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Leather keycaps

Ataruno is working on various keycaps made of leather.
Published February 20, 2022

While browsing Twitter, I stumbled upon the latest subproject of Ataruno, who is the designer of the MooseDash split and also the guy behind the MooseChair project. In addition, he's apparently into leather crafting – and as it's often the case, combining different hobbies may result in spectacular achievements. As an inspiration, check out what is he up to with regards of blending leather craft with keycap making.

After playing with some 3D-printed keycaps and making a DIY leather mousepad for his MooseChair, Ataruno dipped his toes into leather keycap making.

As usual, his new project started out with a concept drawing:

At the moment, there are at least three kinds of leather caps: a plain one, a 3D model, and an earlier stitched version.

Cutting the leather into small blocks, sharpening or rounding the corners, and branding the workpiece results in the plane cap.


A 3D printed stem part is then attached to the leather block to turn it into an MX or Choc V2 compatible keycap:


By reworking the elk illustration of the MooseDash into the shape of the engraving, then printing it with a SLA printer, Ataruno was able to engrave it firmly on the leather and this tiny cute 3D-printed branding tool withstood even the blow of a mallet:


He even created a 3D-printed jig to keep the stem holder part firmly in the center. (If it wouldn't be aligned perfectly, adjacent keycaps would interfere with each other.)



The three-dimensional molded leather keycaps are made via a 3D-printed mold and the cross section of the leather is also carefully polished (more pics here):


Put the wet leather in between the molds, wrap it by rubber bands, put weight on it or use clamps, then leave it to dry.

While it's possible to make a full set, due to the lot of time and effort put into making, shaping and polishing these, it's more reasonable to think of them as artisan keycaps.


More info:

Published on Sun 20th Feb 2022. Featured in KBD #66 (source).

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