“Double-Shot” – this term always dances around you every time you are looking for a set of keycaps to embellish your keyboard. Don’t skip it as you will be surprised with what we are about to reveal right here! So what are double shot keycaps? Keep reading! This post will reach all the nooks and […]
What Are Double Shot Keycaps? Everything You Need to Know
“Double-Shot” – this term always dances around you every time you are looking for a set of keycaps to embellish your keyboard. Don’t skip it as you will be surprised with what we are about to reveal right here!
So what are double shot keycaps?
Keep reading! This post will reach all the nooks and crannies of double-shot keycaps from their nature, and why it has become the top choice for discerning users.
What do double shot keycaps mean?
Before answering “What are double shot keycaps?”, first get clear the term “double-shot”. It refers to the method used to manufacture keycaps for mechanical keyboards.
Unlike standard single-color keycap making, double-shot keycaps are made of two separate layers of plastic, one for the legend and one for the keycap housing.
- Outer shell layer: The first shot forms the outer shell or the keycap’s body, which defines the overall shape and look of the keycap.
- Inner legend layer: The second shot creates the legends that appear on the top surface of the keycap. It is fused together with the outer layer. These legends are “shot” or molded into the keycap to ensure their long-term integration with the keycap’s structure.
As you can see, the legend of the double-shot keycap is not on the same layers as the outside layer, instead, they are a separate layer put inside. They are not printed or painted on the top surface to avoid fading or wearing off over time, keeping the keycaps looking clean and polished.
How double-shot technique came to be?
This two-shot keycap manufacturing method was introduced in the 1970s and 1980s to address the shortcomings of other keycap printing methods such as pad printing or laser etching.
The debut of double-shot keycaps revolutionized the mechanical keyboard industry by offering a balance of longevity and aesthetics. These days, double-shot keycaps have remained a top choice among keyboard enthusiasts in the ever-evolving world of mechanical keyboards.
Alright! We thoroughly explained what are double-shot keycaps. Move to the next part! We will tell you the secret behind this two-tone effect.
How are double-shot keycaps made?
Double-shot keycaps are created through a specialized two-shot molding process. Here’s a step-by-step process of how they are made.
Step 1: Design and mold creation
To begin, the manufacturer has to prepare the molds. These are precisely built to create the keycap shape, size and legend design that perfectly fits the keyboard switches.
The mold is then made, with two cavities: one for the main keycap outer shell and one for the legends.
The first shot is typically made of a solid and durable plastic material like ABS or PBT. The second material is usually a different color and is made of a softer, more translucent plastic, often POM or TPR.
Step 2: First shot
The first mold for the outer shell has the missing legend “cut out” at the top. This layer is also thinner than standard keycaps as it will add the legend layer underneath. Keycap manufacturers have different molds for different legends.
Step 3: Second shot
Once the first shot has solidified, the mold is ready for the second shot. The second mold for the legend layer is made to go beneath the first shot and precisely placed into the concave areas on the keycap surface.
This mold is filled with a different colored plastic material, which will form the legends on the keycap’s top surface. The legends are physically attached to the main body and ultimately become an inseparable part of the keycap.
Step 4: Cooling and finishing
After ensuring the seamless integration of the legends into the keycap, the mold is cooled to make the keycap material solidify. Once it has hardened, the finished double-shot keycaps can be removed from the mold.
The two-shot molding process allows the two plastic materials to be injected together to produce an all-purpose keycap that fulfills the criteria set forth for durability, aesthetics, and consistency.
To make the process more visual, this video condenses the three-day process of making double-shot keycaps into only five minutes.
Types of Double Shot Keycaps
Double-shot keycaps are available in a variety of plastic materials, including PBT, ABS, PETG, and POM, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
|ABS double-shot Keycaps||PBT double-shot Keycaps||PETG double-shot Keycaps||POM double-shot Keycaps|
|Material||ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)||PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate)||PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol)||POM (Polyoxymethylene)|
|Durability||Less durable||Durable||Durable||Super durable|
|Texture and Feel||Smooth and slightly oily||Textured and grainy matte||Smooth and subtly tactile||Smooth and slightly textured|
|Legends and Colors||Highly customizable||Highly customizable||Highly customizable||Limited customizable|
|Compatibility||Cherry MX and clones compatible||Cherry MX and clones compatible||Cherry MX and clones compatible||Cherry MX with its clones and Alps compatible|
Wondering which material is best for your keyboards and fingers feel? Let us make a comprehensive comparison for you to choose the perfect keycap material.
ABS double-shot Keycaps
ABS, often shortly called “acrylic”, is the widely used material for keyboard casings and keycaps.
ABS plastic is relatively soft compared to certain plastics but still offers durability and crack resistance. It is praiseworthy for its smooth texture, making it excellent for every pleasant touch during typing sessions.
ABS double-shot keycaps are often cheaper yet less durable than their PBT counterparts which jointly dominate the keycaps market with ABS.
What may let you down about ABS keycaps is that they turn yellow and develop a little greasy or shiny appearance over time as a result of natural oils from the fingertips. Even so, some users still adore it for its unique feel and glossy look.
After all, ABS double-shot keycaps are the best balance between durability and cost-effectiveness. For anyone wishing to spice up their keyboards with eye-catching looks without breaking the bank, ABS double-shot keycaps will be a great deal.
PBT double-shot Keycaps
PBT double-shot keycaps may be the most formidable player, who can usurp all other materials.
This premium material stands out for its exceptional level of toughness, and resistance to abrasion and heat. They can withstand the rigors of intensive typing and gaming sessions without degrading their original texture or legends.
The best feature that makes PBT more long-lasting is that it is more resistant to the acids and oils from your fingers than ABS.
When it comes to feel and texture, PBT double-shot keycaps feel more fulfilling and premium than ABS keycaps. This is due to they have a sandy textured and matte finish that provides excellent grip during typing.
As more high-quality plastic itself, PBT keycaps tend to produce a slightly deeper and more pleasing sound compared to ABS keycaps.
However, given their superior performance, PBT double-shot keycaps often cost you more than those made of other materials.
Choosing between two rivalries: ABS and PBT may always leave you with an uneasy feeling. Then let us clarify through this in-depth comparison between PBT and ABS to help you discover the ace for your keyboard.
PETG double-shot Keycaps
This material might not have received much attention. Yes, PETG is a material that is a little less prevalent for keycaps, but as 3D printing technology develops, you’ll see more and more PETG double-shot keycaps.
In terms of aesthetics, PETG double-shot keycaps offer a unique look. The translucent outer layer allows for vibrant RGB lighting to shine through, creating stunning visual effects on backlit keyboards.
PETG is a kind of thermoplastic polyester that resembles PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), which is commonly found on water bottles and food containers. PETG has got hallmarks for its clarity, sturdiness, and impact resistance. That’s why it is a great input for 3D keycap printing thanks to its ease of use and superb layer adhesion.
POM double-shot Keycaps
POM, a high-performance engineering thermoplastic, sometimes appears in high-end double-shot keycaps. It is set apart by its outstanding mechanical properties, including high rigidity, low friction, and resistance to heat, chemicals, solvents, and abrasion. These ensure POM double-shot keycaps will not scratch and fade.
Notably, POM keycaps have a smoother and more non-porous surface than oiled ABS, which makes it harder for dirt, oils, and fingerprints to adhere to the keys. The smooth texture of POM keycaps offers a unique candle-like feel but they lack the sticky feeling of oiled ABS keycaps.
Typically dyed in milky pastel colors and light tones, these keycaps add a visually charming element to any keyboard.
In terms of sound, POM keycaps produce a lower-pitched and softer acoustic sound compared to ABS keycaps.
Despite not being as popular as the two dominating keycaps ABS and PBT, POM double-shot keycaps do have a loyal following of supporters. They are usually offered as a niche from certain keyboard manufacturers or artisan keycap makers.
Are Double Shot Keycaps Good?
Yes, absolutely. double-shot keycaps since born have gained popularity as the most coveted keycaps for mechanical keyboards.
This makes sense due to the multiple benefits double-shot keycaps bring to elevate your keyboard. Here are four main contributors to the success of double shot keycaps:
The best selling point of double shot keycaps that cannot be ignored is exceptional durability thanks to their two-layer construction, giving them a longer lifespan than single-layer keycaps.
The legends are physically an integral part of the double-shot keycap itself, unlike single-color keycaps with printed legends. They will not wear off or fade with heavy use, ensuring long-lasting visibility and preventing the need for replacement due to unreadable legends.
Not to mention, many double-shot keycaps made of PBT or high-quality ABS can promise their toughness, and impact resistance, further contributing to the overall lifetime of the keycaps.
Double-shot keycaps can provide a smooth and premium typing experience, as they have a consistent and sharp legend that does not interfere with the texture of the keycap.
Although double-shot keycaps are injected by two layers with a cutoff on the top surface, there was no limp feeling at all. The surface is uniformly smooth and flat with no rough edges, adding to the keyboard’s overall consistent feel.
Furthermore, to tell how double shot keycaps feel exactly, we would take a look at its material. Each type of double-shot keycap comes with a distinct texture and feel.
For example, while ABS double shot keycaps deliver a smooth typing experience, PBT double-shot keycaps have a gritty texture that offers good grip during fast typing or gaming. POM double shot keycaps have a unique feel that is somewhere between PBT and ABS, as they are smooth but not glossy.
Users can choose the keycap material that best suits their typing preferences and the overall feel they desire. No matter which typing style you choose, double-shot keycaps always satisfy you.
This factor may allure Keeb fans the most. Double-shot keycaps can offer a variety of colors and styles to suit different preferences and themes. You can choose the keycaps that best suit your keyboard’s dream aesthetic and overall typing experience.
You can find keycap sets in classic or fancy colors with bi-color combinations, or even gradient styles. As a bonus, the legends can be also customized in different fonts and languages.
Further, what? Along with standard keycaps, double-shot keycap market often stands out with special-niche keycaps, such as artisan keycaps. These keycaps can add personality and flair to your keyboard. Even some have highly-artistic themes that appeal to users with particular tastes in art or design.
Double-shot keycaps are generally more expensive than printed or laser-etched keycaps, as they require a more complex and precise manufacturing process.
Building molds for the outer shell and legend layer is intricate and time-consuming, as it involves two layers of plastic instead of one. Additionally, double-shot keycaps are often made of strong, top-notch materials like POM or PBT, which contribute to their higher cost.
Despite the higher price, double shot keycaps continue to attract a specialized audience seeking something special or unique, such as artisan-made or limited edition runs.
So, double shot keycaps worth your money? Surely yes! They are always a wise choice to put your keyboard to the next level with outstanding features at cost-effective price point. Yet, just be careful not to overspend.
To recap quickly, here are the main advantages and disadvantages of two-mold keycaps.
Double-Shot vs Dye-Sublimated Keycaps
Double-shot and dye-sublimation are the two keycap production methods, particularly for high-end keycap sets. While double-shot keycaps feature legends inserted from a different layer, dye-sub keycaps have legends directly printed onto the surface using a dye-sublimation process.
The table below will show some key differences between double-shot keycaps and dye-sublimated keycaps.
|Features||Double-shot keycaps||Dye-sublimation keycaps|
|Feel||Consistent feel with various customizable textures depending on materials||Smooth and pleasant texture|
Sharp and crisp
Intricate and detailed
|Durability||Legends won’t fade or wear off||Legends may wear off over time with heavy use|
|Material||ABS, PBT, PETG and POM||PBT only|
|Price||More expensive||Typically cheaper|
|Compatibility||Cherry MX and clones compatible||Cherry MX and clones compatible|
|RGB||Perfect for backlit||Only on non-backlit caps|
If either of these two keycaps has piqued your interest, then don’t miss our breakdown of the differences between double-shot and dye-sub keycaps.
So, you’ve got the comprehensive answer for “What are double shot keycaps?” Double-shot keycaps shine as the pinnacle of toughness and style in a world of limitless keyboard customization. The vibrant colors and intricately crafted legends add a touch of elegance and uniqueness to your keyboard, making typing an absolute joy.
Embrace the allure of double-shot keycaps, where durability meets artistry, raising your keyboard experience to new levels of delight and adoration.
Are double shot keycaps good for typing?
Yes, double shot keycaps can provide a smooth and premium typing experience, as they have a consistent and sharp legend that does not interfere with the texture of the keycap. They are also durable and resistant to fading, so you can enjoy typing on them for a long time.
Are double shot keycaps good for gaming?
Yes, double shot keycaps can also be good for gaming, as they can enhance the aesthetics and performance of your keyboard. Some double shot keycaps can allow RGB backlighting to shine through the legends, creating a stunning effect. They can also improve the feel and accuracy of your keystrokes, as they have a clear and precise legend that matches the shape of the keycap.
Are double shot keycaps compatible with all keyboards?
Most double-shot keycaps are designed to fit common standard ANSI and ISO layouts. These layouts cover popular configurations like QWERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ, among others.
Are double shot keycaps worth the investment?
Yes, double-shot keycaps are worth the investment for those who prefer longevity and crisp, long-lasting legends. They offer an aesthetically pleasing and long-term solution for keyboard enthusiasts seeking high-quality keycaps.
How do I know if my keycaps are double-shot?
To quickly figure out whether your keycaps are double-shot, check the legends on the keycaps. If the legends have a different color from the keycap’s base color and are seamlessly integrated into the keycap instead of being printed, they are likely double-shot keycaps.
What are the benefits of double shot keycaps?
Double-shot keycaps are notable for their excellent durability, distinctive textures and offering a wide range of bi-color combinations to provide an unparalleled pleasant typing experience.