Keyboard Builders' Digest / Tips & Tricks
The revamped keycap customization service by FKcaps has now an intuitive online interface offering an impressive set of options.
Published May 24, 2023
The keycap customization service at FKcaps has been around for some months, custom sets have been posted by satisfied customers, but there were many new options added last week so I reached out to Simon to inquiry about the updates.
While the "core" engine that allows for a lot of flexibility and accuracy in legends design has been around for a while, the UI was overdue an update! – FKcaps.
Simon did a damn good job with the interface, which is clean, versatile, and straightforward to use. The new GUI guides you through the whole customization and ordering process starting with the keycap profile choice and ending with the checkout.
This has been a long process to get there, and a dream of mine to be able to get custom keycaps. Getting proper legends when you are an ergo/colemak user is quite the challenge – Simon.
What are the major updates? The first public version of the customization service only allowed for fixed layouts and MBK profile. On top of that, some features were confusing. The process is much smoother now, and there are new keycap profiles available as well: Cherry, DSA and MDA.
So far the reception has been great, many users are pleased with the new possibilities (see the top photo by Sadek Baroudi): picking fonts from the selection, uploading their own, setting languages (looking at your QWERTZ) or sublegends is now two clicks away, as well as using any vector image or pick from various icon libraries.
We have already fulfilled several orders that used the new UI and are eager to keep pushing and improving (more profile options, new features, etc.) based on the requests we get or the feedback we receive – Simon.
Speaking of further possibilities, Simon mentioned dye-sub sets as one big area of improvement FKcaps has been considering. While on a trip to China they met a few suppliers that were interested in providing this service but FKcaps needs to make sure their partners can fulfill orders in a timely manner while maintaining the expected high quality standards.
We are as always trying to push the limits of what we can do to improve our MK experience in the area we focus on: keycaps!
Once you get started, you have to pick one of the keycap profiles first. There is Cherry, DSA, MBK and even MDA on the menu, so you are covered whether you are rocking MX or low-pro Choc switches. More profiles are coming, even SLK keycaps will be available eventually.
There's a vast array of profile, material and color combinations already at this point, check out the app for all the details.
In short, this is a laser-etching service, so in accordance with this manufacturing process, most shinethrough caps are available in black and ABS+PU (translucent ABS, coated with durable PU paint), while most white caps in PBT, and there are also PBT/PU MBK caps in more colors (black, purple, red, orange).
As already mentioned, beyond preset layouts for each keycap with popular low-pro (general split, ortho, Ferris/Sweep, Corne, Kyria, etc.) and high-pro MX (fullsize, TKL, 60%) options, there are now custom layouts available as well.
You can start customizing the presets or even create a layout from scratch and recreate the layout of your one-of-a-kind handwired abomination. If your choice is a sculpted profile, of course you can select the particular rows as well.
Handy features aid your creative work: All the caps of preset layouts are labeled (1u, homing, etc.), and the system indicates if some key sizes are unavailable.
Well, there are many preset language options – even optional sublegends including Cyrillic, Hiragana, Katakana and Hangul – but the most fun part is ahead of us, so let's click Continue.
You can choose from preset typefaces or even upload your own font.
This is the most fun part imo, where you can quickly drag&drop icons onto caps, or work on the main legend/sublegend/text/vector/icon layers combined on a per-key basis.
There are thousands of preset icons, whole icon packages (Font Awesome, Bootstrap, etc.), and you can upload your own SVGs as well.
Resize, stack, align and position them as you wish.
Once you're finished, a handy summary page lists all the caps grouped by customized/blank and size, along with the individual prices as well as the total sum you pay.
- You can save elaborated legend combos for later use.
- The system remembers your last attempt so you can get back to designing your set any time.
- And I'm sure I missed some functions.
ResourcesGo ahead and give custom caps a try!
- https://fkcaps.com/custom/support – feature requests.
- Feedback on Discord.
Published on Wed 24th May 2023. Featured in KBD #123.
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