2018-05-27 (Su) ModuKey

Round blank keycaps don’t exist in my price range. Custom keycaps which describe the functions of buttons around the keyboard would be ideal but that would also get pricey. A blank set could be ordered by they only come in square buttons and that would also be costly. The easiest thing to get unremarkable keycaps was to cover them in tape. Since there was laser cutter access, it made sense to cut the tape into covers matched to the round keycaps.

A quick design was drafted in the computer which would provide flaps to go around the sides and reliefs so the cover would hug the rim of the keycap.

CAD view of keycap cover

A single cover was cut to test the size and fit of the cut. Blue painter tape was used because it was wide enough and available in the shop. It fit well but was finicky to place. The first cover took a few minutes to apply.

Blue tape keycap sitting on top

A batch of ten fit onto a slab of titanium another hackspace member gave me. This piece of metal has been looking for a purpose, and a receiver for a laser cutter is a pretty excellent purpose. Plus, the laser won’t hurt the titanium, so it’s hardly permanent. Strips of tape were adhered to the titanium along one edge then placed in the machine. The laser power was turned down so it wouldn’t create unnecessary heat. Marks were left on the titanium but they couldn’t be felt when a fingernail was dragged over the lines. The tape peeled off nicely but a razor had to be used to start the covers.

Laser cutting multiple covers on a slab of titanium

Applying the covers went faster and faster. Not a single cover was wasted while applying them. They took less than a minute each, and it was still difficult to align them perfectly. Extra were printed and kept on hand in case more keys were necessary or to demonstrate what they looked like before application.

Handful of covered keycaps

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2
Completed projects from year 3
Completed projects from year 4
Completed projects from year 5

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