Mechanical Keyboard Keycaps and Its Variations

You should get a high-quality keyboard if you spend a lot of time on your computer. The keyboard you use can have a strong impact on your typing, gaming, and programming. Today, most keyboards are cheap mass-produced membrane gadgets that produce a slightly soft feel when you tap a key. It is common for most keyboards to wear out prematurely, and many have a shallow activation distance as well as requiring a lot of effort.


With high-quality mechanical keyboards, you can customize the typing experience exactly how you want it. The keyboard keys are mechanical switches, not flexible membranes, which connect two current paths. The computer receives the corresponding signal when your finger presses a key, and the spring and a switch are compressed. As soon as you release the key, the spring pushes the key back up and the switch opens.


For high-quality mechanical keyboards, all components are rugged and long-lasting, even under heavy usage. Keyboards are made up of individual mechanical components, so you can choose switches that work the way you prefer, and you can customize the look and feel of the keyboard by selecting custom keycaps. The underlying keyboard can include the functionality you need, and your keycaps can have materials, colors, and lighting that improve your keyboarding experience vastly.


Possibilities for customizing keycaps


Choosing the right keyboard is the first step to customizing with keycaps. Characteristics of the keyboard include how far you press a key, how much force you need, and whether it has backlighting. The size and layout of the keyboard also influence your choice of keycaps. 


Mwave's listings for hundreds of keyboards from a variety of manufacturers offer a wide range of options. Choosing a keyboard based on the type of keycaps you want to use makes customizing the keyboard a breeze. You can probably still find keycaps compatible with your mechanical keyboard if you already have one.


The following are key points to keep in mind:

  • Profiles. A key profile is a shape that a key can take. There are a variety of keyboards, ranging from those that have the outer keys flat to those that have the outer keys raised and shaped to facilitate rapid typing.
  • Materials and Color. Keycaps are an integral part of the aesthetic and feel of a keyboard. They can have a variety of colors and feel smooth, textured, rubbery, or hard.
  • Layout and Sizes. There are some keys, such as the shift key and the space bar, that can be made custom-sized, but a lot depends on what size the keyboard can support.
  • Illumination. Different keycaps can produce different effects if the keyboard has lighting.


Mwave offers a wide selection of keycap sets that come from several differentf suppliers. Visit their website to see what's available. Working on your computer will be more enjoyable if you choose a keyboard that matches your typing style and keycaps that match your style.


Most custom keycaps are designed for use with Cherry MX style switches (' + ' stem design). There are also keycaps available for low-profile switches such as Gateron LP and Kailh LP, but the variety is much more limited. Visit our guide on Mechanical Keyboard Switches for more information about different types of switches.


Optimized keycaps Profiles as per your typing style


A keycap profile is defined by the height and shape of the keycap. Depending on the shape, the height is the distance from the bottom of the keycap to its highest point. In a sculpted keyboard, the keycaps on the outside keys are taller than those in the center and angled toward the center. Additionally, keycaps may have a round or circular indentation to fit a fingertip.


Tall, sculpted keycap sets give keyboards a retro look, while short, uniform keycap sets look modern and tidy. It might be easier to position your hands on sculpted keys or you may find that short, flat keys allow you to type faster depending on how you type. Personal preferences play a role in choosing a profile. In terms of keycap profiles, the following are the most common:


  • Cherry. One of the most popular keycap sets is the Cherry profile. In terms of height, the tallest caps are just under 10 mm, and the tops are slightly sculpted, with a low center and higher edges on the left and right sides.
  • OEM. Almost 12mm higher than Cherry's, the OEM keycap set has a slightly sculpted center key with a 10mm height. This is a standard profile used by most major keyboard manufacturers.
  • DSA. The DSA keycaps have a uniform height of 7.6 mm, and the set is not sculpted. Low-profile flats are popular with many people. Each key has a spherical indentation at its center surrounded by high edges all around.
  • SA. A highly popular keycap set, the outside keys are at 16.5 millimeters, and the sculpted position is angled heavily near the middle of the keyboard. Each keycap has a sphere-shaped top.
  • XDA. A version of DSA with slightly taller uniform keycaps. With almost vertical sides, the keycap top has a slightly larger surface area and a spherical shape.
  • G20. An unsculpted, uniform key set consisting of square and rectangular keys over 7mm high. The tops of keys are flat.
  • Almost 15mm high keys, similar to Cherry. There are cylindrical keycap tops on this key set that are highly sculpted.


You will want to ensure that the keycap sets you to choose fit the mechanical switches that you plan to use. While Cherry MX style switches can be used with most keycap sets, there are also low-profile switches that may need special low-profile keycap sets.


Material for keycaps that feel comfortable to hold


Generally, keycaps are made of two types of plastic with different properties. The less expensive material Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is smooth and bright. Over time, ABS keycaps can acquire a creamy feel. 


Keycaps made of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) typically feel textured and are more durable. Other than choosing between these basic characteristics, selecting a particular material comes down to personal preference and whether the keycap set you prefer is available in that material.


A rubberized keycap makes it easier for your fingers to grip the surface. In general, rubberized keycaps are used for gaming, and typical rubberized keycap sets only contain a small number of gaming keys. For example, Mwave offers a rubberized gaming keycap set from Tai-Hao in different colors. Rubberized keycaps provide additional grip during intense gaming sessions and feel completely different from plastic keys.


A Color for Each Occasion or Mood


Oftentimes, people do not care about a keyboard's appearance so long as it works. A wide variety of colored keycaps are available for those who value both appearance and function.


Depending on your preferences, you can purchase keycap sets of all one color or sets of two colors, such as a red-black combination. These reverse frosted cherry keycaps from Kraken Keyboards by Mwave are ideal for gamers looking for a variety of color schemes. There are many candy-color sets available, and if you don't find one that you like, there are always options to mix and match from different sets (but you should choose sets from the same series, and finishes and profiles may differ).


Sizes of custom keycaps for easy access to special keys


Certain keys may be particularly important depending on how you use your keyboard. Typing text requires frequent use of the spacebar, for example. You may often use the backslash key when writing code, and you may want to program special keys for gaming. On mechanical keyboards, the keys toward the center have a fixed size, but around the edges, for example, the "Shift" key and the spacebar, have variable sizes. Use space bar clicker to ensure proper working of spacebar. 


Keys with larger dimensions will be sized in fractional units of a standard-sized key. If the spacebar is 6 units long, try increasing it to 6.5 units while shrinking the key beside it from 1.5 units to one unit. Another option is to program one of the keys beside the spacebar to perform a crucial gaming function and increase its size. If you're planning to get a new keyboard, make sure it can support this type of size change.


Different lighting options are compatible with different keycaps


It is possible to choose between purely functional and highly decorative backlighting for keys. You can use a subtle white backlight on keys with translucent legends if you're only concerned with reading them. It is best to use a programmable RGB keyboard with the right keycaps if you want color and special effects.


The translucent legends of translucent keycaps allow RGB lights to shine through, improving visibility under low light conditions and beautifying the aesthetics. Translucent keycaps for backlit keyboards will allow the lighting to shine through effectively if your lighting is oriented north or south. 


A north-oriented switch has the LED at the top (away from you), whereas a south-oriented switch will have the LED at the bottom (close to you). Purchase of the incorrect keycaps may also lead to the LEDs rubbing against the switch-mounted LEDs in addition to obstructing efficient light transmission.


Another option to make your RGB keyboard stand out is to use pudding keycaps. Mwave offers keycaps with this functionality, such as the G.Skill and HyperX keycaps. Additionally, HyperX offers the Alloy Elite 2 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with preinstalled pudding keycaps. Gaming enthusiasts with illuminated computer cases and programable keyboard backlighting will find it particularly useful.


How Your Keyboard Layout Affects Your Keycap Selection?


Both American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Standards Organization (ISO) specify the major keyboard layouts. A distinctive feature of the ISO keyboard is its "Enter" key, which occupies two rows, with the top row forming an upside-down letter "L". There are also the following differences:

  • ANSI's "backslash" key is above the "Enter" key, while ISO's "backslash" key is to the left of the "Enter" key.
  • An ISO "alt gr" key replaces the ANSI right "alt" key, allowing access to additional symbols on a key.
  • In ISO, the left "Shift" key is smaller, allowing for an extra key.
  • ANSI keycap sets are much more readily available than ISO keycap sets


An ISO keyboard may be more appropriate for you depending on the work you do or the language you use. Multilingual keyboards may have three symbols or four symbols on a single key, for example. You may access the third and fourth symbols by holding the ISO's "alt gr" key and the "Shift" key. Make sure the keyboard has the keycaps you want or that a set of corresponding keycaps is available before you purchase. ANSI layout is commonly used on keyboards sold in Australia.


You will experience a completely different experience when you use a mechanical keyboard instead of a membrane board, regardless of how you use it. Pressing a key and hearing the mechanical switch click gives defined feedback and helps prevent typing mistakes. By adding custom keycaps to further enhance or customize your typing experience, you can combine improved functionality and ergonomics with a keyboard that matches your style.

Powered byFormsiteReport abuse