Artisan Keycap History
Artisan keycaps have evolved significantly as both an art form and collectible hobby, belying its niche status within the mechanical keyboard market. The dynamic interplay between a rapidly growing community of makers and collectors continues to fuel this evolution. This section chronicles the development of the artisan keycap hobby, will expand as history is uncovered or new milestones are achieved, and is not expected to satisfy any particular standards for completeness. You can help by proving suggestions for the timeline via our feedback form.Note: You can drill into each milestone through the header, to read more or follow links to source information. Orange highlighted maker milestones include links to the maker profile.
Marketplace / Vendor
Media / Influencer
ZF Electronics UK Ltd. files the first patent for MX switches, titled “Mechanical keyboard with membrane switch array“, with the European Patent Association.
iMav creates geekhack.org (domain registered), the first major community where artisan makers and collectors gathered. The logo was created by aggiejy and Krogenar.
Deskthority.net domain registered to launch a keyboard-focused discussion forum. Creates the Deskthority Awards, to eventually include “Best Artisan Keycap” category.
Ishtob was an early hobbyist who made some cherry blanks and a sculpted DSA blank called a Zergling.
Early artisan maker Boost posts a prototype version of his Superhero keycap to Geekhack, and runs a few small sales later that year.
Gas Mask Keycaps, based in Hong Kong, one of the first larger scale artisan makers, releases their first keycap, the Gas Mask.
r/mechanicalkeyboards sub is created by Ripster (following some Geekhack drama), and becomes one of the largest mechanical keyboard and artisan communities.
Another Australian Geekhack user, akuJIWA, and his wife do an interest check for nail polish painted keycaps on Geekhack, after receiving inquires from the community.
r/mechmarket sub founded, and gains traction as one of the most active trading platforms for artisans. Makers start to post sales on the platform.
The first 3D printed artisan keycap models start to appear on Shapeways, heralding what would eventually become an important medium for keycap making. (Photo by Liang Kong)
Geeekhack user do_Og@n shares initial painted keycaps he made for friends, and subsequently runs a few sales under the Hypnocaps brand.
Brief artisan maker Mandolin launches his first sale with Demon Cat and El Chihuahua.
After KBK abruptly ended, Punksdead returns a year later under the Kult Worship Kaps (KWK) brand, with a variety of micro sales (1 – 4 kaps)..Read More
HiddenPower launches a story-driven series of futuristic masked soldier keycaps, with blanks and a key-puller based on a rifle, using 3d modeling, casting, and painting.
Bcredbottle runs giveaways on Geekhack for his multi-shot Cherry profile artisan blanks. He would later experiment with Alps stems.
Geekhack user Bcredbottle organizes an artisan livestream with Binge (from HungerWorkStudio), KatzenKinder, Bambino (from Suited up Keycaps), and Eat_The_Food (from Nightcaps).