[IC] Aluminum Keycaps Custom Marking

Old_Gold_Hand

27 Jul 2020, 15:39

RBT 1.png
RBT 1.png (722.97 KiB) Viewed 359 times
Hi everyone

Let me introduce myself to you guys, my name is Ryan and I am a cofounder of https://www.american-haptics.com/

We are industrial designers and enthusiasts, as well as seasoned machinists and manufacturers. We have a small facility with a Haas VF2 Machining center, and as of today (hopefully! a week after the 8 week delivery time already!) a galvo fiber laser.
RBT Cherry Comparison Rev2.png
RBT Cherry Comparison Rev2.png (460.29 KiB) Viewed 359 times
The RBT key cap profile is based on Cherry OEM, but optimized for machining. This gives us a more geometrically brutal appearance but retains the same ergonomic feel and location. We have been developing this product for about 6 months, and are about ready to launch. You can currently purchase unmarked key caps at our website.
RBT R2 Webstore tnspt.png
RBT R2 Webstore tnspt.png (190.1 KiB) Viewed 359 times
Pricing is projected to be $20 for unmarked, and $22 for custom legends once we get the laser set up and our process dialed in. The raw type can be seen in this photo on top of a laser marked handsome squidward. These are early prototypes from January when we had a few different laser demos from companies we were shopping. Since then we have changed some features of the switch mount side a few times to get it just right.
RBT engraved pile.jpeg
RBT engraved pile.jpeg (362.13 KiB) Viewed 359 times
If you are interested in these, you can buy one unmarked at our website!
If you are interested in a custom marking, please reply with ideas, questions, comments etc to this thread. It is basically my job to answer you lol.

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photekq
Cherry Picker

28 Jul 2020, 08:36

You should work on your models, they're ugly. And don't call that Cherry profile, it isn't.

I mean this in a critical way, I'm not trying to insult. I'm just getting tired of enterprising people coming along with half-baked ideas.

Old_Gold_Hand

28 Jul 2020, 15:10

Thanks for the feedback! The keycaps themselves are called RBT, not cherry, to clarify. Or did you mean the key caps to which I am comparing are not cherry?

What would you like to see change about the models? keep in mind these are geometrically simplified to assist manufacturing. The end goal is to offer solid metal key caps with custom legends at a competitive price, not to necessarily make them as sculptural as plastic key caps.

Also, the last photograph is from early prototypes with imperfect finishing and fixtures. Hang with us!

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ZedTheMan

28 Jul 2020, 15:25

Yeah I think the profile is a necessary trade-off for what they are trying to accomplish here.

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photekq
Cherry Picker

28 Jul 2020, 22:28

Old_Gold_Hand wrote:
28 Jul 2020, 15:10
Thanks for the feedback! The keycaps themselves are called RBT, not cherry, to clarify. Or did you mean the key caps to which I am comparing are not cherry?
So, I slightly misunderstood your pitch. I thought you would be offering both RBT and Cherry profile. When I said "don't call that Cherry profile" I was referring to your "Cherry" models in the render. But now that I've realised you aren't offering those, that doesn't matter so much. To elaborate on what I said, despite its irrelevancy: those Cherry models don't seem to capture the correct Cherry top profile. R1 is most obvious: Cherry profile R1 doesn't slant that much. My other irk is that, even if you corrected the top profile, the shape of the caps wouldn't match any GMK or Cherry set. Most notably because of the constant radii along the four downwards corners. On GMK/Cherry they're a tapered radius. Even compared to "Cherry OEM" (I'm guessing you mean SP? which is not popular these days), the shape doesn't look quite right in a few ways. Also, if you're not referring to SP, and instead referring to "OEM" profile generally associated with Filco and other early OEM keyboards: that is not at all like Cherry profile, it's a totally different profile which is much higher.

Regarding RBT, your actual proposed product:

Some people might be fine with the extremely simplified shape. Hell, some people might even like it visually as a full set. But if you're aiming to primarily sell single custom keys, I think the mismatch will put a lot of people off. Those caps will look extremely out of place paired with any Cherry/SP set, and I say this as someone who made highly simplified metal keycaps years ago: that might not seem like a big deal when you're looking at the RBT keycaps on their own, but once you put them on a keyboard? It just won't look right. Sure, you might sell some, but I can't see this being a popular thing. I could be wrong though, who knows?

Regardless, at the absolute least you need to ensure you've accurately captured the top profile. I'd be curious to know which keycaps you've been taking measurements from.

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P.S. The thing that really irked me, and made me want to comment, is your lack of clarity around "Cherry" and "Cherry OEM" profile. Like I touched on before, "Cherry OEM" isn't really a thing. It seems like you haven't really done the basic research into profiles that you should've done. If you've modelled these on "OEM", it's only gonna match up with a select few sets of low quality keycaps found on certain OEM boards.

Old_Gold_Hand

30 Jul 2020, 15:47

I have studied closely what you have said, and again I welcome the feedback. I do feel that we will eventually get to a revision 2 which may more closely resemble "Cherry" key caps.

I received CAD models to work from, so I honestly cannot speak to how accurate they are, our printed versions of those models seemed to be pretty close to physical examples of GMK sets. It is embarrassing to have thought for so long that "OEM" meant original equipment manufacturer, as it does in car parts, and have associated that with cherry key caps, which would have come on original cherry brand key boards. So I have had some wires crossed for a while now it appears. Thanks for clearing that up for me!

Would you be interested in receiving a few key caps to play with in person, and to give more feedback on? It looks like you are deeply invested in original cherry gear and are an expert in this style of key cap.

Let me know and we can maybe work on sending you some samples

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photekq
Cherry Picker

30 Jul 2020, 21:40

Old_Gold_Hand wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 15:47
I have studied closely what you have said, and again I welcome the feedback. I do feel that we will eventually get to a revision 2 which may more closely resemble "Cherry" key caps.
I'm glad you took the time to read what I said thoroughly. I can only recommend that you continue to thoroughly read the words of the countless other enthusiasts that have poured their time and effort into valuable, informative posts for the past 17+ years without charging a penny. As it stands, I don't think this counts as a "revision 1". This is more like an initial draft. I really can't recommend selling these, unless you explicitly state that you cannot guarantee they match up with any existing profiles.
Old_Gold_Hand wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 15:47
I received CAD models to work from, so I honestly cannot speak to how accurate they are, our printed versions of those models seemed to be pretty close to physical examples of GMK sets. It is embarrassing to have thought for so long that "OEM" meant original equipment manufacturer, as it does in car parts, and have associated that with cherry key caps, which would have come on original cherry brand key boards. So I have had some wires crossed for a while now it appears. Thanks for clearing that up for me!
Yeah, this is why I was annoyed. Some might call this elitist, but I think people should properly learn about keyboards before they attempt to make money from them; I respect anyone who's a skilled machinist, which itself requires a huge understanding, but that doesn't excuse this in my opinion. Saying you can't speak on how accurate they are is an issue. It's your prerogative to know this stuff before you attempt to make a product, but as I thought: you haven't done even the base level of research into keycap profiles. Can you name the source of your CAD models? That would help in knowing where you stand.
Old_Gold_Hand wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 15:47
Would you be interested in receiving a few key caps to play with in person, and to give more feedback on? It looks like you are deeply invested in original cherry gear and are an expert in this style of key cap.

Let me know and we can maybe work on sending you some samples
No. I'm an enthusiast, I enjoy educating people who're enthusiastic about keyboards (free of charge, at any time, no matter how "silly" the question may be). I don't think you're enthusiastic about them, I think you're trying to make money. If you want me to create 1:1 accurate Cherry profile CAD models for you I could do it, but my hourly rate is in the same realm as any other CAD technician or engineering graduate.

-----

Just want to clarify, because I know my wording can often come off in a mean tone when I don't intend it to: I don't mean any of this personally, and I'm not trying to be purposefully harsh or anything like that. I'm just being honest with you. There's been a trend over the past few years of people entering this community purely to make money; it's annoyed me greatly, and I'm sure it'll continue to annoy me.

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dogmantime

01 Aug 2020, 20:16

First and foremost @photekq has given you some very valuable feedback imo please listen to him.

Ryan I am seeing a lot of Red Flags here mate. I checked out your site and insta and I'm getting some really cynical and lazy vibes honestly.

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You're using an awful lot of words to say nothing here really. Lets be real the "architectural" angle you're pushing here is pure tenuous marketing guff, and the accompanying photoshop strikes me as parody moreso than anything (fair play if this is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, I suppose?). "The shape of the cap is optimised for machining"? Do you mean to say Easy and Cheap and ultimately basic af looking, because that's what I'm hearing/seeing here as a customer.

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In your insta post here and your OP post in this thread you talk of your RBT caps as a new profile entirely and this has me confused. Are you expecting people to fit out entire boards with these for the $2000~ it would cost? Your pricing and custom engraving suggest a more artisan-like intended function for the caps but as already stated these would look out of place as a decorative cap when matched with more common cap profiles. I think you may need to have a rethink about your product on an existential level even, I'm really not sure what market you're targeting here.

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Really shaking my noggin at this one. As if relatively inexplicable use of asian characters as a western tech marketing trope wasn't bad enough, your graphics have bloody well cut off the top right corner of the ぼ "Bo" hiragana! To a reader this makes it indistinguishable other hiragana such as ほ "Ho" and ぽ "Po". Rohotto? Ropotto? Maybe don't fix this one it's giving me a nice giggle. (I'm actually wondering why you chose hiragana in this instance, conventionally katakana "ロボット" would be used for this word, even Google translate brings up the katakana!)

Image (nitpick, is "General 4" a squarespace placeholder?)

Idk man, the pastel graphics, the MADE IN SQUARESPACE cookiecutter site, the shallow usage of hiragana, the pretentious dictionary definition on the main page, the crappy renders. I could go on I'm sure and you might be tempted to just see this all as nitpicking, but to me it is indicative and constructs an overall picture that I hope you can recognise also. I feel that quick lazy cynical half-baked shallow cash grab non-products (I don't care if your intentions are "good") akin to this one have become an unfortunate theme of this hobby. To a keyboard hobbyist such as myself this has all become quite grating and I think you're a wank.

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