There are several types of keycaps, what's the difference?

March 14, 2023
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If the shaft determines the basic feel of the mechanical keyboard, then the keycap is the icing on the cake for the user's feel in use. Keycaps of different colors, processes, and materials will not only affect the appearance of the keyboard, but also affect the feel of the keyboard, thus affecting the experience of using the keyboard.

Although the keycaps of mechanical keyboards can be replaced freely, the price is relatively high, and the price of some limited edition keycaps can even be compared with high-end keyboards. Although the materials of mechanical keyboard keycaps are usually plastic, different materials There are different characteristics between them, and there are many other special material keycaps, which are favored by enthusiasts. The price of just one keycap can reach thousands of yuan.

The keycaps of common mechanical keyboards can be divided into three materials: ABS, PBT, and POM. Among them, ABS has the highest usage rate in mechanical keyboards. Whether it is a popular product of several hundred yuan or a flagship keyboard of thousands of yuan, you can see it. to ABS figure. ABS plastic is a copolymer of acrylonitrile (A)-butadiene (B)-styrene (S), which combines the properties of the three components, and has the characteristics of high strength, good toughness, easy processing, etc., and the cost is not high .

It is precisely because of these characteristics that ABS has been widely used. Due to the relatively mature manufacturing process, the produced keycaps have the characteristics of regular craftsmanship, exquisite details, and uniform texture. ABS is not only excellent in workmanship, but also feels very good, extremely smooth.



PBT refers to a type of plastic composed of polybutylene terephthalate as the main body, and has the reputation of "white rock". Compared with ABS material, the processing technology is more difficult and the cost is higher. The material has excellent strength, wear resistance and high temperature resistance, and the shrinkage rate is small during injection molding. The processing technology is relatively mature, and it can be processed by secondary injection molding and other processes to achieve the purpose of never dropping characters. The keycaps made of PBT feel dry and tough to the touch, and the surface of the keycaps has a fine matte feel.

Compared with ABS, the biggest advantage of PBT is that the wear resistance is significantly higher than that of ABS material. The time limit of the keycap made of PBT material to oil is obviously longer than that of ABS material. Due to the complex process and relatively expensive price, keycaps made of this material are usually used in mid-to-high-end keyboard products.

Due to the large molecular gap and high temperature resistance of the PBT material, the keycap made of this material has another feature, that is, it can be dip-dyeed with industrial dyes. After purchasing white PBT keycaps, users can dye the keycaps with industrial dyes to make their own unique colored keycaps. However, this kind of operation is more complicated, so it is recommended that if you want to dye the keycaps, you can buy a small batch of keycaps and practice your hands, and then dye the whole set of keycaps after you are familiar with the process.

Although the wear resistance of PBT keycaps is higher than that of ABS materials, it is not the hardest among common mechanical keyboard materials, and there is another material that performs better than PBT in terms of hardness-POM.

The scientific name of POM is polyoxymethylene, which is a kind of synthetic resin, which is a polymer of harmful gas formaldehyde in home decoration materials. POM material is very hard, very wear-resistant, and has the characteristics of self-smoothing, so it is often used in the production of lightweight parts. Due to its own material characteristics, the keycap made of POM has a cold touch and a smooth surface, even smoother than the oiled ABS material, but it is completely different from the sticky feeling of ABS after oiling.

Due to its large shrinkage rate, the POM material is more difficult in injection molding. During the production process, if there is improper control, it is easy to have the problem that the keycap assembly gap is too small. There may be a problem that the shaft core will be pulled out. Even if the problem of too tight cross socket at the bottom can be solved well, due to the large shrinkage rate of the material, a certain shrinkage texture will be formed on the surface of the keycap.

KEYCEO can customize ABS keycap mechanical keyboard, custom game PBT keyboard, POM keycap keyboard.

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