Artisan Keycap Spotlight: HandyKaps26 Aug 2015
These keycaps are by HandyKaps. They are a relatively new maker who appeared a couple of weeks ago. When photos of these caps were posted on /r/mk, I was immediately interested in how they were made and how they would feel. So I was very excited when /u/hanahlol (alt account) contacted me. What I got were two HHKB arrow cluster sets. In bronze and steel variations. Like with CMYKeys I wanted to type on these a bit to see how they will fit into an everyday board. Since I only have one HHKB and only one arrow cluster I placed the sets on either side of the board.
These caps came in a perfectly sized, golden, bubble lined box. This was not a mega package, but perfectly pleasing to me.
Colour is not really the right title as they have a more of a visual texture that really makes them stand out. The steel looks by far the best, in terms of looking metal. Although I don't want to discount the bronze, as it is of course a great metal. With a bit more shine to the bronze I think they would look even better. From this section I just wanted to get across, they look grand amongst a regular keyset.
These feel great. How they are made I'm still a little confused on. They are resin with a mix of metal powder and then they are polished to give the exterior the metal look. So they are part metal and part resin. I'm not sure if there is a bit of a placebo going on here but they do feel metallic, but they have a very gentle metallic feel to them. I would be interested to seeing how they compare to fully metal Scarface keycaps.
The steel ones especially have a brushed metal look on the sides of the caps. One thing I was not sure about is how metal caps would feel. These are somewhere in-between as they are not fully metal and not totally resin. I would love to type on a whole set of these. Currently I just have the feeling on my outer fingers and it is a strange sensation when typing. Not bad strange, but very nice This has lead me to be quite impressed with these caps. When using them in arrowkey position, they feel great. It is a bit of a different typing context, but you will feel the metallic nature especially when you have two or three fingers resting on them. This is the same for if you are in WASD position.
Sculpt and Cast
These keycaps are made fairly well. From the front you will not see any imperfections, the metal finish looks great and the texture is also a great replication. Some cutting has been done round the bottom to neaten them up. But it does not look rough. Not a lot can go wrong here but these are fine in terms of quality. The steel ones here really show off the metallic texture on the sides. You can also see the awesome colour of both sets.
One point of interest is the stems. I have an interest in finding good Topre stems as the stem design is just a little tricky to get right. These caps have a simple stock stem but the rest of the cap has been infilled to the point where it slots over the HHKB's plate. The circle depression is where the slider and outer slider housing goes. I have never seen anyone else do this, but it allows you to have a little extra weight to the keycap. If done correctly, there should not be any issues.
From what I can tell this has been executed quite well. One issue I have is the 'up' key feels slightly different. It might be that something is catching on the inside of the caps stem housing. This is my only issue so overall they do feel great. I have really enjoyed typing on them.
If anyone is looking for a nice cluster to add something to their HHKB these are a fine choice. They are currently unavailable but follow /u/handykaps and /u/hanahlol for more information on when you can get these. The use of metal powder is something I haven't seen before and I think it makes for a very nice keycap with a very nice texture. This is a promising beginning and they will only get better with each cast and sculpt. Good work from HandyKaps and I will be interested at what the future brings.
Typed on HHKB Pro 2