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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
Manyak
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Keycap Plastic and Shape
 

Plastics

The two most common keycap plastics are ABS and PBT. Each has their own price to performance ratio; though in a general sense, PBT keycaps are generally a better buy. Here's some of the reasons why:

PBT (Click to show)

Advantages:

  • Heat resistant up to 150*C (although they are sensitive to hot water above 60*C).
  • Resistant to solvents.
  • Mechanically strong.
  • Does not shine as fast.

 

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive than ABS.

 

More information.

ABS (Click to show)

Advantages:

  • Low cost.
  • Lightweight.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Solvents will "melt" the keys.
  • Keys develop shine faster.

 

More information.

 

 

Keycap shine

Over time, the oils in your fingertips will wear away at the surface of your keycaps and turn the slightly textured surface smooth. The keycaps develop a shine under lighting as seen below, some people use this as a guide to know when to get new keycaps.

A new keycap (left) and a "shiny" keycap (right). (Click to show)

 

 

Keytop Shapes

Cylindrical: Almost all keyboards today use this shape. This is often referred to as sculpted design. The shape is meant to cradle the finger tip.

Example. (Click to show)

 

Flat: Frequently found on laptops and "laptop style" keyboards. These are also found on Point Of Sale (POS) keyboards because of the replaceable legends.

Example. (Click to show)

 

Spherical: This shape is normally found on vintage keyboards and type writers.

Example. (Click to show)

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