The Ultimate Guide To Customizing Your Keyboard With Keycaps

Personalizing your keyboard with custom keycaps is a fun way to add flair and make your typing experience more enjoyable. Keycaps come in a variety of materials, textures, colors, and designs allowing you to customize the look and feel of your keyboard. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about keycaps including the different keycap profiles, materials, how to choose keycaps for your keyboard, and tips for customizing your setup.

What are Keycaps and Why Customize Them?

Keycaps are the plastic covers that go over each key switch on a mechanical keyboard. The keycaps help identify each key’s function and provide a surface for your fingers to strike when typing. Customizing keycaps allows you to personalize the appearance of your keyboard to suit your style and preferences. It also allows you to change the look, texture, and acoustics of your typing experience. Replacing stock keycaps is a popular keyboard modification among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.

Keycap Profiles Explained

Keycaps come in different profiles or slopes which affect the look and ergonomics of the keyboard. Some common keycap profiles include:

  • OEM – This is the most common profile that comes on stock keyboards. OEM keycaps have a spherical top.
  • DSA – DSA keycaps have a uniform slope across the top and are shaped like cylinders. This makes the keyboard a flat plane.
  • SA – SA keycaps are tall with a large spherical top. This makes each row of keys clearly distinguished.
  • XDA – XDA keycaps are low and flat with wider tops similar to DSA profile.
  • Cherry – Cherry profile keycaps are similar to OEM but with a more pronounced slope from top to bottom.

Keycap Materials

Keycaps are constructed from different types of plastic or resin materials. Some common materials include:

  • ABS – ABS plastic keycaps are durable and common on stock keycaps. They have a smooth texture.
  • PBT – PBT plastic is more durable, resistant to oils, and develops a textured shine over time. PBT keycaps are popular for customs.
  • POM – POM plastic is smooth like ABS but more durable. POM keycaps are sometimes used for artisan keycaps.
  • Resin – Resin keycaps allow for more colorful and translucent designs. However, resin is less durable than plastic keycaps.

How to Choose Keycaps for Your Keyboard

Here are some tips for selecting new keycaps for your keyboard:

  • Layout – Make sure the keycap set has the proper layout and sizing to fit your keyboard size and layout such as GMK67 keyboard
  • Material – Consider if you want durable PBT, smooth ABS, or colorful resin keycaps. This affects texture and durability.
  • Profile – The keycap profile impacts the look and ergonomics of typing. Select a profile suited to your preferences.
  • Theme – Many keycap sets are themed around specific colors, materials, genres like anime, or styles. Pick a set that matches your aesthetic tastes.
  • Budget – Keycap sets can range from $25 to over $100. Determine how much you want to spend on your customization.
  • Compatibility – Check that the keycap stem and keyboard switch stem are compatible like Cherry MX style stem.

Tips for Customizing Your Keyboard with Keycaps

Here are some final tips for personalizing your keyboard with custom keycaps:

  • Mix and match – You can buy individual artisan keycaps to mix in with a keycap set to make your keyboard truly unique.
  • Replace worn keys – Only replace the most worn alpha keys like WASD for an affordable custom refresh.
  • Add accents – Accent certain keys like the arrow keys or ESC key with unique colors or artisan keycaps.
  • Try new profiles – Experiment with different keycap profiles until you find the most comfortable shape for you.
  • Have fun! – Customizing your keyboard should be an enjoyable hobby. Change your keycaps whenever you feel like a new look.

Conclusion

Keycaps give you the power to fully personalize your typing experience. With so many materials, profiles, themes, and customization options available, you can create a keyboard that really represents your style. Take the time to carefully consider the right keycaps for your keyboard setup. Then have fun swapping them out whenever you feel like refreshing your look. The keyboard possibilities are endless when you take control with custom keycaps.