycap is made of 3 parts: the main sculpt, the stem and the eyes. Because we want to make our caps as high quality as possible we make the eyes seperate. This will give a better effect on the cap in the end. We also seperate the sculpt from the stem to make it easier to print later on. Our sculpts consist of over 3 million meshes to make the keycap the best quality we can make. When the sculpt is done it will be ready to be send to our 3D printer.
3. D printing (pun not intended)
Most people would be sceptical towards 3D printed artisan keycaps. "It can't be good quality right?", "you would see the print lines right?" or "How do you make sure the paint won't fade?". All these questions will be answered right here on this page. We understand that the quality of a 3D printed cap is different from a cold casted cap. The biggest difference is that 3D printing is alot faster and more flexible. Our caps are printed on a 15 micron layer height, in comparison, the diameter of a hair is 17 micrometers! The only print lines you could barely notice are the end shapes of globes. There is an example of a printed cap on the left. Because we 3D print our caps its easy to make a prototype of the cap. Within 4 hours you could have a perfect prototype to see what should and what should not be changed.
The most important thing after 3D printing is curing your prints. Uncured UV resin could be harmfull to the human skin and body so it is our top priority that every cap is cured properly. We use a certain watercuring technique to improve our curing proces. You could read this article about water curing. After curing the priming of the cap can begin.
5. Priming & painting
Before we can start painting the keycap we need to prime our freshly printed cap. We use standard vallejo primer for model figures. If we don't prime our caps the paint won't stick to the surface. After a thin layer of primer is applied the painting proces can begin. We are starting to use an airbrush to apply the first layer of paint for all of our caps. This enhances the quality significantly. After airbrushing all the small details are handpainted on the keycap. Most of our caps will be drybrushed to give the cap more depth. For painting we use vallejo model air paints. These could be found in materials. One of the most asked questions is how does the paint do when the cap is used on a keyboard?. If the paint is applied without any coat then the paint will wear of pretty quickly. For this reason we coat our keycaps with matte varnish. This will protect the paint and enlarges the life span of the keycap.
6. Finishing touch
To finish the experience of the keycap we have a small keycapcustoms box for our keycap. We ship them away in the small box to protect them during their trip to their new home. The soft foam protects the keycap from hits during the trip. The lid has the keycapcustom logo on it. We have chosen a simple box because we think it looks clean and it doesn't need to be overcomplicated.