Artisan Keycap Spotlight: CMYKeys by KeyKollectiv22 Aug 2015
I was first interested in the CMYKeys because I knew the maker KeyKollectiv to have made impressive keycaps in the past. KeyKollectiv made the successful meowcaps. Which although impressive, completely passed me by. I completely missed that sale. Now with CMYKeys I got into the beta sale on July the 20th. After paying on the 20th of July, I received them on the 11th of August.
I was very excited to get these as I am with any artisan keycaps. They arrived in a rather large cardboard box. Something that I never expect for these but seems to be the emerging trend. Although I got them a while ago I have waited a little longer to do this spotlight as they are modifier keys and are in high usage spots on my HHKB. This is a spotlight, but I have done a little testing in the process. The testing was to see how these keycaps held up under high usage.
The keys I got were the HHKB Base Set, which contained 2x Alt, 2x Fn and 2x shift keys. This also came with a bonus keycap which was R4 magenta. They came in a small plastic bag with a branded sticker. These small touches always impress me and make unboxing these a joy. This coupled with the invoice was the only branding that comes with the caps. I was particularly happy with the invoice for some reason.
One thing I like about these keys is the colour. I am a fan of the CMY colorway so was looking forward to getting these. They are not as bright as the GMK ABS but more subdued. At this point you should remember that these are the beta keys, so these may not be how KeyKollectiv wants the final product to look like. I think I received a nice selection of colours. I’m not sure whether these were made with the same batch of resin, but its clear a lot of effort has gone into colour matching.
An overall judgement on the casts is that they are very impressive. I cannot see and faults or bubbles, let alone any overt seams. This adds to a nice feel of quality. There is some cutting marks around the bottom edges but I don’t think it is too noticeable.
Another triumph of these caps is the stems. Topre stems are a little annoying and you can make them work a couple of ways. KeyKollectiv have just added a small bridge between the two clips. What this does is add strength but also maintains the click when they are in position. I think this is the better way to make Topre stems and you can see it used on Topre Clacks. The Alt’s have noticeably thicker bridges. All this means is there is less of an audible click. But I will commend then on the fact that they still fit very well.
I have yet to decide whether maintaining the click is better than just fulling the centre completely These caps are at the limit of how thick you can make Topre caps. You do not get a lot of room to work with due to the HHKB’s ‘plate’. Although they have been bulked they don’t catch or hinder the keys from fully depressing.
I really like the underside of these caps. There is not a perfect dome but it sort of characterful. This may be subjective as it does not look perfect. You can tell that this is a handmade item that someone has worked on. This is what sets aside artisan keycaps from regular keyset injection moulded keycaps. Thought has been put in, and you can tell. But I can also see the other side of this, getting a perfectly hand cast keycap can be just as rewarding. What this come down to is, I like this sort of ‘imperfection’.
The other thing you will notice on the underside is the KeyKollectiv mark. You can see it as a small spider, but my guess is its two K’s back to back. Very nice.
Here I tried to get a close up shot
My set on my HHKB amongst my own b-stock. You can see that they stand out quite a bit.
Here is a video to get some idea of them in action.
What I can conclude from typing on them for around a week, is that they feel really nice. The sound is perfect and makes them perfectly at home with a stock Topre set. When it comes to the texture, this is a nice replication of what you will find on a regular keyset. In the prominent places they are, I have found them very pleasant to type on.
Typed on the Novatouch