Key caps still user replaceable?

Latest blog entry details assembly difficulties due to the new harder & stronger materials in the butterfly.

The solution involved an updated assembly process & tool to support the butterfly while the key cap is snapped on (?).

Will users still be able to replace key caps in the field or would we risk damage without the special assembly tool?

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Dave - Can count on you to read the blog details earlier than everyone else, and totally get what we’re doing. Smart post.

re: user replacement, we have a couple thoughts -

For most consumers, they don’t want to deal with moving parts around, so we stepped up the alternate keycap printing. That way we take care of it on their initial config and it’s ready to go. If they ever need service, we can swap out KeyBlade subassemblies for them.

For technology hackers, we’re thinking to make a modder kit (blank keycaps, spare butterflies, and an installer tool) so they could play around with different arrangements and experiment.

We may also offer individual blade assemblies a la carte for folks who want to change layouts frequently.

Let us know what you think.

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A modder kit sounds good–I’d definitely spring for one. I’m already fantasizing about the artisinal hardwood keycaps with mother-of-pearl inlay that I’m going to buy on Etsy once this thing catches fire and a cottage industry grows up around it!

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I to, am interested in the modder kit. There are several layouts I’d like to be able to switch between. After my learning time I’d probably leave it with the blank keys.

I’d be down for a modder kit as well.

My intent is to start w/ qwerty until I’m used to the Textblade, then transition to Colemak, and then eventually blank key caps once I feel at home in Colemak… or maybe I’ll just keep the Colemak tops, but the blank ones look badass.

Though, you know… the artisanal hardwood with mother-of-pearl inlays sound weirdly enticing.

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the blank ones do look badass. i’m thinking about opting for blank caps right off the bat and living with temporary homemade stickers until i get used to the layout, then take the stickers off. would save me the cost of an extra set of keys.

i’ve thought about learning dvorak for a while but can never get myself to commit.

That’s a good point… I’m probably better off just doing blank keycaps from the beginning. I’m already mostly used to the new symbol layout because I’m using OS X w/ Karabiner to emulate the TB symbol/cursor mappings.

And… if I’m learning a new layout I shouldn’t be looking at the keyboard anyway.

Still, there’s this part of me that just wants the ability to change it anyway, even if there’s no practical purpose.


Those are my plans exactly.

@waytools - Have you guys got any more up-to-date info on the replaceability of keycaps, and special tools needed etc? I’m a colemak user, and i think that it is a great layout, but it creates a frustration any time i need to use a qwerty keyboard, or someone else needs to use my keyboard - situations that are fairly regular. So I’ve been contemplating using the switch to a textblade to be a catalyst to swapping back to qwerty as well. This means I’d kinda like the option to get both colemak and uk qwerty caps so that I can change between them if I need to. Where definitions of “need to” mean something like I’ve tried going back to qwerty but just find it tooooo stupid and need to abandon the idea before I start losing IQ points or something :wink:


I think in your situation the best thing to do is order QWERTY key caps, but continue blind typing Colemak.

Having the ‘wrong’ key caps for the majority of your typing could be seen as a good thing since you are really better off training yourself not to look at them.

Then when you switch to the exception case the markings are there for you to type by sight.

Seems counter intuitive but this is what I’m considering doing. I’m sold on the idea of Colemak.

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@waytools Now that we’ve established that we keyboard nuts are going to order multiple Key Cap variations: How much wear and tear is caused by changing the caps out? Is this similar to, say, a Macbook Pro, where you can do it, but it’s probably not a good idea to do it for than a few times at most?

Maybe a better question is: how much force is required to remove the caps?

@Waytools I’d love to hear your answer on this. I too would like to play with Colemak, but am not ready to commit to it, so being able to replace keycaps would be interesting to consider.

The store says that the extra capkits are easy to replace but not intended for repeated replacement.

I was thinking about getting a qwerty set for letting others try it out without being weirded out by the Colemak but I decided that they can look at the on-screen keyboard instead :slight_smile:

I changed my order to qwerty. Colemak printing and assembly probably won’t take long but since they don’t exist yet I’m not taking any chances with shipping delay. :smile:

Will be occasionally handy for others to play with I suppose.

Since I know they have them in stock I’ve added blank caps as spares. I might fit those instead of ordering Colemak caps later.

I mostly don’t need the legends, occasionally handy when not touch typing but I quite like the aesthetics with them included.

For now I’m sticking with Dvorak, though I hope we’ll get a better idea of shipping time differences to help me make a better decision.

Hopefully, if I get considered for this testing process, that won’t be an issue. I mean, I can use a qwerty keyboard and set my computer, etc, to Dvorak just as I do now so I can still test. I’m also assuming the test keyboards they send out may be replaced with new ones when testing is over so I could then get the dvorak version. But that may not be so. If no hardware changes are necessary, they may say the one you get for testing is the one you officially order.

You can even use the app to set the TB to Dvorak with the TB caps being qwerty, no problem.

I use Karabiner to do my Colemak translation, and the nice thing is that then all global key shortcuts are remapped too. I don’t know how it is in Windows, but on Mac global shortcuts are detected by the physical key, not the sent letter. A remapped TB (and Karabiner) sends the physical keys that correspond to the desired mapping and there is no problem.