This interview was conducted by /u/skiwithpete.

KappaKapps is an artisan key maker for the keyboard community. It’s actually two guys, who work on KappaKapps together - they go by KappaKappsLogistics & KappaKappsKeyboards. If that’s a little confusing - it’s only the beginning - IRL their first names are same and their last names are just one letter different! Soon enough you’ll get over it, like I did, because they’re like twins; each answering each other’s questions and finishing each other’s sentences. It was more like talking with a friendly version of the Borg than two individuals. And, I get the sense that they’re really smart dudes, with a clear vision for KappaKapps. I hope you enjoy.

skiwithpete: Thanks guys, do you want to introduce yourselves?

KappaKappsLogistics: Hi, I’m /u/KappaKappsLogistics

KappaKappsKeyboards: Hi, I’m /u/KappaKappsKeyboards

skiwithpete: Awesome, let’s kick things off.

KappaKappsLogistics: Cool.

KappaKappsKeyboards: Sounds good.

skiwithpete: Thanks for agreeing to be on r/mechmarket as part of the Artisan Corner a monthly segment on makers/artisans/and big players in the Mechanical Keyboard community. What do you describe yourself as in the community?

KappaKappsKeyboards: Hi! We’re KappaKapps, and we make artisan keycaps and do vendor services for various keysets. All of our profits go to charity, and for the months of May and June, we’re donating to Extra Life. We believe in supplying everyone with the keyboard accessories they want-so we make sure to always have Kapps in stock. We also want to help the community with getting keysets that have large MOQ, and we have some GMK keysets in the works.

skiwithpete: Is that the longterm plan to have everything go to charity? Or is that just while you’re starting out?

KappaKappsLogistics: I, /u/KappaKappsLogistics, am the charity coordinator so I’ll answer this one. We plan to have our profits go to charity in the long term. We are also looking to expand to a larger range of charities, and allowing the community to choose the charity of the month.

skiwithpete: Wow, that’s awesome.

skiwithpete: Ok, before I get too deep into KappaKapps, let me ask you guys some keyboard related questions… What are you guys rocking right now? And what’s your collection?

KappaKappsLogistics: Right now I’m still into the Pok3r with MX Clears. My collection currently includes the Ducky Shine 3 with mx reds, the Azio Levetron Clicker with White ALPS, and the monoprice TKL (before it was discontinued) with MX Blues.

KappaKappsKeyboards: I’m currently rocking an old Cherry G80-3000 and a G80-3700HAU, but I just ordered a Carbon Fiber 60% case and I’m going to make a custom keyboard with that. I have a few other keyboards in my collection, a Model F XT, a Realforce 87, and an Apple Alps keyboard, mainly to try out other switch types and to test out some non MX Kapps in the works.

skiwithpete: I was looking at the Carbon Fiber 60% for ages. I just never pulled the trigger on it. I should have.

KappaKappsKeyboards: It’s a little pricer than I expected, but will be a solid first custom for me.

skiwithpete: When did you buy your first mech? Did you discover the community and then boards or the boards then the community?

KappaKappsLogistics: Both at the same time. I always knew there was some community around mechanical keyboards, but the presence of the gaming community definitely had a stronger influence on me (this was around the early SC2 era), and I decided to get a Razer Blackwidow. I started browsing GeekHack and /r/mechanicalkeyboards (the real communities) in 2013. (Had to look at the calendar for this one haha)

KappaKappsKeyboards: I bought my first mech shortly after discovering Reddit and /r/mk a year or two ago, I think the summer of 2013? Not exactly sure, its been a long time. I discovered the community, read the wikis, researched all the different places to buy keyboards, and pulled the trigger on a Cherry keyboard off of eBay.

skiwithpete: I’m an original SC player myself (probably shows how old I am).

KappaKappsLogistics: Broodwar or even before?

skiwithpete: I didn’t like Broodwar - I felt like they’d destroyed the purity of the game; which had already achieved perfection

KappaKappsLogistics: I loved SC2, very good game that pushed mastery. Primarily the reason I got into mechanical keyboards too.

KappaKappsKeyboards: I’ll let you two talk about SC, I’m mainly a FPS person.

skiwithpete: Rogue Spear was my FPS of choice, but I feel like that’s saying I was in to Pong, maybe I’ll stick to the Mechanical Keyboard questions…

KappaKappsKeyboards: I’m more of a counter strike player myself, but I love playing all sorts of FPS games

skiwithpete: I love and hate this question, but I feel I need to ask it: WPM? Style?

KappaKappsLogistics: Style as in QWERTY?

skiwithpete: Style: I’m like a modified touch typist… just checking if you’re by the book touch or employ some other style - but yeah, I assumed Qwerty… if you’re on Colemak tell me

KappaKappsLogistics: My WPM ranges from like 100-150, depending on how careful I’m paying attention to spelling/grammar. I’m also a touch typist. Touch typing makes blank caps a possibility :P

KappaKappsKeyboards: Haven’t checked in a while, but the fastest I used to be was 120WPM. It may have gotten down recently, as I’ve been trying out some new wrist rests that I still need to get used to. I started off looking at the keyboard, but now I touch type. I’ve been looking at colemak as an alternative, as I have a few bad habits from over the years, but I’m down to 40WPM on it :/

skiwithpete: Nerd or geek?

KappaKappsLogistics: Hard question, I’d say geek for me.

KappaKappsKeyboards: Hard question too, but I’ll have to go with nerd, I love physics and math

skiwithpete: ok tell me about KappaKapps… First, let me ask, what are your roles?

KappaKappsLogistics: Sure, so I handle more of the business strategy, charity coordination, and prototyping/quality-control.

KappaKappsKeyboards: We do pretty similar roles at the company, but I do a little more of the designing and technical specifications for the keycaps.

KappaKappsLogistics: We try to involve each other with all decisions so there aren’t any conflicts on the executive side that may affect our supporters.

skiwithpete: How did you guys meet?

KappaKappsKeyboards: We met over the summer at a camp, and we soon found out that we both liked mechs, so we started talking. But it wasn’t until late 2014 that we saw that there wasn’t a good supply of artisan keycaps, so we decided to start KappaKapps.

skiwithpete: Let’s talk about your artisan keycaps, what techniques do you use to make them?

KappaKappsLogistics: I’ll talk about the 3D side and let W take the resin process

KappaKappsLogistics: We design them in 3D software, like 123D. This is somewhat of an elaborate process depending on the complexity of the design. From there we prototype it on a 3D printer to see if we need to make any changes. For our Undead Clackin’ we use a SLS printer to get the best quality for our Kapps, and then apply one of our finishes to the Kapp. For one of our future line ups, we plan to use an FDM printer because the design is a bit simpler, but we will maintain quality with our finishing process: Sandpaper and chemical treatment.

KappaKappsKeyboards: We’re currently working with someone for high quality resin casting, so expect those in the coming weeks. The process is pretty complicated, first we 3D print the masters in a special SLA plastic for extremely high detail. Then our resin caster makes production masters out of those masters, and makes a big mold out of those. Its a time intensive and expensive process, but we hope the end product will be very good quality and enjoyed by many. We’re also doing limited runs of metal Kapps, we’re prototyping topre and alps Skullio in steel, with aluminum and some other materials in the near future.

skiwithpete: So you guys really are a team that builds together.

KappaKappsLogistics: I gue..

KappaKappsKeyboards: …ss so

skiwithpete: :)

KappaKappsLogistics: :)

skiwithpete: Who are your keycap / artisan heroes in the mech world?

KappaKappsKeyboards: I love the work that other artisan makers have done, but I want to make something different. We worked with some other designers in Europe and Asia, and together we made UnDead Clackin and Skullio.

KappaKappsLogistics: I guess Click Clack, it’s hard to say because we are trying to do something a bit different from everyone else.

KappaKappsKeyboards: I like Click Clack’s work because he was one of the first artisan keycap makers, and he really paved the road for artisan caps now.

KappaKappsKeyboards: The one thing I’m not fond of is the exclusivity behind his caps, which is why we decided to make sure to always have Kapps in stock. I have a love hate relationship with limited edition stuff, so some designs and materials are limited edition such as Skullio in steel

skiwithpete: where do you guys take your inspiration from for your keycap designs?

KappaKappsKeyboards: Our inspirations come from pop culture and history, with emphasis on Greek and Egyptian culture.

skiwithpete: What are your long term goals for KappaKapps?

KappaKappsLogistics: Our long term goals are to continue to create unique artisan Kapps (not copies), having new designs, and expanding our vending with more keyboard supplies and accessories.

skiwithpete: Have you got anything just around the corner that you can / can’t tell us about?

KappaKappsLogistics: Game of Clacks: A Click of Kapps and Board - really that’s all I can say haha

KappaKappsKeyboards: ;)

KappaKappsLogistics: Also the Skullio design which we will be offering in limited edition on metal. :)

KappaKappsKeyboards: Some other designs are on our google+ page, those are being saved for later while we fix some details.

skiwithpete: Where did the name KappaKapps come from?

KappaKappsKeyboards: I like Greek culture, and the Greek letter Kappa is one of my favorites. As I was thinking about names, I slowly decided on KappaKapps since there is only one letter difference between Kappa and Kapps and it slid of the tongue very well.

KappaKappsLogistics: Also, chat would always use Kappa. Because we are both gamers(and use we decided it would be pretty cool if we did something with that for our name .

skiwithpete: Tell me more about the gaming side of this. As I’m kinda a redditor I feel like there’s a whole world out there I’m missing

KappaKappsKeyboards: We casually watch people stream games on, and the chat on twitch can sometimes become very satirical. So when people say something sarcastically, they often end it with Kappa, which corresponds to an emote of a twitch employee with a smug look on his face. Its an interesting part of something we spend our free time on.

skiwithpete: Is that a community that you also engage with as KappaKapps?

KappaKappsLogistics: Yeah, maybe in the future. We are looking forward to sponsor video game streamers on… One of the things that might be controversial here is that sponsoring streamers would lead to advertising costs. We hope to make these as transparent as possible without damaging our sponsorship. However, we can promise you that we will not be like Susan G. Komen and blow 90% of the charity money on advertising.

skiwithpete: Tell me about your involvement with the reddit the community

KappaKappsLogistics: Obviously, as a vendor, we want to advertise our site. However, it’s not very good content if we just spam /r/mk with images involving our site. Thus we try to help out the community, generate reviews, guides, and answer questions. Allowing for a balance of content and spreading our word.

KappaKappsLogistics: Oh, I almost forgot to mention we are also launching a subreddit: /r/kappakapps mainly for weekly updates so we don’t have to fill /r/mk or /r/mm

skiwithpete: and what about r/mechmarket?

KappaKappsLogistics: For /r/mechmarket we try to keep text posts to a minimum. For example, we will only publish a text post when we have a new product line up. If we do see someone that wants artisans, we will link our site.

KappaKappsKeyboards: Also interest checks for various Kapps such as Skullio and keysets such as GMK Cyrillic

skiwithpete: What do you foresee happening in the Mechanical Keyboard community over the coming years?

KappaKappsKeyboards: I foresee a bigger shift to mechanical keyboards as more people find out about mechanical keyboards for programming, typing, and gaming. I think that as more people start using mechs, there will be a bigger demand for keycaps and keysets, and we plan to be prepared.

skiwithpete: Do you guys have a nemesis?

KappaKappsKeyboards: give my partner a second, he’s finding a gif ;)

KappaKappsLogistics: There’s another redditor that does a lot of the same stuff that we do… this gif is super relevant:

**skiwithpete: What’s the motivation for donating profits to charity? Is there a personal link to the cause? Or just makes you guys feel good about something? Or is it just an evil capitalist plan? **

KappaKappsLogistics: We want to help people in need. There are a lot of gaming specific charities, like Extra Life, and “vehicles” to get money to charities, like humble bundle, we wanted to start something like that. It’s also a good business experience with CAD design and 3D printing. We hope to publish receipts of all our donations, but as previously mentioned we do need to withhold some information because we aren’t alone in this industry.

KappaKappsKeyboards: Also we’re going to post pictures of all the Kapps we sold and the total donation amount to reddit at the end of the month, unfortunately PayPal holds our money for 21 days before we can send the funds to charity.

skiwithpete: Do you have advice for other artisans thinking of starting out? Whether keycap makers or otherwise?

KappaKappsLogistics: It’s important to not copy and have your own unique designs. Copying other designs or making knock offs can be a touchy subject. Especially in terms of artistic ethics.

KappaKappsKeyboards: Be creative, and don’t copy other people.

KappaKappsLogistics: It is ARTisan for a reason!

skiwithpete: Well guys, you come across as two very bright dudes, doing some good work for a good cause so it’s easy for us to wish you all the best going forward. Is there anything you want to add?

KappaKappsKeyboards: Thanks to the reddit for sticking with us!

skiwithpete: :) Thanks guys, that was fun - my first three-way

KappaKappsKeyboards: bow chika bow wow

KappaKappsLogistics: haha

skiwithpete: ;)

About the interviewer:

/u/skiwithpete is a regular on /r/mechmarket having bought and sold many boards, keysets and artisan products through the forum. He’s also one half of artisan sleeve makers with his wife Stephanie.

Mildly Edited on an SSK

Triumph Adler Lands

This was an important and an interesting GB for two reasons. It was made of new colours that are not offered by GMK and it was the largest GMK GB to date. From a aesthetics standpoint, this was also a very nice set. It is fair to say there was a bit of hype around the set.

With people now receiving their sets, many people are upset about the quality. A number of issues have been raised with the set. There has been dirt in some particular keycaps, swirls in the colour, light leak, as well as scratches on a variety of keycaps. Another point of contention is the way the keycaps were packaged. They came in sorted GMK packaging however this turned out to not be suitable for reshipping. When packages arrived many people have found that their keycaps have broken free of their packaging.

The issues appear to be on GMK as there are many manufacturing issues, but also massdrop for not packaging what came to them appropriately.

Wooting Keyboard Information

After releasing renders of the “next generation” mechanical keyboard, this week has revealed details about the Fn layer. I would say the only thing interesting revealed is the fact that it could be fully programmable.

Input Club K-Type

For those who missed the announcement. The K-Type is a new tenkeyless from Input Club the creator of the Infinity and Infinity ErgoDox.

Corsair Strafe

With the previous announcement of the Corsair strafe it appeared to be a fairly standard gaming keyboard. This week there was another announcement of two other versions. The Corsair Strafe RGB and the Corsair Strafe RGB Silent.

Instantly my interest was drawn to the silent. The new silent Strafe includes a new type of cherry switches that are quieter. The quieter switches come in black and red variants.

KBTalking Next is on taobao

I am still interested in this board. But there doesn’t appear to be anything overly special about it. The main interest I hold is for the unknown switches.

Infinity ErgoDox Update

The Infinity ErgoDox is getting closer to shipping. Photos were shown of a working LCD. I was not that interested in this upgrade however, this image has intrigued me. I am now disappointed that I did not get one.

New WASD Keyboards Colours

WASD Keyboards now offers 8 additional keycap colours to choose from when creating your keyboard. For those who are not acquainted with WASD, they allow you to completely customise your keycaps when you order one of their keyboards. You can also just buy customised keysets.

Leandren now Accepting Orders

This is for 60% plates and pcb’s which are made by spirit. An excellent choice for a custom 60% also at an excellent price.

1upkeyboards DIY Cable Kits

I thought this was noteworthy, as it was something I had not seen sold before. There are many custom cable makers, but kits to make your own are a new thing to me. For $10 dollars I think this is currently a unique offering.

Ducky Shine One Being Released August 17th

For $119 you can own a fairly standard backlit keyboard. I think it is a good offering for the price but nothing that special. Ducky quality is generally good and for someone looking to get their first, maybe a bit extravagant keyboard, this is a good purchase.

Typed on HHKB Pro 2

This is a semi press release from Input Club, but I was asked to get the word out. I believe this group is valuable to the community and could have good things to offer in the future.

Who are Input Club?

To those who don’t know, Input Club are the team behind the Infinity and the Infinity ErgoDox. Two keyboards that have successfully run on massdrop. These two keyboards are also accompanied with the KLL (keyboard layout languague) which is designed as a universal keyboard firmware. However, the KLL is actually more of an operating system. To fully understand the capabilities of KLL I suggest reading the spec as it is a bit more involved than you would think.
Overall I find the core of the input club to be relevant to the communities interests. They are creating open source hardware and their own firmware to create keyboards that have many use cases.

The K Type

This is an early render

06/10/15 New Renders The K-type side angle K-type

The new keyboard project from Input Club is the K Type. The following is the official press release from Input Club.

The K Type will be a stock Ten Keyless keyboard.

We are also going to include true RGB backlighting behind every key, a USB type C connector, and full programming options. The plate will be aluminium for optimal flex, and all designs will be open-sourced on Github. This will allow after-market manufacturers and hobbyists total flexibility in customization.

We are still in the planning phase and want to receive feedback from the enthusiast community. We designed the Infinity Keyboard and the Infinity ErgoDox to test our Keyboard Design Process. This process allows Interest Checks to be created for any layout.

This means that within the world of keyboards, anything is possible.

We want to make a product that allows the general public to enjoy typing on a keyboard they own. The best keyboard on the market should also be one that is open source and available to everyone.

The Keyboard Layout Language which powers our keyboards allows infinite layers of layouts for custom use cases. It is in fact a separate operating system, just for the keyboard.

In practice, we will see custom layers for Photoshop, video editing, programming, and for typing in other languages. People will be able to set their keyboards using our configurator, designed by the legendary Matteo Spinelli.

We’re excited to begin generating interest for this and we know it’s going to be great. We’ve come a long way since our launch last year, and there are nearly 2000 people who have purchased our keyboards via Massdrop.

Thank you for supporting us, we know you’ll love what’s coming next.

The major takeaway from this, is the amount of options you will have. KLL gives you full programmability, the design will be open source and it has the best option for backlighting. I was told the source is likely to be released after a successful first round.

Here I conducted a small questioning of Input Club that will hopefully give some more insight into the project and its design choices.

KLL is referred to as an operating system. I asked, What elevates this from a simple firmware?

The KLL is a firmware, but it is also a language to describe keyboard input. First, if you have a deep interest, here is a link to the spec. <> Currently, all keyboards try and approximate keyboard input with a general purpose programming language. This results in a clunky solution that doesn't have much keyboard specific flexibility. The KLL will transform all keypresses into a series of Triggers and Results. One of the core objectives of the KLL is to allow any Trigger to cause any Result. Both Triggers and Results may be defined by the user using a command prompt or our configurator. This system means that you can transfer trigger / result mapping over between the Infinity 60% and the Infinity ErgoDox, even though the hardware is very different. This is useful, especially for people that use many keyboards, as they can create one keyboard map and use it on different KLL supported hardware. There is quite a bit more than this, specifically in the realm of N-Key Rollover, Macros, Analog Control, and Foreign Language Characters but that is more in depth than your question.

The use of a usb type C is also interesting as it is still not that common. I asked Does this have any specific benefits over micro?

It has incredible benefits when it comes to power delivery. This will allow for very bright LED's as well as open up the door to things such as solenoids and superior daisy-chaining ability. The solenoids are especially exciting as it will give us more control over the sound and tactile feedback that is emitted when you type.

Do you have a price point in mind?

With regard to price point, it will likely be more expensive than the Infinity 60% Keyboard, but less expensive than the Infinity ErgoDox. We haven't priced everything out yet, but given what we currently know that is likely a safe range.

The plate material (aluminium) was chosen specifically by Matt3o as he believes it to be a great plate material. Matt3o is not a part of Input Club, but always seems to be some way involved with everything that happens in keyboards. You will notice that the KLL configurator, the tool that allows you to customise your keymap with a gui was created by Matt3o.

As to where this keyboard will be sold, is still up in the air. Input Club’s history has been with massdrop but this is a new project and nothing is set in stone.

That is all the information for now. But I look forward to the future of this keyboard and Input Club in General. Read more at their website.

Prototypes will be made available to select keyboard enthusiasts and you must be able to compile, to be considered.

Typed on HHKB Pro 2