3D Printed Keycaps: How To Make Them At Home?
If you’re a keyboard collector or enthusiast, custom keycaps are the lifeblood of outstanding high grade keyboard aesthetics. However, acquiring bespoke artisan keycaps can often be too costly. There is, however, a solution: 3D printed keycaps.
You may be wondering right now how to 3D print DIY personalized keycaps at home; if so, you’ve come to the correct spot since that’s exactly what I’m here to teach you.
Can I 3d Printed Keycaps At Home?
This question may be running through your thoughts right now. Yes, custom printing 3D keycaps are a real possibility. In reality, it is becoming a very effective method of producing bespoke keycaps over time.
It is a relatively new entry in the world of keycap printing techniques. Still, because it doesn’t involve any physical labor, it’s quickly becoming the most popular method of keycap printing for those who aren’t very talented at building molds, designing, and producing artisan keycaps the traditional way, so you should certainly give it a shot.
What Is the Process of 3D Printing?
3D printing is the technique of producing a three-dimensional object using a CAD model, often known as a computer-aided design or 3d digital model. Because it is being used in so many various sectors, this printing element approach has become the way of the future. Architecture, design, games, décor, and a variety of other things may all be made without the need for actual design abilities.
And what makes 3D printing so amazing is that it is no longer restricted to high-powered industrial operations or pricey factories; 3D printers have also become a bespoke useable household device similar to a simple printer and have gotten very inexpensive.
At this point, you may be wondering, “Well, what goes into producing a 3D model utilizing this printing method?” There are a number of different materials utilized, but they are primarily made of plastic.
Liquid polymers, powder grains, and other components are combined to make a material that can quickly build 3D models and is also extremely robust. Most of the ideas and models may be readily constructed without any prior understanding of the skill.
How Do I 3D Print My Own Custom Keycaps?
So, you’re probably wondering, “How can I print 3D DIY Custom keycaps at home with my 3D printer?” Well, fortunately for you, I’ve created a step-by-step instruction on how to use the available tools to create high-quality custom keycaps that look and feel good. So, let’s have a look.
Step 1: Gather your materials
The most crucial stage in this procedure is to collect all of the materials required for 3D printed keycaps. In terms of supplies, you’ll need a 3D printer at home as well as CAD software, the most popular of which is AutoCAD.
Now that you have these items, it would be great if you had SLA filament, but PLA filament would also work; it just won’t have the same clarity. Get some sanding paper and a tiny knife to take off any extra following the printing procedure if necessary.
Step 2: Take measurements
The next step will undoubtedly be to take the measurements. To begin, you must understand that the size of the custom keycaps must correspond to the keyboard and keycaps you are now using.
The modified keycaps’ unit size must also stay constant. So, measure the height, depth, stem size, wall width, and everything in between so that you may use all of these data while designing the keycaps in AutoCAD.
Step 3: Construct the CAD Model
It’s time to start working on the CAD Model. You may also acquire pre-made files from the internet if they are accessible, although doing things your own way is preferable. To begin, make the base sides of the keycaps to form an overall frame construction.
Then you’ll make a hollow lower-end with a shell wall width of around 1.25mm and the ergonomic curve on top of the keycap. Finally, insert the stem of the keycap that will fit onto the mechanical switch keyboard that we’re using beneath the keycap.
Step 4: Construct the Support Structure
If you’ve seen 3D printing before, you’re probably aware that 3D printed models require a foundation to print on. This foundation is also known as the support structure.
You can import custom support structures if you wish, but the basic support structure in the 123D file will enough if you only use it as the support.
Step 5: Make use of your own logo
Now, if you want to spice things up and don’t want to go with a plain curved surface keycap like everyone else, you may put unique logos and graphics on top of the keycap.
You may use a free design from the internet for this, or if you have the ability, you can create your own vector or.svg file and import it into the design in your preferred location. As long as the keycap is in good shape, you’ll be in for a treat when it prints and comes out.
Step 6: Sand and polish the keycaps
If you used PLA filament, the clarity of the transparent keycap would not be as good, but if you used SLA filament, the clarity would be excellent.
If the clarity isn’t perfect after using an FDM machine, you may improve it with sanding paper and a shiner. It won’t be the most gleaming or clear keycap, but it will undoubtedly do a better job of highlighting the LED illumination of the mechanical keyboard you’re using.
Step 7: Applying the Custom Keycaps that were 3D printed keycaps
Now that we have the custom keycaps printed and ready to use, we’ll carefully set them in their position and see how they compare to the standard keycaps.
The first thing you should notice is the appearance. The second most crucial item to look at is the logo on top and the LED backlight brilliance. Finally, you will examine the keypress.
A custom printed keycap’s keypress will be layered and rough. Of course, it won’t be very smooth, but it will be a significant savings on artisan keycaps, and they will undoubtedly serve their function of looking wonderful and pressing well rather admirably.
Why Should You Have Your Own Custom 3D Printed Keycaps?
What are the advantages of printing 3D custom keycaps DIY at home? So, I’ve compiled a list of perks and advantages you’ll receive if you opt to manufacture your own keycaps using a 3D printer. Here’s what it is:
Affordability – One of the nicest things about 3d custom keycaps is that you don’t have to spend exorbitant rates for high-quality designer keycaps to make your keyboard appear beautiful.
Customization Options – Another appealing feature of 3D printing DIY custom keycaps is the ability to customize every aspect of it. Everything is totally in your control, from the size to the thickness to the logo on top.
Simple Installation — If you created the keycap correctly, you’re in luck. The installation process will be simple and straightforward, especially if you’re using a keyboard with mechanical switches. As a result, you won’t have any issues with it.
Designing Is Easy – If you don’t know how to mold and modify keycaps manually, you may use the internet to find CAD instructions and just create the model that you want for your keycaps. Your printer’s sharp and steady hands will do all the hard work for you.
Aesthetic Appearance – Without a question, the most appealing aspect of a 3D printed custom keycap is its aesthetic ability. You’ll get fantastic results if you print a clear keycap for backlight shine, and the contrast of keycaps will give your keyboard a very premium and lovely feel. They make your keyboard collection appear epic to any viewers.
Artisan Custom Keycaps vs. Custom 3D Printed Keycaps
Artisan keys are handcrafted handmade keycaps that are significantly more expensive and have an artistic sense to them. When we compare 3D printed custom keycaps to Artisan bespoke keycaps, we may see some significant differences. To clarify, the following are some of the significant distinctions between 3D printed and artisan bespoke keycaps:
Artisan keycaps have been meticulously created in the artist’s preferred style. Custom orders are occasionally possible, although there is typically a limit to the color possibilities available with Artisan keycaps.
However, when it comes to 3d printing keycaps, you may use as many unique colors as your printer permits, which is why 3d printing, in my opinion, makes bespoke keycaps more customisable.
Less Creative Feeling
When it comes to artisan keycaps, they have a distinct artistic sense about them. They appear to be hand-crafted, of higher quality, and produced by a human, which improves the aesthetic sense of it because it does not appear manufactured.
This capability does not exist in a 3D printed bespoke keycap. Instead, the custom 3d printed keycaps have a more machinic feel to them, which makes them less desirable overall. Even though they perform their job effectively and don’t appear to be that different when compared to artisan keycaps.
For most individuals, the most essential and critical aspect of this argument is money. Nowadays, being a keyboard enthusiast costs a lot of money, so give some respect to low-budget keyboard enthusiasts for their dedication to the community; 3D printing personalized keycaps is a very inexpensive technique.
In compared to artisan keycaps, 3d printed keycaps are much less expensive; since they need less man-labor and do not have a hand-made aspect. To some, this may appear to be a disadvantage, but to the majority, it is unquestionably a positive.
A large portion of the keyboard enthusiast business is to collecting high-quality keyboards and keycaps for their interests. Unfortunately, 3D printed personalized keycaps do not have a high monetary worth, which is why they do not make the finest collection goods.
However, when the value and premium quality of a 3D printed keycap are compared to those of an artisan keycap, the latter has considerably more class, premium finish, and value, making it one of the highest-rated collectable products in the keyboard market. As a result, they are more costly and in more demand than 3D printed keycaps.
3D printing is a printing industry breakthrough that has made high-quality personalized keycaps available to everyone, regardless of their budget.
Overall, I feel that these keycaps not only perform their duty but also provide several benefits. So, if you have a 3D printer at home, you should certainly attempt creating personalized keycaps. With your fresh new DIY 3d printed keycaps, you’re going to enjoy a fantastic keyboarding experience!
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