Many people in the keyboard enthusiast community have started using resin keycaps because of the impressive design, stunning look, and overall smooth and nice feel. But some resin keycap haters claim that resin isn’t a very durable material.
You might be wondering how right are these people and if resin keycaps are durable enough to last a long time? Well, if that’s the case, then you’re in the right place because that’s precisely what I’m here to let you know.
In this article, I’m going to talk about resin keycaps, how they work, how you can make them, the benefits of using them, and whether they’re durable or not. So, let’s not waste any more time before you end up making a hasty decision. Instead, let’s simply get started.
What are Resin Keycaps?
We all know that resin is a liquid substance of plant or plastic origin that is used to form a polymer. Basically, resin keycaps are one of the applications of resin. They’re keycaps made by curing resin poured into a keycap mold.
Resin keycaps were not a very huge thing a few years ago. But if we take a look at resin keycaps and artisan keycaps now, you can find a lot of them almost everywhere keycaps, and keyboard materials can be found.
The reason for the sudden rise in the commonality of resin keycaps is the general aesthetic and visual appeal that they carry, along with the ability to DIY, using your own color patterns, and materials that you can choose on your own.
All of these capabilities make resin keycaps a very high competing keycap material to PBT and ABS plastic, the keycaps of which you can easily find throughout the market.
How Are Resin Keycaps Made?
Well, resin keycaps aren’t the easiest thing to make. But you usually purchase highly artistic artisan resin keycaps from the internet and stores around the world.
If, however, you’re thinking of making them on your own, then here are the things you need to know, along with the step-by-step guide of making proper high-quality resin keycaps that you can fit on your keyboard’s mechanical switches.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
As I always say, the first step in a DIY project is to simply gather the tools and materials you’re going to need to carry the project out. For this resin keycap creation project, you’re going to need quite a few things, actually.
You’re going to have to get a mask for protection, gloves, mica powder for a bit of color, an array of decoration of your choice, A and B epoxy resin, and 3d molds for the keycaps. Once you’ve got all these things, you’ll be able to move on to the next step of the process.
Step 2: Preparing Resin
Resin is a very delicate product that needs to be used carefully. So for this keycap mixture, we’re going to add 2 parts of equal A epoxy and B epoxy in a container and mix slowly for 5 minutes or so.
After that, you’re going to slowly pour the resin into the mold and make sure you fill it to the top; even overfilling, it won’t be a problem, as long as you don’t underfill it. Then you’re also going to add the resin mixture into the mold for the switch stem because otherwise, your keycap won’t fit on your keyboard switch.
Step 3: Adding Your Own Artistic Touch
Now, the canvas is all yours. It is time to decorate the very plain-looking resin inside the mold. I would suggest using the mica powder to give the resin keycaps a very cool natural color pattern feel.
If you’re still not done, you can use custom molds, decoration stickers, or something like that and add them to the mold alongside the resin to give them a cool look. You can even choose to color the keycaps and make art on them after they’re done. So basically, do whatever you want to do in this step.
Step 4: Letting the mold dry
Now comes the most important part of the process. As I said, the resin is a sensitive product, so taking care of the temperature, mixture amount, curation period, and everything is significant. So make sure you take all the right steps in this case.
Keeping in a neutral temperature environment anywhere around 25-30 degrees would be good enough as long as you keep the mold-safe and sound for at least 1.5 days. This will help you make sure the mold is tough and the keycaps aren’t still mushy or gooey. But it also depends upon the type of resin you’re using.
Step 5: Place Your Resin Keycaps on your keyboard and use them
After the curation process is over, what you’re going to do is take out the keycaps from the mold and take a look at them. If they’re perfectly trimmed and shaped well, you can check and see if they fit on your keyboard switches.
Once you place all the keycaps on the switches of the keyboard, you can use them to work and play games as much as you want. You’re definitely going to love the feel of the switches and the smoothness that they have to offer. But, ultimately, the feel is what matters.
Benefits of Resin Keycaps
Well, why use resin keycaps when you can find great quality PBT plastic keycaps or ABS ones readily installed on your keyboards; Great question. Let’s take a look at some major benefits of resin keycaps over other keycaps.
- Visual Aesthetics – The thing about resin keycaps is that they have a certain element of visual aesthetics as compared to other keycaps. They have craftsmanship if an artist made them, and they’re a better canvas for artistic designs in comparison to other types of keycaps, which makes them the best type of keycap, in my opinion.
- DIY Creation – When it comes to PBT plastic keycaps or ABS keycaps, they’re made in factories through different vigorous processes on an industrial scale. Still, resin keycaps are easy to make and can even be made at home, which is quite great about them.
- Add your own patterns – The fact about resin keycaps is that they’re a canvas for your creation. If you’re not that artistic, you can use them plain. Still, if you have that vibe within you, you can use different colors, paints, patterns, stickers, and decorations to add to your resin mold to make the keycaps vibrant and stunning in comparison to artisan keycaps.
- Cheap – The best thing, however, is the low price of resin keycaps. They don’t cost as much as you’d think at all, especially if you’re making them at home. All you’re going to have to spend on is resin. Everything else, you can get for the least amount of money if you’re thinking of decorating the resin keycaps on your own.
Are Resin Keycaps Durable?
Despite having all these benefits and many more, resin keycaps often receive criticism for not being durable and long-lasting. So, are they really durable? Actually, yes, the false claims of resin keycaps not being durable at all are all lies.
Resin keycaps are fairly durable if you compare them to other keycaps. They’re perfectly designed and crafted for keyboard usage and can last quite a while if you want them to. Durability is actually one of the strong suits of resin keycaps which need to be addressed separately.
How Long Do Resin Keycaps Last?
If resin keycaps are actually durable, how durable are they; This is a question that I’ve been asked quite a lot of times by the keyboard enthusiast community. Well, pretty durable and strong if you ask me.
I’ll give you a number for the strength of these keycaps. On the Shore Hardness Scale, PBT keycaps which are very durable, have a score somewhere above 80. However, a good-quality resin keycap has a score between 85-90. This shows that in terms of durability, resin keycaps are much better than PBT keycaps even.
And if we talk about timespan, resin keycaps are even last you several years if you’re careful about using them and keep them clean and clear. So they’re definitely great in terms of durability.
If taking a beating is what you’re asking about, definitely resin keycaps will last longer than other keycaps. The only reason they’re falsely claimed to be brittle or mushy is that people end up curing them the wrong way, or they simply don’t know which epoxy resin to use or what steps need to be taken. But you know all of that now.
Resin keycaps are definitely one of the most durable keycaps in the market right now. Artisanal resin keycaps can be sold for over $100; however, if you’re making them at home, they’ll be pretty cheap. I hope you learned a lot from this article and that you’re going to have an amazing time making your own resin keycaps. Have a great keyboarding experience!