Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Colorful, Creative, 3D Printed Keycaps Replace Factory Keys to Dress Up Your Keyboard

ST Medical Devices

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Most of us spend a considerable amount of time each day tapping away on computer keyboards whether for work or purely for entertainment. If you’re like me, your lunch break happens at your desk, which means your keyboard may not be looking as fresh-from-the-box clean as it used to be. Now you can spruce up your keyboard with some eye-catching 3D printed keycaps.

hannya

A maker and Shapeways contributor who goes by Tasker (that’s as much as we know about this clever 3D designer) has created brightly colored keycaps, which are reminiscent of the caps a dentist fits over a tooth. Since most any keyboard will let you pop off the buttons, you can replace the factory keys with customized caps in a whole range of styles.

The keycaps can be ordered in several different colors and range in price starting at under $3, with metallic and other turbine cherry mxspecialty materials costing a bit more. Considering that there are 84 keys on a regular keyboard and 101 on an enhanced keyboard, you’re looking at a fairly pricey full upgrade. However, you could compromise by selecting keycaps for your favorite letters or you could cover the letters of your name with clever keycaps — get creative.

I had some favorites, although all of the designs are really pretty great. My top ten are the following:

  1. Turbine keycap
  2. Hannya (basically, a demon) keycap with cutouts for LEDs
  3. Buddah keycap
  4. Sword keycap (not terribly practical, so maybe put it on a key you rarely use like the ~)
  5. Lego keycap (who wouldn’t want a full Lego keyboard?)
  6. XBox game controller keycap
  7. Molten metal core keycap (for the speedier typists among us)
  8. Pot leaf keycap (for Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and Alaska)
  9. Pirhana plant head keycap
  10. And last but definitely not least, the hand. I’d personally like to see a keyboard covered with tiny hands.

He’s got eight pages of designs available right now, so there’s plenty to choose from as far as favorites go!

a11

 

Tasker’s keycaps are available for purchase in his Shapeways online shop, The Gizmo Bazaar. Order a set or at least get started switching out your factory keys for Tasker’s colorful keycaps a few at a time. And to get started, splurge on can of air and clean house before your customized keycaps arrive.

Also, you might want to print out an image of a keyboard just in case you’re likely to forget which letter is which once you’ve dispensed with your possibly more practical factory keyboard.

Do any of Tasker’s designs reach out and grab you? Let us know your favorite designs, and if any will grace your keyboard in the near future, over at the 3D Printed Keycaps forum thread at 3DPB.com.

hand

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