Closed Retro style key caps (Cherry MX compatible)

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AmiNeo

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Hi guys! I recently got myself a mechanical keyboard. Nothing fancy or flashy with backlights or anything, in fact I purposely sought out the most plain and best built one I could afford. Anyway, I love the keyboard but I'd like to make it just a tad more retro than it currently is. Does anyone have or know where I may be able to purchase some more retro style key caps for it? It has Cherry switches so any key set that is Cherry MX compatible should work and I even hear that BBC Micro caps fit them, though the key layout may be an issue for keys other than the alpha-numeric keys. I have seen some places online doing retro styled keycaps for modern keyboards but they're all in the US and are custom made so with import fees and postage, the cost mounts up.

I particularly like the DSA Granite set, nice old style rounded caps: Here is what they would look like on the same model keyboard I own. Sadly, I love this keyboard but was only able to find an ANSI US-international model of it due to the manufacturer now having discontinued it and moved on to more flashy models with back-lights and all that jazz. The model below is a UK layout. (its a Coolermaster Quickfire XT.) Any key caps for me would need to be ANSI layout if they're to be a full set..

DSC_5192_-1280x852.jpg


Another set that I like the look of are these, which are even more retro looking (and shiny!):
2151-0802_05.jpg





Does anyone have a mechanical keyboard? Do you buy custom key caps? Know where I can get a good set for a reasonable price? I am keeping an eye out for some group buys but most of those are also US based.

Thanks!

(y)
 
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acherion

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I use a mechanical keyboard at work and at home (Vortex iKBC F104 for those playing at home) and I still have the original PBT keycaps but am looking at making my own via wasdkeyboards.com

There are a couple of forums where they do group buys (geekhack.org is the most popular one, but very very expensive) and there's also the /r/mechanicalkeyboards subreddit on reddit.com, but I have found lately that massdrop are slowly moving into selling mechanical keyboard keycaps. You would have to be quite patient for a deal to drop in, but once it's on then it usually fills up pretty quickly and you get a decent deal.
 

AmiNeo

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I just put in a vote for the DSA profile granite set as referenced in my original post. It looks like they may run it again soon, as it states after 200 votes they will contact the manufacturer, but they're actually at 775 votes, :LOL: They're definitely popular!

Still, by the time they get it organised, collect the money and post them all, it will probably take a while.


Have you used DSAs? Do they feel better than stock keycaps? I'm really after something nice and solid like the old BBC Micro keys or those on the C64 with a shallower profile. I really like the look of the rounded keycaps, they look like they would give a better typing experience. The stock ones on the Quickfire XT aren't terrible but the key shape is rather convex, the edges a little sharper than most and keys feel a little thin. I don't know if my fingers are just too used to the keyboard on my macbook or if the keys are a tad smaller on the mechanicals, but I often miss keys. It is a solid and comfortable keyboard otherwise.

Here she is on my desk with the stock caps on:
IMG_0237.jpg

From comparing the 2 images, the DSA caps really drop the overall height of the keys. That may lead to some desirable changes in my typing style.

PS: Just checked out your keyboard, it's remarkably similar in design! Though it has doubleshot keycaps which I imagine adds to the typing experience due to the excess chunkiness.
 
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acherion

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You're right, the keys do feel a little chunkier than other mech kb's, but I can't say I have ever typed on DSAs. Many many many years ago I used a BBC Micro and really liked the keyboard, but I was a kid then and that probably doesn't count (kids always think something different is cool).

The only reason why I want to get some custom keycaps from wasdkeyboards.com is due to the flexibility of creating your own layout. I have OS X set up with two languages (English and Greek), and although I can touch type with both, I want to have both alphabets on my keys. Having this made to my specification and design with PBT / doubleshot is just outrageously expensive, so I am settling for the much cheaper UV etched / laser etched ABS plastic from wasdkeyboards.com. I'm saying "settling" as in I have whipped up a design in EPS format using Inkscape, but have not refined it and it's not ready to send to them to etch out. The quality of plastic is markedly lower than PBS / doubleshot, and there's a good chance the etch will wear off over time, but hey you only live once, right? :)

It's probably the wise thing to vote on massdrop for DSA profile granites, they are a beautiful keycap set, alas too expensive for me if I get the exact specific layout that I want.

The Vortex is great, I have mine configured with brown Cherry switches. It's my first mech kb, and I got it quite cheap from an Australian distributor (under $80 AUD!) so when they had another sale about 6 months later I bought one for work too. It's a very solid board, with braided USB cable and cable channelling underneath which is quite nice. Everyone else at work are using those horrible Apple wired slim aluminium keyboards, and here I am clacking away with my brown Cherries. Good thing I didn't configure it with blue switches!
 

AmiNeo

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:LOL: I have a wireless Apple keyboard and it's pretty neat but it isn't ideal for coding due to its compact style and layout removing some of the key functions. I persevered with it rather comfortably through uni since my code was all objective-C, an Apple language, so the IDE and the OS played nice with the keyboard layout. Now I'm developing in .Net, it can be a tad awkward, so I figured I would invest in a more comfortable keyboard and a retro-esque one at that.

Good point about the beeb, I recall loving the keyboard but I was quite young myself the last time I was fortunate enough to use one. I could barely type well. It may not be the keyboard I remember it being after all!
 
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AmiNeo

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Are there any retro computers that have Cherry MX compatible caps? :unsure:
 
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